November 29, 2017

Instagram Reviews

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I've been posting capsule reviews on Instagram as I tour NYC and see the shows. You can find me there via the handle "pacificohollingsworth" (Pacifico is my grandfather's name). It started with a sentence or two, then I followed up with a short paragraph. Mind dump. Germs of criticism. I'll keep them succinct, that's the charm. As I wrote in reply to a comment recently:

...there's something very nice about this experiment, capsule blurb reviews of shows I see around town. Feeling the flow. Thinking on my feet. Going Ginsberg, "First thought, best thought."

(I'll splash with one and follow under the fold with 5 others.)

Cecile Brown "A Day! Help! Help! Another Day!" @paulacoopergallery titled after a poem by Emily Dickinson, which ends "What issues / Upon thine arrow hang!" Indeed. In the previous Instagram, I wondered about how far down Gary Hume's facture was dialed down... but here with a Brown's paintings, she delivers an avalanche. Now I wonder about the lack of modulation: edge to edge with all instruments playing at once in the orchestra, you're on the slippery slope to monochrome-land. Why does Pollock's "Lavender Mist" feel so different? Here at Paula Cooper, footing feels perpetually unsure. No rest for the eyes. One can't help but feel anxious in the mud wrestling arena. It's as if the camera was left in the field, aperture open for a day, all of creation moving a blur.

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Gary Hume "Mum" @matthewmarksgallery ... three paintings each presented here with an orthogonal and an oblique. 1) There is no facture possible in cloisonné painting. 2) This show is a tribute to his mother. 3) Art is powered by feeling, and few feelings are stronger than what we have for mom. 4) Feeling is exercised via facture: more feeling, more facture... therefore less facture, less feeling. 5) Enamel leaves no brush marks, leveling them out of existence. 6) Feeling numb and disembodied is still a feeling.

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Nayland Blake #IDrawEveryDay @matthewmarksgallery ... Claes Oldenburg has a better hand than Blake by several orders of magnitude... but he never extended his Pop project via his own comportment and image the way Blake has done... which is to say that Blake could probably sit himself quietly in a gallery and people would want to watch... which is to say that Blake probably needs to cast himself into his scenes whereas Oldenburg does not. For all the edge, there's something Hello Kitty filtered thru classic cartooning before it arrives at nut sack tattoo-gone-wrong. Curious, that sculpture at the entry... I think I've seen it's kind already at three other galleries in the LES this week.

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Nayland Blake #IDrawEveryDay @matthewmarksgallery ... Claes Oldenburg has a better hand than Blake by several orders of magnitude... but he never extended his Pop project via his own comportment and image the way Blake has done... which is to say that Blake could probably sit himself quietly in a gallery and people would want to watch... which is to say that Blake probably needs to cast himself into his scenes whereas Oldenburg does not. For all the edge, there's something Hello Kitty filtered thru classic cartooning before it arrives at nut sack tattoo-gone-wrong. Curious, that sculpture at the entry... I think I've seen it's kind already at three other galleries in the LES this week.

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Donald Baechler @cheimread I can relate to the battery strategy of making paintings: generate a background, superimpose a foreground image, done. I thought that painting needed a charge (this was in the early 90's when the "Death if Painting" was itself smelling necrotic. After some time, I realized that batteries needed to be discharged after all, if the potential energy never became kinetic, then no work will be done. Once the superposition began to notice the substrate, that was my first phase out of the grad school chute. SO... I keep looking at the Baechler show, imagining the two levels independent of one another as paintings or freestanding sculpture in the gallery. Set the schizoid free.

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Nina Chanel Abney: "Safe House" @maryboonegallery the graphic poster format of the exhibition lowered my expectations once I entered the room but once I approached the paintings close up, what a world of delight! An economy of means yielding a universe of possibilities. Masked ares blocked and brushed, stenciled spray and overspray. Careful and not. Elegance of line everywhere. Sitting easily on the shoulders of masters. Where have I seen those noses before??? 50% Stuart Davis, 30% Ben Shaun, 20% Romare Beardon. And then a funny thing happened: I backed up to take the whole thing in and the graphic format sapped my enthusiasm by just enough. A safe house is another kind of prison, a self administered sequester. Something sad about that. I'll visit again twice: once to stay three feet from the surface (nose to the familiar -can't put a finger to it- noses), and again to test the long view to see if I feel estranged again.

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Posted by Dennis at November 29, 2017 11:18 PM

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