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Showing posts from March, 2014

Art Sightings in New York, Part 2

I went to look at some galleries in west Chelsea, New York City, last Friday. It was my first visit to the area. So many galleries, and so many I didn't even get time to see! What caught my eye was mainly abstract art, apart from this first one, a giant multi-coloured print by Kiki Smith at Pace Prints:

Ross Bleckner, at Mary Boone (below). The photo shows the size of the painting, but not the subtlety of the marks revealed underneath each dot or hole. On the way out, I heard someone saying snarkily: "Oh, Ross Bleckner is only here because some hedge fund billionaire buys all his work:"

A show of recent prints by Terry Winters:

Dead White Guy alert: a great set of paintings by Raymond Hendler (1923-1998):

And some loosey-goosey geometry by Gary Stephan. I liked this green/black/grey one a lot:

Art Sightings in New York, Part 1

I'm in New York City this week and here are some pictures of art that took my attention at MoMA and the Brooklyn Museum of Art.In order of appearance: early Marsden Hartley, late Marsden Hartley, detail of the early Hartley, an early Mark Rothko believe it or not, a new print from Jasper Johns, people taking selfies in front of a Pollock, a Gerhard Richter painting, solid clouds in a Van Gogh, a detail from Picasso's Demoiselles, a print from the amazing Gauguin print exhibition, a linocut in the Art of Civil Rights show at the Brooklyn Museum, an african carving:

Why I Reread

I recently added to a thread on Facebook about Flaubert’s Sentimental Education, during which I mentioned that I’ve read it at least four times. It got me thinking about how many other books I’ve read more than once, and what the list might say about me. Actually, I reread a lot, so for the purposes of keeping the list shorter, I’m trying to recall books I’ve read at least three times:
Specific plays by Shakespeare: Othello, Hamlet, Macbeth (10+)Holy Sonnets, Elegies, Satires, John Donne (10+)Ulysses, James Joyce (6)The Complete Works of William Shakespeare, by, er, Billy Wobbledagger (5+)Songs of Innocence and Experience, William Blake (5+)The Iliad, Alexander Pope’s translation (4)The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain (4)Plays and Poems, Bertolt Brecht (4)The Power and the Glory, Graham Greene (4)The Sun Also Rises, Ernest Hemingway (4)Sentimental Education, Gustave Flaubert (4)Great Expectations, Charles Dickens (4)Humboldt’s Gift, Saul Bellow (3)The Idiot, Fyodor Dostoevsk…

Lynn Saville: The Plenitude of Emptiness

The French writer Roland Barthes, in his book Camera Lucida, said of photography that it “can be the object of three practices (or of three emotions, or of three intentions): to do, to undergo, to look.” It’s a banal statement, amounting to a plain summary of the photograph as something transmitted between an object and a spectator via the camera. All that this phrase really tells us is how a photograph is made, not about the differences between one photograph and another, or one photographer and another. But in looking at Vacancy, a series of photographs by Lynn Saville on show recently at Schneider Gallery in Chicago, that phrase by Barthes came to mind, particularly the second of those verbs, “to undergo.”

Saville trained her lens on vacant storefronts on streets across the United States, at night or nearly night, so that the luminance of artificial lighting from streetside or inside determines how we see the spaces. We see warehouses, restaurants, stores, all emptied of people and …