art news & reviews & Interviews. jeff bergman, editor

58th – Lists and Motherwell

Robert Motherwell, View from a High Tower, 1944–45. Tempera, oil, ink, pastel, and pasted wood veneer, drawing papers, Japanese papers, and printed map on paperboard, 74.3 x 74.3 cm. Private collection © Dedalus Foundation/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY

Robert Motherwell, View from a High Tower, 1944–45. Tempera, oil, ink, pastel, and pasted wood veneer, drawing papers, Japanese papers, and printed map on paperboard, 74.3 x 74.3 cm. Private collection © Dedalus Foundation/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY

The lists that fly around this time of year cause the same sort of rubbernecking you get on the road after an accident.  I slow down, I read, I curse myself for wasting the time, I try and get to my original destination.  Most Powerful.  Least Powerful.  My favorite so far is the list of least useful lists by Edward Winkleman.

My list today is not a best or worst, just a simple list to jog some memories and remind you of what is available now to see:

Recommendations:
William Anastasi Sound Object at Hunter College until November 30th (I wrote about it here)
César at Luxembourg and Dayan until January 18th
Brice Marden at Matthew Marks Gallery until December 21st
Robert Motherwell: Early Collages at the Guggenheim until January 5th
Ad Reinhardt at David Zwirner until December 18th
Dorothea Rockburne at MoMA until January 20th
Tim Rollins and K.O.S. at Lehmann Maupin until December 28th

Looking forward to seeing:

Chris Burden at New Museum until January 12th
Cyprien Gaillard at Gladstone Gallery until December 21st
Vasily Kanindsky at the Neue Galerie until February 10th
Mike Kelley at MoMA PS1 until February 2nd
Wangechi Mutu at the Brooklyn Museum until March 9th

and finally the very Last Chance: Dale Henry at the Clocktower Gallery.  The gallery is closing forever.

And a mini review for Robert Motherwell: Early Collages at the Guggenheim:

I need to see this show again to offer more of a review, but I recommend taking the time.  Depending on your feelings about the main exhibition of Christopher Wool, you can see either get this show as a bonus or the other way around.  

Robert Motherwell: Early Collages encompases a decade and a half of experiments with paper.  They are torn, painted, crumpled and applied.  They seem tentative and temporary in many places and that is not a bad thing.  Motherwell’s collages have a little bit of everything, but not all at once.  To see an idea play out this way in paper is a treat considering Motherwell’s contemporaries. He may have helped bring about the age of Abstract Expressionism, but he was an intellectual.  He tended to work away from Fanelli’s, away from the dripping and pouring of the Ab-Ex matadors who used the canvas as a cape and shield, stabbing away at the bull of figurative art.

The collages rely on their frail physical nature to convey a quiet message.  Motherwell’s message was about politics, but these don’t overtly convey any notion of that.  They trick you with their craft, implying simplicity.  Despite the era, the turmoil, Motherwell’s place as a movement founder/leader as well as a teacher and writer, I don’t think it matters that these are by Robert Motherwell.  They remain beautiful and thoughtful.

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