Three months ago I attended a discussion at Hunter College called towards meaning in a plural painting world. The panel sought to examine today’s multiplicity of painting styles and determine if this is a positive or dilutive development for painting’s meaning as a whole. Last Wednesday, the Pratt Institute took on similar subject matter with a panel titled “Painting Matters Now: a Conversation.”
Patrick Neal is a painter, freelance art writer and longtime resident of Long Island City. www.patrickneal-art.com.
The End of the World as We Know It
Radiator Arts continues to energize the Long Island City art community. Its mission of showcasing new and emerging artists and curators makes for a remarkably varied program from show to show, but the installations are always topical to a particular theme. Their new exhibit, curated by painter and writer Alan Lupiani, is a heady mix that will leave you ruminating about the state of the U.S. and the world at large. Titled So Real, a contraction of both social realism and Socialist Realism, the exhibit ponders the inherent paradoxes and unlikely commonalities of these two artistic realms.
Male Sexuality, Recast in Retro Surroundings #NSFW
Next to Baruch College on East 25th street is the intriguing red-lit entrance of The Carlton Arms Hotel. The check-in desk sits in a foyer that is a feat of spectacular kitsch excess — think the Scharf Shack and Pewee’s Playhouse rolled into one. The hotel, which has the zany energy and personality of a youth hostel, has opened two of its rooms for a small photography exhibit of Aneta Bartos’s work.
Enduring Meaning in an Old Medium
Despite cold, rainy weather, a large audience turned out for “… towards meaning in a plural painting world,” a panel discussion moderated by Katy Siegel at Hunter College’s MFA building. The room was filled with young artists and MFA candidates eager to participate, and the place swelled to standing room only. Siegel explained that the modus operandi for the evening was driven by questions from and conversations had with students, and that it was only necessary to cross the hall or walk downstairs to view artwork from the Hunter MFA Thesis Fall 2012 exhibition.
The Power of the Archive
Once acquainted with the work of the conceptualist, Dylan Stone, one becomes drawn into the world of his art-making. In different projects, he has revisited some of the same interests, including the cataloging and documentation of books, urban architecture, and streets. His work often considers the past, including his own biographical events as well as the happenings of more distant centuries. He seems equally interested in methods of taxonomy as in the libraries and museums that make that process their business.
A Playful Take on Modernism’s Austerities
As a painting major in Albany, New York during the late 1980s, it was easy to sprint a few blocks from the art department over to the Nelson Rockefeller Art Collection to grab some inspiration from museum-quality art. Nostalgia for the collection’s treasure trove of modernist work came to mind while taking in Christian Maychack’s latest exhibit at Jeff Bailey, being that so much of his work, to my eye, playfully sends up or gently skewers high modernism.
The Fear of Making Art
When Amazon recommends literary selections I might be interested in, I usually do a quick scan of the offerings, decide I can’t afford to splurge on assorted art books and delete the email. But once in a while something catches my eye. Not too long ago, among the artist bios, museum catalogs and critical anthologies, I noticed what looked like a slim, little volume with a title so provocative, weird and unsettling, I needed to know more.
Forms of Life: Breathing New Life into Traditional Genres
Radiator Gallery’s From Life is a savvy exploration of how new technologies, current events and aesthetic concerns can breathe new life into traditional genres.
David Hockney Returns Home
Bruno Wollheim’s David Hockney: A Bigger Picture is a much more straightforward account than Jack Hazan’s 1974 movie A Bigger Splash. It brings Hockney’s life full circle — the earlier film followed the artist’s move from London to Los Angeles while Wollheim’s film deals with Hockney’s return many years later to his childhood stomping grounds of East Yorkshire.
East Meets West at New West Side Manhattan Gallery
The experience of visiting the new SBM Gallery in what was once the nether regions of Manhattan’s West Side is disorienting in all the right ways.
New Long Island City Gallery Combines Brooklyn DIY with UES Posh
The Jeffrey Leder Gallery has reopened in Long Island City in a charming two-story brownstone building on a tree-lined street not far away from the Sculpture Center and PS1. The space is a nice alternative to the white cubes of Chelsea and captures a bit of the DIY sensibility of some of the apartment galleries of Brooklyn or the East Village. The third exhibition here utilizes both floors with the work of two strong painters who complement one another; Charles Marburg’s abstractions on the parlor floor and Violet Baxter’s representational work on the top floor.