Contributed by Jonathan Stevenson / As the title “Blue Italian Skies Above” suggests, walking into the exhibition of Edith Schloss’s paintings now at Alexandre Gallery produces a kind of pastoral contentment. But don’t be fooled into thinking she was a shallow, acquiescent Pollyanna. Lurking in that casual lightness is a distinct quality of mortality and limitation.
Tag: Jonathan Stevenson
Contributed by Jonathan Stevenson / When an arthouse revisionist western directed by an Australian woman and starring an Englishman dominates the Oscar nominations, it�s safe to say that the pandemic has not severely compromised the quality or vision of cinema, even if it has skewed the structure of the business towards streaming platforms and away from brick-and-mortar theaters.With the usual caveats about inevitable bias and subjectivity, here, in alphabetical order, is a defensible Top Ten for 2021.
Contributed by Jonathan Stevenson / When the Minimalists were casting paintings as nothing more than value-free objects in the world and the Pop Artists were knocking them off their elitist pedestal, Vincent Smith (1929�2003) was stalwartly maintaining his belief in the form as a conveyor of social reality and, beyond that, an instrument of political assertion. With great substantive range and technical facility, he invested his throat-grabbingly expressionistic paintings of the urban vistas and signature characters of Harlem and Brooklyn � sixteen now on display at Alexandre Gallery on the Lower East Side � with the brimming emotion of the African American nation. He made the work in this exhibition between 1954 and 1972, so the varied subject-matter is perhaps expected. More remarkable is the potent through-line of his vision.
Contributed by Jonathan Stevenson / A clear strain in American letters celebrates the capacity of insouciant and unabashedly disreputable people to say things that matter by cutting through the flatulent smog that tends to enshroud orthodoxies. The Lost Generation had Ernest Hemingway, and Baby Boomers had Hunter S. Thompson and Dave Hickey, who passed away in November at 82. These guys particularly Thompson but undeniably Hemingway and Hickey as well showcased their disdain for convention and their embrace of the drunken and the stoned, the naughty and the down-and-out. But all three were dead serious about life and death, and that emerged in their work.
Restricted to her studio during lockdown and cut off from large spaces in which to create site-specific work, Lisa Hoke felt the need to fashion pieces that were more portable and more presumptively permanent. What resulted is a scintillating revelation.
Contributed by Jonathan Stevenson / Lockdown called for the safety and comfort of an inner sanctum, but that of course produced the urge for unmediated exposure to nature. In curating Nice to See You Again, now up at Underdonk in Bushwick, Leonora Loeb and Keisha Prioleau-Martin set about finding art that captured that virtuous tension. They have succeeded, presenting varied but thematically harmonious work by ten artists, each of them in some way conveying the hibernation and re-emergence implied in the exhibitions amiable but also multivalent title.
Contributed by Jonathan Stevenson / Painting is persistently and emphatically alive and well. Indeed, the notion that it is dead � or, more kindly, moribund � is so vapid and hidebound that merely saying that the notion is a clich� is itself a clich�. Yet in putting the lie to it one more time, the Bushwick gallery Transmitter�s succinctly penetrating group show �Material Mutations, part one: The Canvas� brings fresh insights in what might otherwise be an eye-rollingly redundant conversation.
Contributed by Jonathan Stevenson / If the Cold War suppressed heroism to the point where anti-heroes came to rule culture, the post-Cold War era may have engendered such disappointment in humankind as to elevate the thoughtful misanthrope to icon.
Contributed by Jonathan Stevenson / Sharp Edges, Ben Godwards mischievously minatory exhibition of sculpture at Slag Gallery, which owner and curator Irina Protopopescu has returned to Chelsea from Bushwick, combines his signature energy and a new urgency. Joyfully petulant color imparted a sidelong lan to his early urethane resin forms […]
Contributed by Jonathan Stevenson / The Outside Story, writer-director Casimir Nozkowskis agreeable feature debut, shapes up as a fairly typical indie shaggy-dog story: a mildly dissolute creative type finds himself in a mildly humorous jam that resolves itself over the course of the film in a mildly heartwarming way, preferably […]