Posted inArt

Pat Steir and the Properties of Paint

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.

Posted inArt

The Gentle Tension of Abstraction

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.

Posted inArt

America’s Grand Gestures Reign Supreme Again in Basel

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.

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Painting at the Speed of Sight: Franz Kline’s Rapid Transit

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.

Posted inOpinion

Post-Office Worker Befuddled by Abstract Expressionism

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.

Posted inArt

A Wanderer Among the Rubble (Part 1)

Jocelyn once described her husband, Gandy Brodie (1924–1975) as a “delinquent Hebrew student.” In the novel Life on Sandpaper (Dalkey Archive Press, 2011), the Israeli novelist and painter Yoram Kaniuk writes about the time he and Gandy hung out together in New York, befriending Lenny Tristano and Charlie Parker, as well as Willem de Kooning and Tennessee Williams.

Posted inArt

3 iPad Apps Recreate the Museum Experience…Almost

MANILA, Philippines — Over the past few months, I’ve watched with envy as stunning museum shows have gone up in my old haunts in Los Angeles and New York. Thankfully, in recent months three museums have released exhibition-related apps for the iPad and iPhone. To see how they stack up, I reviewed three apps (CA Design HD at LACMA, AB EX at MoMA, Cattelan at Guggenheim) in their iPad incarnations. Here are my thoughts.

Posted inArt

Dear MoMA, Don’t Tease Me

So … by now we are all familiar with the critical fanfare surrounding MoMA’s de Kooning retrospective. Jerry Saltz is a big fan of the exhibition, Peter Schjeldahl thought it was awesome, Tyler Green keeps writing about it, even MSNBC covered the opening. I’m going to go ahead and agree with the common wisdom on the show. The exhibition, which is organized chronologically, takes the artists career as a whole, for better or worst. Apart from a slightly out of place wall of abstractions from the 1930s in the first room (small and gemlike) the whole show flowed intuitively and easily from development to development.