James Castle: People, Places & Things at the NY Studio School

James Castle (1899-1977), Untitled (drive-through tree), n.d. Found paper, soot, 5 7/8 x 7 3/4 in. CAS09-0179 © 2008 James Castle Collection and Archive LP, All Rights Reserved
James Castle (1899-1977), Untitled (drive-through tree), n.d. Found paper, soot, 5 7/8 x 7 3/4 in. CAS09-0179
© 2008 James Castle Collection and Archive LP, All Rights Reserved

The exhibition James Castle: People, Places & Things, curated by Karen Wilkin and currently on view at the New York Studio School Gallery, features over fifty important works and ephemera, surveying Castle’s diverse modes of working. It runs the gamut from his well-known drawings of farmyards and interiors to the less familiar depictions of house, machines, clothing, and people, to his books and objects. It includes even more rarely exhibited objects – some sources for his imagery borrowed from the James Castle Collection and Archive LP and from the William Louis-Dreyfus Foundation. In her curatorial statement Wilkin says she aims to affirm why Castle should be regarded as an American master. Indeed, the breadth of his work is jaw dropping and the emotional resonance is deeply moving.

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Objects from the End of Western Civilisation at Norte Maar

Kevin Curran, Objects from the End of Western Civilisation
Kevin Curran, Objects from the End of Western Civilisation

All Photos courtesy of the artist and Norte Maar Cypress Hills Gallery

In his exhibition at Norte Maar Cypress Hills gallery, Kevin Curran uses interior design elements as a departure point for an installation – combining  wallpaper, rugs, vases, framed works on paper,  wall-mounted and free standing sculptures. His surfaces merge opulent materials like crystals and gold leaf, with rough-hewn casual aesthetic. This exhibition includes drawings that refer to Afghan war rugs as well as political tensions in the US. The symmetry of rug design paired with natural and man made forces of destruction highlights the fine line between an orderly society and chaos. The imagery brings together a little boy’s enthusiasm for rockets, trucks and guns with the perspective of an adult’s anxiety driven by real world events.  Continue reading “Objects from the End of Western Civilisation at Norte Maar”

Return to Light at The Green Door

Rico Gatson, Natalie Moore, Paul D’Agostino
Rico Gatson, Natalie Moore, Paul D’Agostino

All Photos courtesy Susan Sechler Luss

The Green Door gallery was created at the Divine Mercy Cultural Center to foster a sense of community in the Williamsburg neighborhood. The venue was initiated  by Father Thomas Vassalotti, who, along with Father Paul Anel of Heart’s Home, reached out to the artist and curator Elisa Jensen with the wish to connect to the many artists in the neighborhood.

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Planet Ax4+1 at David&Schweitzer Contemporary

Planet Ax4+1, Installation overview
Planet Ax4+1, Installation overview

Concern with Climate Change and how it impinges on our planet links the five artists featured in the impressive sculpture show at David&Schweitzer. Running the gamut from minimalist to narrative sensibilities and from found objects to fabricated materials, the sculptures created by Ruth Hardinger, Babs Reingold, Rebecca Smith, Kelin Perry, and Christy Rupp, engage the space in juxtaposition to one another – visually situating the overall exhibition at the intersection of natural history and archaeological excavation, thematically layered and at times poetic. The artworks in the show refer to the underground, trees, atmosphere, underwater, and animals- each of the individual parts that is essential for life on Earth. Continue reading “Planet Ax4+1 at David&Schweitzer Contemporary”

Outside of Time: Hiroshi Sugimoto at Japan Society

Installation view “Hiroshi Sugimoto: Gates of Paradise” at Japan Society
Installation view “Hiroshi Sugimoto: Gates of Paradise” at Japan Society

Art Ravels: Arts and Culture Unwound is an eloquent and well curated  blog focused on contemporary visual art  by Linnea  West 

In 1582, four recent converts to Christianity were sent from their home in Japan to Europe and the papal court by the Jesuit mission in Japan, as evidence of its success. Called the Tenshō embassy, the four boys met the Pope and saw the great sites of Renaissance Europe before returning home eight years later. Contemporary Tokyo-born, New York-based artist Hiroshi Sugimoto came across the story  of the Tenshō embassy while he himself was photographing in Italy. Continue reading “Outside of Time: Hiroshi Sugimoto at Japan Society”

Underdonk, A Community Fixture

Underdonk started in 2013 as a small experimental project space and later evolved into a vibrant artist-run gallery located at 1329 Willoughby. Underdonk’s eleven members operate an ambitious exhibition program such as the notable 2015 exhibition “Paul Klee,” which featured work by twenty contemporary artists who referenced  the 20th century modernist master.   Continue reading “Underdonk, A Community Fixture”

Searching for the Meaning of Art: ‘Thomas Lendvai: 10’ at ODETTA

Searching for the Meaning of Art: ‘Thomas Lendvai: 10’ at ODETTA
Searching for the Meaning of Art: ‘Thomas Lendvai: 10’ at ODETTA

Photos by Etty Yaniv unless otherwise indicated

For Ellen Hackl Fagan, ODETTA’s gallerist and curator, titling the current sculpture show Thomas Lendvai: 10 was a no-brainer. When artist Thomas Lendvai came up with the title “Ten,” which marks the first time in ten years that the sculptor has been given a chance to show his large-scale sculptures in a New York gallery, Hackl Fagan embraced it willingly. Serendipitously, it also marks the tenth show at ODETTA. Continue reading “Searching for the Meaning of Art: ‘Thomas Lendvai: 10’ at ODETTA”

Duplicate Meanings: Finding What Is Lost at Storefront Ten Eyck

Eros by Mie Yim, 2013; all photos by Etty Yaniv

Typically, crowded openings are not an ideal setting for experiencing the artwork on display. Nevertheless, the current show at Storefront Ten Eyck, featuring Elise Siegel’s ceramic busts paired with Mie Yim’s abstracted figure paintings, thrives in a crowded space. As in a theatrical experience or a ritual ceremony, the visitors’ presence enhances the psychological tension that these artworks emit.

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A Genuine Urge to Behold: ‘Meltdown’ by Kurt Steger

Opening night at ArtHelix, with partial view of Meltdown by Kurt Steger; photo courtesy of Vincent Romaniello

Suspended murky waterdrops on the verge of dripping from an icicle onto a sheet of paper prove to be almost hypnotic in Kurt Steger’s interactive project at ArtHelix. Utilizing elegant wooden contraptions made of a rotating large-scale low wooden table, a transportable tall crane-like sculpture, and a few low benches, Steger’s participatory performance evokes a genuine urge to behold the genesis of a fresh mark, from the first drip to the final circular tracing. The resulting drip drawings hang on the walls, mostly depicting  circular forms that range from dark sepias to vibrant yellows and rusty oranges. Continue reading “A Genuine Urge to Behold: ‘Meltdown’ by Kurt Steger”

Dialogue between Art and Life: suggestion, that is the dream

To My Mougouch (dedicated to Agnes Magruder) by Arshile Gorky; all photos courtesy of Outlet gallery website, unless otherwise noted

In response to Arshile Gorky’s colored drawings exhibition, an ARTnewsreviewer back in March 1947 declared that Gorky is in no sense a draftsman and that his drawings “must be appraised as doodlings, for psychological rather than formal interest.” More than sixty years later, an exquisite Gorky drawing from 1946 on loan to Outlet gallery, serves as a starting point for a vibrant dialogue between more than thirty contemporary artists with strong and distinct personal iconography and some shared formal concerns. Continue reading “Dialogue between Art and Life: suggestion, that is the dream”