December 26, 2013

Quick Study: Melissa Meyer, Llewyn Davis, forgery and Casualism at The Art Blog

UPCOMING: Melissa Meyer @ Lennon Weinberg, Chelsea, New York, NY. Opens Thursday, January 9, 6-8 pm. (Image above: Melissa Meyer, Shuffle, 2013, 16 x 16 inches.) Catalog preview here.


Film Pick: Don't miss Joel and Ethan Coen's new movie Inside Llewyn Davis, easily one of the best recent movies about being an artist. Your family and non-art friends might think you're a delusional loser, and your colleagues may openly disdain your boundless ego, but you persevere nonetheless. Definitely watch the trailer posted above.


In the NYTimes, check out a great story about forgery and scandal in the art world. "Former associates said Mr. Bergantiños was himself wary of purchasing fakes. After observing him sniff a canvas once, a friend asked Mr. Bergantiños what he was checking for. The smell of tea, Mr. Bergantiños replied, noting that it was commonly used to make a canvas appear older that it really was."


Big thanks to Elizabeth Johnson for writing about my recent show at The Painting Center, failure, Casualism and so forth at The Art Blog. A couple images of work in the studio (pictured above) are included, too. Check out her article here.


Frieze NewYork takes place May 9-12, 2014, on Randall's Island, and they've just announced the 190 participating galleries. Full details for Frieze Projects, Talks, Sounds and Education programs will be announced in early 2014. The gallery selection looks good. Check out the list here.


NOTE: Two Coats of Paint is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution - Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. For permission to use content beyond the scope of this license, permission is required.

December 25, 2013

Pop quiz: Madonna and child

Which artists painted these images of the Madonna and child? When and where (what country) were they painted? Correct answers will be announced as soon as we have a winner. Please email answers to with "Pop Quiz" in the subject area. Good luck!

 Image 1

 Image 2

 Image 3

 Image 4

 Image 5

UPDATE: We have a winner! 

Artist-critic Franklin Einspruch submitted the correct answers as follows: 

Image 1: Cima Da Conegliano, 1504, Italy
Image 2: Duccio, 1300, Italy
Image 3: Giotto, 1330, Italy
Image 4: El Greco, 1599, Spain
Image 5: Raphael, 1502-03, Italy

Congratulations Franklin!


Two Coats of Paint is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution - Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. For permission to use content beyond the scope of this license, permission is required.

December 22, 2013

Günther Förg's late work

German painter Günther Förg died this week, at 61, of cancer.

Bruce Weber writes in the NYTimes:
Günther Förg, a German painter, sculptor and photographer whose work exemplified, toyed with, tweaked and commented on — sometimes all at once — the broad artistic movement known as modernism, died at his home in Freiburg, Germany, on Dec. 5, his 61st birthday. The cause was cancer, Jeffrey Rowledge, a spokesman for Mr. Förg’s New York gallery, Greene Naftali, said in an email...
The article quotes German art critic Andreas Schlaegel as saying:
Retrospectively, the reason for the continued importance of Förg’s oeuvre becomes clear....The evolution of his direct, subjective engagement with the aesthetic of the sublime — conducted without fear of stereotypical taboos — oscillates between appropriation and homage, yet Förg does so without any ironic quotations or other such cheap distancing techniques. Instead, he throws mythical ballast overboard and appropriates picture-making strategies in a way that makes them look new.
Back in 2012, Förg had his first New York solo show in more than a decade at Greene Naftali. Marking a departure from his previous work (see images from his 2012 retrospective at Max Hetzler here), the exhibition comprised several large-scale paintings featuring colorful brushwork patches floating on open canvas, reminiscent of Cy Twombly, and three rather somber grey paintings. Completed between 2007 to 2009, the paintings continued his exploration of the brushstroke as abstract form, but introduced a new playfulness. Förg compared the grey paintings to erased chalkboards, which suggested to me either a redaction of joyfulness or an acknowledgement of its fleeting nature -- couched, of course, in the language and ideas of painting.

Günther Förg, installation at Greene Naftali

Günther Förg, installation at Greene Naftali


Two Coats of Paint is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution - Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. For permission to use content beyond the scope of this license, permission is required.

December 19, 2013

Michael Krebber update

One of the best things about subletting other people's studios is being surrounded by unexpected  things--books, postcards, odd materials and so forth. I recently moved into a new place in Williamsburg, near the Graham Avenue stop on the L train, and happened upon a trove of back issues of ArtForum. I borrowed one for subway reading and became absorbed in a series of 2005 articles about Michael Krebber, a German painter who was Martin Kippenberger's friend and studio assistant and is now a professor at the Städelschule, in Frankfurt am Main, Germany.

December 17, 2013

Walter Swennen: Belgian funny

Recently transplanted to Belgium after spending ten years in LA, our friend at Frenchy But Chic! reports that there are a few Belgian painters worth checking out besides Tuymans and Borremans, particularly Walter Swennen, who is currently having a retrospective at the Wiels:
Forget everything you might have read about Luc Tuymans or Michaël Borremans, the greatest living Belgian painter today is someone you've likely never heard of, Walter Swennen. I say.

December 14, 2013

Woot: Two Coats of Paint wins a 2013 CC/Warhol Foundation Arts Writing Grant

What an unexpected and gratifying development! I send a heartfelt "Thank you" to all the panelists and evaluators who read through more than 600 applications and found Two Coats of Paint worthy of support. The grant will enable me to cut back a little bit on teaching so that I can spend more time crafting longer essays over the course of the year. Archiving seven years of content and moving the blog to a more secure server are also on the agenda.

[Image above: I look just like my mother in this photshopped selfie taken in the Brown University computer lab.]

December 10, 2013

Process, time, memory: Hildur Ásgeirsdóttir Jónsson

Traditionally, artists paint on pre-woven canvas or linen, but Hildur Ásgeirsdóttir Jónsson, pictured above in her studio, subverts that tradition. She begins by painting individual silk threads and then weaves the threads into the support surface, creating large-scale, ethereal, landscape paintings in the process.

December 9, 2013

Mary Addison Hackett's final Miami round-up.

Guest contributor: Mary Addison Hackett

Let me tell you about my boat.

Sunday 12:35 pm.
I'm sitting on a shuttle patiently waiting to go to Miami Projects. It's air-conditioned. A catchy pop version of Deck the Halls is being piped in. There's wi-fi. Conceivably, I could spend the day here. Given traffic, I might.

I made seven fairs in four days: Art Basel, Nada, Untitled, Aqua, Art Miami, and Context. I wrapped up the week with Miami Projects and a double capp in a courtyard listening to beats and starring vapidly at glitter paintings. Standouts? I collected about 500 images. They're living happily on my iPhone where I'll spend the next few days reliving the past before sending them to The Cloud for storage or flipping them on the secondary market.

Overall, every fair had its share of shiny fractured objects and for-the-love-of-god-can-we-please-leave-the-90's-in-peace, works of self-referential irony. There was no shortage of art about excess and glam, but even at a breakneck pace, I saw more than enough works of substance to balance it out.

[Image at top:  Ariel Dill, Hunter’s Den Painting, 2013, oil on canvas, 48 x 36 inches.]

December 6, 2013

Mary Addison Hackett's Report From Miami, Day 1: Basel

Guest Contributor: Mary Addison Hackett / Turns out tweeting, texting, shooting work and seeing the art, was more complex than I thought. After catching a cab from the airport and having the cab driver stop on the freeway to call her husband for directions, we shuttled over to Basel for an obligatory overview. I intended on having an unbiased approach to looking at the work, but I was drawn to the more figurative work this year. Overall Basel felt as blue chip as you'd expect and painterly was hard to come by.

Chris Martin, Coltrane, 2013, mixed media on canvas, 84 1/8 x 63 1/8 inches.

Martin Creed, 2013, Work No. 1753, Katherine, acrylic, oil pastel and pencil on canvas, 18 x 14 in. 

Per Kirkeby, Untitled, 2012, oil on canvas, 78 3/4 x 78 3/4 inches.

Carroll Dunham, Terrible Sun, 2013, mixed media on linen, 95 1/4 x 75 1/4 inches.

Malcolm Morley, Thor, 2008, oil on linen with cloth and rubber glove attached, 84 x 63 inches.

John Currin, Reunion, 2008, oil on linen, 22 inches diameter.

Michaelangelo Pistoletto, 1976, Black and Light, (dimensions and media unavailable)
Arguably one of the most interesting paintings at Basel. And yes, that's 1976.

A rapt crowd in front of a furry painting. 

Mama Andersson, On Tenderhooks, 2005, acrylic and oil on panel (3 parts) 25 x 96 inches

Josh Smith, Untitled, 2013, oil on panel, 48 x 36 inches

December 3, 2013

Quick Study: Turner Prize, Miami, Zwirner, and, yes, surfing

In line with recent custom, the one painter shortlisted for the Turner Prize--Lynette Yiadom-Boakye--was passed over. Via NYTimes: "The artist Laure Prouvost, whose works combine whimsical objects and drawings in evocative settings with an Instagram-like stream of film images, has won this year’s Turner Prize, the prestigious and often contentious annual award for a British artist under 50." Image above: Lynette Yiadom-Boakye, The Generosity, 2010.


Two Coats of Paint has roped painter-blogger Mary Addison Hackett into serving as our Miami correspondent this year. A painter currently working out of Nashville, Hackett (press pass picture on right) has blogged about her painting practice at Process  since 2005. If you see her wandering around, say hello and invite her to a party. Follow her on Twitter @maryaddhackett.

For anyone who is heading south, check out Hyperallergic's  Essential Guide to the Miami Art Fairs.


The New Yorker published a profile of dealer David Zwirner last week. Basically, the article confirms that it takes a lot of money to run an A-list gallery and that learning to surf could be a good career move. In the last paragraph, when writer Nick Paumgarten visits Zwirner at his summer house in Montauk, the dealer laments the changes taking place in the East End fishing community:
On our way to buy a striped bass for lunch, [Zwirner] pulled into a lot at the beach to get a look at the surf, and ran into another gallery owner who’d just finished surfing, and whom he talked about afterward as a member of a clique of cool art people and surfers whom he doesn’t really hang out with in Montauk. He has the air of a family man who is resigned to being a square—let ’em laugh. He complained about hipsters taking over the town and took me to Gosman’s, a fish market, where a fleet of commercial trawlers were docked. “This is real, and that’s what’s good about Montauk,” he said. He had a romantic attraction to the rusting, gear-strewn vessels and to the idea, at least, of good hard labor at sea—and he rued the trawlers’ eventual obsolescence. “You just know we’ll all be eating farm fish soon,” he said. He went inside and stood in line to buy a wild striper.
Paumgarten seems to be highlighting Zwirner's obtuseness. He rues the decline of the working-class fisherman in Montauk, yet stokes an analogous dynamic in the art world, where the top galleries and auction houses suck up most of the money and leave mid-level galleries (and artists) struggling to survive.


In Harper's Ben Lerner writes a thoughtful piece about what art is worth, with an emphasis on art vandalism and how it affects market value. It's behind a paywall, but worth a read.


 EJ Hauser, Shield Face, 2013, ink and marker on newsprint, 11 x 8 1/2 inches. On view in "Hope Despite The Times," @ ZieherSmith through December 21.

From the press release:
Despite the art world’s record breaking prices and the prevailing, monstrous bloat, we’re confident that there is great reward in the jubilant straightforwardness of the 8 artists presented. Bradford, Hauser, Miler, Mrozowski and Petras live and work in Brooklyn. Minov was in residence in Manhattan at LMCC’s Worskpace 2013 program and was born and continues to work in Sofia, Bulgaria. Matt Stokes is represented by ZieherSmith and lives and works in Blaydon on Tyne, England. Crawford remains a mystery.

Ed Winkleman says: Everyone should stop talking about the market and start looking at art again.


The Creative Capital /Andy Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grants have been announced, and Two Coats of Paint is on the list! Oh happy day---> and big congratulations to all.


And finally, give gifts made by artists this year. I wasted twenty minutes yesterday at Artware, a site featuring household objects designed by famous artists. Kiki Smith espresso cups, Liam Gillick wallpaper, a Vik Muniz ashtray, Tracey Emin beach towels, tree ornaments from William Wegman--I couldn't look away.  

December 2, 2013

MUST SEE: SKIN at The Painting Center

Don't miss  "SKIN," at  The Painting Center in Chelsea. Curated by painter Suejin Jo, "SKIN" is an elegant exhibition that features a couple of my paintings as well as work by Josh Blackwell, Martin Bromirski, Suejin Jo, Scott Richter and Drew Shiflett. (Image above: Installation view: One of my larger pieces on the left, two of Martin Bromirski's new paintings on the right. Images courtesy of The Painting Center.)

 Martin Bromirski, Suejin Jo, Scott Richter

 Sharon Butler, Martin Bromirski, Josh Blackwell.

Drew Shiflett, Scott Richter
From the press release:

The skin of an artwork speaks of the singular visual vocabulary of its maker. Each of these artists found a way of making a unique skin, either by using nontraditional materials or by employing traditional materials in an unusual way. This exhibition features the work of Josh Blackwell, Martin Bromirski, Sharon Butler, Suejin Jo, Scott Richter and Drew Shiflett. 

Josh Blackwell’s skin is plastic. Elaborating upon everyday experience, he makes intentionally redundant objects from found materials that explore the humdrum rituals of use. Treading a precarious path between convenience and excess, the plastic bag has occupied his attention for the past seven years. 

Martin Bromirski tends to torture the skin of the canvas. He deliberately picks cheap ready-made canvases that he paints, rips, cuts out circles, washes in the sink, scrapes, sands, patches and stains till the history of all his trials and errors produces this effect. If he stops from exhaustion, he deems that it is the right skin and moves on. 

Sharon Butler subverts the traditional use of common materials. Her raw canvases are pinned on stretchers in peculiar disarray, unsettling the viewer and causing them to focus on the image in order to figure out why it is sitting there: Is it lost? Does it need help? What does it want to say? 

Suejin Jo paints with oil and acrylic paint in a nontraditional way. Deeply interested in the texture of the picture surface, she painted with oil and dry pigment for over a decade despite health risks. Experimenting to find a healthier alternative led her to discover oil and acrylic paints wet on wet gave a unique skin to the painting.

Scott Richter makes his own medium to give a distintive skin to the work, undergoing considerable effort and expense. He believes that words strip the work of mystery and the dialog with the viewer. His well-known pieces are brilliantly constructed with impasto oil paint and airy whispers circulating among the clearly defined forms. 

Drew Shiflett uses the traditional materials but her way of building the skin of her art work is anything but traditional. She repeatedly draws, paints, cuts, glues, layers, pulls and builds until all the element evolve to reference a sculptural wall or relief.

"SKIN," curated by Suejin Jo. The Painting Center, Chelsea, New York, NY. Through December 21, 2013. 

Related posts:   

EMAIL: "Clouds" exhibition details from Adam Simon

Dear Cloud Artist,

Thank you for agreeing to be in the exhibition, “Clouds” at Lesley Heller Projects. I wanted to let you know very far in advance that the dates for the exhibition are December 15th, 2013 through January 26th, 2014. No dimension should exceed 24 inches in any direction. The title of the exhibition is also its theme, to be taken seriously but not necessarily literally. I do hope we get some, but not all, actual depictions of clouds. Have a great summer.

I leave you with the following, sent to me by artist and friend, Paul D’Agostino:

Translated from the French by Paul D’Agostino / Paris, Spring 2007
Tell me, you enigmatic man, whom do you love the most? Your father, your mother, your sister or your brother?
I have neither father, nor mother, nor sister, nor brother.
Your friends
You’re using a word whose meaning yet remains unknown to me.
Your homeland?
I ignore even the latitude where it is situated.
I would be happy to love her, goddess-like and immortal.
I hate gold like you hate God.
Well then, what do you love, extraordinary stranger ?
I love the clouds… the clouds that pass… down there… over there… the marvelous clouds!
--Email from Adam Simon, received June 11, 2013

David Brody, Cloud, 2013, colored pencil on isometric paper, 11 x 17 inches

 Peter Dudek, Low Cloud, 2013 , Sculpt-a-mold, foam, metal, dimensions variable  

 Brece Honeycutt, Silver Lining, 2013 , cotton, nylon, silk, wool, map pins, 17 x 9 x 2 inches.

 Deborah Brown, Cloud , 2013, oil on panel, 11 x 17 inches. 

If you have some free time, I highly recommend checking out Heller's website, where images of all the work in the show have been posted.

"Clouds," organized by Adam Simon. Lesley Heller Gallery, LES, New York, NY. December 15 - January 26, 2014.  Opening reception: December 15, 6-9 pm.

Artists include Michele Araujo, Valerie Hegarty, Zach Rockhill, John Baber, Lisa Hein, Hanneline Røgeberg,Perry Bard, Eric Heist, Bob Seng,David Brody, Elana Herzog, Ward Shelley, Deborah Brown, Brece Honeycutt, Lisa Sigal, Sharon Butler, Patrick Killoran, Susan Silas, Caroline Cox, Byron Kim, Adam Simon, Paul D’Agostino, Greg Kwiatek, Tim Spelios, Nuno de Campos, Kerry Law, William Stone, Peter Dudek, Eric LoPresti, Richard Sullivan, Joy Episalla, Thomas Micchelli, Jude Tallichet, Rochelle Feinstein, Matthew Miller, Kate Teale, Hermine Ford, Loren Munk, Mark Tribe, Matt Freedman, Edie Nadelhaft, Fred Valentine, Munro Galloway, Laura Newman, Daniel Wiener, Rico Gatson, Bruce Pearson, Carrie Yamaoka, Ben Godward, Liza Phillips, Jacqueline Gourevitch, Cathy Quinlan, Larry Greenberg, Beth Reisman, Charles Hagen

Note: I contributed the little painting pictured at the top of the post. It's from a new series of 18 x 24 inch oil studies painted on hand-stretched canvas. Info: Sharon Butler, Rooftop structure, 2013, oil on hand-stretched canvas, 18 x 24 inches.

Related posts:
Rolling Conversations this Friday night in Bushwick (2011)
  Painting of the Day: "Meeting" by Adam Simon (2010)