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Pain by Numbers

“The Joe Bonham Project” at Storefront stirred my conflicted responses and left me in a state of anxious melancholy. Organized by guest curator and New Criterion Managing Editor James Panero, the “Project” is a group effort of wartime illustrators formed in early 2011 by Michael D. Fay, an artist and retired Marine.


New Image Painting is something I’ve never been able to let go of. Most of the artists featured in the 1978 Whitney exhibition that gave the movement its name took their work in other directions, disavowed the label, or both.


Painting is a doggedly powerful medium. Not merely as defined by its visceral exactitude or allegiance to color, but in its ability to strike at the core of who we are—to register on levels of the psyche otherwise untouched by the parlance of everyday life or pedagogical dogma.

MIKE WOMACK Spectres, Phantoms, and Poltergeists

Unlike most visual art exhibitions, which tend to avoid discrete liminal moments of “beginning,” Mike Womack’s current show at ZieherSmith literally takes place on the other side of an unambiguous and quasi-magical threshold.

LINDA CROSS: Excavation Painting

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.

MPA Directing Light onto Fist of Father

Something brave is happening in Chelsea. Directing Light onto Fist of Father began on an evening in mid-September when a fiery sunset ushered in the first chill of fall’s promise. This solo exhibition by the artist known as MPA will manifest three different stages during its run through mid-November at Leo Koenig Inc.


Willem de Kooning couldn’t have been more clear about what he thought of retrospectives, despite his reluctant agreement to a mid-career survey in the late 1960s: “They treat the artist like a sausage, tie him up at both ends, and stamp on the center ‘Museum of Modern Art,’ as if you’re dead and they own you.”

FREDERICK HAMMERSLEY: The Origins of Pictorial Space

Throughout the history of Modernism, the reputations of many painters have become known through their association with groups of like-minded individuals.

ANDREW MOORE Detroit Disassembled: Photographs

Fact: You will not be able to view Detroit Disassembled without being impressed with—and depressed by—the extent of America’s humiliating, elite-inflicted decline.

ART = TEXT = ART curated by Elizabeth Schlatter

Text = Art = Text, an exhibition culled from Wynn Kramarsky’s renowned contemporary drawing collection, starts out with a piece by Cy Twombly. A series of cursory strokes, both scribbles and letters, run across the dense medium-gray, crayon-and-oil ground and remind us of the origin of the impulse toward mark making and its kinship to the marking of a letter.


Dalton gently shatters a few idealistic beliefs about select personalities—Stewart, Stephen Colbert, and Rachel Maddow, among others—that, “in the larger sea of fear-, humiliation-, and tragedy-based media,” as she puts it, have long been refuges of sanity for many of us.

Letter from BERLIN
SERGEJ JENSEN Master of Color

There is something that still surprises when an artist reacts to materials, sounds, or available images in a way that simply feels good or feels right; creating something different where everything is rationally believed to have been done before.


If artwork has the capacity to communicate, does it follow that art might also be capable of conversation? There is certainly plenty of evidence for works of art engaging in various types of dialogue when placed in proximity, but of course this isn’t a matter of verbal exchange. Rather, it’s a question of affectation and perception. How does seeing one painting influence the way another is seen?


Both Ann Pibal and Siah Armajani are well-established artists with track records of producing structurally rigorous and conceptually astute works. They also share the Midwest—specifically Minnesota—as part of their cultural heritage.


The Brooklyn Rail

OCT 2011

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