Friday, April 29, 2016

Mira Schor, Human Interest, and Unfinished: Thoughts Left Visible

Mira Schor's exhibition, Death is a Conceptual Artist, at Lyles and King, which closed last week.
Gallery Link

Viewing the works, I was struck by the concept of aporia, defined on a Google search as "an irresolvable internal contradiction or logical disjunction in a text, argument, or theory."  I'd remembered aporia from art school theory as an unresolvable set of differing circumstances, or leaving conclusions open. These works, with their language of text and image, line and mark, as well as the imagery supported the concept of aporia--the new normal in daily life.

The works revealed the many directions that shape an identity, a life.

They are fast and immediate, made with ink, conte and charcoal drawings on large, primed sheets of Japanese paper

Schor continues to mine the gap between verbal and visual syntax; her writing is calligraphic with the pleasure in script palpable. The drawings, though light in feeling are more developed, as the scripts in Schor's oil paintings are, while the phrases and thoughts are quickly and lightly rendered.

Her figures carry a set of symbols that reminded me of cartoons - signifiers like breasts, L-shaped stick feet and swipes of ink by the head, like thought beams or cartoon thought bubbles, inhabit these works...  
Imbuing alter egos with presence

And so aporia persists, in the toggle between reading and looking, as well as in the internal dialogue of Schor's figures, though by now we are used to, and able to, accommodate multiple desires and proclivities.

A portrait of Schor, which to me feels closest to her likeness--the treatment of hair surprised me as overtly representational, adding another layer to the set of applications already in play. It was a thrilling move, harking back to very early works that contained textures and forms from nature.

Adding Schor's words to my own,  as she writes very specifically that "...what some of my recent work was "about"--my drawings in which a half cadaverous but still living bleeding woman artist is confronted by the two polarities or scenarios of what one might call terminal inclusion, "still too young" and "not dead enough." I also wrote about this whole finally giving very old women artists a bit of greater visibility and recognition--100 is the new 70--phenomenon recently in fashion in the art world, on A Year of Positive Thinking in posts such as "Just a short message from Venus" from June 24, 2015 and "Miss Piggy and Madame de Beauvoir--A New Fable of La Fontaine: Cochon et Castor" from June 1 2015." Aporia, indeed.

A 1976 Barcley L. Hendricks in
the Whitney Museum's Human Interest exhibition
Exhibition Link
Holland Cotter's NYT Review

Larry Rivers' painting of Birdie, a stalwart reminder of a glorious past, with buoyant spring color and flower patterns.

Detail. I have always loved this painting.

Will add artist's name for this beautiful work, which strikes me for its structure, color,  hand.

Lush portrait of Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney - such an unusual plum color with the dazzling greens, that gorgeous blank sofa!

Fairfield Porter detail - the paint is thick, Expressionistic, but the images so fleeting, yet pared down, like ancient sculpture.

Rauschenberg, a simply gorgeous example, and small! I think of works from him from this period in much larger scale. 

Will add artist's name for this '70s masterpiece, which looks so good now



Richard Bechtle, central panel of a triptych that feels new again, and is sumptuously painted--meticulous, but a little smeary to soften everything and reflect the diffuse, Bay Area light.

The car - look at that fender - so beautiful

Henry Taylor - thick, worked paint

Alex Katz - thin, breezily applied paint

Julian Schnabel, an energetic early work

Robert Mapplethorpe - I'd never seen this

Near Warhol's Jackie, showing the change that can happen in a life - so real to us now

Jackie and Caroline, do not remember the artist here either, but surprisingly relevant now

Downstairs at the Whitney, ground floor--a lovely exhibition by June Leaf

She has such a distinctive hand

Large bird looming, a personal favorite - sketchy, but has everything

Leaf's work was presented in groupings such as this

There was a casual, sketchbook feel - similar to Schor in the immediacy and directness of images

Yet like Schor's they are well-developed, not lacking in necessary detail.

Versions of psychological portraiture...

I've always loved the grit in her work, the logic that springs from studio to world, uncompromising

The artist

A work on an easel near wall works that repeat the image many times again

Sculptural works on a table in the center of the room; she has made these always

The sculptural works feel of a piece with the wall works as thought realized in multiple forms.

Kerry James Marshall in Unfinished at Met Breuer
Unfinished: Thoughts Left Visible Link

Much has already been said about the premise of this exhibition, which examines notions of finish in seemingly finished and clearly unfinished works, sometimes pairing them together, as with Poussin and Corot. The surprise is the range of works, from Titian to Twombly.

A lovely Picasso, surreal to see in the old Whitney building. So good to view art there again.

The great Titian - a Tarquin and Lucretia - amidst the palimpsest of so many Biennials. How lovingly structured and sensitively handled Titian's paintings are! 

 Titian's Flaying of Marsyas, one of the greatest paintings of all time,  co-existing with so many different works. The mashup of time periods and locations is a wonderful way to see art.

Detail, Titian's Flaying of Marisa

Downstairs, Nasreen Mohamedi's lovely drawings.
Mohamedi Link

Subtle, delicate, taking you so many places.