Saturday, May 20, 2017

Max Ernst at Paul Kasmin

John and I were pleased to catch three new Max Ernst sculptures at the Kasmin Gallery in Chelsea (before the show closed on May 13th).
The bronze trio were entitled Big Brother: Teaching Staff for a School of Murderers. They were conceived by Max Ernst in 1967. The gallery press release does not say when the bronze figures were cast -- whether in Ernst's lifetime or recently.
The title head, Big Brother, was situated between two seated figures, Séraphine Cherubin and Séraphin le Néophyte,
Despite the dark title we found the sculptures charming and humorous, especially the Big Brother head with its smart cap and big ears. It would look great in a garden.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Erwin Wurm at Lehmann Maupin

Bill and I like Erwin Wurm's stuff so we were willing to meet him halfway in Chelsea.
Wurm provided the instructions in the form of little drawings.
As instructed, I "roasted" myself "under the sun of Epicurus...." It was lovely. 
Bill tried Wurm's Head TV 
"How is it Bill?" "It is very odd. There's this wood and stuff and I know I have to look out at the camera."
Here's one for you. We weren't up to kneeling.
"Ethics demonstrated in a geometrical way."  
We left the show feeling chuffed with ourselves for having enjoyed participating. I hope you do too. Only until May 26, 2017.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Robert Longo at Metro Pictures

If you are visiting the Chelsea Galleries in New York City soon try to see Robert Longo's The Destroyer Cycle -- new charcoal drawings at Metro Pictures.
 John and I still remember Longo's Men in the Cities series of the late 1970's so we were curious to see recent work. The Work is impressive. And big. Above, John examines Untitled (Raft at Sea), 2016-17. A very frightening image of immigrants afloat. 
 Untitled (St Louis Rams, Hands Up), 2016. The show is very dark in theme.
 John gets up close to Untitled (Justine) and Untitled (Juliette) both from 2017 -- huge sides of icebergs with a narrow strip of water at the bottom. 
Let's end with a detail Untitled (Teletubbies), 2016 in which the drawing meticulously copies the pixies of the internet source for the image. Another dark image. On until June 17, 2017. 

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Eric Fischl's "Late America"

Bill and I had been taking Eric Fischl for granted
until we saw his new paintings at Skarstedt, Chelsea, NYC, and got excited about him again.
 It was fun to see again his signature scenes from "how we live now". (Feeding the Turtle, 2016)
The gallery states these works were "painted in the immediate aftermath of the 2016 presidential election" -- so expect a feeling of profound fatigue amid the usual disconnection.
Face Off, 2017 
But the urgency for us was in rediscovering Fischl's gorgeous handling of paint. These details from Daddy's Gone, Girl, 2016 (above), will illustrate.
Those brushstrokes!
That paint!
If you are doing the Chelsea galleries, try to make time for "Late America" at Skarstedt, 550 West 21st Street, until June 24th.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Irving Penn at The Met

 The Irving Penn centennial show at the Metropolitan Museum is a delight.
The work looked fresh
and the art lovers themselves were unfailingly photogenic.
The four photographic prints on this shelf were done over a period of years. It was interesting to see them together.
It was nice to be able to compare the photos framed on the wall
with the same photos as they originally appeared in magazines.
Such a delight to spend time with Penn's photographs.
Hard not to peer in for closer looks. 
Try to put aside an hour because you will want to see everything.
 This free-standing painted backdrop turned out to be an inspired stroke as people lined up to take pictures of each other in front of the venerable Irving Penn prop.
Doesn't that background add something?
This show left us feeling lighthearted and refreshed. Until July 30th.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Marsden Hartley at Met Breuer

A highlight of our spring art tour of New York is at the Met Breuer (former Whitney Museum building). Here is a quick survey of its treasures.
Visitors step off the elevator to some evocative film footage that Hartley shot on a river in Maine.
Storm Down Pine Point Way, Old Orchard Beach, 1941-43 illustrates Harley's response to American Folk Painting.
as does City Point, Vinalhaven, 1937-38.
Untitled (Maine Landscape), 1910 reminded us of Canadian Group of Seven paintings although he comes to this style through folk art rather than through Deco.
Paysage, 1924
The Wave, 1940 is Harley's wonderful response to
Winslow Homer's painting, Northeaster, 1895.
Both John and I were inspired by Harley's drawings like Self-Portrait as a Draftsman, 1908.
Sawing Wood, 1908 (graphite). No one else has a line quite like this.
Study for "Lobster Fishermen", 1940, pastel.
On the Beach, 1940 once more reflects Harley's interest in folk painting with his simplified shapes and out-of-proportion figures.
Here is his (much more realistic) drawing for the painting.
Monumental male form in Flaming American (Swim Champ), 1939-40.
We loved Sea Window-Tinker Mackerel, 1942
with its still-life of mackerel.
The exhibition filled one floor of the building -- allowing an in depth look at his oeuvre without exhausting the visitor.
The show ended with an evocative Mount Katahdin, Snow Storm, 1942 which may reflect his interest in Japanese prints of Mount Fuji.