Pres. George W Bush art From NYT, Brandon Thibodeaux
I didn’t have time to make it to Dallas, Texas to see George W. Bush’s new art, but I did make it to similar environs, on the Upper East Side, and caught some amazing work worth seeing in April. Without even stepping into a museum, I was able to catch multiple incredible shows, and I recommend them all (and this list is in order of awesomeness).
DAMIAN LOEB: Sol*D at Acquavella
Loeb’s paintings are masterful oil works of interstellar landscapes. Photorealism is not a pejorative here, and the back story of how he makes them (flying in innermost outer-space, using Hubble images, etc) is almost as interesting as the work itself. Seems he’s moved from quantum physics as expressed through his nude wife (!) to greater meanderings, regardless, they’re more beautiful. This one ends April 11th, so hit it soon.
RAYMOND PETTIBON: ARE YOUR MOTIVES PURE? Surfers 1985-2103 at Venus over Manhattan
Venus Over Manhattan hasn’t made a misstep with a show in the past year, they just nail it every time. This first-ever collection of all of the surfer paintings of Pettibon are a must-see. Viewing them, I was convinced he caught elements that only a surfer would notice, but alas I learned he was never a surfer though he lived off Venice beach (and neither am I, thus the mistake). But he does catch the rough, the tumble and the froth of the active ocean. I’d love to know the back-story of how his parents made both him and Greg Ginn of Black Flag…whose iconic image he made, and who he played with (as Panic) briefly. Loved his album covers (esp for Sonic Youth) and love these even more. Through May 17th.
MODERN FURIES: THE LESSONS AND LEGACY OF WORLD WAR I at Galerie St. Etienne
No one caught the horrors of war better than Otto Dix, who served on the front line trenches of WWI for four years (machine gun squad, wounded multiple times). He captured this hell in a rough style, that laid bare the realities of a war that wasn’t much reported to the public (the grisly details, that is), and this, along with his later paintings of who was taking over Germany probably led Hitler to lump him in with the Degenerate Art exhibit, and banish him off to painting landscapes for the remainder of his career (which have their own subtext and tone, worthy of serious reconsideration, but that’s another post, in the meantime, see this from Montreal and NYC a few years ago). This excellent show at Galerie St. Etienne, pairs many of his horrors from WWI with those of Beckman, Baldessari, Schiele and a handful of others, plus some war poster ephemera. At a time when world wars are starting to enter the public consciousness again as serious possibilities, this one reminds us why we should avoid them, and how artists might confront them. Through April 12th.
LYONEL FEININGER: Master Printmaker at Moeller
Moeller has been doing a series of incredible shows of Lyonel Feininger’s work lately. The last one “Ghosts” was of his watercolors, but this show of his prints, almost all woodcuts, is incredible. Considering one of his woodcuts adorned the Bauhaus Manifesto, these are worth seeing. He too was lumped in with the degenerate artists later in life, perhaps the best honor of that time period. See the Bauhaus master’s work through April 26th.
1ST 20 YEARS at Adam Baumgold
ANDRAS BOROCZ The Draftsman Series, 2002
A retrospective of the gallery’s first 20 years – Chris Ware, Charles Burns, Saul Steinberg, Lynda Barry, Marc Bell, Seth, Roger Brown, Huston Ripley, Renee French, Scott Teplin, Aline Kominsky-Crumb, Mark Kostabi, Andras Borocz and 10-20 more all in one show. The whole show is one big wow. An eclectic homage to drawing, draftsmanship and graphic novels, comics and covers. I think this image from Borocz, which my wife and I would love to own if you have a spare 6K to loan us, captures the spirit of the show best – note the pencil case around the work. This one has a bit of everything, and is fun enough to stick around for awhile, through May 3rd.
URS FISCHER: last supper at Gagosian
Gagosian has a new storefront on Park Avenue, and he’s installed pseudo-bad-boy (but always fun) Fischer with a great new cast bronze that looks like a lump of clay sculpture piece on the last supper. It strikes me as a mix of the Last Supper and the closing of Sleep No More/Macbeth by way of dumpster-diving art, but hey, Jesus has a taco and a Bud-tweiser here, need I say more? Through May 8th.
Next up: updates from Chelsea, the Lower East Side and maybe, just maybe I’ll get myself over the Bridge into Brooklyn for some art soon.