Saturday, September 15, 2007

At Root Division

At Root Division opening, Saturday, September 8. Photo by Raymond Yee. See work in the show.

Good stuff at the Brooklyn Rail

I'm really heartened by three articles currently at the Brooklyn Rail that focus on artists who had their moment in the 70's, kept working, and now at this time are getting back into the spotlight- it's a little bit of history being rewritten, and also points to some possible shifts away from an emphasis on youth, gratuitously "adventurous" or "cutting edge" art, and the quick buck. Even though I am a generation or more behind these artists, I really identify with a lot of what's being talked about here- when I started as an art student this is work I saw in recently past issues of magazines, and this information has always been down inside of me, almost hibernating, but present. Some of the social/political things Whitten and Kass talk about are stuff I think about a lot in regards to my own development and outlook, and my art. I particularly like that these three articles all represent different groups- a black man, a woman, and an artist who left NY to make his work. Also, all three of these artists have or have had shows in NY right now. Finally, there is a look at Clyfford Still in Denver.
  1. Interview with Jack Whitten
    Whitten: By 1970 I was seeing a lot of Henry Geldzahler, who was a great supporter of my work at that time. He would come to the studio and we would talk a lot about the grid; the grid being a kind of, as he put in a little essay he wrote for me once, “aspect of civilization.” In my own way, I was introduced to it by my afro-comb. That’s where it started.

    Rail: So that’s when you began to use your comb as a painting tool?

    Whitten: Yes. First I used the afro-comb with a couple of paintings, and then I began to recognize a pattern. That’s when I wanted more control, so I started making the device myself. The afro-comb became a big carpenter saw. In fact, MoMA has one from 1978.
  2. Now showing at Alexander Gray.
  3. THE SEVENTIES by Deborah Kass
    When I saw Elizabeth’s (Murray) show at Paula Cooper the earth moved, because a seismic change was occurring in my life as I stood there looking. I had been oblivious to feminism, I was entirely and erotically male identified. But looking at her paintings, I realized that for the first time the subject, which I previously and unconsciously assumed to be male, had changed. I recognized what was traditional in her painting—traditional as I had come to understand it through my sojourns to MoMA and at college, a New York School, Cezanne-through-Stella thinking. This painting was clearly coming from there, but with a different point of view and speaking in a different voice about something else altogether. The subject was female. And I mean subject as we defined it in the 80’s and 90’s. The speaking subject, the specific subject. The subject with agency.

    Now showing at Paul Kasmin.

  4. TRACKS: Peter Young: An Unlikely Artist by Ben La Rocco
    If the “art star” status enjoyed by a few is the brass ring, it is a dangerous standard because of the unlikelihood of attaining it and because of its lack of correlation with the development of richer ideas in the arts.

    Young's PS1 show reviewed was reviewed a few weeks back in the NYT.

  5. Also, more about Still in Denver by James Kalm, and his video tour below.

Juan Melé: Marco recortado n.º 2

I think this is fascinating:

Juan Melé
Marco recortado n.º 2 [Irregular Frame No. 2], 1946
Oil on masonite, 27 15/16 x 18 1/8 x 1 in.
Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros, 1997.102

The Geometry of Hope: Latin American Abstract Art From the Patricia Phelps de Cisneros Collection,” at the Grey Art Gallery at New York University; reviewed by Robert Smith, NY Times:

Our notions of the origins of shaped paintings are readjusted by “Irregular Frame No. 2,” a distorted grid in shades of green, blue, rust and yellow made startlingly early, as these things go, by the Argentine artist Juan Melé in 1946. In this flamboyant little work geometry turns blunt, in advance of Minimalism, and cartoonishly savvy, in advance (and somewhat contradictorily) of the abstract painter Elizabeth Murray.

Monday, September 3, 2007

The Computer Ate my Blog

You have been a model of conscientious posting on this blog. I have not. Well, not recently, anyway. (I hope my long piece on New York's Extended Minimal Moment last fall will keep me as a collaborating blogger in good standing.)

For here, let me note a couple of things that involve us singly or jointly:
.Congratulations on your show at Root Division in San Francisco. This has been a great summer of shows for you! I hope you'll post some installation pics here.
. This follows group shows you'be been in around the country, including Philadelphia and Atlanta. How did they go?
. Apropos of Atlanta, boo-hoo, the show that I curated that you're in, Luxe, Calme et Volupte, is now down. The gallery website still has the great online catalog of the show. And my blog account of the show will remain up for the forseeable future.
. The Richard Serra show is coming out your way soon. I hope we can dialog about that. I had quite a lot to say on my own blog--two posts worth.
. And, of course, a new season is just starting up. Things should be interesting in NY and elsewhere. I'll be in Chicago this weekend, so perhaps I'll have something to say from there. I trust you'll make your usual rounds in SF.
. I had a good spring, with solos in Scottsdale and New York --with two reviews in NY and sales all around. (That breeze you feel is me still exhaling.)

Now, about that title. The computer DID eat my blog. I'd been wanting to clean up the font mess on my pages--all those default pinks and blues (who chooses those colors, anyway?)--and streamline it. Not being even remotely conversant with HTML, I took advantage of Blogger's new features. I even saved the code for my blogroll--my one stab at cyber intelligence. Well, while the sidebar type and the font colors look quite snappy, if I say so myself, the leading between the lines of text was all mooshed together, as if it had been put under pressure. Clearly it was (and is) a code thing, but I'm at a loss to rectify it in any kind of conventional way.

So I spent today--Labor Day, appropriately--toiling paragraph by paragraph, to set things right. There were some good paragraphs. I found that if I imported them (and their embedded code) into posts with mooshed text and then introduced the mooshed text into it, somehow, miraculously, the leading between the lines would be restored. I've been at it all day. I think I should have it mostly fixed by tomorrow.

Then I should be more up for a real post here, one with pictures. And how was your Labor Day?