December 18, 2009


The moon in the bureau mirror
looks out a million miles
(and perhaps with pride, at herself,
but she never, never smiles)
far and away beyond sleep, or
perhaps she's a daytime sleeper.

By the Universe deserted,
she'd tell it to go to hell,
and she'd find a body of water,
or a mirror, on which to dwell.
So wrap up care in a cobweb
and drop it down the well

into that world inverted
where left is always right,
where the shadows are really the body,
where we stay awake all night,
where the heavens are shallow as the sea
is now deep, and you love me.

Elizabeth Bishop

November 9, 2009

matthias grünewald | the isenheim altarpiece

Matthias Grünewald
(c. 1470 – August 31, 1528)

The Isenheim Altarpiece is an altarpiece painted by the German artist Matthias Grünewald between 1512 and 1516. It is on display at the Unterlinden Museum at Colmar, Alsace now in France.

By far his greatest, as well as his largest work, it was painted for the Monastery of St. Anthony in Isenheim near Colmar (then in Germany), which specialized in hospital work. The Antonine monks of the monastery were noted for their treatment of sufferers of skin disease, such as ergotism, symptoms of which are displayed by figures including the crucified Christ in the altarpiece.

The altarpiece has two sets of wings, displaying three configurations. The first view shows a Crucifixion scene, flanked by images of Saint Anthony and Saint Sebastian. There is a predella with a Lamentation of Christ, which remains in the second view also. When the outermost wings are opened, the second view shows scenes of the Annunciation, the original subject of Mary bathing Jesus to the accompaniment of an Angelic choir (or various other titles), and the Resurrection.

The innermost view shows the Temptation of Saint Anthony and the Meeting of Saint Anthony and the Hermit Paul to the sides, and a pre-existing carved gilt-wood altarpiece by Nicolas Hagenau of about 1490. Now the altarpiece has been dis-assembled (and sawn through) so that all the views can be seen separately, except that the original sculpted altarpiece is no longer flanked by the panels of the third view, which are instead shown together. Carved wood elements at the top and bottom of the composition were lost in the French Revolution, when the whole painting survived nearly being destroyed. The iconography of the altarpiece has several unusual elements, several derived from closely following the accounts left by Saint Bridget of Sweden of her mystical visions.

October 8, 2009

September 30, 2009

jack tworkov / the extreme of the middle

Check out painter Jack Tworkov's work at the UBS Art Gallery New York, NY. The show runs from August 13-November 13, 2009.
"June 21." 1964. Oil on canvas. 62 x 80 in.

And coinciding with the show at UBS is the publication of a new collection of insightful writings by Jack Tworkov from Yale University Press, and edited by Mira Schor.

Jack Tworkov (1900–1982) was a significant figure of the Abstract Expressionist period. A noted painter, he was one of the first group of artists who defined the ideals of the New York School, along with Willem de Kooning, Barnett Newman, Ad Reinhardt, and Franz Kline, among others. This book, the first collection of Tworkov’s writings, sheds new light on the lives and studio practices of Tworkov and his colleagues as well as on Tworkov’s artistic theories and values.

These enlightening and intimate writings—personal journals and letters, teaching notebooks, correspondence with other artists, previously unpublished essays, and published articles—are introduced and annotated by Mira Schor, who provides an informed account of an important artist and thinker. The book is enriched by photographs by Henri Cartier-Bresson, Irving Penn, Arnold Newman, and Robert Rauschenberg; family photographs with Hans Hofmann, John Cage, Kline, and others; and reproductions of some of Tworkov’s finest work.

(images from mitchell-innes & nash)

"Variables," 1963. Oil on canvas. 56 x 80 in.

September 21, 2009

michael berryhill

Check-out Michael Berryhill's new show, Basement States, at Horton and Liu until October 10. Berryhill's work ponders a unique intersection of painting history, rockers, and the concept of stage. There are some super complex larger paintings that will grab your attention, but don't miss the smaller equally gorgeous paintings (see below).

arty-facts, 2009

three piece, 2008

shrown of cloud, 2008

September 17, 2009

raoul de keyser

Was interested in Raoul De Keyser's show up at David Zwirner until October 24. RDeK is obviously working FROM something. I kept noticing the under-painting...especially the washes of reds and blues located just below the painting's surface. Trees, rocks, mountains, logs, flags, water, and floating space are implied. Small canvases with a kind of warm Hartley minimalism.

September 16, 2009

the XX

so the XX has made a big impression....mad love for their new album. Check it out.

rebecca warren

Very excited to let you know about Rebecca Warren's latest show. You have until October 24th to see her elegant synthesis of the lady-man-new modernist-sculpture-trajectory. At Matthew Marks 522 W 22nd St.

July 27, 2009


I breathe in the cool incense smoke from the metal brazier,
While thinking about a poem for my dear friend Lu Wa.
My sandalwood-hearted companion spits out plum blossoms of smoke,
Looking like the cloudy fog of the other world.
Perhaps it's the soul of my friend the old mountain man
In the smoke's dense patterns?

Kan Po, in memoriam (undated)

Incense wood was recorded for the first time in Japan in 595, during the reign of Empress Suiko. Not long before that date, in the mid-sixth century, Buddhism had been introduced into Japan from the continent, and along with Buddhist images and sutras, incense and its implements were also imported. From the end of the Nara period (710–784), courtiers inspired by the use of incense in Buddhist rituals in temple settings also began to burn incense in their homes. The incense they used was kneaded and mixed into balls, which served not only to "perfume" the air of the rooms, but also—as an indicator of refined taste—to perfume clothes and hair. The incense culture referred to in the Heian-period (794–1183) court classic, The Tale of Genji, formed the basis of the association of classical literature and incense. There were lacquer utensils and sets for the preparation of the incense. A typical incense set would have included an outer box containing smaller boxes for the storage of raw incense materials, such as aloe, clove, sandalwood, deer musk, amber, and herbs, as well as small spatulas for preparing the mixtures.

By the time of the establishment of the Kamakura shogunate in the twelfth century, a new approach to Buddhism had been introduced from China. It was through the introduction of this new organization, Zen, that a new way of appreciating incense developed among aristocratic warriors. It became popular to hold ceremonies during which guests took turns enjoying ten different pieces of incense. At these gatherings, it was not the earlier kneaded and mixed incense compositions that were used, but the incense woods themselves. Incense games, comparing named incense woods, were also organized.

During the Muromachi period (1392–1573), the etiquette of "the way of incense" developed in tandem with the tea ceremony. Along with the fashion of sponsoring incense games connected with poetry or literary classics such as The Tale of Genji, the collecting of famous named incense wood pieces also flourished. The burning of expensive, rare incense woods on special occasions increased their value, and made them a "once in a lifetime" experience.

Around the beginning of the Edo period (1615–1868), the aristocracy in Kyoto realized that the revival of the traditional "way of the arts" was essential to preserving their cultural identity, counterbalancing the various new rules enforced by the recently established Tokugawa shogunate to restrict the aristocracy's influence and representative power. Later, the "the way of incense" (kôdô) became a popular pastime of the Tokugawa clan and their cultural circle as well, and incense game sets became part of the wedding trousseau of provincial warrior families (daimyô). By the mid–Edo period, the wealthy merchant class also had access to incense, so incense games became more widespread. The use of incense sticks was popularized along with many other new forms of enjoying incense. With woodblock prints and woodblock printed books fashionable at the time, literary forms such as novels and poetry hitherto confined to social elites became accessible to the urban middle classes (chônin). Symbolic representations of incense or decorative crests associated with incense games (such as the Genji-mon) appeared on kimonos and screens, or on applied art objects. Incense, or the incense game itself, was depicted on woodblock prints (even on surimono), sometimes in the context of Kabuki theater. Various complex incense-comparing games, many of which were associated with poetry, were created, and the utensils of the games were perfected. Different schools relayed knowledge regarding incense and the practice of its usage. Besides incense game sets, there were several types of utensils, such as the incense burner, the kôro, for perfuming clothes, hair, and rooms, and various kinds of boxes for the storage of incense wood. For the incense games, several utensils were needed; their type and number varied according to the incense school and the game being played.

In a typical game, a small incense-heater (kikikôro) was passed among the guests. The heater could be made of porcelain, in which case it had three legs, or of maki-e decorated lacquer, in which case it had a metal plate inside. Inside the heater, a hot charcoal piece was placed in ash to warm a small piece of incense wood placed on a mica plate so it would release its smell. A lacquer incense burner in the shape of a pumpkin was called an akoda-kôro. A jûkôgô was a small-sized tiered incense box, usually with three tiers to store different kinds of incense. The best-known game is the jusshûkô, or "Ten round incense game." In this game, different incense were passed around ten times. The necessary utensils were held in a decorative lacquered box, which was often part of a wedding set. Small boxes (kôgô and kôbako) for the storage of incense (incense wood or incense mixture balls) were prepared in a great variety of shapes, materials, and motifs.
With the Meiji reforms (1867–68) and the "westernization-modernization" of Japanese culture in the second half of the nineteenth century, the practice of incense became passé. Thus, in the second half of the century, incense utensils entered the art market in large numbers, and a substantial portion of them ended up in Western collections. However, from the 1890s, partially due to foreign efforts to revalue Japanese culture, appreciation of "the way of incense" was gradually reborn.

Monika Bincsik
Jane and Morgan Whitney Art History Research Fellow, The Metropolitan Museum of Art

for even more info click here

May 29, 2009

albert oehlen/alice neel (day)

This is the last weekend...don't miss the superforce that is
Albert Oehlen
at Luhring Augustine April 25-May 30

Albert Oehlen
39,90, 2008
Oil and paper on canvas
106 1/4 x 122 inches

Albert Oehlen
Del ahorro, 2008
Oil and paper on canvas
106 1/4 x 122 inches

and MAJOR amazement at David Zwirner
Alice Neel Selected Works
May 14 through June 20, 2009

Alice Neel
Rita and Hubert
Oil on canvas
Image Size: Framed: 36 3/4 x 42 3/4 x 1 7/8

Alice Neel
Dana Gordon
Oil on canvas
Image Size: Framed: 51 3/8 x 35 1/2 x 1 7/8

Alice Neel
Young Woman
c. 1946
Oil on canvas
Image Size: Framed: 34 3/4 x 27 3/4 x 1 3/4

April 22, 2009

when sculptors paint

Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux (1827-1875)
Costume Ball at the Tuileries, 1867
Oil on canvas H. 56; W. 46 cm

Achille Emperaire Peintre - Cezanne

Paul Cézanne (1839-1902)
Achille Emperaire (between 1867 and 1868) Oil on canvas
H. 200; W. 120 cm
Paris, Musée d'Orsay

Born in Aix, like Cézanne who was his elder by ten years, Achille Emperaire was also an artist. The two men met in Charles Suisse's studio in Paris in the early 1860s and were close friends for at least a decade.

Cézanne often spoke fondly of the companion of his youth saying: "He's a very talented boy and nothing in the art of the Venetians has been lost on him. I have often seen him do as well!" Unfortunately, out of money and luck, Achille Emperaire failed to establish a reputation and all that survives of him are a small number of rather spirited works.

A contemporary reported that in the two charcoal sketches made before the painted portrait of Achille, we see "a magnificent knight's head, in the style of Van Dyck", and sense "a burning soul, nerves of steel, and iron pride in a misshapen body [...], a cross between Don Quixote and Prometheus."

In the painting, on the contrary, Cézanne emphasises Emperaire's sickliness and deformed body. However, far from being a caricature, the work plays on its monumental format – the frontal view, the majestic chair and the ostentatious inscription echo Ingres' Napoleon I on the Imperial Throne, right down to the pun on Emperor/Emperaire.

Going beyond the lessons in realism learnt from artists such as Courbet and Manet, Cézanne's vision is here infused with a raw kind of romanticism, which marks the apogee of this period that the master of Aix himself described as "ballsy".

(my next few posts are going to be pictures of paintings, taken from books...some of the inspiring painters rattling around my thoughts this spring.)

March 21, 2009

Leon Kossoff, From the Early Years 1957-1967

This will be on my list of best shows from 2009.
Don't miss your opportunity to see this many early Kossoff's all in one place.
Kossoff sweeps mountains of heavy fleshy paint into being...this is what it's all about.

Leon Kossoff c.1957-1967
(from Mitchell Innes & Nash show)

painting detail #1

painting detail #2

painting detail #3

painting detail #4

Leon Kossoff, From the Early Years 1957-1967
Mitchell-Innes & Nash
534 West 26th Street
February 17 - March 28, 2009

As a key figure in the School of London, Leon Kossoff (b. 1926) has been described as one of the greatest British artists of the past four decades. He grew up in the East End of London and has lived in the city all his life. His work focuses on London's changing urban landscape and the human figure. Loyal to a limited number of models, Kossoff’s portraits are mostly of
members of his own family or very close friends.

click here for an article (and a video interview with Kossoff) published in March 2007 during Kossoff's exhibition at the National Gallery in London.

March 18, 2009


Martin Kippenberger at MOMA.
This is THE show of shows.
Closes on May 11, 2009.

Lisa Yuskavage at Zwirner.
Wasn't expecting to dig this show, but totally did.
Closes March 28, 2009.

Was expecting to dig, and didn't.
This was the best (and smallest) Thomas Scheibitz painting at Tanya Bonakdar.
Closes April 18, 2009.

Simon Evans at James Cohan.
Smart obsessive work and well made.
Easy to like.
Closes April 4, 2009.

February 10, 2009

be back in March.

I am moving my studio....C-H-A-N-G-E-S.
Not much time to blog or anything else.
I'll be back in March.

January 25, 2009

Marc Handelman & David Schutter

Marc Handelman & David Schutter
This was one of my favorite shows last Friday.

David Schutter, after AIC W x3, 2008
Oil on canvas (19.125 x 25.625 inches)

Marc Handelman, Monumental Solutions, 2008
Oil on canvas (72.75 x 62.25 inches)

Marc Handelman & David Schutter (Installation View)

January 17 - February 21, 2009
at Sikkema Jenkins & Co. (click here)


Twin Solid State Musical Tesla coils playing the Ghostbusters theme song at the 2007 Lightning on the Lawn Teslathon sponsored by DC Cox (Resonance Research Corp) in Baraboo WI. The music that you hear is coming from the sparks that these two identical high power solid state Tesla coils are generating. There are no speakers involved. The Tesla coils stand 7 feet tall and are each capable of putting out over 12 foot of spark. They are spaced about 18 feet apart. The coils are controlled over a fiber optic link by a single laptop computer. Each coil is assigned to a midi channel which it responds to by playing notes that are programed into the computer software. These coils were constructed by Steve Ward and Jeff Larson. Video was captured by Terry Blake. What is not obvious is how loud the coils are. They are well over 110dB If you look at another You Tube video which is from a different angle, you can hear the echo off the building and get a better idea of how loud it is.

January 11, 2009

paul laffoley, painter.

like wow...and right now.
PAUL LAFFOELY: THE SIXTIES at KENT Gallery 541 West 25th Street Second Floor
8 January - 21 February, 2009

paul laffoley website here

again, from the Scott Bodenner hotline (here)

January 7, 2009

this coming gladness

in heavy rotation, this coming gladness (and everything else) by josephine foster.

"Josephine Foster...a veritable Shirley Collins...manages what some might liken to clandestine amateur opera: her voice is quiet, shaky even, but she manages a practiced control over her pitch and delivery. Which is important: Foster often taps into a certain melodrama that finds a face only in the most assuredly private bathroom mirrors. The glam works here perhaps to its own chagrin because it sounds quite real and vulnerable..."
- Pitchfork

"With wailing singing reminiscent of such fringe folkies as Magic Carpet songsmith Alisha Sufit and one-time Loren Mazzacane Connors collaborateur Kath Bloom, Josephine Foster stirs stirring life into every one of the odes herein, her boisterous voice swooping and soaring like a kite caught at the top of the breeze..."
- Neumu

"Josephine Foster sounds like a time lost singer from the Snow White and Cinderella animated films. If Iggy Pop would be your deranged grandfather who takes you to brothels and slips you some weed, Foster would be the mother who sings you lullabies and strokes your hair to put you to blissful sleep."
- the Manila Standard

"Plenty of so-called acid folk singers sound like rock vocalists trying to backtrack into a purer, more idiosyncratic style, but Foster has been idiosyncratic from the start. The former opera student has a startlingly clear voice, wonderfully mannered articulation, and an impeccable sense of pitch...Her timbre isn't as plush but otherwise she sounds strikingly like Shirley Collins, the matriarch of the 1960s British Folk revival."
- the Chicago Reader

listen here

January 6, 2009

Delaney, Bonnie & Friends - Poor Elijah

On the strength of
Accept No Substitute, and at his friend George Harrison's suggestion, Eric Clapton took Delaney & Bonnie and Friends on the road in mid-1969 as the opening act for his band . Clapton became fast friends with Delaney, Bonnie and their band, preferring their music to Blind Faith. Clapton would often appear on stage with Delaney & Bonnie and Friends during this period, and continued to record and tour with them following Blind Faith's August 1969 breakup.

Delaney Bramlett 1939-2008

January 1, 2009

monzogranite / joshua tree, ca

welcome 2009.
peace from joshua tree, ca

Geologists believe the face of Earth's modern landscape was born more than 100 million years ago. Molten liquid, heated by the continuous movement of Earth’s crust, oozed upward and cooled while still below the surface. These plutonic intrusions are a granitic rock called monzogranite.

The monzogranite developed a system of rectangular joints. One set, oriented roughly horizontally, resulted from the removal—by erosion—of the miles of overlying rock, called gniess (pronounced “nice”). Another set of joints is oriented vertically, roughly paralleling the contact of the monzogranite with its surrounding rocks. The third set is also vertical but cuts the second set at high angles. The resulting system of joints tended to develop rectangular blocks. (figure 1) .
As ground water percolated down through the monzogranite’s joint fractures, it began to transform some hard mineral grains along its path into soft clay, while it loosened and freed grains resistant to solution. Rectangular stones slowly weathered to spheres of hard rock surrounded by soft clay containing loose mineral grains. Imagine holding an ice cube under the faucet. The cube rounds away at the corners first, because that is the part most exposed to the force of the water. A similar thing happened at Joshua Tree but over millions of years, on a grand scale, and during a much wetter climate. (figure 2)
After the arrival of the arid climate of recent times, flash floods began washing away the protective ground surface. As they were exposed, the huge eroded boulders settled one on top of another, creating those impressive rock piles we see at Joshua Tree today. (figure 3)
Suggesting the work of a stonemason, they broke into uniform blocks when they were exposed to the surface.

Of the dynamic processes that erode rock material, water, even in arid environments, is the most important. Wind action is also important, but the long-range effects of wind are small compared to the action of water.

The erosion and weathering processes operating in the arid conditions of the present are only partially responsible for the spectacular sculpturing of the rocks. The present landscape is essentially a collection of relict features inherited from earlier times of higher rainfall and lower temperatures.

above information taken from the Joshua Tree National Park Website