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Beyond Pop and Expressionism

The following comments on Vaulting Limits—a group show seen last month at the Tenri Cultural Institute in the West Village—may offer a slightly different perspective than what some of my colleagues have chosen to see as important in contemporary Chinese art today.

How Newness Enters the Art World

Newness was at the core of modernism—Harold Rosenberg extolled the Tradition of the New and Robert Hughes explored The Shock of the New. In 1936 Alfred Barr theorized the emergence of the New with a complicated engineering-style diagram that illustrated his theory that art evolves through a process of exhaustion and reaction.

June 1–3, 2012
JUNG AH KIM’s Studio
56 Bogart Street

The studio of mixed-media artist Jung ah Kim is located on the second floor of 56 Bogart Street in Bushwick. Just opposite the Morgan stop on the L train, her building is one of the area’s original artists’ studio buildings, now numbering in the hundreds.

Paving Paradise Part I

I finally started an overly ambitious painting project I’ve been putting off for years. It’s a large, definitive map depicting the East Village art scene. Among the joys and sorrows of this kind of work is the research and documentation it requires.

WHITNEY CLAFLIN As Long As You Get To Be Somebody’s Slave, Too

Whitney Claflin is a young, Yale-educated painter who creates raw effects that remain in the thoughts of her viewers long after they have made their way from the gallery.

ULRICH GEBERT The Negotiated Order

The kingdom of animals has disappeared in Ulrich Gebert’s photographs, and those that handled them now look to be engaged with ghosts. Many scenes are just ridiculous; a well-dressed gentleman in a field tossing sticks to a dog looks preposterous if the dog is absent.


In an April 1910 interview, Auguste Rodin griped: “Recently I have taken to isolating limbs, the torso. Why am I blamed for it? Why is the head allowed and not portions of the body? Every part of the human figure is expressive.”

Made in L.A. 2012

Last year, in Chicago, for the first time anywhere, I taught a course on 20th and 21st century Los Angeles art, a survey that started with artists from the 1920s. I was confident that the early stuff would be a revelation, if only because of how much effort is still put into maintaining the notion that everything started at the admittedly vital Ferus Gallery.

SHANA MOULTON The line where your appearance flips over into reality

Insofar as any development in contemporary art can be considered new, a newish sensibility in performance-based video has been gaining momentum over the last five years or so.


For 25 years Sylvia Plimack Mangold’s ostensible subject has been trees: oaks, maples, elms, and pines that she draws and paints on-site near her home in upstate New York.

MICHELLE SEGRE Lost Songs of the Filament

A great deal of recent art found in global biennials and blue-chip galleries (think of Damien Hirst’s spots or Kehinde Wiley’s portraits) is made by teams of acolytes under an art superstar’s supervision.

Inaugural Show

Ethan Pettit isn’t trying to do anything too complex. The debut exhibition at his quaint suite in the Brooklyn Fire Proof building, Inaugural Show, is simply conceived as an introduction.


Until this exhibition I had never seen a work by Sven Lukin, an artist who began showing in New York in the early 1960s and was widely recognized at the time for his innovative painting-sculpture hybrids.


Margaret Lanzetta and David Packer’s one-person shows at Le Cube in Rabat both cast backward glances to Duchamp’s aesthetics of Étant donnés and exile, as well as to Western Modernism’s historic reframing of the Other as exotic and primitive.

Lightness, Being

Intrepid gallerists often forge unexpected partnerships, and Gallery Brooklyn is a case in point. On a quiet street in Red Hook, this new space opened in a realty office, and its inaugurating exhibition, Lightness, Being,pays homage to this quirky union in subtle ways.

“FRESH FOR(U)MS” Garden Party/Arts

Back in May of 2012, I was invited to attend a dinner by an artist friend of mine, Alyse Ronayne. Ronayne, a graduate of the Maryland Institute College of Art and current M.F.A. candidate at Bard, was featuring work in conjunction with a new project starting in Brooklyn, centered around the theme of roving feminist exhibitions.

Material Tak

It looks like there is an increasingly vital art scene in some of the tough urban areas of New Jersey, most especially Newark and Jersey City, where the cost of studio space is much more reasonable than in the chic, art-oriented neighborhoods of New York.


Jaime Davidovich’s Re: PLAY, on view at MediaNoche through June 16, was a condensed, well-considered overview of the artist’s video work from 1972 through 2011.


Nightmarish and erotically charged, the imagery in Helen Verhoeven’s new paintings leads one to suspect that the exhibition’s title, Stage Disasters, refers as much to the stage(s) of psychosexual development as to dramaturgical mishap.


In Jacolby Satterwhite’s video “Country Ball 1989–2012” (2012), on view in May 2012 at the Studio Museum in Harlem, real and computer-generated bodies gyrate in a landscape brimming with earthly pleasures.

FRANK STELLA Black, Aluminum, Copper Paintings

Just for now, I would rather stay at street level and save a walk up the staircase at 45 East 78th Street for another visit. Not since Dorothy Miller’s 1959 Sixteen Americans exhibition at MoMA has a group of Frank Stella’s Black Paintings been shown together like this—and here they are, installed on the ground floor of L&M’s plush town house.


“Fashion fades; only style remains the same,” said Coco Chanel. Alex Katz has style, evidenced by his ability to simplify the image of a painting through the constancy of his touch, harmonizing contemporary visual specifics with classic physiognomies in unexpected scales, endlessly refreshing our perception every time we confront either an old or new work.

Is Newness Still New?

Can newness be considered new any longer? Is the concept of originality in contemporary art even possible or relevant? Interpreted as fresh, transformative, or even deliberately backward-looking, the idea of newness seems empowered by our own personal and idiosyncratic senses of perception, achieved via emotional, intellectual, and physical responses to art.


The Brooklyn Rail congratulates the marriage of Louise Fishman and Ingrid Nyeboe


The Brooklyn Rail

JUL-AUG 2012

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