Painting

Self-Taught Genius at the American Folk Art Museum

Self-Taught Genius seeks to frame the collection of the American Folk Art Museum as an archive of the culture of self-education in the United States. The exhibition’s organizers draw their interpretation of the word “genius” from roots in the Enlightenment and Romanticism, embracing a definition that underscores the potential in all human beings for exceptional creativity, intuition, and insight. The use of the term “self-taught” embeds[.....]

Joan Quinn Captured at the Brand Library and Art Center

Don Bachardy, Joan Agajanian Quinn, 1977, graphite on paper, Joan and Jack Quinn Collection.

The portrait is arguably the clearest illustration of the roles of status and patronage in the arts. Historically, portraits were reserved for the great men (and a few women) who shaped society, religion, and culture—or who had the money to pay for it. They proclaim of their subjects: “I exist and I am important.” In an era when many feel that art should remain above[.....]

Artist Project: Mediated Morandi

Michelangelo Antonioni. La Notte, 1961 (film still); 02:02:00. Courtesy of Nepi Film and Lopert Pictures Corporation (USA).

From our partners at Art Practical, today we bring you Mediated Morandi, a project by Will Brown—the moniker of the San Francisco-based collective of Lindsey White, Jordan Stein, and David Kasprzak. This essay was commissioned by guest editor Jonn Herschend as part of Issue 5.5, Slapstick and the Sublime, and originally published on July 10, 2014. Will Brown is a collective that experiments with various modes of exhibition making while researching and manipulating histories as a part[.....]

Francis Bacon and Henry Moore: Terror and Beauty at the Art Gallery of Ontario

Henry Moore. Falling Warrior, 1956-57; 
bronze; 
65 x 154 x 85 cm. 
Tate Modern, London
 © The Henry Moore Foundation. All Rights Reserved, DACS / SODRAC (2013)

Francis Bacon and Henry Moore are known for producing curvilinear compositions and contorted human forms that often double back upon and swoop around themselves. In contrast, the Art Gallery of Ontario’s dual retrospective of the artists, titled Terror and Beauty, takes a distinctly linear approach. Passing over divergent biographical information about the artists (such as that Henry Moore was the son of a coal miner[.....]

Daughter of Bad Girls at Klaus von Nichtssagend

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When asked why she had sculpted such pronounced, sugar-coated labia on A Subtlety, the mammy-sphinx recently on view at the Domino Sugar Factory in Brooklyn, Kara Walker answered, “[It’s about] ownership of the voluptuousness of an ass”; “a 10-foot vagina…is not something that happens in art often enough”; and “[It was] a fuck-you, I’m gonna do that because this is what I have…there are enough phallic[.....]

Fan Mail: Geoffry Smalley

Geoffry Smalley. Early Morning at Cold Spring, Across Home Run Cove, 2014; acrylic on book page; 12 x 9 inches. Courtesy the artist.

Geoffry Smalley’s work is rooted in early-19th-century American painting, deriving specific scenes and techniques from historical canvases and the Hudson River School. In 1836, painter Thomas Cole completed his five-part series The Course of Empire. The series documents Cole’s vision for the birth, life, and death of western civilization, from the pastoral to the desolate. Cole had a calculated optimism for life and renewal, but[.....]

The St. Petersburg Paradox at Swiss Institute

The St. Petersburg Paradox, installation view, Swiss Institute. (from left to right) Sarah Ortmeyer. SANKT PETERSBURG PARADOX, 2014: marble chessboards, copper, iron, brass and aluminum chess tables, natural (ostrich, rhea, goose, chicken, mallard, quail, emu, and duck) eggs, artificial (marble obsidian, alabaster, and onyx) eggs; dimensions variable. Courtesy of the artist and Dvir Gallery, Tel Aviv. Tabor Robak. A*, 2014; 14-channel HD video; 9:46 min. Courtesy of the artist and team (gallery, inc.). John Miller. Labyrinth I, 1999; acrylic on canvas with sound component; 54 x 70 in. Courtesy of the artist and Metro Pictures, New York. Kaspar Müller. Tropic of Cancer, 2014; laser prints on A3 paper; each 12 x 15 ½ in. Courtesy Galerie Francesca Pia, Zürich, The Green Gallery, Milwaukee, and Federico Vavassori, Milan. Cayetano Ferrer. Remnant Recomposition, 2014; carpet remnants, seam tape; 18 x 60 ft. Courtesy of the artist.

The St. Petersburg Paradox, currently on view at Swiss Institute, is a group show of refreshing intellectual rigor. The exhibition’s curatorial design is so tightly wound that it forms a kind of singular entity in which each featured artwork compels the viewer to consider the philosophy of its larger scheme: namely, the metaphysics of gambling. The title refers to a paradox of human psychology: When[.....]