November 2010

Philemona Williamson at June Kelly

PHILEMONA WILLIAMSON PAINTS PRETEEN FEMALES who float in pairs across canvas with the lightness of schoolgirls at a moon-struck tea party. There is a charm, even a sweetness, to them that sets them far afield from the surrealist frisson to which the exhibition lays claim. Figures drift and turn in gravity-free spaces, more like untethered astronauts than Chagall’s airborne couples. Topsy-turvy cupcakes, hovering goblets, stylized flowers and buoyant oddments provide local color for dreamy narratives that waft over the surface with the insubstantiality of light fiction. Continue Reading

HEDDY ABRAMOWITZ REPORTED EARLIER on an exhibition in Jerusalem that centered on the work of Francis Cunningham and several students. Her conclusion—a regretful one—was that there is no telling what road a student might take. Some embrace their training, put it to work and build upon it. Others discard it to follow their bliss. It is this second group that reminds me of a story Donald Kuspit once told. A few years after graduating from art school at Stony Brook, one former student in his art history class called him up. Continue Reading
Fashion For Erudition

THERE WAS A TIME, NOT LONG AGO, when fashion began in the fingers of individuals gifted with a sense of style and the moxie to make something of it. Not any more. Now, aspiring fashionistas have to draw on their parents’ retirement income, take out loans and subject themselves to degree programs in fashion studies. The old Parsons School of Design, now a division of The New School, has extended its name. In the 1970s it became Parsons The New School for Design. Continue Reading
Art As Social Practice

AN ATTENTIVE READER SENT ALONG notice of a new grad course offering at Portland State University in Oregon. The PSU link came with a wry: “Figured you’d like this.” Well, yes, I guess you could say I like it. But only because it confirms my contention that art is increasingly not about art at all. It is fast becoming a variant of community organizing by soi-disant promoters of their own notions of the common good. Thanks to the reader, here is more to testify that distaste for that word practice, spreading like a cancer through curriculum lists, is fitting. Continue Reading
Francis Cunningham in Jerusalem

By Heddy Breuer Abramowitz THE AXIOM “THOSE WHO CAN, DO; THOSE WHO CAN’T TEACH” reveals an attitude of disdain towards teaching that reduces those who shape future generations to ones that haven’t made the grade. In art, it is more true to say that if one can’t do, it is unlikely that one can teach. Even then, not many artists are gifted at teaching. More than in most fields, in the art world one’s teacher is, in some ways, one’s pedigree. Continue Reading