For Charles Clough, a solo show that raises the question: What was the 'Pictures Generation' really?
"There were so many dogmas involved," Clough told me at Saturday's opening. "There was [Clement] Greenberg’s dogma and then there was Michael Fried’s dogma, and then there was the conceptual artist with their rules. Everybody’s got their rules and my critical position is more of affirmation and inclusion. And so I’ve always retained a painterly approach—throughout storms of dogma and various points of view."(1)
All those moments, taken from film and television, are now on view in Suspicious of rooms without music or atmosphere, the duo's latest exhibition at the Cheim and Read gallery in Chelsea. That exhibition title—theatrical, even melodramatic, a little sad and quite funny—tells you a great deal about McDermott and McGough’s work, which is, in its latest incarnation, a superrealist assemblage of juxtaposed '60s movie stills. (“Suspicious” brings together scenes from several films released in 1967.) Even before they trained their exacting eye on the cinema, the pair’s work has been cinematic, in the sense of immersive, sweeping mythmaking.
I think that's something that's a thread: collecting, I suppose. Collecting in relationship to found material…. But also, something that's quite specific is that many people are showing work by other artists. Jason Simon, for instance, is showing his collection of Chris Marker material. And Julie Ault, we're showing some material related to Theodore Kaczynski [the Unabomber]. There's a thread going through the show of artists who have responded to something interesting in the world, I suppose, and have translated that into the process of collecting and representing. I guess that goes hand-in-hand with the idea of the White Columns Annual, which is essentially that you're representing things that you saw elsewhere. It's almost more a form of collecting than curating.
The Morgan show epitomizes the artistic movement known as mannerism, of which Rosso is a celebrated practitioner. Derived from the Italian word maniera or “style,” mannerism burst forth in Florence and Rome in the early 1500s. Encompassing some 30 cannily selected objects in a single gallery, Fantasy and Invention exemplifies mannerism’s hermetic quality and its delight in erudition and exquisite detail.(2)
Gagosian said in its release that Dylan has “transformed popular design elements—from Bondage Magazine to Babytalk—by reconsidering the purposes of each: the graphics, syntax and chromatic content.” Further, Dylan “combines a wide range of popular styles, the sources of which he has reshaped to produce new conflations of image and meaning.”
The show—known simply as Richard Artschwager! (and up through Feb. 3, 2013)—is surprising and exciting and sincere and beautiful. And it even features its own exclamation point, a five-and-a-half-foot tall one, in stunning chartreuse no less, consisting of plastic bristles attached to a mahogany core and presented as a kind of gleeful surprise.
Tom Sanford spoke to me Thursday morning while standing across the street from where the works are installed, in front of a dormant rowhouse. All seven "saints" are drawn in Christian-iconography-influenced poses bearing personal symbols that resemble familiar iconography. Weegee holds a cigar and a camera, surrounded by police tape. Nearby, Charlie Parker resembles the Christ Pantocrator, substituting a saxophone for a bible and wearing a poppy to symbolize his addictions.
As his latest show opens, painter Will Cotton reflects on the Will Cotton - Katy Perry art-industrial complex
Since then, Cotton has continued to see what he believes are references to his work. “It feels almost epidemic,” he said, adding that he recently began keeping an archive of Cotton-esque advertisements—girls in cotton candy clouds, models with cupcakes on their heads—torn from the pages of Vogue, Elle and Cosmopolitan.
The artist Bob Witz, 77, has lived in the same cluttered studio apartment on West 26th Street in Manhattan for the past 36 years. In that time he has participated in only a handful of small, mostly group exhibitions. Perhaps his biggest claim to fame is a series of letters he published in Artforum forty years ago, critiquing what he considered to be the magazine’s elitist ideology. If such a thing as an outsider artist still exists in New York City, Bob Witz may well be it.(1)
In the post-graffiti painting of Steve Powers, a canvas as big as everything in the city you wouldn't otherwise see
“I like signs for their inherent utility, that they convey information and direction,” the artist said. But the antiquated aesthetic of sign painting has a particular artistic allure for him: "Richard Serra said that art can have no utility," he said. Then he thought about it. "Part of me wants to disagree with that. Why can't it? Even if it's just giving strength and insight and hope to people."(3)
Lola Montes Schnabel debuts on the New York gallery scene, and suddenly it feels like the '80s again
“This isn’t a normal gallery opening, by the way,” said art historian Brian Kirsch. The opening he was talking about was that of Lola Montes Schnabel. Five sensual, splashy, large-scale paintings hung in a large room at The Hole Gallery where Schnabel’s show, "Love Before Intimacy," her first solo painting exhibition in the United States, was having its opening night last Friday.