April 29, 2013

What MFA means in Detroit

Over the past two years that I've been working toward my MFA at the Cranbrook Academy of Art, my standard (hackneyed?) retort to artists, critics, friends, janitors, anyone who wants to talk-about-art-in-Detroit, is that artists are going to have a hard time being self-sustaining here, and for reasons we're all aware of. Some have countered this, or have said, you know, that attitude isn't what this city needs right now. And I balk at that, because–and this is another story–the last thing the city needs is a bunch of people who care more about the art scene than the very real social and economic problems the city is facing.

 From Cranbrook: Lauren Satlowski, Anxiety, 2011, oil on canvas, 22 x 28 inches. Photo courtesy of the artist.

April 27, 2013

Alice Neel's granddaughter Elizabeth Neel talks about painting

Masking tape and spray paint figure prominently in Elizabeth Neel's new abstract paintings, on view at Sikkema Jenkins through May 22. Formerly represented by Deitch where she had a solo in 2008, Neel discusses abstraction, subject matter,  and learning to paint with her grandmother in a recent conversation with filmmaker and family friend Michael Auder at Interview.

MICHEL AUDER: You’ve been painting since ’95 or something like that, right?

NEEL: Well, I started fooling around with it when I was little, with Alice. That was the beginning, when she gave me that Winsor & Newton paint box. That was the “big, fancy gift.” Then I stopped for all of high school and college.

Inspired by Guernica: Judy Glantzman

I love it when established artists start something new. After seeing Pablo Picasso's Guernica for the first time three years ago, Judy Glantzman began moving away from the introspective self-portraits she had been making for many years toward a less self-engaged exploration of the devastation caused by war. Determined that she was done with psychological self examination, Glantzman set out to develop a new, more outward-looking visual language. Here are images of a sprawling, roughly hung exhibition at Betty Cuningham in which Glantzman presents powerful work from her ongoing series.

Judy Glantzman, Hero II, 2013, mixed media, 37 1/2 x 33 3/4 inches

April 25, 2013

Figure painter Lynette Yiadom-Boakye is a finalist for the Turner Prize

The recently announced shortlist for Tate Britain's 2013 Turner Prize includes painter Lynette Yiadom-Boakye (London, b. 1977), who readers may recall was the only painter included in the New Museum's 2012 Triennial "The Ungovernables." Turner Prize jurors select specific exhibitions, and Yiadom-Boakye was singled out for "Extracts and Verses," a 2012 exhibition at Chisenhale Gallery. "Yiadom-Boakye’s intriguing paintings appear traditional but are in fact much more innovative," according to the Tate's press release."Her portraits of imaginary people use invented pre-histories and raise pertinent questions about how we read pictures in general, particularly with regard to black subjects. "  In NYC she is represented by Jack Shainman, where she had a solo in 2012.     

Lynette Yiadom-Boakye, Milk For A Maestro, 2012. Commissioned by Chisenhale Gallery. Photo: Marcus Leith.

Lynette Yiadom-Boakye, The Generosity, 2010. Photo: Marcus Leith

In the following conversation, exhibition organizer Jamie Stevens and Yiadom-Boakye discuss the fictitious characters and enigmatic narratives in the exhibition at Chisenhale.

Jamie Stevens: You have titled the exhibition "Extracts and Verses," what is the function of the titling with regards to both the exhibition and the individual works? 
Lynette Yiadom-Boakye: I wanted to keep the title as open as possible and to explain a little bit how I think about the show and the relations from words to paintings. I want to think about the exhibition in a similar way to how we might think of stories, or if not stories, then explanations.

April 22, 2013

Retro: Let's make ZINES

Yesterday I saw lots of good stuff at the 2013  Brooklyn Zine Fest, held in a dark Williamsburg bar.

Here is a short video I found on the Brooklyn College Zine Collection blog about how to make a simple zine, which shows that all you really need is the desire to tell a story or share some ideas.

April 20, 2013

Opportunities galore

I just received an email from e-artnow that included all these job listings and other opportunities. Have at it.

Geneva University of Art and Design is looking for a Department Head (listing below).


Various job opportunities at the Guggenheim Museum: NYC, USA.Deadline: asap.

Current available positions at The Museum of Modern Art, MOMA NYC: NYC, USA.Deadline: asap.

April 17, 2013

"A short line drawn between sex appeal and a retinal overload gross out"

Clicking through my inbox this morning, deluged with paintings slathered in bright, saturated color, I was reminded of an artists book produced in an MFA seminar I taught last semester at the University of Connecticut.

Russell Shoemaker, Lover's Lane, 2013, acrylic on canvas, large scale.

In Formula, painter Russell Shoemaker writes passionately about color, dividing it into several categories, one of which is synthetic.

IMAGES: Matt Phillips

A founding member of TSA, a new artist-run space in Bushwick, Matt Phillips cites Alfred Jensen, Marimekko patterns and Gee’s Bend quilts as touchstones for his accident-prone abstractions that combine wobbly geometric shape with distinctive color relationships and casually agitated brushwork."I’m interested in working with these things that are dumb fundamental components of visual language – the square, the triangle, the octagon, the stuff that is in everyone’s kitchen sink, the stuff that everyone knows," Phillips told Jennifer Samet in a 2012 conversation on her Beer with a Painter blog. "If you work with simple components, and they all work together to transcend their parts— that’s the magic of painting."

Matt Phillips, Canadian Sunrise, 2013, pigment and silica binder on canvas, 66 x 54 inches,

April 15, 2013

9 painters receive 2013 Guggenheim Fellowships

Considered mid-career awards, Guggenheim Fellowships recognize "demonstrated exceptional capacity for productive scholarship or exceptional creative ability in the arts." Between 3,500 and 4,000 applications are submitted each year, and approximately 200 Fellowships, which include a substantial amount of cash depending on the scope of the project and the Fellows' other resources, are awarded. Here are the painters included on the 2013 list, and, unless otherwise noted, the text is lifted (and edited) from the Guggenheim Foundation website. One more painter was selected this year than last, all but one of them are women, and five out of the nine are engaged with representational imagery.

Cora Cohen in her Long Island City studio in 2013. Image by Two Coats of Paint.

April 14, 2013

Paris: A multiplicity of simple interactions

Today is the last day for Drawing Now in Paris, but "Emergence," an elegant group exhibition of reductive abstract painting will be on view at Hôtel de Sauroy through April 27.  Curators Katrin Bremermann, Erin Lawlor and Yifat Gat have assembled a handsome show featuring work by an international cohort of painters who invest fairly simple geometric markmaking with substantial complexity.

April 12, 2013

Quick study: Waltemath, Gatson, Kennedy, a few opportunities, and lots of links

If you're in the northwest, check out "Latencies," an exhibition of Joan Waltemath's sublime abstract paintings at Elizabeth Leach in Portland, OR, through April 27, 2013. Using interference pigments and graphite, Waltemath creates seductive surfaces on body-sized panels that both reflect and absorb, changing as you move around the space.

April 10, 2013

Help a blogger: Take a survey that will lead to more support for online arts writing

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Cubism comes to the Metropolitan Museum

As New York's Museum of Modern Art has shifted it's focus away from painting and Modernism to concentrate on contemporary art and new genres, the Metropolitan Museum is picking up the slack.

Yesterday the Met announced that lifelong art collector and cosmetics big Leonard Lauder (net worth 8.1 billion, brother of Ronald, founder of the Neue Galerie and collector of early twentieth-century German and Austrian art) has pledged to give 78 pieces by Cubism superstars Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque, Juan Gris, and Fernand Léger that he assembled with help from his longtime curator Emily Braun. In addition the museum has announced they will establish the Leonard A. Lauder Research Center for Modern Art. Nurturing scholarly work on Modernism, the central mission will be to produce research, programming, and publications about Cubism’s enduring impact on art, design, and architecture.

April 6, 2013

Christopher Joy settles on the floor

I met Christopher Joy a couple years ago at A-Space Gallery in West Haven when our work was included in Scale Factor, a group show about the importance of size relationships. Joy contributed a small shaped painting installation (pictured below) positioned on a large wall that he had painted the distinctive, signature mauve he had been using in all his work at the time.

Since then, Joy's work, expunged of mauve, has settled on the floor and, despite his painterly use of industrial materials, has become, well, sculpture.

Judith Braun: Delicate symmetry

This week Roberta Smith reviews Judith Braun's stunning drawings on view at Joe Sheftel. Readers may recall that Braun was one of the contestants on the first season of Bravo's Work of Art but she was cut early in the season after making a finger print drawing with graphite powder.

April 4, 2013

The lives of artists

In addition to many other projects, artist Sharon Louden spent the last two years editing Living and Sustaining a Creative Life: Essays by 40 Working Artists, published (and peer reviewed) by Intellect Books and distributed by the University of Chicago Press.

A labor of love for Louden, the book doesn't offer advice or how-to-succeed-in-the-artworld tips, but rather considers how older artists (including myself) have managed to organize our

April 1, 2013

Helen Frankenthaler: More profound than lyric

After seeing the exhibition at Gagosian, I've become a huge Helen Frankenthaler fan.

Curated by John Elderfield, Chief Curator Emeritus of Painting and Sculpture at The Museum of Modern Art, the Frankenthaler exhibition (pictured above) features about thirty dazzling paintings Frankenthaler made in her E. 21st Street studio from 1950-1959, the productive and creative period of her life after she had graduated from Bennington College. At Bennington, studying with painter  Paul Feely, Frankenthaler worked in a cubist idiom but once she moved to New York, where she partnered with opinionated critic Clement Greenberg for five years and later married Robert Motherwell, Frankenthaler began to develop her own distinctive voice. Unprimed canvases, thinly-applied paint, evocative color, and inventive markmaking figure prominently in these ambitious large-scale canvases that fuse making and meaning so elegantly.

I found a transcript on the Smithsonian website from an insightful 1968 interview recorded with Barbara Rose in which she talks about her fearless paintings from those early years and discusses her groundbreaking use of materials and color. Here are some excerpts.