reviews

  • View of “The Société Anonyme: Modernism for America,” UCLA Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, 2006. From left: Jacques Villon, In Memoriam, 1919; Juan Gris, Journal et compotier (Newspaper and Fruit Dish), 1916; Constantin Brancusi, Little French Girl (The First Step III), ca. 1914–18; Morton Livingston Schamberg, Painting (formerly Machine), 1916; Joseph Stella, Brooklyn Bridge, 1918–20; Francis Picabia, Prostitution universelle (Universal Prostitution), 1916–17; Man Ray, Lampshade, 1921; Georges Ribemont-Dessaignes, Jeune femme (Young Woman), 1919; Heinrich Campendonk, Die rote Katze (The Red Cat), 1926. Photo: Joshua White.

    “The Société Anonyme”

    Hammer Museum

    WHAT SHAPE might the narrative of modernism in the visual arts have assumed in the absence of New York’s Museum of Modern Art? Would we envision the history and evolution of modern art differently if we had not been guided for decades by the famous flowchart that MoMA director Alfred H. Barr Jr. prepared to explain the organization of his 1936 exhibition “Cubism and Abstract Art”? Here, for the first time, Barr crystallized MoMA’s paradigmatic vision of modernism as a progressive, formalist development across the European avant-gardes that could be traced along a dense network of intersecting

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  • Allison Miller

    ACME.

    As the recent “Société Anonyme” exhibition at UCLA’s Hammer Museum helpfully reminded us, painterly pluralism is nothing new. But for all its diversity, avant-garde modernism was largely predicated on imperatives, on overturning old paradigms for something more visionary—whether futurism or Fauvism, Surrealism or geometric abstraction. I must admit I often get a little perplexed about what the imperatives might be for contemporary painting, beyond the laws of supply and demand, and the speculative whims of fashion.

    But while I wait for an imperative to emerge, I’m willing to settle for some simple

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  • Steve Hurd

    Rosamund Felsen Gallery

    In his first solo exhibition in seven years and his debut at Rosamund Felsen Gallery, Steve Hurd showed eighteen paintings spanning three years of work. Most familiar were those based on advertising circulars for art supply and frame stores, which faithfully reproduce layouts, wording, and images ranging from the generic prints included in new picture frames to Amedeo Modigliani reproductions. Rendered in a loosely naturalistic style with thin, drippy oil paint, these are reminiscent of Hurd’s previous riffs on the art world, which have included hand-painted reproductions of art magazine covers

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