DAVID COHEN, Editor           


February 2009

posted 02/28/2009
NORA GRIFFIN on Francesca DiMattio at Salon 94 and at Salon 94 Freemans

However closely she references classical,  renaissance and modernist genres, her paintings never lapse into nostalgia, but instead give off an arch contemporary emotion.

posted 02/28/2009
JUSTIN TERRY on Nancy Haynes at Elizabeth Harris

As one grasps the combination of flatness, space, and light in Haynes’ paintings, the subtleties of her sophisticated palette and tonal gradations reveal a seductive luminosity. 

posted 02/28/2009
JONATHAN GOODMAN on Barkley L. Hendricks: Birth of the Cool at the Studio Museum in Harlem

The painter Barkley L. Hendricks caught not only the mood, but also the dress of black Americans in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Indeed, the subhead of the Studio Museum’s exhibition, “Birth of the Cool,” gives the nod to the development of a style whose casual hipness and intimated militancy marked a generation of African Americans.

posted 02/24/2009
STEPHANIE BUHMANN on Joe Fyfe at James Graham & Sons

While Fyfe has worked with combining more traditional methods of painting with textile collages for years, it is through the overt focus on counterparts in this exhibition, contrasting the more serious with the playful and the reserved with the whimsical, that Fyfe reveals both the diversity of his artistic interests and the extent of expressive versatility he has reached in his work.

posted 02/17/2009
STEPHEN MAINE on David Diao at Postmasters

For decades, Diao has injected deeply personal, even confessional content onto the placid surfaces and into the untroubled spaces of Modernism by way of a formal vocabulary grounded in the conventions of presentation diagrams, plans, text. The new work retains its erstwhile formal elegance and restraint, but rueful humor is replaced by a seething emotional undertow stemming from the artist’s inherited memories of his family’s displacement and fragmentation at the hands of the Chinese government.

posted 02/16/2009
DAVID CARRIER on Jim Dine at PaceWildenstein

Pinocchio’s nose grew when he lied, and so he is a perfect role model for this artist whose magnificently chaotic installation presents the truthful lies of art

posted 02/16/2009
JONATHAN GOODMAN on Lin Yan at China Square

Lin has managed, through wit and a visionary interpretation of speech, to create a low-relief sculpture that refers simultaneously to American political and artistic history.

posted 02/06/2009
CHRISTINA KEE on Zach Harris at Max Protetch

Conventional readings of “above” and “below”, of north, south, east and west are confounded in these panels by the integration of patterned motifs - diamond shapes and curlicues - that resist any such perspectival pre-conditions. The improbable worlds that Harris presents are less pictures of places than visual destinations within elaborate structures, guiding the eye ever-centerwards.

posted 02/03/2009
STEPHANIE BUHMANN on Raqib Shaw at the Met

Whatever stories Shaw might tell and whatever horrific creatures he might portray, they all are camouflaged by an overstimulation of the viewer's visual senses. The excessiveness of information is severe and can be compared to 1960s psychedelic art or Persian miniatures.

posted 02/20/2009
Life on Mars, the Carnegie International

Life on Mars shares a number of artists with Unmonumental, including Mark Bradford, Cao Fei, Thomas Hirschhorn, Matthew Monahan, Manfred Pernice, and Susan Philipsz.  For a show of only 39 artists, that makes nearly a sixth.  This is perhaps unsurprising considering the New Museum's Eungie Joo served on the advisory committee for the 2008 International, but is rather suspect for a show that purports to be global in its representation.  Suspect as well is that all but seven of the artists are from the US or Europe and only twelve are women.   

posted 02/06/2009
DEVEN GOLDEN on Kirsten Hassenfeld at Smack Mellon

The key to Hassenfeld’s installation lies not in the objects themselves but in the negative space that exists between them.  Not mere empty space, but a potent, energized negative space that is somehow integral to the understanding of the object’s identity.

posted 02/06/2009
DAVID CARRIER on Terry Winters at Matthew Marks

Some may remind you of Sam Francis’s Blue Balls, although Winters packs his pictures more densely. And his lavishly worked colors occasionally have some unruly relationship to 1970s pattern painting, the faux-Islamic decorations of Philip Taaffe and, even, the gridded portion of Henri Matisse’s The Moroccans. But whatever his visual sources, Winters makes entirely original, entirely resolved works of art.

posted 02/23/2009
SARAH SCHMERLER on Vik Muniz: Rebus at the Museum of Modern Art

"Rebus," conceived and spearheaded by an artist, Brazilian conceptual trickster, Vik Muniz, made me re-think the current trend of curator-as-artist and made me see MoMA's amazing collection in new ways (yes, that old cliché). Plus, it even made me laugh out loud.

posted 2/7/2009
JOHN GOODRICH on Stuart Shils at Tibor de Nagy and John Dubrow at Lori Bookstein

The exhibitions of Shils and Dubrow overlapped by only a couple days, just enough to allow fresh comparisons between the two. Their differences intrigue: could it be that Shils seeks evocative means of representing, while Dubrow peruses the workings of representation itself?

posted 2/3/2008
HEARNE PARDEE on Al Held at Paul Kasmin

The interplay of colors and contrasting directions endows the open spaces with their own specific movements. The entire composition is cropped cinematically to add implied drama to what can only be called a scene.


DISPATCHES: Report from Paris

Mick Finch visited a recent exhibition that delved into the anatomy collections of the Ecole des Beaux-Arts

James Nares speaks about his work

James Nares In Real Life 2009
oil on linen, 85 x 55 inches


SANDY WALKER remembers masterprinter
Sheila Marbain who passed away last year aged 81


Associations with famous and successful artists were not what Sheila was about.  She was an artist’s printer, a friend to the artist, a devotee to the arts and to the creative process in the highest sense.

on Graffiti Argentina by Maximiliano Ruiz