20 December 2013

What's up for two more days

Medal for Dishonor: Propaganda for War
Yes, two days left to see David Smith's 1955-56 Forgings at Gagosian 980 Madison, which "translated the spontaneity of a brushed line drawing into sculptural form," as he was known to say "I belong with the painters."  I have received word from the nice folks at the Smithsonian that though the Hirshhorn Museum stores four of Smith's Medals for Dishonor* from the late 30s and though they have 197,000 square feet of exhibition space, a large portion of which is devoted entirely to sculpture and all of which could contain sculpture, the medallions have not been displayed in the rotating gallery of sculptures since 1986, which was for the show "Relief Sculpture: Selections from the Museum's Collection."  Florence wanted the collection, where the Medals would go toe to toe with Ghiberti, as did London (Elgin Marbles), Zurich, Purchase, NY, and Tel Aviv.  My solution: a museum where angry masterpieces are guaranteed permanent exhibition.. they will come..

Medal for Dishonor: Elements Which cause Prostitution
Medal for Dishonor: War Exempt Sons of the Rich

Since I started writing this post, the gang was good enough to extend the Smith show til Jan 11, but at 980 Madison the late de Koonings and William Eggleston 1978 sky images are ending, and next door, the Balthus photos make a great date if for some reason you want your girlfriend to dump you.  Midtown: Kabakov at Pace, ending, and on 19th Street the lines will be very long for the last day of Yayoi Kusama's Infinity Rooms but if you show up at 10am it should be warm enough.

* All fifteen were shown at Matthew Marks in 1994-95.

1 comment:

Ian Keenan said...

I wrote a long paragraph about the Ad Reinhardt show not realizing it had closed last week:

"a block North is the first Ad Reinhardt show in ___ years.

"The Black Paintings notoriously cannot be adequately reproduced; what momentousness comes from seeing the original cartoons is accompanied by the difficulty of taking it all in amongst the crowds, but ya better not pout as the monographs are a-comin' (I, II). Time should be alotted, though, to sit down and absorb the slide presentation, including photographs from his travels to Asia and the Middle East in the 50s, assembled for a never completed "evolutionary outline for a history of world art" as Dale McConathy called it, where "we see the beginnings, in visual terms, of something very like the studies of structural linguistics" of "art in all times and places." After the trips to Asia he worked only in black, pursuing what he believed to be the end point in art, and, shown as here in tandem with the cartoons, mandalas of art history, and slides, seem to be canvases darkened by the accumulated markings of all that had come before it. Reinhardt turned from cartoons, in turns political and art-historical, to abstraction while studying under Meyer Shapiro in the 30s, who rationalized abstraction in Marxist Quarterly in 1937 as being socially determined and therefore not detached from social reality; so seeking such a detachment could perhaps for Reinhardt be more tragic than Rothko and Newman who openly sought spiritualy and the tragic. What spiritual content is here makes its way in through art-historical references; Reinhardt stated in his lectures, as McConathy notes, his "preference for.. the vegetative forms of Indian sculpture." Where the black paint is lighter or thinner, rectangles can be seen, as the cross, which preceded Christ as an artistic image, was of the earth, part of what Reinhardt described as "one vast symbolism, 'Heaven is round, earth is square (as the old Chinese say). All images share: the state of identical form.'"