Paul Galvez

  • View of “Gerhard Richter,” 2011. Wall, from left: STRIP, 2011; STRIP, 2011; STRIP, 2011. Foreground: 6 Standing Glass Panes, 2002/2011.

    Gerhard Richter

    The introduction of digital processes into the practice of painting inevitably raises questions. Has the Very New irrevocably transformed and indeed usurped the Very Old? Or is the celebratory hype surrounding new media simply the latest installment of the technological triumphalism that has periodically punctuated the history of modern art ever since the invention of photography?

    The five large digital prints that make up Gerhard Richter’s series “Strip,” 2011, inserted themselves directly into this debate. The works were intense. Consisting entirely of horizontal bands of vibrant color under

  • R. H. Quaytman, Exhibition Guide, Chapter 15 (DvS 4), 2009, silk-screen ink and gesso on wood, 20 x 20".


    IT IS NO COINCIDENCE that the person who makes R. H. Quaytman’s panels was formerly a collaborator of Donald Judd’s. The fastidious construction, the often dazzling optics, the play between transparency and opacity: Quaytman’s painting and the Minimalist object share much. Most of all, perhaps, they share a systematic logic in which every detail, from individual paintings and installations to their publication and distribution, is subject to careful control. And it is this relentless drive that makes one wonder about the development of this system—its contours, whence it came, and how it continues

  • View of Virgil Marti’s “Set Pieces,” 2010.

    Virgil Marti

    In the latest installment of the Philadelphia ICA’s guest curator program, locally based artist Virgil Marti has done a rare thing. He has put together an exhibition composed almost entirely of museum-quality historical objects within the walls of a kunsthalle much more accustomed to dealing with work by living artists. That this project was even allowed to take place says something about the close bonds between Marti, ICA curator Ingrid Schaffner, and Philadelphia Museum of Art curator Joseph Rishel. Such largesse has enabled the artist to construct strange theatrical tableaus, or “set pieces,”

  • Jean Dupuy, N° 71, 1965, acrylic on canvas, 78 3/4 x 55".

    Jean Dupuy

    The French artist Jean Dupuy is best known for a strange piece—part heart monitor, part sculpture—called Heart Beats Dust, 1968, which was exhibited that year in Pontus Hultén’s “The Machine as Seen at the End of the Mechanical Age” at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. The work consisted of a wooden box in which a cone of infrared light illuminated a pile of dust that pulsed to the rhythms of the viewer’s heartbeat. A stethoscope registered the body’s sound and then amplified it to a degree that allowed a person’s subconscious energies to take visual form. For this Dupuy won a

  • R. H. Quaytman, Exhibition Guide, Chapter 15 (ICA archive 5, Art for Corporations), 2009, silk screen, gesso on wood, 32 3/8 x 20".

    R. H. Quaytman

    TWO SILK-SCREEN PAINTINGS, which recently hung together in a corner at Boston’s Institute of Contemporary Art, could stand as an emblem for the painting practice of New York–based artist R. H. Quaytman. Both show the same archival photograph of a 1966 ICA exhibition, “Art for U.S. Embassies.” Across the upper half of each, another photograph is overlaid, of a white wall on whose left side hangs an Op-art chevron painting, Terri Priest’s Organic Interaction #107, 1965, which was on view in the original exhibition. So an image of an abstract painting sits on a monochromatic picture plane that sits

  • Don Argott, The Art of the Steal, 2009, still from a color film in HD, 101 minutes.
    film March 04, 2010

    Barnes and Noblesse

    THE ART OF THE STEAL wants you to think that a secret cabal of greedy politicians, social-climbing university trustees, and not-so-charitable charities hoodwinked the public into accepting the move of Dr. Albert Barnes’s world-class collection of modern art from Merion, Pennsylvania, to its new home in downtown Philadelphia.

    About twenty minutes into The Art of the Steal, Julian Bond, then chairman of the NAACP board and one of several luminaries interviewed for the movie, states its recurring leitmotif: that Barnes wanted his collection to be a place where the common man could have epiphanies

  • “Cézanne and Beyond”

    The sumptuous “Cézanne and Beyond” was that rare thing: a blockbuster show of modern painting that looks forward, not backward. In a climate where shows of the formula “Artist X and the Old Masters” have increasingly become the safe choice for museums, we must applaud curators Joseph J. Rishel and Katherine Sachs for resisting the art historian’s natural instinct to think retrospectively. Indeed, their effort to trace an artist’s bequest to future generations is very much like adjudicating a fraught inheritance: Any major legacy is bound to be contested by its presumptive heirs.

    To the organizers’


    THERE ARE THOSE WHO BELIEVE that May 1968 was not, in fact, the turning point that so many think it was. Indeed, there are those who believe that it was only in May ’68 that the effects of actions that had taken place years before finally became visible and then impossible to ignore—even for those whose eyes were perhaps not so subtle. In 1967, when tremors of the impending upheaval were already being felt, poet Francis Ponge provided a kind of organizing metaphor for this belief. Speaking with the critic Philippe Sollers in an interview broadcast on France Culture, Ponge disclosed his

  • Vito Acconci

    Exhibitions of performance artists’ work are often exercises in frustration. Forever deprived of the original event, one must settle for photographs, videos, and other forms of documentation that struggle to fill the void left behind by the missing work. Presenting architectural projects in a museum or gallery setting is equally problematic, plans and models becoming the focus. The unique challenge confronting curators Christine Poggi and Meredith Malone in “Power Fields: Explorations in the Work of Vito Acconci” at the Slought Foundation was how to represent Acconci’s performative and architectural

  • Norwège, Suède et Danemark (Porter with Chairs), 2005, tapestry weave with embroidery, mohair, acrylic, and polyester, 108 x 78".
    picks March 06, 2008

    William Kentridge

    This exhibition, curated by Carlos Basualdo, might have had as its subtitle “Ubu Roi Does a Matisse.” The articulate South African artist William Kentridge, in collaboration with the Stephens Tapestry Studio, has conjured pretty patterns from paper silhouettes, just as Matisse did at the Vence Chapel. But, as a self-professed disciple of Alfred Jarry, Kentridge cannot refrain from making the metamorphosis grotesque, as the series of torn-paper collages (“Puppet Drawings,” 2000) exhibited in the adjoining room makes clear. Replace Matisse’s elegant multicolored cutouts with chunks of black

  • Peter Campus

    From afar, the six new works exhibited by Peter Campus in “the earth is nowhere” at Locks Gallery look more like diagrams than landscapes. Five of them are digital videos of sites in, on, or near Long Island Sound played in six-minute loops on their own flat-screen monitors. A formalist critic might see in the austere geometry of these views a contemporary equivalent to Manet’s paintings of the Normandy coast, where masts and piers vie with flat areas of intense blue to submit the order of reality to the order of the picture plane.

    To replicate Manet’s conflation of figure and field, Campus

  • “Ensemble”

    “Ensemble” was a musical composition in the guise of an exhibition and was best experienced first with one’s eyes closed. This asked something rather unusual of the viewer, demanding that he or she stand in the middle of the gallery, forget about contemplating individual works, resist for a moment the urge to manipulate them, and give in to pure sound. Why? Because the twenty-seven contraptions assembled by curator Christian Marclay at the Philadelphia ICA were not mute objects but sound-making devices, either mechanically driven or manually activated.

    Think of “Ensemble” as an ongoing interactive