In an era that celebrates celebrity, vulgar loudmouths, puerile provocateurs, selfie-addicts, and excessive materialists, Merlin James prefers subtlety over din, less rather than more.
Isn’t it time we begin putting things in perspective?
Josephine Halvorson and I met on a late winter day when the chill was starting to melt, and talked over omelettes at the window of the Red Cat in Chelsea. It was early on a weekday, the restaurant felt quietly elegant, the light outdoors mellowed by cloud cover. As Halvorson noted, even the potatoes in our omelettes were perfectly soft.
Josephine Halvorson transcribes the anonymous, weather-beaten traces left by those who might otherwise have left no other mark of their existence behind.
Brimming with knockabout energy, Arlene Shechet’s polymorphous clay sculptures at Sikkema Jenkins — exuberantly colored columns, clumps and sacks of glazed ceramic — feel almost illegitimate in their sensuality and humor, a reaction that immediately calls into question why a word like “illegitimate” would spring to mind in the first place.
Every once in a while a sentence comes along and energizes us with its singular lack of meaning, the tinny sound made by so many letters, marched into so many words, all profaning the artworks they are meant to elevate.
I didn’t expect to write about the new show from Mark Bradford, who has been called by Guy Trebay of The New York Times “if not the best painter working in America today then certainly the tallest,” when I walked into Sikkema Jenkins on Tuesday morning. Despite the whimsy of Trebay’s “best/tallest” assertions, a credible case can be made for the former.