Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Shows from NYC to PHL

This post is a mash-up of things I have seen in the last month and a half.  I was in New York twice and did a bunch of popping around in Philly and never got organized enough to do a proper post but here are some images anyway.

Albert York @ Matthew Marks

Albert York

The Albert York show was a solid gem in a sea of mediocre shows I want to forget about when I was up in NY in early December.  It was really nice to see a painter who quietly pursued his interests over years and years.  In stark contrast was the Hockney show across the street -- what the hell was that??  I was also not as excited about Neo Rauch as many other people seemed to be.  Why does everything have to be so in excess when artists get to a certain level of success?  What happened to restraint?  More on that in a minute...

Ridley Howard at Koenig & Clinton

Ridley Howard

But first, Ridley Howard's solo show at Koenig & Clinton was another excellent show of restraint and continued investigation.  The formal concerns for color along with the figurative imagery was very nice.  (link above has installation shots)  

Another really nice show that I regretfully don't have any photos from was Matt Bollinger at Zurcher Studio.  Beautiful use of collage.

Schofield @ Woodmere

Installation Shot at Schofield Show
 Although this show felt a bit repetitive at times, the survey of Walter Elmer Schofield at Woodmere Art Museum was worth the trip.  I particularly loved the room pictured above.  The greens and blues in those pictures was knockout.  The larger room had some really solid painting in it, just maybe too many.  I felt as though some of the later, weaker paintings could have been edited out.  The show is up for a couple more days...

Amy Sillman @ MOMA

Against my better judgment I went back up to NY last week because there were a few things I wanted to see, especially at MOMA.  It was that 9 degree day so that on top of the fact that I had been disappointed the month before meant I was feeling extremely critical.  Like, "this better be worth it", not "I have an open mind to take in and digest whatever I stumble upon."

I started at the Matisse cut outs show which was very good, actually quite like what I expected.  So in a strange way I didn't take a lot from it for myself but I enjoyed the visual experience of it.  Then I dropped into the Forever Now show about contemporary painting including painters like Amy Sillman, Julie Mehretu, Laura Owens (big names but a nice number of women painters).  I felt somehow underwhelmed even though every single thing was over-sized.  I liked the painting above by Sillman best.  Somehow making still life that size was the only thing that felt necessary and full of spirit, it was funny.  A lot of the other paintings felt like they were big just because that meant they were important.   I think this nicely written article says a lot of what I thought.  

Jean Dubuffet 

The Dubuffet show was the most surprising for me.  I was really engaged by it.  It felt so right to look at right now.  It was raw but the restraint of material and color kept it poetic somehow.  I also saw the Gober show which is now closed and was worth seeing but the rest of those shows are still going and worth the trip.

So I left MOMA feeling pretty satisfied but not completely.  If it was 65 degrees that would have been one thing, but on a 9 degree day I needed to see something really, really stunning.

Anne Tabachnick @ Lori Bookstein
 So it was a good thing when I got to Lori Bookstein, because both shows were just that.  I have a catalog of Tabachnick's work but had never seen it in person. 

And on top of that show, the back show was really nice by Eric Holzman.  These are up until mid February.

Eric Holzman

I also liked Sarah Gamble's work at Edward Thorp which is now over. (sorry no photos).

Mamma Andersson

The final thing I saw was Mamma Andersson at Zwirner.  I loved her work when I was in grad school.  And I still like it.  I thought this show was not quite as strong as the last I saw and I hated the project space.  I think she is teetering right on the edge that this whole post seems to be about -- continuing to make work that has a struggle and a personal investigation vs. making work too fast because it is in demand.  I understand that it might take going over that line to know it but I really hope she sticks to moments like the one pictured above vs. this.


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