Apologies for the prolonged absence. Chalk it up to writer’s block, or more accurately, to having too much else on my plate. I seem to be wearing many different hats, and none of them especially stylish. But I don’t want to bore you with excuses as to why words have escaped me. I will just dive back in, as if I’d never left the conversation.
The gallery crawl back in late March, which I never got around to writing up, had some surprising highlights. The most memorable to me were Laurie Anderson’s show at Location One, which achieved very high-tech seeming results using very low-tech methods. In a darkened room, a miniature Laurie, with her dog in a chair beside her, appeared as convincingly as a hologram. Her storyteller’s voice mesemerized as much as the visual experience. In fact, it was not a hologram at all, but a tiny white plaster sculpture of Anderson and her faithful pooch, upon which a video of the two was projected. Part two of the installation duet: In another dark space, standing on a white spot on the floor, one was treated to an extraordinary auditory experience. Also achieved with low-tech means, the sounds of nature seemed so real as to almost emanate from within one’s head.
Showing nearby were two noteworthy videos by Sun Xun showing at the Drawing Center’s Drawing Room. “The Lie of the Magician” was an especially captivating piece that made use of a frame-by-frame technique in which the artist used his own body as a canvas on which he drew and animated images of nature (rain, clouds, seeds, roots), moving through a cycle of life and creation. (Here’s an incredibly small, hard to see version of it.)
And since then, there’s been a lot more that I’ve taken in, about which I’ve neglected to write. There was the utterly superb show of Georgio Morandi‘s work at the Phillips Collection in Washington, DC, for instance – the mere memory of which sends me into rhapsodic reverie. Also in DC at the same time, worth seeing and worth mentioning, were Philip Guston in the Tower at the National Gallery of Art (up until October 2009), Robert Frank’s monumental show “The Americans” (also at the National Gallery, coming to NYC’s Metropolitan Museum in September 2009), and Kathleen Kucka‘s new paintings at Marsha Mateyka Gallery. Maya Lin’s show at the Corcoran Gallery of Art had two intriguing room-sized installations, one of which was quite magnificent in its monumentality, but the rest of the show felt a bit scattered, unpolished, and disappointing.
I hadn’t been to DC in a long time, and was happy to visit some of the gallery spaces there, including Hemphill Fine Arts, and Andrea Pollan’s space, Curator’s Office, which is perhaps the tiniest gallery I’ve visited – but don’t make the mistake of underestimating it!
There was also a field trip, on my list for many years, to visit the Pollock-Krasner House and Study Center in The Springs, near East Hampton, Long Island. The P-K House’s Director, art historian and critic Helen Harrison, gave an lively, informative tour of the house and studio used first by Jackson Pollock, and later by Lee Krasner, until the end of her life. Harrison knows about all there is to know about Hamptons Bohemia, and has a gift for doling out some of the juicy bits. Currently on view in the house was a small but strong exhibition of portrait drawings by Hedda Sterne, the one female pictured in Nina Leen’s famous Time/Life photo from 1951 of “The Irascibles.” (That’s Jackson in the center, second row from rear, and one of my teachers, Richard Pousette-Dart all the way on the left.)
Back in SoHo, which is now practically off the beaten path unless you are shopping for shoes or hitting the Apple Store, The Painting Center has been putting on several outstanding shows lately, and James Little’s exhibition of large oil and wax on canvas works at June Kelly Gallery was a knockout (See Joanne Mattera’s write-up.)
I could spend more time catching up, but that would only serve to point out all you’ve missed, and how lame I’ve been about keeping up with posting. So instead, I will look ahead, and begin afresh.
[above images: Sun Xun, Still from “Lie of the Magician,” 2005. Single channel video, 4:14 minutes. Courtesy Fortune Cookie Projects, copyright Sun Xun; Kathleen Kucka, “Ephemeral Apparition”, 32″h x 28″w, acrylic on linen, 2009, copyright Kathleen Kucka, courtesy Marsha Mateyka Gallery, DC.]