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.
Tag: Jonathan Stevenson
Contributed by Jonathan Stevenson / If the Cold War suppressed heroism to the point where anti-heroes came to rule culture, the post-Cold War era may have engendered such disappointment in humankind as to elevate the thoughtful misanthrope to icon.
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
Contributed by Jonathan Stevenson / In the 1940s, Philip Guston noted that the problem with figurative art was that it “vanishes into recognition.” By 1960, he was griping about the conceit that abstract art was “autonomous, pure and for itself.” The tension implied by these two conflicting but evidently valid […]
Contributed by Jonathan Stevenson / By the most salient political parameters – governance, public health, the rule of law – 2020 was one of the worst years in living memory. Hobbled by Covid-19, art overall seemed commensurately downbeat, but also pensively defiant. In cinema, if a dominant theme emerged, it […]
Contributed by Jonathan Stevenson / Charles Willeford – Guthrie-esque hobo, World War II hero, pulp-fiction genius – was one of the best crime writers of his generation, influential yet under-appreciated. Among his many books, Cockfighter became a cult-classic film starring Warren Oates, Miami Blues a quirky eighties jaunt with Alec […]
Contributed by Jonathan Stevenson / The clash between Donald Trump’s nascent fascism and America’s liberal traditions, brought to a head by the murder of George Floyd and its aftermath and exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic, made the 2020 election the most important one since Abraham Lincoln prevailed in 1860. In […]