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Posted inArt

Reading Beyond the Page

The other day I saw two solo exhibitions: The Words by Jen Mazza at Stephan Stoyanov Gallery and Game Plan by Alighiero Boetti at MoMA. Both artists want to show you what they value in their lives, but they use their inspiration to different ends. Mazza paints unassuming still lifes of books. Boetti, on the other hand, used various lines of attack to realize his many projects, which ranged from sculpture to mail art to collaborative embroideries.

Posted inArt

Poets, Painters, Cartoonists and Moonlighters

CHICAGO — The Center for Book and Paper Arts in Chicago is currently showing a fascinating series of collaborations between visual artists and writers such as Robert Creeley, Philip Guston, Larry Rivers, Karen Randall and Jim Dine. Poems and Pictures: A Renaissance in the Art of the Book (1946-1981) is a useful and concrete example of the most basic form of interdisciplinary art — combining words and images produced by the highest practitioners of those forms, to observe “the extraordinary occasions when these things and activities fuse, introducing a third element,” as the well-written curator’s essay puts it.

Posted inArt

The Limits of Text and Image: Glenn Ligon at the Whitney

It is perhaps telling that the first piece in the exhibition Glenn Ligon: AMERICA, the most comprehensive exhibition of the artist’s work to date, is not one of the text-based paintings for which he is best known, but “Hands” (1996), a massive canvas tacked to the wall of the exhibition’s entrance with pushpins, bearing the image of outstretched palms against a black background. Drawn from a mass-media photograph of Benjamin Chavis and Louis Farrakhan’s 1995 Million Man March, enlarged to the point of degradation and then screenprinted, what appears here is a copy of a copy of a copy, an image that can no longer articulate what it once represented.

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