Jordan Kantor

  • Jordan Kantor

    Not many people can craft a snappy sentence, and hardly any more can make a memorable painting. David Salle is one of the rare few who can do both. How welcome, then, is the arrival of his collection of (mainly recent) writings, which offers immensely readable thought pieces on art as seen through a painter’s eyes. The texts assembled in How to See: Looking, Talking, and Thinking About Art (W. W. Norton & Company, 2016) explore subjects as diverse as Piero della Francesca and Karole Armitage, with ruminations on André Derain, Jack Goldstein, and Amy Sillman in between; all evidence Salle’s

  • passages September 25, 2017

    Ted Purves (1964–2017)

    IN THE CONTEXT OF ART HISTORY AND THEORY, Ted Purves will likely be best remembered for the anthology of texts he edited on relational art practices: What We Want Is Free: Generosity and Exchange in Recent Art. It is an important tome (first published in 2005 and recently revised and expanded), which grew out of a conference the artist, scholar, and professor organized at California College of the Arts, where he founded the first graduate program in social practice in North America and later served as chair of the MFA program in fine arts. For those who were lucky enough to work with or study

  • R. H. Quaytman

    OVER THE PAST FIFTEEN YEARS, R.H. Quaytman has developed a formidable art practice predicated on a dynamic interchange between her paintings and the specific contexts in which they are exhibited. In a gesture that undermines painting’s customary status as a portable, autonomous object—and therefore any assumption of self-contained and stable meaning—the artist conceives of each exhibition as a starting point for generating a new body of work, rather than as a destination for already finished pieces. Anyone familiar with this foundational tenet of her practice would thus have expected

  • FIRST AMONG SEQUELS: JACKSON POLLOCK’S LATE WORK

    ONE HALLMARK OF GREAT ART is its ability to simultaneously command attention and confound interpretation. Work like this draws us in but ultimately frustrates our attempt to reduce the experience to anything like a definitive reading. We might call it Zeno’s paradox of meaning: The closer we get, the more numerous and splintered our frames of reference become. Jackson Pollock’s art is great, and, unsurprisingly, its interpretative terrain is marked with multiple (sometimes diametrically opposed) arguments. His work epitomizes critic Harold Rosenberg’s “action painting” thesis as much as it

  • “Kerry James Marshall: Mastry”

    Kerry James Marshall’s art has long been read against the backdrop of the civil rights struggles of African Americans. Working within a self-imposed program of never painting a white figure, the sixty-year-old artist has spent decades offering a much-needed corrective to blind spots in Western pictorial traditions, while simultaneously representing histories too often left untold. The current climate of Black Lives Matter activism provides a devastating new lens through which to survey the Chicago-based artist’s work. Encompassing

  • “Albert Oehlen: Home and Garden”

    F. Scott Fitzgerald famously quipped that a first-rate intelligence is marked by the ability to hold two opposed ideas simultaneously and still function. By this measure, Albert Oehlen clearly ranks among the most intelligent artists working today. Over the course of more than thirty years, Oehlen has assaulted traditional ideas of painterly subjectivity and taste while producing works of almost classical formal balance and (dare it be said) beauty. “Home and Garden” (to be accompanied by a catalogue featuring essays by Gioni, Mark Godfrey,

  • “Jackson Pollock: Blind Spots”

    How to proceed after the drip was the question that occupied Jackson Pollock when he completed the core group of his iconic abstractions at the end of 1950. One of his first answers was to render figurative imagery via a novel technique that transformed his signature means into a more delicate pour. While these “black pourings” were initially well received, they fell into near obscurity after Pollock died in 1956, when critical consensus hardened around the priority of his dripped abstractions. “Blind Spots” will bring together more than sixty

  • Martha Jungwirth

    Although Martha Jungwirth received considerable notice early in her artistic career, cofounding the Viennese collective Wirklichkeiten (Realities) in 1968, teaching at the Hochschule für angewandte Kunst, Vienna, from 1967 to ’77, and participating in Documenta 6 in 1977, the seventy-three-year-old painter is a lesser-known figure in the contemporary-art landscape. Over the past thirty years, Jungwirth has shown infrequently, and rarely outside her native Austria. Recently this has started to change. Nevertheless, her practice of refined gestural painting no doubt comes as a discovery for many

  • “Kerry James Marshall: Painting and Other Stuff . . .”

    Best known for his complex, large-scale canvases foregrounding figures traditionally marginalized in Western art, Kerry James Marshall is widely acclaimed as one of the leading painters of his generation. Yet the American artist has always worked in a panoply of media. In this expansive show, Marshall will present paintings alongside his lesser-known work—the titular other stuff referring not only to his installations, sculptures, photographs, videos, and works on paper, but to a survey of reference material as well. The task of sorting out relations between inspirational

  • Rosemarie Trockel

    IN AN ESPECIALLY COMPELLING SIGHT LINE offered by “Rosemarie Trockel: A Cosmos,” one can simultaneously take in a humongous preserved lobster, a sleek, jet-engine-like aluminum sculpture by the somewhat-forgotten Parisian artist Ruth Francken, and three modest gestural abstractions painted by an orangutan named Tilda. While ostensibly conjoined under the rubric of “natural history”—one of the four thematic orders of things that Trockel and curator Lynne Cooke used to organize the exhibition—this heterogeneous group buzzes with an innate feeling of kinship so convincing it makes rational

  • D-L Alvarez

    Replete with spectacular references that range from infamous crimes to pop-cultural benchmarks, D-L Alvarez’s work unfailingly invites interpretations driven by his fascinating interests and almost always neglectful of what the artist has done with and to his chosen source material. As the artist’s first solo museum presentation made plain, however, such thematically weighted readings ultimately fail to meet Alvarez’s work on its most compelling terms. This show, which closed at the UC Berkeley Art Museum in October, offered a welcome chance to look anew at the forty-seven-year-old Oakland,

  • “Thomas Scheibitz: One-Time Pad”

    Since the mid-1990s, Thomas Scheibitz has been developing a distinctive visual language characterized by bright, uninflected planes of color, rigid geometric forms, and shallow pictorial space.

    Since the mid-1990s, Thomas Scheibitz has been developing a distinctive visual language characterized by bright, uninflected planes of color, rigid geometric forms, and shallow pictorial space. While this aesthetic relates to nonobjective art, the imagery of Scheibitz’s paintings and sculptures ultimately remains tied to referents in the world—abstracted by the artist through a series of formal estrangements. By exclusively featuring pieces derived from the human form, this major presentation of the artist’s work not only highlights the

  • Rineke Dijkstra

    ENTERING RINEKE DIJKSTRA’S SURVEY at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, one was greeted by an arresting image of a young woman standing in a bathing suit and cap, wet, looking exhausted after a swimming workout. The solitary figure is centered before a nondescript background and addresses the lens with a locked, frontal gaze. Although the photograph undoubtedly required significant planning—shot as it was with a large-format camera and set-up lighting—it nevertheless has the air of a candid snap, seeming to capture the decisive moment when physical exertion overtakes the niceties

  • “The Painting Factory: Abstraction After Warhol”

    If for a long while abstract painting was regarded as a cul-de-sac, seemingly foreclosed to advanced practice, things have certainly turned around in the past decade, and abstraction now characterizes much of the most popular (and marketable) new painting.

    If for a long while abstract painting was regarded as a cul-de-sac, seemingly foreclosed to advanced practice, things have certainly turned around in the past decade, and abstraction now characterizes much of the most popular (and marketable) new painting. With “The Painting Factory,” LA MoCA’s trend-spotting director, Jeffrey Deitch, situates the varied practices of Tauba Auerbach, Mark Bradford, DAS INSTITUT, Urs Fischer, Wade Guyton, Glenn Ligon, Julie Mehretu, Seth Price, Sterling Ruby, and Kelley Walker in a family tree running back through Rudolf Stingel and

  • Charline von Heyl

    Since the early 1990s, Charline von Heyl has taken a complex, almost paradoxical approach to painting.

    Since the early 1990s, Charline von Heyl has taken a complex, almost paradoxical approach to painting—one that’s as committed to large-scale gestured abstraction as it is apparently skeptical of the medium’s expressive potential. However (and despite having been influential among artists on both sides of the Atlantic for years), the Marfa, Texas– and New York–based painter’s practice has only recently begun to attract more focused US and European institutional attention. Now, as the German-born artist’s inaugural American museum survey travels

  • CLOSE-UP:

    THESE DAYS, artists don’t paint with their fingers much—but since 2008, Albert Oehlen has not been afraid to get his hands dirty. To make his large-scale Fingermalerei” (Finger Painting) works, the German artist jettisons the brush and instead applies paint to the canvas surface directly with his bare hands. Following his previous body of work—in which collaged, printed elements jostled with campaigns of virtuoso brushwork in visual mash-ups—this series constitutes a new chapter in Oehlen’s sustained investigation into gesture and how it might signify in the context of contemporary

  • Albert Oehlen

    In the early 1980s, Albert Oehlen made a name for himself with brash figurative paintings that dripped with punk attitude and Expressionist energy.

    In the early 1980s, Albert Oehlen made a name for himself with brash figurative paintings that dripped with punk attitude and Expressionist energy. However, as the German artist’s career has taken shape, his artistic investments have shifted, and now when we think of Oehlen’s work what comes to mind is abstract painting driven by an unrepentant formalism. Riffing off the painterly tropes of American AbEx—most pointedly those of de Kooning—Oehlen has updated the movement’s pictorial language, for example by reimagining the gesture of a brush-wielding hand as

  • Kerry James Marshall

    FEW ARTISTS have imagined the present in the manner of art history’s grand styles as successfully as Kerry James Marshall. Although he has made work in many media over the past three decades, he remains best known for large figurative paintings that compellingly interweave explorations of African-American history, the mechanisms of remembrance, and the venerable traditions of old-school European painting. And while the fifty-five-year-old artist has been the subject of important solo museum shows and is a staple of major international exhibitions (including two of the past three Documentas),

  • Manet: The Man Who Invented Modern Art

    In the early 1980s, when the last major retrospective of his work was held in France, Édouard Manet was primarily regarded as a precursor of formalist modernism. In the intervening quarter century, however, strong new interpretative frameworks have offered very different screens through which to view the artist.

    In the early 1980s, when the last major retrospective of his work was held in France, Édouard Manet was primarily regarded as a precursor of formalist modernism. In the intervening quarter century, however, strong new interpretative frameworks have offered very different screens through which to view the artist. This exhibition, informed by sociopolitical readings of Manet’s work as well as new research on the French painting of his day, will reposition the artist in his original milieu by bringing together later and lesser known works alongside a reconstitution of the

  • Kerry James Marshall

    Organized by Kathleen Bartels and artist Jeff Wall, this exhibition promises a much-needed showcase of Kerry James Marshall’s vital and inventive picturing of America’s largely unpictured contemporary histories.

    Kerry James Marshall’s 1993 canvas De Style, a vibrant, large-scale, multifigure painting of an African-American barbershop, was a breakthrough for the artist and set the basic parameters of his ensuing practice. In the years since, he has updated the ostensibly moribund genre of history painting with an important corpus of visually complex narrative tableaux. For the Chicago-based painter’s first solo show in Canada, De Style will join some twenty more recent works, including examples from his iconic series “Garden Project,” 1995, which richly reimagines