"Gerhard Richter: Lines Which Do Not Exist" (Drawing Center, New York) After seeing many of Richter's paintings on a recent trip to Saint Louis and San Francisco, I enjoyed his show at the Drawing Center this fall all the more. We have crossed paths several times over the years, having gotten started around the same time and having each given a lot of focus to drawing, black-and-white for the most part. Gerhard, however, may be the more venturesome; he has never tied himself to depiction--anything but!
"The Fantastical Worlds of Ray Harryhausen" (Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Los Angeles) I started out drawing as a child, like almost every artist, which led to making sculptures, which led to wanting to make sculptures move, which led to making films. The first "motion picture" that I remember seeing in a theater is Ray Harryhausen's short The Story of Hansel and Gretel (1951), screened before the feature presentation of Batman: The Movie (1966). The recent Harryhausen exhibition at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences presented a rare opportunity to see the original stop-motion-animation models, drawings, storyboards, and photographs from the filmmaker's most significant works. It is remarkable that these productions were largely executed by hand by Harryhausen himself--almost unthinkable in a post--Avatar world.
Trisha Brown Dance Company at Dia:Beacon (New York) Exploring the dynamics between gravity, space, and rhythm, Trisha Brown has choreographed relationships of interdependence between her dancers, their architectural environment, and the performance itself for more than forty years. Often suspended in midair, woven into the web of Floor of the Forest, 1970, or tied to the columns of Opal Loop/Cloud Installation #72503, 1980 (both Included in TBDC's recent series of performances at Dia:Beacon), her dancers enact a delicate balance between the humorous and the awkward. Brown has said that she is "fascinated by qualities of gesture that exist on the edge of memory, made permanent through the act of repetition" and thereby kept "forever young." These works indeed remain young and relevant today, decades after their creation.
John McLaughlin. "Hard Edge Classicist" (Greenberg Van Doren Gallery, New York) McLaughlin's paintings don't require much explanation; you just stand in front of one and let it do its work. Like contemplating a Zen garden, calm, focus, and feelings/thoughts of things big and small come quickly. The forms' positive and negative spaces don't so much flip-flop as slowly phase in and out, bounded by surfaces and edges that are puritanical but just flawed enough to feel modest and human; the artist's palette here is subdued but luscious. While there's ample McLaughlin DNA in the contemporary art world, I can't readily think of any other paintings that achieve the beauty, economy, and soul that I experienced in front of these thirteen works.
Markus Selg, "A New Beginning" (Vilma Gold, London) When I walked through the jute curtain into "A New Beginning," Markus Selg's memorable show at Vilma Gold this spring, I encountered a dark space with a sparse installation of discreet works of art, some theatrically spotlit and some containing their own light sources.
The installation included wooden sculptures, digital prints, and miniature stage sets, along with video projections, fragments of musical sound, handmade furniture (made in collaboration with Astrid Sourkova), and a seaweed carpet. With these elements, Selg created an all-encompassing mise-en-scene, an experiential world that evoked a postapocalyptic vision of starting over alone, with a simplicity and directness of approach. The artist's commitment was palpable. …