DAVID COHEN, Editor           


October 2008

posted 10/14/2008
DISPATCHES: MICK FINCH Notes from... Paris: Bridget Riley and Peter Doig

Bridget Riley

In his first dispatch from Paris, Mick Finch ponders simultaneous shows of two artists, Bridget Riley and Peter Doig, both active in Britain but from different generations, whose contrastive relations to Post-Impressionism proved instructive.

posted 10/8/2008
Notes from... North Carolina

Casey Porn

In the first of a new series of dispatches from around the US and the world by regular contributors, GREG LINDQUIST charts developments in his native North Carolina

posted 10/5/2008 
DAVID COHEN on Cecily Brown at Gagosian

Famously, Ms. Brown paints sex. That can mean a number of things, all of them true in her case: that she draws on pornographic sources, that she looks to a voluptuous tradition in western picture making, that she depicts or evokes the sex act, that her painterliness has its own erotics. Any which way, in seeking to account for her successes and failures as a painter, the temptation of bedroom analogies is irresistible. What exactly is going on between the linens?

posted 10/17/2008 
JOHN ZINSSER on Untitled (Vicarious) curated by Tom Duncan at Gagosian

This adventurous photography survey, pairing historical and contemporary examples of sculptural construction and assemblage as subject matter, includes David Smith, László Moholy-Nagy, Peter Fischli & David Weiss, James Welling, Gregory Crewdson, Thomas Demand and Wolfgang Tillmans.

posted 10/16/2008 
CATHY NAN QUINLAN on Marvin Gates at Bowery

The eye is constantly moving between flat patterns of color -- abstractions of pedestrians, crosswalks, cars and buildings -- into areas of deep space and then back again.

posted 10/15/2008 
DAVID CARRIER on Nick Miller at the New York Studio School

Just as many Matisse drawings and paintings made in Nice in the 1920s and 30s incorporate a representation of himself making the work of art, so Miller includes images of his working space in his landscapes. The effect is to bring us into the working process.

posted 10/5/2008 
DAVID CARRIER on Vincent Van Gogh: The Colors of Night at the Museum of Modern Art, and to: Night: Contemporary Representations of the Night at Hunter College

Nightfall can inspire fascination with the starry sky, optimistic hopes for fulfilled sexual desire, or at least anticipation of sleep. But it can also cause anxiety if you are lonely, which is why van Gogh described The Night Café (1988), at MoMA, as showing a place where “dark forces lurked and suppressed human passions could suddenly explode.”

posted 10/5/2008 
JOE FYFE on Janet Malcolm at Lori Bookstein

Malcolm chooses to photograph leaves of the burdock plant because of its lowly status in the plant world - as a common weed that grows “along roadsides…and around derelict buildings” - and because of its literary status. She notes that Chekhov and Hawthorne have referenced it in their fiction to denote “ruin and desolation” and explains that she prefers “older, flawed leaves to young, unblemished specimens — leaves to which something has happened.”

posted 10/5/2008 
JAMES SCARBOROUGH on Julian Hoeber at Blum & Poe, Los Angeles

Collectively, these sculptures look like death masks cast from Aztec sacrifices. Each embodies the magical absurd-beyond-belief-because-it’s-so-true realism of Gabriel Garcia Marquez.


DAVID CARRIER on Antoine's Alphabet: Watteau and his World by Jed Perl

I enjoyed every word of this beautifully composed book, a virtuoso performance by a writer at the top of his form, who almost never fails to be totally engaging.