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Posted inArt

In the Desert with Richard Artschwager

“In my beginning is my end.” The first line of T. S. Eliot’s poem “East Coker” — the second of his Four Quartets — came unexpectedly to mind when I returned for a last look at Richard Artschwager’s The Desert, a selection of pastels along with two paintings, at David Nolan Gallery. Artschwager’s mischievousness seems to have slipped into my thinking because I misremembered the line as: “In my end is my beginning.” Did I transpose the words because the artist is nearly ninety, and he began working on landscapes in color around 2007, when he was in his mid-eighties? The subject matter of many of the drawings is beginnings and endings as they are played out through the filters of the artist’s memory and imagination.

Posted inArt

The Right Way to Do It Wrong: Three Takes at the Whitney

Last week the Whitney Museum announced its plan for the 2014 Biennial, which entrusts three curators with organizing the exhibition, but not as collaborators. Rather, each individual will be responsible for a single floor of the museum, dividing it, as chief curator Donna De Salvo told The New York Times, “like a layer cake.” This is a new wrinkle in the history of the Biennial, and director Adam Weinberg deserves credit for finding a new direction to take a show that has hit virtually every point on the compass. I read the announcement on the same day that I viewed the Whitney’s commendable Sinister Pop exhibition, and it occurred to me that the museum was already divided into three interrelated layers — or perhaps it would be more to the point to say three case histories — that offer a particular slant on recent developments in American art: Sinister Pop on floor two, Wade Guyton OS on three and Richard Artschwager! on four.

Posted inArt

Why Irony is Healthy

Are you or have you ever considered becoming a hipster? You better become acquainted with the already-outdated moniker’s attendant signifier first: Irony. You have to eat it. You have to breathe it. You have to put a kitschy magnet of it on your fridge and iron it on to a jacket.