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Posted inArt

Stripped, Tied & Raw at Marianne Boesky

Marianne Boesky, you saucy little wench! Mine eyes had never taken you for propagating such a meat market amidst such stagnant clinical settings. You always seemed more the proper uptown type, rather than mistress of Manhattan’s nether regions.

Now that I’ve gotten that out of my system … walking into Ms. Boesky’s current five-man exhibition I felt at any moment some Neanderthal would ambush me from the rafters to have his way with me. Focusing on the more brutish and texturally risqué works of Jorge Eielson, Donald Moffet, David Noonan, Steven Parrino, and Salvatore Scarpitta, Stripped, Tied and Raw is a wonderful exploration into the power of fabric as sexual metaphor and how a simple fold can be much more than the sum of its parts.

Posted inArt

Flawed Diamonds: Recent Painting at Exit Art

Jesse Chapman’s painting of the struggle to stick a contact into an eye, “The Lens” (2009), strikes me as an apt allegory for recent painting. It is one of the gems from Exit Art’s shinning survey of contemporary painting, NEW MIRRORS: Painting in a Transparent World, that is set to close this weekend.

Much like this uncomfortable morning ritual, painting is caught in an awkward moment. Like the nearsighted allegory looking in the mirror, it is keenly self-aware of its need for a new way of seeing and a new lens through which to gaze. With scowling lips, it begrudgingly prepares for the many vain attempts it takes on a rough morning (or try a rough decade) to get that lens in properly.

Posted inArt

Pittsburgh: The Great Deceiver (Part Two)

The next morning I took the T (aka, the trolley) into the city, and walked across the bridge to The Warhol. I love The Warhol. (Hate the NO PHOTOS policy though.) It never lets me down. Feels a bit like Mecca to me. Even when I know what’s on, I always come across surprises. The first one greeted me in the 1st floor museum intro room. For the first time, I saw the “Album of a Mat Queen” (1962), Warhol’s silkscreen of the writer and painter Rosalyn Drexler from her days as a professional wrestler. (SORRY. NO PHOTOS.) A huge fan of Drexler, I had only read about this image. This is standard operating procedure at The Warhol. Surprises from their deep collection around every corner. (SORRY. NO PHOTOS.)

Posted inArt

Pittsburgh: The Great Deceiver (Part One)

On April 29, 1974, the prog rock masters King Crimson played a famously furious gig at the Stanley Warner theatre in Pittsburgh, later immortalized as part of the band’s towering 4-disc live set, The Great Deceiver. In 1974, the steel industry was wheezing its way out of town, and the city was careening toward a difficult decade filled with a shifting economy and populace. The malleability of the Crimson dinosaur was exactly what the city was going to need to recover. And they have, thanks to the medical and tech industries (And ROBOTS!).

In the 70’s, out of the ashes and soot of the crumble came something extraordinary for the art world. In 1977, Barbara Luderowski founded The Mattress Factory, an installation space that is the highlight and anchor of every visit I make to the city. Yet, too many people I know still think of Pittsburgh as it was in the famous painting by Aaron Henry Gorson pictured here. Let’s work on that. Starting with the fact that a visit to the ‘Burgh is almost always a galvanizing one.

Posted inArt

Beautiful Disaster: Sasha Bezzubov’s “Wildfire”

The Front Room gallery in Williamsburg can be easy to miss if you aren’t looking, though the current show, a selection of images from photographer Sasha Bezzubov’s latest series Wildfire, is certainly worth seeking out. The work documents ravaged landscapes on the West Coast following devastating wildfires. That is, rather than capture the fires themselves, these images show what is left in the wake of such trauma — charred remains of homes, smoldering tree trunks, scorched earth.

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