Quick study: Abstraction is Queen

Picasso Black and White
at the Guggenheim includes loads of paintings I’ve never seen
before–even in reproduction. Featuring large, unpainted swaths and
urgent brushwork, the paintings look so fresh–as if they might have
been made in a Bushwick studio yesterday. Some of the reclining
figures from the 1960s reminded me of Philip Guston. Did they know each other? The show is up through January 23, 2013.

Pictured above:  Pablo Picasso, Seated Woman in an Armchair (Dora) (Femme assise dans un fauteuil [Dora]), Grands-Augustins, Paris, May 31, 1938.


At the NYTimes, Roberta Smith raves about “Inventing Abstraction: 1910-1925,” opening at MoMA on Sunday:

…�Inventing Abstraction� is itself a marvel
of a diagram, a creative circuitry variously visual, aural and kinetic,
whose radiating lines yield new sights and insights at every juncture.

At Hyperallergic, Thomas Micchelli reports that

An intriguing aspect of the show is how fluidly the multiple strains
of Modernism run together � Cubism, Vorticism, Futurism, Suprematism,
Dada and the rest. What they shared seems to matter much more than how
they differed, a point underscored by the sublime exhibition design. Simultaneously
open and intimate, the layout allows you to see a panorama of works
installed in different rooms, giving the impression that the artworks
are characters appearing in one grand opera rather than on discrete
stages, following their own narrative.

I can’t wait to see the show this week.

�Endless Column,� by Constantin Brancusi, and a wall of Kazimir Malevich paintings. Credit: Philip Greenberg for the NYTimes.

After I had a somewhat lengthy discussion on Twitter this morning with one of the guys from Abstract Critical in which I defended “unresolved” abstraction,  The Painted Wrd uploaded a post comparing Provisional Painting and New Casualism to pop music’s Kei$ha:

In thinking about the relationship
between pop music�s fascination with end times and life in post-crash
America, I couldn�t help thinking about the a similar rise in visibility
of abstract work concurrent with pop music�s �apocalyptic abandon.� In
the past two years, several critics attempted to theorize practices in
this very broad vein, most prominently Raphael Rubinstein and Sharon
Butler, whose respective terms of �Provisional Painting� and �The New Casualists�
focus on the unfinished appearance of such work. Butler describes this
tendency as �calculated tentativeness,� but I would like to propose the
opposite: what if we think of such work not as trying to look
incomplete, but as rejecting completion as a contemporarily relevant
state in a late capitalist society where instability and precariousness
reign? Here, even perfection won�t help you get a job, and it certainly
won�t save you from getting laid off. In this view, we might think of
contemporary abstract painting more like music, and particularly dance
music: remixed and faded into the tracks before and after it such that
it never ends and becomes instead a perpetual experience of the present…. Read more.


Buy this book for your kids from MOMA’s online gift shop:

With eye-catching graphics and playful activities, this creative
sketchbook encourages would-be artists of all ages to look at the world
around them and express what they see. Inspiring and colorful, Make Art Mistakes creativity sketchbook will bring out the artist in anyone.

My rule of thumb is that we shouldn’t spend an inordinate amount of
time preparing for holidays. My limit is three times the length of the
event 🙂

And: Stay tuned for the 2012 Best-of post. 

Year-end roundup: The IMAGES column, 2011
Out with the old, or, Hello 2011 (a few upcoming exhibitions)
2009 Top Ten list for painters


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