Visual Art

November 9, 2005

A Moment of Serenity

Relinquish some time, today, for perusing the photography of Marian "Jordan" Lewandowski — scenes from Poland, and life. There's something in a sunset, in a mist-draped field, in an outside nightime view of stained glass, and in the smile of an old man with a pigeon on his head, something that can perhaps be found in anybody's day anywhere.

Posted by Justin Katz at 5:43 AM

May 2, 2005

Studio Matters Notes & Commentary

The latest Notes & Commentary essay by Maureen Mullarkey is "Three Realists," reviewing Israel Hershberg in a group show at Marlborough, Philip Pearlstein at Adam Baumbold, and William Bailey at Betty Cuningham.

Posted by Justin Katz at 5:20 AM

March 15, 2005

Studio Matters Notes & Commentary

The latest Notes & Commentary essay by Maureen Mullarkey is "A Chat with A Dealer," about Virginia Zabriskie.

Posted by Justin Katz at 6:10 AM

March 7, 2005

Studio Matters Notes & Commentary

The latest Notes & Commentary essay by Maureen Mullarkey is "Dog-Patch Aesthetics vs. The Real Thing," reviewing Petah Coyne at Galerie Lelong, Loren MacIver at Alexandre Gallery, and Henri Plaat and Vincent Hamel at Howard Scott.

Posted by Justin Katz at 5:37 AM

February 21, 2005

Studio Matters Notes & Commentary

The latest Notes & Commentary essay by Maureen Mullarkey is "Heavy Machinery and Gnomic Vignettes," reviewing John Walker at Knoedler & Co and Saul Steinberg at PaceWildenstein.

Posted by Justin Katz at 5:41 AM

February 14, 2005

Studio Matters Notes & Commentary

The latest Notes & Commentary essay by Maureen Mullarkey is "Paradise Regained," reviewing Hannelore Baron at Senior & Shopmaker, Stephen Talasnik at Marlborough Chelsea, and Susan Shatter at Lyons Wier Gallery.

Posted by Justin Katz at 11:22 PM

February 7, 2005

Studio Matters Notes & Commentary

The latest Notes & Commentary essay by Maureen Mullarkey is "Art, the Destroyer," reviewing Roger Kimball's Rape of the Masters: How Political Correctness Sabotages Art for Crisis Magazine.

Posted by Justin Katz at 9:48 AM

January 31, 2005

Studio Matters Notes & Commentary

The latest Notes & Commentary essay by Maureen Mullarkey is "An American in Paris; Another on Long Island," reviewing John Dubrow at Lori Bookstein Fine Arts and Jane Freilicher at Tibor de Nagy.

Posted by Justin Katz at 12:22 PM

January 24, 2005

Studio Matters Notes & Commentary

The latest Notes & Commentary essay by Maureen Mullarkey is "Provocations," reviewing Jack Levine at DC Moore Gallery, Vincent Smith at Alexandre Gallery, Robert Bauer's drawings at Forum Gallery.

Posted by Justin Katz at 10:16 AM

January 3, 2005

Studio Matters Notes & Commentary

The latest Notes & Commentary essay by Maureen Mullarkey is "Cassatt's Pioneering Inventiveness," reviewing Counterproofs by Mary Cassatt at Adelson Galleries (click the gallery's thumbnails for larger images).

Posted by Justin Katz at 8:58 AM

December 27, 2004

Studio Matters Notes & Commentary

The latest Notes & Commentary essay by Maureen Mullarkey is "Just Looking," reviewing Dawn Clements at Pierogi, Dawn Clements at Feigen Contemporary, and Uri Blayer at Tatistcheff Gallery.

Posted by Justin Katz at 2:15 AM

December 20, 2004

Studio Matters Note & Commentary

The latest Notes & Commentary essay by Maureen Mullarkey is just what its title suggests: "Gallery-Going Round-up." The three included exhibitions for which I was able to find online samples were Jane Wilson at DC Moore Gallery, Charles Cajori at Lohin Geduld Gallery, and Stuart Shils at Tibor de Nagy Gallery.

Posted by Justin Katz at 12:53 AM

December 13, 2004

Studio Matters Notes & Commentary

It would be difficult to find a better way to jump back into routine practices that I've let slide than with a Notes & Commentary essay by Maureen Mullarkey. "Following Her Instincts," reviewing Joan Snyder at Alexandre Gallery and at Betty Cuningham Gallery, proves that Mullarkey's sharp insight...

Do women make lists? You bet; I have one right here. Mine is a tally of the self-worshiping conceits trumpeted by a generation of women artists in their sortie against standards of achievement—dismissed by art historian Linda Nochlin as "the white male Western viewpoint." Nochlin famously derided what she termed "the Lady's Accomplishment" ("a modest, proficient, self-demeaning level of amateurism"). In its place, scholarly fiat substituted Womanart and its own peculiar accomplishment: an immodest, not necessarily proficient, self-assertive level of amateurism that coincided handily with the assault of camp sensibility on public taste.

.. is not limited to art alone:

Politics, as used here, is a dodge for merchandising lacrimose fantasies of women as vessels of cosmic altruism: The Breast That Never Empties ("Mamilla Immortalis"). Still pitching the old zeal, she insists that "we need to send powerful female energy and imagery out into the universe" to save the world from (male) violence. Even more implausible than Ms. Snyder's painting is her adherence to a crumbling orthodoxy that denies women's complicity in their own culprit cultures. Thirty years ago, her schtick about redemptive female energy was merely silly. Today, in the wake of female terrorists—and the sight of women dancing in Ramallah on 9/11— it is cynical. Or delusional.

(Click the gallery names above for samples of Snyder's Womanart.)

Posted by Justin Katz at 12:29 AM

June 18, 2004

Studio Matters Notes & Commentary

Maureen Mullarkey's latest Notes & Commentary essay is "An American Original," reviewing Guy Péne du Bois at James Graham & Sons. (For art samples, click the exhibition names.)

Posted by Justin Katz at 2:30 PM

June 8, 2004

On the Arts List

Owing to my loose association with Maureen Mullarkey, my P.O. box and email have been finding their way onto the mailing lists of visual artists. I almost feel deceptive, considering my scant activities in this area, as well as my politics. Still, I enjoy and appreciate being included, and it's recently occurred to me that links from Dust in the Light might make the artists' effort worthwhile.

The latest postcard came from Ken Kewley, who's got quite a number of samples on his Web site. The use of color and shapes isn't entirely to my own tastes, but the pieces are well enough done to reward perusing and pondering nonetheless.

Posted by Justin Katz at 7:09 AM

May 24, 2004

Studio Matters Notes & Commentary

Maureen Mullarkey's latest Notes & Commentary essay is "Two Artists Who Walked Away," reviewing Lee Bontecou at Knoedler & Company and Sarah G. Austin at Kimberly Venardos. (For additional samples, click the exhibition names.)

Posted by Justin Katz at 3:53 PM

March 20, 2004

Studio Matters Notes & Commentary

Maureen Mullarkey's latest Notes & Commentary essay is "Three Approaches to Nature," reviewing Wendy Mark at Lori Bookstein Fine Art, the drawings of Rosemarie Beck and Paul Resika, and Andrea Morganstern at Kimberly Venardos.

Posted by Justin Katz at 11:30 AM

March 3, 2004

Studio Matters Notes & Commentary

Maureen Mullarkey's latest Notes & Commentary essay is "An Exhibition and a Movie," reviewing Rosemarie Beck's show at the New York Studio School and Osama. Maureen, by the way, has just begun writing a regular art column for the New York Sun.

Posted by Justin Katz at 8:11 PM | Comments (1)

January 13, 2004

They Won't Grow Up, and Courts Can't Make Them

Jeff Miller notes (with an all-too-true punchline) that a judge has decided not to order a statue that is offensive to Catholics removed from Washburn University grounds while a lawsuit to do just that goes through the motions:

A federal judge will allow Washburn University to continue to display a sculpture of a Catholic clergyman while a lawsuit seeking its removal moves forward.

U.S. District Judge G. Thomas VanBebber today denied a request for a temporary restraining order prohibiting the statue's display.

The storyline disoriented me for a moment, until I remembered what statue it was. And while it is grotesque and offensive, I don't agree with using the tactics of the PC censors to remove it. It isn't the high road, for one thing. For another, when those without PC establishment backing try to duplicate the tricks used on them, they hardly ever have the desired effect.

The artist in question, for example, is delighted that his prank has caught some attention (that link has a picture). Moreover, rather than the quick retractions (and increased funding for demographically based professors and student groups) reserved as rewards for the fashionable groups, the school administration offers a variation of "lighten up":

The sculptures are on loan to the university and should remain on display until July, [David Monical, Washburn's executive director of university relations,] said. He said no one involved in picking the sculptures intended to cause anyone pain.

No, lawsuits serve no purpose except to highlight who holds the upper hand in the power struggle and to imply that switching hands would change angle, but not action. Instead, area Catholics should seek ways to force administrators to address the pain that the sculpture did cause. Make them sit in on long chat sessions, for example. Cause a rebuttal controversy.

Running and telling Uncle Sam, however, just brings the lifelong adolescents the satisfaction of exactly the sort of attention that they crave. How much better it would be to creatively offer the attention that they dread — something that confronts them with the superficiality of their poses.

Posted by Justin Katz at 12:53 AM

January 11, 2004

Studio Matters Notes & Commentary

Maureen Mullarkey's latest Notes & Commentary essay is "The Disappearance of Adulthood," reviewing John Currin's exhibition at the Whitney Museum. Here's a biting paragraph that reminds me why I so enjoy Maureen's reviews, even though her artistic critiques can go way beyond my depth:

Currin's series of balloon-breasted women are . . . . . Never mind, use your own adjectives. You don't need mine for this. In artspeak, these gals are cunning strategies designed to explore the social construction of ideas of beauty. In real life, they are bodice-rippers aimed at teenagers with their hands in their pants. Breasts of Venus? Marky Mark's penis? Drop your Calvins and hold on for ART. Such is marketing in the age of Fabien Baron. Outwitting the audience is the real game. The rules are the same on museum walls as on Times Square billboards.

Posted by Justin Katz at 7:37 PM