Katy Siegel

  • Joan Mitchell

    GESTURE, LIKE EMOTION (or affect, easier to swallow for some reason), is back, but we’re not much better at talking about it than we were in previous go-rounds with AbEx, Informel, etc. We still discriminate too strongly between broad categories such as abstraction and figuration, male and female, first and second generation, but fail to distinguish finely the touch and speed and scale of gestures: licks, drags, pats and pokes, strokes, skitters, pushes, sharp right turns. These marks correspond to, or rather just are, feeling: feeling not as emotion alone, transcribed on canvas, but as a state

  • diary January 13, 2012

    It’s All Over

    OF ALL THE DAMIEN HIRST SHOWS at individual Gagosian satellites, the particular set of spot paintings chosen for the Twenty-First Street press preview on Wednesday featured the widest range of spot and painting sizes, from extra small to extremely large. This “curatorial decision” (there’s a different conceit for each of the eleven locations) nicely emphasized the gallery machine’s wishful differentiation, searching for the supposedly local and unique in the fundamentally global and repetitive condition, labeled here “Damien Hirst the Complete Spot Paintings 1986–2011.” This may or may not work

  • diary March 15, 2011

    Now What?

    THE CHASM BETWEEN DISCOURSE AND EXPERIENCE is hard to ignore: A museum director muses virtuously about the virtues of doing nothing, and then rushes off to a waiting car and driver. Curators-as-intellectuals offer glosses on the history of exhibitions cribbed from Wikipedia and return to their seats to play with their phones and trade Sephora samples (really) as others take their turn onstage. And academics whose commitment to avant-garde thinking is their currency ritually name-check the standard landmarks of the European/American 1960s. Almost all of them, in an era of collaboration and pressing

  • Jim Nutt: Coming into Character

    Jim Nutt has been making small, hard, delicate paintings of female heads for the past twenty years.

    Jim Nutt has been making small, hard, delicate paintings of female heads for the past twenty years. Lynne Warren’s exhibition traces the heads’ development back through the decades to Nutt’s more familiar works of the 1960s, depicting characters such as Wiggly Woman and Johnny Whatzit. The handmade frames and changing palette of the intervening years constitute a compelling narrative. But the revelation lies in the more recent and utterly singular work, with its oddly dissociated facial features and meticulous clarity of rendering. If figuration seems pressing now, much

  • “Georgia O’Keeffe: Abstraction”

    Seen through the eyes of today’s younger artists, O’Keeffe’s brand of American art looks interesting again, specific and local amid globalism’s anyspacewhatever, late, late modernism.

    For the past few decades, American art’s first lady has looked a bit kitschy to insiders, her artistic mode as pseudo-authentic as “southwestern” cuisine. Then there is her troublesome status as a celebrity, thanks in part to Alfred Stieglitz’s racy portraits (some of which appear in this exhibition), as well as to her subject matter. But maybe we were wrong. By foregrounding her abstractions—130 paintings, watercolors, drawings, and sculptures—the case can be made for a radicality underlying her popularity,

  • “Reimagining Space: The Park Place Gallery Group in 1960s New York”

    Historian Linda Dalrymple Henderson has assembled some forty paintings, sculptures, and drawings by the Park Place Gallery’s major artists: Mark di Suvero, Dean Fleming, Robert Grosvenor, Forrest Myers, and six others. They occupied a specific nexus of geometric abstraction and new concepts of space.

    Operating in downtown Manhattan for five exhilarating years, the Park Place Gallery, founded by a group of like-minded artists in 1962, occupied a specific nexus of geometric abstraction and new concepts of space. Seeking to map this forgotten quarter of postwar art, historian Linda Dalrymple Henderson has assembled some forty paintings, sculptures, and drawings by the gallery’s major artists: Mark di Suvero, Dean Fleming, Robert Grosvenor, Forrest Myers, and six others. An accompanying catalogue will reconstruct the work’s heady milieu, which fused diverse

  • Per Kirkeby

    Timed to coincide with Per Kirkeby’s seventieth birthday, this major exhibition asserts the importance of the Danish artist’s work from the 1970s through today, with a hundred paintings, fifty sculptures, and a catalogue that includes essays by Richard Shiff, Robert Storr, and Ulrich Wilmes.

    Timed to coincide with Per Kirkeby’s seventieth birthday, this major exhibition asserts the importance of the Danish artist’s work from the 1970s through today, with a hundred paintings, fifty sculptures, and a catalogue that includes essays by Richard Shiff, Robert Storr, and Ulrich Wilmes. Shifting away from overheated interpretations of gestural painting and the local CoBrA legacy, the show makes the case for Kirkeby as a method man, not a modern primitive. An independently organized show of the artist’s sketches, notebooks, photographs, and other archival material

  • Lisa Yuskavage

    If in the ’80s, standing in front of one of the Untitled Film Stills, you wondered what Cindy Sherman really looked like, today you might be pondering Lisa Yuskavage’s cup size. In a 1996 interview with Chuck Close, she teasingly described her cheesecake images of naked ladies: “The impulse toward self-portraiture runs through like work from the beginning all the way to the end.” Like many artists who are women, Yuskavage has been playing both the one looked at and the one doing the looking; now, like many women who aren’t artists, Yuskavage has distanced herself from critiques of the male gaze,

  • Vik Muniz

    Whether ordinary guy or art-world regular, we’re all pretty sophisticated as viewers by now. In fact, in today’s image-driven culture, we’ve become so good at looking that we can do it very quickly—in a museum, about three seconds per object. But when I visited Vik Muniz’s ICP survey—a full show of pictures of pictures filled with shabby fun, a bit like Sherrie Levine crossed with a flea circus—viewers were parked in front of individual photos, staring, laughing, beckoning their companions, pointing. You might think somebody had spotted a flea doing a triple somersault.

    Holding

  • Kenneth Noland

    For the past few years many young artists, followed quickly by dealers and critics, have celebrated the renewed “rightness” of Color Field painting. There may be something about any flush economy that breeds Apollonian exercises in the art world: Times were good in the ’60s and they’re good again (more or less), so perhaps it’s no surprise that Kenneth Noland has chosen this very moment to update his classic circle imagery of 1958–63.

    It’s an art-historical commonplace that in their “late” styles artists stress touch over vision—Rembrandt, Titian, Renoir, Monet. Ruled by a softening heart

  • Catherine de Zegher

    Catherine de Zegher, co-founder and director of Belgium’s Kanaal Art Foundation, has been named director of the Drawing Center in New York, replacing Ann Philbin, who has run the SoHo kunsthalle-slash-salon for the past eight and a half years. De Zegher was responsible for an impressive series of contemporary exhibitions at the Kanaal over the past decade, including shows devoted to the works of Tony Oursler and Brazilian artist Cildo Meireles, as well as many high-profile independent projects, such as the twentieth-century section of “Bride of the Sun,” a survey of Latin American art, and “

  • “Surrealism: Two Private Eyes”

    In showcasing the collections of Neshui Ertegun and Daniel Filipacchi, old friends and tandem fans of Surrealism, one imagines the Guggenheim hopes it does not love in vain—nevertheless, the show looks to be a serious effort rather than a vanity affair. The catalogue boasts essays by Rosalind Krauss and David Sylvester, and curator Carmen Jimenez marshals Filipacchi's accumulation of Surrealist ephemera to provide context for this two-collector trove of work by major and lesser-known figures alike. Considering the uncanny sway Surrealism continues to hold over current art, not to mention

  • “The Time of Our Lives”

    As the boomers saddle up to ride off into the sunset, “ageism” is generating everything from menopause manuals to highbrow academic harangues—and now, Marcia Tucker's “Auld Lang Syne” swan song at the New Museum. In this exhibition, the outgoing founding director takes apart the tired notion of aging as decline. Including “older” artists (Yvonne Rainer, Annette Messager) and younger ones who subvert traditional images of aging (Lisa Yuskavage, Cho Duck Hyun), as well as samplings of ageist propaganda from TV, movies, and books, the show asks: Will the vanguard art world outgrow its

  • Rodney Graham

    The Doktor is in. Canadian conceptualist Rodney Graham may invoke any number of nineteenth-century big shots (Wagner, Flaubert) but Freud reigns over this retrospective of Graham's work in the '90s. Upgrading the psychopathology of everyday life, the multimedia artist reveals the ways in which dreams, omission, and repetition shape high-modern art and culture. Graham's sense of humor matches his Romantic heart and analytic mind; he represents the unconscious as a castaway knocked out by a coconut. Fellow Canadian curator Loretta Yarlow has assembled film, videos, music, and postcards for this

  • Cady Noland/Olivier Mosset

    The odd-couple concept: He's a highly refined Swiss abstract painter, she's a trashy American installation artist. What will happen when they get together? Curator Rein Wolfs hopes we see formal rhyming between Mosset's monochromatic circle paintings and Noland's holes, cut through freestanding silhouettes of American heroes (Elvis) and zeroes (Oswald). He expects we will also discover deeper affinities between the two longtime friends. That Mosset's work has changed of late—it's gotten up off the wall and moved into space with freestanding paintings, cardboard bunkers, and even a speed

  • Malcolm Morley

    Like a rock icon who neglected to die young or burn out, Malcolm Morley has to put up with critics interested in nothing but his “early stuff,” whether it’s his ’60s-era superrealist hits or his expressionist work from the ’70s. His exhibition of recent paintings reveals the artist glancing over his shoulder as well, but in unanticipated ways.

    Good digestion is the key to successful borrowing, and in these paintings, Morley mixes the peculiarly British genre of maritime painting with quotations from artistsas far-ranging as Malevich, Rousseau, and Picasso, washing it all down with imagery from

  • Lewis Hine

    Artists in this culture have always had a rocky relationship with work. Their own often goes unrecognized as such, and they tend to idealize or ignore the kind of work other people do. So for pictures of labor, we rely largely on photographers who may or may not consider themselves artists; among them, Lewis Hine stands out. Curator Barbara Head Millstein has assembled an important exhibition of photographs from the last decade of his career (the vast majority are dated circa 1930s). We all know Hine’s powerful critique of child labor; these images picture adults with much greater ambivalence.

  • Gabriel Orozco

    Gabriel Orozco makes art about things (and people and moments) and the spaces between them. We need both to make sense of the world: Trying to see everything, you get only a blur, but look at every other thing, and a pattern emerges. The question becomes, Which things do you choose, and which does your eye (or hand) skip over?

    In Orozco’s first solo show in New York, he displayed a single piece, Yogurt Caps, 1994. One blue-rimmed clear plastic lid, complete with expiration date, hung on each of the four walls of the main gallery, highlighting the emptiness between the barely-there readymades.

  • Paul Thek

    Should the artist be a man of the world? Paul Thek came up in the ’50s and ’60s, when it was hard to answer “no,” when “avant-garde artist” became a profession, an idea that repulsed him, Wrestling with this question in 1979, Thek wrote to a priest, “I am OK, still trying to be ‘an artist’ in the secular world . . . as you know, the world is the world, very ‘worldly,’ etc, etc.” He longed for recognition, but had little respect for posturing or artistic orthodoxies, retreating to Europe—and even, late in his life, to a monastery—for long periods.

    Curator and critic Richard Flood called Thek’s

  • Willem de Kooning

    The coincident scheduling of Rothko and Pollock exhibitions in New York this fall provided a great opening for three de Kooning shows, as well as the Public Art Fund’s display of two large sculptures in Central and Bryant Parks. Seeing AbEx “all over” New York, it was obvious that de Kooning alone managed at once to reinvent and to remain himself—to have the second act most American artists don’t get. While the black-and-white enamels of the ’40s and the women and landscapes of the ’50s continue to be classic, the underrated work of the ’60s and ’70s equally challenges and rewards sustained