Keith Haring Redux

Some artists make art. Some make icons. Some, like Keith Haring, made both. Haring (1958-90) started out as a guerrilla subway artist. You see, there were all these unsold advertising boards in the subways: blank and all-black, like vertical schoolroom blackboards. He went around inscribing them in white chalk with a joyous repertoire of cartoony outline-figures. Some people pried them off and saved them.    Keith Haring: Houston Street and Bowery Mural, 1986/2008   Then he … [Read more...]


   Through the Roof   "Jeff Koons on the Roof" at the Metropolitan Museum (to Oct. 26, 2008) consists of only three sculptures: Balloon Dog (Yellow), Coloring Book, and Sacred Heart (Red/Gold). The Met's mingy roof garden, symptomatic of its less than stellar commitment to contemporary art, could hardly showcase more.   Because, as far as I know, there is no career-breaking or career-affirming retrospective on the boards for Koons, Inc., I thought I'd allow this tiny … [Read more...]

New Orleans Post-Katrina: Eating Up a Storm

                  New Orleans has been turned upside down. New art, new food, new people. Disasters are opportunities, if you live to tell the tale. Homeowners become homeless; art critics become ace reporters; neighborhoods disappear and new ones are invented. Real estate opportunities abound. New Orleans post-Katrina, at least on the high ground in the well-worn tourist parts, is like a dreamscape you have visited many times but never in real … [Read more...]

The Murakami Tsunami

I am entertaining myself with a list of critics and artists who will hate "©Murakami," a retrospective of the Japanese artist Takashi Murakami (b. 1962), at the Brooklyn Museum (200 Eastern Parkway) to July 13, 2008.                   Takashi Murakami, DOB's March, 1995 © Takashi Murakami/Kaikai Kiki Co., Ltd. All Rights Reserved   Or, if they have passed on, would have hated it. The list is composed largely of those who … [Read more...]

Dan Flavin: Time Travel

The most thoughtful, thought-provoking and provocative gallery show this season has to be "Dan Flavin: The 1964 Green Gallery Exhibition" at Zwirner & Wirth, 32 East 69th Street, to May 3, 2008.                     Installation view (detail) at Zwirner & Wirth. Flavin Redux I remember the original well. I even wrote about it for the now long defunct Art International, coming out of Berne, Switzerland. If a gallery can appropriate a … [Read more...]

Jasper Johns and Color Charts: Ghosts of Duchamp

        Gustave Courbet The Desperate Man, 1844-45Private Collection, courtesy of Conseil Investissement Art BNP Paribas The Greeks Had a Word for It The two current museum exhibitions that should have been physically juxtaposed are not "Jasper Johns: Gray" (to May 14) and "Gustav Courbet" (to May 18), now cheek by jowl at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, but the Johns and "Color Chart: Reinventing Color, 1950 to Today" (to May 4) at the Museum of Modern Art. The easy trick … [Read more...]

The Whitney Biennial: Good News

Fritz Haeg: Animal Estates (detail) Quantifications Don't believe everything you read; the Whitney Biennial isn't all bad. In fact, as a crystal ball, it is cause for hope. But before we start reading tea leaves, we can indulge in quantifications. Some of us tally women. There are 28 out of 81 artists by my count. On the other hand, some search out artists of color. Some list painters. And there are legions who quantify regions: 29 from the West Coast. In regard to regions, do artists who have … [Read more...]

What Women Wanted: ‘WACK!’ at P.S.1

Carolee Schneemann: Portrait Partials What Feminism Was "WACK! Art and the Feminist Revolution" is a chance to take a look at the pioneering days of feminism in art, from 1965 to 1980. This huge survey originated at the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art and is now at P.S. 1 - MoMA, Long Island City, to May 12. Capturing the raucous, contentious, feminist diversity, Connie Butler (who in '05 moved from MOCA to MoMA, where she is now curator of drawings) demonstrates that much of the art by … [Read more...]

Latins in Manhattan

Other Worlds The art world can too easily be seen as monolithic. What is bought and sold as art and makes a profit is the definition of art. Until quite recently, linear, evolutionary lineups were routinely used in exhibition catalogs and critical writings to provide a cursory justification of assumed historical outcomes. This reverse engineering was applied not only to formalist abstraction -- where the ploy was coined -- but could be jiggered for other styles, even the Dada/Surrealist one: … [Read more...]

Francis Alÿs’ Fabulous Fabiolas

Francis Alÿs, Fabiola (detail) . Divorce in Art First multiple Santas in the last Artopia posting and now multiple Fabiolas! But multiplicity wasn't invented yesterday, nor by Andy Warhol when he multiplied his Campbell's soup cans, Marilyns, and Jackies. Think instead of the myriad figures in a Tibetan tanka. Or those dying genres, photo-booth samples and sheets of postage stamps. Admittedly the photo-booth samples are usually images of many different grimacing customers or one-off strips … [Read more...]