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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… .
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 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.
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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
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
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.