Collage

It Ain't Bosh

“Charles,” said Cordelia, “Modern Art is all bosh, isn’t it.” “Great bosh.” “Oh, I’m so glad. I had an argument with one of our nuns and she said we shouldn’t try to criticize what we didn’t understand. Now I shall tell her I have had it straight from a real artist, and snubs to her.” —Evelyn Waugh, Brideshead Revisited
Robert Ohnigian’s studio table and works in progress. Just because Waugh wrote it does not make it true. All the same, it is hard to blame him, writing as he was in the wake of Dada’s aggressive anti-art impulse. Continue Reading
Elizabeth O'Reilly at George Billis Gallery

MODESTY IS NOT CHARACTERISTIC OF CONTEMPORARY CULTURE. Prevailing emphasis on self-assertion, and the pseudo-profundity that fuels it in the visual arts, leaves little room for the quietude and lucidity that are the hallmarks of Elizabeth O’Reilly’s painting. O’Reilly brings to art an intuitive regard for man’s sense of place. It is a sensibility that makes the locks on the Union Street Bridge, spanning Brooklyn’s Gowanus Canal, a significant aspect of home. Under her eye, urban details can as easily approach the wellsprings of serenity as a Douglas fir on Long Island’s North Fork, where O’Reilly spends her weekends. Continue Reading
Innocence as a Political Tool

Political mythology is a more significant player than art itself in shaping a culture’s mentality. Commemorating 9/ll by means of children’s artwork sentimentalizes the event and allows us to avoid calling the events of that day acts of war. 9/11: Through Young Eyes severs its subject from the only thing by which it can be measured and understood: historical context. On show is a collaborative series of 31 collages by then-eighth graders at the Calhoun School on the Upper West Side. Continue Reading
Art, Still Not Dead!

I CANNOT TELL A LIE, much as I would like to. This wonderful bit of Photoshopping was sent by a reader who calls himself Mr. Eyeballs. I wish I could say I found it myself. // // Who knew just how contemporary that Mona Lisa smile could be? A stylized expression in Leonardo’s day, it suddenly looks quite current removed from a Renaissance setting and inserted into a post-modern one. The bloody amputation might be a bit over the top, but the figure’s facial mien—part simper, part sneer—would do nicely in a Vogue photo shoot. Continue Reading
Winter Sampler at Denise Bibro Fine Art

THE WEEKS BETWEEN MID-DECEMBER AND EARLY JANUARY are a slow news time in the galleries. That makes it a very good time to introduce artists whom galleries are interested in taking aboard or ones they simply like but cannot accommodate on the roster. Denise Bibro’s Winter Salon is a lively sampler of 21 artists, six of them invited guests. Recognition comes slowly to artists like David Barnett, sui generis and not readily pigeonholed in a particular movement or line of descent. Continue Reading