Contributed by David Carrier / “Gatecrashers: The Rise of the Self-Taught Artist in America” at the Westmoreland Museum of American Art focuses on the pre-Clement Greenberg American art world – before Abstract Expressionism had triumphed, before the high-pressure commercial gallery system had been established, before American painters self-consciously sought to extend the traditions of European modernism, before they assumed the burden of building on Impressionism, Post-Impressionism, and Cubism. Yet it’s important not to exaggerate that admitted hinge-point in art history. In the 1930s, prominent art dealers like Sidney Janis championed some of the outsider cadre as heartily as he would young Abstract Expressionists, and New York galleries hung their work as well as that of future American art stars they would later fete.
Tag: David Carrier
Lucian Freud, authentic modernist
Contributed by David Carrier / The National Gallery’s retrospective celebrating the centenary of Lucian Freud’s birth is first exhibition of his work in a museum of historical art. Freud himself was very familiar with The National Gallery. As the catalogue says, he thought of it “as a doctor to whom, as an artist, one turned for help.” With more than 60 paintings on display, we get a full picture of his career.
Spencer Finch’s dazzling originality
Contributed by David Carrier / Spencer Finch’s new and recent work at Hill Art Foundation in Chelsea are set in dialogue with The Creation and the Expulsion from Paradise, a magnificent 1533 stained-glass window by Renaissance master Valentin Bousch. “Lux and Lumen,” the exhibition’s title, comes from Abbot Suger of the cathedral at Saint-Denis, who praised the power of stained glass to transform natural light, or lux, into sacred light, or lumen. Inspired by that medieval idea, and by his visit to Claude Monet’s pond and garden at Giverny, Finch’s Painting Air, an immersive hanging-glass installation, is a dramatic visual essay on light.
Lisa Corinne Davis and Shirley Kaneda: Different strokes
Contributed by David Carrier / In the charming traditional galleries of the Studio School, Shirley Kaneda displays six large, vertically-oriented acrylic paintings. Lisa Corinne Davis presents seven oil works of various sizes. Where Kaneda organizes her pictures with playful vertical stripes of high-pitched pale blue or pink, Davis’ pictures are based on grids, disrupted to form swelling nets that enclose but do not entirely capture her forms, which are underneath. These bodies of work thus reveal two distinctly different strategies for pictorial composition. In traditional terms, Kaneda is a painterly artist, a colorist, while Davis works like a draftsperson, in a linear style. Art-historically speaking, if Kaneda renders exquisitely refined images reminiscent of Juan Gris or Sophie Tauber-Arp, Davis maps the structure of the city grid in ways that recall Julia Mehretu.