Robert C. Morgan
Robert C. Morgan is an artist, critic, curator, and art historian who paints, writes, curates exhibitions, and lectures on art history. Over the course of his career, he has traveled widely engaging in many aspects of his career. He has several books published by major publishers, i.e., Cambridge University Press, McFarland & Company, London, Allworth Press, New York, University of Minneapolis Press, The Johns Hopkins University Press, among others. His most recent exhibition was held at the Scully Tomasko Foundation, New York City (2022).
Ryszard Wasko: Bedtime StoriesBy Robert C. Morgan
Children remember bedtime stories. It doesnt matter where they grow up geographically or to what culture they belong. They expect their parents to tell them stories before they fall asleep.
The Man Who Carried His Art in His PocketBy Robert C. Morgan
Having written about Minimal and Conceptual art over the years, I became aware, shortly after discovering the news of Fred Sandbacks recent passing, that I had never actually written about his work. There are certain artists who are highly respected and whose art has an original and persistent quality, yet who miss the critical attention they deserve.
A Tribute to Charles Seliger (1926-2009)By James Siena and Robert C. Morgan
Nobody on Charless block in Pelham knew he was totally unlike the rest of them. Wearing a sport coat and a bow tie, hed enter and leave his house like anyone else, but if his neighbors cared to look (or stayed up late enough), theyd notice his light was on deep into the night, either in his tiny studio at the top of the stairs or in his bedroom, as he kept easels in each place.
By Robert C. Morgan
Art Criticism and the Marketing of Contemporary Art
When I began writing criticism in 1979, the market presence was known, but rarely appeared as a dominant issue. It was nothing compared to the booming multi-national enterprise that exists today.
RICHARD LONG with Robert C. Morgan
Robert C Morgan poses questions to Richard Long on the occasion of Richard's two exhibitions, MUD HEAVEN, and FROM A ROLLING STONE TO NOW.
Letter from IranBy Robert C. Morgan
Having recently traveled to Iran to jury an international sculpture symposium, it was difficult to match what I saw and felt with the kinds of reports being generated by the corporate entertainment media back home.
Two Biennials, Two Models:By Robert C. Morgan
Some will say that a biennial is a biennial, that no matter who you pick or what you choose, they are all the same.
Whitney Biennial 2006: Day for NightBy Robert C. Morgan, Hrag Vartanian, Stephanie Buhmann, William Powhida, and Ellen Pearlman
The 2006 Whitney Biennial had the potential to harness a subversive undercurrent with only a slight (if radical) reinterpretation of its curatorial premise, Day for Night.
The Meaning of SilenceBy Robert C. Morgan
Some artists who are on the margin of mainstream movements tend to get overlooked because they are somewhere in the penumbra of the action.
Seo-Bo Park with Robert Morgan
Seo-Bo Parknow in his mid-seventiesis considered one of the leading figures in bringing the European Modernist concept of art to Korea in the late fifties after the Korean War.
ALAIN KIRILI with Robert C. Morgan
On the occasion of the current exhibit The Drawing Show: Lines in Charcoal, Ink, Watercolor, Galvanized Iron and Black Rubber (January 3 June 30, 2012), the sculptor Alain Kirili and Contributing Editor Robert Morgan paid a visit to the Rails headquarters to talk about his life and work.
Allan Kaprow (19272006)By Robert C. Morgan, Wolf Kahn, and Irving Sandler
First Nam June Paik. Now Allan Kaprow. Two great innovators, gone.
Hwang Young Sung: Painter from GwangJuBy Robert C. Morgan
GwangJu is a city in the southwest area of Korea, known by some Europeans and Americans as the location of the first biennial in Asia. Before Beijing, before Shanghai, before Singapore, before Taiwan, there was Gwangju. The first Biennale was in 1995a mere decade agoand now the sixth installation is expected to open in September 2006.
Portraits in RichmondBy Robert C. Morgan
About a month and a half ago I was invited to attend the vernissage for an exhibition at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond, entitled Bonjour, Monsieur Courbet! It was a gala affair to be sure.
In Memory of the Video Mentor: Nam June Paik (1932–2006)By Robert C. Morgan
Three years ago, I received a call from Dr. Matthew Lee, a world-renowned neurologist who specializes in the field of thermography at New York University. Dr. Lee had been working with Nam June Paik on rehabilitating the artist’s neurological functions after a severe stroke in 1996.
The Anti-Aesthetic of DadaBy Robert C. Morgan
Originally organized by the Centre George Pompidou in Paris under the curatorial guidance of Laurent Le Bon, “Dada” was given two venues in the United States…
BERNAR VENET with Robert C. Morgan
“I think an artist should never have a sense of a work before they start to make it art. We have to be adventurous and just try, allowing our personality to take over.”
The Citadel of ArtBy Robert C. Morgan
In traveling around to various panels and symposia where contemporary issues in art or in visual representation, as the case might be are given a forum, I am struck by the manner in which citadels are verbally constructed over and over again in order to fend off the notion of ambiguity in art.
Pierre Soulages with Robert C. Morgan
The following interview was conducted with Pierre Soulages at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Manhattan during his last two exhibits at Robert Miller and Haim Chanin.
Wheres the Matter?: On the Sculpture of Kenneth SnelsonBy Robert C. Morgan
Having written a text on Kenneth Snelsons digital stone sculpture based on his theories of the atom, which he showed this past summer in Beijing, I was curious to view some of the recent steel and cable work for which he is best known.
Lee Ufan Resonance & Artempo: Where Time Becomes ArtBy Robert C. Morgan
This is the fifty-second edition of the Biennale di Venezia since its inception over a century ago. Clearly, the institutional notion of art—that is, art under the aegis of the nation-state—has given way to corporate sponsorship.
HARMANN NITSCH with Robert C. Morgan
Last October, Mike Weiss asked me if I would write an essay on the work of the seminal Austrian Actionist painter, Hermann Nitsch. Mike was in the process of planning an exhibition of Nitschs new work to be held at his gallery in February 2004.
Robert Barry: NOT THE ART OF WAR, BUT ART AND WARBy Robert C. Morgan
Robert Barry is one of the most convincing conceptualists from the era of the late sixties and seventies. His word lists, wall and window pieces, his sound recordings, and DVD and slide projections, are focused on one central idea: language.
A Triple Alliance: de Chirico, Picabia, WarholBy Robert C. Morgan
This exhibit of the later works of modernist pioneers, Giorgio de Chirico, Francis Picabia, and Andy Warhol, prompts a reevaluation of the artists comparative achievements.
Natvar BhavsarBy Robert C. Morgan
I first met Natvar Bhavsar in 1980 at his exhibition at the Wichita Art Museum in Kansas. I was familiar with Bhavsars paintings in New York during my graduate student days at New York University, but to see a major exhibition in Wichita by this Indian painter whose work I had admired at Max Hutchinson Gallery in SoHo was an undeniable thrill.
Beside The Rose: Selected Works by Jay DeFeoBy Robert C. Morgan
Can we compare it with Gertrude Stein and Marcel Duchamp? "A rose is a rose is a rose," expressed the former in her terse, illimitable prose. Her parallel was a case of androgyny who proclaimed himself "Rrose Sélavy" in 1921. Some decades later, Joseph Beuys would articulate his concept of social sculpture by saying, "Without the rose, we cannot do it." But the most personal of all comes from the artist Jay DeFeo, who tells us, "I see The Rose as the central effort of my life." Indeed, the twentieth century has delivered many avant-garde roses, some more explicit than others, some more bereft.
Another Art Story From VeniceBy Robert C. Morgan
For the past six years, an exhibition has occurred on The Lido in Venice called OPEN. The purpose of this event is to create an outdoor exhibition of sculpture and installations in which artists from various countries participate. Since the inception of this exhibition concept in 1998, the director Paolo De Grandis and the curator Pierre Restany were two forces who made this exhibition a major event. It was conceived in relation to the Venice Film Festival, which always happens at the end of August.
David GeiserBy Robert C. Morgan
It would seem that installation art, as it is understood today, is a misnomer. The museological use of the term refers to the way an exhibition is mounted, how it is presented, and how it determines (to a large extent) the relationships between the paintings within the gallery space. David Geisers paintings suggest the kind of urgency that used to occupy artists before the advent of installation art.
The Destiny of Larry Poons: Larry Poons Paintings 1971 - 1980By Robert C. Morgan
Larry Poons has been on the scene for many years. By the scene, I refer both to contemporary art history and to the regenerative impulse that has accompanied his work over the past four decades.
Tadaaki Kuwayamas Aesthetics of InfinityBy Robert C. Morgan
Born in Nagoya, Japan, Kuwayama came with his wife, the artist, Rakuko Naito, to the United States in 1958, roughly the same time as Yayoi Kusama and Yoko Ono. By 1960-61, he had already developed a reputation as a reductivist painter through his association with such important gallerists as Richard Bellamy and Bruno Bischofberger.
Absence and the Continuum of NatureBy Robert C. Morgan
For those who travel from the city to the country during the summer months, the landscape is a place not only for recreation but also for viewing, a place to nourish the body and mind through the act of perception, through the process of coming down, of slowing down, and thus removing oneself from the diurnal routines and omnipresent anxieties that many assume to be second naturethe simulated nature of the urban environment.
He SenBy Robert C. Morgan
It is not an understatement to say that recent Chinese figurative painting has had an exemplary impact on the way we look at painting today and on the growth of the contemporary Asian art market.
Lee UfanBy Robert C. Morgan
Korean-born painter and sculptor, Lee Ufan, now in his early seventies, spends much of his time living in either Japan or France. Known for his sparse, large-scale brush marks on empty canvas and his sculpture in which boulders are placed on glass or weathering steel, Leelike his fellow countryman, the late Nam June Paikhas indeed spent most of his career outside of his native Korea.
Grace Rim: YES Love, YES LifeBy Robert C. Morgan
After six years of an escalating art market following the invasion of Iraq, where prices for mediocre spectacles rose beyond the fringes of obscenity, artists and their investors find themselves in a different state of mind.
The Last Breath of Piero ManzoniBy Robert C. Morgan
There is as much to say about Piero Manzoni, the artist, as there is to say about his work. They are, more or less, inextricably bound to one another.
Unraveling Cultural GlobalizationBy Robert C. Morgan
Human conscience must play a distinctive role in how we determine the ethical consequences of out actions in the future, and this, of course will affect the future of cultural globalization. The role of art as substantive and transformative force will only be realized if art liberates itself from the pressure of corporate constraints.
Jack Bush, Works on PaperBy Robert C. Morgan
Of the group of Color Field painters associated with the Washington Color School and Post-Painterly Abstractionthe latter term endowed by the critic Clement Greenberg in 1964the artist I know least about is Jack Bush.
Airing the Spirits: Song Dong and Zhao Xiang Yuans Material WorldBy Robert C. Morgan
The current Projects series at the Museum of Modern Art features the work of Beijing-based artist Song Dong in collaboration with his recently deceased mother, Zhao Xiang Yuan. Titled wu jin qi yong, or Waste Not (2005), a popular adage during the years of the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976), the work is a sprawling, though densely compacted array of household objects placed on the second floor atrium.
ART AND POLITICS IN IRANBy Robert C. Morgan
Curating an index of Iran is a daunting task given that many of the artists included in the exhibition actually live and work in Tehran and continue to produce social and political comments. The Promise of Lossan ironic title indeedmarks a different approach from most of the exhibitions of Iranian art that were shown in New York during the summer of 2009.
FREDERICK SOMMERS PARADIGM OF ART AND REALITYBy Robert C. Morgan
Although primarily known as an innovative photographer fraught with obsessions ranging from black-and-white images of lyrical cut-paper patterns and torn posters to gnarled coyote bones and splayed chicken parts, Frederick Sommer was much more than that.
READYMADES REMADE (AFTER CONSUMPTION): DETRITUS AS ARTBy Robert C. Morgan
Exhibitions like this happen rarely. A readymade collage of discarded trash sealed in plastic, as in Armans poubelles or in Cesars crushed cars, offers an alternative point of view relative to the highly polished, glittering multiplex items so frequently displayed in most galleries today.
REFLECTIONS ON THE WARRIOR ARTISTBy Robert C. Morgan
Utagawa Kuniyoshi (1797 1861) is a major printmaker who worked during the late Edo period in early 19th century Japan. He is associated with the movement known as Ukiyo-e or floating world, which produced woodcut prints for the common class.
Hard-Edgeness in American Abstract PaintingBy Robert C. Morgan
Invented by the critic Jules Langsner in 1959, the term hard-edge painting represented a kind of geometric or Classical painting in which the shapes within the painterly format were clearly defined by a hard edgeoften, but not always, taped in the process of their delineation.
BEYOND WHAT YOU SEE: Rethinking Abstract Painting as a Signifying ProcessBy Robert C. Morgan
The four artists who are included in an exhibition at the Po Kim / Sylvia Wald Foundation on Lafayette Street maintain a perpetual dialogue about painting and frequently show their work together in various parts of Germany. Of
Where Malevich Has Left Us TodayBy Robert C. Morgan
At the outset of Modernism, geometric shapes in painting and sculpture were being foregrounded by the Western avant-gardein Russia with the Suprematists and Constructivists, in Holland with the De Stijl movement, and in Germany with the Bauhaus
LINDA CROSS: Excavation PaintingBy Robert C. Morgan
Once in a while I find works of art that defy my expectations of what art can be, even as the work follows a centuries-long trajectory. I am referring, of course, to painting. Even as the digital revolution has become increasingly relevant among painters, many of whom have chosen to work between the computer and the canvas, the historical presence of painting continues to persist.
FREDERICK HAMMERSLEY: The Origins of Pictorial SpaceBy Robert C. Morgan
Throughout the history of Modernism, the reputations of many painters have become known through their association with groups of like-minded individuals.
Can BOB DYLAN Paint?By Robert C. Morgan
I was inclined to write about Dylans paintings after seeing The Brazil Series, a surprisingly good exhibition at the Statens Museum for Kunst, which I discovered by accident, while working in Copenhagen last January. My first thought was to write about the work in a distant waynot academic, but distant.
GABRIELE EVERTZ RaptureBy Robert C. Morgan
The earliest paintings that I have seen by Gabriele Evertz deal primarily with gestural forms. But saying they are “gestural” does not automatically imply that they possess expressionist content. Rather, for Evertz, the gesture holds a different status, being less about the signifier of the interior than a clear consciousness as to how the preceding strokes contribute to the final result.
RICHARD POUSETTE-DART East River StudioBy Robert C. Morgan
There was a peculiar and unexpected aura on Saturday afternoon upon entering the Luhring Augustine Gallery in West Chelsea. I encountered a wall sculpture made of coiled steel wire, mounted on a simple wooden frame, and hung on the front wall as one entered the premises.
JESUS RAFAEL SOTO Soto: Paris and Beyond 19501970By Robert C. Morgan
How is life in Santa Cruz? Are you back to swimming again? For some reason, I feel I owe you an overdue letter. This is probably because I said I would review your recent book on Martin Buber, as we discussed some time ago.
AVANT-GARDE INK IN CHINA
By Robert C. Morgan
Beyond Pop and Expressionism
The following comments on Vaulting Limitsa group show seen last month at the Tenri Cultural Institute in the West Villagemay offer a slightly different perspective than what some of my colleagues have chosen to see as important in contemporary Chinese art today.
AHMED ALSOUDANIBy Robert C. Morgan
In his current exhibition of abstractly figurative paintings, Iraqi-born artist Ahmed Alsoudani has shown that painting a narrative is more than a literal process.
MICHAL ROVNER TopographyBy Robert C. Morgan
Much of what I have to tell about the current exhibition by Michal Rovner at Pace Gallery relates to the ineluctable consistency present in her work that has advanced over the years.
ZHANG XIAOGANGBy Robert C. Morgan
Zhang Xiaogangs recent exhibition captures a singular moment within the four decade-long stretch of Chinas Post-Maoist history.
BRUCE CONNERBy Robert C. Morgan
My initial encounter with the work of Bruce Conner happened in the mid-60s when I was invited to see the short film A MOVIE (1958), screened in a church basement somewhere off a highway near Wellesley, Massachusetts.
Richard LongBy Robert C. Morgan
For many, Richard Long stands as one of the truly visionary artists of the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Longs activities range from stone installations and calligraphies in mud to photographs of wilderness landscapes accompanied by poetic, numerical inscriptions, both derived from his walks in the Sahara, the Adirondacks, or elsewhere.
Ran Hwang: Becoming AgainBy Robert C. Morgan
I would not be surprised if Ran Hwangs current exhibition is the largest solo museum exhibition now on view in Florida, given the scale of her major multimedia installation works, such as Garden of Water (2010) and Becoming Again (2017).
James Brooks: Rendez-vous Paintings 1972–1983By Robert C. Morgan
Although I have encountered the paintings of James Brooks sporadically in various group exhibitions focused on Abstract Expressionism, it has been relatively rare to encounter his works shown together in a context all their own. As such, the collection of works included in the current exhibition from the 1970s and early eighties suggest a somewhat timely occasion, providing the uncommon opportunity to understand Brooks solely through his own work and ideas.
Cris Gianakos: Works on Mylar 1983–1989By Robert C. Morgan
The concept of chance has long been a well-known attribute in art, not only for figures such as Marcel Duchamp or the avant-garde composer John Cage, but for other artists like the Greek-American multi-media artist Cris Gianakos, whose work is currently on view at MINUS SPACE.
Helen Frankenthaler: Drawing within Nature: Paintings From The 1990sBy Robert C. Morgan
The exhibition of Helen Frankenthalers paintings from the early 1990s currently on view at Gagosian is a curious and provocative one. The shows title, Drawing within Nature, was a phrase once used by the artist to describe her work, which has been appropriated by the scholar Thomas Crow, who contributes an essay to the exhibition catalogue.
A Note on Boteros Abu GhraibBy Robert C. Morgan
In his book, The Rebel, Albert Camus asked the question of how it is possible to live in a world in which we know that women and children are being tortured. His question was unrelated to taking sides. It was not about which military regime was better or more moral than the other. Instead Camus was asking how can we face the human condition in our everyday lives knowing that such atrocities exist.
John Newsom Allegory of NationsBy Robert C. Morgan
In a conversation with the Chilean artist Catalina Parra in 1986 about the differences between political art in the United States and in most of Latin America, she stated that in her country, nothing could be said outright. In Chile, we have learned how to use the metaphor and to weave everything between the lines.
Between Past and Future: New Photography and Video from China
By Robert C. Morgan and Nick Stillman
In the catalogue essay for Between Past and Future: New Photography and Video from China, Wu Hung begins with the claim that over the past twenty-five years "Chinese artists have reinvented photography as an art form."
The 11th International Istanbul Biennial: What Keeps Mankind Alive?By Robert C. Morgan
On my sixth visit to the enchanting city of Istanbulan urban fairytale comparable to Venice in its fascination and mysteryI still had little comprehension as to what I might encounter. Like Venice, Istanbul is a city that divides the East from the West, but in a more extreme manner.
Tony CraggBy Robert C. Morgan
Tony Cragg is a British sculptor who has lived and worked in Wuppertal, Germany for thirty years. His honors include several major museum exhibitions, mostly in Europe, and representation of Great Britain during the 43rd Biennale di Venezia and the Turner Prize, both in 1988.
Letter From Venice Off-Season: Art between the BiennialsBy Robert C. Morgan
Despite the growing number of biennials on various continents throughout the world, (excluding Greenland), Venice appears to be the one that attracts the greatest attention on an international scale, and not merely because it was the first of the breed. Its occasional pitfalls, conflicts, and deficits notwithstanding, most serious art observers still regard Venice as the most pleasurable, even the most prestigious.
Kiki Smith: Allegories on Living and the Mystery of ExistenceBy Robert C. Morgan
Lodestar by Kiki Smithrecently shown at The Pace Galleryshould be seen as a companion installation to Sojourn, currently on extended view at the Brooklyn Museum of Art. Both reveal a certain progression in the artists ideas, technical involvement, and use of materials.
Un Renard Dans LArt: The Paintings of Farrell BrickhouseBy Robert C. Morgan
I had never met Farrell Brickhouse, the paintermuch less had I seen an extensive sampling of his work. I liked the sound of his name, even though it was not Italian. In fact, it had a literal English sound, which I nonetheless found intriguing.
From Abstract Expressionism to Minimal Art: The Legacy of Ad Reinhardt and Tony SmithBy Robert C. Morgan
Art historians often speak of the phenomenon where one artist, or possibly two, moves the fragmentary residue of one formidable movement in the direction of another.
Sarah Charlesworth: Image LanguageBy Robert C. Morgan
The majority of what is presented at the Printed Matter exhibition is drawn from Charlesworth’s seemingly infinite collection of photographic imagery, taken from various sources in various working contexts. This exhibition represents the systemic basis of Charlesworths research and highlights the fundamental archival elements that define her life’s work.
Jack Goldstein Paintings: 1980–1985By Robert C. Morgan
I first heard of Jack Goldstein through a mutual friend by the name of Paul McMahon. They knew each other at Cal Arts in the early seventies and were both students of John Baldessari. At that time, Baldessari was a guru to many young artists, many of whom became the core of the by-gone postmodern generation of the eighties.
An Artist in Our TimeBy Robert C. Morgan
In November 2002, I was invited to do a series of lectures in the Republic of Korea, one of which was at Gae Myoung University in Daegu, the third largest city in the southern half of the peninsula.
Take Me Back to Constantinople Land:By Robert C. Morgan
This September was the opening of the Tenth International Istanbul Biennial, and the twentieth anniversary of its inception. It was also my fifth invitation to Istanbul, which afforded the opportunity to compare and contrast with others I had seen.
Art Koans: Zen and the Tao in Conceptual ArtBy Robert C. Morgan
The Zen scholar and teacher, Daisetz Suzuki (1870 1966), once explained that the origin of the term koan was a kind of certifying document that, in ancient times, was used to test ones understanding of Zen.
JENNIFER BARTLETTS Recitative: Fractions Between Concept and DecorumBy Robert C. Morgan
Jennifer Bartletts work has a conceptual underpinning, less in terms of the presence of an idea than in the method employed to visualize the idea. What may entice the viewer is not a resounding or systematic philosophy in her work, but the manner in which she paints, draws, selects, builds, and designs sequences of modular forms in relation to a given architecture.
Alienation ?By Robert C. Morgan
By transforming the single word of the shows title into a question, the gallery provokes viewers to come to terms with its meaning.
Hans Hartung: RevengeBy Robert C. Morgan
The current exhibition of paintings by Hartung, titled Revenge, is a partial repetition of an earlier major exhibition of the artists work shown at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1975. Several paintings from this exhibition have now been brought together nearly fifty years later for a second recontextualization of Hartungs contribution to abstract artone that was made, at least partially, during an intensely difficult period in European history.
Susan Bee and Miriam LauferBy Robert C. Morgan
Miriam Laufer and Susan Bee are both painters, the former being the mother of the latter. The concept behind the current exhibition at the A.I.R. Gallery, Seeing Double, is to offer a modest survey of Laufers work from the sixties and seventies alongside Bees most recent opus of collage/paintings.
Tumescent Follies, Inflated Money, and Kitschy SexBy Robert C. Morgan
In celebration of the 20th anniversary of Jeff Koonss Made in Heaven, Luxembourg & Dayan chose to present a redux edition of one the most scandalous exhibitions ever held in SoHo.
EARLY CONCEPTUAL ART: Documents, Installations, and Related ManifestationsBy Robert C. Morgan
The exhibition clarifies the fact that Conceptual Art was not only an American or New York phenomenon. It was happening in Europe and, to a certain extent, was present in Japan, South America, and laterin some case rather profoundlyin Eastern and Central Europe.
Kim Tschang-Yeul: New York to ParisBy Robert C. Morgan
The Korean painter Kim Tschang-Yeul is part of a generation that traveled outside East Asia in the 1960s and 70s in order to develop a more universal approach to painting. In those decades, South Korea existed under a military dictatorship that offered its citizensand specifically its artistsvery little exposure to what was happening culturally in the Western world.
Merrill WagnerBy Robert C. Morgan
The remarkable coming together of painting and sculpture in the career of Merrill Wagner carries a steady and clear-cut certainty that reveals itself in an exhibition currently on view at the uptown Zwirner Gallery.
John Giorno: DO THE UNDONEBy Robert C. Morgan
Giornos taste was ecumenical. Whether dealing with the playwright Beckett, the performance artist Laurie Anderson, the stargazing filmmaker Andy Warhol, or the beat poet Allen Ginsberg, nothing could impede his interest and appreciation for their work. Giornos own practice was equally diverse.
Don Voisine: Time OutBy Robert C. Morgan
Time out would not constitute time away from painting. Rather it meant a serious re-adjustment: the paintings produced during the peak of COVID-19 in New York would come from another environment, namely a living environment.
Gary HillBy Robert C. Morgan
My initial acquaintance with Gary Hill’s work occurred in the early nineties, first with a large-scale, computer-generated video installation entitled Tall Ships (1992), shown at the Whitney Biennial in 1993, and later, with an exhibition of six works presented during the summer of 1994 at the MuÃ?â?ºee d’Art Contemporain in Lyon, as well as several other encounters, including a traveling exhibition that came to the Guggenheim Museum in New York in 1995.
KITSCH AND THE AVANT-GARDE How the Brotherhoods Set the Stage for UtopiaBy Robert C. Morgan
I find it encouraging to know that there are still exhibitions being mounted capable of altering ones aesthetic or historical point of view. Such an experience happened this past summer at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice with Utopia Matters: From Brotherhoods to Bauhaus.
JONG OHBy Robert C. Morgan
The work of Jong Oh is new to me, but Korean contemporary art is not. Having spent much time wandering through the galleries in Seoul over the past 15 years, I have acquired some grasp of how it works there. In general, the trends are rampant.
CHRISTOPHER KURTZ LonghandBy Robert C. Morgan
Christopher Kurtz is a sculptor who works in wood. His work moves between natural winding branches and pointed stick-like forms. Either way, his approach to sculpture is a classical one. It contains a will to order, one that is less about power than balance.
Shaping the Structure of Painting
By Robert C. Morgan
I have followed the work of Charles Hinman over the past 30 years, well aware that he has been working much longer than that. Add another 25 years, and youll get the approximate length of his distinguished career and inexorable commitment to a single idea, comparable to Sir Isaac Newtons reputed single-mindedness.
Man Ray & PicabiaBy Robert C. Morgan
Historically speaking, some observers would argue that Man Ray and Picabia, the subjects of a joint show currently on view at Vito Schnabel, became important because Dada made them important. But this is not altogether true.
Mayumi TeradaBy Robert C. Morgan
The sense of space in Mayumi Teradas photographs appears more romantic than literal. It is also, paradoxically, more private and distanced than other photographers with whom she is often compared, such as Thomas Demand and James Casebere. In contrast to Teradas romanticism, Demand and Casebere work, respectively, with politically charged events and evocative social allegories.
Tala Madani: Smoke and MirrorsBy Robert C. Morgan
Tala Madani is a young, Iranian-born artist who has lived in the United States for seven years. Her painterly style is delicate, adroit, and agile, persistently on the verge of an attenuated hedonism; yet, at the same time, her message is simple and to the point, straight from the pit of Poe’s pendulum.
Jin Soo KimBy Robert C. Morgan
A point of clarification is required at the outset—not about art, but about names. Korean names, like some American names—like my name, for instance—can be very common. The artist Jinsoo Kim at the Tenri Gallery—who is the subject of this review—should not be confused with the sculptor, Jin Soo Kim, who works out of Chicago. They are both Korean artists living in the United States.
Arthur CohenBy Robert C. Morgan
Arthur Cohen is a persistently dedicated painter, the proverbial painters painter. His first important works were of Italian Baroque cathedrals in Rome. Although painted during the early seventies during the height of New Realism and eventually selected for the Whitney Biennial in 1973, Cohens paintings were never quite fashionable.
Jay MilderBy Robert C. Morgan
Jay Milder first came to recognition in the early sixties in relation to a group of figurative expressionist painters, including Peter Dean, Nick Sperakis, and Bill Barrell, called “Rhino Horn.” The name of the group relates to the powder ground from the horns of a rhinoceros.
INFLUENCE OR AFFINITY? Case in Paint: Soutine and BaconBy Robert C. Morgan
I honestly cant say if the Soutine / Bacon exhibition is a great one, but it clearly reveals something about the enigma of painting. More specifically, it is the kind of enigma that slides between representation and abstraction, yet still manages to hold its painterly ground on all sides.
La Saison de Claude-Oskar MonetBy Robert C. Morgan
Anyone who suffers from seasonal allergies will understand what I am going to say. It begins with the accumulation of histamines within the body, usually in the springtime. As the bodys immune defenses become debilitated through pollens of various types, allergies tend to intervene.
Sanford Wurmfeld: VariationsBy Robert C. Morgan
It is curious that with all the critical verbiage given to color in the recent pastColor Field painting, for examplerelatively little attention has been given to the function of hue, value, and saturation by painters working within the chromatic spectrum.
Medium Cool: The Case for Serrano's Hot ShitBy Robert C. Morgan
Shit may be the closest we come to death in life, or for that matter, the meeting ground between Eros and Thanatos. It is most often the detritus we choose to ignore, the packaging we rip from the simulacrum and tear apart.
2009 Incheon Women Artists BiennaleBy Robert C. Morgan
Incheon is a port city facing the China Sea in the northwest section of the Republic of Korea. Situated adjacent to Seoul, the countrys capitalon the edge of the border with North KoreaIncheon is the fourth largest city in the Republic and, in some ways, retains one of the countrys most charming and unusual urban environments.
IN VENICE: Schnabel and the Persistence of ArtBy Robert C. Morgan
Before Julian Schnabel became a successful Hollywood filmmaker, he was a painterand remarkably, he still is. I say remarkably because only an artist with the obduracy of a Zen ox could withstand the art world pressure against doing more than one thing.
JOHN MCLAUGHLIN Paintings 1947 1974By Robert C. Morgan
John McLaughlin was a highly influential hard-edge painter who worked in Southern California from the late 1940s through the early 70s.
Making a Home: Japanese Contemporary Artists in New YorkBy Robert C. Morgan
Like any exhibition curated on the basis of a common theme or cultural background, the intentions among or between the artists are rarely identical in spite of the concept governing their selection.
Rakuko Naito: Permutation-Variant-StructureBy Robert C. Morgan
Both papermaking and the art of working with paper are highly regarded aesthetic practices in Japan. The quality of the material, as in the processing of the fibers within the paper pulp, carries a certain hierarchical significance accompanied by traditional methods of working, which are commonly understood by artists trained in one or more of the great classical traditions in Asia.
AUDREY FLACK and the Revolution of Still Life PaintingBy Robert C. Morgan
Where is Photo-Realist painting today? Has it gone the way of other trends in marketing? Or has it simply been bypassed in the art historical chain of events? I would suggest that it has gone the way of both.
GEORGE ORTMANBy Robert C. Morgan
Ortmans recent exhibition at the Algus Greenspon Gallery in Greenwich Village was special for a couple of reasons: his work is significant, but rarely shown nowadays, and if seen, there is the problem of classifying it in a way that makes sense. To actually see the work, to read it and view it as a first-hand encounter, may leave a viewer without any clear art historical or stylistic category, thus suggesting that not all art needs a category to be experienced, even within the realm of abstraction.
Erik Parker: New SoulBy Robert C. Morgan
New Soul is Erik Parker's second exhibition with Mary Boone. Once again we may experience the artist's penchant for bright flaming colors and zany surfaces.
Jules OlitskiBy Robert C. Morgan
Jules Olitski’s The Seventies opened at the Paul Kasmin Gallery last month with a flurry of activity. In attendance were some of the preeminent figures associated with American abstract painting of the past four decades.
Denise Green Metonymy in Contemporary Art: A New ParadigmBy Robert C. Morgan
I first noticed the work of Denise Green, an Australian residing in New York since 1969, at the New Image Painting exhibition held by the Whitney Museum of American Art in 1978. Her paintings, along with those of Susan Rothenberg and Robert Moskowitz, marked a revival of the image or sign within the gestural field—a painterly concept generated by Jasper Johns more than two decades earlier.
THE BAUHAUS IDEA: How To Live with ArtBy Robert C. Morgan
In contrast to some of my academic colleagues, I never tired of teaching the Bauhaus in my art history classes, and I was especially delighted when I was able to introduce it to students studying the applied arts, such as industrial design, interior design, and graphics.
JOSEPH NECHVATAL nOise anusmOsBy Robert C. Morgan
Besides the anti-Oedipalist pairing of Deleuze with Guattari, the fatal actor Antonin Artaud, and the undaunted ex-Minister of Excess, Georges Bataille, there are few others who could escape the scathingly promiscuous beauty inscribed in the paintings and sensuous auditory and multimedia works of Joseph Nechvatal.
Weltanschauung and Abstract PaintingBy Robert C. Morgan
While we may speak about the common factor between these two exhibitions as being abstraction or, more precisely, abstract painting, there are some interesting differences between the two. The exhibition at Metaphor Contemporary art, titled Spectrum, consists of four artists, each dealing preeminently with color in relation to variations of shape and form.
Graham Nickson: Italian SkiesBy Robert C. Morgan
Most of the work I have seen by Graham Nickson over the yearswhether in oil or watercolorhas been figurative, often bathers interacting as if they were caught in the middle of a dance movementstrident poses moving from full body to classical gesture, where everything is connected in the realm of aesthetic intersubjectivity. The
Robert Motherwell: Lyric SuiteBy Robert C. Morgan
My first encounter with Robert Motherwells ink paintings, collectively titled Lyric Suite, occurred in 1965. Not only was this the same year the works in this series were painted, but it was also the year of a major retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art featuring Motherwells large-scale works on canvassuch as those from the Elegy to the Spanish Republic seriescurated by the distinguished poet Frank OHara. This would eventually combine with a separate exhibition of the artists works on paper, including those from Lyric Suite. It was within this context that the works currently on view at Kasmin Gallery emerged into notoriety.
SIGNS OF SEX WITHIN A SEXLESS (PHANTASMAGORICAL) VOIDBy Robert C. Morgan
The most gripping urban sci-fi center I have visited in recent years would have to be Shanghai. During a recent third jaunt to this hot-tempered, digitally propelled architectural Mecca, I understood that nothing stays the same.
Richard Artschwager: Primary Sources and Self-Portraits and the American SouthwestBy Robert C. Morgan
While critics have argued that Richard Artschwager was an artist whose works alternated between Pop, Minimalism, and Conceptual Art, there was little doubt he possessed his own singularity removed from the fray.
Bien-U BaeBy Robert C. Morgan
In Bien-U Baes exhibition at Gana Art New York, two of his most important motifs are represented. One is the Sonamu (pine trees) and the other is Or¬um (small mountain). Both sets of photographs are highlights of Bien-U Baes long career, and are representative of a truly meditative state of awareness that reveals the vast intricacy of our planet.
Zhang XiaogangBy Robert C. Morgan
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.
Joanna Borkowska & Sandi Slone: Material/ImmaterialBy Robert C. Morgan
Each painter is highly aware of what they are doing: their artistic narratives are largely technical, emphasizing formal and chromatic elements that reveal an emotional depth in their work. The pleasure in seeing this exhibition is the kind of pleasure that one expects to seeand to feelwhen the circumstances around a show are focused entirely on the art of abstract painting.
Extending the Universe: Conceptual Art, Women, and the Structuralist ParadigmBy Robert C. Morgan
In his book Structuralism (1970), the renowned Swiss philosopher Jean Piaget revealed the affinity between the structure of language and the function of systemic processes in developmental psychology. Piagets investigations closely though indirectly paralleled the work of conceptual artists of the same period who were more interested in clarifying their art through structural parameters than in terms of aesthetic form.
Meaning in ArtBy Robert C. Morgan
Is the concept of meaning in art long-gone, out-of-fashion, overspoiled? In theoretical jargon, it may appear too close to epistemology, as if epistemologybeing the study of knowledgehas been inadvertently removed from the aesthetic, conceptual, and productive components of making art.
Does Nordic Art Exist? A Lesson In TranscultureBy Robert C. Morgan
The term Nordic includes the three Scandinavian countries in northern Europe Denmark, Sweden, and Norwayas well as Iceland in the mid-Atlantic and Finland.
Sean Scully: The Shape of IdeasBy Robert C. Morgan
Sean Scullys work has a consistency that gives it a heightened level of energy reflected in both its convincing visual impact and the artists diligent production.
Van Eyck to Mondrian: 300 Years of Collecting in DresdenBy Robert C. Morgan
The recent exhibition, Van Eyck to Mondrian: 300 Years of Collecting in Dresden, follows in the spirit of this change, although it is drawn from the brilliant depositories of the Kupferstich-Kabinett in Dresden. These collections are largely focused on drawings produced during the Northern Renaissance and Baroque period, although they also include more recent works.
LEE UFAN: The Art of Present RealityBy Robert C. Morgan
Lee Ufan is among the truly remarkable artists of our time, one who has gone deeply within his own tradition in order to become universal. Some may perceive this as going the opposite way of recent artthat art is supposed to reach outside of interior consciousness and to absorb the signs of branding that inundate our global environment.
Merrill Wagner: Works from the ’80sBy Robert C. Morgan
One of the most intriguing aspects of Merrill Wagner's work from the 1980s is its emphasis on painting from the perspective of three-dimensional space.
Bob Witz: Milk MadeBy Robert C. Morgan
As a recent take on sculpture, these unnamed works go beyond the scope of traditional form as we know it. Something else has gotten in the way, producing another system of perception, a heightened material perception offering a radical sensory revision of form.
Rakuko Naito & Sono KuwayamaBy Robert C. Morgan
This exhibition is stripped down to its qualitative essentials, both in terms of form and of what Naitos work is about. The lapidary selection on view here makes it very clear why in recent years Naito has begun to receive wider exposure.
Sophie Taeuber-Arp: Living AbstractionBy Robert C. Morgan
While Sophie Taeuber-Arp is perhaps best known in Europegiven the majority of readings on her work stem from translations in German, French, and Italianher relatively brief career was a formidable one, to say the least. Sophie Taeuber-Arp: Living Abstraction at the Museum of Modern Art is a magnificent, if not exemplary, exhibition that includes some 400 works intuitively conceived and produced in diverse media by a remarkable avant-garde practitioner.
Sa Suk-wonBy Robert C. Morgan
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.
Ruth Hardinger: Transcending FieldsBy Robert C. Morgan
The structures that occupy these intensified spaces at Mana incite feelings of hyper-sensitivity, impossible to categorize through any specific artistic means or style.
Robert Irwin: New WorkBy Robert C. Morgan
Here I am reminded of the writer Vladimir Nabokovs modestly controversial definition of art as precision in contrast to science, which he described as intuition. In the case of Irwin, however, the perceptual aspect found in recent works holds a certain balance between the two: here precision and intuition come together.
LARRY POONS New PaintingsBy Robert C. Morgan
The recent exhibition of Larry Poonss paintings carries a certain irrational logic that continues from where his former exhibition culminated three years ago. I would characterize the former show, also at Danese, as revealing a kind of regal, yet distant attitude toward painting, thereby suggesting a hesitant, but substantially transformative view of the painterly craft.
Sean Scully: PANBy Robert C. Morgan
I am not sure about the meaning of PAN, the title given to this exhibition by Sean Scully, but the Greek origin of the word would appear to suggest sexual prowess. On another level, it might serve as an indirect allusion to Hellenic architecture, which was influential on the formation of his signature style.
Luca Buvoli: Astrodoubt and the Quarantine Chronicles (An Introduction)By Robert C. Morgan
These astronomic and somewhat ironic framed elements reflect Buvolis paradoxical references to the space age.
Yun Hyong-Keun: A RetrospectiveBy Robert C. Morgan
Upon entering the ground floor of the fabulous Palazzo Fortuny in Venice, visitors encounter a series of sparsely hung portalsa term the artist used to identify paintings with spatial openings structured between various mixtures of burnt umber and ultramarine blue. For Yun, these colors symbolically represent the earth and sky.
Michael Gitlin: CompressionsBy Robert C. Morgan
The recent sculpture of Michael Gitlin shows the enduring influence of this moment: the best way of coming to terms with it is to experience it directly. His art goes beyond virtual descriptions in favor of tactile sensations that resonate to the core. Gitlin combines raw and painted oak in modest architectonic constructions that appear simple but never evasive.
Michael HeizerBy Robert C. Morgan
Heizer integrates structure as a means whereby form is endowed with density. The importance of this should not be underestimated.
Sheer Presence: Monumental Paintings by Robert MotherwellBy Robert C. Morgan
In Sheer Presence, an extant selection of eight large-scale paintings (some borrowed from The Dedalus Foundation, established by the artist in 1981) Motherwells impassioned quest for beauty is revealed.
Paintings Boarded-UpBy Robert C. Morgan
Exhibitions of paintings have been an ongoing challenge to present over the past several months. Given the restrictions prescribed to protect citizens from the novel coronavirus in crowded environments, the automatic reflex has been for museums, galleries, independent curators, and artists to turn immediately to virtual programming as a surrogate method for viewing. Yet those of us who know the differences between the texture, light, and scale of a painting in real-time and space and its presence on a screen also know why the latter is no match for the former.
Lawrence WeinerBy Robert C. Morgan
Lawrence Weiners concept of language as sculpturein his words language + the materials referred tobegan to take shape in the late 1960s. Ultimately, his approach to sculpture would reveal an entirely new concept of art-making. The use of language, often painted directly on the wall, became his primary visual medium.
Warhol WomenBy Robert C. Morgan
Not since an exhibition of Warhols screenprints some years ago have I elected to write about the work of this monumental art world figure. Despite the controversy at that time, focusing on the history of Jews in the twentieth century, these prints seemed to hold resonances, both aesthetic and political, yet dissimilar to those embedded in Warhol Women.
Catalina Chervin: CatharsisBy Robert C. Morgan
Chervin rejects the notion of jumping from one idea to another. Instead, she takes her time to map out the direction she wants her work to go.
Ming Fay: Beyond NatureBy Robert C. Morgan
Generally speaking, artistic forms read differently in China than they do in most Western countries. This is primarily true of representational forms, which tend to have symbolic content. In the case of Ming Fay, this would include his precision, hand-made simulations of extra-large natural objects shown at Sapar Contemporary in TriBeCa.
Theaster Gates: Black VesselBy Robert C. Morgan
It is extraordinary that this exhibition of work by the celebrated artist Theaster Gates is the first we have seen in New York. Titled Black Vessel, the show pulls apart various strands that have haunted contemporary art in recent years.
JOSEPH MARIONI Eye to EyeBy Robert C. Morgan
In 1986, Joseph Marioni proposed the term radical painting to describe what he does. Radical painting is the root source that exists as a concrete object in the real world [and] presents the least information and the most sensation of all painting.
Sue Yon Hwang: Material ManifestationBy Robert C. Morgan
While strolling through the various works of Sue Yon Hwangs relatively modest exhibition, I was taken by an awkward mystery in the installation, an intersection between science and art that was somewhat difficult to place in time and space.
WOLF VOSTELL Reclaiming the Present through DécollageBy Robert C. Morgan
While many texts on contemporary art claim Allan Kaprow as the founder (better than father) of the Happenings movement in the United States, few acknowledge the parallel importance of the German-born artist Wolf Vostell.
A Correspondence With MotherwellBy Robert C. Morgan
My initial contact with artists writings happened in the beginning stages of learning to paint while keeping a journal of notes and drawings in the process. I was in my early 20s and living in Santa Barbara, California. It was the 1970s and I recall seeing an exhibition at LACMA where two large paintings from Robert Motherwells Open series (circa 196970) were on display.
Vedova / TintorettoBy Robert C. Morgan
Traditionally, questions related to the origin and nature of artspecifically in terms of defining artwere argued within the realm of aesthetics. The science of aesthetics began as a branch of philosophy in the mid-18th century and is attributed to the work of the philosopher and historian, Alexander Baumgarten.
IMMERSION, INFINITY, AND THE QUALITY OF LIFEBy Robert C. Morgan
To avoid unnecessary complexity, the subtitle of this impressive and provocative tome, though relatively minimal in its length (94 pages), gives us a literal transcription of what is to follow, that is: Essays on the Work of Art in the Age of Computer Technology and Virtual Reality,1993-2006.
Nonfiction: Large and LargesseBy Robert C. Morgan
Given the task at hand, this is a formidable booka volume replete with information, interpretation, and insight on contemporary Chinese arta phenomenon that has sustained itself within a myriad of contextual, social, political, economic, and cultural issues.
ART TRIPPIN THROUGH CHINATIME: CHARACTERS IN SEARCH OF A MARKETBy Robert C. Morgan
One might refer to Barbara Pollacks exegesis on the art world in China according to what some Americans understand as a straight-talkin book. Whether its understood that way in China is up for grabs, I suppose, depending on the reader.
Robert Pincus-Witten and PostmodernismBy Robert C. Morgan
The engagement between subject and reader was the vision-at-large in the writings of Robert Pincus-Witten.