August 27, 2014

Outside the city: Great Barrington

Last week I took a couple days off and drove up to Massachusetts. In Sheffield, I stopped by the Colonial Farm to catch up with with Brece Honeycutt, then took in two excellent shows in Great Barrington, the next town over, at Susan Jennings and Slink Moss's new gallery, LABSpace, and the esteemed Geoffrey Young Gallery.

[Image: Black Lake, Help Others, 2014, paint, marker, acrylic, lead, glass, colored pencil, foil on board, 14 x 11 inches.]

August 26, 2014

Studio visit: EJ Hauser

One of the best things about spending summer in the city is having more time for leisurely studio visits with other artists. Recently I stopped by EJ Hauser's spacious studio in Sunset Park to check out her new work. Hauser was the artist-in-residence last year at the University of Tennessee Knoxville, where she concentrated on portable media such as drawing, digital imagery and small paintings. Back in Brooklyn, many of the images and ideas she developed during the residency are now emerging on larger canvases.

[Image: Studio snap. At left: small drawings on paper. At right: Sevencup, 2014, oil on canvas, 70 x 70 inches.]

August 25, 2014

North Adams news

Peter Dudek is moving from his longtime Pittsfield studio to a cavernous Beaver Mill space in North Adams, where space is cheap. But before he goes, he's having a big open studio on Saturday, August 30, from 12-5pm. Stop by 2 Fenn Street, second floor, Pittsfield, MA, and say hello. Buy something so he doesn't have to move it. Call 917-568-3712 for more info.


Speaking of North Adams, Mass MOCA just got a $25.4 million grant from the state and plans to double their space. Clearly Massachusetts understands how supporting and investing in the arts generates economic growth. Perhaps artists demoralized by New York real estate woes should consider relocating to North Adams. Read more  here. 

Image above: Installation of Anselm Keifer's paintings in MASS MoCA's new 10,000 square-foot building dedicated to his work.


Related posts:
A Day For Detroit: Economist calls selling the DIA collection "complete foolishness"
Artist-in-Residence: Bascom Lodge at the summit of Mount Greylock
"The wall drawing is a permanent installation, until destroyed"


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.

August 16, 2014

Inspired by fiction: Recurrence at Fridman

"In this world where every object was thrown away at the slightest sign of breakage or aging, at the first dent or stain, and replaced with a new and perfect substitute, there was just one false note, one shadow: the moon. It wandered through the sky naked, corroded, and gray, more and more alien to the world down here, a hangover from a way of being that was now outdated," Italo Calvino wrote in "Daughters of the Moon," a short story originally published in 1968 and reprinted in 2009 in The New Yorker. This passage was the starting point for "Recurrence," a thoughtful group exhibition curated by Luisa Aguilar Solis and Georgia Horn at Fridman Gallery that considered cycles of consumption and obsolescence.

[Image: Edgar Arceneaux, A Four Dimensional City Casts a Two Thousand Mile Shadow. Two Wedges and Two Long Shadows, 2014, acrylic, chalk pastel, vinyl, and enamel on paper 23.50 x 29.50 inches.]

ON FILM: Hedge priest as anachronistic hero

Guest contributor Jonathan Stevenson / John Michael McDonagh’s blackly satirical film Calvary, set in rural County Sligo in northwest Ireland, doesn’t lack ambition: it tackles the creeping nihilism of the twenty-first century. The scene that most incisively represents the phenomenon involves a rich Irishman drunkenly peeing on Holbein the Younger’s The Ambassadors (pictured above), which he owns and is worth millions, as Father James Lavelle, the local priest, looks on in bemused disgust. Here, as in many other films, great art is freighted with deep significance. The painting itself depicts a landowner and a bishop separated by an unplayable lute, symbolizing tension between secular and religious authorities. Beyond that, the film casts art as a major casualty of cultural decadence and its denigration as a metaphor for religious and philosophical decay. While the bones of civilization – religions, countries, nations – may appear intact, its flesh is rotting from faithlessness, corrupted ideology, and reflexive default to mere gratification. Hence millionaires urinate on masterpieces.

August 8, 2014

Steve Turner Gallery responds to the post about Jonas Lund's Flip City

I had an idea after posting the "Flip City" update on Tuesday to buy one of Jonas Lund's paintings and put it up for auction. Why, I wondered, shouldn't artists get in on the action? As my dear father Dudley used to say: buy low, sell high.

August 5, 2014

Update: Jonas Lund and Flip City


UPDATE: Steve Turner Gallery responds-->

Remember "Flip City," Jonas Lund's June solo exhibition at Steve Turner in LA that featured a series of process-based abstract paintings created as flip bait for speculator-collectors?

[Image at top: Flip City 18, 2014, digital painting on canvas, gel medium and GPS tracker, 50 x 40 inches.]

August 4, 2014

New Image Painters challenge Zombie Formalists

Galleries are trying to spread the news: dour Zombie Formalism is out; pop-inflected, often casualist, representational imagery is in. This summer Jesse Greenberg and MacGregor Harp of Brooklyn's 247365 organized "Don't Look Now" at Zach Feuer, a group show suggesting that a renewed interest in traditional genres--portrait, still life, landscape--is thriving within the painting community. Later this month a similar exhibition titled "New Image Painting" opens at Shane Campbell in Chicago.

[Image above: Torey Thornton]

August 2, 2014

Selected work: Chelsea

Without Andrew Ginzel's List (on hiatus until September) and Facebook (recently deactivated), I've been left on my own to figure out what shows are out there this summer. Recently I've begun using NY Art Beat, an iPhone app that lists galleries by neighborhood. Gallery go-ers can review shows, bookmark them, and then view all the bookmarked locations on a handy map (my map is posted at right), making afternoon planning much easier. Apparently Walter Robinson had the same list of things-to-see on Tuesday because he had signed into all the gallery guest books right before I did. Alas, we never bumped into each other.

Exhibitions featured (Click links for full exhibition statements and images):

"All a tremulous heart requires," co-curated by Brad Hajzak. ZieherSmith,New YOrk, NY. Through August 15, 2014.

"Displayed," curated by Matthew Higgs. Anton Kern, New York, NY. Through August 22, 2014.

"Jeffrey Courtland Jones: Did I See You See Me (In a New Light)," Kathryn Markel Fine Arts, New York, NY. Through August 29, 2014.

"Justine Hill: Pick and Place,"  Kathryn Markel Fine Arts, New York, NY. Through August 29, 2014. 

"Paintings on Paper," David Zwirner, New York, NY. Through August 15, 2014.

"Conversations," curated by Sharon Louden. Morgan Lehman, New York, NY. Through August 22, 2014.

"About a Mountain," curated by Holly Jarrett. Asya Geisberg, New York, NY. Through August 15, 2014.

"Carl Ostendarp: Blanks," Elizabeth Dee, New York, NY. Through September 6, 2014.

"Jodie Manasevit and Eric Dever," Berry Campbell, New York, NY. Through August 9, 2014. 

"JJ Manford and Max Razdow: Through Every Leaf," Freight + Volume, New York, NY. Through August 16, 2014.

"Another Look at Detroit, Parts I and II" curated by Todd Levin. Two locations: Marianne Boesky and Marlborough Chelsea, New York, NY. Through August 8, 2014.

Gone but not forgotten:

"Franklin Evans: paintingassupermodel," Ameringer McEnery Yohe, New York, NY. Through August 1, 2014.

"Don't Look Now," organized by Jesse Greenberg and MacGregor Harp of 247365. Zach Feuer, New York, NY. Through July 26, 2014. Thanks for letting me have a look even though the show was over.

"Joan Mitchell: The Black Drawings and Related Works 1964-1967," Lennon Weinberg, New York, NY. Through June 28, 2014. Thanks for taking me upstairs to see these drawings even though the show had been down for a month. Time flies in the summer.


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.

July 28, 2014

Quick study: Greg Allen's @TheRealHennessy tweet paintings, MESS, working conditions, more

Greg Allen is making paintings again, and this time he's painting them himself. According to AnimalNY,
Artist, critic and our go-to appropriation expert Greg Allen has turned joke tweets by artist Jayson Musson (and sometimes internet art critic “Hennessy Youngman”) into paintings. Jokes such as, “I think Moby is on the N train rn but you just can’t go asking small bald white men if they’re Moby. That’s racist.” Ha! Naturally, Allen has done so without permission. He has, however, credited  @TheRealHennessy and announced the painting series on his website. And, they’re selling! For four figures!


In Hyperallergic's weekly Weekend Words column, Thomas Micchelli considers the word "mess." He quotes national security analyst Gary Samore, who told the NY Times that the world is "very tangled mess."  Micchelli includes one of my favorite Beckett quotes: "To find a form that accommodates the mess, that is the task of the artist now.”


More bad news for colleges and universities as administrations are "Doubling Down on the Exploitation of Adjunct Faculty." When I used to have a full-time professorship, adjuncts were members of AAUP, so I always wondered why they didn't take over the leadership. They certainly have become the majority. (via The Academe Blog).

And Artnet reports that in France, nude art models rally for better working conditions.


New gallery on the LES:  Kristen Lorello has opened at 195 Chrystie Street, 6th floor. Previously Lorello was the associate director at Eleven Rivington and she also worked at Greenberg Van Doren. “Site/Displace” (installation view above) is on view through August 15th. The show includes work by Goldschmied & Chiari, Zipora Fried, Nadia Haji Omar, Halsey Hathaway, Kristen Jensen Malcolm McClain, David Mramor, Ian Pedigo, Peter Rostovsky, Josh Slater, Letha Wilson. Note that the hours are M-F, 11-6 pm.


Quoting an interview with writer John Gardner from the 1970s, The Paris Review has sparked a discussion about artists' roles as leaders and public intellectuals: "I think that the difference right now between good art and bad art is that the good artists are the people who are, in one way or another, creating, out of deep and honest concern, a vision of life in the twentieth century that is worth pursuing. And the bad artists, of whom there are many, are whining or moaning or staring, because it’s fashionable, into the dark abyss." Is it enough for artists to "find a form that accommodates the mess" or do we need to do more?


One more reminder: Two Coats of Paint is leaving Facebook, so if you are used to getting links in your Facebook news feed, might want to subscribe by email here.


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.

July 26, 2014

Food and beverage art: Coates, FOODshed, Honeycutt, Beavers, and more

In the early 1990s, Rikrit Tiravanija began organizing exhibitions around cooking Thai food. A practitioner of what ultimately came to be known as Relational Aesthetics, Tiravanija was interested in the social interaction that revolved around cooking and eating. Today, artists are more likely to be thinking about our complex relationship with food itself--how we produce it, distribute it and consume it.

[Image:  Jennifer Coates, Picnic, 48 x 48 inches, 2013

 Giuseppe Arcimboldo, Holy Roman Emperor Rudolph II, c. 1590, as Vertumnus, the Roman God of plant life, growth, and the change of seasons.

For instance, this summer at Smack Mellon Amy Lipton curated "FOODShed," a group exhibition (open through this weekend) that explores aspects of food production and sustainability.  Joy Garnett contributed home-fermented red wine vinegar concocted from old family recipes. Elaine Tin Nyo baked a sour cherry pie each day through the month of July until she had used all the cherries she picked at a farm upstate. Kristyna and Marek Milde created a temporary vegetable garden using shopping carts, soil, and plants to experience the process of growing food instead of buying it.

As someone who cooks rarely and once broke off a long-term relationship because I was "tired of being the kitchen director," I am surprised that so many women (Lipton guesses 90% of food and beverage artists today are female) are returning to the household and redefining farming, food production, and meals as art forms. Perhaps because raising kids is no longer considered a career killer, more artists, now mothers, find themselves back in the kitchen where they take a meta approach to their homemaking tasks. There's nothing like shopping for and preparing three meals a day, every day, to make an artist think more deeply about the American obsession with food.

Another who has embraced food and beverage art is Brece Honeycutt. Honeycutt, publisher of the fascinating blog On a Colonial Farm, has been researching the plants surrounding her 1792 Massachusetts home for several years. Using old recipes from colonial days, she makes beverages like Switchel and baked goods like rhubarb pie, and has begun exploring home remedies, which she will include in an upcoming exhibition in Massachusetts.

Pieter Claesz, Stilleven met een vis, 1647, olieverf op paneel, h 61.9cm × w 80.9cm. Via Rijksmuseum.

Gina Beavers, Kimchi Hot Dogs, 2014, acrylic on canvas, 30 x 30 inches.

For painters, the tradition of painting images of food undoubtedly extends as far back as cave painting. Memorable food paintings of yore include Giuseppe Arcimboldo's portraits (pictured above) from the 1500s, Pieter Claesz and the Dutch still life painters of the 1600s, Caravaggio's rotting fruit, the early Cubist still lifes of Picasso and Braque, Wayne Thiebaud's desserts from the 1960s, and Andy Warhol's iconic Campbell's Soup Cans.

Among contemporary painters, two artists stand out: Gina Beavers and Jennifer Coates. In paintings with raised relief, Beavers is reinventing the foodie still life thanks to Instagram, through which she tracks the #foodporn tag for imagery. According to the press release for a recent show at Retrospective in Hudson, NY, she selects images with "strong 'Da Vinci-an' compositions, intriguing ingredients, mystifying or amusing viewpoints, and novel framing." She has recently begun using other apps to create #foodporn collages that serve as the basis for her new paintings.

In her remarkable paintings, Jennifer Coates vivifies extreme close-ups of ordinary but unhealthy food like corned beef sandwiches, mac 'n' cheese, and candy bars with expressive, endearingly awkward paint handling. "It's almost like I'm looking to excavate religious feeling from the most unlikely vessels," Coates told me. "I'm trying to find what's ancient and urgent in the processed ingestible. Even if it's salad and more 'natural' it's still the product of millennia of human tinkering. What if your salad was animated with strange belief systems. Or your sandwich was a megalith with the sun rising behind it?"  Her work evokes our often irrepressible embrace of bad food: we eat it because it tastes so good, and then hate ourselves for doing so. Why does food have so much power over us?

Other food exhibitions include an upcoming show of 35 Brooklyn artists at the Brooklyn Museum. The press release doesn't mention which artists are included, but promises that local farmers will be selling fruits and vegetables out front on Thursdays. "Frozen Karaoke," a group exhibition at Outlet Fine Arts in Bushwick includes custom-made ice cream. At Jeff Bailey's new Hudson outpost, Jennifer Coates and  Rachel Schmidhofer have curated an exhibition called "Tossed" that opens August 16 and will feature work about salad.

Although all the artists mentioned above work in diverse media, from farm- and kitchen-based projects  to studio-based painting practices, each manages to capture how much our relationship to food has changed since Claesz was painting his glorious still lifes nearly 400 years ago.

Discussion questions: If you were going to make art about food and or beverages, what approach would you take? What are you having for lunch today?

Jennifer Coates, Bread, 2014, 48 x 48 inches.

 Jennifer Coates, Baby Ruth, 2014.

Related posts:
Neo-Maternalism: Contemporary artists' approach to motherhood


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.

July 25, 2014

On FILM: Richard Linklater’s school of life

Guest Contributor Jonathan Stevenson / Richard Linklater’s acclaimed movie Boyhood is as good as advertised – a forceful and mesmerizing story about growing up in America. Perhaps not incidentally, the movie also shows how an eventful and emotionally challenging childhood might yield an artist.

July 23, 2014

EMAIL: Mike Cloud's shopping list

I recently received an announcement for "Bad Faith and Universal Technique," Mike Cloud's September solo show at Thomas Erben Gallery. Cloud, born in 1974 in Chicago, graduated from Yale MFA in 2003 and is an assistant professor at Brooklyn College. I have met him at the BC final critiques, where he has a gentle and insightful presence, offering resonant comments to each of the students as they presented their projects, but I've never seen any of his work. According to the press release:
Cloud appropriates well known symbols to reexamine historical events or phenomena, exploring the perspective of survivors rather than winners or losers. His paintings break out of the expected format, taking on irregular shapes and sculptural qualities, sometimes leaving the wall and venturing out into the exhibition space.
I was struck by the image (posted above) included with the announcement. Titled Shopping List, Cloud's painting combines two big structures, shaped like Stars of David, with painterly markmaking that seems to reference landscape. The words inscribed denote everyday items that might be on a grocery list, such as milk, cabbage, ketchup, oranges, and honey. In the lower right corner, a small geometric abstraction painted with a rainbow of colors hangs from the main painting.

I'm curious about the rest of the work in the show. Does Cloud explore other forms of religious imagery? Do everyday elements continue to collide with the iconic? What other kinds of text fragments does he use? I'm intrigued--I can't wait to see more of Cloud's work at Erben in September.

"Mike Cloud: Bad Faith and Universal Technique," Thomas Erben, Chelsea, New York, NY. September 11 through October 18, 2014.


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.

July 21, 2014

Snaps from the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts

Last week I went to Philadelphia to visit the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, where I'll be teaching an MFA Seminar and serving as a Visiting Critic this fall. Program director and painter Clint Jukkala gave me a tour of the school facilities and the museum, and it was a grand one indeed.

[Image: Ashley Wick, Funny Guy, 2014. On display in a curated exhibition of recent graduates.]

July 18, 2014

Otto Piene is dead

 According to BBC News, Otto Piene died on Thursday, shortly after the opening of an exhibition of his work at Berlin's Neue Nationalgalerie. He died in a taxi en route to the exhibition where he was working on "More Sky,"  a sky art event that is scheduled to take place tomorrow.