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