At Betty Cuningham Gallery, in another part of the Lower East Side, “Stanley Lewis: Paintings and Works on Paper” allowed us to savor some of this marvelously obsessive artist’s efforts to translate his hypersensitive scrutiny of his surroundings into marks on a surface.
Three-person show pulls up just short of absolute abstract.
In a career that spans nearly 70 years, figurative painter Philip Pearlstein challenged the art world by reintroducing realism into modernist art.
Lazily, I refer you to two great descriptions of Stanley Lewis' paintings by John Yau and Thaddeus
Radell. I could do it myself, but- they have done it so well.
Despite the fact that Lees works on paintings for as long as 30 years, they don’t appear overly precious. Instead, they seem human and vulnerable.
In 1994, the New York painter Jake Berthot, who died in 2014, relocated his home from the city to a house upstate. The move marked a transition from the geometric abstraction of his earlier career to figurative landscapes painted in response to his new environment.
Lewis’s tattered canvases and pasted over drawings mirror a world in need of constant upkeep and repair.
Can a painter accommodate sweeping views and minute detail in a single work, and do justice to both? Stanley Lewisis fearless and tireless in proving he can.
Whatever you think realism means, Rackstraw Downes is certainly some kind of realist— and, moreover, one whoseelective subject matter is landscape. That in itself suggests a quixotic temperament in an artist born in 1939 whose immediatecontemporaries include any number of abstract, Conceptual, and performance artists but few realists—at least of his stature.
Aftermath, Mia Westerlund Roosen’s fifth show with Betty Cuningham, is one of the sculptor’s most overtly political ventures, even if she has consistently advocated for feminist, environmental, and other topical issues over the years. Her perennial engagement with materials, objectness, and process continues to impress.
Sculpture Forum 32: Mia Westerlund Roosen's Aftermath at Betty Cuningham Gallery, NYC Led by Sculptor Garth Evans, and joined for the talk by guest critic and curator Karen Wilkin and Sculpture Forum regulars, sculptors Jock Ireland and Brandt Junceau, Sculpture Forum explores the work of Mia Westerlund Roosen at Betty Cuningham Gallery.
Dancing, mourning, celebrating, screaming, dying. They are all normal elements of human experience, and common themes reflected in art history. They’re also the raw material of Beverly McIver’s art practice, embodied by oil on canvas paintings that are both intensely personal and profoundly universal. Fifty works spanning more than two decades are featured in “Beverly McIver: Full Circle,” which is curated by Kim Boganey, director of Scottsdale Public Art. The survey lends significant insights into the artist’s explorations of portraiture, which centers around family, friends, and the artist herself. Meanwhile, it illuminates her use of portraiture to address race, gender, and the complexities of social and occupational identity.
One thing that comes across in the drawings of Rackstraw Downes is the austere, almost monastic life he has lived in order to make art.One thing that comes across in the drawings of Rackstraw Downes is the austere, almost monastic life he has lived in order to make art.
Rackstraw Downes’s stature as one of today’s most important “realist” painters is secure, but perhaps we can be excused for thinking of him as also a brilliant poet/engineer. During the past six decades, the paintings of the 82-year-old artist have combined, in unique fashion, a palette of quietly luminous color and an insistent drawing method that tends toward granular detail and wide-angle views. Having long ago discarded traditions of linear perspective and hierarchized forms, he records point-by-point the types of scenes that might seem unrecordable: landscapes, street scenes, and interiors so expansive they can be experienced only by turning the head.
There are two Rackstraw Downes in this remarkable show of 33 drawings and one oil on canvas. The range is huge, from 1975 until 2020, but with the bulk of the drawings made in 2020. Not exactly a retrospective, but enough of one for us to see two discrete phases in his career: his mature style and his late style.
Now on display at The Painting Center, the group exhibition titled “The Body in Question,” a phrase cheekily resonant of a coroner’s report, explores the body as a vessel for communicating experience through painting. Curators Ophir Agassi and Karen Wilkin have adroitly presented a diverse group of ten distinguished contemporary painters connected by their focus on the human figure. Collectively they cover a wide spectrum between clarity and ambiguity. But each piece tells a story with a figure that is living a life that the viewer can glimpse and share. Consequently, the show embraces and encourages empathy.
In this interview, conducted in May 2021 by the editor of the IFA Alumni Newsletter, Reva Wolf, PhD 1987, the well-known realist painter and writer Philip Pearlstein, MA 1955, discusses his time as a student at the IFA, how he became interested in art history, the portraits he painted of art historians who were afliated with the IFA, and the relationship between his work as a practicing artist and his study of art history, among other topics.
By Jessica Holmes
As a prodigy of figure painting who has devoted nearly 60 years to rendering the nude human form from life, Philip Pearlstein is well-versed in intimacy as a corollary of his work. However, during the long months of pandemic-enforced physical separation, Pearlstein was unable to invite models into his studio. Seeking an outlet, he turned to the many treasures he has accrued through 97 years of a sociable, cultivated, and well-traveled life. These accumulations of a lifetime became the subjects of the watercolor paintings now on view in I Love Mud, Pearlstein’s current exhibition at Betty Cuningham Gallery. The offbeat title of the show comes from the artist’s own observation that, upon surveying the artifacts, antiquities, and knickknacks that make up his vast and varied collection, he could only conclude that—based on the number of clay, terracotta, and other earthenware objects in his array—he must be especially fond of the substance.
By John Yau
The English-born painter Andrew Forge (1923–2002) could have continued along the respectable path that he had established for himself by 1950, when he started teaching painting and drawing at the Slade School in London. From 1964–70, he was head of the Department of Fine Art at Goldsmiths College and in 1971–72, he was a lecturer in the Department of Art at the University of Reading. In addition to teaching, he became a highly regarded writer on art and began exhibiting his observational paintings, which were well received by critics. In 1964, he had a 10-year retrospective at City Art Gallery, in Bristol, England.
By Andrew Shea
As a young painter in high school I became interested in Josef Albers, the Bauhaus artist and educator whose seminal color course, outlined in his 1963 book Interaction of Color, transformed the pedagogy of modern design in the second half of the twentieth century. Albers’s basic hypothesis, which he aimed to prove to his students and readers through one perceptual experiment after another, is that a color has no independent value, but rather is relative in the way that a musical tone is. What gives a B-flat its power is not its specific frequency but its harmonic, intervallic relationship to the other notes in a chord or melody. When it comes to making a picture, this slippery relativity can be maddening at times—try and mix up that tree trunk’s brownish-gray on your palette and watch it mutate into some ungodly splotch once it’s placed on the canvas—but it’s also a primary source of painting’s magic. Albers once likened his tinkering to alchemy: “I like to take a weak color and make it rich and beautiful by working on its neighbors. . . . Turning sand into gold, that’s my work and aim.”
The Critic's Notebook
By Andrew Shea
"'Forge’s paintings must be seen, in actuality. No reproduction, whether conventional or digital, no matter how technologically advanced, can capture their essential and distinctive qualities. And they must be studied for extended periods.'” Having spent an hour or so with the paintings last week, I can report that this is true."
The Critics Notebook
By Andrew Shea
"Looking as if they’ve been painted up, sanded down, rubbed into, scraped away, tossed about, kicked around, and painted up again (and again and again), John Lees’s paintings, on view now at Betty Cuningham Gallery on the Lower East Side, are unkempt to the extreme. Their surfaces often rudely emerge into our physical space in low relief—see the near lip of an old-timey, free-standing bathtub, worked on from 1972 to 2010. It’s an effect that could easily descend into gimmick, but in Lees’s hands the brunt physicality also leaves room for delicate vision."
"John Lees’s All-Too-Human Paintings"
By John Yau
"By repeatedly returning to the same motif, Lees attempts the impossible, which is to freeze a particular object, individual, or moment in time."
"One Question, One Answer: Greg Drasler"
By: Daniel Wiener
"Metaphorical depictions of construction sites and workers have inspired Greg Drasler’s paintings since the early 1980s. Accumulations of tools and objects populated his paintings, addressing the construction of identity. Crowds of men in hats along with the baggage paintings contained humor, nostalgia, and memory in ongoing assemblies of selves. Drasler describes his painting process as packing and re-packing an empty suitcase or painting the inside out."
"Greg Drasler: Crowded Places / Open Spaces at Betty Cuningham Gallery, in Dialogue with Greg Drasler"
By: Etty Yaniv
"Greg Drasler came to be a metaphorical figurative painter when he lost everything he owned in a fire in 1978, except for two paintings. At that moment he decided to focus exclusively on painting — he was a painter and painting would be everything he needed."
"Revealing "The Light Within": A Conversation with Beverly McIver"
By: Amy Funderburk
"Amid the pandemic and Black Lives Matter protests, artist Beverly McIver listened to her intuition. The lockdown afforded McIver unexpected painting time and the resulting works are ripe with emotion and truth telling."
"Philip Pearlstein: A Life in Art, From Student to Master"
By: Bill Syken
"Appearing in LIFE at age 17 gave Pearlstein a dose of notoriety, and he says it helped him graduate high school: “I got passing grades because I became famous for those images in LIFE magazine.”'
The Wonderfully Unsettling Paintings of Charles Garabedian
By: Caroline Liou
"Garabedian gave himself over to his instincts, pretensions, and mistakes, unafraid to explore and even embrace what others considered to be 'bad.'"
LA Art Scene During the Lockdown
by: Edward Goldman
"This morning, I received delightful news from LA Louver Gallery about its online exhibition, featuring the works of the well-known LA painter, Charles Garabedian (1923-2016). This exhibition, Charles Garabedian: Outside the Gates, is done in collaboration with Betty Cuningham Gallery in New York."
Naked truth: The evolution of Philip Pearlstein's nudes
By: Michael Abatemarco
"Pearlstein’s Resilience of the Real runs through July 3 at LewAllen Galleries. His painting style, in which the human figure is presented without any attempt at classical idealism or narrative, grew out of a unique period on the American art scene, when abstract expressionism was on the decline and new realism and pop art were burgeoning movements."
"I always work at home; the pandemic gives me a “time standing still” feeling which I like. I have been painting portraits from obituaries on poured plaster/acrylic plaques since the pandemic began. Once I decided to paint them, it was the most obvious thing that I could do. A tablet, a tomb, a memorial honoring someone I do not know painted as tenderly as I can. These plaster tablets, mostly 4”X5”, allow me to face the pandemic. I was hanging them on my wall, as I made them, but my 23-year-old daughter who is home with us found the wall too sad, so I set them up by my bedside." - Judy Glantzman
"Yale School of Art Mourns the Passing of William Bailey
Alumnus, Former Dean, and Kingman Brewster Professor Emeritus of Art"
"William “Bill” Bailey, the longtime educator and contemporary American painter known for his serene but austere still lifes featuring eggs and vessels of different shapes and sizes—as well as his female figures and landscapes drawn from memory and imagination—has died."
William Bailey, Modernist Figurative Painter, Dies at 89
By: William Grimes
"He swathed his nudes and still lifes of eggs, vases, bottles and bowls in a breathless, deceptively serene atmosphere heavy with mystery."
Philip Pearlstein: Nudes and Other Landscapes
By: William Corwin
"In Cuningham’s exhibition we see uncharacteristically traditional methods of composition seeping in via Pearlstein’s landscape subjects."
By: Canada Choate
"The exotic locations and scenarios portrayed in "Elsewhere" evinced the artist's continued commitment to the (fantasy) life of the mind, jumping as she does from sweet pastorals to historical turmoil."
Jake Berthot's Nowhere Land
By: David Carrier
"All that I saw were some small and medium-sized paintings, mostly very dark, almost indistinguishable. How could I review this show?"
Graham Nickson: Eye Level
By: Karen Wilkin
"The initial surprise of seeing a group of single heads by Nickson notwithstanding, the directness and material forthrightness of the recent portraits may have been their most striking quality."
Graham Nickson: Eye Level
By: Aimee Brown Price
"Is a physical likeness the manifestation of identity or is there something more?"
‘William Bailey: Looking Through Time’ Review: Realism Reimagined
By Andrew L. Shea
"While abstraction dominated the art world, the painter continued to make representational works drawn from his imagination that moved beyond the everyday or mundane."
Featured in the New Criterion's Critic's Notebook Weekly Recommendation:
"Now, Betty Cuningham’s small exhibition of oil studies and drawings—eight of which, never before exhibited, were completed while Porter was a visiting artist at Amherst College in 1969–70—is a lesson in Porter at his most unguarded." - Andrew Shea
Recently featured in the At the Galleries section:
"Eight small oil studies exemplify the urbane nonchalance of this American painter, who was also an influential art critic. Made near the end of his life, while Porter was teaching at Amherst College (he died in 1975, at the age of sixty-eight), the canvases concisely capture his New England environs." - Johanna Fateman
A segment titled, Bill Traylor: The Imaginative Art of a Freed Slave, aired on the acclaimed morning show on Sunday, April 7, 2019.
This Saturday, William Bailey reveals studio secrets in a conversation at the Gallery with Jennifer Samet.
The painter’s show at Betty Cunningham Gallery is all worn bodies. Glantzman’s tireless mark making and worked sculptures of hands tell untold stories of lives lived and lessons learned. In truth, she’s only telling one story—her own—and the renderings are a form of self-portraiture. —Paddy Johnson, art expert
Born into slavery, Bill Traylor didn’t just paint, he left us a world
Indelible Impressions From 3 Shows in Washington.
The Painter of Everyday Life
Stanley Lewis finds a way to step aside and let the world become paint.
Rackstraw Downes: Paintings & Drawings
By Alfred Mac Adam
The critics notebook
Several works by Christopher Wilmarth are now on view in Approaching American Abstraction at San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.
New Publication: Alison Wilding By Jo Applin and Briony Fer Published by Lund Humphries First comprehensive account of the work of sculptor Alison Wilding
Philip Pearlstein is featured in Liquid Dreams, a group exhibition at Ghebaly Gallery in Los Angeles, CA
Rackstraw Downes recipient of the Colby College Museum’s Award for Artistic Excellence. Photo By Dave Dostie.
Judy Glantzman was born in Long Island, NY and graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1978. She began exhibiting in the early 1980’s in the East Village art scene, at Civilian Warfare and Gracie Mansion. She followed with shows at BlumHelman and Hirschl & Adler Modern in the 1990’s and at Betty Cuningham Gallery for the past eight years. She had a 30 year retrospective at Dactyl Foundation in spring 2009. Glantzman was a Painting instructor at the Rhode Island School of Design and part of the drawing faculty at the New York Studio School.
Mia Westerlund Roosen 2017 Award Winner Anonymous Was A Woman in Sculpture
Summer Comes to a Close in Paintings of a Modern Arcadia By Karen Wilken
Art professor Beverly McIver is the 2017-18 winner of the Joseph H. Hazen Rome Prize from the American Academy in Rome.
McIver, a contemporary American artist, is the Esbenshade Professor of the Practice in Duke's Department of Art, Art History and Visual Studies. She is among a group of talented Italian and American artists, scholars, writers and composers to be honored by the academy.
Dear Friends and Colleagues,
I am pleased to announce that Tibor de Nagy Gallery, under the leadership of Andrew Arnot, will be joining us on the Lower East Side to share our two spaces here on Rivington Street. The two Galleries will maintain their individual programs and operate under the names of Betty Cuningham Gallery and Tibor de Nagy Gallery. Each Gallery will continue to have a full season of exhibitions, alternating between the two spaces.
The art world has changed, no doubt, since I first opened Cuningham Ward in 1972 - but my commitment has not. This new association will allow us to continue presenting the same high level programming that the Gallery has long supported by offering us a greater opportunity to concentrate on the artists and estates to whom we are deeply committed.
I look forward to seeing you on Rivington Street,
Smart Talk is a daily, live, interactive program featuring conversations with newsmakers and experts in a variety of fields and exploring a wide range of issues and ideas, including the economy, politics, health care, education, culture, and the environment. Smart Talk airs live every week day at 9 a.m. on WITF’s 89.5 and 93.3.
Listen to Smart Talk live online from 9-10 a.m. weekdays and at 7 p.m. (Repeat of 9 a.m. program)
Host: Scott LaMar
Andrew Forge Well, it’s a long story… As you know, since I started working with dots I’ve been very interested in the way in which the dot itself seems to invite different doings, in a sense. You want to look at them close, you want to see what the dots are doing when you got your nose stuck in them, then you want to stand back and see what they do at a distance… .
A conversation about the work of Rudolf de Crignis.
On Veiw Through December 22, 2016
These 14 paintings—six on canvas and eight works on paper, all from the mid 1990s—are as stunning and refined as minimalism can be—and as deceptively complex. Rudolf de Crignis, who died in 2005, was a Swiss-born artist who began his career in performance and video, and aspects of both make themselves felt, barely perceptibly, in his paintings and drawings.
“Hello and Goodbye, Francis Picabia”
By Philip Pearlstein
One of the prime movers of modern art is subject of a major retrospective at the Guggenheim; here an American painter tells how he first studied Picabia, felt liberated by his vanguard ideas, and finally rejected them
With the Museum of Modern Art in New York preparing to open a much-anticipated Francis Picabia retrospective on Monday, we turn back to the September 1970 issue of ARTnews, in which Philip Pearlstein wrote an essay about the artist. The Guggenheim Museum had staged a Picabia retrospective in that year (MoMA’s show, reviewed in these pages by Andrew Russeth, is the first the United States since then), and Pearlstein took this article as an opportunity to pen a love letter to the artist. Pearlstein’s piece follows in full below. For more articles about Picabia from the ARTnews archives, consult the Retrospective that appears in our Fall 2016 issue.
Please find a press release from the Morgan Library & Museum regarding a recent gift of a collection of World War II drawings by Philip Pearlstein. Click the Morgan Library's link to PDF below.
Convoluted landscapes and interiors and the threshold between them, Stanley Lewis’s carefully investigated drawings stun. The larger show at NYSS also includes several paintings that track Impressionist perceptual color-light, while tonality in Lewis’s drawings, emanating from lines that amass into textures, approaches expressionism. Lewis follows Giacometti’s emotive inroads with more pleasure than doubt, his searching stabilized both by perspectival logic and moments of detail. Closely viewed, vision opens toward the experiential fields of Abstract Expressionism.
This would be an intriguing show no matter who the artist: in 1943 a young American is drafted and spends three years serving in World War II; throughout the entire time, he records his experience in dozens of drawings and watercolors. The fact that the young man in question is now the major figure painter Philip Pearlstein (who is still going strong at 92) makes the show all the more compelling.
In 11th grade the young Pearlstein had won first prize in both the oil painting and watercolor sections of the National Scholastic High School Contest. His paintings were reproduced in full color in Life magazine. A couple of years later Pearlstein took his copy of Life with him when he reported for duty—evidence that he might be better employed as a sign painter than a frontline infantryman.
The little pictures that make up this exhibition document Pearlstein’s time in training camps in the United States, aboard troop ships crossing the Atlantic, and as a G.I. in occupied Italy. Occasionally, they provide hints of the artistic personality that would blossom in his work from the 1960s onward. There are even a few of them—like the 1943 group of studies of Soldiers Resting, for example—that look forward to the foreshortened prone figures with their splayed and overlapping limbs that characterize his best known work, though of course no naked women appear among his wartime subjects.
Featuring drawings from the 1940s by the revered realist painter Philip Pearlstein, “WWII Captured on Paper” manifests as a stunning historic document. Made from observation and personal experience, the works tell of the physical and emotional realities of a G.I. in an infantry replacement unit during the Second World War.
Pearlstein recalls: “During my freshman year at Carnegie, most of the male student body took the introduction to military training [ROTC] instead of gym, and at the end of the school year, in June 1943, we all met at Fort Meade, Maryland. After being interviewed, all of my friends were assigned to the Signal Corps.” Already recognized for his artistic talent, Pearlstein was able to avoid the same fate, perhaps saving his life. In the National Scholastic High School Art Contest, he had been awarded first and second prize for two paintings that were subsequently featured in the July 16, 1941 issue of Life magazine.
“On instinct, I had taken a copy of the issue with me,” he explained, “and I showed it to the officer who interviewed me. He seemed impressed, but I was assigned to the Infantry rather than the Signal Corps, packed into a very crowded train, and sent to Fort McClellan, Alabama, where four months of violent physical activity, training in a very hot, sun-blinding summer, transformed me from a pudgy, non-athletic person into a surprisingly muscular G.I.”
The result manifests in “Stratocaster Suite,” a series of six luminous 70 x 400 inch oil-painted panels Drasler created for the show. Stretching across the length of a room, “Stratocaster Suite” is an ode to the open road.
Drasler is fond of metaphors. For instance, he once noted in an interview, “I think about the car as a camera, and painting as a vehicle.” But a vehicle for what? In a conversation, condensed and lightly edited below, Drasler expanded on this metaphor and other symbols contained within his work.
There is a small exhibition in memory of Charles Garabedian (1923 – 2016) currently at Sidecar, the adjoining annex space of Betty Cuningham Gallery on the Lower East Side. Consisting of one painting on each of the room’s three walls (the fourth is a large window facing the street), it’s a quick reminder of the long life and prolific output of a Los Angeles painter whose work was filled to bursting with light, color, and a ribald empathy for his fellow human beings.
In the introduction to an interview for Hyperallergic Weekend published the year before he died, Jennifer Samet captures Garabedian’s personality and influence in a single paragraph:
He stays above the fray throughout our conversation, telling the stories of the myths he loves and travel adventures with friends, rather than explaining the work or aesthetic decisions. “You are a humanist,” his wife Gwen calls out to him, when she hears us discussing his personal relationship to Greek tragedy. Garabedian is humble but ambitious; the figures in his paintings are monumental but gawky – relatable heroes and heroines. It is hard to imagine the work of Dana Schutz, Judith Linhares, and Francesco Clemente without Garabedian’s example, although Garabedian would never claim to lead any school; he is too busy with the challenges and fun of the daily work, even at age 91.
Minutes before seeing a collection of William Bailey’s meditative still-lifes and figure paintings, I heard, yet again, a series of small-minded and reckless comments by Donald Trump. How soul enriching to leave behind a sleazy Presidential candidate’s hate and hubris to be in the presence of a masterful artist’s refined vision and voice. Bailey’s exhibit at the Betty Cuningham Gallery provides a welcome respite from the kind of nasty energy and ideas Trump-like politicians spew–so different from the picture-perfect, yet unconventional, world to which Bailey transports us.
The American artist has pursued an independent path for more than 60 years. Here, he talks about his life and career, from his time in Italy during the second world war and his student days with Andy Warhol to his current practice
The market may have cooled but there’s still plenty to see at New York’s art fairs – not least a concerted turnout for African art at the Armory and a grown-up, but still fresh, Independent
The Art Show, organized by the Art Dealers Association of America (ADAA) at the Park Avenue Armory, has the fair theme down to a science. Rather than fatigue-inducing roundups of mixed artists, most galleries here are devoting their booths to solo presentations. There is a strong African-American presence this year, many historical shows and a number of concept exhibitions. Alongside these are what might be called the post-retrospective reminder: a gathering of works that follow on the heels of an important museum show. Here are highlights from the 72 exhibitors.
Today the heavy, wooden doors to the Park Avenue Armory opened to New York’s venerable Art Dealers Association of America (ADAA) fair — called the Art Show, for short — with more than 70 galleries touting wares from the 19th century to the present. Among all the events this week, the dealers here appear most posed to place their work upon the grand art-historical mantle, peddling canonical, though thoroughly market-tested artists.
In the spirit of not wanting to pit Modern against Contemporary, or group show against solo show, the Observer has decided to select the six paintings at this year’s ADAA/The Art Show that stood out among the rest. It was tough deciding, as this year’s fair is truly better and more diverse than ever.
We are sad to convey the news that artist Charles Garabedian died on February 11, 2016, at the age of 92. The cause of death was prostate cancer.
Pearlstein, Warhol, Cantor: From Carnegie Tech to New York,—featuring the work of three provocative artists—is as informative as it is pleasurable. As you enter the gallery you are faced with their ensemble photograph, taken on the front lawn of Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Tech in the late 1940s, the beginning of their lifelong friendship.
I'm not for a second accusing Warhol of anything close to plagiarism; his greatest talent, as I've said before, may have been his skill as a sponge, soaking up ideas and imagery that others threw away then turning them into vital parts of our culture. But Pearlstein does deserve some credit as spongee.
Like the fabled American nineteenth-century artist Albert Pinkham Ryder, John Lees often works on his paintings for years, even decades, overlaying the canvases with what the French call “couches” of pigment (a word relating to “couch” in English—to lay down on). And he modifies, eliminates, paints over, peers at, thinks about, thinks more about, changes again, scrapes, puts aside (facing the wall), looks at yet again, adds more paint to, further edits, revises, and so encrusts the surfaces in a richly heavy and sometimes bumpy or gravelly, sometimes willfully crude, scumbled textures that may glow with colors both luxuriant and subtle from beneath. So these paintings age with him.
In 1906 the critic Philip Hale remarked that he perceived a “fine insanity” in the work of Marsden Hartley, by which the artist took him to mean “a strong insistence upon the personal interpretations of the subjects chosen.” While Marsden might not be the first name to come to mind in viewing John Lees’ fourth solo exhibition at Betty Cuningham, Lees does harness his unequivocal mastery of paint into building images that speak of a similar, profound commitment to inner reflection.
In deceptively cheery colors, 91-year-old artist Charles Garabedianreimagines famous tales of woe from classical mythology, where murder, torture, and madness abound. “Sacrifice for the Fleet,” now at L.A. Louver, hosts a series of new and recent works born from the artist’s fascination with Greek literature, Biblical texts, and Armenian manuscripts (he is the son of Armenian refugees). A proponent of so-called “Bad Painting,” Garabedian’s paintings possess an illustrative quality, with raw figuration and garish hues.
John Lees’s hallmark obsession with his interior life is legendary. The twenty-seven works on view at Betty Cuningham Gallery are concrete examples of his introspective style; they are ponderous, blisteringly intense, and hyperspecific. While his obsessiveness may fuel a rich interior life, it has clearly come at a cost. He seems to have little time or energy left over to pursue that elusive possession of the comfortably successful artist: recognition.
In early November, clocks around here seem to slow down as fallen aspen leaves are plastered to the concrete and light snowfall hints at the winter to come. The empty streets do not profess a dearth of cultural offerings, though.
The Ah Haa School for the Arts has several offerings during the next month: most notably, the Telluride Painting School’s The Central Image Still Life, taught by acclaimed artist and professor John Lees over the course of two weeks, from Nov. 9-20.
If you've never seen works by Los Angeles based artist, Charles Garabedian, let me warn you before you step into LA Louver Gallery to see his latest exhibition. Garabedian's paintings and drawings illustrate dramatic and painful moments of Greek mythology and Christianity. And most of his characters are naked, frightened and rather ugly.
Rackstraw Downes’s mesmerizing urban landscapes of New York have been acquired and displayed for years by the city’s most influential museums. Yet the painter is decidedly in no rush to meet connoisseurs’ demands. Mr. Downes is celebrated, in fact, for never being in a rush. He takes an entire summer to complete a single oil painting of a street scene, working meticulously from first to final stroke. He paints seven days a week, weather permitting, to get at the plein-air truth of the city’s grit and glory.
LOS ANGELES — “I can barely remember doing all this,” Charles Garabedian says to me as he flips through the pages of his own museum exhibition catalog, which I have brought along. We are talking in his studio: a no-frills, large street-level space on West Washington Boulevard in Mid-City Los Angeles, with paintings on paper in progress, and endless marks and grids on tabletops and walls—remnants of four decades of painting there. “Well, this thing looks terrible,” Garabedian says, amused, looking at one image, “…but this is pretty good. I guess I’ve done a lot.”
“Pearlstein, Warhol, Cantor: From Pittsburgh to New York” at The Andy Warhol Museum feels a bit like a family gathering where you learn things about your relatives you hadn’t heard before. It’s a rare look into the career beginnings of two talented young artists who achieved considerable success in both commercial and fine arts, and an opportunity to discover another who later chose to apply her talents elsewhere.
THE BIG NEWS LAST SEASON WAS THE OPENING OF THE WHITNEY’S new home on Gansevoort Street, near the Hudson River, designed by the Renzo Piano Building Workshop. But there were also other attractions: sculpture exhibitions—abstract and figurative, current and historical— in the U.S. and Europe, as well as an equally wide-ranging, less geographically dispersed group of painting shows. The sculpture exhibits ranged from Vincent Barré’s recent works in France, to Robert Taplin’s witty narratives in Philadelphia, to Anthony Caro’s steel constructions from the 1960s in Los Angeles; the painting exhibits included abstractions by Thomas Nozkowski, Atta Kwami, and Larry Poons, landscapes by Julian Hatton and Graham Nickson, and an engaging, odd-ball installation by Summer Wheat, all in New York. First: the Whitney. The consensus is that Piano got it right. The entrance to the museum, both from the street and inside the generous lobby—or as Piano calls it, “the piazza”—is welcoming, the relation to the High Line is appealing, and the way the building responds to the once gritty neighborhood without calling too much attention to itself is a welcome change from most of what has been erected nearby. The old buildings of the former Meatpacking District, with their deep canopies, still dominate as we approach, testimony to the neighborhood’s recent past, even though the shop fronts are now full of chic clothing instead of sides of beef.
Painter David Carbone explores the affinities between painter and composer provoked by visiting Forge’s show at Betty Cuningham this summer (June 4 to August 14, 2015) and hearing Feldman’s Neither at New York City Opera several years earlier.
In 1949, two young, aspiring artists, Philip Pearlstein and Andy Warhol, bought bus tickets out of Pittsburgh. They arrived in New York with a few shopping bags stuffed with clothes, art supplies, and little else. This summer, the Andy Warhol Museum tracks the friendship and flight of the two painters, along with fellow classmate Dorothy Cantor, from their industrial hometown to the lodestar of the 1950s art world. Through paintings and drawings—bolstered by a bewitching cache of ephemera including photos of the friends painting in class or lounging on the beach—“Pearlstein, Warhol, Cantor: From Pittsburgh to New York” balances the legacies of three artists who, in the end, followed distinctly different trajectories.
McIver, Esbenshade Professor of the Practice in Studio Arts in Duke's Art History and Visual Studies department, just finished teaching her first semester at Duke. She has gathered accolades including being named as one of the 2011's "Top Ten in Painting" by Art in America and has had her work reviewed by the New York Times. She was featured in an HBO documentary entitled "Raising Renee," which chronicles her experiences taking care of her older sister, who has a mental disability, as McIver's art career grew. The Chronicle spoke with Professor McIver to discuss her artistic inspiration, her experience at Duke and her recent trip to Cuba.
‘Outsider’ work is finally being welcomed into major institutions, but the sense of difference with which we used to approach it might offer valuable lessons in how to look at all art.
Rackstraw Downes work is featured on the cover.
Over forty years ago, the moment Graham Nickson arrived in Italy to paint as a recipient of the Rome Prize, his car was burglarized of his supplies and preparatory work. With nothing to go on, he climbed on to the roof of the American Academy and began to paint the sunset. Nickson has been painting this way ever since, daring to capture nature’s chroma in watercolor and oil. Now for his first exhibition at Betty Cuningham Gallery, recently relocated from Chelsea to the Lower East Side, twenty-four watercolors of his “experience of coming dawn or falling dusk” are matched with a single, monumental oil on canvas, nine by twelve feet, called Tree of Birds (2014).4 In this latest large work depicting a mountain in Australia, rain clouds blot out the sun. The weather presses down. Birds gather and flap around a tree. As I wrote in 2011, Nickson is “heir apparent to the early American modernists Charles Burchfield and Arthur Dove, with synesthetic work that manages to both radiate and rumble.” This latest painting shows nature guiding his brush with an increasing animistic force. For a painter of the sun, Nickson’s greatest power may be in the shadows.
The University of California, Davis, is honoring Betty Jean and Wayne Thiebaud by naming a new lecture series for them. The first lecture will be delivered by artist Rackstraw Downes, a MacArthur Foundation fellow, in May.
Five Points Gallery in Torrington Connecticut is announcing their upcoming show. Featuring Mia Westerlund Roosen with Kim Sobel.
The list has a total of 407 artists and groups, and includes a fairly thrilling range of people, from Bill Traylor to Florine Stettheimer to Jordan Wolfson. Asco? The Whitney’s got it.
I’ve been following the evolution of Glenn Goldberg as a painter since I was exposed to his work in 1986. It was on the occasion of his recent exhibit All Day at Betty Cuningham Gallery (February 28 – April 4, 2015), in cooperation with Jason McCoy Gallery, that I was finally able to view his latest output, and to sit down with him afterwards on-site to catch up and discuss his work, and more.
The Andy Warhol Museum presents Pearlstein, Warhol, Cantor: From Pittsburgh to New York, the first exhibition to explore the work of Philip Pearlstein, Andy Warhol, and Dorothy Cantor as students at Carnegie Tech (now Carnegie Mellon University), and as young artists breaking into the New York Art World in the early 1950s. This early period was one of close association between Warhol and Pearlstein as they were fellow students, roommates in New York, and enthusiastic artists working in commercial illustration. Cantor, one year behind them in school, was equally pursuing her work, but left her practice to start a family with Pearlstein.
Entering the Castle Gallery at the College of New Rochelle, visitors encounter an arrangement of cherry blossoms in a glass vase. At least that’s what it appears to be. Closer observation reveals that the branch holding the flowers is actually a segment of plumbing pipe and that each delicate bud is a tiny pink toilet made of urethane foam.
Six Paintings, Six Decades
February 27 – May 11, 2014
National Academy Museum
1083 Fifth Avenue
Opening Reception: February 26, 6 PM
(RSVP to email@example.com or call 212.369.4880 x215)
Andrew Forge was an influential painter and teacher for years at Yale among other places. His influence was formative for me and I know for many others as well. An ideal tribute to his memory would be a sprawling museum show of his work and the work of artists he influenced, since that's not in my power; I reached out to artists who have generously shared their memories and work below. If you're in New York this December, you can see a couple of Andrew's paintings as they demand to be seen, in the flesh, at The Betty Cuningham Gallery The show is called, "It's Magic!" a group exhibition of works by Andrew Forge, William Bailey, Rackstraw Downes, Jake Berthot, Forrest Bess, Alfonso Fratteggiani Bianchi, John Elderfield, Alison Wilding, and Christopher Wilmarth, December 10 - January 10, 2015 with an opening reception on Saturday, December 13th from 4 -7 pm.
Artist Stanley Lewis has won the "2014 National Academy Award for Excellence", due to his participation in the Academy's "Annual 2014: Redefining Tradition." A comprehensive showcase of contemporary art and architecture which features work by National Academicians and artists alike.
Beverly McIver to join Duke university’s Art history & Visual Studies department as the Ebenshade Professor of the Practice in Studio Arts.
Current exhibit of Stanley Lewis reviewed by ArtCrtical.
"Stanley Lewis’s work is the obverse of what one might think of as a downtown aesthetic. His paintings and drawings, now on view at Betty Cuningham’s new Lower East Side home, carry a real one-two punch. Here are deliberately..." - David Carbone
A video by Ben Tudhope, featuring Stanley Lewis. Presented in conjunction with See It Loud: Seven Post-War American Painters, on view at the National Academy Museum from September 26, 2013 to January 26, 2014.
Rackstraw Downes Nature and Art are Physical: A Reading At the New York Studio School April 8, 2014 The artist will read from his newly published book Nature and Art are Physical: Writings on Art,1967-2008 (Edgewise Press, 2014). Recipient of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, 2009, and the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship, 1998. Inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters, 1999. Represented in major collections throughout the United States, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY; the Hirshhorn Museum, Washington, DC; and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Represented by Betty Cuningham Gallery, Downes lives and works in New York City and Presidio, TX. Lectures begin at 6:30, lectures are free and open to the public. Seating may be limited. 8 W 8th street, NYC
William Bailey’s current exhibition at the Betty Cuningham Gallery in Chelsea covers a lot of ground. Although it emphasizes recent paintings created both in the U.S. and in Umbria, it also includes works made in 1963 and 1977. Examples of Bailey’s methodically burnished still-life paintings are on view alongside his serenely elegant figure paintings.
WOMEN CHOOSE WOMEN AGAIN
Visual Arts Center of New Jersey
Main Gallery, Mitzi & Warren Eisenberg Gallery, and Studio X
January 17 - April 13, 2014
Co-curated by Mary Birmingham and Katherine Murdock
Visual Arts Center of New Jersey
68 Elm Street, Summit, NJ 07901
February 9 - May 11, 2014
His graphite seems enchanted: the simultaneous embrace of two-dimensionality and rejection of linear perspective unfolds sentiment without sentimentality; the merest quaver of a line conjures up droll hens and truculent couples, while poster paint explodes across the cardboard canvases in puffs of citrine and Prussian blue.
Bill Traylor’s talent surfaced suddenly in 1939 when he was 85 and had 10 years to live. By then he had left the plantation in southern Alabama where he had been born a slave in 1854, and, after Emancipation, scratched out a living as a sharecropper. He moved to Montgomery, the state capital, where he slept on a pallet in the back room of a funeral parlor and spent his days sitting on a wood box watching the world go by on Monroe Street, the center of the city’s lively black district.
A CONVERSATION: JUDY GLANTZMAN by New American Paintings
May 15, 2013, 8:30 am
Filed under: Interview | Tags: A Conversation, Arthur Pena, Judy Glantzman
To know Judy, a wonderful and generous artist and teacher, one has to reconcile her kind spirit with her absolutely gruesome work. Body parts, heads (so many heads!) and objects of destruction are rife throughout her recent solo show at Betty Cunningham Gallery. Glantzman’s raw imagery, what Peter Plagens of the Wall Street Journal called “studenty” (a term Glantzman enjoys) is tough to deal with. Addressing her personal relationship to the idea of war while pulling from the works of Goya and Picasso, Glantzman “orchestrated” over 200 pieces for the viewer to work through, a feat for both sides. After mounting her show and while commuting between Providence and New York, Glantzman and I had a conversation. - Arthur Peña, Dallas Contributor
I love it when established artists start something new. After seeing Pablo Picasso's Guernica for the first time three years ago, Judy Glantzman began moving away from the introspective self-portraits she had been making for many years toward a less self-engaged exploration of the devastation caused by war. Determined that she was done with psychological self examination, Glantzman set out to develop a new, more outward-looking visual language. Here are images of a sprawling, roughly hung exhibition at Betty Cuningham in which Glantzman presents powerful work from her ongoing series.
Walking into my favorite gallery can be like stepping into grandma’s kitchen when the oven’s on. Something’s cooking, I don’t know what it is, but chances are I’m going to like it. In New York, I depend on a dozen or so galleries for such comfort food. These are the galleries that know what I want before I want it.
The geographies vary—from Chelsea, to SoHo, to the Upper East Side—but the consistency of vision and the strength of personality keep these galleries on the tip of my tongue and in the front of my mind. From the rank novice to the seasoned expert, the secret of the gallery scene is to find places you like and to stick with them. What follows are three of my personal favorites.
Coming as I do from London, where the sidewalks are called “pavements” and are made of neatly joined, level flagstones, the roughly poured, broken, unpatterned concrete that one walks on in New York is always affecting. My sense of the whole city is colored by that thin, random seeming covering, a mere temporary shell thrown over the sand and mud which the ancient rocks that jut out of the grass in Central Park seem savagely to ignore. These fissured, pitted sidewalks are treacherous. I keep my eyes down. At the same time I am surrounded by buildings and an ever‐changing panorama of reflections. Clouds and sunlight are inverted below the skyline. Roads of light open between the buildings. I am in a state of constant tension between up and down. The juxtaposition throws up a wholly unfamiliar view of man’s works. And an unfamiliar view of myself. The city seems open, provisional, the luxurious and ramshackle upshot of certain freedoms which, in my European experience, are nothing but states of mind, or longing, and have no material presence – unless perhaps in childhood memories of treehouses, dammed streams, and improvised blockhouses under the kitchen table.