May 31, 2012

Kehinde Wiley's in town

Art star Kehinde Wiley has two shows on view right now, at the Jewish Museum of New York and Sean Kelly in Chelsea. In the NYTimes, Martha Schwendener gives a little background:
 "After earning a master of fine arts at Yale in 2001, Kehinde Wiley began exhibiting his large, figurative oil-on-canvas portraits of young black men in hip-hop apparel. With their emphasis on bright, acid colors and ghetto-fabulous outfits, the paintings borrowed heavily from the work of Barkley Hendricks, although Mr. Wiley’s contribution was to push things in a more bombastic direction, hijacking the format of old master portraits. Mr. Wiley’s work hasn’t changed much over the last decade, although his scope has gone global. This exhibition, which focuses on Ethiopian Israeli Jews, is shown alongside historic paper cuts and textile works he selected from the museum’s collection. The result is a fusion of Pattern and Decoration painting with figuration, a mash-up or sampling of historical styles and references. "

Watch this video to hear Wiley explaining the importance of "The World Stage: Israel."

At Sean Kelly, in his first solo show with the gallery, Wiley presents paintings that feature his first portraits of women. Here's an excerpt from the press release: 
"Instead of representing the models in their own clothes, as is the case with his portraits of men, Wiley has collaborated with Riccardo Tisci, Creative Director of the famed French couture house Givenchy, to design long dresses for the women. As creative collaborators, Wiley and Tisci spent numerous hours together walking through the galleries of the Louvre and discussing both the aesthetic and conceptual context for the project, specifically society’s ideals of feminine beauty and the frequent marginalization of women of color. Following these conversations, Tisci designed six unique dresses for the models. The resulting paintings to be shown in "An Economy of Grace" are a celebration of black women, creating a rightful place for them within art history, which has to date been an almost exclusively white domain."
My take on Wiley's work? Made with the help of numerous assistants, his projects seem academically couched and corporate. In a period now known as the Great Recession, when artists are returning to the heartfelt and handmade,Wiley's formulaic, glitz-rich approach feels out of touch. But as long as his gallery has a waiting list, he might as well keep pumping out the product...right?

Kehinde Wiley,  Judith and Holofernes, 2012, oil on linen, 120 x 90 inches. Courtesy Sean Kelly.

"Kehinde Wiley: An Economy of Grace," Sean Kelly, New York, NY. Through June 16, 2012.

"Kehinde Wiley / The World Stage: Israel," The Jewish Museum, New York, NY. Through July 29, 2012.

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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 organizations and companies recognize the value of online advertising and also support independent arts publishing, so please be sure to check them out.

Featured Advertisers:
Artspace – Collect art from the world’s best contemporary artists at accessible prices
Art Southampton – The Premiere International Contemporary & Modern Art Fair in the Hamptons, July 26-30
Creative Time – Tom Sachs – Space Program: Mars at the Park Avenue Armory through July 17
Corey Helford Gallery - Motion: The Art of Movement, a major group exhibition opens June 9
Saatchi Online – Online gallery that connects artists and art lovers directly

Network Sponsors:
Hunter College MFA Thesis Exhibit 2012 – May 17 – June 16
Brooklyn College MFA Thesis Show 2012 – June 9 – 17
Lumen Festival – International video art and projection festival in Staten Island, Saturday, June 23
Storefront Bushwick – Bushwick gallery currently featuring artists Adbolreza Aminlari and Drew Shiflett
New York Studio School – Summer Intensives from June 4 – July 20
Claremont Graduate University MFA – A highly focused graduate-only studio-art program
Art Systems – Professional art gallery, antiques and collections management software
Capricious Magazine – Platform to feature the work of emerging and underrepresented fine art photographers
Richard Minsky – ”The Book Art of Richard Minsky

If you are interested in advertising on Two Coats of Paint, please get in touch with Nectar Ads, the Art Ad Network.


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My neighbors at 117 Grattan Street

All around the neighborhood artists are moving work from space to space, hanging shows, and preparing for Bushwick Open Studios, the enormous art community happening that begins tomorrow. More than 542 events and open studios are scheduled in a fourteen hour period, but Art Fag City, HyperallergicArtInfo, Norte Maar, L Magazine, Bushwick Daily, and Supreme Fiction have all put together some excellent shortlists. (Thanks, everyone, for including the Two Coats of Paint exhibition curated by Austin Thomas!) We hung the show yesterday and it looks terrific.

Rather than compiling a shortlist this year, I'd like to introduce readers to my neighbors at 117 Grattan Street who have registered to participate in BOS2012. Others, like Samuel Adams and Trish Tillman, aren't registered but will probably open their studios nonetheless. If you're in the building, don't forget to stop by and say hello--I'll be in #419.

Etty Yaniv
 "A drawing installation that reflects on self-identity as it is presented through social networks."

Ofri Cnaani and Evan Reehl Ryer
"Ofri just had a show at Andrea Meislin Gallery in Chelsea titled ‘Special Effects’ and Evan will be curating ‘Scenic Routes’ set to open June 9th at Molloy College Art Gallery."

Catalin Moldoveanu
"Presenting a new body of work."

"Co-founded by architects Emily Stevenson and Natalie Fizer, Pillow Culture is dedicated to promoting the pillow."

Fedele Spadafora
"Though he shifts easily from portraiture to still life, Spadafora is now most interested in combining figures with New York cityscapes to create seemingly timeless 'human landscapes.'"

Aida Ben Hamouda: Photography

Andrew Cornell Robinson and Sigfrido Holguin
"Andrew is best known for his ceramics and sculpture, but he also collaborates with artisans and designers. Sigfrido Holguin who with Robinson has created a fashion project called Hoxton has a new line of hand crafted luxury leather accessories."

Jae Song
"A single piece of 16mm film loops around 2 projectors to create a conversation between the past and the future of one self."

Martin Wittfooth
"New works for a September solo show at Corey Helford Gallery in Los Angeles"

Patricia Satterlee
" Juggling symbols and historic markers that seem reminiscent of the clarity and simplicity in the modernism of Bourgeois, Klee, and Matisse."

Adam Miller
" Visually inspired by baroque and Hellenistic scale, Miller's paintings take a polytheistic approach to contemporary folklore, questions of progress and the experience of human narrative in the face of technological change and the struggle to find meaning in a world poised between expansion and decay."

Alexandra Pacula
Large-scale photo-realistic paintings of the city at night.

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May 27, 2012

EMAIL: A note from Matthew Fisher

Hello Sharon,

Hope your trip out to Seattle went safely and the show looked great.

Matthew Fisher here, from Unfunny Show and French soldiers. I wanted to let you know that my work has made a major shift: away from the figure, props, historical, and pretty much everything else that defined my "earlier" works. I have kept the bewilderment of the nature's awesomeness, and strayed into a more stylized/abstract depiction of the ocean and sun. After my last show of stacked still life objects, I really wanted to get lost again in painting and seriously set out to discover something new to paint. It wasn't until I sat down, and told myself to draw "nothing" that I stumbled upon the motif of the beach grass and setting sun.

If you find yourself in New York, please stop by MULHERIN + POLLARD Projects, 187 Chrystie Street, for my solo show Asea, Aloof.

Thank you for all your painting love,

M a t t-------


Hey Matthew--new work looks intriguing--a big departure. I'll try to stop by and see the show. Congratulations!


Thanks Sharon!

I think  these are the paintings I have always wanted to make but didn't know how.
Funny how sometimes you have to say everything so next time you can say nothing?

I thought about calling the show The Fiction of Nothing. Maybe that's the subtitle....

Still got two paintings to finish,
have a great weekend,
M a t t


Hi Matt,

May I run some of your images with your note? I love what you said about the paintings. It will be an "email feature," something I started recently to publish letters I've written and received.

Let me know what you think. I know the show is only up through this weekend, but I wanted to post something about it.

All best,


Good morning Sharon, happy and safe holiday. Sounds good! Thanks for nice words on the new work. The show was a success, feels good to have a new body of work out there (my first shift since I started the soldiers 9 years ago) and have already picked up in the studio where the show left off...
M a t t

 Matthew Fisher, The Flatlands, 2012, acrylic on canvas, 20 x 24 inches

  Matthew Fisher, .....So, 2012, acrylic on canvas, 14 x 9 inches

Matthew Fisher, Hero's Exit, 2011, acrylic on canvas, 19 x 15 inches

 Matthew Fisher, Little Mother, 2012, acrylic on canvas, 13 x 16 inches

"Matthew Fisher: Asea Aloof," Mulherin + Pollard, Lower East Side, New York, NY. Through May 27, 2012. Note:The gallery website says the show is up through May 27--but I'm not sure if they are open on Memorial Day weekend.

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May 25, 2012

Leslie Bostrom: Stop and look (dammit)

In her first solo NYC show since 2006, Brown University art professor Leslie Bostrom presents "Monster Flowers," a new series of large-scale paintings that feature vivid roadside scenes of flowering invasives, wayward perenials, animals, debris, and, in one painting, mysterious soldiers engaged in battle (discarded action figures? Not sure). Using a low point of view, nature-loving Bostrom, an avid birder for the past twenty years, lets the flowers loom large, drawing our attention to the loveliest and undoubtedly the most easily overlooked detail of our man-made industrial-transportation complex. Agitated and urgent, Bostrom's inventive paint handling implores us to look more closely both at the paintings and the natural world around us.

Note: The gallery is only big enough to accommodate four paintings from the series, but more can be found on Bostrom's website.

 Leslie Bostrom, Red Flowers, 2011, oil on canvas, 72 x 84 inches

  Leslie Bostrom, Roadside Thistle, 2012, oil on canvas, 72 x 84inches

  Leslie Bostrom, Jackrabbit, 2011, oil on canvas, 72 x 84 inches.

  Leslie Bostrom, Untitled (Joy), oil on canvas, 72 x 84 inches.

"Leslie Bostrom: Monster Flowers," Brenda Taylor Gallery, Chelsea, New York, NY. Through June 2, 2012.

AS220 taped a studio visit video with Bostrom in 2010.

(And congratulations to all the Brown University art majors, especially my talented niece Jess, who are graduating today)


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Ariel Dill: The roots (and limbs) of abstraction

In Williamsburg yesterday, I stopped by Southfirst to see Ariel Dill's exhibition "Oscillations," a thought-provoking show of eight small paintings that take early 20th-century experimental abstraction as their point of departure. Southfirst co-founder and director Maika Pollack is the NY Observer's museum critic, on the Bard faculty, and an expert on painting in fin-de-siècle France, so naturally her statement for the show is terrific.
"Oscillations" can be taken to refer to either the striated facture and vibratory color combinations present in each of the eight paintings in the show, or the eclectic style in which the works are painted. From the black curved lines and flat, subtle brushwork of Traipsed, which evokes the early abstractions of Mondrian, to the radiant, Kupka-like facture of Astrology, the works take as their starting point diverse early-twentieth century experiments in abstraction. Dill’s heterogenous “Oscillations” can be taken as a reaction to the commodified “signature style” often associated with painting, and as a feminist critique of the masculine trope of the unique and expressive, involuntary gesture. Yet the work exceeds this reading to yield pleasure in its wide-ranging references to the past and in its vibrant, nearly textile materiality...
Rather than hanging the paintings in a traditional white cube, Dill has painted the bottom half of the wall grey, referencing images of Gertrude Stein's salon and signalling a more intimate, less didactic approach. Rejecting manifestos, Dill proposes that painting can still generate complex and meaningful conversation. Yes, I agree.

 Ariel Dill

  Ariel Dill

  Ariel Dill

  Ariel Dill

  Ariel Dill

  Ariel Dill

 Ariel Dill

Ariel Dill

 Image of Gertrude Stein's salon at 27 Rue du Fleurus from the Met Museum's exhibition"The Steins Collect."

"Ariel Dill: Oscillations," Southfirst, Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY. Through May 27, 2010.

Related posts:
Painting for umpteen years: Lutes and Dill in LA

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May 23, 2012

Frieze highlights: Fredrik Vaerslev's all-over paintings

Fredrik Vaerslev uses carefully applied industrial spray paint and solvents on raw linen to recreate the look of used drop cloths. Born in Norway in 1979, Vaerslev, who graduated last year with an MFA from The Art Academy in Malmö, Sweden, is interested in the relationship between abstraction, representation, and ornamentation defined by Clement Greenberg. "Everything that usually serves representation and illusion is left to serve nothing but itself, that is abstraction; while everything that usually serves the abstract or decorative – flatness, bare outlines, all-over or symmetrical design – is put to the service of representation," Greenberg wrote in the 1962 essay quoted on Vaerslev's web page. "And the more explicit this contradiction is made, the more effective in every sense the picture tends to be."

 Fredrik Vaerslev, Untitled, 2012. the image above is a detail from this painting.

 Fredrik Vaerslev, Untitled, 2012.

And here's one of his earlier piece from the Standard (Oslo) website. 

A vigorous but playful empiricist, Vaerslev explores the limits of non-hierarchical information, the monotony of the monochrome, the roles chance, deviation and ornament play in adding visual interest to what are essentially all-over compositions, or what he thinks of as "white noise." After applying paint and solvents, he leaves the pieces outside where the weather ages them prematurely, giving them a pseudo history that evokes the poignant narratives of the authentic drop cloths that inspired them.

 Fredrik Vaerslev at Standard (Oslo), Frieze New York, 2012.

Related posts:
Worst of Frieze: Anselm Reyle @ CFA Berlin
Regaining relevance: Writing critically about art fair art


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May 21, 2012

Sunday stroll in Bushwick

Weekend update: J came up from DC yesterday, so I took him out to see the new Two Coats HQ in Bushwick, then we stopped by a few neighborhood galleries.

At STOREFRONT Bushwick we caught the last day of Carol Salmanson's show and saw Stephen Truax's abstract paintings in the back room. Trained as a painter, Salmanson began incorporating light into her work eight years ago. Abstract, gestural, and small-scale, the pieces on display at Storefront are a departure from the immersive installations Salmanson has done in the past, suggesting a new, more intimate direction involving quirky combinations of old LED lights. I look forward to seeing where she takes it.

 Carol Salmanson

In the back room, Stephen Truax presents delicately colored abstract paintings whose geometric patterns are drawn from ancient Roman mosaics, decorative wall painting, quilt patterns, and textile design. Although the paintings look pretty, in a dense statement Truax suggests that the paintings explore whether "painting can be unselfconsciously meaningful in a contemporary context." I'm not sure what he's driving at here, but visually the work doesn't seem convincing in terms of his intent--unless of course, the idea is to be self-conscious, and then I guess the work succeeds. I know Truax likes a good argument, so I look forward to the heated discussion this post will undoubtedly generate.

 Stephen Truax. The looser painting on the right seems to be headed in the most interesting, less self-conscious direction.
English Kills
In a beautifully installed show (also the last day), Andrew Hurst presents a series of mysterious constructions and collages made of found objects and ephemeral materials. (Did Hurst, who, when he has his eyeliner on, looks sort of like a young Keith Richards, really model for a fashion magazine?)

Andrew Hurst

Norte Maar
Kristen Jensen "it’s no one’s fault" and two paintings by Katie Kehoe. Jensen arranges enigmatic objects fashioned from hand-mixed porcelain and sublime glazes on a low black pedestal that nearly fills the room. The lovingly-made objects look like specimens in a natural history museum, hinting at previous lives and past uses. In the side room, Kehoe presents monochromatic textural paintings, wrestling joint compound into compelling arrangements that recall barnacles and fragments of woven cloth. Go see this show: highly recommended.

 Kristin Jensen, blushingrock, 2012

Katie Kehoe

Brooklyn Natural Foods
Stop by the local grocery store and pick up some Kabaya Saku Saku Panda. World's best "biscuit snacks" are located on the island near the cash register.

And had I not blathered on about my own work at the very beginning of our outing, we would have had time to check out "Sculpture Garden," curated by Lesley Heller and Deborah Brown at Onderdonk House, Charles Yuen's new paintings at Valentine (last day), and "Four Paintings" at Regina Rex, but J had to head back to DC. Oh well. There's always next week.

 Installation view Regina Rex. Eric Sall and Britta Deardorff

 Charles Yuen, Planet Eclipse, 9 x 12 inches; oil on wood panel; 2011

View Sunday stroll: Bushwick and Ridgewood in a larger map

Weekend Film Pick: "Elena," a brooding Russian film at the Film Forum that fuses Dostoevsky's chilling despair with Hitchcock's noir in post-soviet Moscow. The film is visually stunning, and Philip Glass wrote the soundtrack.


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May 19, 2012

An invitation: Two Coats of Paint's fifth anniversary party @ Bushwick Open Studios

Bushwick Open Studios, considered the best open studio event in New York, is just around the corner. This year, to celebrate the fifth anniversary of Two Coats of Paint, I invited Austin Thomas of Pocket Utopia, one of the first artist-run spaces in Bushwick (recently reopened on Henry Street in the Lower East Side), to curate a painting exhibition at Two Coats's new Bushwick HQ.

Please stop by on Saturday, June 2, 4 pm, for an artists' reception and conversation about painting (and some cake!)

"INQUIRY, curated by Austin Thomas," artists include Margaret Atkinson, Guy C. Corriero, Lawrence Greenberg, Edie Nadelhaft. Two Coats of Paint HQ, 117 Grattan Street, #419, Bushwick, Brooklyn, NY. 

Open during Bushwick Open Studios:  June 1, 6-8pm, June 2-3, 12-7pm. Artists' Reception on Saturday, June 2, 4pm. Want to let us know you're coming? RSVP on the INQUIRY Facebook Event page.

Lawrence Greenberg  

  Margaret Atkinson

What people said about past Bushwick Open Studios:

NAMED BEST OPEN STUDIO BY THE L MAGAZINE: “Other studio-dense districts like Long Island City, Gowanus, Red Hook and Sunset Park can’t compete with the spectacular quantity and quality of the art being produced in converted warehouses beyond East Williamsburg. Nor does any other neighborhood have a group quite like Arts in Bushwick to get everyone coordinated for a massive one-weekend art party.”  – The L Magazine – full story

“For people whose art forays rarely extend beyond Chelsea’s Thursday-night gallery openings, the festival in Bushwick, Brooklyn, held mostly in alternative spaces, offers entrée into a more underground scene.” –  Melena Ryzik, The New York Times – full story

“New York art critic Jerry Saltz recently described the thriving scene in Bushwick as the “closest thing to the ’80s East Village.” And Bushwick’s culture producers do tend to run their DIY galleries out of living rooms, storefronts and forsaken industrial spaces. But behind the neighborhood’s creative mayhem, there’s a distinctly organized, promotion-savvy streak.” – Anne Wehr, WNYC – full story

Related posts:
Pocket Utopia announces inaugural exhibition and preliminary artist roster


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