Tag: Jonathan Stevenson

Obituary Writing

Dave Hickey and the louche tradition

Contributed by Jonathan Stevenson / A clear strain in American letters celebrates the capacity of insouciant and unabashedly disreputable people to say things that matter by cutting through the flatulent smog that tends to enshroud orthodoxies. The Lost Generation had Ernest Hemingway, and Baby Boomers had Hunter S. Thompson and Dave Hickey, who passed away in November at 82. These guys – particularly Thompson but undeniably Hemingway and Hickey as well – showcased their disdain for convention and their embrace of the drunken and the stoned, the naughty and the down-and-out. But all three were dead serious about life and death, and that emerged in their work.

Studio Visit

Lisa Hoke’s unconfined vision

Restricted to her studio during lockdown and cut off from large spaces in which to create site-specific work, Lisa Hoke felt the need to fashion pieces that were more portable and more presumptively permanent. What resulted is a scintillating revelation.

Group Shows

Virtuous tension at Underdonk

Contributed by Jonathan Stevenson / Lockdown called for the safety and comfort of an inner sanctum, but that of course produced the urge for unmediated exposure to nature. In curating “Nice to See You Again,” now up at Underdonk in Bushwick, Leonora Loeb and Keisha Prioleau-Martin set about finding art that captured that virtuous tension. They have succeeded, presenting varied but thematically harmonious work by ten artists, each of them in some way conveying the hibernation and re-emergence implied in the exhibition’s amiable but also multivalent title.

Gallery shows

Transmitter: Painting’s undying versatility

Contributed by Jonathan Stevenson / Painting is persistently and emphatically alive and well. Indeed, the notion that it is dead – or, more kindly, moribund – is so vapid and hidebound that merely saying that the notion is a cliché is itself a cliché. Yet in putting the lie to it one more time, the Bushwick gallery Transmitter’s succinctly penetrating group show “Material Mutations, part one: The Canvas” brings fresh insights in what might otherwise be an eye-rollingly redundant conversation.

Solo Shows

Godward: Toward a distant target

Contributed by Jonathan Stevenson / “Sharp Edges,” Ben Godward’s mischievously minatory exhibition of sculpture at Slag Gallery, which owner and curator Irina Protopopescu has returned to Chelsea from Bushwick, combines his signature energy and a new urgency. Joyfully petulant color imparted a sidelong élan to his early urethane resin forms […]

Film & Television

Art and Film: Casimir Nozkowski’s Brooklyn

Contributed by Jonathan Stevenson / The Outside Story, writer-director Casimir Nozkowski’s agreeable feature debut, shapes up as a fairly typical indie shaggy-dog story: a mildly dissolute creative type finds himself in a mildly humorous jam that resolves itself over the course of the film in a mildly heartwarming way, preferably […]

Film & Television

Art and Film: Ursa meta

Contributed by Jonathan Stevenson / These times demand both mordant humor and serious contemplation, which helps explain the prevalence of meticulously packaged black comedies in cinema. Two prominent and very good ones that come to mind are Emerald Fennell’s Promising Young Woman, a diamond-hard dissection of the extended kill-chain of […]

Gallery shows

Powhida on Biden: A man for this season

Contributed by Jonathan Stevenson / The art that accompanies magazine articles usually seems decorative and functional, there merely to cheer up black-and-white text and interrupt regimented columns. Rarely does it well-nigh embody the article itself. William Powhida’s portrait of Joe Biden, centered below the title of Fintan O’Toole’s “To Hell […]