Archive for March, 2010

Michiko Itatani

Michiko Itatani

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Links, 3.27.2010

Jonah Lehrer on creativity and the childlike mind.

A preview of Carla Knopp’s upcoming exhibit at the Harrison Center for the Arts.

Ben Katchor likes looking over your shoulder.  More Ben Katchor.

Good one, Art in America!  Using Flickr-style ‘notes’ on images of artworks, often tagged and explained by the artists themselves.  It’s a view inside the creative process that artists rarely feel the permission to express.  Here’s painter Brian Calvin on his 2009 painting Alta, California.

A short piece I wrote about Freedom to Expand at the Ulrich Museum.

LATE ADDITION: Roberta Smith on the annoying myth of painting’s death.  (via)

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Gianna Commito

Gianna Commito

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Matt Ballou has named 5 desert island essential works of art for a Friday edition feature in his hometown newspaper:

“What this saturation of the arts into all of human life and society tells me is that I would not have to take art with me onto that desert island. People – or at least I, myself, would be there – so culture of all sorts would begin to manifest itself. Out of that fountain, art would certainly begin to overflow. We know that many people in the most harrowing of situations were (and are) still makers of objects and images. Given some time, that desert island culture would stimulate some paintings – or other art forms – of its own.

But in the meantime I can think of five pieces of work that I would love to have with me should the need arise”

Read Matt’s picks here.


More from Matt Ballou, “Art and Submission”.

Also, Chicago artist Rachel Niffenegger at BEAUTIFUL/DECAY.

Nancy Weant on Larry Thomas’s mixed media paintings at Epsten Gallery in Johnson Co., KS.

Lisa Iglesias talks to gallery director Jeremy Mikolajczak about her new work, now on view in Warrensburg, MO.

ARTLIES looks rural.

A couple of weeks ago, Chicago critic Claudine Ise recommended MWC to readers of the Chicago Reader.  She specifically mentioned the great discussions that get going here.  I want to thank Ise for the links, but most of all, to say thank you to all the people who have jumped in on any of  those discussions.  You’re great!  Thanks!

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Cindy Tower:  Decadense at Bruno David Gallery, March 19-May 8, 2010.

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Ed Paschke at Gagosian, March 18-April 24, 2010. Personally I’m very-very happy to see Paschke in a place to get the attention, and any bump in status, that getting shown in this blue-chip brings..

It also puts me in mind of a question I ask myself occassionally (off on a tangent):  what happened to all the gnarly figure under-duress painting that used to happen in the Midwest?  Seems like you can trace back this great tradition of wild figurative/narrative painting in the Midwest—Mauricio Lasansky, Ivan Albright, some of the wackier Regionalists, Peter Saul, the Imagists, AfriCOBRA, Donald Roller Wilson, James McGarrell, and on and on.  Through most of the last hundred years, there’s almost nothing like this on the East Coast, where much cooler, more refined tendencies held sway through major and minor movements.  Richard Lindner being one of the few exceptions I can think of (someone I associate closely with Paschke in spirit, even if there isn’t any direct connect between the two).  There might have been some concurrent tendencies during Neo-Expressionism’s moment.  But even then, Paschke and Peter Saul really do make Basquiat and Carroll Dunham look artsy and ivory-tower.  At some point, the situtation reversed.   New York has plenty of unruly, blush-inducing figurative painting (think John Currin, Lisa Yuskavage, Jason Fox, Inka Essenhigh, Will Cotton, Steve DiBenedetto) while, as far as I can tell, dominant trends in the Midwest are Geometric Abstraction and painterly landscape.  Landscape especially makes sense, but I still wonder why the figurative oddballs have gotten fewer and further between.

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Kerry James Marshall’s “Untitled (Painter)” on exhibit alongside several fantastic preparatory drawings as part of the MCA-Chicago’s Production Site:  The Artist’s Studio Inside-Out.

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MWCapacity: undercrowded at the University of Central Missouri Gallery of Art & Design, March11-April 10, 2010.  The exhibit is part of the MINT: 3 exhibitions.  3 spaces.  3 ideas. program.  Solo exhibits by Davin Watne and Lisa Iglesias make the other 2 of 3 exhibitions/spaces/ideas.  Participating artists in undercrowded are: Joey Borovicka, Sam King, Kristin Musgnug and Stephanie Pierce.

Sam and I co-curated the MWCapacity 1/3rd of the exhibit, selecting some of our favorite artists making very different paintings and videos with a common subject matter:  unoccupied spaces.  The spaces are man-made, mostly people-friendly, yet there’s no one there.

These paintings (and I apologize that I keep thinking about Sam’s videos as paintings) share the need to make something where there’s nothing, or at least no one around.  What we see are traces of human presence—things that are intended to attract people, messes that people have left behind, things that should have been done, and things that someone is done with, not forgetting of course the artist’s hand and viewer’s eye.  All these somehow made to contain expression, intimacy, contemplation, even narrative and allegory.

See more images below.


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Rock Wall, 2009, 9′ x 7′, oil on canvas

Claire Sherman, it seems, has finally got some free time.  Since I got in touch with Sherman about doing a Q&A for us, she’s come off a solo show at DCKT Gallery, moved to Brooklyn for a residency at the Marie Walsh Sharpe Foundation, opened another solo show at Pippy Houldsworth in London and taught an intensive painting course at Oxbow.  And what’s she going to do with that time?  She says she is “looking forward to making some big bad mistakes in the studio, and having time to clean up my own mess,”—which I think needs to be one of the 10 Commandments of painting for all of us from here on out. Read on to see what else she’s thinking about.

Please give our readers a little bit of information about yourself.

I grew up in Oberlin, Ohio, and it was a wonderful place to grow up – there are always concerts and plays at the college, and the Allen Art Museum is a gem.  I went to the University of Pennsylvania for my BA, and I received my MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2005.  I teach painting and drawing at Knox College in Illinois, and am currently on junior leave to be a resident at the Marie Walsh Sharpe Foundation’s Space Program in DUMBO, Brooklyn. (more…)

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You tell us what to do

In the interview Sam conducted with Kristin Musgnug, she suggested a discussion topic—early encounters with art that makes a lasting impression.  We love the idea, Sam’s planning a post on it, and it made me wonder:  does anybody else out there have any topics that they would like to see discussed?

It would be great to get the blog more interactive again.  Sam and I have both gotten busier lately.  We’ve tried to fill the space with some more artist Q&A’s, but really miss the discussions.  I’m personally happy to let the single-artist discussions disappear for the time being.  All the attendant worry about poking the fires to start the discussions, playing devil’s advocate, being a dipshit and hurting feelings, defending sometimes mediocre art against snark and sniping etc. etc. wore me out.

We’ve got one more very exciting interview ready to post.  Then there is a show that Sam and I put together that will have some opportunity for viewers to interact with artists via the blog.  After that, it would really be nice to get going with some discussions again.  We’ve got a few ideas but would love more, so let us know.


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