November 18th, 2013


Rene Magritte at the Museum of Modern Art, New York

The New York Marathon had just ended as I began my own laps across the City. Beginning at the Museum of Modern Art, there’s no better way to exercise the eye and mind. On view through January 14, “Magritte: The Mystery of the Ordinary, 1926 -1938” is a dense show of the artist’s Surrealist years. Many beloved, familiar paintings hang alongside ones that are rarely seen. Collages, objects and photographs flesh out the exhibition and attest to Magritte’s unique, innovative eye and mind.

Brendan Fowler, New Photography 2013, Museum of Modern Art

The New Photography 2013 exhibition at MOMA features eight international artists who are expanding the field of photography. Shared themes among the artists in the show include the merging of abstraction and representation, the examination of digital and analog technologies and story-telling that is both documentary and conceptually based.  Brendan Fowler, who lives in Los Angeles, is of particular interest. Having visited his studio over a year ago, I am intrigued with his mash-up of images and his hybrid of painting, collage and photography.

Eleanor Antin, video still, Museum of Modern Art, New York

On the third floor, “Dorothea Rockburne: Drawing Which Makes Itself” comprises a beautiful installation by an artist often overlooked in the current dialogue. Contemporary works from the MOMA collection on the second floor offers an overview of some of the most provocative of work of the past few years by artists such as Philip-Lorca diCorcia, David Hammons and William Kentridge along with various videos by artists such as Eleanor Antin.

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September 25th, 2013


Expo Chicago, Sept 18-21, is the “Back-to-School fair” for the art world.  First up following the summer season, it’s not a primary event, but one that is useful and certainly offers highlights. Exhibitors hail internationally to serve an audience that is primarily Midwestern.  A great city to visit, Chicago is a first-class destination for architecture, ranks at the top for outdoor, public sculpture and boasts some truly inspiring private collections. I visited five of them while I was in town and they were memorable.

Amanda Ross Ho, “The Character and Shape of Illuminated Things”,
Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, plaza installation

The afternoon of my arrival, I had just enough time to make a visit to the Museum of Contemporary Art. I was happily greeted by Los Angeles-based artist, Amanda Ross-Ho’s inaugural public outdoor art project. Titled “The Character and Shape of Illuminated Things”, the work explores how photography mimics the ways in which we see. The artist has turned the entire plaza into a photography studio, complete with color calibration card.

Theaster Gates, “13th Ballad”, mixed media sculpture,
Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago

The key exhibition inside the Museum is “Theaster Gates: 13th Ballad”. This presentation is an extension of “12 Ballads for Huguenot House” which was one of the most applauded installations at Documenta in Kassel, Germany, last summer. Gates is a deeply emotive artist and brings his authenticity to each sculpture, performance and urban intervention that he creates. Chicago-based and internationally acclaimed, his work was also presented by Kavi Gupta Gallery in a one-person exhibition.

The Fair has made a welcome return to Navy Pier. Now in its’ second year, management has rallied the community and is making a noble effort to ensure continuity. The afternoon preview allowed spacious and relaxed viewing. There was nothing too surprising but the caliber was solid and there’s always something to learn and a few jewels to find.

Monique Van Genderen at Susanne Vielmetter booth,
Expo Chicago

Robert Gober at Matthew Marks booth,
Expo Chicago

David Zwirner brought a tour de force painting by Lisa Yuskavage in three panels measuring about 15’ long. It’s first public viewing, the artist had withheld the piece in her studio since 2010. Matthew Marks offered a significant sculpture by Robert Gober. Susanne Vielmetter featured a strong presentation for painter, Monique Van Genderen.   Barbara Mathes put together another beautifully curated booth spotlighting Jack Pierson.  Chicago’s Alan Koppel Gallery showcased an excellent  range of work from refined photography by Hiroshi Sugimoto to contemporary sculture by Rebecca Warren.

Shannon Findley at Jessica Silverman booth,
Expo Chicago

A section of the Fair titled “Exposure” was dedicated to participation by newer galleries who have been in operation for seven years or less. Each highlighted one or two artists from their program. The standout installation was presented by Jessica Silverman Gallery of San Francisco with her artist, Shannon Finley, who lives and works in Berlin. The paintings are acrylic on canvas backed by wallpaper also created by the artist.

Jaume Plensa, digital fountain, Millenium Park,

It’s hard to resist a walk through Millenium Park on any visit to Chicago. Anish Kapoor’s sculpture dazzles the crowd and Jaume Plensa’s heroic fountain continues to thrill as his object sculpture proliferates around the globe. Millenium Park was completed in 2004. In 2009 the Nichols Bridgeway was opened which connects the park to the third floor of the Modern Wing of the Art Institute of Chicago, both of which were designed by Renzo Piano. Striding the 620’ long bridge to the doorstep of the Art Institute is to transit from one great treasure to another.

Nichols Bridge designed by Renzo Piano,
from Millenium Park to the Chicago Art Institute

August 16th, 2013


“Statue of a Youth (The Mozia Charioteer), Sicilian Greek,
marble, 470-460 B.C., 71″ tall

One of the finest sculptural achievements in Western Art, and certainly from the Classical Period, is the Sicilan Greek statue known as “The Mozia Charioteer” (470-460 B.C.) Pose, gaze, and the idealized human form, which bursts forth beneath a diaphanous garment, declare a powerful eroticism. Discovered on the small island of Mozia in 1979, the sculpture is being shown for the first time in America. It stands as the centerpiece of “Sicily: Art and Invention Between Greece and Rome” at the Getty Villa. until August 19.

“Statue of a Youth (The Mozia Charioteer)”
rear view

From the fifth to the third centuries, an opulent lifestyle was enjoyed in ancient Sicily. From the fine arts to the culinary arts, the good life flourished amidst intellectual achievement and innovation. Among the 145 objects, highlights include a beautiful lidded wedding vase of pigmented terracotta as well as an ink on parchment text page from “Archimedes Palimpsest”. See it this weekend!

August 2nd, 2013


Jane Wilbraham, “Index”, 2010-2011, at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art

One of the freshest shows of the year to-date, “Labour & Wait” examines the ideals of labor and craftsmanship in contemporary art. It celebrates the hand in artmaking as distinct from art that is manufactured or reliant on technology. The exhibition features approximately fifteen artists of unique vision that together form a provocative whole.

Tim Hawkinson at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art

Tonico Lemos Auad, crocheted sculpture, Santa Barbara Museum

The seminal film by Fischli and Weiss, “The Way Things Go (1987), opens the show and embodies some of the strong themes in the exhibition which include time, effort, continuity, spontaneity, progress and the possibilities of the everyday that surround us. Works range from Allison Smith’s towering sculpture of wood furniture that addresses American colonial and Civil War histories to Tonico Lemos Auad’s delicate crocheted chandeliers that invoke the spiritual with their gentle light. Timothy Hawkinson’s sculpture of a woman at her spinning wheel showcases his wizardry with disparate materials.  Read the rest of this entry »