John Yau

Post image for Weekend Studio Visit: Louise Belcourt in Williamsburg, New York

Despite the hue and cry about zombie formalism, there is a lot of very good painting going on these days.

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Martin Puryear,

Recently, and rather unexpectedly, the term “negative capability,” which was coined by the poet John Keats, came to mind. Was this an outlandish association to make while looking at Martin Puryear’s debut exhibition at Matthew Marks?

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PoetryWeekend

Nicholas Moore, Touched by Poetic Genius

by John Yau on January 11, 2015

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Twenty-five years ago, Anthony Rudolf said it best in his “Preface” to the second edition of Nicholas Moore’s Spleen (1990): “The neglect of Nicholas Moore, a complex, many-sided, mysterious and disturbing poet is, well, a complex, many-sided, mysterious and disturbing phenomenon.”

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BooksWeekend

Anselm Berrigan’s Ambivalence about Words

by John Yau on January 4, 2015

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I am going to start with a “Note for poems” that Anselm Berrigan wrote about his most recent book, Pregrets.

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GalleriesWeekend

The Wonderful World of Rudy Burckhardt

by John Yau on December 28, 2014

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When it comes to the artistic community of New York City, especially from the late-1930s to the end of the 20th century, I can think of many writers, photographers, and artists who readily qualify as flâneur, but there is only who matched Charles Baudelaire’s description of the “passionate spectator.”

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MuseumsWeekend

Cy Twombly’s Remarkable Treatise

by John Yau on December 21, 2014

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A drawing/collage that Cy Twombly made on May 27, 1970, includes three disparate objects: a reproduction of his large, multi-panel painting, “Treatise on the Veil” (1968); a sheet of paper whose dimensions echoed the reproduction, with vertical creases made by folding; and another sheet containing his handwritten signature and the phrase “Study for Veil,” along with the stamped date and the number 3 written inside a stamp containing the artist’s name.

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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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