14 December 2015

What's up for five more days

Di Donna's Surrealist show and Helly Nahmad's offering of de Chirico next door seek to view these artists through the prism of the mainstream art historical traditions of the landscape and neo-classicism, which the once-privileged de Chirico more or less willed.  de Chirico was commissioned to do a set by Diaghilev and found comfort in Cocteau's praise as Cocteau sought to get him in his camp against the Surrealists.  "Cocteau and Diaghilev, Max Jacob said, had tainted (Picasso) with their worldliness, which appealed to an inherent bourgeois streak in Picasso." (Richardson).. ..de Chirico (Memoirs): "I am very grateful to Jean Cocteau for the interest he has shown in me, but I must say I do not in fact approve the kind of praise he accords me and the interpretations he likes to put on my pictures.. even many people who are favorably disposed towards me do not understand a thing about my painting."  I am of the mind that the imagery of de Chirico's "Metaphysical" period was so neurotic and compulsive that even he didn't understand it, for which he sought correction in the ancient world of his childhood in Greece, attaching his fragile megalomania to a Classicist 'main line' of painting and theater as he was trying to win over French and Italian patrons, of which the latter were more resistant, all of which would later make for great shows at the Carlyle.

de Chirico, I due soli, 1969

Both de Chirico and Baselitz attempt to recover their essence - Baselitz says he tries to recover artists of the past from their Zeitgeist, but the later work of the two does so through art-historical reference.  Though Artaud is perhaps the strongest influence in Baselitz, Riopelle's "Artaud yes, Picasso no" declaims the battles with dead painters in castles that the elderly Baselitz shares with the elderly Picasso.  Here Baselitz does battle with Hokusai, pairing renditions of the 18thC master's self-portrait with previously used motifs.

980 Madison also has the winking Elie Nadelman - Joseph Cornell pastiches of H.C. Westermann at Venus, which is showing a tendency for the one-off jokes.  The Enrico Baj show is ending too.  At 130 64th St. the absence of gallery markings on Gladstone's address befit its current contents of Pierre Klossowski's large scale pencil drawings of various Sadean hijinx, a few doors from three floors of 1990s Thornton Dial.  Gladstone's Chelsea room is filled with Tinguelies (sp?) that you can activate with your foot.

Adolf Wölfli, Untitled, 1924

Also around here, but ending later, all Piri' Miri Muli' recommended and possibly resulting in more typing at this url is Peter Doig at Werner, Motherwell's Elegy to the Spanish Republic variations at Levy, and Julie Ault at Buchholz; Westside: Dubuffet's Art Brut collection at the Folk Museum (above); in Midtown: Matta at Pace, Torres-García at MoMA, and F.N. Souza's and Sunil Das' Indian working girls at DAG Modern - inspired but no match for Andrea del Sarto's Magdalene at the Frick.

Study of the Head of a Young Woman, ca. 1523

Continuing on the theme Alban Berg's Lulu is painted with ink on dictionary pages by Kentridge, joined by Freud, Berg, Mahler, and what I think is Adorno and Schoenberg at Marian Goodman's on the 3rd floor, where Szoke has Picasso and Munch prints up down the hall.  Up a floor is the more direct theatricality of Jeff Wall.

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