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Posted inArt

First Look: George Condo Unveiled at New Museum

At a preview of the New Museum’s George Condo retrospective, I was struck by the painter’s relentless engagement with all sorts of art historical genres, from Baroque portraiture to abstract expressionism and back again. Here’s a photo essay covering the entire Condo exhibition, from the salon style portrait start to the abstract expressionist finish.

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Joe Zucker’s Mosaics Show the Classical Still Ain’t Dead

Joe Zucker’s solo exhibition A Unified Theory at not one, but two Mary Boone gallery outposts is an affair that stretches from day-glo exuberance to quiet, eloquent historicism. In the gallery’s 24th street space, an exhibition of mosaic works on gypsum sees Zucker breaking down the representational plane into its basic elements. The grids of tinted squares, scratched into stone, come together to form figurative depictions of sailboats and architectural atria. Equally at home in the context of 8-bit pixel culture or Chuck Close’s gridded painting constructions, Zucker’s mosaics engage abstraction without losing an interest in transcendent beauty and joy in artistic materials.

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Thoughts & Photos from the 2011 Maximum Perception Performance Festival

Liveblogging performance art is a little like tweeting a dentist appointment. You go in with some anxiety about the experience, and in the case of the former, you wonder how you will be able to capture all of what you are experiencing but also remain in the moment and engaged even though your mind can wander, distracted by noises, conversations, your own thoughts, and interruptions. When you’re liveblogging you can’t look away, not even if the performer cuts their hand (happened last time and she needed 20 stitches), or pulls out a hypodermic to inject some clear liquid into their cheek (happened this time, thanks Zhennesse). It is an imperfect thing, liveblogging, but I will say it is an exhilarating way to experience performance art.

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Deborah Brown’s Writes Postindustrial Poetry at Lesley Heller

Last Wednesday the Lesley Heller Workspace in the Lower East Side, opened The Bushwick Paintings, a new group of work by Deborah Brown. The gallery was packed, teeming with people and vibrant paintings.

Brown has been painting urbanscapes for quite some time. Fascinated by the world in which we live our everyday lives, she points out the poetic beauty of the ordinary; antennas, sneakers hanging on overhead wires, lamp posts, and fences are no longer invisible elements of the city, but the main characters in her scenes.

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How the VIP Art Fair Innovates Online Art Viewing (and Buying)

When the VIP (Viewing in Private) Art Fair kicks off this Saturday January 22, there won’t be mad dash of collectors behind the gates, ready to snap up any work on view. The only crush might be an overloaded server or a long login time as patrons struggle to sign in. VIP marks the first digital-only commercial art fair: prospective buyers will simply visit the fair’s website and virtually peruse galleries’ wares for the event’s duration, through January 30. Founded by James Cohan Gallery, directed by Noah Horowitz and Stephanie Schumann and featuring 138 galleries from 80 different countries, of every magnitude from Marianne Boesky to Winkleman Gallery, the VIP Art Fair is a uniquely expansive event. But it’s also not as different as it initially appears.

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Jennifer Bartlett’s Building Blocks of Art

Jennifer Bartlett’s latest exhibition Recitative at Pace Gallery shows the artist continually breaking down and rebuilding the base particles of art. In the enormous, open gallery installation, enamel-coated steel tiles spaced in rising and falling grids line the exterior walls. Each square holds its own combination of disparate elements of art, remixing line, shape, color and texture into an infinity of combinations. This central installation, “Recitative” (2009-10), is Bartlett’s longest painting composition ever at 158 feet. What at first appears to be a gallery-size abstraction coalesces into a didactic walk-through of art at the atomic level and a joyful celebration of what it means to make a purposeful artistic mark.

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Reflections on 2011 Maximum Perception

Maximum Perception was one thing first and foremost: a lot of fun. As a coming together of performance artists, the crowd at the English Kills event packed the gallery on both evenings, with a noticeable overlap between nights, as well as between performers and spectators. Artists helped fellow participants set up, carry out and document their performances, spectators got in on the action once in a while and Hyperallergic editor Hrag Vartanian, myself and Daniel Larkin attempted to document the whole thing live, an experiment in itself. The vantage from our little blogging table wasn’t ideal, but thankfully I was in a pretty good place to see most performances. Here are my thoughts, five days later, on this year’s Maximum Perception.

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Brooklyn Museum’s New Acquisition Shines Light on Unlikely 18th C Racial Revolutionary

The Brooklyn Museum has an extensive collection of Spanish Colonial painting, but the institution’s relatively new curator of European art Richard Aste knew the museum lacked the same depth in their British colonial works. Recently, Brooklyn’s premiere fine art institution announced the acquisition of a new work by Agostino Brunias, “Free Women of Color with their Children and Servants in a Landscape” (ca. 1764-1796), which will partially fill that gap but there is something else about the painting that makes it interesting to the contemporary viewer, namely its multicultural subjects.

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Austin Thomas Hosts ‘Hippie Potluck’ at Hyperallergic HQ, Mon Jan 24

On Monday, January 24, starting at 7pm, Austin Thomas will be hosting an informal “Hippie Potluck” at Hyperallergic HQ and we’re calling it “Covered Dishes & Current Affairs.”

Attendees are invited to bring a covered dish for the potluck and join in the roundtable discussion about issues of importance to New York’s vibrant art community, which consists of artists, critics, curators, bloggers, writers, collectors, gallerists, art handlers, hanger-on’ers, groupies, and fans.

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Collectionof Brings Private Stashes to Public View

We’ve all wished we could break into an art collector’s house at times, just to take a look at the wealth of objects out of the public eye. Aside from being awesome aggregations of unique things, collections also communicate something about a person, their aesthetic tastes and their own preferences. Collectionof is a new website that brings the private stashes of some cultural figures to public view. Here, you can check out artist Cory Arcangel’s magazine choices or Brooklyn musician C. Spencer Yeh’s CD rack. Of course, some of it’s for sale, too.

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Making Fun of Minimalism in Two Chelsea Galleries, Pt. 2

From the frothing press release for Haymaker, expectations may be running a little high for these five young artists to mount a full scale assault on the Chelsea firmament. Set up as a reaction to the Pop-driven, ever-quickening pace of the art market and the commodifying of art and the artist, Haymaker’s participants all take the market’s demand for fresh, bright, shiny objects head on, creating works that are eminently consumable. But running under the veneer of consumability is a cynicism and sarcasm that pokes fun at art market systems while still participating in them. This is no revolution, it’s a subversion.

Posted inArt

Making Fun of Minimalism in Two Chelsea Galleries, Pt. 1

Could it be that the slick surfaces and lustrous finish fetish of high minimalism isn’t exactly suitable for the current atmosphere of economic austerity measures? Along with the painful recession consequences of mass job loss, gallery closings and the bloody fight over British arts funding cuts has come a suspicion of entities too big to fail: the black boxes of big banks and even bigger corporations. Taking this to the art world, I’ve been noticing an artistic suspicion of the hermetic perfection so glorified by minimalists like Donald Judd and Anne Truitt. Two current Chelsea exhibitions show artists taking down modernism and minimalism’s cold self-seriousness with the movement’s own weapons. In this first installment, check out Yuichi Higashionna’s Fluorescent at Marianne Boesky Gallery.