The Latest Blog Posts
If you’ve never seen one of Holton Rower’s incredible “pour paintings” in person, now is your chance to see ten. The process is frustratingly “why-didn’t-I-think-of-that” simple, but the result is magic – not just a dazzling roller coaster for the eyes, but a smart lesson in the physics of liquids.
Also on display is a new series by Rower called “Focus Paintings” (which are actually out of focus), and a great group show called XSTRACTION which features many of my favorite process-based painters that pair perfectly with the “pours”.
(This whole post feels like a tongue twister)
Holton Rower: Focus Paintings, Pour Paintings, is on view at The Hole (312 Bowery) through June 20, 2013. exhibition website
Massive, muted, and caked with so much paint that you’ll wonder how it’s holding on, new paintings hang in a room with a strange and mysterious energy.
The air in the gallery immediately felt odd, and I couldn’t quite put my finger on it until something amazing happened: on that cloudy morning, for just a moment, the sun broke through the clouds outside. Suddenly, inside the gallery, shadows strengthened under cresting brushstrokes, faint colors brightened ever so slightly, and I swear I could almost feel the breeze indoors. And then it was gone. My eyes drifted to the ceiling to find not a single light fixture: the entire exhibition is lit only by skylights.
The magic of this exhibition is in the contrast between the overwhelming power of these objects (a real airplane wing projects out of one), and the gentle, ever-changing, ever-so-subtle dance of light across their surfaces.
It’s a dark show in more ways than one, but makes me the happier than anything else up right now.
Anselm Kiefer: Morgenthau Plan, is on view at Gagosian Gallery’s 21st Street location (522 W 21st St) through June 8, 2013. exhibition website (with some great installation shots)
Tuesday morning. I first noticed the professional photographers in the gallery... then Marc Quinn in a white hat. In my periphery, a young woman reached to her angles and lifted her dress above her head in one graceful swoop, standing completely nude on the concrete floor. Marc and a second photographer snapped away as she first crawled completely inside the shell, and gradually emerged, sprawling across the lip of the polished bronze shell.
Marc Quinn: All the Time in the World, is on view at Mary Boone Gallery (without the nude) through June 29, 2013. exhibition website
In my past experiences and memories, the difference between the “good” Ellsworth Kelly paintings, and the “great” ones… is him. His single-color shaped canvases are always interesting, but when the “right” one is placed on the “right” wall, the entire room is electrified –I mean literally the hairs on my arm stand up. It doesn’t work the same in group shows or in museums, but it works here brilliantly… because he curated it.
Unlike most paintings, minimalism allows your eye to travel off the canvas, activating and transforming an entire space into something inexplicably (and quietly) magical. Certainly minimalist art doesn’t need to be curated by the artist to do that, but Ellsworth proves he can do it better than anyone else. And what makes this exhibition truly incredible is that though every work seems custom made for the wall it’s on, PERFECTLY scaled and arranged like a visual poem as you drift through the space, none were created FOR this exhibition. The show is a sampling of works from the last 5 decades, and I can only imagine him thumbing through hundreds of works from those decades to find THE perfect pieces… and it’s amazing.
Sorry it doesn’t work on a computer screen – see it in person (and alone, if possible).
Ellsworth Kelly: Singular Forms 1966-2009, is on view at Mnuchin Gallery (45 E 78th St) through June 1, 2013. exhibition website
Brightly colored 2x4s seem thrown together without intention or care, as if they were painted at a party with bad lighting and too much alcohol, and then cut and assembled with power tools that were low on batteries. But they’re not. They may be the smartest works on view now.
The more you look, the more you see. These wall sculptures (though it’s probably more accurate to call them 3D paintings), sneak up on you with their unpretentious humility and then hold your eyes with all sorts of happy surprises. Notice how the fluorescent paint projects itself like an aura onto the wall (or in the white piece above, onto the right side of the triangle), or how a manufacturer’s stamp on the wood is used in the overall composition while alternating bands of new and old wood create a sort of harmonious chord. Look longer and you’ll find more; EVERYTHING in each of these works is carefully considered, but it’s that initial deception of sloppiness that makes these smart works feel so approachable, and such a pleasant surprise.
Cordy Ryman: Adaptive Radiation, is on view at Dodge Gallery (15 Rivington St) through May 12, 2013. Exhibition website with more images.
Image: Cordy Ryman, Triple Cop-Out, 2013, acrylic, enamel and shellac on wood, 20 x 20 x 3 inches. Photo: Jason Mandalla
A greeter will ask you to remove your bag and watch your step. Two signs will remind you to be careful. Normally this is for the protection of priceless artwork. In this case, it’s also for your protection. The works in this exhibit could kill you.
The first room will surely attract art historians & super fans from around the world. This how-did-they-pull-that-off collection of early work is a look at Serra’s curious and disciplined mind as he drives for something different with varied materials – the beginning of a path that will lead to his famous torqued ellipses decades later.
And then the show moves from “oh that’s interesting” to “oh my god” when you turn the corner at the back of the gallery. There, a handful of his ’69 balanced lead works command the room… without railings.. Usually when any one of these sculptures is presented, it’s fenced off for your own protection. I created this tumblr called “Serra Railings” from images I found online to show what I mean. This exhibition is a rare look at them as they’re intended to be seen: dangerously. Please just be careful.
Richard Serra: Early Work, is on view at David Zwirner (537 W 20th St) through June 15, 2013. exhibition website
While you read the following, keep one thing in mind: it doesn’t matter. If you don’t understand a THING about how these are made or what they represent, your viewing experience won’t be lessened at all – they are a wonder to behold in person, with or without the “wall plaque”.
Shane Hope is playing with two futuristic technologies – one that was just born, and another still in the womb: 3D printing and molecular nanotechnology. In an effort not to embarrass myself attempting to explain things I don’t fully understand (of course the most exciting thing is that I’m not sure anyone fully understands), excerpts from the press release are below:
Accelerating progress in nanometer-scale science and technology continues to expand the toolkit with which we can eventually assemble things from the atom up… In the interim, the 3D printing revolution is said to have already arrived, promising content-to-print solutions and on-demand means of increasingly customizable production.
To foreshadow an age of hacking matter, Shane Hope uses molecular modeling research software and crafts custom code to grow generative molecular designs and algorithmically automate alternative representations of nano-scaled structures.
…Hope has hand-hobbled together from scratch a number of RepRaps (3D printers) which he uses to materialize (or literally to print) his amassing cache of newfangled nanomolecular models. Hope collages together thousands of these 2D rendered and 3D printed models into painterly compositions depicting things organic, inorganic, synthesizable, theoretically feasible, nonsensical, and nonobjective.
Shane Hope: Nano-Nonobjective-Oriented Ontographs and Qubit-Built Quilts, is on view at Winkleman Gallery (621 W 27th St) through May 4, 2013. exhibition website
Image: Shane Hope, "Species-Tool-Being No.5", 2012, (detail)
As I sat mesmerized in front of this slow motion film for somewhere between 2-30 minutes (very easy to completely lose track of time), a question snuck in my brain: was this yesterday?
The film obviously wasn’t shot yesterday, but nothing about these New Yorkers caught in time felt the slightest bit dated - the cloths, hair styles, movie posters, cell phone styles, and cars were all current. I began to wonder how that might ruin the work in years to come. And that’s when I read James Nares’ statement on the outside wall (spoiler alert: it’s brilliant)
“My intention was to give the dreamlike impression of floating through a city full of people frozen in time, caught Pompeii-like, at a particular moment of thought, expression, or activity… a film to be viewed 100 years from now.” – James Nares
A FILM TO BE VIEWED 100 YEARS FROM NOW!!?? It struck me that art that will quickly become “Dated” isn’t always a bad thing – in this case it’s a great thing. I can’t wait to see it in 20 years.
James Nares: Street, is on view at The Metropolitan Museum of Art (1000 5th Ave) through May 27, 2013. exhibition website
I have wanted to visit Roden Crater for about 15 years – the same length of time (probably not coincidentally) that I’ve been seriously interested in contemporary art. James Turrell has been working on this “naked eye observatory” for longer than I’ve been alive, and when complete (many years to go) will go down in history as more than of the greatest works of art in history, but one of the greatest things “humanity” has ever built. Two things can explain it better than I can in a blog:
#1: This website: http://rodencrater.com/
#2: The current exhibition at Pace Gallery in Midtown that is filled with small models of many of the “observation” rooms and a slide show of what they look like in person. On the one hand it’s great to get a better peak at the project, but on another it’s incredibly frustrating that I’m not there right now. So if this show was only meant to increase my hunger to see it in person (and start saving for a plane ticket) – mission accomplished.
James Turrell: Roden Crater and Autonomous Structures, is on view at Pace Gallery (32 East 57th St) through April 20, 2013. exhibition website
The surprise is half the fun of this exhibition, so the picture above is only a hint.
The main space of the gallery contains a bonsai tree between two speakers, each playing nature sounds at the man-modified plant. It’s like an audio version of grow lights. But it gets more fun/complex/awesome when you follow the speaker wires to the basement…
It’s one of those absolute must-see only-in-New-York shows.
Martin Roth: Untitled (Bonsai), is on view at Louis B. James (143b Orchard St) through April 13, 2013. exhibition website