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John Newsom Allegory of Nations

In a conversation with the Chilean artist Catalina Parra in 1986 about the differences between “political art” in the United States and in most of Latin America, she stated that in her country, nothing could be said outright. “In Chile, we have learned how to use the metaphor and to weave everything between the lines.”

Railing Opinion: A Call to Art Critics

This call is written from a deep feeling of frustration with things as they are in the art world, a feeling shared by many art critics today. Consequently, I believe that we as art critics begin to deal with a series of questions.

Letter from London

Given our penchant for narrative and fictions these days, the enormity of artists’ projects and attempts at world-making seems to grow and grow. The artist is not just re-presenting the world or documenting it, but rather is now one who creates his/her own world and fills it with stories.

Letter from GERMANY

Caspar David Friedrich (1774–1840) is the best-known painter of German Romanticism, which spans the late 1700s through the 1850s. Other significant artists, such as Johann Christian Dahl, Georg Friedrich Kersting, or Philipp Otto Runge, do not even come close.


“Ladies and gentlemen, in approximately five minutes we will open the doors on Art Basel Miami Beach 2006. On behalf of public safety we ask that you not charge the gates. There is plenty of art for everyone to buy. IP card-holders to the left, all others to the right. Once again, there is plenty of art for everyone. Do not charge the gates.” The white cordons are lowered and the crowd surges forward.

Candida Hofer

What signals the advent of the Sublime for Kant is awe: dread wonder at the sheer power of beauty or terror in Nature. While this experience exalts the soul, even the moral character of the beholder, it is absorbed in degrees, like the stages of a perilous initiation.

Thomas Lanigan-Schmidt

As a young artist recently arrived in New York City and seeking some kind of exposure to the big league Soho gallery world, I availed myself to the weekly critique/look-see sessions then being offered by the Drawing Center.

Thornton Willis and James O. Clark

In the late 1970’s and early 1980’s Thornton Willis was making paintings of monolithic, geometric forms. These early works were characterized by dominating wedge shapes with worked surfaces and rough-hewn edges—the telltale signs of angsty Abstract Expressionist process.

John Sonsini

John Sonsini’s paintings make me think like a Racist Pig—the same way de Kooning’s Women make me think like a Sexist Pig, or at least a very interested little Dutch boy who’s taken a “wrong” turn somewhere in Amsterdam’s red light district… But anyway, back to The Racist.

Keiko Narahashi

Keiko Narahashi’s glass cabinets, paper structures and mixed media objects occupy two historically distinct categories: seventeenth and eighteenth century curiosity cabinets and contemporary installation art. They could be provisional shrines, memorials or artifacts, all built from multi-size boxes of Italian parchment paper dipped in gesso.

Stephen G. Rhodes

While growing up in Louisiana, artist Stephen Rhodes was subjected to multiple classroom screenings of a 1962 short film entitled “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge.” According to Rhodes, the film was never contextualized for the students, but repeatedly used as a mindless time filler by lazy teachers.

Thomas Kiesewetter

Thomas Kiesewetter’s new small bronze castings from cardboard have a fine, waxy, almost edible surface, which, combined with their black patina, led one viewer at the opening to compare them to “licorice.” They are likable works; in fact, delicious.

Robert Irwin

Robert Irwin’s current show at PaceWildenstein is physically staggering. Its title, Whose Afraid of Red, Yellow and Blue 3, is taken from Barnet Newman’s 1966-67 painting.

Glitter and Doom: German Portraits from the 1920s

A very large preparatory study by Otto Dix for his 1928 triptych, “Metropolis,” hangs in the foyer leading into the exhibition Glitter and Doom: German Portraits from the 1920s at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Meticulously drawn in red chalk, gouache and pencil, the cartoon’s central panel shows the interior of a swanky, Art Deco nightclub, while its flanking sections depict lurid processions of derelict amputees and flashy streetwalkers.

John Evans

Nearly 40 years after they were painted, John Evans has finally unveiled his mysterious canvases of geometric designs at the Pavel Zoubok Gallery, where they are hung alongside Evans’ colorful paper collages, each medium aesthetically complementing the other.

Gayleen Aiken

I had already been to a series of openings in Chelsea by the time I arrived at Sunday on the Lower East Side to see the late Vermont artist Gayleen Aiken’s work.

Ayreen Anastas and Rene Gabri

Many questions have more than one answer. Important questions often hang in rhetorical limbo, unsolvable by dint of their gravity. Both scenarios apply to the question posed by artist-activists Ayreen Anastas and Rene Gabri in their new project Camp Campaign: How can a camp like Guantanamo Bay exist in our time?

Richard Bosman and Peter Acheson

In an article for New Scientist magazine in October of 2006, John Orrock, a biologist at the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis in Santa Barbara, California, was quoted, “The sad truth is, once the humans get out of the picture, the outlook starts to get a lot better.” The same could be said for Richard Bosman’s latest body of work.

In/Visible: The Drawings of Maria Bussmann

Maria Bussmann counters the unknowable with the unseeable. Her suites of drawings—Following Heidegger, Drawings to Baruch de Spinoza_’s Ethik, Drawings to Wittgenstein’s Tractatus, About the Visible and Invisible of Merleau-Ponty—address the infinity of meanings implicit in her source material by defying the ordinary parameters of visual art.


My first introduction to Toadhouse was in 2000 at As REAL as thinking, the large survey exhibition at SITE Santa Fe of conceptual artist Allan Graham, which was organized by Kathleen Shields.


The Brooklyn Rail

FEB 2007

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