Howard Risatti

  • Willem De Looper

    Intended by the museum to honor one of the university’s own, this exhibition provides an in-depth look at the career of painter Willem De Looper, who came to Washington, DC, from the Netherlands in 1950. He enrolled in American University in 1953 and has remained in the area ever since. This exhibition, a retrospective of sorts, includes thirty-six acrylic paintings made by the artist between 1965 and 1998.

    De Looper is often considered a second-generation member of the Washington Color School. Like its better-known adherents Kenneth Noland and Morris Louis, De Looper created compositions of

  • Siemon Allen/Dominic McGill

    Clearly inspired by events in the Middle East, the works by Dominic McGill and Siemon Allen that make up the recent show “Pop Agenda” use a pop-cultural idiom to offer a glimpse of how political, economic, and social issues get transformed as they percolate through mass media and culture. McGill, who is British born but lives in New York, titles his work Project for a New American Century as a way to frame American military involvements in 2004 against those of the last hundred years. The immense drawing is suspended like a sculpture from the ceiling and looped in such a way that it forms a

  • Kenny Hunter

    The exhibition “Chase the Devil,” the first in the United States for Scottish sculptor Kenny Hunter, included seven sculptures and two silk-screen prints. In contrast to the prints, both 2000, which contain manipulated photographic imagery and textual overlays, the sculptures look traditional, even conservative. Informed by the classical tradition of public monuments, they rely on figuration, tend toward the monochromatic, and make use of allegory. In this they are closer to the three bronze figures Frederick Hart added to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial than to Maya Lin's original formalist

  • Tom Nakashima

    When Tom Nakashima moved his studio from Washington, DC, to the Virginia countryside, he became intrigued by the giant piles of brush and trees he saw in the middle of cleared fields, silhouetted against the open sky in an otherwise unspoiled landscape. What initially caught his eye and set him to work was the interesting tangle of abstract shapes these heaps presented. But they also betray something ominous. Like that ambiguous terrain between city and country—the area the French call the banlieu, where the inhabitants are neither urban dwellers nor rural folk—these tree piles are the by-products

  • Robin Rose

    THE NINETEEN MONOCHROMATIC ABSTRACTIONS that comprised Robin Rose's recent show “Exhilarate” are among his most elegant works to date. While the titles are whimsical—Exonerate, Extinct, Exuberant, Exude—these encaustic paintings (all 2000) are serious, thoughtful endeavors that deeply probe the medium's expressive possibilities. With their rich, nuanced colors and complex geometric patterns, they stand as the antithesis of the computer-generated abstractions with unmodulated colors and lifeless shapes so popular in painting at the moment.

    In his new work, Rose forgoes his usual diptych

  • Julião Sarmento

    In the 1997 Venice Biennale, Portuguese artist Julião Sarmento exhibited a large mixed-media work from his “White Paintings” series titled To Take Off the Lace and Blow the Flower, 1997, an enigmatic image of three female figures (two of whom are headless) posed around a table. For his current show at the Hirshhorn Museum, he created five new “White Paintings” and two sculptures loosely based on the figural elements of To Take Off the Lace. In the resulting work (all 1998), Sarmento achieves a stylistic unity through an economy of means and an almost “styleless” rendering of form. In the paintings,

  • Malcolm Morley

    The five paintings and three watercolors in this exhibition showed that Malcolm Morley has come a long way from his “Hyper-Real” paintings of the ’70s. Those works, for which he is justly famous, uncannily foreshadowed the postmodern problematization of painting. In 1970’s Race Track, for instance, Morley meticulously rendered a picture postcard of the horse oval in Durban, South Africa. When he canceled the image by painting a large red X through it, he both turned the work into a political statement and reversed the artist’s traditional role from creating images of reality to critiquing those

  • Fabian Marcaccio

    In his recent exhibition, Argentinian-born Fabian Marcaccio presented four major paintings and several smaller works on paper (all works 1996–97). In the larger pieces—dazzling, quirky, and highly mannered objects that he calls “paintants,” a conflation of the words “painting,” “replicant,” and “mutant” —canvas is pulled tautly over stretchers, made from irregularly shaped copper tubing, that protrude several inches from the wall. Except in the case of Paintant #3, a row of nylon cords fastens the canvas directly to the wall (and in the case of Paintant #4 to the floor as well). The results look

  • “Painting Outside of Painting”

    The last in a trio of biennials organized by Corcoran curator Terrie Sultan to address relevant issues in contemporary painting, “Painting Outside of Painting” included more than 80 works by 26 artists who, as Sultan writes, are “reconceptualizing and refiguring the very structure of painting.” The statement can be somewhat misleading: John McCracken’s polyresin planks (e.g., Gate, 1995) and Sam Gilliam’s draped-fabric Bikers Move Like Swallows II, 1995, for example, raised the same formal issues that had made these artists famous in the ’60s (i.e., “painting-as-object” and “color-as-form”).

  • Davi Det Hompson

    Davi Det Hompson, an artist long associated with Fluxus, is best known for his artist’s books and works on paper that examine the interaction of image, text, and typography. He has always been concerned with the ambiguities and complexities of communication. Given this, the idea of actually making paintings, things that hang on a wall, may seem like a radical departure, but the nine paintings shown here were executed not in paint, but in cement on two-inch-thick, jute-covered wood “modules” in the shape of an oval. And, with the exception of two works that are compound modules, these paintings

  • “43rd Biennial”

    Organized by Corcoran curator of contemporary art Terrie Sultan, the “43rd Biennial Exhibition of Contemporary American Painting” featured 91 works by 25 artists. Intended as the flip side of the previous biennial, which was devoted solely to abstact painting, this one centered on figurative painting. It included established artists such as Leon Golub, Nancy Spero, and Ida Applebroog; midcareer artists, including Phyllis Bramson, Carole Caroompas, and Hung Liu; and younger artists such as Inga Frick, Michael Byron, and Deborah Oropallo.

    As Sultan writes in the catalogue, the exhibition was intended

  • Susan Rothenberg

    Organized by Michael Auping of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo, this exhibition of Susan Rothenberg’s paintings and drawings from 1974 to 1992 could have provided the opportunity to reexamine her work in relation to the political and social art produced during those years. However, Auping chose to adhere to the standard retrospective format, concentrating on stylistic and chronological developments, thereby enshrining and isolating the work. What the show did offer, though perhaps unwittingly, was a juxtaposition of Rothenberg the draughtsman and Rothenberg the professional artist highly

  • John Harne

    Each of John Harne’s 25 small oil paintings in this show features his signature “Angry Little Man” figure. This gruff, cartoonlike character with stubble, arched eyebrows, clenched teeth, and a saw-tooth flattop hairdo looks like a cross between Bart Simpson and a Jim Nutt figure.

    Harne introduced his protagonist almost a decade ago as a stand-in, one suspects, for himself—a contemporary man defiantly at odds with the world around him. Nearly overwhelmed in the face of society in Harne’s earlier works, this “Angry Little Man” recalled Peter Finch in the movie Network, railing, “I’m mad as hell,

  • Keith Morrison

    Considering the current interest in art focusing on ideological, political, and multicultural issues, Keith Morrison’s paintings were both timely and instructive—timely because of their socially relevant themes, and instructive because of Morrison’s reluctance to sacrifice esthetic or philosophical substance in the service of overt polemics.

    In the watercolor Hat Ladies, 1989, Morrison, who is from Jamaica, employs a touch of humor in combining African and Christian themes, by placing three brightly decorated hats on an open Bible. These hats—the kind worn by black women on their way to

  • David Frye

    David Frye’s first solo exhibition consisted of 35 (frequently very small) paintings, a rather large folding screen, and three artist’s books. The books consist of preexisting volumes that Frye has used both as source material and as armatures to paint on. Many of their pages have been fused together with thick coats of paint or woven with wire. Some have been entirely obscured with paint, others painted out and then illuminated with gestural figures or still lifes, and still others incorporate the original typography in abstract geometric patterns, usually checkerboard designs in gold, black,

  • Patrice Kehoe

    The notion of the Washington Color School, as articulated by Clement Greenberg in the ’50s, benefited many Washington-area artists by distinguishing their work from that made in other locales, particularly New York. Establishing this artistic identity helped foster a self-confidence that allowed a number of artists to mature and gain exposure on the national scene. Recently, several local artists and writers have consciously attempted to revive the notion of a Washington school by focusing on the idea of an art of transcendence, yet, if in fact there is a discernible trend in Washington art at

  • Rimma and Valeriy Gerlovin

    Before emigrating to the United States in 1980, Russian artists Rimma and Valeriy Gerlovin were involved in linguistic experiments centered on language’s role in the construction of social reality. Like the work of other young and unsanctioned artists in Moscow during the ’70s, their work took the form of artists’ books, performance, and installations; it had political overtones not only by virtue of its content but because of its underground status. In such an environment, the very act of viewing unsanctioned exhibitions made one a participant in unofficial cultural/political activities.


  • Christian Marclay

    Christian Marclay’s work has an immediacy that results from his focus on music and popular music culture. Records, record jackets, audio speakers, and similar found objects form the bulk of the more than 40 pieces from the last decade exhibited here. “Recycled Records” 1980–86, is a series of works realized by reassembling pieces cut from records of various colors. Some of these pieces incorporate photographs, and the results range from collaged images of pop singers such as Elvis to white crossbones on a black ground. Though ’60s nostalgia colors Marclay’s entire oeuvre, his work addresses a

  • Tom Nakashima

    This exhibition of drawings, prints, and constructions by Tom Nakashima, guest curated by Lynn Schmidt, amounted to a retrospective of the artist’s mature work that began around 1983 or ’84, the time of his “Ground Zero” series. As this title suggests, Nakashima is concerned with social and political themes, including that of nuclear war; themes that have personal resonance for him. Growing up in World War II America, with a Japanese-American father and a European-Canadian mother who was a strict Roman Catholic, Nakashima struggled to sort out his cultural heritage and identity. These conflicts