John Yau

EssaysWeekend

Some Follow-up Thoughts on Michael Mazur (1935–2009)

by John Yau on December 14, 2014

Michael Mazur,

In the catalogue accompanying the exhibition, Looking East: Brice Marden, Michael Mazur, Pat Steir, at the Boston University Art Gallery, John Stromberg opens his essay, “Michael Mazur: A Delicate Balance” with this sentence: “Michael Mazur’s path to his recent paintings based on Chinese art has been less than linear.” Couldn’t this observation have also been made about Marden and Steir?

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EssaysWeekend

Can I Be a Witness?

by John Yau on December 7, 2014

Michael Mazur,

I have been thinking about the difficulty of characterizing Michael Mazur in part because, while he became highly celebrated as a printmaker, his paintings have never received nearly the same attention. Once a label is attached, it takes years to remove it.

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GalleriesWeekend

Jasper Johns Refuses to Play by the Book

by John Yau on November 30, 2014

Jasper Johns,

Currently on view in the exhibition Jasper Johns: Sculptures and Related Paintings 1957–1970 at Craig F. Starr is “Book” (1957), a work I suspect many people either don’t know about or are not likely to have seen, even in reproduction.

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EssaysWeekend

Gladys Nilsson’s Portraits of Everywoman

by John Yau on November 23, 2014

Gladys Nilsson,

There is something wonderfully incongruous and deeply disquieting about Gladys Nilsson’s art, which is primarily done in the medium of watercolor.

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Post image for Some Thoughts About Richard Serra and Martin Puryear (Part 2: Puryear)

Like Serra, Puryear went to Yale’s famed M.F.A. program (1969-71), but he attended five years after Serra had graduated. In fact, Serra and Robert Morris were visiting artists while he was a student there.

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Richard Serra, “Inside Out” (exterior view) (2013)

It is easy to forget that Richard Serra (b.1939) and Martin Puryear (b.1941) were born only two years apart. The different relationships that they developed toward craft and materials makes it all too easy to overlook that they are nearly contemporaries.

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PoetryWeekend

Why I Am a Member of the Lee Harwood Fan Club

by John Yau on November 9, 2014

Post image for Why I Am a Member of the Lee Harwood Fan Club

Mark Ford’s blurb on the back of Lee Harwood’s most recent book of poetry, The Orchid Boat (London, Enitharmon, 2014), inspired me to look up the original review from which it was quoted.

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EssaysWeekend

Catherine Murphy Looks Ahead

by John Yau on November 2, 2014

Catherine Murphy,

Catherine Murphy calls herself “an observational painter,” but that modest self-characterization tells only part of what she has been up to for the past twenty years.

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PoetryWeekend

The Beauty of Christopher Middleton’s Prose

by John Yau on October 26, 2014

Post image for The Beauty of Christopher Middleton’s Prose

A few years ago, in an essay called “Why I am a Member of the Christopher Middleton Fan Club,” I stated the need for “a selected prose that brings together all the different kinds of writing he has done.” Loose Cannons: Selected Prose, which includes an insightful foreword by one of Middleton’s most vocal and articulate champions, August Kleinzahler, is pretty close to the book I had in mind.

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Post image for Against Despotic Forms of Perfection: Jane Corrigan’s New Paintings

The focus of Jane Corrigan’s first solo show at Kerry Schuss is young female athletes who, by virtue of their age – they are adolescents – are likely to be undergoing biological changes as well.

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