Archive for the ‘Events’ Category

It Depends

Saturday, March 8th, 2014

The fifth edition of Independent features 50 galleries from 14 countries, which already makes for greater international diversity than The Armory Show.  It’s also a more fluid and relaxed design than the Armory’s rigid booths.  Independent’s exhibitors unroll themselves among angled dividing walls, so the boundaries feel arbitrary and impressionistic.  There’s daylight in this former DIA home, and no hot lamps to make for the Armory’s panopticon anxiety.  It’s no wonder that Creative Advisor Matthew Higgs has called the site “among the most iconic and art-friendly spaces anywhere.”


Independent is decidedly separate from the other concurrent fairs and arguably a better use of your time than The Armory Show.  There’s a greater density of relevant-feeling art at Independent, but Armory includes panel discussions and lectures, along with a greater range of modern and contemporary work.  So which ticket is more “worth it?”  There’s a debate to be had, but for now, let’s look at some art…

Photo and sculpture by Alexandre Singh at Sprüth Magers
Armin Boehm at Meyer Riegger

As in recent versions of the Independent, there’s an interesting strain of comics-derived art.  It involves either drawn or appropriated comic images, then often reapplies them with darker or ironic results.  From the slightly more “outsider” end of the continuum is William Crawford, whose 900 erotic drawings, with impressive perspective and architectural drafting, and adult film narrative (such as housewife-on-plumber action) were discovered in an Oakland home and may have been created in a prison, according to Galerie Susanne Zander.  More insider is Julia Wachtel, represented here by a Miley Cyrus/cartoon mash-up.  Dan Graham and Antoine Catala present a CGI love triangle involving a dolphin, presumably autobiographical.  ;)

William Crawford at Galerie Susanne Zander

Julia Wachtel at Elizabeth Dee

Dan Graham and Antoine Catala
Danny McDonald at House of Gaga

Reconstituted, recycled, and appropriated images pop up in works by Leo Gabin, Eloise Hawser, Josh Kolbo, Eva Kotatkova, John Stezaker, and Creative Growth artist John Hiltunen.

Leo Gabin at Peres Projects
Eloise Hawser at Balice Hertling
Eva Kotatkova tabletop fold-out photos at Meyer Riegger
Josh Kolbo at Société

John Stezaker at The Approach


Special adventures in materials are evident in a gunpowder abstraction by Tomás Espina, oxidized abstraction by Etienne Chambaud, and resin realism by Andras Ursuta.  Chambaud’s oxidized paintings are made from copper powder paint splashed with wild animal urine from jars; no paws or hooves touch the canvas.  Andras Ursuta presents blocks of resin embedded with resin-cast eggs, peas, and chicken legs – entirely inedible.

Etienne Chambaud at Labor
Adriana Bustos (l) and Tomas Espina (r) at Ignacio Liprandi
Andras Ursuta at Ramiken Crucible

Finally, there’s a semaphoric, geometric current encompassing David Diao, Paul Lee, and Richard Nonas.

David Diao at Office Baroque
Richard Nonas at McCaffrey Fine Art
Paul Lee at Maccarone

Other works that stood out to me were the cheeky text paintings by Morag Keil and the Matthew Brannon book in a jaunty booth with “mise en scene” designed by his wife, Michelle Elzay, and featuring an elegantly curved table by Jacques Jarrige. I liked the surreal works by Ruth Nemet and Enrico David, an Angela Davis poster by the politically active and St. Petersburg-based collective Chto Delat?, and Mark Dion’s squirrel.  Artist’s Space had tempting boxed portfolio editions available, including Carol Bove, Joan Jonas, Lawrence Weiner, Cory Arcangel, Stewart Uoo, and more.

Morag Keil at Real Fine Arts

Limited Edition prints at Artists Space

Three Star Books, featuring Matthew Brannon and John Armleder

Matthew Brannon's limited edition book at Three Star Books
John Armleder and Matthew Brannon works at Three Star Books
It says, "Knowledge is Power": A "Learning Poster" by Chto Delat? at KOW
Mark Dion at Galerie Nagel Draxler
Creative Growth artist John Hiltunen at White Columns
Creative Growth artist John Hiltunen at White Columns
Martina Kubelk at Galerie Susanne Zander
Glib Reena Spaulings postcards of art dealers at Campoli Presti
Reena Spaulings postcards of art dealers at Campoli Presti
Frances Stark photo of her boyfriend at Artists Space


And everything at Broadway 1602 looked great, with a special focus on 1960s and 1980s works by Evelyne Axell, Sylvia Palacios Whitman, Rosemarie Castoro, Experiments in Art and Technology Archive, along with new paintings and a sculpture by Paul P., who also appears in the Whitney Biennial.

Rosemarie Castoro at Broadway 1602
Sylvia Palacios Whitman (l) and Evelyne Axell (r) at Broadway 1602
Experiments in Art and Technology Archive (Leon Harman and Ken Knowlton) at Broadway 1602
Paul P. at Broadway 1602

Of course, the best photo on view is Judy Linn’s portrait of the late Hudson, founder of Feature, Inc., to whom this Independent is lovingly dedicated.

Portrait of Hudson by Judy Linn

Back for More

Friday, March 7th, 2014

If you have a solution to the seemingly deterrent 40-dollar admission fee, the sixteenth edition of the Armory Show offers 205 galleries from 29 countries, including shows-within-a-show.  “Armory Presents,” the renewed version of the former “Solo Projects,” highlights solo- or duo-artist booths by emerging galleries.  It looks excellent and even includes an OPEC gallery!  “Armory Focus” is the red-labeled section (seriously!  Red China) curated by Philip Tinari that features 17 galleries from our great Eastern rival Republic, many of which will be exhibiting outside of Asia for the first time.

From the highlight reel, here are some memorable works at Pier 94, the contemporary wing of the fair.

A few glimpses of power (authority), power (energy), and technology are evident, especially in an infrastructure-in-drag landscape by David Lachapelle, constructed from drinking straws, hair curlers, water jugs, and cardboard – followed by an ancestral gas-guzzler by John Wesley and a miniature control room by Roxy Paine:

Daniel Rich at Peter Blum Gallery


Detail, David Lachapelle, "Land Scape Castle Rock," 2013 at Galerie Daniel Templon
John Wesley at Fredericks & Freiser
Roxy Paine, "Maquette of Control Room Diorama," 2013 at Kavi Gupta Gallery
Joseph Kosuth at Sean Kelly

Here is a heartbreaking work by Colombian artist Miguel Angel Rojas at Houston’s Sicardi Gallery, which features a former Colombian soldier who lost part of his leg in a battle with FARC guerillas. Rojas asked the soldier to pose as “David;” the soldier didn’t know the work. Profits from sale of this work have supported the soldier and his family, where they own a farm in Colombia. Meanwhile, art insiders can pose for a full-body 3-D scan portrait by Karin Sander.

Miguel Angel Rojas at Sicardi Gallery
Karin Sander at Galerie Nachtst St. Stephan Rosemarie Schwarzwalder

Whitney Biennial co-curator Michelle Grabner has tons of work at James Cohan Gallery and women artists are a vital force in this fair.

Whitney Biennial curator Michelle Grabner, "Oyster #5" at James Cohan Gallery
Shingle rhymes with Stingel: Marianne Vitale, "Shingle Painting 7," 2013, at Zach Feuer
Nicole Eisenman, mostly 90s paintings, at Koenig & Clinton
Anoka Faruqee at Koenig & Clinton
Jenny Holzer enamel signs from 1981 at Spruth Magers

Some hotspots at Armory Presents include Hayal Pozanti’s pop-Stuart Davis abstract paintings, accompanied by animated gifs on iPads, some rigid retro-design abstraction by Thomas Raat, and documentation of urban growth in Saudi Arabia by Ahmad Mater.

Best gifs in show: Hayal Pozanti at Jessica Silverman

Saudi artist Ahmad Mater (also a doctor in real-life) at Athr Gallery, Jeddah

Saudi artist Ahmad Mater (also a doctor in real-life) at Athr Gallery, Jeddah
Thomas Raat at BolteLang, Zurich

William Powhida keeps subjects in perspective, while Charlie White flattens subjects against a grid.

Detail, William Powhida at Postmasters
Charlie White at Loock Gallery

Some vintage works snap us out of shiny bijoux worship.

David Wojnarowicz, Untitled (Man with Rifle)," 1983 at P.P.O.W.
Betye Saar, "Wizard," 1972, at Roberts and TIlton

Matthew Hale’s effusive collages also boast this forced-perspective frame.

Matthew Hale, "Page 9 of Miriam's Body," 2013 at Ratio 3

Sean Landers’ paintings look nicer every time I see them, especially with this plaid squirrel writing equations; hopefully, he will keep a distance from Kati Heck’s cat.

Super Sean Landers, "Golden Section," 2013 at Galerie Rodolphe Janssen
Super Sean Landers, "Golden Section," 2013 at Galerie Rodolphe Janssen
Kati Heck, "Deal!," 2014 at Tim Van Laere Gallery

Projects in “Armory Focus: China” feature a broken Roomba and retina-bending op art.

Nadim Abbas at Gallery EXIT, Hong Kong
Li Shurui at Aike Dellarco, Shanghai

After combing this show, you’ll more than satiated, ready to exit with Derrick Adams, retire to Urs Fischer’s bed, go thrash some public art, perhaps flee to the wild unknown captured in Robert Longo’s Burning Man tableaux, or move permanently to Bali, like Ashley Bickerton did.

Derrick Adams, "Welcome Back," 2014 at Tilton Gallery
Urs Fischer from 1997 at Eva Presenhuber
Still from Raphael Zarka, "Riding Modern Art," 2005 at Michael Rein
Robert Longo, "Burning Man," 2013 at Thaddaeus Ropac
King Ashley Bickerton at Lehmann Maupin

Purple and Cold

Friday, February 7th, 2014

What happens when one of the world’s most corrupt countries hosts the most expensive Olympics?  You get bribery and embezzlement.  What happens when one of the world’s most homophobic countries bans gay expression?  You get creative resistance.

Resistance to Putin’s Olympics includes boycotts, demonstrations, kiss-ins, a Google doodle, and even nail polish.  And arrests have begun, too.

Russia has come close to ruining the Olympics.  It has sparked a toxic triangulation of progressives versus the Olympics and Russia.  But let’s take the Olympics back, and turn that triangle: progressives and the Olympics versus Russia!

So what should cultural producers do?  They should produce!  Here’s Purple & Gold at Louis B. James Gallery, a design project and one-night exhibition for which New York artists created a “capsule collection” of queer tracksuits.  The tracksuits will be available for sale via PRINTALLOVER.ME, the print-a-porter startup founded by Jesse Finkelstein.  Proceeds from sales will benefit the Russian LGBT Network.

Designs by Robert Melee (left) and T.M. Davy (right)

Purple & Gold is curated and executed by David Fierman and PRINT ALL OVER ME.  Participating artists include Aay Kay Burns, Jibz Cameron, Deric Carner, T.M. Davy , Christian Dietkus, Scott Hug, Casey Legler, Kalup Linzy, Michael Mahalchick, Ryan McNamara, Robert Melee, Lucas Michael, Wardell Milan, David Mramor, Jack Pierson, Colin Self, David Benjamin Sherry, and more.

Concept by Jibz Cameron/Dynasty Handbag


Thursday, January 16th, 2014

Museums are a big deal and New York museums are the biggest.  In 2012, American museums took in 850m visitors, more than all the big-league sporting events and theme parks combined. Most of those visitors went to MoMA if modern art was on their list.


This week, MoMA announced its new expansion.  This is bad news to art and architecture critics, who have closed ranks against the new design and unfavorably compared the museum’s restless, relentless growth to a shark needing to move and a perpetual state of war.

The first problem is that MoMA will destroy the American Folk Art Museum (AFAM) because the latter is in the way of connecting MoMA to the incoming condo designed by Jean Nouvel.  AFAM has drawn mixed reviews (“useless” – Jerry Saltz; “majestic” -Paul Goldberger), but nobody can doubt the wastefulness of demolishing a building erected just over a decade ago.

The second is that the expansion, envisioned by Diller Scofidio + Renfro, will have too much glass.  Critics are right to object to glass exhibition walls, because paintings can’t hang on glass – though sculptures might thrive.  But “glass” here is metaphorical, too.  The expansion sounds as if it will sacrifice intimacy and focused study, and instead invite in people-watching, distraction, and relational acrobatics.

IMAGE: Diller Scofidio + Renfro

The unspoken problem is that MoMA looks like a bully, or even a cannibal.  It condemned the Folk Art Museum to death after buying its building (or bailing it out?) in 2011.  And now the avant-garde and pedagogical DS+R look like its pinheaded enablers: Kissinger to Nixon, Smithers to Burns. They requested six months to review the salvability of the FAM, but determined that it had to go.  Martin Filler disagrees, supporting his position with a forensic study of photos: “The top floor of the Folk Art and MoMA buildings line up almost exactly, and any incongruities on other levels could have been easily corrected by slight inclines.”  Justin Davidson, more physiologically, sees it MoMA’s way: “The connective tissue between one structure and the next would have created disfiguring scars, the mechanical apparatus on top would have occluded the lovely skylights, and the idiosyncratic staircase would have to have been amputated in any case.”

IMAGE: Giles Ashford and NYRB

I join the disappointed appeal that DS+R, with MoMA, could have tried harder.  If they can’t wind a new program through that building, then they look unimaginative.  (Filler even proposes housing the Taliesin/Frank Lloyd Wright archive there.)  But there’s no evidence for claiming that  DS+R is a) negligent or b) abusive.  And anyway, when it comes to patching together buildings, isn’t it possible that these practitioners might exceed in technical scrutiny the critics outside?

Jerry Saltz, our most effective critic, frets about tearing down the walls to the Sculpture Garden.  Doing so will ruin that sanctuary.  Martin Filler predicts “a tourist mob scene indistinguishable from Times Square.”  But St. Patrick’s Cathedral, with free entry and about the same frequency of visitors, seems okay. Sure, it is bigger, but there are more Catholics, too.  Saltz also worries that the new design will “create havoc” on West 53rd Street.  “People carrying synthetic coffee drinks will stand there gawking at people who are trying to focus on the art inside this box.”  (This, you call havoc?)  But will performances in the Gray Box and Art Bay (“glass squash courts” – Saltz (ha!)) really be more compelling to watch than one’s own Instagram feed?  And how about that Art Bay?

+”The “Art Bay” is a triple height, multipurpose gallery with an operable glass wall that opens to the street.”


+”Fitted out with a technical ceiling and a floor lift that can subdivide the space into two levels, the Art Bay can be used for exhibitions and performances, as well as spontaneous events, all free to the public.”

-Floor lift?  That sounds really cool!

IMAGE: Diller Scofidio + Renfro

What doesn’t sound cool is the possibility that MoMA’s new performance spaces will house spectacles – staring contests, rain rooms, timed entries – to draw bigger and bigger crowds.  After all, MoMA’s attendance still lags behind its NYC siblings, such as the Met, with its crowds of six million, while the Whitney has fish in a barrel over at the High Line.  If putting Tilda Swinton in a glass box succeeded in winning hearts and minds, then bigger glass boxes seem expedient.  But What’s in the Box?  “It’s all the same flimflam: flexible spaces to accommodate to-be-named programming, the logic of real estate developers hiding behind the magical thinking of those who claim cultural foresight,” writes Michael Kimmelman.


I’m not an expert, but because the plans I’ve seen are sketchy, I’m saving my scorn for definitive plans, or even for the actual site experience itself.  DS+R needs to convince MoMA lovers that its design will alleviate congestion while adding viable exhibition space.  MoMA needs to convince us that it will fill its new squash courts with rigorous, inspiring activity.

Whether the new site will justify the wasteful destruction of the AFAM building is a good question.  A better question is why we trust the people behind the Taniguchi transformation with yet another transformation.  The Taniguchi reconstruction cost almost a billion dollars and its failures were immediately evident: not enough space for the art.  “All bemoan MoMA’s lack of space for the pre-1980 permanent collection,” says Jerry Saltz, who has been right about this since the Taniguchi overhaul.  (The new expansion doesn’t have a budget.)  And now MoMA is chronically crowded.  Who let that happen?

And why do they get another shot?

Flickering and Constant

Friday, January 3rd, 2014

T.M. Davy’s second solo exhibition at Eleven Rivington, Candela, continues a series of oil paintings scaled and composed for intimacy.  Smaller than letters written home, the paintings seize upon the candlelight that has illuminated Davy’s recent portraits of friends and family members.  T.M.’s hard, gem-like flame yields haunting visitations, sensual textures, molten contrasts, and coruscating color chords that shatter the monochrome fantasy.  This candle flame simulates the photosensitive ocular interface that orients the individual to others, and it is the unifying entry point among the series.

TM Davy, "Candela (Dad's Painting)," 2013

Candela includes portraits of artist friends, such as Paul Mpagi Sepuya and Scott Hug, and a painting of a work on paper by Melissa Brown.  They also include meaningful surfaces, such as the polished sheen of an acoustic guitar, a backdrop of one of his father’s seascape paintings, and a glass that shimmers in fractal subdivision, as irrefutable as Uccello’s chalice.  Finally, T.M.’s index brings us evocative materials, such as lace given to him by a great aunt, and the orchids, oxalis, and cactus plants that populate his Brooklyn loft.  Contemplating this imagery, a viewer might ponder about cohabitation, family, friendship, origins, and heritage – the concentric layers of the self, expanded.

TM Davy, "Candela (Man with Pipe)," 2013

For example, one special subject appears several times in Candela.  This is Liam, Davy’s husband of two years and mate of more than a decade.  In one of these paintings, Liam looks back at the viewer.  If two souls become one in marriage, then by the rules of psychological catoptrics, Liam is looking back at himself.  But one eye is occluded by the candle.  Is this painting about the eye that unifies the couple?  Or is one eye reserved for autonomy, for the inner layers of the person yet to be discovered?  Meanwhile, the couple’s non-human domestic companion, a housecat named Wyeth, cranes her neck outward; the tufts of her mane bloom like an Elizabethan ruff.  It’s a dignifying meditation on a friend, more than a portrait of a pet.  Does this inclusive embrace extend to the plants, which share the artist’s air?  And the textiles he paints?  Why not, if their fabrics convey the memories of the people whose hands have smoothed them?

TM Davy, "Candela (Wyeth)," 2013



TM Davy, "Candela (Honey's Lace)," 2013

Of textiles, Davy devotes one linen to a gray seascape painted by his father, a well-established mural painter whose tutelage brought T.M. to the present.  Here, T.M. literally depicts “his background,” whereby his father’s output includes landscape paintings and an exceptionally gifted son.

Finally, there are the harmonious “values” that might organize the thoughts of the people woven through T.M. Davy.  First, the glass goblet, like a compound spectroscope, refracts a single candle into its twinkling ROYGBIV array, a spectrum that brings painters under the same tent as cosmologists.  Likewise, the guitar strings embody the Newtonian color spectrum, approximately, and thereby summon Walter Pater’s proposal that “All art constantly aspires to the condition of music.”  Or there’s the wisdom that the painter (and violinist) Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres imparted to his students:

“If I could make musicians of you all, you would thereby profit as painters.  Everything in nature is harmony: a little too much, or else too little, disturbs the scale and makes a false note.  One must reach the point of singing true with the pencil or with brush quite as much as with the voice; rightness of forms is like rightness of sounds.”

TM Davy, "Candela (Blue-Grey Glass)," 2013

In other words, Candela offers the possibility that color alchemy or chord intuition attunes an individual to nature, including familial and social bonds.  Or maybe it emphasizes ways the elemental forces of color and music span generations, just like language and agriculture.  -But is one guitar string missing? Why that one?  Is this missing link a lapse, or is it a promise?

TM Davy, "Candela (Guitar)," 2013

UPDATE: T.M. Davy is also in the group show, “Totally Gay for Sports,” curated by Paul Brainard, at The Lodge Gallery, and he’ll host a book signing at Eleven Rivington on Sunday, January 5th, 5-7pm.  For a profile of T.M. Davy, read this: