This week, photojournalists and defense contractors, whither Flickr, Michelangelo’s fortifications, a guide to public art in NY this summer, Frank Gehry’s chess set, artist lists and more.
This week, reviews of Esperanza Spalding, Madonna, Black Dice, Spoek Mathambo, All-American Rejects, Rusko, Jack White and Chromatics.
Marco Breuer is best known for the photographs that he makes without using a camera. (He does other sorts of photography, but this body of work is largely what we know about his endeavors). Rather than pointing at a moment that is gone, and wresting fixity from flux, as photographs are said to do, Breuer acknowledges the triumph of instability, with its attendant manifestations of destruction and demise.
Jack Ferver and Marc Swanson met in 2008. Both grew up in rural America, both are queer, both have created imaginary worlds. Two Alike, which premiered at The Kitchen last weekend, is their first collaboration, in which Swanson provides the setting for Ferver’s dreams and nightmares.
The first thing I noticed about Frank Stella’s classic “pinstripe” paintings from the late 1950s-early 1960s — gathered from hither and yon for the splendid exhibition, Frank Stella: Black, Aluminum and Copper Paintings — is how at home they looked in L&M Arts’ stately Upper East Side townhouse. The second thing I noticed is how funny they are.
This week, critics weigh in on the new Barnes Foundation museum in central Philadelphia … and in other non-Barnes-related links … discotecture, progressive architectural ideas and the voice of Rene Magritte.
How do adjacent drawings or photos affect our reading experience as readers? What happens in the mind as we process both words and images? How do both tell a story together?
If there is one constant about Thomas Nozkowski that I would single out, it is his lifelong insistence on subverting conventions. In 1974 he began painting on canvas board measuring 16 by 20 inches. (Let’s be clear here — Bill Jensen never painted on this small a surface because it had no historical precedence). He used an inexpensive, mass-produced product, the same kind that comes in “paint by number” kits and carries associations with “Sunday painters.” No wonder his defiance went largely unnoticed, particularly when the ’80s rolled around.
Dana Schutz, who is in her mid-30s, belongs to the generation of artists who grew up in an epoch where painting was routinely thought of as a dead practice. One couldn’t just be a painter, because doing so would be to enter a dusty domain crammed with empty signifiers. It would mean you were doing something that was obsolete (and reviled) — like speaking Latin to the drugstore cashier. The lines were pretty clear: dumb people became painters; smart people became conceptual artists who painted only when and if the subject called for it. This viewpoint might have started out as speculation, but now it’s a stupid and persistent prejudice.
If fairs like Frieze draw art and money into uncomfortably close proximity, all that does is state the obvious. To separate them — to pretend that the former can float free of the latter — might appear to be a clean, ethical stance, but that’s a misperception.
This week, face recognition software may help art historians solve mysteries, Picasso’s lover gets a Gagosian show, the New Aesthetic debate continues, the French elections and art, street art in Houston, Kiki Smith interviews Jenny Holzer and more.
Siglio Press’s anthology of text-based art, It is Almost That, is a rare gem: a book of pivotal works that have received little critical attention. Because of its attention to the obscure, It is Almost That is essential for anyone interested in feminist art, performance studies, cross-genre writing or the graphic novel.