LONDON — Riley’s paintings establish a sort of bridge between old inquiries and more recent art: no matter how many years have passed since the inception of Modernism, she seems to suggest its bases are still the fundament of artistic endeavor, and always will be.
Asia Society’s Iran Modern is a must-see exploration of a period little known in the West but infinitely interesting for its non-Western responses to modernity, its embrace of the developing world, the prevalence of prominent female artists at a time when the same wasn’t true most elsewhere, and its pushing of boundaries in an era where its experiments in culture could be seen as cutting edge.
In his critique of the Gulf art boom for the Wall Street Journal late last month, Noah Feldman eagerly took up the cause of Tahrir’s political muralists, dubiously trumpeting that this was “the first time in Arab history that the visual arts had a major impact on public consciousness.”
As the 100th anniversary year of the 1913 Armory Show winds down, it’s worth taking a look at an exhibition in Texas that may not directly corral together the scandalous and shocking art of that first burst of modernism into the Americas, but just as strongly shows how the waves of Cubism, Futurism, Expressionism, and beyond would roll through the 20th century here with the spurring of that initial experimentation in Europe.
FORT WORTH, Texas —Some Modernist landscapes are so futuristic, so weirdly alien in their urban surroundings, they look like sets for a sci-fi movie. In the case of the “Fort Worth Water Gardens” designed by Philip Johnson with partner John Burgee, the immense shapes of concrete that rise up topographically into a mountain and descend into a watery vortex are both a 1970s vision of public space and the setting for one of the era’s dystopian films.
Portland Open Space Sequence (photograph by Radcliffe Dacanay/Flickr user) While even the most coldly Brutalist buildings have found their proponents, the modernist landscapes that were built in plazas and public space in the mid-century have been slower to be embraced for preservation. Yet there’s an increasing dialogue of how, and why, modernist landscape architecture should […]
In his introductory essay to Vitamin P, a survey of contemporary painting first published by Phaidon in 2002, the poet and critic Barry Schwabsky takes pains to point out the variety of stylistic positions available to a contemporary painter. In doing so, Schwabsky suggests that there is no single identifying characteristic that would disqualify a contemporary painting from critical consideration today. This state of openness was not always the case. In my opinion, however, the receptivity that Schwabsky claims for painting is not actually an accurate characterization of the current situation, where success is generally judged by an artist’s standing in the marketplace.
Few magazines managed to embody the creative aesthetic of their time as Verve magazine did in the first half of the 20th century. And although the Paris-based journal last received some attention in 1988, when Verve: The Ultimate Review of Art and Literature was published, it has mostly faded into obscurity; that retrospective, edited by Michel Anthonioz, has since gone out of print.
A small house that once heralded the arrival of Le Corbusier–style architecture in the United States needs a home, but its potential new neighbors aren’t terribly keen on the structure’s stark modernism.
LOS ANGELES — Modernism may be dead, yet we spend an awful lot of time in its clutches: talking about it, building it, watching it, exhibiting it, and acquiring its graceful artifacts for our homes. Our culture is in such a thrall to some of the movement’s architectural and artistic manifestations — Barcelona chairs! Case Study houses! paintings by Piet Mondrian! — that it can be hard to imagine a time when the very idea of its stripped-down forms inspired either passionate shock or jaded exhaustion.
As a painting major in Albany, New York during the late 1980s, it was easy to sprint a few blocks from the art department over to the Nelson Rockefeller Art Collection to grab some inspiration from museum-quality art. Nostalgia for the collection’s treasure trove of modernist work came to mind while taking in Christian Maychack’s latest exhibit at Jeff Bailey, being that so much of his work, to my eye, playfully sends up or gently skewers high modernism.
In 1977, a postmodernist theorist wrote that the destruction of the Pruitt-Igoe housing complex in St. Louis was “the day Modern architecture died.” The idea was parroted by others as a convenient way to mark the end of something that they wanted to see as a failure, namely Modern architecture. Enter The Pruitt-Igoe Myth.