September 2010

A Quick Heads-Up

THIS JUST CAME IN OVER THE E-TRANSOM: An announcement of an upcoming special showing of The Desert of Forbidden Art at Rutger’s Zimmerli Art Museum. Below is the press release. Mark your calendars. It looks terrific. Not your garden variety art film. [Be sure to click on the links to Savitsky’s bio and to the history of the museum that houses the man’s extraordinary—the word fits—collection.] Mark your calendar for Wednesday, October 13th. .. Description: How does art survive in a time of oppression? Continue Reading
Rebecca Allan: Landscape as a Devotional Motif

ENVIRONMENTAL PIETY IS A LARGE COMPONENT of contemporary artists’ interest in landscape. Artists announce their state of grace by genuflecting to the forms and ecosystems of the natural world. This displacement of religious impulses onto nature—Mother Mary, dressed in green—is seconded even by the churches. Think of the altar to Gaia in New York’s Cathedral of St. John the Divine. Or the Vatican’s decision, spearheaded by Cardinal Poupard of the Pontifical Council for Culture, to buy an eco-indulgence for itself by planting trees in Hungary to offset its carbon sins. Continue Reading
Joel Carreiro, Bricoleur

NEW YORK REMAINS A MARKET TOWN but it is increasingly hard to call it a creative center. Even what comes to market tends to cluster around the contemporary commonplaces that clog Chelsea and its satellite on the Lower East Side. Much good work is exhibited outside the official precincts. If you can make it to the Quick Center for the Arts at Fairfield University, you can see what I mean. On view is a splendid mid-career survey of works by Joel Carreiro, currently head of the M.F.A  program at Hunter College, C.U.N.Y. Continue Reading
Johnnie Winona Ross at Stephen Haller Gallery

THE LOVELINESS OF JOHNNIE WINONA ROSS’ paintings elude translation into either reproduction or verbal description. Their latticed structure reproduces but not the subtleties of the guiding hand behind it. Compositional clarity and order can be conveyed only at the cost of intimacy with the small, exquisite freedoms that loosen the architecture to let in air and light. For all the apparent minimalism of his compositions, built on the familiar grid, there is nothing minimal in the translucence of his surfaces. The hard-won radiance of them—tinted with spare bands of pale color—suggests that contemplative emptiness sought by mystics in abnegation and forbearance.  Continue Reading
After Eden with Derrick Guild

PRICK HUNDREDS OF CONTEMPORARY PAINTINGS and the air goes out of them. Prick a fine botanical and it bleeds. With Derrick Guild’s florilegium of oversized, counterfeit botanical paintings, a prick gets you a some of both: a little blood and a bit more air than is needed. Blood is the best part. The lifeblood of historical botanicals flows from an obligation to be both true and beautiful, a transcendent unit. This dual nature of botanical art — scientific in purpose, aesthetic in conception and execution—is turned on its head by Guild. Continue Reading