In terms of freewheeling, soul-bearing angst, Abstract Expressionism might once seemed to have had the final word.
Joyce Pensato is best known for her stark, large-scale paintings of cartoon characters and in particular for her series of Batman paintings that depict the cape crusader’s iconic mask using splashy skeins of black and white paint.
ST. PAUL, Minn. — Modern Spirit: The Art of George Morrison, now on view at the Minnesota History Center in Saint Paul, Minnesota, is a disarmingly beautiful exhibition.
In our times, the sincerity and passion of Ab-Ex look pretty good again, especially when the formal strengths of the work add up to more than just stylistic adventuring. Elizabeth Harris Gallery’s current show is a case in point.
Pat Steir cut her teeth in the 1970s and went on to become part of the fabric of the New York art world. From her quasi-conceptual paintings of that decade to the Waterfall paintings of the late ’80s, Steir has long been something of a ubiquitous presence — but, like many of her generation, she also hasn’t received the due she deserves.
LOS ANGELES — Time slows within the work of Spanish painter Juan Usle. Though he fits stylistically within the realm of Abstract Expressionism, he shows us again that not all brush strokes need to jump off the canvas, as if caught in a nervous seizure, that there is something to be said for pace, time, and pausing to hear one’s own rhythm.
BASEL, Switzerland — Fifty-five years ago, the exhibition The New American Painting arrived at the Kunsthalle Basel. It was the first stop on a yearlong tour that touted the work of seventeen Abstract Expressionists before eight European countries — the first comprehensive exhibition to be sent to Europe showing the advanced tendencies in American painting. All but five of the original artists from the show had work on view at last weekend’s Art Basel, where postwar American painting and sculpture dominated the halls.
Artist and editor Robert Motherwell proclaimed that of all the painters of his generation, Fritz Bultman was “the one [most] drastically and shockingly underrated.” A survey of his paintings is now on view.
On leaving the recently closed exhibition, Franz Kline: Coal and Steel at Baruch College’s Sidney Mishkin Gallery, I wasn’t thinking of the remarkable range of work on display. Instead, I kept dwelling on a small ink painting doubly named by Kline “Untitled-Locomotive” (ca. 1945-1947). It was one of a series of very small works with a private warmth that called to mind Van Gogh’s letter sketches. But that wasn’t the only reason why I remembered it.
Jackson Pollock and John Cage are legends in American history. In the centennial year of both artists’ births, two exhibitions now on view in New York celebrate their work and underline the fact that even after their deaths, their influence continues to play an important role in how we understand, interpret, and even make art today.
You might assume that when a person or an image has made it onto a US postal stamp, it’s gained mainstream approbation. The stamp might even spread that acceptance and influence, making more people aware of the subject. I’m inclined to agree. But this morning Hyperallergic marketing associate Kara Romano discovered the hard way that even though the Abstract Expressionist got their own batch of stamps two and a half years, not everyone knows who they are. Not even some postal workers.
CHICAGO — Of all the museums in Chicago, the one that keeps surprising me and making me go back is the Museum of Contemporary Art.