“I used to think art was an escape from the grind of daily life, but this work tells me it might be more of an inoculation — pieces of the world absorbed in small amounts so we can go out and live in it.”
The artists in Slab City Rendezvous influenced, nurtured, collaborated with, and painted one another, merging into one big happy family.
Just because most museums in America are still asleep at the wheel, it doesn’t mean all is lost.
It is not every day that you can go to Chelsea and see more than 100 paintings by 46 artists within the space of a few blocks.
What the exhibition of Drummond and Dodd proves is that the art world was more diverse in the 1960s than has been told.
It is the beginning of a new year and for some reason I have been thinking about flower paintings — perhaps prompted by the flower paintings that Edouard Manet made while he was dying.
In 1952, Lois Dodd, along with four other artists, started the Tanager Gallery on East Fourth Street, near the Bowery, one of the first artist-run cooperative galleries in New York.
Lois Dodd has lived in a loft-studio on Second Street near the Bowery for over fifty years. When visiting her, one is struck by the independence of her lifestyle, as well as her work.
In recent weeks, I have written about what I have defined as a grown-up painter, as opposed to what I called “the latest manifestation of a male adolescent painter, a clichéd archetype that gained traction in the Neo-Expressionist ‘80s, with the rise of Julian Schnabel, and has not been thrown over because lots of people still find this sort of chest thumping entertaining.”
While touring a few of the many small exhibition spaces scattered throughout the city, I was pleasantly reminded that painting requires neither heroic-sized canvases nor the prestige of whitewashed airplane hangars to succeed as significant art.
Steven Harvey Fine Art Projects is a long and narrow space, somewhere between a bowling alley and a railroad apartment, on the Lower East Side. It is within this rather confined space that Marshall Price, curator at the uptown National Academy of Art, installed eleven paintings by artists committed to working from observation. Chronologically, the artists span five decades (or generations), with Lois Dodd and Lennart Anderson, born respectively in 1927 and 1928, being the oldest. The youngest include Gideon Bok, Anna Hostvedt, Sangram Majumdar and Cindy Tower, with Bok and Tower born in the 1960s, and Hostevedt and Majumdar born in the 1970s. The other artists are Susanna Coffey, Rackstraw Downes, Stanley Lewis, Catherine Murphy, and Sylvia Plimack Mangold, who were born between 1938 and 1949. Together, these artists — a number of whom have been influential teachers — suggest that observational painting is a vigorous, various, and imaginative enterprise that continues to fly under the radar.
I was at Catching the Light, Lois Dodd’s retrospective at the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, the August day I got the news that critic Robert Hughes had passed away at Calvary Hospital in the Bronx, New York. For many, myself included, Hughes’s prose did for art criticism what Shakespeare did for the stage. Hughes was sound and fury, speaking in a booming voice while just barely opening his mouth.