When Ray Johnson killed himself at the age of 67, the air of mystery surrounding his personality, life, and art only thickened.
Ray Johnson’s exhibition at Matthew Marks is proof that the eccentric collage and mail artist’s works were never meant for gallery walls.
This list barely scratches the surface of the city’s artistic offerings this year, from overdue retrospectives to surprising sides of artists we know well.
I want to focus on Jasper Johns’s three recent monotypes based on a Vietnam-era photograph of an emotionally shattered soldier, which are included in Jasper Johns: Monotypes at Matthew Marks.
Perhaps we have all been reading his work too narrowly since his first show at Leo Castelli, more than a half-century ago.
Occasionally, we are forced to venture beyond Brooklyn to see art.
Life-size knit body suits mingle with painted metal lawn chairs, plastic purses, and rows of zines and ephemera in the summer show at Matthew Marks Gallery, What Nerve!, which gathers the work of four outlying postwar art groups in the United States.
In 1968, Suellen Rocca, the artist who painted “Purse Curse,” was a member of the Hairy Who, a group of six artists who exhibited under that moniker from 1966 to 1969 in Chicago, San Francisco, New York and Washington, D.C.
Recently, and rather unexpectedly, the term “negative capability,” which was coined by the poet John Keats, came to mind. Was this an outlandish association to make while looking at Martin Puryear’s debut exhibition at Matthew Marks?
What these forms do first and foremost is force us to look. They encourage us to question what the eye is given to believe at first glance, and to carefully consider every surface from a variety of angles.
You walk to the end of the pier, drive to the canyon’s edge, or stroll down to the beach. Shading your eyes, you peer out across the water or valley to watch the bright disc slide like a gold coin into the horizon’s slot. Appreciative murmurs are heard as the sky darkens. Another end of day.
There is a 12,000-pound steel sculpture by Tony Smith sitting in the cavernous space operated by the Matthew Marks Gallery at 522 West 22nd Street. It is sleek, black and decked out with an art historical pedigree. But that’s not the Tony Smith that interested me.