Contributed by Margaret McCann / Louis Fratino’s paintings in “In bed and abroad” at Sikkema Jenkins depict varied social situations, from intimate scenes to foreign climes. Snapshots of memories, many from Italy, read like a travel diary. In Duomo, light seems to dissolve a church façade into a gossamer veil, like Monet’s series of Rouen. Milan’s iconic gothic cathedral is strikingly illuminated, as are most monuments in Italy at night. Silhouetted throngs of young people in front of it have gathered after their evening stroll to aid digestion, take in the sumptuous surroundings, and see what’s happening in the local piazza. This saunter or “passegiata” is also “a walk in the park,” and the painting’s mellifluous drama demonstrates Fratino’s impressive facility, as it captures the Italian relish of visual and other small pleasures, which Americans often mistake for sunny dispositions (see Fellini’s La Dolce Vita).
Contributed by Adam Simon / Sometime in the early 1980s, a mural appeared on West Broadway between Spring and Broome streets in New York City, declaring in multi-colored capital letters, “I Am The Best Artist” signed, René. This, and other versions of the mural, were generally considered an embarrassment in the local artist community. I thought the mural, by René Moncada, was an interestingly unsubtle parody of artists’ competition and quest for uniqueness. I thought of this mural while viewing David Diao’s solo exhibition, On Barnett Newman, 1991-2023, on view at Greene Naftali. The exhibition comprises twelve paintings dedicated to the work of another painter, including works that look like an archivist’s inventory.
Contributed by Jonathan Stevenson / Instability hovers on several fronts – environmental, political, economic – and German filmmaker Christian Petzold manifests his concern about it with remarkable astuteness. For the haunting Transit (2018), he filmed characters with new-fangled accessories in black-and-white as they sought escape from a port in a nameless fascist state, seamlessly casting the shadow of Second World War trauma over the present day. In his new film Afire, which won the Silver Bear Grand Jury Prize at the Berlin Film Festival, he zeroes in on narcissism in a time that demands community.
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Contributed by Natasha Sweeten / You might consider the title of Colin Brant’s quietly inspiring exhibition “Mountains Like Rivers,” currently on view at Platform Project Space, an invitation to a world flipped on its end: what’s inherently solid becomes liquid, what’s up is now down. You would not be entirely wrong. Indeed, in Lake Louise/Poppies, the eponymous body of water mirrors the snowy, majestic range that anchors the painting. Red and yellow poppies in the foreground form a joyous tassel punctuating the band of blue, their stems waving like the arms of children eager to be called on.
Contributed by David Carrier / Emilio Vedova (1919–2006), who lived and worked in Venice, was once aptly dubbed the Jackson Pollock of the barricades. Employing that American painter’s gestural technique, Vedova made political art. “Rivoluzione Vedova” – “Revolution Vedova” – is an appreciative retrospective of his work on the third floor of the spacious M9 Museum of the 20th Century in Mestre, a very short train ride from Venice.
What’s up outside the city? At Jack Shainman The School in Kinderhook, take some time at the sprawling installation by Meleko Mokgosi, co-director of Graduate Studies in Painting/Printmaking at Yale. Employing a range of media dense with meaningful images and ideas, the show explores the theme of subjugation. Also in Kinderhook, stop by SEPTEMBER for “Of Waves,” a two-person abstraction exhibition featuring London-based Jane Bustin and Hudson Valley-based Anne Lindberg. The two painters investigate the things we can feel but can’t see or touch. Carrie Haddid has an elegant group landscape show called “Vanishing Point.” Also in a landscape mode but perhaps less somber is Mary Breneman’s bold landscapes at D’Arcy Simpson, which recall Marsden Hartley’s paintings of Maine. On view at Pamela Salisbury are Kozloff’s maps and a group show of work inspired by books as well as Robin Hill’s rustic-industrial sculptures.
At LABspace, Julie and Ellen have put together another fine “Holiday” sampler exhibition featuring hundreds of small works by notable artists from the Hudson Valley, Brooklyn, and beyond. Front Room Gallery and Buster Levi too offer group shows of work that would be perfect for heirloom gift-giving.
In Chatham, at Joyce Goldstein, don’t miss “Horizon Line.” Curated by Susan Jennings and David Humphrey, this will be the last show at the gallery unless someone steps up to take over the lease.
Take a look below, as there is a lot more worth checking out. Note that the Guide now includes selected listings for galleries in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New Jersey. Welcome to the Two Coats Selected Gallery Guide!
Contributed by Barbara A. MacAdam / In his solo show “Shiner” at Peter Freeman, Inc., Charles LeDray continues to frolic in his own past, fixing memories and cultural landmarks in tightly condensed, shrunken garments sewn up and assembled into sculptures, and in self-constructed objects turned on a potter’s wheel. He thus creates a home in which he is master and exercises total control over how the artifacts of his life are perceived. He draws our attention to miniscule objects, thereby empowering them. Welcome, then, to a Lilliputian jamboree, in which little people are at once quarries and intriguers.
Contributed by Heather Drayzen / “Superseed,” Hannah Antalek’s debut NYC solo exhibition at 5-50 gallery in Long Island City, draws on our species’ overall apathy about the environment. A surreal, dream-like sensibility informs a bio-luminescent vision of nature, cumulatively derived from dioramas she constructs from recyclable materials. She pulls us into a magical but also disconcerting world. Seminal Landing, the largest work, projects a haze of cobalt blue and violet that feels both subterranean and post-apocalyptic. Antalek’s signature “daisy dupe” swollen flowers are clustered together – glowing pearl yellows, tinged with pastel pink, in lilac shadows – as they reach towards twisting branches, dripping goo, and unexplained crystalline forms nestled around them.
Contributed by Fintan Boyle / A sense of serious satire has pervaded Nancy Davidson’s work for years, and it is on prominent display in her show “Braids Eggs and Legs: A Wandering,” installed in two large galleries at Catskill Art Space alongside Matt Nolen’s work. Davidson has long been a fan of morselized language and sundered bodies, which in theory would make her work fertile ground for the psychoanalytically inclined. Yet here she elides the sexual menace and violence that, say, Melanie Klein offers. Instead, she wanders, as her title announces.