Saturday, November 19, 2011

too late to start writing and too late to stop... certain glories come to us at the wrong times and how you deal with it is what sets you apart from the rabble.

gesture, in it's truest sense, is a bitch. it's there- waiting, crouching in shadow and then it spews fourth from the brush or the pencil or the nub of charcoal, as untamed and buoyant as a branch broken off in a nyc october blizzard. and then what? how do you handle it?

i'm trying for as honest, as organic a line (or stroke) as possible. from there i go back into it, but i want that first hit to have some sincerity, some meaning if nothing else.

but what if that first hit doesn't work?? what then? much paint has gone down taking care of this eventuality.

in the studio of the powerful MP Landis, i mentioned i had been wasting a lot of paint.

"paints never wasted..." he said.

true enough.

and i carry on...

Monday, November 14, 2011

a few notes:

* the grace of the "gesture" is in it's intimate, muscular urgency. so present in it's own state-- so honest, so articulate... and then you work with it a bit more and it becomes, perhaps, less honest, but no less articulate. i've felt honored in the studio of late.

...and thats a hell of a statement to make.

* i find that my daughter's presence in the studio gives me a buoyant, playful energy. the brooding seems lessened, the dark waters becoming a little clearer...

* so much talk about the marina abramovic MOCA fiasco... so much. I applaud yvonne rainer in that she had the guts to really say something of meaning against this debacle. i must say, however, that there has been too much talk of "exploitation"and other such nonsense. the outrage over this has nothing to do with the sad condition of marina's participants (oh so willing, it should be very well noted...), the outrage should be over the likes of deitch taking control of a public venue, the cult of exhibitionism run rampant across the arts, etc, etc, etc...

i came up with an equation a long while back: art school girl + camera = nude self-portraiture.

the all female cast of the "performance" will no doubt, look back on this (and it's line on their resume) with a smirk of perfect self-satisfaction. they don't paint, they don't carve, they don't care... they stripped down and someone else called it art, or if not art- performance... there was no exploitation-- only supply and demand.

this is how it works-- ask any stripper.

but then, most strippers are too honest to give a shit about these losers and their postures...

Friday, November 4, 2011

first day cruising the chelsea galleries with my daughter... i hope she never reaches a point where she doesn't want to do that- but given the art world, who could blame her??

so we made the rounds with the artist, james austin murray providing comic relief and video documentation. and he picked up half the lunch (beer) tab...

* serra at gagosian was, as always, superb. the new works, junction/cycle, are right up there as an experience as any of his other great pieces-- adventurous, daring articulation of space. flat out: serra does what few artists ever have: achieve the scope of their ambition. and with a striking consistancy.

that same power was evident with the late milton resnicks impastoed monochromatic (polychromatic?) work at cheim & read gallery. having never had much exposure to his output, i was really taken with the force of resnick's resolve-- the drive to JUST MAKE A PAINTING AND WORK IT AND MAKE IT SOMETHING REAL...

i asked the desk help if she had an idea as to the number of years per piece-- i was pressing my luck... each work is credited with a year- '87, etc, and no notice given as to how long an individual painting was labored on.


resnick offed himself in 2004. i don't know what his output was at that time- does it matter? the fact that at some point in his life he put together THIS body of work is enough. there are so many of us out there- painting, striving, or, perhaps, just doing our thing.

how many have a philosophy?

resnick did... and he lived it. i raise this glass of vodka to his work and his memory.

and next door at marlborourgh? well, some hack named newsome, that somehow has already had a solo gig at the wadsworth... according to the press release, this work, "...combines high neo-Baroque style with low-pop advertising imagery..." and on and on and on.


this is just some pile of akendi wiley refuse that got tossed up and hung up. coming off the heels of the dietch "street" show in LA, it just seems a little too conveniant. i'll put fourth the question: what does low-pop anything have to do with art?

and i'll answer it: nothing...

and so i will give no more space and/or energy to this bullshit, writing this to whoever might be reading (me, tomorrow...), coming off a great night of work in the brooklyn studio...

* thursday i hit the opening (once again at cheim & read) of joan mitchell's later work. i was very very curious to see this show. i had written an extensive review of her whitney retrospective years ago and came out of that exercise exhausted and rather emotionally spent... the woman made some great paintings... she also cleaned her brushes on canvases and put them on gallery walls for sale to the those that buy and don't look crowd... it grieves me that her output is so spotty. she could have been our champion-- plowing forward through the decades... instead she became little more than the grouchy, booze-sodden grandmother of the ab-ex movement. and the 2nd generation at that-- aesthetically overshadowed by norman bluhm and the ghost of alfred leslie's early labors.

but she did pull off some great work. and why not? she was from a good wealthy chicago family that paid the bills and bought the paint. fuck yeah...

so i was excited, a few kitchen shots before hitting the taxi for chelsea.

and you know what? there was some great painting going on. the old broad was getting down in her last decade. to be fair, i must say there was some brush cleaning going on-- meaningless strokes to nowhere, at times, a horrid disregard for composition-- but the great moments are what stuck with me. and the great moments are what will stick with me.

mitchell was (is) one of our greats. that she could not step away from the canvas for (to my eye) a day or week or year, or 2 of reflective self-critique haunts her work. clement greenberg wrote about duchamp mis-interpretating picasso's bold discoveries-- perhaps joan (as many of her contemporaries) mis-interpreted de kooning's process.

de kooning worked years for that famous slash and burn-- scraping off and re-painting, scraping off and re-painting... mitchell didn't go that route. there was scant evidence of any truely re-worked passages-- hers was an immediate program and assault. she seems to have had little time to question herself.

but what if- once in awhile, she did?
think about that...