Monday, April 2, 2012

deKooning: a Retrospective September 18, 2011- 9 January, 2012, Museum of Modern Art New York 11 west 53rd St 10019; by craniv boyd.

deKooning: a Retrospective, September 18,2011-9 January, 2012, Museum of Modern Art New York 11 west 53rd St 10019; by craniv boyd. 

The sixth floor galleries of   the in recent years, renovated Museum of Modern Art in New York City, have a mammoth Retrospective of a titan of Modern Painting. The subject of this posthumous honor is,  the Rotterdam, the Netherlands born, yet for much of his life,  New York City based and East Hampton, Long Island based, Wilhelm deKooning. The Museum of Modern art, which normally has a standard deKooning, Woman One of 1951 1952, on continues display within the painting galleries on a lower floor, now does an immense service to the understanding of the larger ambit of deKooning's art, by mounting a stellar retrospective, long overdue.  

The exhibition gathers together many drawings, prints, and paintings from private collections, hence unavailable for public contemplation, along with Paintings and works form public institutions, for a exposition of a protean artist. Rare still life drawings in charcoal, dating from 1917, drawn when deKooning still lived in Holland, are placed along early figurative paintings and drawings soon after the artist emigrated to the New World, Newark, New Jersey. A self portrait with an imaginary brother, also occupies this room, both are masterful artworks of a deft draughtsman. Furthermore, both are sound proof for any-persons who would dispute the claim that later and expressionistic deKooning, possesses no artistic merit. The schism from realism, or naturalism, into an abstract expressionism, was made by an artist who could work within academic artistic conventions, was unsatisfied by those established rules and means, and in seeking "freedom" reinvented his method of painting time and time again.  

Key artworks from each of the periods of Wilhem deKooning's oeuvre are presented in distinct voluminous rooms,  chronologically arraigned. Woman One of 1951 occupies a larger wall together with other like paintings in the same woman as totem or taboo period. Excavation, a painting normally in Chicago  has its own wall, and ancillary or lesser known or smaller black and white paintings that predate Excavation surround it.  The development and changes of interest  that deKooning had are legible, when ordered thus. Apparently deKooning was a slow working artist, taking years to complete singular paintings, working, and reworking canvasses in a constant excruciating process. 

Buxom clam diggers, and naked grinning women on bicycles, wet paint lathered on other wet paints thickly, rooms of bronze hand-formed sculptures vaguely humanoid, much exuberance and joy of life is apparent in these art works. For plastic arts of painting, deKooning has art-objects that look strangely fleeting. His so-called "glimpse" of a smile or passing woman, a short-lived gaze, is ever-present in his figurative, as well as landscape, and abstract paintings. He, has some of a Dutch artists sensitivity for the volatile weather of coastal areas or the sea. The sea side paintings of the onset of a squall, by fellow countryman Jacob Van RuiysdaledeKooning  lends attention to moments of brief duration, committing those instances to canvas clay or newsprint paper. 

The gift zone near the elevator banks at MoMA capitalizes, coyly on one of the maxims of deKooning in regards to his artistic modus operandi. His quotes of "you have to change to stay the same." are glazed on a hot beverage mug. Placed for those fans that cannot cash-and-carry an original deKooning home. by craniv boyd.  


The Value of Water: September 22, 2011-March 25, 2012 The Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine, New York. by craniv boyd.

The Value of Water: September 22, 2011-March 25, 2012 The Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine, New York. by craniv boyd. 

The Value of Water: Featured Artists: Alan Michelson, Mandy Greer, Trenton Doyle Hancok, Don Eddy, Dian Burko, Winn Rea, Kadie Saifi, Norman Lundin, Chrysanne Stachecos, Gregory Amenoff, Dixie Peaslee, Ray Charles White,  Robert Berlind, Janet Nolan, Gulsen Calik, April Gomik, Victoria Vesna, Gregg Schlanger, Mark Rothko, Terisita Fernadez, Kiki Smith, Nobuho Nagasawa, WIlliam Kentredge, Fredricka Foster, April Gormik, Dulce Gomez, Alice Dalton Brown, Samantha Scherer, Bill Viola, Mac McGill, Leigh Behnke, Florence Neal, Pat Steir, Michelle Loughlin, Rosarie Appel, Terry Tempest WIlliams, Ben Roth, Felicia Resor,  Winn Rea, Sonam Dolma Brauen, Jose "Tony" Cruz, Robert Longo, Laura McCallum ,Jenny Holzer Water&Light Project, Daniel& Jonathan. September 22, 2011-March 25, 2012 The Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine, New York. 

The Cathedral church, on Amsterdam Avenue, was the recent home of an exhibition titled the Value of Water. A thematic exhibition where the central protagonist is non other than water. The exhibition was curated by one of the participating artists, Fredricka Foster, who selected a wide array of artists who respond to the subject matter of water. A deep sense of urgency concerning the worlds waters, and their pollution, is conveyed in the brochure that accompanied this bloated exhibition. Bloated in the aspect that almost any artist, whom the curated knew to deal with water, was included. The exhibition could be understood as a petition arguing for the preservation of the environment, made by artists. As in mass protests, concerns are more of a quantitative than qualitative nature. An impression gathered, is that there is the affect of strength in the numbers of the participating artists in, The Value of Water,  and that individual artworks, and installations, suffer as a result, because they are subsumed in the larger opine of , Please Care More about Water and the Environment. The organizer of the exhibition, Fredricka Foster has more in common of the activity of obtaining signatures for a referendum, rather than an active selection process of art works that drive at the crux of the worth of H2O. 

In many of the chapels and niches in the largest Gothic Cathedral in the world, the Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine, there were art works placed in unexpected places and heights, hidden as it were in plain sight. The plan of the exhibition, provided visitors with the names of the forty six participating artists, and the locals of where their art was hung. Great numbers of the smaller scaled  artworks, were visually lost in the cavernous building, and the map, in its aid as Goose-chase or Treasure-Hunt solutions-service-provider, was invaluable, in the identification of which objects to be in awe and admire. 

A convincing selection in the exhibition was the non figurative painting of Pat Steir. A moody large format painting, with many white drips on a black ground, easily permits the association of waterfall or falling water, the title Waterfall of the Fundaments, obviates what viewers are supposed to make of the abstracted painting. The presentation of a series of animated video artworks the South African artist WIlliam Kentredge, was well displayed. An enclave with a free standing screen, speakers  and an aluminum girder housed the well tempered lighting arrangement, in service of the projected videos.  However, the overriding concerns of Kentredge's oeuvre extend well beyond, water alone. 

Poorly served by the installation in a chapel were oddly enough, smaller works on paper by the late Mark Rothko. Quite easily the most valuable art works in the exhibition, for their sale price. As appearance would have it, that these works were selected simply because they were the color blue.  The work Three Women, 2008, by the artist Bill Viola was another instance where the theme of water was pushed well beyond acceptable limits. Three women that walk away from a High definition video camera, slowly. The flat-screen panel that showed this movement of the ladies, was vertically displayed. The women perhaps an allusion to the three graces, walk in a shallow pool of water, in a motion of elegant triple rejection. 

The drollest art work, was that of Fountain Bottles 2004-2008, by the artist Janet Nolan, who collected fountain water from well known public fountains. All of the claimed water was bottled, in clear bottles labeled with a line drawing of their fountain of origin, and words in blue, naming where the water was bottled. A wry play on bottled drinking water and the market fetish manna surrounding spring waters. 

The innovative approach, showing  art  made in today's era, by living artists, in a building of worship, is commendable. The contemplation, that is offered in a house of worship is decidedly other than the climate of contemplation provided by many art dealerships, or museums. That the Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine, would commit to art projects and thematic exhibitions by living artists, is an affirmation a positive impact art has on the here and now. by craniv boyd. 

Nicolas Lobo: Gum, Dropped Marlborough Chelsea December 15, 2011-January 14, 2012, New York: by craniv boyd.

Nicolas Lobo: Gum, Dropped Marlborough Chelsea December 15, 2011-January 14, 2012, New York: by craniv boyd. 

A one person presentation of an artist based in Miami, in New york city. Nicolas Lobo, at Marlborough Chelsea, was a show case that tendered divergent means of art making. a singular video work, in a darkened gallery room, and compact disks, micro-waved adjusted with the hand of the artist, and displayed at average adult eye level, wall mounted. 

The compact disks had been baked and painted. The artwork is an urbane angle on the mundane life of suburbia. The brilliant colors of the spectrum, on a piece of technology, intentionally destroyed, has juvenile over tones. Teenagers seem like unreasonable people that would fry a music collection in a microwave oven. Nicolas Lobo adds artist to the list of a contrary personality that would bake your tunes. With the aid of another domestic technology Lobo makes inappropriate usage of an appropriate verb applicable to compact discs: to burn, i.e. to record or author a data disc on a computer. The series of Microwaved CD Pen Tests, 2011, are all in fact burned compact discs of an artists work, but the literal burning via oven, renders the discs objects for retinal contemplation only, unreadable by any laser scanner device that could decode whatever data they held. 

In concert with these tastefully obdurate anti technological creations, hung on pristine white walls, are fragments of stone tablets leaned against the gallery walls. This leaning of marble or granite fragments, stones which appear ready for insertion as a table top or kitchen counter top, are art. This art is blithe, therefore has the hallmarks of youth. These processed stones, which are more time honored artistic materials, have a more off-hand treatment than, the compact discs that shared the same room. Making one thing clear: as an artist Mr. Lobo, is more familiar with what, and how, to treat a current art material like plastic, rather than a more classical one of stone. 

The video art piece, is a work with a recording from a fixed camera angle, of a room with a mysterious appearance. There is little in the way of clues to tell viewers what the function of this space is, save for a rickety table with assorted containers with varied colors. A figure in a white coverall plastic suit, enters frame, bearing what has all appearances of a fire extinguisher. Pensive, tentative, predatory movements: as the figure ambles towards the wall. When suddenly, grey purple paint issues forth, from the canister, the figure holds. The suspense is allayed when the cathartic moment of a large stream of paint hits the wall. That uninterrupted paint stream, crossing horizontal lines, back and forth, back and forth. Exit person in white protective clothing. What is left to see is the paint, dripping down, and with time, drying. This is an art work that shows much of what the endeavors of a young artist can entail. Isolation, an abrupt idea, creative detonation, then waiting for paint to dry, or dust to clear the air, and an end product that looks derivative, hence undesirable. However the freshness and ease of this video work, overshadows the inhibited bijou of singed plastic and relaxing marble in the other rooms. by craniv boyd.  

Matta: a Centennial Celebration November 7, 2011 through January 28 2012, the Pace Gallery, 534 West 25th Street, New York 10011 by craniv boyd.

 Matta: a Centennial Celebration November 7, 2011 through January 28 2012, the Pace Gallery, 534 West 25th Street, New York 10011 by craniv boyd. 

A phenomenal exhibition of enormous paintings, in strange glorious colors was on view at the Pace Gallery. Roberto Sebastián Antonio Matta Echaurren "Matta" (1911 -2002 )an artist born in Santiago, Chile, was a painter who had a large gallery exhibition that it rivals some small scale museums in the same city of New York. At the time of the exhibition, many of the extra large paintings had not been viewed outside of Europe, and the largest of which measured 13 x 27 feet or approximately 3,4 x 9 meters.

The paintings are non representational, yet some how they do bear resemblance to microscopic bodies. Think of computer medical imaging, given the task of representing the interior architecture of an amoeba. The structures in Matta's paintings can be said to look like events  happening on a cellular, microscopic level, however as they are vast canvass, one sees the intrigue of a Petri dish, given epic, colossal proportions. Was Matta, with his later paintings, saying that life's drama can occur within even the smallest of organisms? 

Cosmos Mental, a painting  from the year 1991, alludes, in it's title, to a possible stage where Matta's  painted imagery might be said to transpire. That of the mind. In the canvass, of which the dominate color range is of a mauve red purple tirade, there are projected rectangular forms in harsh black, and more fluid white lines which are arc like, and inscribe no closed form. At times, the white lines are set in the painting at diagonals. These white lines evoke alacrity, when contrasted with the buoyant closed forms of the empty cubes. These oppositional types of bodies populate the picture plane, a field of mottled color, a space that looks like vapor. The title calls attention to both the universe  with the Greek word for order, and with the adjective mental, cognition is where this order is pro-ported to be. The mind, it would appear for the artist Matta, is where the contemplation of big space can occur. Cosmos Mental looks like an mural of what thoughts look like, as a mind thinks them. Due to the fact that the painting is mega-sized, a viewer of this painting is left with the impression that small thoughts have big potential. 

 A first generation surrealist painter who made paintings that touch upon space form, and philosophical modernist concerns. It is striking to see such substantial modernist art that is consistently reflective of Matta's celebrated paintings from the 1940's, painted at a time when a fickle art markets had seen, and sold generations of Pop ism, Minimal ism, Neo Expression ism, Neo Geometric ism, Happenings, Performance etc. That is not to say that Matta's artwork from the 1990's is in some way static, a shipwreck in tidal waves of artistic progress, or more of the same hermetic creations from the nineteen fifties. No, Matta: A centennial Celebration, is moreover a testament to a profound artistic vision, that was sensitive, delicate, refined, masterful, and oblivious to trend based posturing. by craniv boyd. 

Luminous Modernism Scandinavian Art Comes to America, 1912, Including: Akseli Gallen-Kallela, Prins Eugens, Carl Larsson, Eugène Jansson, Vilhelm Hammershøi, Ásgrímur Jónsson, Edvard Munch, Harlad Sohlberg and Anders Zorn. October 25, 2011- February

Luminous Modernism Scandinavian Art Comes to America, 1912, Including: Akseli Gallen-Kallela, Prins Eugens, Carl Larsson, Eugène Jansson, Vilhelm Hammershøi, Ásgrímur Jónsson, Edvard Munch, Harlad Sohlberg and Anders Zorn. October 25, 2011- February 11, 2012, Scandinavia House, New York. by craniv boyd.

To recreate an art exhibition, one hundred years after it has transpired, could be boredom, or fear inducing. no so for the centennial celebration, of Luminous Modernism, which celebrated one hundred years of the introduction of modern painting from Nordic countries to the United States. The exhibition took place in the the intimate third floor galleries of the Scandinavia House on Park Avenue.  The paintings were exemplars of an alternate modernism, that all-though influential, in Continental Europe and North America, has perhaps been overlooked in recent years.   

The most popularly known of the artists included in this exhibition is of course, the angst ridden Norwegian, Edvard Munch. Well known for his painting the scream, of a screaming wraith on a expressionist bridge. In the exhibition he was represented by more stayed paintings, of the quotidian life of a monied class in Cristinanborg, now Oslo. A painting of a youth bathing on a beach, holds what could be interpreted as a silent scream, the darker side of a so called bourgeois Paradise. Somehow view of the artist, Munch, imbues trepidation on the face of a boy who should be having a good time on a seaside family outing. There is a profound, conflicting set of moods which are expressed on the painting. Horror in the sea, boredom with the family, cold on a bright summer day, isolation from the clothed women, in straw bonnets off to the side.  

The Icelandic painter Ásgrímur Jónsson, is represented by landscape paintings set in the countryside of Iceland. Seeing as this landscape painting of rural and natural phenominæ, was created,  at the start of the 20th century a time when Iceland was under the Danish crown, Ásgrímur Jónsson might have had an awareness raising aim with his paintings of the land. Landscape painting as nationalist task, to portray the land of Iceland as beautiful with the hopes towards an independence, perhaps. 

Vigorous oil colors are what  the Swedish painter Anders Zorn provides, specific times of day in the landscape, are limits that determine some of his paintings. This village at dusk, or these woods early in the morning, the paintings have characteristica of sunlight seen from the far north.What is striking is that some of the paintings of Stockholm from a hundred years ago but for a few details in the dress of people, diverge from a current picture of the capital of Scandinavia. The view of a desolated winter snow filled street in Gammle Stan could in all likely hood be found today, but a stones throw from the Seven Eleven of course.

To re examine art works by Nordic artists that were presented to an New York Public one hundred years ago is diverting. That these paintings still have a legitimate communicative power, regardless if you have seen a Danish sand dune with your own eyes or not, is craniv boyd. 

"Looking Back"-The 6th White Columns Annual Selected by Ken Okiishi and Nick Mauss December 10th 2011-February 18, 2012 at white columns, New York:by craniv boyd.

"Looking Back"-The 6th White Columns Annual Selected by Ken Okiishi and Nick Mauss December 10th 2011-February 18, 2012 at white columns, New York:by craniv boyd. 

Participating artists: Miwako Arakawa, Fia Backström, Alvin Baltrop, Sid Branch, Mary Cassat, Antoine Catala, Donna Collins, Jossie Collin, Chloe Dzubilo, Thomas Eggerer, Michaela Eichwald, Loretta Fahenholz, T de Long, Jean Genet, Grand Openings, Pierre Guyotat (Live), E'wao Kagoshima, Alex Kwartler, Maria Lassnig, Lousie Lawler, Margaret Lee with Michele Abeles, Alisa Baremboym, Antoine Catala, Gregory Edwards, Debo Eilers, Josh Kline, Andrei Koschmieder, Ajay Kurian, Amy Lien, Siobhan Meow, Joan Mitchell, Adrian Piper, Carissa Rodriguez, Emily Sundblad, Nicola Tyson, Cosima von Bonin, Amy Yao, Michele Abeles, David Benjamin Sherry, Carissa Rodriguez, Lisa Jo, Anicka Yi.

Two artists were invited to select, at the end of 2011, artists for an exhibition, based on no other rubric than, their personal experience of looking at art in New York the preceding year.  This is the sixth time that artists or curators were given that task, at New York non for profit, gallery White Columns. The pluralistic, inclusive, non hierarchical, exhibition, which resulted from a medley by artists Ken Okiishi and Nick Mauss, is at best, selections from conceptual art seminary. As such with its inclusion of droves of, anti art, artless art pursued with great zeal, by many adherents, "looking back" was arid. That the art was selected from, predominantly gallery expositions, could be taken as an indicator that there was a great deal of boring art, to be seen in New York, during the year 2011. 

Much of the arts, were artworks on paper. A select few were videos, still others were collage, and painting. Installation was a rare bird. 

Of the most striking, due to its color alone, within a sallow group showcase , was the work of Cosima von Bonin. in  work titled The Bonin/Oswald Empires Nothing #4, a human scaled stuffed animal lies prostrate on a strange piece of furniture. The work was shown at the artist New York dealer ship, Gallery Friedrich Petzel, in an exhibition titled the Juxtaposition of nothings. Weird that this grouping of objects titled, nothing, is a substantial something, when contrasted with the innocuous documentation of an event, Titled Grand Openings Return of the Blogs, planned by the chief: Sabine Breitwieser and assistant: Jenny Schlenzka curators of the department of Media  and Performance art, Museum of Modern art. A exhausted in appearance blue woolen stuffed animal with ambient electronica music, was more visually appealing and therefor memorable, than a video depicting attendees to some overcrowded cocktail event at MoMA

One video installation that looked good was that by Antoine Catala, in his work titled HDDH, 2011. In it two high definition televisions hung at identical heights on facing parallel walls, were conjoined by a mirrored cylinder, set center screen. Satellite television with the news from Network television is in that installation device, rendered ludicrous. You simply can not watch television news in a meaningful way in that manner. The wrongness of this art work rests in: the action of installing, two identical components of the latest , high quality home entertainment systems, objects known and desired by most consumers, aggressively. the doubling of the flat-screen, and the reflective bar that melds the images of both, in addition to the reflection of people who view HDDH, is a trap. The reflection of viewers is caught between the reflection of two opposing identical moving images. One is both between and in the skewed rotund reflection of U.S. network news. The reflection of the immediate spacial reality of the room in White columns is ensnared in a purposefully distorted reality of a twin television image. 

Another video art work which looked bad was that of Loretta Fahrenholz and Emily Sundblad. A work titled ¡Qué Bárbara! featuring hipsters shopping in claustrophobic New York bodegas. An anarchic design element was a semi randomly placed, intentionally awkward video picture frame within the larger HD picture format. This video art work contained the entertainments of a burgeoning creative artistic cast. Peoples who between band practice and art collaborating, in the quickly gentrifying slums of New York, hastily record for a group show, some of their sauntering, claiming that is their non hierarchical art collaboration practice. Basically, ¡Qué Bárbara! might hold a modicum of interest for the friends, acquaintances, professional associates who are affiliated with the two women artist who authored it. It is ungenerous to anyone else. 


It is perhaps a sad endeavor to beg of an artist to make an exhibition, based on the artworks that they saw within a year in the epicenter of the ART-WORLD. A daunting chore that could pose a large dilemma. To assist ones friends and acquaintances, by inclusion in the exposition, in the hopes of professional advancement? Or to select a good exhibition with fewer art works that is more intelligible in visual form, but inclusive of artists one does not know, or hope to one day know. Many artists under 40 years of age living, working in the big apple, are by nature enthusiastic, and supportive of their fellow artist peers, I presume Ken Okiishi and Nick Mauss are of this sort. The amiable approach to their selection, however, I find did more to mar the net significance of their edition of "Looking Back". by craniv boyd. 

Klara Kristalova Sounds of Dogs and Youth 27 October- 28 January 2012 Lehmann Maupin. New York, by craniv boyd.

Klara Kristalova Sounds of Dogs and Youth 27 October- 28 January  2012 Lehmann Maupin. New York, by craniv boyd. 

If you like, cute contemporary art with sinister overtones like the  Marcel Damza, a Canadian draftsman whose creations are most of the time, sane, watered down apparitions of the outsider art of Henry Darger, then the glazed porcelain works of Czechoslovakia born  Klara Kristalova will appeal to your senses. Her New York  debut exposition consists of skillful clay pieces that when fired are static tokens of unprepossessing characters who might be at home in the videos of Swedish artist, Natalie Djurberg. That Klara Kristalova, has her training and much of her artistic vitæ, in Sverige, begs the question of if there is a larger cannon of adorable art with a dark twist up north. 

That ceramic arts, so often dismissed, from a so-called pluralistic avant gaurdistic Contemporary, into a  hand crafts ghetto, would now be presented in an art dealership, Lehmann Maupin, that displays the works of ultra hip Young British Alumnus, Tracy Emin is quizzical. Is there new tolerance for hand crafted art objects? The dream like story book art works look like illustrations for a children's book. Now I have nothing against Momin Trolls, or Björk Guðmúnsdóttir making a sound track to a film about these magical creatures, but to claim that the kitschy decorative objects authored by Klara Kristalova  are on par with surrealism, because they are surreal,(in the words of the press release,) is far fetched. 

Kristalova's  work is far to deliberate, and it's orientation towards the art market, precludes it as surrealist. Proof of this, her artwork poses fewer display, and conservation issues, than the biennial artist  Natalie Djurberg, does.  For collectors who  love  ungainly clay formed protagonists, that Mrs. Djuberg makes yet  do not want to bother about whether or not their video art purchase will work with audio visual display technology fifty or seventy years later; than the akin, yet conservative materials of Klara Kristalova are a clear choice for acquisition. The juxtaposition of raven-haired awkward girls with, Crows, standard urban dwellers in Northern European Cities,  with tangled tree branches and ghost like specters, is a friendly, soft edged clay artifact. Northern exoticæ for a pan Scandinavian experience, that in their vagueness allude to half forgotten Nordic fables. by craniv boyd.

Jim Hodges Gladstone Gallery November 5 thru December 23rd 2011, New York by craniv boyd.

Jim Hodges Gladstone Gallery November 5 thru December 23rd 2011, New York by craniv boyd.

In a gallery space near the west side highway in Manhattan, there took place a one person exhibition of Jim Hodges an artist. In it were three works, in which, notions of:  time motion, reflection, and color were addressed. as is the case with most art exhibitions, open to a general public in New York city that contain a hole in the ground or an open flame, or any some such miniscule liability or hazard, clear sign-age and gallery employees mentioned, to mind the cavity.  

Irony or a humorous disposition are what could be gained from this recent showcase of Hodges work. An otherwise pristine polished concrete floor, had a roughly hewn orifice filled with mirror black liquid. Above the puddle of unknown depth, a mirrored globus with a motor, spun, as in a Disco, bright spotlight placed high in the corners illuminated the kinetic orb, and a veritable copious group of reflected points of light graced the surface of the gallery floors and walls. All thanks to the disco ball overhead and the harsh lighting.  This must be the art work that deals with reflection. 

A narrow passageway abutted a large cubed figure in an other room. After transversing that passage, the nature of what that cubed figure was, became known. A box with light,  lit with cold florescent industrial lighting. Inside this white cube, within an other so-called white cube, layers of thick bright paint adorned the floor. How did these colors get there? Resting in front of the work, on the provided benches for a moment, provided an answer. The colors fell from above. Several holes in a regular grid were on the ceiling of the box, from which big drops of paint were excreted occasionally. An art work, that you can watch, as it shits a color field painting.

This instance of  artwork by Jim Hodges looked like a parody of minimalism, a vapid lark. Yes, the basic-ness of his work, permits multiple interpretations, so there could, of course be a sense of loss stated by a hole in the gallery floor or paint dropping from a man made structure, but these reserved means of his sculpture, are at best equivocal. Sadly the author was unable to attend the many performances and readings that accompanied this gallery project, claiming this, makes known why a lack of fuller understanding for the art of Jim Hodges. by craniv boyd. 

James Rosenquist with David Dalton; Painting Below Zero: Notes on a Life in Art. ISBN: 978-0-307-26342-1. by craniv boyd.

James Rosenquist with David Dalton; Painting Below Zero: Notes on a Life in Art. ISBN: 978-0-307-26342-1. by craniv boyd. 

Painting Below Zero is  a fresh autobiography, of James Rosenquist, a significant pop artist who, in his recounting of his life in art and of his life in America, provides insight into the 20th century as it occurred in that nation. Rosenquist is a Scandinavian American, who grew up in a closely knit farming community in the mid western  United States. He was born in the midst of the great depression, and the the changing quality of, life in America, before during and after after the second world war, is expressed in his account, of a nomadic youth spent in North Dakota,  Minnesota and Ohio. The procedure of becoming an artist, and hard decisions made in cash poor and difficult times are facets in early adulthood for  Rosenquist.

Employed as a billboard, sign painter, and responsible for the faithful copying of the smiles of children drinking coca-cola at nine feet or three meters in width, James Rosenquist, collected early on the job experience that was to influence both his art ideas and his ability to work on extra large format paintings. That a prominent pop artist has his roots and the proverbial "first-job" in the advertising sector, is telling. The large chasm that once existed between fine arts and high culture  and the low art of propaganda was transgressed by Rosenquist and other pop protagonists.  In this book he offers refreshing insights into the ideas behind his consumer culture saturated paintings, and the changing cultural climate of North America bracketed from the nineteen thirties until the present.  

The structure of the book is a standard chronology,the stations of the artists life, are those punctuated by major works and series he authored. The chapters corresponding paintings also address  the successes and failings of said works in the public realm, and how the artist dealt with the external response to his work. The New York city of Leo Castelli, Jasper Johns, and Robert Rauschenberg, is recounted from a narrator that was a friend, a colleague to those artists and art dealer. Personal tragedies, are not spared in this account, and the life of the artist is included, with a great deal of frankness. 

The overriding tone of the book is jocular, one feels as if, laughter may arise when looking at  Rosenquist's paintings after reading his life account in his own words. Due to the lighthearted and easygoing approach to his own painting ideas. The voice of the author is one that is warm, friendly  and generous. As a result one feels like a chum of the artist, rather than in awe of the accomplishments of a diva painter with a Guggenheim retrospective under his-belt. The biography features several photographs of  the artist at work, from billboards in North Dakota, to a cold water flat in Little Italy of Manhattan, to an island in the Florida Keys. The photographs of Rosenquist's  nomadic work spaces, are accompanied by quality color reproductions of all of the Paintings that Rosenquist, mentions over the course of his account. A luxurious two-page, full-color, fold-out  reproduction of an epic painting of pop art F-111, from the year 1964, insures that this auto-biography is alert to his artistic accomplishments in their own right. by craniv boyd.

Heroic Africans: Legendary Leaders, Iconic Sculptures, September 20th, 2011-January 29, 2012 The Metropolitan Museum of Art. by craniv boyd

Heroic Africans: Legendary Leaders, Iconic Sculptures, September 20th, 2011-January 29, 2012 The Metropolitan Museum of Art. by craniv boyd

During the fall and winter season of the Metropolitan museum of art on Fifth avenue, a significant exhibition of modest gallery space, took place, on the ground floor of the museum. Heroic Africans: Legendary Leaders, Iconic Sculptures, brought together, artworks from sub-Saharan Africa, art collected in major European institutions. The artistic production of eight groupings of peoples, kingdoms and civilizations who lived where present day nations of Angola, Nigeria, Congo, Cameroon, Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo, are currently. The arts of: Akan of Ghana, Ife and Kingdom of Benin in Nigeria, Bangwa and Kom of Cameroon, Chokwe of Angola and Zambia, Luluwa, Hemba and Kuba of the Democratic Republic of Congo, were presented in galleries with subdued lighting, in glass cases, housed in rooms with walls painted deep earth tones. 

The Metropolitan Museum, had this exhibition, and extensive coinciding event programming, to foster understating for these artworks and the stories of said artworks. Many statues were on view in New York, by way of loan agreement from private collections, or from prominent museums in Belgium, Portugal,Germany, and the United Kingdom. The gathering of all of these artworks dating from, approximately the 17th to the 19th century, in a few rooms, was powerful. In that several, excellent wooden carvings of chiefs of the Chokwe peoples, in varying dimensions, could be seen at once, all artworks were presented with an impeccable dignity. The exhibition attempted with close analysis of art works, to tell the stories and histories of the leaders which the art works represent. 

An carved  ivory mask,  of the Queen Mother of the Kingdom of Benin, present day Nigeria  shared a room with a terra-cotta Head of the civilization of Ife in Nigeria. The wall text in this entrée saal, was respite with photo reproductions of Greco-Roman funerary, commemorative statuary. This was an effort, doubtlessly, to make an analogy, that has been made before, between, the arts of Benin and Ife, with classical antiquity. A parity, made due to common faithfulness to naturalistic portrayals of the human face, which all of the afore mentioned arts possess, despite vast measures of time when all arts were made and gross distances between geographic localities where each of the arts and cultures were. This may seem as a provocative gesture to some.  A way to hitch up artworks from sub-Saharan Africa, to the par of that lofty white marble ensconced pantheon of Attic Greece, perhaps? Somehow, this motion with the photographs rang false, why not place the real objects, next to the Benin Ivory Mask, or the Ife terra-cotta bust, considering that the Metropolitan Museum has such significant holdings in classical art? 

On the whole, one  should be happy that the artworks presented in the exhibition Heroic Africans, are in a museum for Art, and not one for ethnography, simply because as art, in my humble opinion, their rightful place is in a museum of art. It is commendable that the Metropolitan Museum of art, places the arts of Africa within walking distance of arts from other world cultures. One hopes for more, bigger exhibitions in the same institution that highlight more arts from sub-Saharan Africa. by craniv boyd.

Immendorf: die Biographie. H P Riegel. ISBN: 978-3-351-02723-0. by craniv boyd

Immendorf: die Biographie. H P Riegel. ISBN: 978-3-351-02723-0. by craniv boyd

Jörg Immendorf, (1945-2007), a German painter, and art professor is the subject of H P Riegel's biography. H P Riegel's is the first biography written on the artist, and seeing as the author knew the late painter on personal and professional terms, it is written a confidential way. in all cases it is informative both to the turbulent, hard working and hard partying life that Immendorf led. Yet as it is an account of an artist, those rare figures in society who see their calling to seek means to reflect upon a community that may, or may not celebrate them- the biography of Immendorf addresses issues of the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany) in the post war era. Most of the events in Immendorf's life occurred prior to Germany's reunification.

His birth is described as a "war birth" Kriegsgeburt seeing as his cavalry officer father, Armin Deitrich Immendorf, was on leave from the eastern front, when he begat Jörg Immendorf with Jörg's mother Irene. The opening chapter, describes what must have been horrifying circumstances to bring a child into the world, conditions that are nevertheless romanticized a tad. In that, the author holds,  Jörg Immendorf's birth at the end of the second World War, and the fact that he was sired while the war still raged, would have a later portent for the chaotic and shattered nature of some of his canvasses, is a bit far fetched. 

The seminal years, Immendorf spent in the Düsseldorf fine Arts Academy, during the tenure of the influential shamanistic artist Joseph Beuys, are recounted in a balanced way. Surprisingly the author address some of the gender inequalities that occurred with the select women art students, and the predominant boys club milieu that was found there. Part of the reason for this, is that at the time Immendorf attended the art academy he was wed to, Chris Reinecke, a fellow art student at the same fine art academy. Some of the hazing that she experienced was included in the recounting of Immendorf's time at the art academy. H P Riegel, characterizes their union as a partnership, and careful attention is given to the performance art collaborations that Chris Reinecke&Jörg Immendorf co-authored. 

Most of the remaining chapters of the book take their names from series of Immendorf's oeuvre, or singular works from it. The known Cafe Deutschland series and the multiform, re-workings of the same theme, are all written about. Despite the relative commercial success of Immendorf had within his life, as evinced by gallery sales, and gallery exhibitions in the nineteen eighties in New York with Illena Sonabend Gallery, and later Mary Boone Gallery, too much was apparently, not enough. Attention abroad, took quite some time to translate into museum exhibitions in Immendorf's home county, Germany.   

The tragic figure that Immendorf cuts, his dogged work ethic in the face of a diagnose of Lou Gehrigs disease, are how the final years of his life are told. Relentless work, as art professor and artist, in the advanced stages of this terminal neurological ailment, over shadow,  the years of cocaine and substance abuse that color Jörg Immendorf's earlier life. One would hope of an artists biography for more quality illustrations of the artists work, than are currently provided in Immendorf: die Biographie. Simply because an artist's creations were one of the things that an artist held dear in their life. H P Riegel's biography leaves moreover the impression of being a biography of a public personality, rather  an artist biography. by craniv boyd.