This week: Summer reading, teaching update (Parsons in the fall), Trump art, gallery closings, Picabia retrospective, and a visit to Cape Cod…
Trump the muse
In New York magazine: Artists Nir Hod, Illma Gore, Eric Yahnker, Rob Pruit, Jim Torok (image above), and William Powhida are making Trump art. “From a 2004 pastel and watercolor send-up of the Donald as a Vegas Elvis, which the nominee apparently owned (and may still), to the less-than-flattering Trump nude that got artist Illma Gore beaten up on the street, these works suggest that if the divisive real-estate tycoon wins the White House, the art world should expect plenty of exciting new work.” I saw Gore’s Trump sticker on a lamppost in my neighborhood the other day. Too funny. Read more.
Also this: The NYTimes reports that artists David Gleeson and Mary Mihelic built a wall on the Mexican border and sent the bill to Mexico’s president. “They have built a wall — or the start of one, anyway — near the edge of Jacumba Hot Springs, Calif., a border town about 70 miles southeast of San Diego. ‘It took about 52 cinder blocks,’ David Gleeson, one of the artists, said by phone on Wednesday afternoon, shortly after he and his partner, Mary Mihelic, erected their version of Mr. Trump’s wall. It stands 20 yards from the actual United States-Mexico border, which already has a fence.” Read more.
Rosamund Felsen in LA and Tracy Williams, Ltd in NYC are mounting their final gallery shows this month, but will maintain private art advisories. Life on Mars in Brooklyn is closing, but director Michael David has some secret plans up his sleeve. Check out their big lovable group shows: “People, Places, Things” at Tracy Williams, “Closing Celebratory Show” at Felsen, and “An Occasional Dream” at Life on Mars and say goodbye.
Remember Theories of Contemporary Art, the anthology that Richard Hertz edited in 1985? I’m rereading it this summer. It’s full of catalogue essays and articles that were originally published in Art Forum, Art in America, and the other glossies from the late 1970s and early 1980s when critics were starting to identify a post-modern movement. Kim Levin opens the collection with “Farewell to Modernism,” a 1979 essay in which she declares that modernity has gone out of style. Peter Plagens writes about bad painting (good bad painters, bad good painters, etc.). Barbara Rose laments how a quest for innovation in the 60s and 70s replaced distinctions of quality. Joseph Kosuth defends his Painting-is-Dead stance (as painting and imagery came defiantly back in the early 80s). There’s plenty more. It’s homework: I’ve been invited to teach an undergraduate course at Parsons in the fall, and I thought it would be helpful to brush up on some history. I’m also thoroughly enjoying it.
The catalogue for MoMA’s upcoming Picabia retrospective is almost ready. Edited by Anne Umland and Cathérine Hug. Text by George Baker, Carole Boulbès, Masha Chlenova, Briony Fer, Gordon Hughes, David Joselit, Jean-Jacques Lebel, Bernard Mercadé, Arnauld Pierre, Juri Steiner, Adrian Sudhalter, Aurélie Verdier, and Sarah Wilson. The exhibition, titled “Our Heads Are Round so Our Thoughts Can Change Direction,” opens in November and will be Picabia’s first large-scale museum retrospective in the US since 1970. Read more.
Recommended group show
“Splotch,” a sprawling two-venue exhibition curated by Eileen Jeng, featuring “artists whose work involves a methodical and controlled process of creating seemingly freeform or random daubs and spots.” The title of the show is from Sol LeWitt’s fiberglass pieces called “splotches” and their working drawings or “footprints.” The 12-foot long sculpture Splotch #3 (2000) will be on view at Sperone Westwater and the sculpture’s footprints will be exhibited at Lesley Heller Workspace.
Artists at Sperone Westwater include Nicole Awai, Lynda Benglis, Trudy Benson, Matias Cuevas, Lucky DeBellevue, Alex Dodge, Keltie Ferris, Mary Heilmann, Andreas Kocks, Sol LeWitt, Emil Lukas, Riad Miah, Takesada Matsutani, Landon Metz, Angel Otero, Otto Piene, David Reed, Taney Roniger, Brie Ruais, Julia von Eichel, Terry Winters, and Jian-Jun Zhang.
Artists at Lesley Heller Workspace include Lynda Benglis, Walter Biggs, Elisabeth Condon, Nene Humphrey, Andreas Kocks, Sol LeWitt, Riad Miah, Jamie Powell, Taney Roniger, Karen Tompkins, Julia von Eichel, Aaron Williams, Magdalen Wong, and Jian-Jun Zhang.
INVITATION: Two Coats of Paint at Truro Center for the Arts at Castle Hill
My dogs and I will be on the Cape for a few days this coming week at the Truro Center of the Arts, and I hope to make a few studio visits, too. Please join us for two events on Thursday, July 14:
1. “Elementary: Paintings by Sharon Butler, Sharon Horvath and Patricia Miranda,” July 11-July 22, opening reception July 14, 4-6 pm
2. “State of the Arts,” a panel discussion with Sharon Butler, Mike Carroll and Deborah Dancy. Thursday, July 14, 7-9pm.
Slow down and look
According to Quartz, “the average museum goer spends less than 30 seconds in front of a work of art. Researchers even found that most of that time is spent skimming the wall text instead of looking at the actual piece. A new British TV show called Fake! The Great Masterpiece Challenge seeks to allay that attention deficit by planting seven fake paintings in galleries throughout the UK and rewarding keen-eyed museum visitors who correctly identify them.” So far, according to the competition website, no one has submitted any fakes, and the contest is open through the end of July. The prize is a fake. Read more.