May 23, 2013

Quick study: Bushwick, Venice, Hong Kong

The seventh annual Bushwick Open Studios takes place next weekend, May 31-June 2! Thousands of artists will be participating, and a quick search of the website uncovers more than 365 painting shows. Help support the event by buying a copy of Loren Munk's Bushwick print (pictured above) at Supreme Digital.  And keep in mind that I'll have work at two shows, here and here, so please stop by and say hello...

May 22, 2013

Tracey Emin: More lovely than lame

Best known for "My Bed," a 1998 installation featuring her personal effects (like stained underwear)  which earned her a nomination for the 1999 Turner Prize, Tracey Emin, now 50 and a Professor of Drawing at the Royal Academy in London, is sort of respectable.

May 21, 2013

Don't kill Bill: Powhida at Charlie James in LA

The crudely amped-up art market built by the likes of Gagosian, Zwirner, and the auction houses has overwhelmed critical dialogue. But are they the only culprits? In "Bill by Bill" a solo exhibition at Charlie James Gallery, William Powhida blames artists themselves--Hirst, Richter, Koons, Guyton, and uber-artist wannabes--for their self-defeating complicity in a woefully corrupt system that has made a handful of participants fabulously wealthy while leaving everyone else barely able to pay the rent.

 "Bill By Bill," installation view at Charlie James

May 20, 2013

A Day in New York: Jenny Zoe Casey

Running into local friends at openings isn't that unusual, but every now and then I see Jenny Zoe Casey, the artist who organized and invited me to speak at TEDxOrlando a few years ago, visiting New York all the way from Florida. She was in town for the day (!) and so I invited her to write a post about her hardcore hit-and-run visit. Here's her report.

I live in a stand of moss-laden hickories soaring high into a clear blue, crazy humid sky that more often than not is swarming with biting insects. And even though I live in rural Central Florida, every now and then I like to take a day trip to NYC to see as many shows as I can. On a recent Saturday, I visited the Met, a few Upper East Side galleries, Chelsea, and the Lower East Side, but the exhibitions at Winkleman, Thorp and Pocket Utopia were the highlights.

Leslie Thornton, Luna, 2012, three–channel HD video (exhibited on three large vertically mounted
monitors), 60 minutes. Courtesy the artist and Winkleman Gallery.

May 17, 2013

EMAIL: Rebecca Morris on that pink painting at Frieze

Curious about her odd, uncharacteristic pink painting (image above) on display at Frieze last week, I wrote LA artist Rebecca Morris and asked her about it.  Here's what she told me:

"Thanks for asking about that painting! It was nice for me to have it up at the fair. It is a little bit older-- from 2007 if that helps to explain it a bit. And this was the first time it has been shown.

May 16, 2013

CURATE: The tired and poor at Frieze

If I were going to curate a show of painting-objects, without a doubt the exhibition would include a section on rumpled, badly stretched, and lumpy canvas. In the following pieces, all on display at Frieze last week, wrinkled, sagging materials function as object, image and metaphor.

Once dubbed "Neo Brut," Rosy Keyser's work combines cast off materials with painterly gesture. The big lumpy piece shown above is unusual  for Keyser because  the color is much bolder than her generally earthy, industrial palette. Last month Keyser had a solo at Peter Blum and her work was also included in "Painter Painter," the recent show of painting-objects at the Walker.

May 13, 2013

Frieze: Unprimed immediacy

Since the early days of Color Field painting, working on unprimed canvas or linen has given the  impression of a certain unfinished immediacy--more like the page of a sketchbook than a finished painting. At Frieze this weekend, unprimed materials (or the look of unprimed materials) were well represented, suggesting that painters are still interested in a new realism that subtly fuses the sculptor's attention to objecthood and materiality with two-dimensional shape and image.

Danish artist Sergej Jensen presented a large-scale patchwork-like piece (detail above) composed of raw linen rectangles. The stitching makes the patches look repurposed, as if the patches had a previous, more meaningful, utilitarian life.

May 12, 2013

Surprise appearance at Frieze: Bernard Piffaretti

At Frieze New York yesterday, in the densely hung Galerie Frank Elbaz booth, I stumbled upon two fantastic paintings by  Bernard Piffaretti, a French abstract painter who wasn't included in Frieze's  list of participating artists.

May 11, 2013

SNAPS: Marie Walsh Sharpe Foundation Open Studios

Originally in Tribeca and now located in DUMBO, the Marie Walsh Sharpe Studio Program has been granting free studio space to visual artists since 1991. Phong Bui, Rochelle Feinstein, Chris Martin, Harriet Shorr and Don Voisine selected the sixteen 2013 residents from more than 1000 applicants. Last week I stopped by their spring Open Studios, where the residents presented new work in spacious lofts overlooking the East River and the Manhattan Bridge. What a view. Here are some snaps of paintings on view.


May 8, 2013

SNAPS: Open Studios at ISCP

Founded in 1994, the International Studio & Curatorial Program (ISCP) in East Williamsburg is a residency-based contemporary art institution for emerging to mid-career artists and curators. Although many of the artists' practices comprise performative, installation, photography, bookmaking, and video projects, a few of the current residents are painters. Here are some snaps I took at the open studios a few weeks ago.

Johannes Rochhausen (born 1981, Leipzig) focuses on his studio and the industrial environment surrounding the ISCP building in East Williamsburg. Beautifully painted with toned down palette, Rochhausen's paintings offer a bleak take on the joyless, helpless satisfaction of a hermetic life spent in the studio.

May 6, 2013

Careful observation: Scars, skin and larger body parts

Edie Nadelhaft

Garis & Hahn, a self-styled Kunsthalle that opened earlier this year near the New Museum on the Bowery, recently presented breathtakingly well-observed work by  Gwen Hardie, Cynthia Lin and Diana Schmertz in an exhibition called "Borderline: Depictions of Skin." Here are a few images from the show.

Diana Schmertz paints detached hands and body parts. The paintings are particularly haunting after the Boston Marathon bombing. In the basement, Schmertz installed a project comprising wall paper printed with miniature paintings and small glass marbles, tiny paintings inside them, strewn about the floor.

EMAIL: Tony Fitzpatrick "really, no shit"

Known for his retro drawing-collages and inspired storytelling, Tony Fitzpatrick has two shows up through May 26, "The Other Kind" at Pierogi and " The Mysteries of Ohio" at Adam Baumgold.

May 5, 2013

Monumental kitsch?

I was taken aback by Nabil Nahas's recent show of large, crusty abstract paintings at Sperone Westwater last week, particularly the pink one (above) that had starfish forms encrusted in the surface (detail below). According to the press release,
Over the last two decades, Nahas has continuously expanded his methods and materials. In these new paintings, Nahas creates gestural motifs of vivid colors and geometric shapes that cover the three-dimensional surface. The highly textured lines and curves seem to extend beyond the edges of the canvas – suggestive of an expansion of space, of a cosmic universe or macrocosm as well as a microcosm of organic forms."
The paintings reminded me of Etsy craft projects or those vividly colored Wyland posters of dolphins and whales. For a gallery like Sperone Westwater, they seemed so ingratiatingly lighthearted, I wondered if perhaps Nahas intended irony.

May 2, 2013

Quick Study: Pocket Utopia's first anniversary, the new neighbor

This Friday, 6-8pm, our favorite gallery, Pocket Utopia, will be celebrating its one-year anniversary on the Lower East Side with  "Club Pocket Utopia," a big party and pop-up group show. Look for work by Liz Atzberger, Hovey Brock, Sharon Butler, Paul D'Agostino, Kris Graves, Ellen Letcher, Amy Lincoln, Matthew Miller, David Storey (pictured above), Kay Thomas, Anton W├╝rth, and Brenda Zlamany. 

Invitation: Tamara Gonzales and Sharon Butler, An Artist Dialogue

On Saturday at 2:30, please join me at the Mid-Manhattan Library for a lively conversation with painter Tamara Gonzales about blogging, zines, artists books, and Gonzales's fantastic (as in fairies and unicorms!) PINKPURPLE Tumblr site. Organized by Arezoo Moseni, the event is being held in conjunction with a site-specific installation (picture above) Gonzales recently created for the library's "Art in the Windows" series. Titled "Play Button," the exhibition also features a collection of artists' books and zines by Brian Belott, Pam Butler, Maggie Lee, Craig Olson, and Elisa Soliven.