Dec 28, 2016
Flipping Scripts: Art Notes for 2017
Last week I posted a lengthy, ambling, ultimately perhaps tiresomely discursive roundup of 2016 art highlights. As you’ll likely recall if you read the piece—or as you might observe if you read it here—I found it rather difficult, even nearly dishonest to dig into all the microcosmic good of NYC art shows and the like without first addressing various aspects of the macrocosmic bad that has characterized so much of what we’ve seen in the news and felt in our lives over the past twelve months.
And yet, I really did enjoy reflecting back on all that microcosmic good. And I hope to have dug into and described it enough to have rendered it a kind of macrocosm unto itself.
For turning smaller goods into the bigger picture did indeed help to flip the script.
And with that, enough about 2016. Enough with the prefatory remarks about a challenging year. Enough with what would invariably become, given a certain person’s tendencies, yet another long and obtuse prolegomenon of boringly associative pap if we were to carry on, here again, in such a vein.
Which is to say, enough from me.
Music to your ears, I know! Received directly through your eyes, how wonderful!
Even more wonderful, though, are all these art shows and related items for you to look forward to in 2017. The big bonus is that you don’t have to take my word for it, because all the prognosticatory notes and highlights below come from a couple dozen women whose artworks, writings and curatorial endeavors you might like to become familiar with, and whose insights and input I greatly appreciate.
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Artwork by Kay Sirikul Pattachote. Image courtesy the artist.
Kay Sirikul Pattachote
Generally speaking, I’m hoping for, and therefore looking forward to, less labeling of art and more inclusivity of types of art and demographics of artists, a unity of differences. Personally, I’m looking forward to exhibiting my own work internationally, and I am so happy to have an opportunity to exhibit in Bad Füssing, Germany at Johannesbad Königshof. I’m interested in equality and inclusiveness, and I seem to be travelling internationally and internally, while remaining grounded in natural symbology.
At The Drawing Center, I’m looking forward to “Exploratory Works: Drawings from the Department of Tropical Research Field Expeditions.” From their website: “This exhibition brings to light for the first time an archive of images that illustrate the formation of our modern definition of nature. William Beebe (1877–1962) was one of America’s greatest popularizers of ecological thinking and biological science. The Department of Tropical Research was pioneering in that, under Beebe’s direction, women were hired as lead scientists and field artists. Artist Isabel Cooper, joining in 1919, publicly relished her opportunity to travel through the jungles of Guyana juggling a ‘vivid serpent or tapestried lizard in one hand, and the best grade of Japanese paintbrush in the other’.” The show will run from April 14th to July 16th.
I don’t usually look forward, I don’t even keep up, but there’s always some good painting at Sideshow’s annual group show. I’m also looking forward to Jack Whitten at Hauser and Wirth, Allison Guildersleeve’s paintings of nature at Asya Geisberg, seeing Kerry James Marshall’s “Mastry” again, Lynette Yiadom Boakye at The New Museum, “Visionaries:Creating a Modern Guggenheim,” checking out Two Coats of Paint and Raggedy Ann’s Foot to find out where the paintings are, the Asian Collection at the Met for new ideas (really)—and Centotto, Studio 10 and Valentine, to see what they are showing and to talk about art!
I’m looking forward to Rachel Owens’ “MOTHER,” at Zieher Smith & Horton Gallery in March. Owens’ work has always been about social engagement and politics, and for this show she will construct a sculpture out of resin and broken glass, which she is casting from the base of a 400-year-old tree. Owens considers this tree “NYC’s oldest feminist” for its longevity and nearby “granddaughter” trees with entwined root systems. The artist will also debut “PUSS” (People Under Siege Strategic), an ongoing collaboration of works and projects made by people under siege in light of the incoming administration.
Artwork by Angelica Bergamini. Image courtesy the artist.
I’m looking forward to “Georgia O’Keeffe: Living Modern.” A selection of O’Keeffe’s paintings will be shown at the Brooklyn Museum with items from her wardrobe and her photographs. I consider her a source of inspiration both for her independent nature and for her sensual paintings. “Delirium: The Art of the Symbolist Book,” one of the upcoming exhibitions at the Morgan Library, interests me for what was created out of the dialogue between the Symbolist authors and the artists in their circle.
For this new year I was looking forward to (and am still looking forward to) Deborah Brown’s solo show. Even though Michael Weiss’ gallery is no longer, I know Debbie has not stopped working really hard, and I know the work exceeds any expectations. As Chuck Close once said “Inspiration is for amateurs; the rest of us just show up and get to work.” Debbie is an example of hard work and perseverance. She truly delivers in art as a fellow female artist, and as part of our Bushwick community, she makes us all keep working!
I have a number of things on my calendar so far. January kicks off with Jimmy Desana and Ming Smith at Steven Kasher Gallery, Catherine Kirkpatrick at MIDOMA, and the Women’s March on Washington. On to February, “Scene On The Street,” at Jadite Gallery, and Central Booking’s “Endangered Plant Species.” In March I’m psyched to see Bette Midler in “MAME”!
I’m (of course) looking forward to my own show, “On Desire,” curated by Leigh LeDare. It will open in early September at the Baxter Street Gallery, at 126 Baxter Street. The show, developed from my series of paintings, photographs and video of beauty pageants and images of pageant contestants, seeks to expose the particular exploitative nature of display and judging of young women inherent in these pageants (and in our culture). I Am also praying for enough time in the new year to see at least some of all the fabulous shows NYC always has on offer.
I’m looking forward to showing work in “Paisley,” curated by Peter Hristoff, to be held at the Flatiron Project Space Gallery, SVA, in the fall. The exhibition will present objects, ephemera, photographs and textiles incorporating the paisley motif, as well as works by over 30 contemporary artists—such as Leigh Behnke, Steve De Frank, Suzanne Joelson, Marilyn Lerner, Judy Linhares, Gary Stephan, Elif Uras, Mary Jo Vath and myself, to name a few—interpreting the motif.
Artwork by Oriane Stender. Image courtesy the artist.
If we survive the Trumpocalypse, in 2017 I am looking forward to “Don’t Look at Me – effigies of equivocation,” including work by Karen Yasinsky, Michael Lee, Sarah Bird, Iannis Delatolas, and me. How do artists illuminate the self in an age of self absorption when digital and social media are all the rage? To address this question, curators Elizabeth Hazan and Patrick Neal have brought together a complementary group of artists working in film, photography, drawing, collage and installation. In many cases, the artists take an oblique stance toward their subjects of nature, architecture, history and humanity, addressing subjects authoritatively while avoiding the spotlight. The Black Mirror, historically an artist’s compositional tool to illuminate the whole by obscuring detail, has distant cousins in present day artistic practice. Working with unexpected tools and media that penetrate to the core, these artists discard superficial surfaces in favor of thoughtful contemplation. Date and venue details still forthcoming.
I don’t have a specific show or location in mind, but what I am hoping for in 2017 is a stronger delineation between art and the art market. Art has a functional role in culture that I feel has been largely undermined by the power of the art market. The instability of the future seems to hold a more powerful platform for creativity, visibility and risk-taking outside the market. Bad for humanity. Good for art. I do think and hope that Trumpism is making it less ‘cool’ to display wealth. I love what the Halt Action Group is doing.
I recently saw a piece by Ivan Argote with the text, “-ohh, is this a new end?” I think it’s fitting for what is to come in 2017. I expect to see a deluge of politically themed art but would urge creatives to use the political climate as a motivator, not as subject matter. We all feel like an end is fast approaching, but ranting and raving is the lazy way out, artistically speaking.
2017 is going to be a turbulent year. The optimistic part of me believes that at least we will be riding the forthcoming waves together. But the darker side of me wonders if the results of the recent election are also indicative of current art world politics—with less thought given to the actual work and more importance to the celebrity of an artist who is, by and large, privileged. That being said, I look to artist-run galleries with thoughtful, independent programming, like 106 Green, whose exhibitions are primarily focused on emerging female artists, as well as spaces like Cleopatra’s, Participant Inc., and Knockdown Center.
My least complicated post-election feeling: I am fucking proud to have moved to LA five years ago. Artists are humans in LA; they live balanced lives and make better art for it. I anticipate artist-run space activity, especially: the expanded Los Angeles Contemporary Archive; Vacancy’s experiments with collaborative exhibition-making; all the programming at Commonwealth&Council. Institutionally, Jamillah James will guide the transformation of the ICA LA, but 2017 will begin at The Hammer with “Jimmie Durham: At the Center of the World,” the artist’s first American retrospective after refusing to exhibit in or visit the US, remaining ‘homeless’ for years in protest. I can’t imagine a more timely political statement.
I’m looking forward to my solo show, “Sensing Place,” opening on January 20th at David & Schweitzer Contemporary. The show will run from January 20th to February 12th.
I’ll be participating in the “Nasty Women” exhibition at the Knockdown Center, Jan 12th to the 14th. All the work is small, and all of the proceeds go to Planned Parenthood. Yay.
Artwork by Lizbeth Mitty, also featured at top. Image courtesy the artist.
Three upcoming exhibits that are certain to feed my appetite for viewing meaty, must-see shows of painting are “Francis Bacon: From Picasso to Velasquez,” for which I would have to travel to Bilbao; “American Watercolor in the Age of Homer and Sargent,” at the Philadelphia Museum; and “Marsden Hartley’s Maine,” at the Met Breuer. The last one is the only one that I am certain to make it to, so I suppose this is a wish list.
At the Met, Marisa Merz, “The Sky is a Great Space,” and “The Mysterious Landscapes of Hercules Segers.” At The Morgan Library, “Delirium: The Art of the Symbolist Book,” and “Noah’s Beasts: Sculpted Animals from Ancient Mesopotamia.” At the Brooklyn Academy of Music, the 2017 Winter/Spring Season, including “Dadan,” Japanese Kodo percussion ecstasy, and “Last Work,” from the Batsheva Dance Company, with choreography by Ohad Naharin. I’m also looking forward to Haruki Murakami’s new novel, David Lynch’s “Twin Peaks” remake, and the “Pirandello 150” film series at Film Forum.
I am looking forward to “Oscar de la Renta: The Retrospective” at the Ogden. Fashion inside the fashion world never held my interest, but placed within the context of an art platform, I expect this comprehensive installation to take on a grand life of material and textures, history and personalities—including several of our most respectable first ladies.
I see (seek) a trend in geometric and conceptual abstraction. “Hélio Oiticica: To Organize Delirium,” at the Whitney Museum, is the first full-scale retrospective in the US, including formal geometric abstract painting and drawing, as well as immersive works that transform the viewer into a participant. I’m also looking forward to some shows featuring my work, such as “Oppler” at Transmitter, in Brooklyn. This exhibition has evolved. Its first appearance, as “Doppler Stop,” traveled in the EU, then to NJ. It will open at Transmitter in late March. Another one is “Extended Process,” at Saturation Point Projects Space and APT, both in Deptford, London. The opening is March 17th, and the show will be curated by Patrick Morrissey, Hanz Hancock and Brigitte Parusel. It will focus on reductive and geometric artwork, and artwork utilizing systems.
I’m looking forward to a number of shows. Lynette Yiadom-Boakye at the New Museum, “Divine Encounter: Rembrandt’s Abraham and the Angels” at the Frick Collection, Tamara Gonzales at Klaus Von Nichtssagend, Fran O’Neill at David & Schweitzer, Catherine Haggarty at Proto, and Katrina Fimmel at Lubov. I’m also excited for what Stout Projects in Bushwick have in store for 2017, and I’m looking forward to upcoming shows at Look & Listen, Yifat Gat’s curatorial project. I’m also curious to see what is coming from these wonderful artists whose work I admire: Zoya Cherkassky-Nnadi, Liz Ainslie, Maya Bloch, Polina Barskaya Kaluzhsky, Joy Curtis, Brooke Moyse, Avital Burg, Elisa Soliven, and Benjamin Pritchard.
I’m looking forward to continuing to work in my studio in sculpture and painting. As for exhibits: “Robert Rauschenberg” and “Frank Lloyd Wright” at MoMA; “Marisa Merz: The Sky is a Great Place” and “Marsden Hartley’s Maine” at Met Breuer; and “Tales of our Time” and “Josef Albers in Latin America” at Guggenheim. I’m also looking forward to lots of cool exhibits in Brooklyn, and to the New York Studio School’s official and student exhibits. Also, “Matisse/Diebenkorn” at SFMoMA! In addition, I’m going to southern India and Thailand in February to see different qualities of light and color. I think 2017 will be expansive in many ways for many artists—geographically, personally and psychologically—and I look forward to seeing it all.
About the farthest ahead I’m looking is the next few weeks. I must see these before they close: Agnes Martin at the Guggenheim, through January 11th (loved it in London, but not been here yet); Pipilotti Rist, “Pixel Forest,” at The New Museum, through January 15th; Kerry James Marshall, “Mastry,” at the Met Breuer, through January 29th. Also, Shari Mendelson’s show at Todd Merrill Studio in Tribeca is brilliant, up through January 13th. I’m also looking forward to Lenore Malen, “Scenes From Paradise,” opening January 6th at Studio 10, and Marsden Hartley’s “Maine,” at the Met, opening March 15th.
Artwork by Jackie Shatz. Image courtesy the artist.
I’m looking forward to showing work in “Interiors,” at Carter Burden Gallery, from February 2nd to the 23rd. I’ll be showing some of my figurative ceramic wall sculptures. My recent work encapsulates various suspended states of being. The images of swimming, floating and turning away imply anticipation, hesitancy, anxiety or relief from anxiety. I did not set out to express these psychological states—they emerged from the selection of the actions and the creation of the pieces themselves. The meanings are hidden like the meanings in dreams.
I’m looking forward to Joyce Kozloff’s show at D.C. Moore in September. The title is “Girlhood.” Joyce recently discovered childhood drawings using the same mapping interests and structures that have remained such an important part of her work. This discovery is the inspiration for her upcoming show.
“Kodama—spirit of the tree,” is a show I am curating at The Cluster gallery, at 200 6th Street. The opening reception will be on February 4th. It is an exhibition examining the relationships between human beings and nature, featuring works by Kurt Steger, Paulapart and me, and a dance performance by Lizzy Zevallos. I’m also looking forward to “Princess Mononoke” and “Spirited Away,” movies directed by Hayao Miyazaki.
I love the Carmen Herrera show up at the Whitney right now and want to see it again before it closes in January. In terms of future exhibitions, I’m very curious to see the Marisa Merz retrospective coming to the Met Breuer this spring. Their press describes her as “the sole female protagonist of the Arte Povera movement.” I’m also looking forward to seeing “Marsden Hartley’s Maine” at the Breuer in March. Hartley’s paintings always make me want to rush back to the studio. I’ll definitely see Amy Sillman’s upcoming “After Metamorphosis,” at the Drawing Center, and I want to check out the Hercules Segers show opening at the Met in February. Also, the Lynette Yiadom-Boakye show at The New Museum, opening in late April. I’m looking forward to seeing a selection of her paintings, since I really liked her show at the Studio Museum.
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That’s all folks! I hope you enjoyed reading through that wealth of information regarding things to look forward to in 2017, and that you found enough items that piqued your interest to encourage the copious taking of notes. I most certainly did.
And while we’re noting and taking notes of things, I’ll add another quick note to wrap this all up, even if it doesn’t really matter.
Although I might still write occasional pieces for Brooklyn Magazine, this will be my last one here as Art Editor.
So it goes, as the saying goes.
And so, now, it has gone.
I’m happy that my final post incorporates so many useful and generously shared thoughts, predictions, insights and opinions from representatives of a group to whom everyone overall should listen a great deal more—on levels microcosmic and macrocosmic alike.
And godspeed to all in 2017.
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