At the Boston MFA artists grapple with war

Ken Johnson writes in The Boston Globe: “As the war in Iraq grinds on toward no very clear end, collective reaction to it by contemporary American artists remains muted and uncertain. Two exhibitions responding to the war — one directly and the other indirectly — are now on view in Boston: a powerful solo show … read more… “At the Boston MFA artists grapple with war”

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At the Hammer Museum, Gary Garrels assembles a distinctly Angeleno strain of contemporary visual language

Doug Harvey in the LA Weekly: “One of the most pronounced symptoms of the wide-scale institutionalization of artistic practice has been the rise of curatorial studies as an academic category and the subsequent escalation of the curator’s role and visibility — sometimes to the point of supplanting the place of the artist as the raison … read more… “At the Hammer Museum, Gary Garrels assembles a distinctly Angeleno strain of contemporary visual language”

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Churches draw on the spiritual inspiration of contemporary artists

Valerie Gladstone points out in the NYTimes Travel section: “As a wave of contemporary art installations is being unveiled in cathedrals, churches and chapels across Europe, religious spaces are once again becoming showcases for many artists. In the last year alone, the abstract Spanish artist Miguel Barceló completed a ceramic panorama for the St. Pere … read more… “Churches draw on the spiritual inspiration of contemporary artists”

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Karen Kilimnik’s Philadelphia salon

Dorothy Spears in the NYTimes: “When Robert Wuilfe, curator of Landmarks Contemporary Projects in Philadelphia, learned of Karen Kilimnik’s interest in creating a site-specific installation at the 18th-century Powel mansion he had difficulty containing his enthusiasm. Ms. Kilimnik’s reconstructions of 18th-century salons, featuring portraits of contemporary celebrities like Paris Hilton, decked out as Marie Antoinette, … read more… “Karen Kilimnik’s Philadelphia salon”

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Mass-produced paintings at Urban Outfitters for $39.99

Cassandra Neyenesch in The Brooklyn Rail: “Mass-produced canvases for sale at Urban Outfitters, though of course decorative, offer a pointed commentary about the way art is produced and thought about and the consumer’s relationship to it.” Read more.

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Venice Biennale: serious and smart

Kim Levin in The Brooklyn Rail: “So many skulls, tibia, ribcages, soldiers in uniform, mortally wounded dolls, and flocks of birds morphing into missiles or warplanes (the way skulls and bones morphed into picks and shovels during the Black Plague) haven’t been seen together in the art world since, well, the Dark Ages….Storr’s show may … read more… “Venice Biennale: serious and smart”

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Painter Tony Shore awarded Baltimore’s $25,000 Sondheim Prize

Baltimore Sun art critic Glenn McNatt reports that Tony Shore, whose portraits of family and friends painted on black velvet capture the poignant and gritty flavor of working class life in the city, frequently broke into sobs during his acceptance speech. ‘This award is an amazing thing for Baltimore, Shore said. ‘It not only helps … read more… “Painter Tony Shore awarded Baltimore’s $25,000 Sondheim Prize”

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Torture survivor depicts Khmer Rouge’s murderous legacy

Sopheng Cheang in The Irrawaddy: “The Khmer Rouge’s murderous legacy has been depicted in art by a survivor of an infamous torture center run by the radical communist regime, responsible for the deaths of nearly 2 million Cambodians.Vann Nath, 62, opened a showing Thursday at the Bophana Audiovisual Resource Centerin Phnom Penh. The exhibition includes … read more… “Torture survivor depicts Khmer Rouge’s murderous legacy”

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NYTimes Friday art reviews

Milton Avery watercolors and Sarah Peters drawings are reviewed in the NYTimes today. Roberta Smith on Sarah Peters: “In her first solo show, Sarah Peters breathes life into an obsession with the art and history of colonial America. The breath comes from a fidgety crosshatch technique rendered in pencil and black ballpoint pen that gives … read more… “NYTimes Friday art reviews”

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Denver hosts first exhibition from the Clyfford Still estate

Kyle MacMillan in The Denver Post reports: “Denver was chosen in 2004 as the repository for the Clyfford Still estate and future home of a museum devoted to this significant post-World War II painter….The artist retained many of his own works in part because he was something of a curmudgeon and had an often stormy … read more… “Denver hosts first exhibition from the Clyfford Still estate”

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