Warhol plus Beuys: The Bruce


                        Art History Exposed: Ode to Joy        The Bruce High Quality Foundation’s “Ode to Joy” at the Brooklyn Museum, through September 22, is not only high quality, but droll. Smart Art returns. We are so tired of ego-tripping nonentities pretending to be artists. We are so tired of art fairs and art investments. So tired of curators sucking up to galleries and the foundations established in behalf of dead artists….Well, … [Read more...]

Nude Descending a Bookcase: New Duchamp Interviews


                              Love in the Afternoon To understand contemporary art you must mis-understand Marcel Duchamp. The readymade is the template for all things postmodern. But how do you choose which store-bought object to sign? The broken and mended Bride Stripped Bare by Bachelors, Even is the clue to the real meaning of the readymades. The readymades, … [Read more...]

Gutai: The First Happenings Were Japanese!

Suburo Murakami, Passing Through, 1956

                                        “Gutai: Splendid Playground”   (Guggenheim to May 8) forces a rewrite of  art history.  The co-curators, Alexandra Munroe and Ming Tiampo, in their catalog essays meet the issues head-on. The subject matter demands it, for Gutai is the unfairly scorned  post-War Japanese avant-garde movement devoted … [Read more...]

Roomers: Micro-Housing in the Big Apple

Micro-unit by Amie Gross Architects.

  Congruent with the world-wide need for urban housing, New York’s Mayor Bloomberg last year launched an RFP for adAPT NYC. Seems there will be an experimental building in Kips Bay, featuring apartments of 225 to 300 square feet. This is below what the current building code allows. Pre-fab, green, plug-in micro-apartments are now a real possibility. 225 square feet? Bigger than a room at the YMCA, but smaller than an East Village walk-up. The Japanese who made urban history in the … [Read more...]

The House Detective: Very Small Japanese Houses

Atelier Tekuto, Mineral House 2012

                            Small is new. And the interest in small houses is global. Small is serious. The causes are economic, ecological, and in some places the need to skirt onerous building codes. Locally, garages turned into studios or storage units and the proliferation of out-buildings can be noted in suburbia and even in the outer boroughs of New York City. It is not that we need less … [Read more...]

An Unkind Cut: Art of Another Kind at the Guggenheim

Yves Klein: Large Blue Anthropometry,1960

                              “Art of Another Kind: International Abstraction and the Guggenheim, 1949—1960” (Guggenheim Museum to Sept. 12) consists primarily of artworks collected by the Guggenheim before the 1959 opening of its Frank Lloyd Wright building on Fifth Avenue. This odd and in some ways adventurous exhibition is a trip back in time, a survey of works promoted by … [Read more...]

Chelsea Walk: How to Succeed in Art Criticism Without Really Trying.

Joseph Nechvatal: asstrOnOmnical affected autOmata, 2011

                      1. NEVER USE THE FIRST PERSON. In in the late ‘60s, art critic Lawrence Alloway said that, like the poet Apollinaire, I was of the peripatetic school of art criticism. When, in ancient times, I was writing for the Village Voice I walked around looking at art and made it seem part of ordinary life. He did not mean I was Aristotelian, for the same term is used for Aristotle’s … [Read more...]

Clyfford Still: In the Still of the Night

1954 PH-1123fixed

                          Way Out West...  Since I was in the Denver area, I decided I just had to see the Clyfford Still Museum that opened late last year. Mark Van Wagner and I finished the installation of our travelling show, “Drawing from Sand,” in one day flat, so there was some breathing room. I call it “a small show with a global impact.” Van Wagner and I  met through Facebook … [Read more...]

Cindy Sherman: Against Photography


  Since one critic has already deemed Cindy Sherman “the successor to Cézanne, Picasso, Pollock and Warhol,” I feel I am free to delve into other things. The headline to his preview panegyric was The Last Star, so one of these days I will have to write a pithy essay explaining why we don’t need any more stars, thank you; and the last great artist is me. The need for heroes or heroines is perennial, even in something as pure and as uplifting as art. Upon the occasion of the … [Read more...]

Hirst Hits the Spot


                    International art-star Damien Hirst, who in the late-'80s helped incite the Young British Artists fracas, has produced vitrine art (sharks and other taxidermist beasties suspended in formaldehyde), spin paintings, spot paintings, medicine cabinets, butterfly collages, and bad Bacons. Only the latter have been deemed total failures. But stick around. They will be back. In his poly-headed oeuvre … [Read more...]