November 23, 2014

Installation view: Paintings from Paris

In his final show at 681 Washington Street in the West Village, Peter Makebish has curated "Paintings from Paris," an eclectic, salon-style, group show of work he loves. The work in the show is wide ranging, from the geometric abstraction of Peter Demos, Teri Hackett and Alika Herreshoff to the oozing materiality of Kim Dorland and Randy Wray. Artists include Aidas Bareikis, Sharon Butler, Peter Demos, Kim Dorland, Leo Fitzpatrick, Theresa Hackett, Lane Hagood, Alika Herreshoff, Geoff Hippenstiel, Elizabeth Huey, Bill Saylor, Suzannah Wainhouse, Anke Weyer, Randy Wray.

In the new year, Makebish will be moving to a new space--details to come.

November 21, 2014

November 18: Andrew Ginzel's list of NYC shows and events

SOME but not all NYC SELECTED SHOWS TO SEE / November 18, 2014  / Listed south to north. Compiled by artist Andrew Ginzel for his students at the School of Visual Arts. Note: Images have been selected by Two Coats of Paint.

[Image: Stuart Shils @ Steven Harvey Fine Art Project]

Snaps: A visit to Maine College of Art


Readers may have noticed that posting slowed down a little last week. I spent a few days up at the Maine College of Art (known as MECA) in Portland, where I gave a  presentation about my work and enjoyed visiting studios of talented graduate and undergraduate students. Business Insider recently named Portland one of the top places to travel, calling it a "funky low-key destination that prizes quality food and cutting-edge art," and I sampled both on my short trip. Amid presenting, dining, drinking, and talking with students about their projects, I managed to wedge in some visits to faculty studios.

[Image at top: Snap of work-in-progress in Prof. Gail Spaien's campus studio. ]

News from Philadelphia: Libby Rosof to step back from daily operations at The Art Blog

I received word via email yesterday that Libby Rosof, one of the founding publishers of Philadelphia-based The Art Blog, has retired from daily operations. Rosof and Roberta Fallon started The Art Blog in 2003, four years before I started Two Coats of Paint, back when blogs and bloggers weren't taken seriously by mainstream media, art critics, or, really, anyone. They covered the art scene in Philadelphia with unprecedented zeal, and eventually received grant and advertising funding to expand into art tours, video projects, and other innovative approaches to art reporting. Rosof, who has contributed more than 1700 posts, says she wants to spend more time with family and friends. Although she won't be involved with daily operations, she plans to continue working on the site redesign. Her retirement marks the end of an era for the blogging community.

Image: Fallon (left) and Rosof (center) on one of The Art Blog's First Friday Art Safaris, which hired vans to take art enthusiasts to Philadelphia's far-flung art spaces. (Image courtesy of Knight Arts)


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November 7, 2014

Quick study

A Friday reading round-up that includes Art Forum on Mira Dancy and Sarah Peters, ArtNews on the Independent, Roberta Smith on Sharon Horvath, Martha Schwendener on Chris Martin, Raphael Rubinstein on Howardena Pindell, Jillian Steinhauer on Ken Johnson's controversial Grabner review in the NYTimes, Walter Robinson in conversation with Phong Bui, and young artists as capitalist tools

Mira Dancy and Sarah Peters BODYRITE @ Asya Geisberg was selected as an Art Forum Critics Pick, and I agree, it's a terrific show. Paige K. Bradley writes that "in all these works, one notes that the female form is less baggage to be dealt with than a cipher to be tossed around in a fast and loose game of suggestion and rehearsal." Read more.

In an otherwise glowing review today in the NYTimes, Martha Schwendener objects to the all-glitter painting in the back room at Chris Martin's Anton Kern show. "Mr. Martin can go too far, though. 'Space is the Place,' in the back gallery, is excessive in its application: a glitter blackout that’s like too much frosting on a cake." I have to disagree. Not only is that painting the perfect finale to an outstanding show, but there's no such thing as too much frosting on a cake. Or any other baked good.

Is it March already? I got confused when I heard that the Independent was opening last night. 
Andrew Russeth and M.H. Miller report for ArtNews that this one was organized to coincide with the fall auctions: 
Independent, founded by the art dealers Elizabeth Dee and Darren Flook in 2010, has always presented itself as a kind of antidote to the commercial circus that defines most art fairs. Held in the former Dia building in Chelsea, it features natural light and clever installations and a generally mellower vibe. Further contrasting the hectic feel of, say, the Armory Show, which runs concurrently with Independent in March, Dee has started a second edition of Independent, opening this week to coincide with the auctions in New York. Called Independent Projects, it will stay open for two weeks rather than the usual frenzied three days, and feature 40 galleries, all presenting small shows by a single artist. After the first weekend, the dealers will clear out and the fair will transition into a massive group show for the public...."
With Zwirner, Gagosian, Gavin Brown and other blue chip galleries participating, it would seem that the Independent is a long way from its humbler beginnings. Read more.


In Art in America Raphael Rubinstein contributes "The Hole Truth," an excellent essay about Howardena Pindell. "As well as dispensing with the stretcher, Pindell rejected, or at least didn't insist upon, perfect rectilinearity. Her canvases often look like she cut them relying only on hand and eye, rather than any straightedge. Many of the paintings in the recent show feature slightly curving borders and dangling threads; one has a big notch cut out of a corner. Around 1978 Pindell began cutting her canvases into thin strips, which she then sewed back together with thick carpet thread, often leaving noticeable gaps between each strip...." Read more. [Image above: Howardena Pindell, Untitled, 1974-1975, mixed media on canvas, 42 1/2 x 66 1/2 inches.]


In The Brooklyn Rail, publisher Phong Bui sits down with Walter Robinson to discuss the art world, Robinson's painting, normcore, and arts writing. "I started writing reviews for Art in America when Brian O’Doherty briefly served as the magazine’s editor. Very infrequently. On a very modest scale. If you look at the file cards for the writers at Art in America you’ll see, say, Rob Storr, card after card, writing review after review on important shows. Whereas it would take me like six months to write one 500-word text [laughs]. I remember I wrote on Nam June [Paik] and first I started with a history of video art. Then I threw all that out and wrote his biography. Then I threw all that out and actually focused on the show, which by then had been closed for two months. And since I hadn’t paid any attention to what was in the show, I had to call up the gallery and ask them for information, and write it all second-hand. It was an exercise in postmodernism! By the time I had started working at Artnet, after decades of practice, I was much better at it. Now I feel like I can always think of something interesting to say. When you’re just starting out, you look at the art and you know you’re intrigued, but you don’t really know what to say...." Read more.


Roberta Smith and I both dig "Cosmicomics," Sharon Horvath's painting show at Lori Bookstein through this weekend. In her short review last week, Smith took a swipe at less focused artists: "[Horvath's] long cultivation of aspects of cartooning, overlooked art, patterning and lightweight materials found in much painting today has paid off with a combination of concentration and resonance that remains too rare." Ouch.  Read more. [Image above: Sharon Horvath, Xlthlx,2014, pigment, ink and polymer on paper on canvas, 12 x 12 inches.]

At Hyperallergic, Jillian Steinhauer tackles Ken Johnson's dismissive review of Michelle Grabner's exhibition that ran in the NYTimes last week. "Grabner may make 'bland art' (his words), and she may be a 'middle-class tenured professor and soccer mom,' but to establish a cause-and-effect relationship between those two conditions, as Johnson does in the paragraph, is sexist (and classist)." I agree with Steinhauer. Johnson's review was lazy writing--more like something a blogger without an editor (like me!) might publish, not the NYTimesRead more. [Image above: Michelle Grabner installation @ James Cohen.]


In a fascinating review of Boltanski and Chiapello’s book, New Spirit of CapitalismBenjamin Evans, a Ph.D candidate at the New School, director of Projective City Contemporary Art, and former director of NurtureArt, suggests that emerging artists in communities such as Minnesota, Berlin and Brooklyn are more mired in contemporary capitalism than we admit. It's not just happening in Chelsea:
[Making a] connection between “emerging” artists and contemporary capitalism isn’t quite so audacious. Reading this book while running a Brooklyn gallery gave me the impression that at times the authors were in fact writing about myself, my friends, and the legions of hungry artists I came in contact with. For really, such artists are in effect budding entrepreneurs, attempting to sell the brands that they have become. They are not only the producers of a product, they are also its primary advertisers, wholesalers, and often retailers. Success on any level depends almost entirely on network performance, the ability to coalesce with others around diverse projects. “Work” involves not only hours in a studio, but also attending openings, going to parties, shaking hands, schmoozing, making Facebook type “friends” who can immediately be put into the service of further project development. All contacts are potential partners on a project, potential platforms for network extension. Being a contemporary artist without giving up the common moral prohibition on instrumentalizing other humans is almost impossible, as contemporary success is defined entirely by a marketplace whose workings utterly require such instrumentalization....
I'm not sure what this means yet, but I'm definitely going to put the article on my students' reading lists.  Read more.

Related posts:
Lovable: Chris Martin at Anton Kern
2014 Whitney Biennial: Curators' statements, painting links
Sharon Horvath: Condensed visionary fictions
The slaves to facture vs. tentative doubters at Exit Art


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November 5, 2014

Stay home and work: PAFA introduces a new low residency MFA program

For artists interested in getting an MFA but have circumstances that prevent them from applying to a traditional two-year MFA program, the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts is initiating a 26-month low residency program. Organizer Astrid Bowlby promises that the program will embrace digital technogy to foster community and dialog among students and faculty during the off-site periods. Visiting artists scheduled for the 2015 eight-week summer residency period include Mark Dion, Anoka Faruqee, Jane Irish, Titus Kaphar, Lynn Palewicz, and Shelley Spector. The deadline to apply  is December 15.

[Image: Georgia O'Keefe's studio in Abiquiu, New Mexico, courtesy of Flavorwire. As O'Keefe knew so well, location matters.]

Related posts:
Search: MFA art programs, inexpensive, top 10 MFA programs, bigstudios, graduate assistantships
Message to the MFA class of 2014

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The James Kalm Report: Painting in Bushwick

"As a longtime practitioner of painting, James Kalm has seen its fortunes rise and fall with the seasons. No sooner than it’s pronounced dead than, some new iteration manifests and the whole debate begins again. Trends like "Zombie Formalism", "Flipper Art", "Crap on Crap" and the "New Casualism" have attracted critical attention and even sectors of the market. However, despite all the theoretical rhetoric regarding the current state of painting, there remains one constant; one individual imprinting their "mark" on a surface. This tour of painting shows [posted below] in Bushwick provides a provisional survey of recent work, not only from Bushwick, New York, but the world beyond."--Loren Munk [Image: detail of an Oskar Nilsson painting @Interstate]

Note: A new gallery building is opening in Bushwick at 1329 Willoughby Avenue. Tiger Strikes Asterroid, Microscope, and Rob de Oude, one of the guys from Parallel Art Space are involved. Read about it on Hyperallergic.


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.

November 3, 2014

Erin Wiersma: What’s left of our lives

What is a line? In poetry, a line is a group of words assembled in a phrase that may or may not have a traditional sentence structure and punctuation. In tenth-grade geometry, we learn that a line is a path between two points. For Erin Wiersma, who has a solo at AIR gallery this month, line – made slowly and confidently on paper– is a unit of time. Hand mixing pigments with polymer binders, some of Wiersma’s layers are opaque and others transparent; some are added and others subtracted. The densely layered images start with one mark, akin to a heartbeat on an electrocardiogram. Like life, they become more complex and knotty, more exquisite and peculiar, as the lines and erasures accumulate.

[Image: Erin Wiersma,  Limestone, 6/12/2014, 2014, graphite on paper, 12 x 12 inches.]

November 2, 2014

Studio update: Two Trees Cultural Space Subsidy Program

I'll be working in Long Island City for the next few months and then heading back to DUMBO, where I've been invited to participate in the Two Trees Cultural Space Subsidy Program. Two Trees, a major real estate developer in DUMBO, announced last June that they were planning to help artists and arts organizations stay in the area by offering them space at below-market rental rates. I learned on Friday that my application for a subsidy has been approved. Thanks, Two Trees, for enabling the art community to maintain a footprint in DUMBO. [Image above: Manhattan Bridge, courtesy of Wired New York.]

The old LIC industrial building on 22nd Street where I'll be working for a few months.


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.

Studio visit: Tim McFarlane

Tim McFarlane's studio, located in the gallery section of Philadelphia on North 3rd Street, is chock full of new paintings. Represented for many years by Bridgette Mayer, MacFarlane, nearly 50, is best known for colorful, looping abstract forms. In an unexpected departure, the new work expels vivid color and also incorporates floral stencil patterns. This past week, I took my PAFA MFA seminar students for a studio visit, and McFarlane generously shared stories and advice with this new generation of Philadelphia artists.

November 1, 2014

In retrospect: Nick Cave

Guest contributor / Two Coats Intern Betty Lou Starnes / In his current exhibition "Made for Whites by Whites" at Jack Shainman Gallery, Nick Cave applies his keen eye for color to items some might rather have erased from the United States' tainted racial history. By parodying objects and images that have traditionally caricatured blacks in the service of white racism, Cave subverts traditional racist iconography so as to empower its original targets--namely, African-Americans.

[Image at top: Nick Cave installation view at Jack Shainman Gallery]

October 24, 2014

Art and race: Through A Lens Darkly, Nick Cave and Jordan Casteel

Guest contributor Jonathan Stevenson / Art and race constitute a delicate and provocative subject. Two recent exhibitions and a documentary film handle it with great intelligence, nuance, and energy.

[Image: Jordan Casteel, Sterling, 2014, oil on canvas, 54 x 72 inches.]

October 23, 2014

The backstory: Abstraction and Its Discontents

"Abstraction and Its Discontents," a generous exhibition of abstract paintings opens this weekend at Storefront Ten Eyck. In preparation for an upcoming panel discussion hosted by School of Visual Arts MFA Chair Mark Tribe, I asked exhibition organizer Deborah Brown via email about the title and premise for the show. "I was obviously referencing Freud's Civilization and Its Discontents. Abstraction as a painting stance has been viewed as hegemonist and colonial--a conservative province of privilege and exclusion," Brown responded. "I wanted to challenge that historical view and show a range of work by less familiar artists who use an abstract vocabulary in a variety of ways other than the traditional, ego-driven, privileged ones. Hence the title with its reference to a subterranean activity of subversion and reversal of assumptions and canons.

 [Image at top: Look for my new painting DD (Want me) on the front wall behind the desk at Storefront Ten Eyck. I haven't seen the show yet, but I grabbed this image off Facebook.]

Weekend Pick: Exchange Rates in Bushwick

Expect to see an influx of Brits and other non-New Yorkers in Bushwick this weekend for Exchange Rates, also known as The Bushwick Expo, an artist-driven gallery exchange and collaboration between Bushwick galleries and artist-run initiatives from Europe and the Pacific Northwest. Conceived by Stephanie Theodore, Paul D'Agostino and Sluice_, Exchange Rates exhibitions will be on view through Sunday afternoon. Norte Maar has organized a special edition of Beat Night, which means galleries will be open on Friday night from 6-10. I've got a few pieces on view in a terrific group show at Theodore:Art, where SEASON (Seattle, WA) and Blackwater Polytechnic (Essex, UK) will also be presenting work by their out-of-town artists. SEASON founder Robert Yoder is also presenting his own work at Schema Projects, where Platform, another great Seattle gallery, is curating. For a full list of participating galleries and artists from home and abroad, click here.

UPDATE: Read "Making Cents of Exchange Rates Bushwick," Ben Sutton's report on Exchange Rates for Hyperallergic.

[Image at top: Stephanie Theodore adjusts the lights at Theodore:Art during the installation last night. Art from left: Joyce Robins, Ben Coode-Adams, Sharon Butler, Andrew Seto, Seth Friedman.]

October 22, 2014

On Film: Mania, serenity and the creative process

Guest contributor Jonathan Stevenson / What brings out the best in artists? In vivid terms, two recent movies, Bird People and Whiplash, respectively illustrate that calm immersion in the ordinary world can do so in some cases, balefully solipsistic detachment from that world in other situations.

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