Posts Tagged ‘Artforum’

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Thursday, May 1st, 2014

SVACE faculty member Keith Mayerson is featured in ARTFORUM!  His painting installation at the 2014 Whitney Biennial looks great in this spread, but it does make me think that Artforum should be printed even bigger! Check out our recent Q&A with Keith here: http://ow.ly/wncCl

 

Keith Mayerson in Artforum!

Silent Pictures

Friday, September 18th, 2009
Ghost of Stan Brakhage.
http://abstractcomics.blogspot.com/2009/04/syntactic-comics.html
http://www.actionyes.org/issue10/abstract-comics/gaze/gaze1.html
http://www.atrabile.org/ibn-al-rabin/Fanzines/fanzine.php?titre=CidreEtSchnaps
Robert Breer A Man and His Dog Out for Air, 1955 Free radical, loose lines merge and amalgamate into a squiggly nebula that looks like an ant.  It continues to transform contorts into the image of a portly man walking his dog.  They continue up the side of the frame and lose their form until returning to the sidewalk.
Ibn al Rabin six comics from his collection, Cidre et Schnapps, 2001.  Shapes arguing about eac other, consuming each other, and being consumed by Cannibal Frames.
Lew Trondheim Bleu 2001 Amoeba a blue amoeba advances on, then eats, a gold star, like Pac-Man.  It regurgitates the star, then finds a version of itself in gold.  They mate in a swirling vortex that looks like a tajitu.
Billy mavreas, Border Suite 2008, fractured panels, looks like Bauhaus Mondrian.
Greg Shaw, Belgian Parcourse Pictural, 2008 Tetris game Passerby Floor
Mark Gonyea, Squares within Squares, 2007, like Albers
Tim Gaze, Untitled 2007
Anders Pearsn Untitled 2007
Janusz Jaworski Abstract Comics 1 4 5 11 12 6 7 8 9 , 2001-4 watercolors speaking unintelligible language to each other.
Mark Stafford Brandi A History of Composition in Abstract Comic Covers, 2001 masonite panels
Renee French Straw Dog no. 44, 2009
Jason Overby Apophenia, 2008 “A linear structure is created by an abstract binary opposition.  pencil lets flaws in and is not binary (unless you’re thinking conceptually.)
Denmark, USA, Australia, Germany, Belgium, Canada, Switzerland, Netherlands

Silent Pictures at the CUNY James Gallery

What if Stan Brakhage made comics instead of films?  Curator Andrei Molotiu offers a response in Silent Pictures, a group show of comics artists working in the hinterlands of comics abstraction.  Wait – comics can be abstract?

Silent Pictures brings to the James Gallery at CUNY Graduate Center some of the most vital imaginations found throughout a three-year call for entries.  They come from North America, western Europe, and Australia.  Many are American; almost none are women.  In her catalog essay, James Gallery Director Linda Norden reveals that no women replied to the call.  (Why have there been no great women comic-book artists?)

The show also displays selections from Art Spiegelman’s library of wordless comics; and it features a film program for those who really might want to dig for precedents of abstract sequential images.

Francis Bacon, Man with Dog, 1953
Francis Bacon, Man with Dog, 1953

But the segment of Robert Breer’s A Man and His Dog Out for Air, 1955, is absolutely silent.  That’s because the film strips are unspooled and sandwiched over a lightbox.  Frame by frame, we witness loose lines inch toward each other, until they amalgamate into a squiggly scribble that looks like an ant, life-sized.  The restless line continues to transform, until it contorts into the image of a portly man walking a dog.  The whimsical cartoon straddles abstraction and representation, something and nothing, like a time-based Kandinsky.

“A line is a dot that went for a walk,” said Paul Klee, whose ghost coexists here with Brakhage’s spirit, leaning against the wall that bears Billy Mavreas’ Border Suite, 2008.  Reminiscent of drawings from Klee’s Bauhaus, the work looks like comic panels that imploded into fractal regenerations of themselves.

Billy Mavreas, Border Suite, 2008
Billy Mavreas, Border Suite, 2008

At a glance, Klee’s Bauhaus colleague, Josef Albers, is apparent in the polychrome plans of Squares within Squares, 2007 by Mark Gonyea.  And Jason Overby, from Oklahoma, could be their diligent protégé.  His studious, tiny notes in Apophenia, 2008 say things like, “A linear structure is created by an abstract binary opposition.  Pencil lets flaws in and is not binary (unless you’re thinking conceptually).”  Shazam!

Mark Gonyea, Squares Within Squares, 2007
Mark Gonyea, Squares Within Squares, 2007

Ibn al Rabin exhibits six comics from his collection, Cidre et Schnapps, 2001.  They are hilarious and brilliant.

Ibn al Rabin, Stop Quibbling Please (l) and Pampers Welcome (r), both 2001
Ibn al Rabin, Stop Quibbling Please (l) and Pampers Welcome (r), both 2001

In Rabin’s pages, geometric shapes argue with each other, consume each other, and get ambushed in ruthless panelcide.  Funny pages, but they also offer a study of the means by which they exist and the conventions that define comics, in general.

Ibn al Rabin, The Cannibal Frame, 2001
Ibn al Rabin, The Cannibal Frame, 2001

I would focus on other examples, but too many candidates are hung too high for much evaluation.  Many of the drawings and inkjet prints are intimate in scale and rich in detail, so lord knows why the work is hung salon-style, climbing up the walls like your friendly neighborhood you-know-who.  So the walls imitate a comics page?  But the gallery walls already compartmentalize the space like panels on a page.  Whatever; viewers are advised to bring platforms.

Renée French, Straw Dog no. 44, 2009
Renée French, Straw Dog no. 44, 2009

Renée French is one of the few women in the show, but her colossal drawing Straw Dog no. 44, 2009 is enough work for several people.  If we accept it as multiple drawings, then that adds to the show 29 drawings made by a woman.  And because the multi-paneled drawing echoes the window panes of the gallery, and vice-versa, the work echoes throughout the space.

Cool
(l-r) Renée French, Art Spiegelman, Mark Stafford Brandi

Andrei Molotiu tells us in his catalog essay, “‘Abstract’ here is specific to the medium of comics, and only partly overlaps with the way it is used in other fine arts.”  Still, Mark Stafford Brandi gives us A History of Composition in Abstract Comic Covers, 2001 – a collection of painted collages on masonite panels, one for each ism, trend, and movement from the last few milennia.

Mark Stafford Brandi, A History of Composition in Abstract Comic Covers, 2009
Mark Stafford Brandi, A History of Composition in Abstract Comic Covers, 2009

SVA faculty member Gary Panter is in the show. You can read more about his work in this Artforum piece by Andrei Molotiu.

IMAGES: Michael Bilsborough

MUSEO Say So

Sunday, April 5th, 2009

My stacks of Artforum back issues are as tall as I am. And though I have a complete collection, as continuous as my seamless run of The Punisher, I tend to read it sporadically. Sometimes, I’m dazzled by the ads and lose my place in media read. Other times, the slick cover makes my hand all sweaty, so I have to take a break. But I always read the New York reviews, the Top Ten, and the sex advice – er, that’s another magazine. (But don’t you wish? Hosted each month by a different “sexual” artist? Marina Abramovic, Jeff Koons, Andrea Fraser, Paul McCarthy, Marlene McCarty, Louise Bourgeois, and the Tom of Finland Estate…)

W, Heinz Tomato Ketchup Boxes (stacked, get it?), 1964

W, Heinz Tomato Ketchup Boxes (stacked, get it?), 1964

Of course, reading Artforum online relieves me of that problem, while saving me precious storage space for the grad school paintings that I just can’t throw out. I can see videos and bonus “500 Words.” And when I encounter a word, theory, or name I don’t recognize – which is often – then I can google it immediately. Incidentally, Jerry Saltz wrote in a recent Facebook discussion that “Scene and Herd” gets the most readers.

Cory Arcangel, I Shot Andy Warhol, 2002

Cory Arcangel, I Shot Andy Warhol, 2002

My favorite online art publication is MUSEO, a quarterly contemporary art magazine. The newest issue, #11, was published just last week and features interviews with Dan Graham, Cory Arcangel, Paola Pivi, Abraham Cruzvillegas, and Jonah Freeman. We hear Freeman comment on “alchemy through consumption,” and Arcangel on “consuming as producing.”

Jonah Freeman, Justin Lowe, Alexandre Singh; Hello Meth Lab in the Sun, 2008

Jonah Freeman, Justin Lowe, Alexandre Singh; Hello Meth Lab in the Sun, 2008

One year ago, the inaugural issue of MUSEO Magazine featured exclusive interviews with Taryn Simon, Tanyth Berkeley, Fawn Krieger, Tom Eccles, and SVA alum Phoebe Washburn (in video form). If you wonder how a quarterly could reach 11 issues in one year, it’s because MUSEO was rekindled by Editor-in-Chief David Shapiro after a stretch of hibernation. In its B.C. period, from 1997-2001, the magazine was an journal rounding up intercollegiate content from Columbia University (Go Lions!), Duke, and SVA. David took over the Editor position in 1999 and steered the journal toward contemporary art in New York. In 2000, he launched the online edition, which quickly surpassed the print version in readership. That inaugural online edition included an excellent interview with Jeff Wall, later to be republished by MoMA and in The Education of a Photographer, edited by SVA’s Charles Traub. Other notable interviews from that period included modern marvels Elizabeth Peyton and the Christos, and rising stars like Kevin Zucker, who found the Sublime in a summer blockbuster film.

Jeff Wall, After Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison, the Preface, 1999-2001
Jeff Wall, After Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison, the Preface, 1999-2001

Graduating from Columbia ended David’s reign at MUSEO. The journal continued in his wake, but only annually. Meanwhile, David began his art history grad program, started to exhibit his paintings, and later took on a hefty teaching schedule. After a messenger angel visited him one night, David cleared out his studio and began to plan to rekindle the magazine. In 2007, he resurrected it as a paperless quarterly with a makeover by Rare Gallery’s Jasper Pope. Anno domini: MUSEO has awakened, looking refreshed, cool, and timely.

MUSEO returns, like a Phoenix Rising From the Ashes
MUSEO returns, like a Phoenix Rising From the Ashes (artwork: Olga Anikina)

I would write more, but we’re consumed by the MUSEO crossword puzzle. We’ll all have to wait for the MUSEO sex column.