John Yau

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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Post image for Greg Smith’s Amazing Eleven-Minute Road Trip

From Ulysses and Arjuna to Sir Galahad, Fletcher Christian and his fellow mutineers, Jack Kerouac and, more recently, Greg Smith, the quest (or road trip) for redemption, transformation, utopia, or just some very good peach-and-banana ice cream is a theme that spans world culture, from great literature to bad movies, with lots of stops in-between.

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Post image for The Beauty of Howardena Pindell’s Rage

As much as Howardena Pindell’s unstretched paintings and drawings share something with the Pattern and Decoration movement, or with monochromatic abstraction, color field painting, all-over painting, fiber art, the counting work of Roman Opalka, and the spot paintings of Larry Poons, what elevates them above all of these aesthetic and stylistic connections is her subtle infusion of a deep and palpable rage.

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Post image for Julian Schnabel’s Formula for Greatness

Since Julian Schnabel first gained attention with his broken plate paintings in the 1980s, he has been predisposed to working on found surfaces – animal skins, velvet, corduroy, sail cloth, tarpaulins, canvas flooring from boxing rings, wallpaper, navigation maps, flags, Kabuki theater backdrops, and photosensitive canvases – which help disguise the fact that he can’t draw in paint and doesn’t really have much feel for paint’s potentiality.

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Post image for For Peter Dreher, Every Day Is a Good Day

Peter Dreher was born in Mannheim, Germany, in 1932, the same year as his fellow countryman, Gerhard Richter. Like Richter, Dreher was an adolescent by the war’s end, an inheritor of an unwanted legacy, which haunts his work to this day. At the same time, Dreher might be seen as the antithesis of Richter, who began his career painting in a photorealist style, though this doesn’t tell the whole story.

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Post image for Weekend Studio Visit: Leslie Baum in Logan Square, Chicago

CHICAGO –– I first saw Leslie Baum’s work in a sprawling group show, My Crippled Friend, at the Canzani Center Gallery (October 11, 2013–January 10, 2014), the main exhibition space of Columbus College of Art and Design (Columbus, Ohio).

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