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Katia Santibañez New Work

In Gilles Deleuze’s landmark volume Difference & Repetition (1968) he proposes that difference and repetition have a function that is independent of the concepts of sameness, identity, resemblance, similarity, or equivalence.

Ad Reinhardt’s Emblematic Drawings In Their Moment

Once one of my students told me in an office hour that on a recent plane ride she sat next to a lawyer who gossiped with her about a divorce he was arranging for one of my teachers; even though I didn’t want to hear about it, she needed to talk; fortunately for the principals, both of whom I deeply respected, the divorce never went through.

John Altoon: Paintings and Works on Paper 1963-1968

John Altoon (1925-1969) was said to be a boozing, boisterous braggart with reckless intensity and an appetite for destruction. Imposing, swarthy, and diagnosed as schizophrenic in his late 30s, he was plagued by bouts of depression, paranoia, and manic episodes that often turned caustic and ugly, at times involving the destruction of his own work.

Josephine Halvorson

On a street near the Hudson River in the heart of the commercial art world, a small painting hangs at eye level in the side room of Sikkema Jenkins & Co. The piece is a 17 x 22 inch rectangle that bears within it another rectangular frame, this one slanted and rimmed in black—what looks to be the smudged surface of a vehicle window.

Tibor Freund: Motion in Paintings

When Tibor Freund (1910-2007) died last year in Queens, it went largely unnoticed. In his 97 years, the Hungarian modernist experienced much change in the world, to say the least.

Neo-Maternalism: Contemporary Artists’ Approach to Motherhood

Ever since the Abstract Expressionists held forth at the Cedar Tavern in the 1950s, the unwritten rule has been that making art is a consuming obsession that leaves no time or space for worldly responsibilities like childrearing.

Ali Banisadr

Ali Banisadr has described his painting as a translation of sound into imagery, an attempt to synthesize the visual and auditory aspects of memory. For Banisadr, these memories are derived from the first twelve years of his life spent in Tehran, where he experienced the bombings of the Iran-Iraq war.

Live Forever: Elizabeth Peyton

While Elizabeth Peyton’s paintings represent an undeniable achievement—coming to the fore during the recession of the early 1990s, staying on top over the course of several successive market bubbles, and now, at the onset of the current global crisis, tucked snuggly behind blue chip lines—there’s something about them that makes me question the importance of the show now on view at the New Museum.

Nasreen Mohamedi: The grid, unplugged

The drawings and photographs of Nasreen Mohamedi (1937-1990) are slowly but surely becoming better known to a wider American audience. In 2003, Holland Cotter, who has been her most eloquent champion in New York, wrote in the New York Times, “if people, especially young artists, knew about Mohamedi, they would love her the way they do Eva Hesse.”

Mary Heilmann: To Be Someone

As Mary Heilmann’s retrospective has traveled around the country (the New Museum is its fourth venue), certain facts and telling details have merged into a nearly universal characterization. Heilmann has been painting geometric abstract canvases for about forty years.

Who's in Charge?

Like all love affairs, the bond between artist and audience brims with antagonism as much as desire. Each side finds the urge to become lost in the other hard to disentangle from the urge to destroy it. Each craves more than the other can deliver, yet simultaneously longs to be free.

Ronald Bladen: Sculpture of the 1960s and 70s

One of art’s longstanding bugaboos is the perceived difference between “rigorous” geometric art and “intuitive, expressive” art. If, however, such dark, dull formulations allow artists like Ronald Bladen to shine more brightly, then perhaps they aren’t all bad.

Chuck Webster

Since the 1960s, certain portions of the conceptual art world have been on a mission to emancipate art’s intellectual essence from its corporeal burden—to make art into pure idea. Lucy Lippard gave her account of this purging in her book, Six Years: The Dematerialization of the Art Object from 1966 to 1972.

Bettina Sellmann: Taina . cosmogony . make your own paper dragon

The figures in paintings by Bettina Sellmann at Derek Eller Gallery emerge from chaos like misty, gem-colored invocations of the fearful nothingness ancient cultures believed to be just outside the human realm.

Joan Miró: Painting and Anti-Painting 1927–1937

What is anti-painting? Generally it connotes a way of creating art without using conventional techniques and materials, though many avant-garde artists have defined it differently.

Letter From London

Depending on your point of view, the fall ended either with a bang or a whimper. It seems that few parts of the world have been spared the financial tidal wave of recent months, yet in all the hubbub, there was one ray of complete absurdity.

Michelangelo, the Man and the Myth

Michelangelo, the Man and the Myth might be more plainly called “Michelangelo Drawings from the Casa Buonarroti.” Fully half the checklist items are hagiographic materials of greater or lesser interest, which better portray the artist’s public perception and the lending institution’s holdings than the artist himself.

José Parlá: Layered Days

José Parlá’s first New York solo exhibition is on the fourth floor of an old Soho loft building; a manually operated freight elevator takes you up to a space that has been cleared of its usual offering of furniture to make room for his paintings, works on paper and ceramics.

Zhang Xiaogang

I find it difficult to concede that some viewers in New York will not be moved by the recent “Green Wall” paintings of Zhang Xiaogang, but I know that not everybody sees the same way, just as not everyone listens or reads the same way. Fundamentally, I believe this is encouraging as long as it is not an excuse for ignorance.

Rudy Burckhardt: New York, N. Why? 1937–1940

In 1934 two young men, one Swiss, the other born in Shanghai then raised in Vienna and schooled in America, meet in Basel, Switzerland. Their business: Edwin Denby, a dance critic and poet, needs a photographer for a passport picture.

Lutz Bacher: ODO

Lutz Bacher, the Berkeley-based artist who has been working in a conceptual idiom for the last forty years, is the subject of two major museum retrospectives, one currently at the Contemporary Art Museum of St. Louis, and one upcoming next year at P.S.1.

Alfred Kubin: Drawings, 1897 – 1909

Alfred Kubin’s oeuvre is based on the artist’s lifelong fascination with the dark sides of the human subconscious. Through spectral fantasies and bizarre dreamscapes rendered in ink, pen, and occasionally tempera on paper, he told of the demons of human existence as embodied in insatiable greed, sadistic lust, fear, torture, and most consistently, death.

Cutting Realities: Gender Strategies in Art

Cutting Realities: Gender Strategies in Art is displayed on the first few floors of the Austrian Cultural Forum; a sleek, modernist building composed of glass and steel. Cutting Realities features work by artists from Central and Eastern Europe who confront, with a wide range of mediums and materials, how often representations of the body reflect prevailing gender hierarchies.

George Tooker: A Retrospective

Critics have attempted for more than fifty years to locate George Tooker in terms of his aesthetic affiliations. To this end they have discussed his work variously as a descendant of American Realism or of Socialist Realism, as an offshoot of Surrealism, a modern variety of Romanticism, or a branch of Magic Realism.

Kazimira Rachfal: i’ll go there, gladly

When Kazimira Rachfal paints, she stands above a small canvas placed flat on a table, as if working into a plot of fertile ground. Her view is aerial yet intimate. By the time a painting reaches a gallery wall, it has evolved into a compact cosmos, where a gentle magic toys with gravity and orientation.

Sa Suk-won

It has been said that among the three major countries in East Asia, Korean contemporary art is the least identifiable. This may imply that artists from the Republic of Korea are pretty much doing what they want to do.

Divine Retribution

Eight years is a considerable chunk out of anyone’s lifetime—10.3 percent, in fact, of the U.S. life expectancy (77.8 years, as tabulated by the National Center for Health Statistics) and almost the same percentage of the time afforded us by the writer of the 90th Psalm (“The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away”).

Does Invidiousness Go With The Territory?

Critic: One who speaks with discernment. At least, that is how the ancient Greeks thought of the word. Alas, the few left in what are now (derisively?) called the print media, never came close to the ancient distinction, and our own in New York leave much to be desired. I’m told that today only the good gray New York Times maintains art critics on the regular payroll, and that all the rest make do with part-timers, or not at all.

Reply to Irving Sandler

That Ad Reinhardt took a hard line on the art-life divide has never been in question. What has been at issue is what, precisely, such a position meant and what significance such a position could possibly have for artists today.


The Brooklyn Rail

DEC 08-JAN 09

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