Posted inArt

Good Art, Shame About the Written Statement

CHICAGO — There’s often a tug of war going in between what’s in a work of art and what you are told about it. So when I saw the exhibition Turnin’ the Tip at Chicago’s A+D gallery, my first response was to the work that I was looking at it, independent of catalogue essays or wall text: big black and white woodcuts, printed onto canvas banners, some of them as large as 10 feet by 20 feet, produced with a high degree of skill that calls to mind the Mexican tradition of printmaking exemplified by Posada, and the counter-culture graphic style of Robert Crumb.

Posted inBooks

An Artobiography That is Personal, But Not Universal

Boulder bookstore owner David Bolduc said of artist and graphic designer Tina Collen’s “artobiography,” titled Storm of the i (2009) and published by Art Review Press, “I’ve been in the book business for thirty years and have seen a lot of books. But I’ve never seen anything like Storm of the i.

I agree with Bolduc that Storm of the i doesn’t look like other books, but Storm’s uniqueness is also what hinders it most. The book defies traditional design and layout, like a watered down, less haunting version of American author Mark Z. Danielewski’s popular House of Leaves (2000), and it’s a confusing book formally and conceptually. It vacillates throughout all three hundred pages between various different styles—photo album, scrapbook, self-help, personal memoir, maudlin diary, autobiography—and none of them seem to help its author’s intent.

Posted inArt

Politics of Space and Belonging and the Right of Return

IRVINE, California – There is a call for Jews to return to Poland — and it’s coming out of Irvine. Well, actually it’s coming from Israeli artist Yael Bartana, whose trilogy … and Europe Will Be Stunned, which occupied the Polish pavilion at the Venice Biennale this year, is currently having its American debut at the University Art Gallery at UC Irvine. The videos present the Jewish Renaissance Movement in Poland (JRMiP), which calls for the return of Jews to Poland to reconstitute the country as it was and make it whole again.

Posted inArt

Assessing a Small Show of a Feminist Icon

CHICAGO — In a darkened gallery in the Art Institute of Chicago, a grainy video from decades ago begins. Standing with her face pressed up against a white wall, a woman reaches down and scoops up a handful of red, viscous liquid — presumably blood — from an enamel tray, and in a series of arcing gestures she traces a crude outline of a doorway, or a cave entrance, or maybe just the close demarcation of her own small body, around herself onto the wall.

Posted inArt

Monastic, Psychedelic and Party Time

Mark Warren Jacques’s paintings are equal parts pop and mysticism; they linger between the monastic the psychedelic and party time. A Portland-based artist, his works assert themselves with a clearly defined West Coast swagger. They beam light straight into your head, they knock you down with colorful brilliance only to offer you a leg up and a wholehearted wink.