March 31, 2012

Quick study: Words, language and ideas

Remember a few months back I visited Vicki Sher's studioYes/No, her thought provoking solo show at Frosch & Portmann (LES, New York), will be up through April 15, 2012. The exhibition includes paintings, drawings, and audio tapes that explore her grandmother's loss of language. As she aged, Sher's grandmother lost all her words except "yes" and "no," but she communicated effectively nonetheless.  On April 13, at 6 pm, Catherine Barnett and Michael Morse will be presenting poetry they produced in response to Sher's work. According to the press release, the award winning poets will read together, alternately, echoing the rhythmic dialogue of the exhibition's central audio piece.

Vicki Sher, Untitled (Open Window), 2012, pencil, watercolor, ink on paper, 19 x 25 inches


On the next street over, stop by Sue Scott Gallery (LES, New York) and check out Eyesontheedge, Franklin Evans's robust installation that explores the roots of inspiration and ideas. The exhibition includes more traditional painting than his previous installations, comprising Xeroxes of book pages (highlighting and marginalia included), scanned images from family albums strung into a curtain, a low Plexiglas-covered bridge made of books from his bookshelves, and more. The fascinating exhibition is up through April 15, 2012.

 Franklin Evans, installation view at Sue Scott Gallery.

Franklin Evans, memorydoubled, 2012, acrylic on canvas, 72 x 72 inches.

 Franklin Evans, curtain of images, installation view.


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Thank you to this month’s sponsors

I would like to take a brief moment to thank this month’s sponsors. These individuals and organizations help support online arts writing and publishing, so please be sure to check them out.

A section of the Two Coats bookshelf.

  • 20×200, a great place to browse and buy contemporary art prints at reasonable prices.
  • Artspace. Collect art from the world’s best contemporary artists at accessible prices.
  • Pulse Art Fair. New dates Pulse NY, MAY 3-6, 2012 at The Metropolitan Pavilion 125 West 18th Street, New York.
  • Tyler School of Art. 2012 MFA Thesis exhibitions on view through May 12.
  • Pernod Art & Absinthe Guide. A handy mobile App that lists Galleries, Events and Bars in BK.
  • Storefront BushwickBushwick Gallery currently featuring artist Kirk Stoller.
  • Artspan. A contemporary art destination and service providing totally customizable artist websites.
  • Norte Maar. Community building non-profit organization with an emphasis on collaborative projects.
  • Art Systems. Professional art gallery, antiques and collections management software.
  • Tyler Summer Painting & Sculpture Intensive. 7-week immersion program for artists interested in developing their work in a challenging and supportive environment.
  • SVA MPS Graduate Fashion Photography Program. An intensive one-year degree program offering practicing photographers the opportunity to advance their bodies of work.
  • Art New England Summer Workshops. Immerse yourself in your art without the interruptions and responsibilities of daily life.
  • Bernard Klevickas. New York-based sculptor.
To promote your event or organization on Two Coats of Paint, please contact Nectar Ads.


Call for images: Please feel free submit images to run with the next Nectar Ads Thank You post. The words "thank you" must be included somewhere in the image.  Put "thank you image" in subject line and send to Please include a link to your website. Thanks! Thank You!


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March 27, 2012

Pocket Utopia announces inaugural exhibition and preliminary artist roster

Readers may have read on Hyperallergic and The L Magazine that Pocket Utopia, one of the first galleries to open in Bushwick, is opening a new space on the Lower East Side. Located on 191 Henry Street, between Clinton and Jefferson, the gallery is in the middle of a renovation, but nonetheless intrepid director Austin Thomas has organized "The Queen and I," a one-night exhibition this Thursday, March 28, 6-8pm. The new gallery is a collaborative project with C.G. Boerner, who has galleries on East 73rd Street and in Dussledorf.

Thomas's  new site for utopic events and exhibitions.

Full (exciting) disclosure: Thomas, who has signed a seven year lease, has invited me to join her roster, which also includes Ellen Letcher (Famous Accountants), Paul D'Agostino (Centotto), and Matthew Miller. I did two residencies at Thomas's original space in Bushwick in 2009, and I'm looking forward to working with her again. But I better get to work: I'm scheduled for a solo show in January.

Donald Steele, The Queen and I

The Grand Reopening of Pocket Utopia: "The Queen and I, a one night exhibition of royal photographs by playwright Donald Steele," Pocket Utopia, New York, NY. One night only: March 28th, 2012. By subway, F train to East Broadway.

Related links:
More posts about Pocket Utopia.


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March 23, 2012

Fundraising news: Auctions with benefits

The enterprising Class of 2013 University of Connecticut MFA students are organizing an auction to raise funds for their 2013 Thesis Exhibition. As readers may know, UConn, my alma mater, is in Storrs, Connecticut, a little less than three hours from NYC, so the students are raising money to create some promotional materials and rent gallery space in the city where more people will see their work. Talk about an ambitious DIY learning experience--who wouldn't support them? I hope readers in the Connecticut area will consider attending the auction in order to bid recklessly on artwork generously donated by faculty, alumni, graduate, and undergraduate students.

I also want to put in yet another plug for Momenta Art's Spring Benefit (I'm on the committee), which takes place on Wednesday, April 25th. Two hundred pieces have been donated, and many have already been  posted online. The work will also be on view at the gallery from April 6 through April 23. Event admission is $200 per couple before April 7, and guarantees that each pair of tickets gets a piece of art. The supply is limited, so buy your tickets early. Of course, checking out the exhibition at 56 Bogart Street in Bushwick is free.

Norte Maar's Benefit at Mitchell-Innes & Nash, featuring an evening of sound and performance, cocktails and tap dancing (!), takes place on April 2. Director Jason Andrew is such an important part of the Bushwick art community that everyone should support Norte Maar, Bushwick's first non-profit space.

About my donations (pictured below): Asking artists to donate artwork for auctions is a controversial practice because often it feels like everyone is being funded except the artists themselves. Last year, inspired by Adam Simon's "Steal This Art" paintings, which he created specifically for auctions and trading, I made a series called "Found at Thrift Shop" with auctions in mind. I like to donate to a few benefits each year, especially if I support the organizations' missions. Artists should donate to benefits only if they support the organization--not because they expect to get a gallery, etc., or make connections from the exposure.

Anyway, the paintings in the FATS series are awkwardly composed and casually painted on cheap stained canvas--which is exactly the kind of treasure I look for when I go to the thrift shop. Please take one home!

At Momenta: Untiled (FATS-tower), 2011, pigment, binder on stained canvas.

 At UConn: Untitled (FATS-Blue), 2011, pigment, binder, pencil, rubber stamp, on stained canvas.

Event details:

UCONN MFA Art Auction 2012: April 4th, 6 – 9 pm / Silent Auction: 6pm / Live Auction: 7pm / Art on exhibition: April 2-4 Art Building, Storrs Campus, University of Connecticut / Event admission is FREE!

Momenta Spring Benefit: Wednesday, April 25th / Doors open at noon Cocktails and Hors d'Oeuvres: 6-8pm /  Raffle Drawing: 7pm-10pm / Preview Exhibition: April 6th through 23rd / Momenta Art 56 Bogart St Bushwick, Brooklyn, NY

Norte Maar Benefit: Monday, April 2, honoring Julie Martin / Cocktails begin at 6:30pm / Performances include Tap dance sensation Andrew Nemr + CPD Plus / David Tudor’s Rainforest I performed by Composers Inside Electronics / Preview of Norte Maar’s upcoming ballet featuring choreography by Julia K. Gleich and score by Stefan Wolpe / Admission $75

Are you involved with any worthy art auctions or benefits? Feel free to post the info in the Comments section.

Related posts:
Call for Artists! NURTUREart's Annual Benefit


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Jules Olitski compares painting to sex

In an old interview, proto-Color-Field painter Jules Olitski (Russian American, 1922-2007) suggests that looking for meaning in abstract art is beside the point. "Someone looks at an abstract painting and they wonder what it means...well forgive me, but what does anything mean? You go to bed with someone and make love, do you pause in the middle and say what does it mean?"

 Jules Olitski, Patutsky in Paradise, 1966, acrylic on canvas,
collection of the Art Gallery of Ontario, purchase.

Check out this video, which includes the interview mentioned above and rare images of Olitski working in the studio. His paintings are on view at the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston through May 6. I'm looking forward to seeing the show when it comes to American University Museum at the Katzen Arts Center, in DC later this year.

Revelation: Major Paintings by Jules Olitski, curated by E.A. Carmean Jr., Alison de Lima Greene, and Karen Wilkin. Museum of fine Arts Houston, Houston, Texas. Through May 6, 2012. Organized by Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art in Kansas City, Missouri, where it premiered in 2011.

"The  exhibition draws together more than 30 significant works from public and private collections and highlights important periods and themes from Olitski's career. With works from his early Stain Paintings of the 1960s to his Late Paintings, this is the first exhibition of the artist’s paintings since his death in 2007. Russian-born artist Jules Olitski (1922–2007) first received international acclaim as a Color Field painter and continued to experiment throughout his career."

Traveling to the Toledo Museum of Art, Ohio; and American University Museum, at the Katzen Arts Center, Washington, D.C.; in 2012.

Related posts:
Olitski's small stakes


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March 22, 2012

Lost recipes and other stories of painting's past

Back in Colonial times, before bottles of medium and tubes of premixed paint were readily available in the local art supply store, painters were like mad scientists, grinding pigments and developing secret methods that would make their paintings more lifelike, stable and, thus, more sought after. For early American artists, painting was a competitive business, and over time, some artists' recipes and methods have fared well, while others have led to cracking and discoloration. Curators Lance Mayer and Gay Myers, who have been collecting recipes and stories from journals, letters and old painting manuals for the past twenty-five years, have recently published American Painters on Technique: The Colonial Period to 1860, a wonderful book, rich with practical information and lively anecdotes about painters such as Thomas Cole, Gilbert Stuart, Thomas Sully, and Rembrandt Peale.

I love the image on the cover. William Sidney Mount, The Painter's Triumph (detail), 1838, oil on wood, Pennsylvania Academy of The Fine Arts. For the full image, click here.

Here's an excerpt:
Thomas Cole's correspondence also indicates he knew that a period of time should elapse before varnishing, which was one reason that he needed to discuss the topic--he had the awkward job of explaining why their pictures did not look as good as they would eventually look after they were varnished. Ridner said Cole varnished his paintings "as soon as they became perfectly dry," which is not very specific. Mount said that Cole "did not varnish in under a year," but this may have been a theoretical goal rather than his actual practice; the testimony of Cole's letters hint that he was not so dogmatic. Cole himself described working on a painting until the last minute before an exhibition, and he variously told patrons that paintings recently sent to them should remain unvarnished "a short time" or "one month longer." Of course, once a painting was sent to a patron, varnishing was out of the hands of the artist and the new owner was free to follow or reject the artist's advice on when to varnish, or perhaps never to varnish the painting at all...

Table of Contents:

Obviously, anecdotes about painters and their techniques will not appeal to the general reader, but for artists who still concoct their own recipes (linseed oil? stand oil? varnish? silica? polymer?) or admire the glazing on those incredible early American portraits and landscapes, the book, both amusing and instructive, is a fascinating read.

American Painters on Technique: The Colonial Period to 1860, by Lance Mayer and Gay Myers, Getty Publications, 2011


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March 13, 2012

Painting strategies at the 2012 Whitney Biennial

The 2012 incarnation of the Whitney Biennial features (in addition to a huge slate of film and video screenings in a side room and performance on the 4th floor) relatively open gallery space with very few wall partitions, lots of small work hung simply around the open space, some creative (but not pretentious) installation strategies, and a smattering of handmade sculptures and low-tech installations throughout. In other words, the 2012 Biennial has adopted a modest DIY aesthetic that you might see at an artist-run gallery in, say, Bushwick.

Overall, I liked the human scale of the objects, the emphasis on the handmade (as opposed to professionally fabricated), and the way painting infused several conceptually driven installations. I have to go back to see the Forest Bess paintings and the video programming, but here are images of a few things that caught my eye on my first visit.

Two of Kai Althoff's paintings hung loosely on a woven panel (by Travis Josef Meinolf) in the middle of the gallery. The other painting, an oddly shaped, six-sided multipanel piece, was hung close to the floor. Above: Untitled, 2011, oil, synthetic polymer, tempera, and varnish on fabric and silk, 52 ¼ x 57 ¾ inches. Collection of the artist; courtesy Gladstone Gallery, New York.

Nick Mauss (lives in New York,  born 1980) curated an installation of small paintings and work on paper from the Whitney's collection and the Smithsonian Archives of American Art. His mission is to to "derail art historical genealogies" so that we can invent new associations for the art work. I entered Mauss's "intervention" through the wrong door and was surprised to see that someone was drawing plant forms like Ellsworth Kelly did in the 1960s--oh wait, that IS an Ellsworth Kelly--so I guess I experienced the "spatial, temporal, and psychological shift" that Mauss was after. Above: Marsden Hartley (1877–1943) Madawaska, Acadian Light-Heavy, Third Arrangement, 1940, oil on masonite 27 7/8 x 21 1/2 inches.

Cameron Crawford hung small painting-like objects on a constructed piece that tries to equate art making with useless labor. The wall text is stuck right on one of the objects, perhaps critiquing our incessant need to know. Do we prefer to read wall text rather than trust our own ability to construct meaning by looking closely and making intuitive connections? But I don't think Crawford had this in mind. The label position makes the piece look like an artifact in a history museum, and it may simply indicate that Crawford values artist's intent over the viewer's right to form a personal interpretation. But, of course, artists don't always know what the work is about. Sometimes years go by before we understand. Above: making water storage revolution making water storage revolution, 2012, poplar, paste wax, plaster, wood filler, oil on string, oil on organza, primed brass, primed steel, graphite and felt-tip pen on muslin, hardware, and hair, 60 x 180 x 12 inches.

Joanna Malinowska included this painting in her installation. Above: Leonard Peltier, Horse Nation, 2011, oil on canvas, collection of the artist; Dorothy Ninham and Leonard Peltier Defense Offense Committee.

A grid grouping of small-scale paintings by Andrew Masullo (lives in San Francisco, born 1957). All  oil on canvas. Collection of the artist; courtesy Feature Inc., New York

Performance artist and painter Jutta Koether (lives in New York and Berlin, born 1958) hung her paintings back-to-back on thick sheets of glass. Clustered around one of the odd-shaped windows, the paintings reference Nicolas Poussin’s painting cycle The Four Seasons (1660–64). Koether, who is interested in creating a contemporary context for a traditional medium, wants to challenge her audience to "reconsider the framework through which they see and interpret paintings," but the installation and text seem overwrought. The light, agitated brushwork, illusive imagery, and art historical reference make the point. Above: The Seasons I, 2011, synthetic polymer and oil on canvas, glass, 67 x 86 3/8 inches. Collection of the artist; courtesy Galerie Buchholz, Berlin

Tom Thayer’s environments feature a little of everything: puppet-like figures, stop-motion collage animations, old portable record players, and, oh yeah, paintings, too, which he calls handmade backdrops. Above: Act VI: The Whelming, 2012, mixed media, 50 x 50 inches. Collection of the artist; courtesy Derek Eller Gallery, New York

While I was there, Nicole Eisenman was giving a talk to a big group of middle school students. Images about sex, texting, breaking up...naturally, they were fascinated. Above: Untitled, 201, forty-five mixed-media monotypes, 24 3/4 x 19 3/4 inches. The Hall Collection; courtesy Leo Koenig Inc., New York.

Nicole Eisenman, Breakup, 2011, oil and mixed media on canvas, 56 x 43 inches. Collection of Robert and Bonnie Friedman; courtesy Leo Koenig Inc., New York, and Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects

Kate Levant (lives in Detroit, born 1983) scavenged the materials for her installation from a burned out house in Detroit. Hung haphazardly from the ceiling with chains and electrical cords, the sheets of foil insulation lining, cardboard, and other decaying materials evoke both the inhumanity of frontier justice and the strange hopefulness of spring cleaning. Above:  'eyenter "integra intra' impression, 2011, mixed-media, dimensions variable. Collection of the artist; courtesy Zach Feuer Gallery, New York, and Susanne Hilberry Gallery, Detroit.

Amidst a series of scrapbook-like collages based on the  butoh-fu notebooks of Japanese choreographer Tatsumi Hijikata (1928–1986) are a couple of robust paintings by Richard Hawkins (lives in LA, born 1961) that reference Gustave Moreau’s (1826–1898) 1876 painting of the dancer Salome carrying the head of John the Baptist. Above:  Salome Painting: Smoke Smoke, 2012, oil on canvas, 32 1/2 x 39 inches. Below: Salome Painting: Icy Balled, 2012, oil on canvas, 16 x 20 inches. Collection of the artist; courtesy Greene Naftali, New York, and Richard Telles Fine Art, Los Angeles. 

2012 Whitney Biennial, curated by Jay Sanders and Elizabeth Sussman. Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY. Through May 27, 2012.

Related post:
2012 Whitney Biennial: Long on video and film, short on painting


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March 12, 2012

Quick study:Individualists' edition

Carroll Dunham talks with Aimee Walleston about the painting show he curated at his alma mater, Phillips Academy. The show includes Keltie Ferris, Jackie Saccoccio, Billy Sullivan and Alexi Worth. "I had four rooms, and I wanted the exhibition to be very diverse. If I had six rooms, I would have made it even more diverse. As I go along in life, I tend to be interested in a wider range of positions, in terms of what I'm willing to look at and think about. That thinking has affected my own approach to painting. Here, there's no artist who takes a particularly ironic attitude, for example, and there's no artist who is overtly dealing with identity or political issues. This is more about the idea that painting is something individuals just do." (Art in America)

 Installing one of Jackie Saccoccio's paintings at the Addison Gallery at Phillips Academy. (via)


Zak Prekop's show at Harris Lieberman, installation view.

John Yau considers Zak Prekop's show at Harris Liberman Gallery. "There are a number of things that distinguish Zak Prekop, who was born in 1979, from other young painters. The most important one is that he hasn’t turned what he does into a style or, in today’s parlance, a brand consisting of signature gestures....Prekop’s tough-minded independence is notable. He has neither bought into the paradigm of deskilling nor aligned himself with the widely practiced style of provisional painting. His explorations of formal issues are a good indication that there is still much that can be done." (Hyperallergic)


Raphael Rubinstein brings Dutch artist René Daniëls to our attention. "He emerged in the late 1970s as part of a generation of artists in the U.S. and Western Europe who embraced a mode of art-making that had been more or less forbidden for the previous decade: representational painting. And here we encounter the first of our problems: the artists with whom Daniëls was initially grouped—the so-called Neue Wilde neo-expressionist painters—were artists with whom he had little to do. Yes, he was “returning” to painting; yes, he indulged in loose, intentionally “bad” brushwork and cartoonish figuration; yes, he was interested in reconnecting to repressed aspects of modernist painting. But unlike his mostly German counterparts, Daniëls implanted subtle humor in his art, relied greatly on the punning references of his titles, and, increasingly, foregrounded the problematics of painting rather than wallowing in the newly available sensuality of the medium..." 

 René Daniëls, The Battle for the Twentieth Century, 1984, oil on canvas, 100 by 120 cm.


Hennesy Youngman wants to put your work in his show at Family Business.  "I won't discriminate...just bring it on down...If you didn't get into the Biennial, Triennial or your ass didn't even get into the  Brucennial, bring it on down to Hennesy..." (via)


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IMAGES: Martin Bromirski

Martin Bromirski's diminutive paintings (on display at StoreFront Bushwick this past month) feature circular shapes, clotty paint, bright colors, awkward slashes and gauged holes. At first glance, the paintings have a cheery, decorative quality, but below the shiny veneer, anger and anxiety are festering in the heavily worked surfaces and frustrated cutting. In a recent interview at Studio Critical, Bromirski called them "small intense freaky little abstract paintings," which they definitely are. What's brilliant is that he makes seemingly agreeable little paintings, but they have an underlying aggression that subverts that first friendly hello.

Martin Bromirski, acrylic on canvas, around 12 x 20 inches.

Martin Bromirski, Untitled, 2012, acrylic, sand, paper on canvas, 20 x 16 inches.

Martin Bromirski, acrylic on canvas, 20 x 16 inches. Unlike his other work, this painting features a darker, more subdued palette. Maybe a new direction?

Related post:
Martin Bromirski's Universe


IMAGES is a regular feature devoted to painters who deserve more love.


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Volta shock

I usually like Volta because the size is manageable, each gallery presents a solo exhibition by one artist, and, I admit, I like seeing the Empire State Building, which is right across the street. Unfortunately, this year I was disappointed by sentimental imagery, a surplus of overdetermined paint handling, and the plethora of symbolic realism. Even Patrick Brennan's paintings at Halsey McKay, for all the energetic spray painting  and slashing, seemed lackluster. Understandably, Steven Zeivitas chose to show Andrew Masullo, who is currently in the Whitney Biennial, but I would have preferred to see a less well known artist. There were a few highlights, however, including Samson Projects' Matthew Rich paintings and balzerARTprojects' Ao Tajima installations.

Matthew Rich, one of the Boston ICA's 2010 Foster Prize winners, paints on paper. "My paintings get rid of the canvas and its hired muscle, the stretcher bar," he explains. "These pieces hang irregularly, almost quilt-like, on the wall, achieving a wholeness that is at once finished and yet irrevocably piecemeal." (My images are awful, so go check his work out at the Samson website.) 

Matthew Rich

Matthew Rich

 Patrick Brennan, Get Free (White), 2011, mixed media on canvas, 48 x 36 inches

Ao Tajima uses household items to create odd installations and assemblages. Her statement includes a few too many stock conceptual phrases ("subversively stress gender and power hierarchies," "critical analysis of global/trans-national economic and cultural developments"), but, taken on its own, the work is clever and thought provoking. Below: The Third Fold (Die dritte Falte), 2011, blanket, wood, 150 x 200 cm

Related post:
Painters at VOLTA (2011)


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March 10, 2012

Suzan Frecon: Sold out!

ArtInfo recently reported that David Zwirner's ADAA fair booth, displaying new paintings by Suzan Frecon (American, born 1941), had sold out. Curious, I stopped by the fair yesterday to see Frecon's work, and took these snapshots to share with readers. Her beautiful paintings (reportedly ranging in price from $40,000 to $100,000) are much smaller than previous work, but equally engaging. The deceptively simple images, referencing architecture and landscape, feature sublime interactions of dull and glossy surfaces. Absorbed by the material quality of the paint, Frecon grinds her own pigments and builds layers of intense, rich color. “The reality and the spiritual of my paintings," she explains, "are the same."

Suzan Frecon, terratorium, 2012, oil on linen, 2 panels, 36 x 29.5 inches.

Suzan Frecon, composition with orange and green 5/mineral composition 2, 2011, oil on wood panel, 29 x 24 inches.

Suzan Frecon, cathedral series, variation 8, 2011, oil on wood panel, 29 x 24 inches.

Suzan Frecon, composition in four colors 24", 2011, oil on wood panel, 29 x 24 inches.
Suzan Frecon, earth takes it's guidelines, 2011, oil on wood panel, 36 x 29.5 inches.

Suzan Frecon, embodiment of red (orange), 2011, oil on wood panel, 12 x 9.75 inches.

Suzan Frecon @ David Zwirner / ADAA 2012 The Art Show, Park Avenue Armory, New York, NY. Through Sunday, March  11, 2012. Admission: $20.

Related posts:
Quote of the Day: Suzan Frecon
A 2010 Whitney Biennial biopsy


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A minute for Momenta

I'm on the organizing committee this year for Momenta Art's Spring Benefit, so I want to let everyone know that a limited number of tickets are now available.  The benefit is in the form of an art raffle that will feature work by both emerging and well-known artists. Jen Dalton, Tatiana Berg, Danica Phelps and a long list of others have already donated work, but the full roster will be announced on April 6th. Tickets, which cost $200 if bought in advance, guarantee an artwork and entrance for two to the fabulous party. I hope to see you there------>

An artist-run non-profit that recently moved from Williamsburg to the gallery building at 56 Bogart Street in Bushwick, Momenta Art has a long history of promoting emerging and underrepresented artists.


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March 9, 2012

At the Park Avenue Armory: Giorgio Morandi

Click on image to enlarge. More art fair coverage to come....

March 7, 2012

Gerhard Richter's stock is up

In this video from Felix TV, Reuters finance blogger Felix Salmon talks to Citi Private Bank Art Advisor Jonathan Binstock about whether artists can be treated like stocks and, if so, what it means for the art world. I didn't know you could buy a Velázquez for less than a Richter. I don't pay much attention to the art auctions, but how can that be?

 On left, Gerhard Richter, shown in his studio, is still alive and producing plenty of new work. On right, a detail from Diego Velázquez's masterpiece Las Meninas. Velázquez (Spanish, 1599-1660) included an image of himself in this famous painting of King Philip IV's family. His facile brushwork and simplified forms inspired many of the early Modern painters, particularly Manet, the Impressionists, and Picasso. Art is so rich, and yet the art market is so disappointing.

Watch the video below.


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March 6, 2012

An Art Fair Guide: Armory Arts Week edition

Every week Andrew Ginzel, who teaches at the School of Visual Arts, compiles a no-frills list of NYC art exhibitions, which he circulates to his students and other subscribers via email. This week he sent a handy art fair guide that includes admission prices and links to each website. The fairs take place March 8-11, and some include programming such as lectures and discussions, so make sure to check out the schedules on each website for details. 

My plan: I usually go to Volta because it's small and each booth focuses on work by one artist, Fountain because it's scrappy, and the Armory Show because painting always dominates. The Dependant, which includes Nudashank, Canada, James Fuentes, Regina Rex, and other small galleries, looks pretty good this year, too. And I wouldn't miss BEAT NITE in Bushwick on Saturday--all the galleries stay open until 10 pm. See you there!
 Besides teaching at SVA and compiling an excellent art guide, Andrew Ginzel makes videos and installations. I lifted this 2009 drawing from his website

DEPENDENT / Comfort Inn / 136 Ludlow / / Saturday March 10, Noon – 8 PM / (FREE) [Small, interesting galleries in hotel rooms --SB]

Korean / 82 Mercer / / Opening 3/7 6-9 PM / March 8 – 11: Thur, Fri & Sat: 11AM – 8PM; Sun: 11AM– 6PM (FREE)

SPRING BREAK / 233 Mott @ Prince / / March 8 - 11 / Thurs – Sat. Noon - 9 PM; Sun. Noon – 6 PM ($) [A new curator-driven art fair --SB]

SALON ZURCHER / 33 Bleecker / Opening Monday March 5 from 5-8PM; March 6-11 / Tues-Sat.11-8 PM; Sunday 11-5 PM (FREE) [Very small, located in a gallery --SB]

NEW CITY /  HPGRP / 529 W 20 / March 7-11 / Wed.11AM-6PM Thur. 11AM-9PM; Fri - Sat: 11AM-7PM; Sun: 11AM– 5PM (FREE) Japanese contemporary art

Independent / 548 W 22nd / / March 8-11 / Thur: 4-9PM; Fri. & Sat., 11AM-8PM / Sun., 11AM-4PM (FREE) [Plenty of installation/conceptual, not much painting --SB]

Theorize NY / Wyndham Garden Inn / 37 W 24 / / March 8-11 / Thursday 5-10PM; Fri-Sun Noon – 10 PM / (FREE) [Independent artists present their work --SB]

Fountain / Armory / 68 Lexington @ 25 / / March 9 7-11 PM; March 10 - 11 1 - 7PM ($) [One step above MFA open studios. Very raw installation. --SB]

Pool / Flatiron Hotel / 9 W 26 / / March 9 – 10 / Friday – Sunday: 3PM to 10 PM (Suggested donation) [Independent artists set up shop in a hotel room --SB]

MOVING IMAGE / 269 11th Ave. @ 27-28 St. / / March 8-10 / Opening 3/8 6-8 PM; Thur.- Sat: 11AM-8PM; Sun: 11AM– 4PM (FREE) [Video only --SB]

VOLTA / 7 W 34 @ 5th Ave. / / March 8-11 / Thursday 2-7PM; Friday– Sunday: 11AM - 7PM ($) [Each booth is dedicated to one artist. Usually plenty of painting that borders on the conceptual. --SB]

THE ARMORY SHOW / 12th Avenue @ 55th, Pier 92 & 94 / / Mar 8 – 11 / Thur-Sat: Noon-8PM Sun: Noon-7PM ($) [The mothership. Wear comfortable shoes. --SB]

SCOPE / 12th Avenue @ 57th / / Mar 8 – 11; Thur – Sat: 11AM – 8PM Sun: Noon – 7PM ($) [A little of everything--less well-known galleries --SB]

ADAA Art Show / Park Avenue Armory, Park Ave. at 67 / Mar 7-10, 2011 / Wed–Sat: Noon-8PM Sun: Noon-6PM ($) [Big name galleries --SB]


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March 2, 2012

Quote of the Day: Jerry Saltz

In a recent review blasting the New Museum's text-heavy international survey "The Ungovernables," Jerry Saltz adds a parenthetical note to curators:
Just once, please, I wish someone would take a stand and say, "I don't like painting," then not include any in his or her show. One token painter is worse than none.
Or, better yet, we wonder, why not add a second (and third and fourth) painter so that painting is a bigger part of the mix? But Saltz is right--some curators clearly prefer reading to looking.

 Pilvi Takala, The Trainee, 2008, in “The Ungovernables,” New Museum, New York. Yawn.

Related post:
A painter in The Ungovernables @ New Museum: Lynette Yiadom-Boakye


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It's all good: Robert Storr edits the March issue of The Brooklyn Rail

The ArtSeen section of March issue of The Brooklyn Rail is guest edited by critic, artist and curator Robert Storr. Convinced that writing negative reviews is too easy, Storr asked writers to submit only positive pieces. Here's an excerpt from his introduction:
Any writer worth their salt knows how to pan someone or something. If they don’t let me direct them to Nicolas Slonimsky’s Lexicon of Musical Invective wherein every major composer from Beethoven to Berlioz to Bartók is summarily trashed with readable zest by a critic of their era. Or consider the put-down as practiced by Roberta Smith, who has made it her stock in trade if not her life’s work. [Although she seems to love the Whitney Biennial this year. --ed.] Who else beside her predecessor at the New York Times, Hilton Kramer, has gotten such career mileage out of slamming artists, curators, and other critics or gained such rapt readership among the resentful and such a dubious reputation for being a “good writer” as these two peas-in-a-pod of the Great Gray Lady?
But there I go practicing that minor art myself.
...For this issue of the Rail I have challenged colleagues to attempt the difficult task of bestowing just praise on art and artists that elicit their enthusiasm, admiration, even reverence. The risks entail undermining the positive things one wishes to say by choosing the wrong words, framing the issues in the wrong context, hitting the wrong emotional chord or register and, most damagingly, misranking them as a result of hedging one’s bets through misplaced caution or, indulging in hyperbole through unbridled zeal. Meanwhile, the cost to the critic of such miscalculations is to render him or herself vulnerable to counter attack without being fully committed to the position taken. The after life of such lapses can be truly embarrassing; being dogged by the bold record of an ambivalently held view or worse publically recanting an ostensibly firm conviction...
I didn't have time to submit anything this month, but here's what the other writers came up with:

JEAN DUBUFFET The Last Two Years
THOMAS SCHEIBITZ A Panoramic View of Basic Events
JOSEF ALBERS Paintings, Drawings, Prints
FLORINE STETTHEIMER Hieroglyphs of Pleasure
BILL JACKLIN Recent Work, New York
JANET FISH Recent Paintings
UNTITLED FRIEZE FAIR 2007 Installation by Gert and Uwe Tobias
BOSILJKA RADITSA The Nature of Memory
LIU XIA The Silent Strength of Liu Xia

Image above: Philip Pearlstein, Portrait of Robert Storr, 1988, oil on canvas, 30 x 28 inches. Collection of Robert Storr and Rosamund Morley.

Related posts:
Robert Storr on the talk circuit: Grueling
The Art Newspaper and Robert Storr

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March 1, 2012

Painters I like: Apgar, Awad, Ghuloum, Kuhn, McCaddon, Melchi, and Rubio

Here are images guaranteed to make a number of my New York painter friends swoon. The show, at George Lawson in Culver City, is simply called "Seven Young Los Angeles Painters I Like." I like them, too. The work is modestly scaled and self-effacing, but the artists have their say with the paint. Each piece is powerful in it's own awkward (that's a good thing) way.

The gallery is having a panel discussion on Saturday, March 10, at 2pm, moderated by painter Marie Thibeault--I wish I could go.

Jonathan Apgar, Double Neighbor, 2011, oil on canvas, 20 x 20 inches.

 Sarah Awad, Bridge Over Isis, 2011, oil on canvas, 38 x 42 inches.

Rema Ghuloum, Light at 15th and Harrison, 3PM, 2011 oil and acrylic on canvas, 9 x 10 inches. 

Christopher Kuhn, Lost and Found, 2011 oil, acrylic, spray paint on canvas, 40 x 30 inches. 

Anne McCaddon, Pinwheel W, 2010, oil on canvas, 18 x 23 inches.

 Jacob Melchi Diamond 1, 2008 oil on linen 17 x 15 inches.

 Nano Rubio Accelerated Grimacing 4, 2010 acrylic on canvas 7 x 5 inches. 

 Installation view at George Lawson Gallery.

"Seven Young Los Angeles Painters I Like: Jonathan Apgar, Sarah Awad, Rema Ghuloum, Christopher Kuhn, Anne McCaddon, Jacob Melchi, Nano Rubio. George Lawson Gallery, Clver City, CA. Through March 17, 2012.


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