William Corwin visited David Hockney in his studio in Bridlington, Yorkshire, to discuss the paintings, iPad drawings, and videos that form the core of his show A Bigger Picture at the Royal Academy in London (JanuaryApril 9, 2012).
A retrospective of Gillian Wearings work ran from March 28 June 17 at Londons Whitechapel Gallery and following quickly on its heels will be an exhibition at K20 Kunsthallsammlung NRW in Dusseldorf (September 8 January 6, 2013). William Corwin sat down with Wearing at her East London studio to quiz her about various projects in her past and present, particularly her 2010 feature film Self-Made.
William Corwin sat down with Liam Gillick to discuss a recipe for creating public art that is neither grandiose, kitschy, nor dismissive of the public; the responsibilities of the contemporary curator; and the joys of lying face down on the floor.
After a pub lunch of lamb kidney and sweetbread salad and with the cool breezes wafting in off the coastal Suffolk marshes, William Corwin sat down with Sarah Lucas on the back terrace of Snape Maltings to discuss her first ever public sculpture Perceval and her current project/exhibition with Gelatin at the Kunsthalle Krems.
Will Corwin has spent the last three years ferreting out Roxy Paine in his various habitatsupstate in Delhi, New York, and in his Long Island City and Maspeth studioswatching the progress of various works of art and attempting to develop a taxonomy of the various strains and tropes into which his ideas fall.
William Corwin speaks with Jorge Pardo about his new paintings, pin-hole cameras, and what goes into the production of an alter.
Alexander Rosss paintings exist in the hazy space between photorealism and abstraction. Recent Terrestrials at David Nolan Gallery (October 30 December 6, 2014) pushed Rosss practice even further, exploring landscape and portraiture without leaving the alternate dimension his earlier work inhabited.
The film I Had Nowhere to Go (2016) is Douglas Gordon’s meditation on the early life and adventures of the filmmaker Jonas Mekas. William Corwin sat down with Gordon in his studio in Berlin to discuss his friendship with Mekas and the origins of the project. Gordon also speaks to his use of disjointed time, Scottish literature, and the poignancy of image, sound, and text from the perspective of the viewer.
Since its very origins, the practice of drawing has eluded definition, which is perhaps why it has become metaphorically aligned with the seemingly futile pursuit of chasing shadows.
While some curators and critics may bemoan the end of the era of the 12-hour-long performance piece, Will Cottons debut in the arena of live-action public art, Cockaigne, was a short and sweet representation of the artists signature thinly veiled psycho-sexual imagery, which left the audience craving just a little bit more.
Though Ronnie Landfields work is more frequently connected to fellow lyrical abstractionists Ron Davis, Peter Young, Larry Stafford, Bill Pettit, and Larry Poons, history makes strange bedfellows when it comes to whom you went to high school with in New York.
Sculpture Undone is a small but thorough retrospective of the work of Polish sculptor Alina Szapocznikow (1926-1973). The artist, who was Jewish, never publicly discussed her experiences in the Łódź ghetto or in Auschwitz and several other concentration camps.
With the words The quality of mercy is not straind, Portia lays out the principle that mercy is a one-size-fits-all concept; that charity and forbearance are to be shown to innocent and guilty alike; that mercy, like justice, is blind.
Dennis Congdons palette may lay claim to the fresco aesthetic of Latium, but his subject matter inhabits the coffee houses and bars (and psychoanalytic offices) of late 19th century Vienna and Paris.
By aiming four projectors at four sides of a cube made from screening fabric, a jerry-rigged tesseract is generated: a four-dimensional cube or a cube projected upon itself.
William Anastasi is piping to the spirit ditties of no-tone. In his retrospective at the Leubsdorf Gallery at Hunter College, curated by Maxim Weintraub, Anastasis ready-made The Worlds Greatest Music, (1977) hits all the notes.
From the distant view of the mezzanine of the gallery, Ali Banisadrs triptych Ran (2014) gains a depth of field that allows the viewer to get a handle on the wild whirring, spinning choreography of the oil painting.
In this recent series of earth tone infused canvases, Tom Levine seeks to redefine the terms of engagement with his medium.
In One Hundred Years of Solitude, Márquez describes a rain of yellow flowers falling on the town of Macondo; it is a miracle and has no scientific explanation, but in the context of fiction, it needs no rationalization.
Just about everything you need to know about Dennis Oppenheim and his work is expressed in the touching video piece Star Exchange (1970) on view in the indoor gallery at Storm Kingpart of the expansive indoor and outdoor exhibition of the artist’s work, Terrestrial Studio.
And the nominees are: Anthea Hamilton, Helen Marten, Josephine Pryde, and Michael Dean. The public presentation of the shortlisted artists combined with the long run-up to the announcement of the winner always makes the Turner Prize a horse race of sorts.
Todd von Ammon and the gallery have together curated a menagerie of form: these objects may illustrate the history of sculpture, they certainly depict its various categories and typologies, and all are very small. They veer from the figurative to the abstract, the absurd and surreal to the conceptual and symbolic.
Toying with horror, but relying mostly on witty articulations of the abject and the grotesque, Bridget Mullen positions herself at a very strange crossroads. Her contorted portraits and disjointed tableaux lie between the crisp geometricity of Cyril Power, Jacques Villon, or Tamara de Lempicka and the shaggy, blunt, and gooey cartoons of Don Martin, R. Crumb, and, most significantly, Philip Guston.
The depth of this exhibition allows for the rare opportunity to view multiples of similar images or genres in series and view the artist modifying his touch.
The overarching theme of I Dream of Sleep is opioid addiction, and by implication Fishmans conglomerations of squares, hemispheres, pentagons, and triangles model the molecular structure of pharmaceutical cures for depression and other disorders.
Shaver consciously seeks to remove the notion of traditional gallery etiquette and hierarchy: the artists works are tangled togethertheir placement is about concept, not convenienceand while the works share aesthetic affinities, this is not a group show in the typical sense but more of a collaborative presentation.
In this series of eight portraits and seven enigmatic landscapes on wood and paper, Michaël Borremans plays with the nature of types, both as a subject and process in painting. Borremans has the advantage of being a respected figurative oil painter who is simultaneously a contemporary artist: he has the entire history of figurative art at his disposal. In this cycle of portraits, the artist dialogues with, appropriates, and lampoons everyone from Bellini to Manet to Jenny Saville.
Peter Young deals often in infinities, symmetries, and repeating and non-repeating patterns; strategies that are patently abstract, but at the same time manage to harness an intensely human connection to the spiritual.
Anyone who has drowsily watched an episode of “Ancient Aliens” on the History Channel, or leafed through a glossy book in the New Age section of Barnes and Noble, is aware of the seductive imagery of crystals and fractals, and of the primal human desire to tune out obvious answers for completely irrational solutions.
While the artist is not seeking to recreate the places of worship and power from which she draws her inspiration, she instead distills what is most human and irreconcilable about those spaces: the act of containing multitudes.
Philip Pearlstein, Nudes and Other Landscapes is a casual retrospective of the artists paintings, drawings, and watercolors going back almost 70 years. It starts with a wonderful and gritty textured painting titled The Capture (1954), and comes up to the present with Two Models with Carousel Giraffe and Le Corbusier Chair (2020), right at the front door of the gallery.
Paul Anthony Smith never forgets to remind us in his work that we are always looking, and we are not there. That is very important, because often the viewer feels that they are immersed in that at which they are looking, which can breed a false sense of intimacy with the subject.
Despite being removed from its original context, the work straddles both reading as actively political and mytho-poetical, as well as formal analysis as a juxtaposition of industrial and agricultural forms.
Progressive Rocks is a cycle of four substantial video works that require a commitment of time and attention amounting to over two-and-a-half hours. Margot Norton’s curation plays to the theatrical nature of Mellors’s enterprise by guiding the viewer through the space in a circular motion, creating a central square core of flickering screens.
The relationship of painting to the viewer is reversed as the spectator is surveilled by an alien eye. Kohlmeyer paints this cloistered presence into her works with varying degrees of directness.
Billowing, flowing, and crumbling, the recent paintings of Noah Landfield, in Ephemeral Cities, chart vectors of movement, force, and energy as they play out in both natural and human-made manifestations. While the images depict what one would call the cycles of naturedecay and upheaval, the paintings consciously avoid notions of pattern and repetition, instead using chaos and difference as the means of creating form.
The Tate Modern’s retrospective of Mona Hatoum presents the melancholy autobiography of an exile, and it is not a pretty picture. Filled with sharp edges, electrified fences, and cages, it is overall a portrait of discomfort, and of the ever-present disappointment of a life circumscribed by the perceived denial of a real origin.
The acquaintance with whom I viewed Elizabeth Murray: Painting in the ’80s remarked that it appeared two artists were at work creating the paintings on view.
In the exhibition About An Arabesque, choreographer Jonah Bokaer investigates the socio-political underpinnings of the notion of the arabesque, a European aesthetic catch-all for a wide swathe of Middle Eastern and North-African decorative gestures. It is also the title of a ballet position.
In this unnatural movement of dread and looming disaster lies the artists characterization of racial degradation lurking in the seemingly innocent faces of impish animations of the 1930s. The centerpiece of the exhibition, a cheerful, toothy cowpoke stroking the ivories in Piano Man (2020) dissolves in front of our eyes, slowly and painfully torn apart by the artists dragging hand and inevitable vectors of force pulling in opposite directions.
This museum-scale exhibition is bookended by a pair of gargantuan videos, Reckoning (2020) and Parallax (2013); throughout the static works in the show there is the impression of a constant flux of movement that makes animation seem a natural trajectory.
What is the future of drawing? Jitish Kallat has built the answer into a riddle: its flat but one can walk around it; its permanent and yet the images change; it is hand drawn and yet also a photograph.
Randy Williams, my teacher for a high school drawing class that I attended at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, told the students decisively during an exercise that there are no lines in real life; he may even have said it multiple times.
New Yorker cartoonist Roz Chast once created a cartoon retelling Thomas Mann’s The Magic Mountain using Bic ballpoint pens as stand-in for the characters: this, I think, was a comment on the cartoonists’ and writers’ obsession with the banal writing implement. Roberto Visani, in his dramatically staged exhibition In Medias Res has populated a Beckett or Noh drama with the much darker personage of the gun.
Despite being all about the grid, David Weinstein and Ruth Kahn’s curation of Checkered History is decidedly of the tree network variety.
There is little to guide one through the twistings and turnings of the fervid imaginings and aphorisms of Æthelred Eldridge in this beautifully curated exhibition at Essex Flowers, but the enigmatic approach is in keeping with the artist’s own practice of ambiguous and oracular image-making and writing.
Flowing through three contiguous galleries along the right-hand mezzanine of the Musée dOrsay is the stream of consciousness of the novelist and art critic Joris-Karl Huysmans, in the form of the exhibition and installation Joris-Karl Huysmans Art Critic. Acting as a valve on this torrent of images and ideas is another enigmatic aesthetic impresario, the artist Francesco Vezzoli.
MOTHER IS PASSING. COME AT ONCE is an enigmatically fitting title for a show that has more veils than Salomes dance.
Robert Wilson has taken up temporary residence at the Louvre, and there he has created a “bedroom of state” that rivals any one of the Louis’s.
In Carin Riley’s understated and demure pastel drawings and oil paintings, a quest for symbols takes place, mimicking the process that generates such vocabularies of signs as the Major Arcana, the constellations, or the beings of the Chinese zodiac.
There is something comforting yet dreadful about the idea of an enfilade in architecture. The painter Tim Kent has rhapsodically incorporated both the aesthetic highs and the sociological lows of this hierarchical space in his cycle of six oil on linen paintings.
The seven-and-a-half-foot-square canvas BALENCIAGA, SS20, Look 89 (2019) by Rute Merk presents a disquieting vision of humanoid perfection: a confident androgyne blue goddess on a blue background. Like the depiction of the Vitruvian man, Merks model is inscribed in a square and stares out at us blankly.
Sculptors Siobhan Liddell and Linda Matalon give life to the shared spaces between human beings, and the spaces they leave behind.
In this small, delicate show of gouache paintings and pencil drawings, Bosiljka Raditsa has fashioned a vibrant pageant of meditations on color and gesture. Though the paintings are thoroughly abstract, memory is a clear subtext throughout the works, secondary to formalist aesthetic experimentation.
Abel Tilahun’s exhibition, Vital Signs, indulges in a play of scale and materiality meant to momentarily disorient the viewer. It is illusionism on a level at which we question our own perception, falling into a subset of sculpture which includes Duane Hanson, Ron Mueck, George Segal, and Robert Gober.
The main attraction of Ugo Rondinones current show at Gladstone are the actors: three large-scale, brightly polychromed bronze sculptures. But the stage itself, the environment these figures occupy, provides a great deal of context beyond the enigmatic titles that identify Rondinones actors as nuns and monks.
Corinne Wasmuht is a contemporary surrealist, and her visions are fraught with the same edgy aesthetic of what we are just-uncomfortable-enough-with, in terms of distortions of our realitysimilar to Dalí, Magritte, or even Bosch.
Jennifer Wen Mas work consistently engages the imagery of life teetering on the edge of oblivion, and her current installation An Inward Sea at the New Britain Museum of American Art (part of their New/Now programming) addresses this through the lens of COVID.
Elisabeth Kley’s exhibition Ozymandias at the new Canada Gallery space, presents ten ceramic works; they are urns, bottles, and containers, and all the pieces are habitations of one sort or another.
The kaolin painted over the surfaces of Jungermans assemblages also adds a layer of metaphysical meaning: it unites, perhaps uncomfortably, the complicated narratives of Surinamese Maroon culture and the Dutch De Stijl.
“Two wrongs can make a right,” “what you see is what you get,” and all sorts of impenetrable truths and blatant cliches are up for grabs in the maelstrom of data and dots in this well paired exhibition of Israel Lund and Amy Granat.
Fortress-like, Peter Halleys newest exhibition, Heterotopia II (2019), immediately presents a situation of pleasure postponed. The bright, DayGlo green and yellow exterior walls of his temple-like structure offer only narrow slits and doorways through which to glimpse the throbbing color within.
McCollum approaches multiplicity and diversity with a gentle omniscient hand that both demands that we examine each and every object with a fresh eye, but also, through his presentation, quells the inevitable rising panic of the human psyche in the presence of infinity.
In The word of Bird is Cured, the artist doesnt just manifest his personal idiosyncrasies, he mimics generative rhythms of his own life.
Whether working with bursts, mists and sprays, glossy finishes, expanses, or intense nodes of pure color, Adam Henry is visually indulgent in the minimal style of an ASMR recording, distilling painting down to the most basic stimuli that evoke a pleasurable response.
A fellow spectator at Mike Clouds recent exhibition described the largest painting in the show, Removed Individual, (2013) as the Buckminster Fuller one. Initially this seemed superficial, based merely on the construction of the piece as a network of visible intersecting stretchers.
Bronx Calling, the fifth iteration of the Artist in the Marketplace (AIM) Biennial at the Bronx Museum, is unique in that it passively presents artists working at their own pace rather than proselytizing a curatorial vision of the contemporary scene. The 68 artists included in this hefty and deep exhibition participated in the 2018 and 2019 AIM programs.
The earth leaked red ochre is a quote from the artist Cecilia Vicuña, and in the hands of curator Real Christian, this phrase becomes a tool for extracting and discerning traditional, Indigenous, and local narratives about the land that have been buried or become entangled with those of colonial presences and oppressors.
Ellen Phelans exhibition of twenty-four prints, A Sense of Place: Ellen Phelans Kenjockety, at The Adirondack Museum, is a visual tone poem for the digital age.
Toba Khedooris monochromatic paintings and drawings are subtle and shifty exercises in visual sleight-of-hand. These seemingly pristine objects are not what they seem; Khedoori clearly relishes the dichotomy between what they are initially perceived to be and the reality of the surface.
A series of exhibitions in London this winter deals with the collection of objects and the archiving of images as a pathway, through art, to a variety of utopias. In most cases these utopias are inaccessible, whether the artists are willing to admit it or not, or so deeply subjective they appear to be the vision of one person.
Come with a thorough knowledge of Britain’s queer subculture or be prepared to take notes: the convoluted, colorful, and vibrant world of alternating genders, orientations, romantic attachments, and associations is the focus of this exhibition.
Fiona Rae: Maybe you can live on the moon in the next century at the Leeds Art Gallery (through August 26th) and Michael Dean: Government at the Henry Moore Institute (through June 17th) share little commonality beyond the fact that their exhibiting galleries are next door to each other, but both abundantly fulfill architectural tropes ascribed to the visual arts.
As one compares forms as diverse as her classic grounded stalactite Z BOKU (2017) and the wood and linen book Book with no words (2018), TORN is perhaps not meant to be taken literally as a physical action but as a violent and painful divergence of ideas.
Adam Budaks first major gesture as the Chief Curator of the National Gallery in Prague was to introduce a Moving Image Department. This is in keeping with his ambition to make the Veletrní Palace a major European venue for contemporary art.
David Goodmans current exhibition of sculpture and works on paper, entitled Apparatus, confronts the viewer with two questions. One is aesthetic: Can two trajectories of visual practice be combined in a harmonious and visually meaningful and satisfying whole? In Goodmans case the answer is yes and works itself out wittily through the small sculptures.
The King and the Corpse is a room-within-a-room and fills the main gallery to such an extent—from floor-to-ceiling with a walk-able, but not too capacious path around—that it’s impossible to get far enough away from the sculpture to gauge its true nature as a structure. It’s all sides and angles, but no sense of a whole.
While on a residency in Kettwig Germany, Tom Doyle spent a year experimenting with adding color to his work. It was a risky proposition, and as Kirsten Swenson writes in her introduction to the exhibition catalog, Doyle did not expect [the] work to leave Germany.
As a photographer, Moby’s efforts have been predominantly autobiographical. His 2011 book of images, Destroyed,offered a view into the life of a travelling musician: empty hotel rooms, paparazzi lying in ambush at the arrivals gate, and fans in ecstasy, viewed from the stage.
Is Aleksandar Duravcevic overwhelming us with the repetitive thud of the mass-produced or presenting a careworn meditation on the handmade? This is the central question that emerges from the 50 graphite drawings on velvety black paper that make up the project Empire.
Snyder wraps this body of work in an overwhelming sense of acceptance and gratitude for the cycles of nature: the seasons, life and death, day and night, morning and dusk. Overall this seems a positive reckoning; her palette is bright and harmonious, and its hard not to get a boost from looking at it.
In this new body of workactually three different sets of paintings and etchingsJulie Mehretu is inscribing marks from a series of hands: her own, the fingerprints of digital interventions, and even the hand of the Almighty (at least by implication), on a series of roiled and undulating backgrounds.
Kley imagines heaven, or at least an alternate realm, not as an aery cloud-filled firmament, but of geometric perfection and the comforting repetition of vegetal forms, rolling waves, and architectural detail.
There are works of art which elude categorization, and some of these are the most enigmatic or inscrutable.
Maltzs project is to make something but still deny the fruit of his efforts a description; his process is also calibrated to reject bourgeois definitions of arthe stacks, piles, and arranges objects but refuses to force them into a state of permanent association.
The irony of a lot of architecture is that its meant to be looked at but not physically interacted with. We, the viewers, are expected to take in the symmetries, shadows, and rhythms of the structure from a privileged viewpoint. Lauretta Vinciarellis watercolors depict spaces created from this curated perspective. Her work is a conversation with, but ultimately a concession to, the frozen requirements of the architects eyeyet this is not necessarily a pejorative trait.
The detection of a spirit presence lies at the heart of many current TV shows claiming to search for the paranormal. Mind the Gap/Mine the Gaps, Tommy Mintz’s current exhibition of photography, does the reverse.
Ishmael Randall Weeks’s exhibition, Annotations, Striations and Souvenirs delved into questions surrounding the demarcations between the authentic, the counterfeit and the use-value of the real.
Perle Fine was a great but under-recognized Abstract Expressionist painter; Paul Anthony Smith is a painter, originally from Jamaica, who recently moved from Kansas City to Bushwick. Their innovations in the art of manipulating the form and surface of paper make them odd but not unwilling bedfellows.
The Paleolithic caves of the Dordogne, clustered around the town of Eyzies-de-Tayac, are still accessible to the general public, with the exception of Lascaux, which has been replaced with an exact reproduction, Lascaux II. In January, there are no lines.
Can a rectangle be sensual? The artist N. Dash sublimates perceptual experience through assemblages of rectilinear panels separated at times by incised lines, string, layers of fabric and even thick segments of high-density foam insulation.
The selection in this show of works on paper, which are preparatory to the artists larger and brushier paintings, offers a view through a transitory portal of literalness. One that dissipates as the canvas paintings grow in scale towards their exuberant and liberated abstraction. Its a focused presentation of five gouaches and a monoprint in an intimate settingallowing a refreshing and rare chance to appreciate an artists working process and the individual characteristics of different media within a practice.
Rico Gatson’s exhibition Icons 20072017 is an exercise in catapulting the human into the supernatural realm. We are watching an artist doing what artists do best: rendering the unimaginable into the visual and the unspeakable into human terms.
Averys reductionist approach is seductive; he is not a believer in the imponderableness of infinity and instead chooses a localized vision of the world.
Ivana Baić presents a dire vision of the not-too-distant future in her exhibition Through the hum of black velvet sleep (2017).
Crayon and graphite on paper allows Lutz to direct our eyes to very specific cues: cloud shape, the color of the sky, and the relative placidity or querulousness of weather and water are all communicated by details of mark‐making.
I know it is futile—an impossible dream—for me to join Mark Thomas Gibson’s NRA (Negro Rifle Association), but longing is a major component of the magic associated with comic books.
This certainly seems like a time for image and text: straightforward and direct gestures for marshalling ideas, crowds, and righteous fury. So one has to stop and collect a reeling brain, full of protest acronyms and painful or ghastly YouTube footage, in order to focus on the premise of an exhibition that emphasizes, as its title suggests, The Pursuit of Aesthetics.
The studio was in flux when I stopped by as preparations were being made to transport most of the new paintings to the Friedrich Petzel gallery for Pensatos show, Batman Returns, which opened on January 12 and comes down on the 25th of February.
Greg Lindquist constructs an image cycle of social inequity in the face of environmental desecration, playing a requiem above a baseline of spoilt nature caused by corporate self-interest.
Shervone Neckless BEACON (202021), standing resolutely in the garden of the Lewis Latimer House Museum in Flushing, Queens, is a monument to the individual: Lewis H. Latimer (18481928) and his lifelong quest, the promotion of that mystical power electricity.
The shimmer of bright sunlight on wine-dark water, endless swirled striations of minerals in a Catskill outcrop, blurred light beams through dust: Chris Martin presents one-to-one dialoguesexaminations of the minutiae of ineffability. In this newest cycle of paintings, Martin toys with aesthetic details in nature that have their correlatives in his arsenal of surfaces, textures, and non-repeating but predictable patterns.
Giuseppe Penones sculpture Spazio di Luce (Space of Light) is a reconstitution of an older project, Gli anni dellalbero piú uno (All the years of the tree plus one) (1969), in which Penone coated a tree in a thin layer of wax, approximating a growth ring.
At age 14, in my sophomore year in high school, I was in Dr. Nikols Advanced Placement European History class. The syllabus was thorough and in the section on the Enlightenment we paused briefly on Descartes, to note his contributions to mathematics, and secondly his Meditations on First Philosophy, which have to this day never left me a moments peace.
I first met Darryl Pinckney in 2014 when he was working on his novel Black Deutschland (Picador, 2016). He picked my brain on the subject of egomaniacal architects (I studied architecture and had a few notable examples as both mentors and employers). At the time I suspected it was for a character, but he only admitted that when we sat down for the interview for the Rail this past October.
Part of a series of limited-edition monographs of the work of living artists, the oversized monograph demands care and attention and effort on the part of the reader. The reproductions allow the viewer to become absorbed, and the artists oeuvrewhich has always veered towards the grandbenefits well from this.
Will Corwin write about the Helen Frankenthaler Foundation and how it supports emerging artists while maintaining the legacy of its founder.