John Yau


Marilyn Chin: Poet, Translator, Provocateur

by John Yau on July 27, 2014

Marilyn Chin (2007)

A few weeks ago, on Centre Street–just north of Canal, the longtime boundary between Chinatown and the rest of Manhattan–I was on a panel, Re-imagining Asian American (and American) Poetry, at the Museum of Chinese in America (MoCA).

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John Willenbecher

John Willenbecher tells me that his recent paintings are about “connecting the dots.” One of his lifelong interests has been the night sky – abstraction in nature – which he traces to his childhood interest in astronomy while growing up in eastern Pennsylvania.

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Post image for Ed Paschke’s Portraits of Brooding and Tortured Souls

Ed Paschke (1939-2004), who is considered a Chicago Imagist, is one of the important painters to emerge from America’s heartland in the late 1960s that New York has never fully embraced. One reason for this resistance is his lifelong interest in misfits and the creepy flipside of celebrity, which implicitly critiqued Andy Warhol’s love affair with pop idols and glamour.

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Post image for China’s Buried Past and Submerged Future: Patty Chang and David Kelley’s ‘Flotsam Jetsam’

In the opening moments of the film, Flotsam Jetsam (2007) by Patty Chang and David Kelley, currently playing at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, a bridge-like structure is seen in the distance, partially traversing what seems to be a wide river.

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Post image for Postscript to the Whitney Biennial: An Asian-American Perspective

Now that the Whitney Biennial is finally over, did anyone notice that Patty Chang, Nikki S. Lee, and Laurel Nakadate weren’t included, just to mention three mid-career, Asian-American women artists who were conspicuously absent?

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Post image for Sigmar Polke’s Sad, Sinister Little Movie of a Monkey and a Bear

A little more than a week after sitting on a short, narrow bench and watching a video projection of Sigmar Polke’s 34:38-minute 16mm film, “Quetta’s Hazy Blue Sky (Quetta’s blauer dunstiger Himmel)/ Afghanistan-Pakistan” (c. 1974-76), I returned to the exhibition, Alibis: Sigmar Polke 1963-2010, currently at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, determined to watch the same film again.

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Post image for Joyce Robins’s Subtly Colored, Imageless Objects

In an interview that appeared last month in The Brooklyn Rail, Joyce Robins, while addressing the relationship between abstraction and representation, pointed out: “’Vly’ is a Dutch word for swamp.”

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Post image for Single Point Perspective: An Arcadian Moment in the Heart of New York’s Lower East Side

For anyone interested in poetry (not the same as verse); underknown art and artists; the artists and poets of the New York School after the death of Franz Kline and Frank O’Hara; collaboration; collage; a do-it-yourself spirit; the Lower East Side (particularly from the late 1960s until the late ‘80s, decades before it was gentrified); and the persistence of bohemian life, despite all the efforts to stamp it out, the exhibition A Painter and His Poets: The Art of George Schneeman, thoughtfully curated by Bill Berkson and Ron Padgett at Poets House, is a must-see.

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Post image for With Mouths Wide Open: Guy Goodwin’s America

In her glowing review of Guy Goodwin’s previous exhibition at Brennan & Griffin, which appeared in the New York Times on March 8, 2012, Roberta Smith suggested that Goodwin belonged to the “tradition of raucous American abstraction,” which began with “Stuart Davis and George Sugarman.”

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Post image for Lethal Consumption and Silenced Clarinets

FERNDALE, MI – Often placing his work along the periphery of an exhibition space, Michael E. Smith turns the boundaries between his work and its architectural setting into a porous membrane.

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