Collage

Assemblage

Expect artists to be among the first to apply for a guaranteed annual income. The arts are a useful pretext for the universal basic income initiatives slouching toward us. California, predictably, is in the lead. The Yerba Buena Center for the Arts explains that artists are “essential drivers of economic well-being.” This is debatable. It is also not the same as saying that the arts are essential in themselves. But let’s not quibble just yet. On the YBCA website, Mayor London Breed explains the rationale for San Francisco’s monthly stipend  to artists:
The arts are truly critical to our local economy and are an essential part of our long-term recovery [from COVID restrictions].
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A Brief Detour: Invitation To An Exhibition

This weblog began life under the banner Studio Matters for good reason. So permit me, this once, to sidestep expected topics—the baleful doings of the papal court, of an unnerving pope, and all those signals of civilizational decay. Instead, let me invite you to an exhibition at George Billis Gallery, New York City. If you are in town or passing through between January 22nd and February 23rd, perhaps you will stop by. It would be lovely if you did. Herewith, a link to the e-catalogue, a sampling of some—not all—work on the wall. Continue Reading
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
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