Thomas Micchelli

Post image for Points of Contact: Small Works, Giant Steps

The Age of Small Things, a group show organized by the painter Chuck Webster, fills the ground floor of the Lower East Side’s Dodge Gallery, where the singular touch of the artist-curator has recast a parade of diminutive objects into an unpredictable unfolding of processes and ideas.

Continue Reading →
Post image for All of the Above: Lori Ellison’s Dazzling Humility

Lori Ellison’s incremental, interdependent shapes well up across the surface of a page or panel, their rhythmic patterns at once contained and unmanageable.

Continue Reading →
Post image for Final Ascent: Joseph Beuys and the Languages of Art

Mention Joseph Beuys’ name and the usual iconic gestures come to mind. But if you dig beneath the surface, even a little, you’ll discover how ultimately alien his art really is.

Continue Reading →
Post image for Undiscovered Territory: Will Horwitt’s Objects in Space

In 1965, when Will Horwitt was 31, the world was opening up for him. He won a Guggenheim Fellowship in sculpture, followed three years later by a Tiffany Purchase Grant. His work was beginning to attract the attention of heavyweight collectors and eventually it found its way into such major public collections as the Guggenheim, Hirshhorn, Albright Knox and Yale. By 1985 he was dead of lymphoma.

Continue Reading →
Post image for At Play in the Fields of Paint: Russell Tyler’s “Analogue Future”

There’s something about Russell Tyler’s new paintings that just shouldn’t work. Elements reappear, with minor adjustments, from canvas to canvas, suggesting that the artist assembled his compositions according to a set of rules instead of entering each new process free of preconceptions. And yet, despite their apparently imposed uniformity, or perhaps because of it, the paintings do work, and for the most part they work splendidly.

Continue Reading →
Post image for What Does It Mean to Be a Cultural Disrupter?

Coverage of the visual arts in the New York Times hit a new low last weekend in its Arts & Leisure feature, “The Disrupters,” a roundup of interviews with “people who broke the rules” during 2013, “a year of cultural upheaval.”

Continue Reading →

EssaysWeekend

The Pursuit of Art, 2013

by Thomas Micchelli on December 28, 2013

Post image for The Pursuit of Art, 2013

Memories fade. That’s the one good reason, as far as I can see, to compile an end-of-year list. It’s sometimes startling to retrace what attracted my attention over the course of a year; it is also instructive to determine where such a miscellany of shows fits in with ongoing areas of interest, and which ones, in hindsight, merited the time it took to review them.

Continue Reading →
Post image for Paintings in the Interzone: More from the Corridors of MoMA

Last year I wrote an article called “What You Might Be Missing at MoMA,” which discussed the paintings exiled to the corridors of the Museum of Modern Art’s fourth and fifth floors.

Continue Reading →
Post image for Single Point Perspective: Paweł Althamer’s Grass-Fed Surrealism

Inside the second floor galleries housing the contemporary collection of the Museum of Modern Art, a sculpture called “Bruno” (1998–2012) stands in quiet command of the room. Made primarily of grass and cow intestines, its materials transform the human body into a mediation on mortality via the digestive tract.

Continue Reading →
Post image for Painting, Perception, and the Emphatically Handmade

The recent resurgence of interest in contemporary painting has posited the unique object — especially the handcrafted, the slapped-together, and the aggressively tactile — as yin to neo-conceptualism’s yang, a raggedy-edged refutation of the factory-finished, the reproducible, and the overly cerebral.

Continue Reading →