This week, New York Times opens its photo archive to Tumblr, what’s going on in Qatar, Facebook’s image policy, Ai Weiwei speaks, a vintage interview with Warhol goes online, a Titian stays in the UK, newspapers on Pinterest and more.
Allison Miller is a young abstract painter who lives in Los Angeles, a city of few pedestrians. It is a vast, sprawling circuitry of vehicles and traffic jams, of getting from one place to another in the shortest and most efficient manner. You can still find neighborhoods to live in, but you cannot walk very far. Poor people take the bus. Taxis need a GPS. Wandering is not permitted.
I left the 2012 Whitney Biennial with a feeling of leadenness that no amount of free coffee (available at Monday’s press preview, and many thanks for that) or Werner Herzog’s video ode to beauty (“Hearsay of the Soul,” 2012) could alleviate.
This week, whither Santa Fe? a newbie goes to the Miami art fairs, Marina Abramović makes German men cry, Elmgreen & Dragset Fourth Plinth sculpture unveiled, UK’s guerrilla tree sculptor and more.
America, says Charlie Citrine in Saul Bellow’s novel Humboldt’s Gift (1975), is proud of its dead poets. Especially the mad ones: the bridge-leapers, the drink-guzzlers, the pill-snackers. Robert Lowell thought everyone was tired of his turmoil, but he obviously wasn’t thinking ahead to the possibilities he and his fellow scribblers presented to the movie business. You can only imagine the film gurus and movie execs surveying the poetscape of the twentieth century with nods of excited approval, foaming about their mouths. Drink, adultery, jealousy, madness, suicide: who knew poets led such cinematic lives!
Once when I was breaking up with a girlfriend, she told me, “You act like a nice guy, but really you’re not.” Or maybe she said, “You pretend to be a nice guy,” I can’t quite remember. Anyway, I was taken aback. Would it be better to just habitually act like an asshole, rather than trying to do so as little as possible? Although I know my capacity for niceness is, like everyone else’s, limited, I try to cultivate my better qualities to the extent that I can. But then, what if, as a result, someone mistakenly comes to believe that I am nicer than I really am? Does that make me a bigger jerk than the guy who’s just self-evidently a jerk on the surface?
At the far end of the main gallery Thomas Scheibitz mounted the painting “Untitled (No. 632)” on a slant within an inset in the wall of Tanya Bonakdar Gallery. Its four rectangles, thinly painted in rose and violet washes or a combination of violet, green and brown, with varying densities of white brushed along the edges, were simultaneously divided and framed by a wide band that is partially painted industrial gray with some of it khaki.
A week ago, on the night of Friday, February 17th, two incongruently mirrored exhibitions opened on either side of the East River: Charles Atlas’ The Illusion of Democracy at Luhring Augustine’s new Bushwick outpost; and What I Know, a large group show of Bushwick artists, curated by Jason Andrew, at the New York Center for Art & Media Studies (NYCAMS) in Chelsea.
This week, Rem Koolhaas will build Marina’s temple to performance art, Gaudí’s unfinished masterpiece, Renaissance art murder mystery, a new arts center in Utah, a review of Niall Ferguson’s Civilization, best-designed newspapers, Banksy authentication, drawing with chalk, burger grease and ketchup.
In the 1990s, Fabian Marcaccio coined the word “paintant” by fusing “painting” and “mutant.” In his “paintants,” he would sometimes carve and expose the stretcher bars. He worked on burlap and fabric. He used photographic images and applied various mediums to digitally printed surfaces. His materials included oil paint, silicone, acrylics and sand. He made relief-like brushstrokes out of silicon and attached them to the surface of his work. Sometimes they extended out onto the wall, like an extra limb. They were neither natural nor artificial, but a hybrid combination.
When I read Witold Gombrowicz’s Ferdydurke in the late 1980s the Soviet empire was beginning to totter and crack. An English version of the book, published in 1961 in the UK, had been re-issued in 1986 as part of Penguin’s Writers from the Other Europe series, edited by Philip Roth. The project aimed to disseminate Eastern European writers in the Anglophone world: a worthy endeavor, though judging from the cobbled-together edition of Ferdydurke — an offset duplication of the 1961 text, with a Czeslaw Milosz essay from another occasion tacked on as an introduction — one with a limited budget.
Joyce Pensato draws in charcoal and paints in enamel — dense, clinging soot and viscous liquid. For years her palette has been black, white and silver, though color is beginning to make an appearance in her recent paintings, mostly as splatters and drips. The drawing process is one of making marks, rubbing them out and making more marks, with line being the essential form. In the paintings, the line is made of enamel that initially appears to have been applied quickly, though its varying densities and its field of drips and splatters makes it clear that it wasn’t done in a single shot. In both drawing and painting Pensato is committed to finding the linear form that captures her subject matter, be it Homer Simpson, Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Batman, Groucho Marx, Felix the Cat, toy clowns, or not-so-cuddly monkeys.