John Yau

Post image for Deborah Grant’s Archive of Real and Imagined Encounters

There is a lot to say about Deborah Grant’s installation at the Drawing Center, Christ You Know it Ain’t Easy!!, which was curated by Claire Gilman. What is so delicious about it is that at some point you will not be sure whether any of narratives you’ve applied to the work makes sense.

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Post image for Forensic Observer: The Recent Paintings of Josephine Halvorson

Josephine Halvorson transcribes the anonymous, weather-beaten traces left by those who might otherwise have left no other mark of their existence behind.

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GalleriesWeekend

Richard Baker Kicks Out the Jams

by John Yau on February 9, 2014

Post image for Richard Baker Kicks Out the Jams

For the past decade, Richard Baker has developed two distinct but related bodies of work, one in oil and the other in gouache: the oil paintings depict tabletops covered with all sorts of printed ephemera and bric-a-brac; the gouaches are of book covers and, more recently, record covers.

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Post image for Weekend Studio Visit: Albert Contreras in Santa Monica, California

Albert Contreras, who was born during Franklin Roosevelt’s first term as President, is a lean and cheerful man around eighty years old. He lives and works in a small apartment two blocks from the Pacific Ocean.

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Post image for A History Waiting To Be Written: Ed Clark’s High-Spirited, Abstract Paintings

David Hammons’ thoughtful curation of the exhibition, ‘Ed Clark: Big Bang’, currently at the Tilton Gallery helps establish a much needed context for an important artist of the New York School, who, now in his late 80s, continues to make boldly exuberant paintings.

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Post image for Weekend Studio Visit: Squeak Carnwath in Oakland, California

In July 2006, during a conversation we had in her studio, Squeak Carnwath made a series of statements that have stayed with me, beginning with: “I am a painting chauvinist.”

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Post image for How To Look Indifference in the Eye: New Work by Dan Douke

I am always dazzled by at least one work in a Dan Douke exhibition, and often more.

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Post image for Why Does Wayne Thiebaud Love Goop So Much?

SAN FRANCISCO — Wayne Thiebaud, whose exhibition Memory Mountains recently closed at the Paul Thiebaud Gallery in San Francisco, turns 94 this year. Consisting of nearly fifty paintings and drawings of mountains and mesas done between 1962 and 2013, this survey exhibition reveals another side of a painter best known for his impasto paintings of frosting-slathered cakes, thickly crusted pies and sticky pastries.

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GalleriesWeekend

Stephen Westfall’s Breakthrough

by John Yau on December 29, 2013

Post image for Stephen Westfall’s Breakthrough

I went to Stephen Westfall’s exhibition, Jesus and Bossa Nova, at Lennon, Weinberg (November 7, 2013–January 4, 2014) twice on the same day. The second time I walked through the gallery’s long narrow space verified my initial thought, which is that the layout of the exhibition could be read as a narrative that revealed Westfall’s movement from pattern and repetition to a far more complex and engaging compositional possibility.

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Post image for After All These Years: Richard Van Buren’s Work of the ’70s

You never know when a work of art might become part of your DNA, the visceral memory of which you carry around with you, even if you seldom have occasion to think about it.

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