UES: Rudolf Stingel, Alex Katz, Jane Kent, David Storey, Richard Diebenkorn

Long, long ago, when paint-on-canvas art making was deemed irrelevant, painters began exploring experimental processes to make painting-like wall pieces that might wrest the conversation away from “new media” back toward object-making. One such artist is Rudolf Stingel. Nahmad Contemporary presents some of Stingel’s 2001-03 Styrofoam and Celotex Tuff-R panels that were created during installations and performances at the Fran�ois Pinault Foundation, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and the 2003 Venice Biennale.

[Image at top: Rudolf Stingel, Celotex panel, detail.]

 Rudolf Stingel

Throughout this period, Stingel used destructive processes like chemical melting, tearing, gouging, and scraping. He covered entire rooms with Celotex Tuff-R, a type of insulation panel covered in reflective material, and then he let visitors, who could see their blurry reflections in the mirror-like finish, draw, write, and deface them. Lucio Fontana’s slashed canvases, Arte Povera artists’ use of industrial materials, and the graffiti-like mark-making of Jean Dubuffet and Cy Twombly are some of the references cited in Stingel’s press materials.

Rudolf Stingel

For his Styrofoam pieces (image above), Stingel put the large panels on the floor, soaked his boots in chemicals, and walked across them, leaving a path of oozy destruction where the chemicals ate away the Styrofoam. Sometimes he glued other pieces on top. In contrast to the Ab-Ex generation, Stingel saw himself as an anti-hero, turning ordinary materials and a mundane act into unexpected art. Unfortunately, I kept thinking that the gallery looked like a film set for a Ben Stiller satire about art world pretentiousness.

 Rudolf Stingel, installation view.

Alex Katz
At the Met, I saw the first painting Alex Katz made of his wife Ada. Oil on masonite, this beauty was painted in 1957 before Katz had fully developed the austere figurative style for which he is known. Katz married Ada in 1958, and over the years he has painted more than 250 canvases of her. This one is on view in “Alex Katz at the Met,” through June 26.

Nearby at CG Boerner on East 73rd Street, “Jane Kent and David Storey: Intimate Works,” a charming show of paintings, drawings, and prints just closed, but here are a few images.

Jane Kent, gouache on mezzotint printed ground, 23 1/2 x 17 1/2 inches.

David Storey, The Pipes, oil on canvas, 8 x 10 x 3/4 inches.

David Storey, Visionary, oil on canvas, 14 x 11 x 3/4 inches.

 David Storey, installation view

Jane Kent, installation view.

In the same cozy brownstone, Van Doren Waxter has an exhibition of Diebenkorn gouache and ink abstractions from 1949-55, some of which I liked very much.
Richard Diebenkorn, Untitled, c. 1949-55, gouache and graphite on paper, 11 1/2 x 10 inches.

Richard Diebenkorn, installation view.
Richard Diebenkorn

Richard Diebenkorn
Diebenkorn believed that painting should be difficult, and in many of these works on paper he goes too far, but there are some less overworked gems to love. For die-hard Diebenkorn fans, this show is must-see–much of the work has never been on display before. 

 “Rudolf Stingel: 2001-03,” Nahmad Contemporary, New York, NY. Through January 23, 2016.
“Alex Katz at the Met,” Metropolitan Museum, New York, NY. Through June 26, 2016.
Jane Kent and David Storey: Intimate Works,” CG Boerner, New York, NY. Through January 15, 2016. 
Richard Diebenkorn: Early Color Abstractions 1949-55,” Van Doren Waxter, New York, NY. Through March 5, 2016. Featuring a fully illustrated exhibition catalog, with an introductory essay by Mark Lavatelli. The exhibition will also be featured as part of Master Drawings New York, January 23-30, 2016 during which Professor Lavatelli will lead a walk through on Saturday, January 23 at 4pm.

Related posts:
Wrangling over Rudolf Stingel
Jane Kent: Unfolded forms, evocative shapes
Richard Diebenkorn and Habitat for Artists at the Corcoran


Two Coats of Paint is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution – Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. To use content beyond the scope of this license, permission is required.


  1. "…a film set for a Ben Stiller satire about art world pretentiousness.". What?

  2. Yeah, I get that feeling, too, Sharon. I totally love these Stingel's panels …..but maybe to the rest of the world we all look like idiots?

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *