Posted inArt

A Green Screen Mirrors the Impossibilities of Arrival

Somewhere in Los Angeles, a movie is being filmed, an actor is speaking words from memory, and a person is hunched over a screen carefully editing moving images using the green screen, a post-production special effects technique that layers on a background that doesn’t physically exist. The conceptual premise of the green screen is the entry point for Kelly Kaczynski’s solo exhibition Here On The Way There, on view through May 26 at Comfort Station in Chicago’s Logan Square neighborhood.

Posted inArt

A West Coast Press Turns 50

SAN FRANCISCO — The main focus of the de Young Museum, located in Golden Gate Park and given a big redesign by architects Herzog and De Meuron in 2005, is American art past and present, encompassing ancient art of all the Americas as well as art of the United States from the colonial era up to today. There are several temporary exhibitions running at the moment that are worth going to see if you’re visiting the Bay Area. One of them, the William S. Paley collection, is sort of self-evidently marvelous, with its classic examples of Gauguin, Picasso, Matisse, Degas, and other titans of the School of Paris. The other, Crown Point Press at 50, shows work that is less well known but deserves to be equally celebrated.

Posted inArt

Art That Thinks Inside the Box

What is it about boxes that is so fascinating? I was thinking this as I went into Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art to see Pandora’s Box, a show that displays artist Joseph Cornell’s signature assemblages alongside the works of artists who allegedly were inspired by him or who were in artistic sympathy with him. I can think of historical precedents: medieval reliquaries; Victorian memento mori, which often look strikingly like Cornell’s miniature worlds. But these forebears don’t quite explain the combination of weirdness and visual beauty of something made by Cornell, nor the undoubted fascination with him since his death. His boxes frame the objects in a different way than a conventional picture frame, of course; they concentrate the viewer’s attention; but there’s something else, which finally came to me after I’d seen this show.

Posted inOpinion

Required Reading

This week … Warhol’s Headline works, a 2003 interview with Sol LeWitt, Twitter paintings by Evan Roth, Kapoor & Isozaki partner for an inflatable concert hall, world’s earliest Christian inscription is identified, Gagosian’s Madison Ave shop closes, NY pics from 1974, color TV spots from the 1960s and a shrine to buffed street art.

Posted inArt

Understatement Surrounds City Hall

City Hall Park is an excellent venue for Sol Lewitt’s sculptures. In the white cube, the problem is that the artist’s three dimensional structures can blend in precariously well with the similarly minimal geometric space, camouflaging their distinctiveness from the viewer. It is good to see Lewitt’s work contrasted with the park’s lush greens and lavish beaux arts architecture. In this context, his works appear like precious and unique islands of understatement.

Posted inArt

An Abstract Moment in Chelsea

Checking out the Chelsea gallery scene last week, my results were surprisingly mixed — from overly offbeat summer shows to nonsensical group exhibitions, the galleries just didn’t seem to have it together. But one thread did emerge in my wanderings. I discovered that Chelsea was having a brief love affair with big abstraction, wall-size pieces that dominated their respective art spaces. Works by Sol Lewitt, Keith Haring, Li Songsong and Garth Weiser all packed a refreshing amount of visual punch, brightening a hazy summer day.