The dream of a completely immersive visual experience haunts modern art. The most famous example in painting, Monet’s Waterlilies installation, dedicated in Paris’s Orangerie in 1927, has behind it a rich history of popular entertainment: the panorama, invented in the late eighteenth century and a mass entertainment medium in nineteenth-century Paris; similar productions elsewhere include the immense Civil War cycloramas produced in the U.S. before 1900.
Some things are simply better said in emoji …
At David Zwirner gallery right now, you can see an entire room of Ad Reinhardt’s black paintings. It’s the first chance to do so in New York since 1991. But you can also see work for which the artist is lesser known — in particular, his cartoons.
David Zwirner is currently showing solo exhibitions of Raymond Pettibon and Philip-Lorca diCorcia in his West 19th Street galleries. On the surface, Pettibon and diCorcia do not have much in common: the former creates punk noir drawings; the latter makes engaging photographs that dance between fact and fiction. They’re the Felix and Oscar of the art world. Here, Pettibon swings and misses; DiCorcia, by contrast, hits a home run.
I still remember the ripples of titillation — occasionally marked by muffled, satisfied guffaws — that spread predictably through the art world when Jeff Koons first exhibited his shiny white and gold porcelain sculpture, “Michael Jackson and Bubbles” (1988) at Sonnabend in 1989. The sculpture was part of the series, Banality, which became a definitive step toward garnering the kind of attention Koons has always craved.
“It is rather inspiring,” writes Peter Schjeldahl in the New York Times, “that in an hour of political crisis this art (despite its makers’ eschewal of revolutionary postures) has arisen to make possible a project like 112 Greene Street.” The year is 1970. The place is Soho, until recently known as the South Houston Industrial District. Here an unemployed artist can buy a six-story cast-iron ex-rag-picking warehouse, and huge chunks of sheet-zinc cornice can lie abandoned on the sidewalk at a demolition site until another artist bribes the garbage men to drive them to his studio.
Michaël Borremans’s The Devil’s Dress, and Neo Rauch’s Heilstätten grapple with the human figure and landscapes in contemporary painting. Both artists provide inscrutable visions of humanity, but differ in approach and aesthetic. Where Borremans seems to use a scalpel to paint, Rauch uses a shovel. Borreman is Felix to Rauch’s Oscar.
Lisa Yuskavage and Nicola Tyson have solo shows three blocks from another in Manhattan’s Chelsea art-borhood. Both focus on the appearance of the figure and how it responds to or appears in certain situations, both real and imagined. The results could not be more different.
Walking through Yutaka Sone’s Islands exhibition at David Zwirner Gallery, I was reminded of a Victorian greenhouse. If the artist, judging by his interviews, seems to feel his work is postmodern, it appears suprisingly pre-modern to me as the objects feel precious and exotic, like the remnants of some ancient civilization or tribe.
Up until now most of the discontent being expressed in the art world has emanated from artists who were the first to feel the impact of the recession and critics who see the art world and the art market being conflated as being a bad thing … but now collectors and galleries are starting to vent.