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Posted inArt

Wayne Thiebaud and the Limits of Gluttony

I was lucky enough to see Wayne Thiebaud: 70 Years of Painting at the San Jose Museum of Art (February 27–July 4, 2010) and write about it for The Brooklyn Rail (July–August 2010). As with that exhibition, many of the works now on view at the Aquavella Galleries’ posh, mirrored townhouse on Manhattan’s 79th Street (the artist’s first show there), a few blocks north of the Whitney Museum of American Art, came from the Thiebaud Family Collection, the artist’s studio, museums and private collections. Evidently, only a handful of the more than eighty works are for sale. On the day that I went to the gallery a man came in and asked the woman at the front desk for a price list because his wife had told him to “buy her something for Christmas.” This might bother some people, but some of those same people probably don’t see any problem with how much money reality stars spend on their underwear.

Posted inArt

Neither Here Nor There

Well known for working on very large sheets of wax-coated paper for the past twenty years, Toba Khedoori’s recent easel-sized oil painting will come as a surprise. In fact, the largest painting in her recent exhibition was around four-and-a-half feet by three feet, which is hardly monumental. To give you an idea of how much she has downsized for this exhibition, a work on paper in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art, New York, dating from 1997, is seven-and-a-half feet by nearly ten feet. And the MoMA drawing is small for Khedoori, who first gained national and international attention for works on paper that are twenty or more feet in width.

Posted inArt

Closely Watched Trains: Josephine Halvorson and Charles Demuth

A studio visit prompted these thoughts about Josephine Halvorson’s paintings, which Nancy Princenthal has characterized as “resolutely airless and mute.”

Halvorson depicts close-up views of largely flat surfaces, often with a rectangle framed within the painting’s rectangle. In addition to conveying little depth, the surfaces usually contain a space we cannot see into, or they feature a closed door or doors. These tensions inflect our experience of the artist’s work, with its slow dance between the visible and the hidden, and between sight and touch. She seems to want the viewer to smell her objects as much as see them, to become familiar with the scarred and punctured surface (or skin) of their silent “faces.” For her, painting isn’t confined to sight. She lives in a world of things, not images – a three-dimensional realm far removed from the flattened realm of popular culture and the mass media.

Posted inArt

GO Crown Heights: Away from the Hype

I’m skeptical of crowd-curating and crowd-sourced art-prize voting. I’ve written about it here on Hyperallergic. Still, as the date approached, I found myself really excited about this past weekend’s GO open studios event, organized by the Brooklyn Museum — not because I wanted to vote for who would win a show at the museum (I’m not voting), but because I wanted a chance to meet artists in the neighborhood where I live, Crown Heights.