Weekend report: Casualism's heredity, visit to The Brooklyn Museum,Museum Hours, studio update

At Hyperallergic, Thomas Micchelli still has Casualism on the brain. In his excellent review of “Reinventing Abstraction,” an exhibition of 1980s abstract painting curated by Raphael Rubinstein, Micchelli suggests that “the genome of this generation of post-minimal abstractionists, who were born between 1939 and 1949, is embedded in the Provisional/Casual DNA,” and he’s absolutely right. I’ll be writing about the exhibition myself later this week. (Image above: Jonathan Lasker, Double Play, 1987, oil on linen, 76 x 100 inches. Courtesy of Cheim & Read)…


In Dennis Kardon‘s Art in America review of the recent Caroll Dunham show at Gladstone, I almost missed this provocative last line: “What finally elevates these paintings is Dunham�s interrogation and uneasy embrace of willful pictorial decision-making. Dunham directly challenges high painting�s prevailing dogma of wimpy indifference, arbitrariness and accident, and dares to insist it is time to move on.” Hmm. Not so sure about that. Let’s discuss.


I finally went to The Brooklyn Museum to see “Gravity and Grace,” the stunning El Anatsui exhibition that’s up through August 4, and I was pleased to find work by several Brooklyn artists on display as well, including projects by Caitlin Cherry, Mike Ballou, and Valerie Hegarty. Unknown to the throngs of summer tourists flocking to MoMA and the Met, The Brooklyn Museum is relatively quiet–sort of like urban museums used to be back in the day. I highly recommend a visit. (Image above: Caitlin Cherry American, b. 1987. Dual-Capable Catapult Artcraft “Your Last Supper, Sucker,” 2013, oil on canvas with wood and rope construction, 72 x 96 x 120 inches.


Film Pick: Museum Hours 
In this witty and meditative film, a lonely museum guard at the Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien befriends a Canadian woman who’s in Vienna to care for her comatose cousin. American filmmaker Jem Cohen uses the museum’s astounding collection of work by Pieter Bruegel the Elder to tell a compelling story that ponders how art is conjured from everyday life. A spellbinding art history lesson, the film even has an amusing docent lecture about Bruegel’s Conversion of St. Paul.


Studio update

In the studio, I put together a maquette and started planning for my upcoming show.  Of course after I made tiny linen paintings and arranged tiny books on a little foamcore shelf, I wanted to make paintings of the maquette. Here it is in front of the HVAC units outside my window at the Elizabeth Foundation.

Related posts:
Questions for Casualists  (2013)
Painters as storytellers: The Mill and The Cross (2011)


  1. I love that term, Casualism, I equate it with being cool and laid back, but as we all know cool and casual is a studied effect often keeping company with its evil twin obsession and anxiety. We all want it, but there's the rub, passion and caring is not casual. It's a slippery slope being fresh and spontaneous, Studied and precise are sometimes easier because you know the game plan and can just check out while playing. I of course love the casualists but am not sold on "What me worry."
    Joanne Freeman

  2. I have a lifetime of learning yet to do concerning abstraction, but to me it seems that abstraction is much more situated in a thought or an attitude – which are both conditions which change and yet remain fixed over time. I hate to sound like a die hard modernist, but abstraction does seem to capture the pinnacle of something in art, so it will always be hard for me to move beyond. As far as casualism goes, its been around since art povera, so it just seems lik another valid form of abstraction to me – nothing really new just another revision with a bit differen attitude. I love that movie clip as well and teh new work mock-up looks great! Awesome Post!

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