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Posted inArt

Lois Dodd’s Paintings of the Ephemeral

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.”

Posted inArt

Can I Get a Witness? Working from Observation

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.

Posted inArt

The Poetic Grit of a Landscape Painter and an Outspoken Critic

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.