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Thursday, March 15th, 2012

Art World Planning, Aesthetic Sprawl


The Review Panel will consider Whitney Biennial 2012

Dawn Kasper's art installation 'This Could Be Something if I Let It, 2012'. Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images

Dawn Kasper's art installation 'This Could Be Something if I Let It, 2012'. Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images

Our heads are still reeling from the image-overload of Armory Week as our souls yearn for intellectual order out of this maelstrom.  But keep the seat belts fastened, as there is still Whitney Biennial 2012 to make sense of.  Luckily – or perhaps even more intimidatingly – there are four drivers in the cockpit.  On March 30th, moderator David Cohen is joined by Bill Berkson, Will Heinrich and Karen Wilkin to tackle the individual merits and collective sense of this bewildering art world fixture.  The Review Panel, the penultimate this season, takes place as ever at the National Academy Museum and School of Art, 1083 Fifth Avenue at 89th Street, at 6.30 PM.  Please circulate the flyer, below, to colleagues, friends, students etc.

Armory Week

We survived, and indeed thrived, an extraordinary art-filled weekend.  So far, artcritical’s correspondents have tackled the peripheral fairs.  David Cohen went to Volta where the show felt charged by erotic content. “A young artist by the name of Wilmer Wilson IV, who is still a senior at Howard University, stole the show, however, with a performance at Conner Contemporary Art of Washington DC.  Echoing one of  [transgendered artist] Zackary Drucker’s videos in which she is embalmed in gold tape, Wilson, a tall, lithe African-American youth, patiently mummified himself before his audience with gold stickers, each of which had apparently been authorized by a notary public in DC. The ritual sends up notions of validation and self-worth and yet has an eerily calm and timeless dignity about it that belies its satirical intentions.”

Ellie Bronson found calm joy amidst art fair claustrophobia at The Independent in Chelsea.  “Rob Pruitt’s silver-tape covered chairs, The Congregation (2010-12) at Gavin Brown’s Enterprise almost steal the show on the fourth floor, but it is well worth lingering around the corner at Creative Growth Art Center where Dan Miller has created spellbinding odes to the power of language in pen, paint, and typewritten words on paper.  The works are both confounding and compelling – alluring, indefinably sad, and creepy.  Their poignancy is almost overwhelming when one learns that the artist has Autism, and can hardly speak at all.  His words are all in his art.”

And Robin Siegel discovered a new kid on the block, Armory Week’s latest addition, New City Art Fair, devoted exclusively to contemporary art from Japan.  In her Photo Essay, Siegel’s lens was lured by Yuki Hashimoto figures in clay painstakingly crafted onto cellphone bodies, Shusuke Ao’s an airplane in reverse, and Kawaii figures, animé riffs on classical scroll paintings, and whimsical reactions to life in a high tech world were evident at eitoeiko gallery.

Works by Yuki Hashimoto at eitoeiko, Tokyo (left) and by Kenichi Yokono at Unseal Contemporary, Tokyo. Photo: Robin Siegel, for artcritical

Works by Yuki Hashimoto at eitoeiko, Tokyo (left) and by Kenichi Yokono at Unseal Contemporary, Tokyo. Photo: Robin Siegel, for artcritical

Also new and noteworthy at artcritical: David Carrier reports from Rome where two museum shows of baroque painting, seeking to contextualize Caravaggio, succeed mostly in confirming his singular greatness.  David Brody dips into Terry Winters‘ “lakes” and finds them decidedly chilly.  Kris Scheifele delves into Israeli photographer and video artist Oded Hirsch‘s stiff and stylized explorations of “bonds of faith and place” in his show at  Theirry Goldberg Gallery.  Merlin James offers a moving and confessional tribute to a generous curmudgeon, his teacher and friend Peter de Francia. And as a complement to last month’s review of Pace Gallery’s Happenings show, Erik La Prade profiles the man behind the lens of many of those iconic shots of vintage performances, Robert R. McElroy.

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