Posts from December, 2008

Dona Nelson at Thomas Erben Gallery


Dona Nelson at Thomas Erben Gallery


Marlene Dumas at MoMA and Elizabeth Peyton at the New Museum


Dumas and Peyton are united in their limitations as well as their strengths—and, arguably, in their capacity to ensure that their limitations are strengths. Dumas’s photo-dependency gives her imagery political edge. Denial of sensory depth almost punishes viewers for yearning for it, reminding them of the urgencies of injustice and exploitation that this art – and their consciences – should be addressing. Peyton’s style wallows in its own patheticism, as if cloying, ephemeral, illustration-technique are symptoms of self-pity. Such knowingly retarded means sit perfectly with the basically adolescent emotion she taps, which is that of star-struck infatuation.


Magdalena Abakanowicz: The Reality of Dreams at Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University


These monumental drawings consist of interwoven lines made with charcoal or gouache that tangle and bind together to form strange organic beings. Forms allude to a tree trunk, a human torso, a flower, or an insect; they explore the ambivalence between nature’s capacity to produce the mysterious pulsating of life which is simultaneously haunted by the treachery of death.


William Tillyer: The Cadiz Caprices at Jacobson Howard Gallery


There are few abstract painters at work today who manage to push both metaphor and literalism so hard, simultaneously, as William Tillyer.


Stephen Westfall at Lennon, Weinberg


Stephen Westfall at Lennon, Weinberg


Landscapes Clear and Radiant: The Art of Wang Hui at the Metropolitan Museum of Art


The attractiveness of the towering, tree covered mountains in Landscape after Wang Meng’s “Travelers amid Autumn Mountains” is self-evident. But if you cannot also see how this is a copy of a fourteen century imitation of Dong Yuan’s 10th century Travelers amid Autumn Mountains, then who knows what you are missing.


Miguel Trelles: Trámite – Hsiao at the Gabarron Foundation Carriage House Center for the Arts


Much of his earlier work has been involved in reconciling his interests in Chinese traditional painting with his very contemporary reading of his own outsider status as a bilingual Latino artist in America.


Elizabeth Insogna at Jeannie Freilich Contemporary


Elizabeth Insogna at Jeannie Freilich Contemporary


Lorna Simpson: Ink at Salon 94 and Salon 94 Freemans


The tensions between intimate and public, between information and interpretation, in Simpson’s drawings of women’s hair take on a different meaning in a second body of work in what the artist calls the “orchestrated theatrical disaster” of war.


Amanda Church at Ruth S. Harley Center Gallery in Garden City


Amanda Church at Ruth S. Harley Center Gallery