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Stephen Antonakos: Here and Beyond

It’s often said that an artist who has surpassed his creative maturity tends to gradually soften his vision. Whatever ideal of purity or perfection of form he may have envisioned—partially informed by the culture of his own time and the art produced by his peers, but also through his ability to sustain the uncertainty of his ambition—it is said that at the season of fruitage, he will harvest the essence of the object he most desires. In most cases, this implies a simplicity of form and an economy of means, each reduced over a lifetime of work.

What More Can You Ask of Painting? Leon Golub Did It!

It’s no doubt commonplace to say that selection is an intrinsic aspect of the creative process. Artists make choices and the sum of the choices they make defines them. Someone who has chosen to be a painter, say, rather than a composer, or a poet, or, more immediately, a sculptor, must then choose how to paint and what to paint.

Cora Cohen

The legacies of de Kooning, Franz Kline, and later, the reputations of Brice Marden and Louise Fishman, to acknowledge a few, were established at a time when style was territorial. An artist using stylistic elements associated with another artist would be considered derivative—a criterion by which one could easily discount a work by saying it had already been done.

He Sen

It is not an understatement to say that recent Chinese figurative painting has had an exemplary impact on the way we look at painting today and on the growth of the contemporary Asian art market.

Suitcase Paintings: Small Scale Abstract Expressionism

Suitcase Paintings: Small Scale Abstract Expressionism, a traveling exhibition making its final stop at Chicago’s Loyola University Museum of Art this fall, argues a case for small works: what dealer Larry Aldrich purportedly deemed “suitcase paintings,” or those he could fit in his suitcase.

Giorgio Morandi

Giorgio Morandi (1890-1964) is best known as a painter of modest-sized still lifes, depicting earthen-hued bottles, boxes, vases, jugs, and cups. The first large-scale Morandi retrospective in the United States, currently at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, consists of nearly a hundred still lifes and a dozen landscapes (out of the 1,700 paintings he made over his lifetime).


The ghosts of 14th Street must have been happy in October, when Art in Odd Places (AiOP) chose the thoroughfare as the site for its month-long exhibition/intervention/performance/festival—the choice seemed as much symbolic as aesthetic.

Abstract Expressionism: A World Elsewhere

A lot of reviewers have focused on the fact that this exhibition is the inaugural show of the American branch of Haunch of Venison, a commercial gallery that was bought by Christie’s, an art auction house, which is owned by Francois Pinault, a billionaire collector (did any of his money recently disappear?).

Ron Gorchov

Ron Gorchov’s painting “Serapis” looms like a guardian over those who enter the artist’s current exhibition at Nicholas Robinson Gallery. “Serapis” is unmistakable as the work of any other painter than Gorchov.

Cowboys without Cows Live Forever

If you asked someone in 1920 to name the most famous people in the United States, they would have come up with names like Thomas Edison and William Randolph Hearst, Rudolf Valentino and Clara Bow. You would’ve heard Will Rogers’s name next to Amelia Earhart’s; Louise Brooks’s next to F. Scott Fitzgerald’s.

The Brainstormers

"Museums Cave In To Radical Feminists” read the sign on poster board in hot pink letters, hoisted by a Brainstormer on the corner of West 24th St. and 10th Ave.

Whitfield Lovell: Kith and Kin

According to recent interviews, Whitfield Lovell’s earliest memories are of his father developing family photographs in the Bronx apartment where he was raised. Now, the artist collects photographs, tintypes, and calling cards of anonymous African-Americans, drawing their images on planks of stained and weathered wood and, most recently, on smooth cream paper.

Lee Ufan

Korean-born painter and sculptor, Lee Ufan, now in his early seventies, spends much of his time living in either Japan or France. Known for his sparse, large-scale brush marks on empty canvas and his sculpture in which boulders are placed on glass or weathering steel, Lee—like his fellow countryman, the late Nam June Paik—has indeed spent most of his career outside of his native Korea.

Merrill Wagner

If you stand up close to Merrill Wagner’s painting “Overcast” at her current exhibition Thoughts of Form and Color at Sundaram Tagore Gallery, be careful when backing up. You may trip over “Mars Violet,” a neat block of painted slate and marble just rearward.

Martha Rosler Great Power

At Mitchell-Innes & Nash Gallery last month, visitors were faced with a choice—for 25 cents, they could gain admission to Great Power, Martha Rosler’s show about the Iraq war or, for a dollar, they could play the interactive arcade dancing game, “Dance Dance Revolution” (the money would be donated to anti-war charities, a sign explained).

Roy Ferdinand

When future historians recollect pre-Katrina New Orleans, they will likely turn to self-taught artist Roy Ferdinand. For fifteen years, Ferdinand chronicled the street life and characters from some of New Orleans’ toughest neighborhoods, creating an epic body of work—some two thousand drawings scattered among private collections, galleries, and museums across the country—documenting the most tragic and colorful of U.S. cities.

Irving Norman

Recently, the Michael Rosenfeld Gallery became the exclusive representative for the estate of California artist Irving Norman (1906–1989); in a mini-retrospective/resurrection, the venue is displaying nine large oil-on-canvas works and six drawings on paper from the 1940s through the 1980s.

Letter From London

Summer’s over, but Rothko (Tate Modern), Bacon (Tate Britain), Warhol’s television and films (The Hayward), and new Gerhard Richters (Serpentine Gallery) have all arrived in London. Robert Irwin is having his first–ever exhibition here at White Cube (well, for me that’s a blockbuster).

Brooklyn Dispatches: Resurrection of a Bad-Ass Girl, Part I

Where did they go, and where the heck are they now? If you’ve got more than a casual interest in contemporary art, and a memory that extends beyond breakfast, these questions can hold a morbid fascination.

Electronic Media Performing Arts Center

The opening of EMPAC (Electronic Media Performing Arts Center), a 200-million-dollar, 220,000-square-foot glass, steel, and cedar building is a massive step forward in developing the intersection of technology, media, and the performing arts.

Eyal Danieli in the mood for love

The puzzle of Eyal Danieli’s work is that it neither embraces nor rejects the all-but-pervasive ironies of neo-conceptualism; rather, it compounds layers of irony to reach a kind of estranged sincerity—a restlessly ambiguous fusion of statement and commentary.

Sustaining Institutions

The economy is crumbling and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art just announced that it will be spending over $245 million dollars on a new 300,000 square-foot building. LACMA is hardly the only one undertaking expensive expansions these days—look at the Art Institute of Chicago, the contentious Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum addition, and the Whitney’s gobsmacking $680 million dollar project.


The Brooklyn Rail

NOV 2008

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