Albert Mobilio

Willem van Genk,

The first United States exhibition of Dutch artist Willem van Genk’s work at the American Folk Art Museum offers a comic counterpoint to the recent Futurist show at the Guggenheim.

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Tullio Crali,

The affection, if not outright idolatry, the Futurists held for machines and speed initially focused on automobiles and locomotives, but in the early 1930s artists like Tullio Crali, Gerardo Dottori, Tato (Guglielmo Sansoni), and Giacomo Balla turned their attentions skyward to produce glorifying images of planes.

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Post image for Eternal Recurrence: George Widener’s Time Pieces

You will be relaxing on June 30th in 2030: The guess is based on information provided by George Widener’s mixed media piece “A Month of Sundays” currently on display at Ricco/Maresca as part of the show Time Lapse.

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Post image for Memories Are Made of This: Tom Duncan’s Constructed Past

If the so-called “greatest generation,” those that fought in World War II, have mostly passed on, their children, the pre-boomers born just before and during that conflict are still around.

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Single Point Perspective: Dead Man Rising

by Albert Mobilio on January 18, 2014

Post image for Single Point Perspective: Dead Man Rising

Viewing the WAR/PHOTOGRAPHY show currently at the Brooklyn Museum offers a test of emotional restraint as well as the inclination to aestheticize. If the number of images is daunting, the sum of human pain on display registers as a body blow.

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Post image for Self-Portraits in a Complex Mirror: The Photographs of Vivian Maier

Vivian Maier spent some forty years working as a nanny in Chicago. When she died in 2009 at the age of eighty-three, she left behind well over a hundred thousand photographic negatives, evidence of decades spent wandering the streets of her hometown, as well as others cities and locales around the world.

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Post image for Flow Charts: Edward Burtynsky’s Photos of the World’s Watery Parts

It’s well known that landscape photographer Edward Burtynsky thinks big — big subjects, big photographs. His large-format prints (dimensions up to 48 x 64 inches are not uncommon) match the physical scope of the oil industry, quarries, and ship breaking, as well as their thematic implications.

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Post image for Star Search: Heaven’s Map for Getting Lost

“Billions and billions of stars.” Carl Sagan’s awestruck if indeterminate census of the universe became a comic catchphrase in the wake of his 1980s PBS series Cosmos. Johnny Carson would intone the line, exaggerating the astrophysicist’s sing-songish repetition of billions and we’d laugh. Not because Sagan’s estimate was so low (estimates currently put the figure at between 10 sextillion and 1 septillion), but in part because the mere idea of billions of suns and consequent solar systems like our own is a patently impossible notion to comprehend. Contemplating god (as a bearded chap on a throne or some vague organizing “force) is water off a duck compared to the mental rearrangements required by the proposition that everyone alive and who has ever lived amounts to nothing more than a mote of cosmic dust. Now that’s hilarious.

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Post image for Beast in Show: William Hawkins and the Animal Spirit

On almost every painting by William Hawkins you will find his birthdate and place of birth (“William L. H. Hawkins Born K.Y. July 27, 1895” or some variant thereof) prominently marked in bold strokes across the bottom or along the side of the image. In some pieces, the signature’s display is ample and vigorous enough to vie with the subject matter for the viewer’s attention. The self-taught African American artist who lived most of his life in Columbus, Ohio, and whose work came to the attention of gallerists and collections in the mid-80s, felt no need to be shy about his authorship or his Kentucky origins. Vibrantly declamatory, the lettering is of a piece with Hawkins’ depiction of his subjects — animals (real and fantastical) and buildings: beasts and bricks alike appear as if shot through with electric current propelling them outside the frame.

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Post image for Single Point Perspective: Luigi Ghirri’s Sunsets Stripped

You walk to the end of the pier, drive to the canyon’s edge, or stroll down to the beach. Shading your eyes, you peer out across the water or valley to watch the bright disc slide like a gold coin into the horizon’s slot. Appreciative murmurs are heard as the sky darkens. Another end of day.

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