19 December 2015

What's up for five more days

The 50th anniversary restoration of Pierrot le Fou (I, II) is onscreen in NYC, which involved the lack of a negative or an orginal sound track among other daunting problems.  During shooting in 1966 the film's finances hadn't been secured ahead of time and Raoul Coutard insisted on utilizing the new technology of widescreen Techniscope color, after the last three features (Band of Outsiders, A Married Woman and Alphaville) were b/w, which involved more elaborate lighting setups, stressing Godard and the crew, but for now you can see projected Coutard's framing of the Riviera to 'Elle est retrouvée./ Quoi? - L'Éternité./ C'est la mer allée/ Avec le soleil.' Godard's sparing use of its source novel played up whatever natural psycho-social resemblance it had to Rimbaud's A Season in Hell, prompting its protagonist to tell a cocktail party given over sit-comedically to statements of consumerism that his senses weren't integrated, to be told by the guest he talks too much, to the various direct and indirect references thereafter.

Adapting dozens of literary sources at once, not sure why or which one to settle on, would plant the seeds of his recent style, and Godard reflected that Pierrot le Fou, arising out of his despair and confusion, was 'his first film,' coming after the genre structures of Alphaville (still my favorite) and Band of Outsiders (Americanized as Pulp Fiction) .  My favorite Welles film was The Lady from Shanghai, a bitter genre film of romantic betrayal starring his recent ex Rita Hayworth based very loosely on its novel, and though Anna Karina wasn't his first choice immediately after she left him for a mediocre director, Godard is even less restrained in abandoning genre to vent this emotions through the image of his ex.   Welles' Chimes at Midnight is also arriving in restored form Jan. 1 after its distribution rights have been blocked for years, and I've only seen bootleg versions and old vhs rental copies of it.

17 December 2015

What's up for two more days and an hour or two

I posted hastily the other day and forgot the Joan Mitchell show, for which there's a big sign across the street from Marian Goodman while you're on your way to Matta and DAG, and the Frank O'Hara friend theme can be extended with Jane Freilicher and Joe Brainard around the corner. After her therapist tells her not to spend another summer in the Hamptons but to go to Paris, she becomes romantically involved with Riopelle and shows in several US museums  the following winter, 1959-60. They fly back to the US/Canada repeatedly and I presume Harbor December (left) is from one of their sailing outings in Long Island.  Her treatment of water, air, and boats reminds me of Monet (they lived in Giverny), and this show features her 1959 oil Goulphur I, of the lighthouse of the island of Belle-Île which Monet frequently painted in the 1870s and 80s.  Rodin described the Breton coast as "a Monet" and the Grand Vallée series of the mid-1980s  was inspired by "a friend, who recounts to her that a young cousin, on his deathbed, said he dreamed of returning to the Grand Vallée in Brittany, where the two had spent their childhood."  It has seemed to me that in her late years she painted emotional distance, of which the gaze back into childhood is one.

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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30 November 2015

What's up for two more days..

Piri' Miri Muli' readers who have not set out to DAG Modern for the Avanash Chandra retrospective after my Sept 20 notice are here advised that it closes this Wednesday evening.  Philip Rawson's observation in his 1971 Art of Tantra seems descriptive of Chandra's tantric phase in London:  "Tantra was never concerned with imitating an external world, and so its figures are to some degree stereotypes, puppets stimulating by their visual inadequacy a vigorous reinterpretation in the imagination of the mediator."  Like Chandra, Sohan Qadri who's, last I looked, featured in Sundaram Tagore's 82nd and Madison window, developed his Tantric painting in Europe.

Georg Feuerstein notes "Hindu Tantra.. was introduced to the Western World through the writings of Sir John Woodroffe.. in 1913" (Tantra 1999 xi) after recounting "..within the field of Hinduism, Tantra gradually fell into disrepute..  During the Victorian colonization of India, puritanism drove Tantric practitioners underground. Today, Tantra survives mainly in the conservative (samaya) molds of th the Shri-Vidya tradition of South India and the Buddhist tradition of Tibet, though both heritages also have their more radical practitioners who understandably prefer to stay out of the limelight".. Feuerstein's Yoga Tradition from the same year recounts "opposition in conventional Hindu and Buddhist circles.. Today Tantra is held in low esteem in India."

Rawson's earlier book strikes a similar note: "(Sir John Woodroffe, Calcutta Chief Justice and early translator of tantra) "was writing for a double audience: there were the Europeans deeply infected with Victorian prudery; and then there were the English-speaking Indians who were mostly under the influence of their caste-prejudices, ashamed and violently critical of elements in their own culture, and hence anxious to seem even more puritan than their Western rulers..  (Woodroffe) was standing out against a vocal alliance between an Indian caste élite and Western missionaries who were aiming to get Tantra outlawed.."

It is hard to reconstruct what prevailing attitudes predated British colonization, but Ajit Mookerjee and Madhu Khana's 1977 The Tantric Way suggests "Tantra.. grew out of the mainstream of Indian thought, yet in the course of time it received its nourishment from its own sources, which were not only radically different from the parent doctrine but often heretical and directly opposed to it. In this way tantra developed largely outside the establishment, and in the course of a dialectical process acquired its own outlook. The tantric approach is anti-ascetic, anti-speculative and entirely without conventional perfectionist clichés." (14)

Tantric art in exile inevitably finds itself in a reverse bind: the curiosity and sensationalism directed at its sensuality. "We could compare the state of Tantra in the West with that of Yoga, with which it is related. Like Tantra, the physical side of Yoga is emphasized.. even though those represent a small part of classical Yoga, whose main concern is meditation" (Frawley 21)  After making his way to tantrism by representing urban architecture, his earliest subject, as sex organs (above), Chandra's saṃsāra content focuses increasingly on the natural world during the years Pop Art was pre-eminant, moving from figures outside social contexts to the uninhabited landscape.

Rawson wrote about ancient Tantra painting "the objective colored surface was never meant to challenge comparison with any sensuously derived image of external reality. It was meant to stimulate radiant inner icons.. to produce a higher key or grade of objectivity than any transient reflection on the retina of the eye, a consistent world of the imagination against which visual phenomena seem grey and pale." (21)  If that reminds one of Duchamp's statement that his art "depended on something other than the retina," Octavio Paz wrote a year before Rawson's book ".. in both cases (Duchamp's Large Glass and 'the Tantric imagery of Bengal represent(ing) Kali') we are present at the representation of a circular operation that unveils the phenomenal reality of the world.. and simultaneously denies it all true reality." (65)  Chandra's paintings of grouped figures actually resemble Duchamp's 'Fauvist' phase of 1910-11 before he encountered Cubism and Picabia, inspired, by Duchamp's reportage "Obviously it's Matisse. Yes, it was him at the beginning."  Chandra features a Joy of Spring..

De Chirico, featured prominently at Helly Nahmad until Dec 23 and in the Surrealist Landscape show next door til Dec 18 (both unsurprisingly Piri' Miri Muli' recommended), called Matisse a "pseudo-painter" but Riopelle, at Acquavella til Dec 11, countered "the greatest is still Matisse, the only painter to have explored all possible techniques.. Luckily for the abstractionists, Matisse did no abstracts: he would have demolished everyone."

28 November 2015

"On view through December 23rd, Enrico Baj (64 East 77th Street) offers the first American survey of Baj’s early paintings since his exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, in 1971."

The show in the gallery's three floors features the landscapes, generals, 'heroines,' and furniture phases of Baj's work of the years' preceding Breton's '63 essay:

'It is, indeed, the child within each one of us which is wounded the most atrociously these days. The fact that today it is not simply the child's life but the child's essential nature which is threatened is a monstrous scandal, and one that has affected Baj so deeply that he has felt obliged to launch a frontal attack..

'The stimulus which endows Baj's work with its extraordinary vitality owes is vigor to the fact that he is in control, in perfect harmony with the implicit contradictions, of a device set to sound an alarm and yet, at the same time, to spread joy..

'With regard to fire, he suggests that it is composed of "an infinity of tiny invisible bodies," some of which are round and some pyramidal, which explains why "the flame behaves differently, according to the type and sign of the angles made between the pyramid and the sphere".. As for sight, it "occurs when the outer coats of the eye, which have openings in them similar to those in glass, send out the fire-dust known as sight-rays and is stopped by some opaque matter which makes it rebound back to the home."..

'A quite recent period in Baj's work has singled out from this brutish regiment several incarnations of the 'general is full dress uniform'.. a mountain of importance about capable of giving birth to an intellectual mouse, nevertheless constitutes a menacing survival, particularly from the moment when he sets himself up as being an expert on 'psychological warfare' and in this capacity feeds his tiny rodent on Clausewitz and Mae Tse Tung.

'The general's female companion obviously presents a rather subtler moving target.. the attributes of femininity grant a partial immunity to this heroine of the knockabout farce.'

11 October 2015

What's up another week

Magritte, Souvinir de voyage
Will Ryman's new sculpture Classroom, in which each student is made of a different natural resource, occupies the gallery in front of his The Situation Room, based on the photograph of Obama and his advisors watching the presumed raid on bin Laden's compound, made of crushed black coal (515 w27, til Oct 17).  The two rooms together offer a base and superstructure snapshot of the culture surrounding it, as defined by Marx in 1859: "The totality of these relations of production constitutes the economic structure of society, the real foundation, on which arises a legal and political superstructure, and to which correspond definite forms of social consciousness. The mode of production of material life conditions the general process of social, political, and intellectual life." Ryman "sketched out the scene" of The Situation Room "trying different colors before settling on black coal, both as a symbol of prized natural resources that have led to so many wars, and for its ability to redact the identity of the faces, as though they were censored material. From a cold-storage room, he pulled out studies where he had tested different grains of crushed coal, both glinting and dirtlike. The coal dusting over the figures evoked the lost city of Pompeii, where ancient life was buried in ash, frozen mid-motion." I'm predictably reminded of the "stone" phase of Magritte, figures petrified in his paintings beginning at the outbreak of WW2 and more so in the 50s, concurrent with Ernst's petrified Europe After the Rain series.

Theophanes the Greek, 15C
The Magritte influence is more clearly seen on the second floor of Metro Pictures (519 w24), where a few new Jim Shaw paintings* include a painting in which the stigmata of Jesus is apparently inflicted by several of what René called "the locomotive (charging out of the chimney).. This metamorphosis is called "La Durée poignardée (Time Transfixed)," (below) a metamorphosis compressing, in Shaw's case, the image of the crucifixion, more prominent in Western painting, and the transfiguration, emphasized in Eastern Orthodox iconography, into "a single glance."  Shaw visited Magritte's petrification motif in his "Red Rock," Magritte's "Castle on the Pyranees" with faces of pop culture painted on, as Noëllie Roussel paraphrases "Jim Shaw has often referred to Magritte as a symptom of a culture in which reproductions and their spin-offs so saturate our mental and imaginary worlds that art eventually becomes part of our way of seeing reality." This joins a few other new paintings and a wall of older, amusing parodies of folk art, a room which seems to be a well-guarded secret on the internet as the staff conjectures it will be up another two weeks. 

You may wonder, how does Jimmy get away with art history references?  I'll let Riopelle, who has what unsurprisingly I consider the best show in town** at Acquavella (18 e79, til Dec 11), take this: "Picasso? No, he's a mass of references. A reference himself. Artaud yes, Picasso no."

Jean Paul Riopelle, Les Picandeaux, 1967

Up another week at BravinLee (526 West 26th Street #211) is Elektra KB's "Accidental Pursuit of the Stateless," in which the Papess of the Theocratic Republic of Gaia expresses her solidarity with migrants though a video of three costumed T.R.O.G. natives attempting to assimilate into German culture, filmed during her residency in Berlin.  An embroidery of hers from her last show quite stood out at Spring/Break this year, and there is more here in that format as well as collages, a bed, and various other media.

* coinciding with his retrospective at the New Museum through Jan 10
** along with the larger CoBrA show, up til Oct 17.

26 September 2015

Pics from Pope's Visit

Managed to score a Non-Conferring Individual pass for the Philadelphia Conference of Families and got close up -

Theological discussion

Digs my date, totally ignores me

The line outside..

..goes on and on..

20 September 2015

What's up

Ray Johnson at Feigen (34 East 69th) has been held over for another two weeks, including versions of his Rimbaud cover altered by 1971 readers of American Arts and his portrait of Max Ernst inside Ray's own head (right).  They also have a couple Matta works on paper out and one by Tanguy.  One thing I gathered from the documentary is we both drink the same tea.

Shows just opening I saw around there:

Concurrent with Ft. Lauderdale keeping 120 works of theirs by Asger Jorn and the Hell-Horse of the WW2 Danish underground up til February, Blum and Poe follow up last fall's Karl Appel show with a three floor overview of CoBrA with a delightful Jorn selection of their own, til Oct 17 (19 e 66th).  A room is devoted to the sculptures of Shinkichi Tajiri, subject of a new monograph, who emigrated to Amsterdam after detention in Arizona during WW2 and being wounded in Italy, as well as photographs of temporary sculptures and his short cinematic evocation of early 60s Dutch ganja.

Jonier Marín's performance works, mostly from the early 70s, include his posting the work "incomunicable" upside down on Bogota buildings, photographing it behind passers by, and turning the photo upside down, 35 e67 4th fl. til Oct 31.

Sander, Three Peasants
August Sander photographs of Weimar era folk looking very much their respective professions, including the severe mug of Raoul Hausmann (Deborah Bell, 16 e71 4th fl. til Oct 31)

Two floors of Gego's wire sculptures and experiments with line (Levy 909 Madison til Oct 31)

Robert Morris' epoxied felt shrouds emptied of the figure reference Goya's dunces and other runway poses, (pdf) 18 E 77 til Nov 14

DAG Modern's first retrospective features Avanash Chandra, who drew inspiration from Swinging London's interest in tantra in the early 60s to move from townscapes to erotic 'humanscapes' to return to the tropical landscape, 41 e57 suite 708 til Dec 5.

The Brassaï photographs (right) featured in Henry Miller's 1956 Quiet Days in Clichy, mostly taken in the 30s, in the order of their appearance in the book, 41 e57 suite 1406 til Oct 24.

When I came to the fourth floor at 24 w57h, I recalled reading that Marian Goodman's show was up but was faked out, thinking that the show was in installation.  The walls were curtained off , the floor, like Pierre Huyghe's Met roof, was unfinished, a man in traditional African dress stood in the back of the gallery. I went to Stux and getting back on the elevator, confirmed that it was Goodman's floor. I returned and the man in African dress told me I could look at this room and the other one, following me into the other one to tell me I could take photographs of Adrián Villar Rojas' Oxymandias-like replica of Michelangelo's David on the floor, with the curtains and other small items comprising a time image, at which time I told him I didn't have a camera. (til Oct 10)

Marlborough surveys sculptor Magdalena Abakanowicz's career, 40 West 57th til Oct 17

Mike Kelley's (511 West 18th Street, til Oct 24) urithane resin and mixed media sculptures of the cityscapes resulting when "Superman ultimately wrestles Kandor away from Brainiac and hides it in his Fortress of Solitude, sustaining its citizens with tanks of Kryptonic atmosphere. As Kelley once explained, Kandor functions for Superman as ‘a perpetual reminder of his inability to escape the past, and his alienated relationship to his present world.’" (Update 10/5 - huge and well presented, stuff that wasn't in the retrospectives)

Kandor 10B (Exploded Fortress of Solitude), 2011

Dana Schutz (456 W 18th Street til Oct 24) She seems to have moved to more everyday subject matter when she moved to Petzel as opposed to the more varied, at times history themed finale at Feuer; this one adds some stylistic wrinkles. (edited 10/5 after seeing the show)

Wolfgang Tillmans, Gordon Matta-Clark, Isa Genzken, and Dan Flavin at 19th/20th Zwirner til Oct 24th.

Sarah Sze (521 West 21st Street til Oct 17) adds sound, painting, and sattelites to her fall garden.

29 August 2015

What's up

Closing this weekend is Sunaram Tagore's display of two large canvases by Sohan Qadri, who claims to have beaten Magritte in chess during the painting of "Ceci n'est pas une pipe," at its 1100 Madison outpost of to go with a generous sampling of his different phases at DAG Modern (41 East 57 Street, Suite 708, til Sept 12), an artist often pigeonholed by Indian critics as a tantric spiritualist. Moving pemanently to Copenhagen in the 70s where he was one of the founders of the Christiania squat may account for his omission from After Midnight, itself up til Sept 13.

A Hindu master living on his family's farm in the Punjab asked Sohan at a young age "to inscribe yantras (geometric designs used as meditation tools) on his mud walls." In his book on Mallarmé, Thomas Williams cites the "Ses purs ongles très haut…" sonnet to illustrate his contention "the pure poem is the one that exists solely on the yantric level." "The yantra, etymologically an 'instrument for giving the mind control,' is an image or geometric design used in certain systems of yoga to aid the mind in its movement out of time and space and into the absolute.. The yantric function of the poem exists on a non-discursive level. It emerges quite mysteriously from the sounds, rhythms, images which together make the whole work. On a discursive level, a poem may make statements about the absolute; on the yantric level, which, mistaken for statement about, may even seem nonsensical, it opens a way into the absolute.. The success of a poem as yantra is felt rather than understood.. The meaning of a yantric poem is one that the poet or the reader 'recognizes by sensation.'"  "The aspiration of the being towards the Universal with the object of attaining an inward illumination" (Guénon) "a concentrated visualization and intimate inner experience of the polar play and logic-shattering paradox of eternity and time." (Heinrich Zimmer)

Of "Ses purs ongles très haut…" Badiou suggests "The nymph would also have been totally done away with in the mirror were it not for the appearance of the reflection of a costellation.." (54) Williams: "The mirror is pure openness to Being.. In it is reflected the Macrocosmic order itself.. In this instant the finite and the infinite, the mirror and the heavens, the poet and the universe, have become One."(56) Qadri's progressive Sikh parents insisted he bounce around between Sikh, Hindu, and Sufi masters growing up, of which the Sufi "practiced this tantric meditation all his life and gave me this mirror which I carry everywhere. It's not narcissism, it's the exact opposite: it's transcending your self." "You start with the mantra, then you go beyond it; when you have this mirror, you start with the body, then go beyond body. Painting does the same: it's a mirror, but if you get stuck in the mirror and start interpreting-"this is good," "that's bad"-then you lose the painting, it does not seep into your system."

Qadri's maxim "Only emptiness, I feel, should communicate with the emptiness of the canvas" seems a rather strict application of the Prajñāpāramitā Sutra, which says "Emptiness is not separate from form, form is not separate from emptiness; Whatever is form is emptiness, whatever is emptiness is form." Qadri says "the flow of Shakti (prana or life energy), is the cause as well as the effect of all creation, including its beginning, its continuity, and its dissolution" - Shakti is represented in tantric art in both abstraction (the triangle pointing down in a yantra) and figuratively (emracing Shiva "which is static" (Qadri, seeking as he says a serene response to Shakti)). This approach to abstraction calls to mind Tàpies' (below) wish "to start again from scratch" in the 50s "I read a great deal about Eastern philosophies.. this destruction in quantitative terms led to a qualitative transformation. Destruction was succeeded by stasis and calm."


20 July 2015

What's up for five more days, v. IV

The Cuban Yoan Capote (Shainman, 513 w20, 524 w24 til July 24) "fully intended to immigrate.. During his extended visit to Vermont and New York, he met two people who would influence what became his change of heart.. Carole Rosenberg, president of the Ludwig Foundation’s American Friends.. advised him to return to his homeland, pointing out that he could use the difficult situation there as a springboard for developing work from his very particular point of view. The other pivotal figure was Louise Bourgeois, who had inspired Capote through her use of classical materials like marble and bronze to express interior states of mind." The Ludwig Foundation and Rosenberg drew flak from exiles for sponsoring the Havana Film Festival in New York a decade ago, a contingent that sunk Miami's Cuban Museum of Arts and Culture through "two pipe bomb explosions (one at the museum, the other under the car of a museum official)" after it displayed Cuban artists that hadn't emigrated.

It would seem on the surface that Capote would endear himself to the exiles or their target audience of collectors with statements like "In Cuba and other countries, you have so many people with the fear of expressing what they really think" in reference to his "Dialogusfobia," a brass casting of two megaphones facing opposite directions with a throat in between. Carole's husband Alex has said “the limits have changed, and time has made the situation far more liberal in Cuba than it was. I think governments react when they feel threatened,” he added, “and the present government in Cuba does not feel threatened by anything that the artists might do." Alluding to New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani’s attempts to close the 1999 Sensation show at the Brooklyn Museum, Rosenberg said, “that could not happen in Cuba. Somebody might try, but they wouldn’t succeed.” Integral to the change was "Abel Prieto — Cuba’s minister of culture from 1997 until 2001.. A progressive communist leader (who).. convinced hardliners in the government that the arts had to be enshrined and artists required special treatment, above all freedom of movement. As a result, Cuban artists were permitted to travel internationally for exhibitions and concerts, and were allowed to return to Cuba with the proceeds of these forays abroad with little restriction."

Capote, a star pupil of the Ludwig Foundation, intends to raise his two children in Cuba and retains a staff of thirty there for his elaborate bronze castings which include molding foliage for his 2015 "Pride," a reclining figure of tree branches with an anvil in the place of the torso and two sledgehammers balancing on one another, and 2013's "Abuse of Power," (above, right) utilizing the lost wax process to twist a bronze tree branch and handcuff it, explaining "the Afro-Cuban religion of Palo Monte thinks that trees have entities of the soul." Trees reappear in 2015's drawing "Ruled Life," in which carpenter's levels are placed in holes on the tree, which resonates with my own anger over how trees are cut down routinely at the beginning of construction projects because engineers can't comprehend how they drain water. Capote wants his works to elicit universal interpretations, which may explain why his "New Man" bronze of a spinal chord made of handcuffs (left) is in the entrance of his 24th Street show, with a title ironically referencing Cuban history but applicable to others' experience of the new world order. Capote's views of the Washington-Havana accords inspire a gallery which contains two state room chairs with noses in the middle of the seats, and, on the wall a handshake made out of apparently flammable electric wire."Two Realities" (2015) shows a pair of glasses in which the left eye gets its normal paracentral lens while the right gets a peripheral lens that extends all the way around the head, illustrating how Cuban revolutionary ideology particularizes the "collective consciousness" of the anti-Soviet Jung, a primary influence on Capote.  Capote has created various prototypes for a large scale public work (below) entailing a strollable labyrinth of the human brain.

The influence of Jung is evident in Capote's original title, "Archetype," for the monumental sculpture of Fidel Castro made of door hinges from Havana, with old doors underneath it, later re-named "Immanence."  The political question of whether Fidel has opened doors or closed them for people is part of the reflection of self that awaits the viewer.  A few days after ArtNews interpreted he was "transforming the joints from something flexible to something static and monolithic," came in a published interview "(Fidel) is a symbol of duality and of mobility.. This is a very open-to-interpretation piece."

Jung wrote "the archetype is metaphysical because it transcends consciousness," leading it would seem to dualism, except Jolande Jacobi recounts in the "bipolar" archetype.. "the primal source of all human experience lies in the unconscious, whence it reaches into our lives. Thus it becomes imperative to resolve its projections, to raise its contents to consciousness."  The Jungian archetype came from St. Augustine's ideae principales, which "do not perish, yet after their pattern everything is said to be formed that is able to come into being and perish.  But it is affirmed that the soul is not able to behold them, save it be the rational soul." The hinges can be the acknowledging of but reconciling duality, the "point of the mind" (Breton) "at which life and death, the real and the imagined, past and future, the communicable and the incommunicable, high and low, cease to be perceived as contradictions," or the landscape grid, as Jacobi writes "what are the myths of the 'night sea journey,' or the 'wandering hero,' or of the sea monster, if not the eternal knowledge of sun's setting and rebirth, transformed into images."

The title "Immanence" also mirrors the viewer - as it suggests both the hagiographic nature of Fidel's face in Cuba,* the non-duality of meditation within lived experience that Buddhists associate with the term, and Deleuze's reading of Spinoza about which "We will say of pure immanence that it is A LIFE, and nothing else."**  Deleuze wrote elsewhere "the plane of composition of art and the plane of immanence of philosophy can slip into each other to the degree that parts of one may be occupied by entities of the other.. A thinker may therefore decisively modify what thinking means, draw up a new image of thought, and institute a new plane of immanence."

+ Continuing with the Jung in Chelsea theme Jack Pierson describes his automatic drawing as "my brain dancing on paper. I’m adding a new layer by calling them ‘Anagogic Paintings’. That comes from Jung, I believe, but I picked it up reading Michael McClure and Emerson.." along with an assemblage based on a picnic table (547 w25th til Aug 29), while Doosan brings Jung to 25th (533 til Aug 27) in the form of enjoyable Tinguely-like kinetic sculptures by Jung Uk Yang, including his cacophonous kinetic work (right) "based on the lives of apartment security guards in South Korea."  Robert Mann selects delightful black and white and color Ellen Auerbach photos from around the world (525 w26) til August 14 to coincide with her collaborator Grete Stern's show at MoMA.

I noted in this space in February that selections from Motherwell's Lyric Suite are at the Met til the 25th and that I may type about that, and both assertions remain true. Also uptown Peter Regli nods to dualism with white marble Buddhas staring down snowmen tantra style at Lévy til August 15. Galerie Buchholz 17 East 82nd Street has til August 29 editions of every book Raymond Roussel published in his lifetime with sketches, a watercolor, and correspondence concerning "the eccentric plan that Roussel had for his own grave." In midtown John Ashbery and Guy Maddin show their collages til July 31 at 724 5th and Delhi Art Gallery has Indian abstraction (41 e57, Suite 708 til Sept 12, around when the Queens Museum show is now ending).

I will get to the 'how' of commenting on group shows when I get past the 'why,' but Luhring Augustine 531 West 24th Street has an historical survey of the big names of Brazilian neo-concretism til August 28, Matthew Marks expansively surveys recent pop-infused US movements til August 14, Party Beuys (534 w24 til August 14) features a bunch of Sarah Hewitt sculptures, and Marian Goodman has legends of text and abstraction til July 31.

Boston: This is also the last week to see the Harvard Rothkos at Harvard. I have visited the Houston Chapel but these immediately became my favorite late Rothkos because they tease at a representational function, showing an opening which could be a gate, a window, a frame, or a colonnade, a composition I (emphasize) like to believe was inspired by Watteau's "La Perspective (View through the Trees in the Park of Pierre Crozat)" (right) at that town's MFA.  Befitting the surroundings they are showing off lighting technology that restores the paintings to their original colors. Also I am pleased that they are featuring on loan the full suite of Smith's Medals for Dishonor.  The MFA can't show but a fraction of their Japanese paintings but has a large and crowded Hokusai selection in the basement til August 9.

* Fidel, at first anti-Communist, has sought to demonstrate his ideological purity, while Raúl the lifelong Communist has liberalized the free market as Lenin and Trotsky had done before him. 
** Deleuze: "What is immanence? A life... No one has described what a life is better than Charles Dickens, if we take the indefinite article as an index of the transcendental. A disreputable man, a rogue, held in contempt by everyone, is found as he lies dying. Suddenly, those taking care of him manifest an eagerness, respect, even love, for his slightest sign of life. Everybody bustles about to save him, to the point where, in his deepest coma, this wicked man himself senses something soft and sweet penetrating him. But to the degree that he comes back to life, his saviors turn colder, and he becomes once again mean and crude." 

07 June 2015

What's up

Ubu Gallery has a week left of one of their samplings of Weimar-era art (Piri' Miri Muli' Top Priority; pdf). George Grosz discovered the beauty of ethnic markets and Cape Cod seascapes when he came to America in 1933, but his work immediately after his attempted suicide in an army hospital during WWI reveals the ugly side of contemporary America perhaps more than anyone alive, inspired by Weimar Germany before Goebbels came up with the idea of hiding the intentions of the oligarchy behind sports and entertainment. The show contains an original offset lithograph edition of his suppressed 1923 Ecce Homo, an ink on paper, a watercolor, and an expansive display of his 1920  photo-lithograph series Gott Mit Uns (God With Us), which caused Grosz and his publisher to be "tried for defamation of the military; found guilty.. fined and forced to surrender all copies of the portfolio to the army," in which the architecture of Van Gogh's "Prisoner's Round" is updated for his "Workman's Holiday"; also in the book is his military industrial group portrait "Blood is the Best Sauce" (below). Georg Scholz is much in evidence, including a hand-colored litho of his famous painting "Industrial Peasants" (the cover of the 5th & 6th ed. of Eagleton's Ideology), a mirror image of the painting with the boy's head not cut open and no vehicle seen through the window. Add to that twelve etchings by Otto Dix and two drypoints and a litho by Beckmann. Although the Gott Mit Uns set is the showstopper, the four etchings here by Eddy Smith are perhaps most rewarding from a graphic point of view.

I did get to the two Indian modern shows of which the post-independence overview at the Queens Museum remains open another three weeks. Its strength is its two-canvas-per-person presentation of the Bombay Progressive Artists' Group, with a colorful and representative Metascape by Akbar Padamsee across from the entrance blocked by wall panels featuring a abstract film by Padamsee and two other films from the Progressive roster: one by Tyeb Mehta in which bulls for slaughter and the mourning of Gandhi precede (spoiler of sorts) the image of Nandi, Shiva's bull warrior and symbol of the human soul, a Hindu mise-en-scène of the material world paradoxically spliced with the representation of the eternal:

Also here is M.F.Husain's Through the Eyes of a Painter, a journey through Rajastan which won a 1967 Berlin Golden Bear:

Not to my liking, there were no paintings in the show after 1980, giving way to Conceptual works which agree with US art school fashions. Nalini Malani's paintings (such as the one below) are more than worthy and her video art would improve on these offerings, to name one omission hot from a high profile Chelsea show and Documenta Kassel buzz.

Update: "After Midnight" at the Queens Museum has been extended through September 13.

31 May 2015

What's up

The 118 e 64th St Boesky gallery fills three creaky, atmospheric floors of vintage trim carpentry with later works by Dorothea Tanning, mostly after the death of Max Ernst, a phase of looser brush strokes (as below), an increasing O'Keefe influence from her time in Sonora with Ernst, Matta too, and, in one canvas, an upside-down head resembling Bacon's in 1944's Three Studies for Figures at the Base of a Crucifixion. The Yale Review's J.D. McClatchy gave Tanning a copy of his American poetry anthology (displayed) in which she underlined passages, saying nice things about Charles Wright* and Louise Glück and not so nice things about Carolyn Kizer, and later produced a monograph** in cooperation with McClatchy and his friend James Merrill. This is the basis for interspersing her works with "examples of poems that were especially meaningful to the artist," as well as readings of poetry from the anthology coming from a speaker in the ground floor, completely devoid of her own poems or any Surrealist poems, including poems by Adrienne Rich and Rosanna Warren based on her works that aren't very good, but meeting the approval of Tanning. None of her own poetry is on the walls either, despite Greywolf Press recently publishing her verses. Amid all these associations and influences there is a uniquely personal, allegorical development in this period of her work and this is a show not to be missed.

A few blocks up at 32 East 69th Street is another spacious show of late works til June 20, these by Leon Golub, including early large scale war paintings in the first two floors, mostly unspecific but one from 1969 from his Napalm series.  The third floor features personal un-subtle works about death: two large scale acrylics, one called "Time's Up" and another with notes from the Egyptian Book of the Dead on it, adjacent to a gallery of cartoonish oil stick on bristols 8"x10" or less, sticking to the death theme.

Dominique Lévy offers til June 13 three dozen Calder sculptures in an enjoyable white room designed by Santiago Calatrava which requires you to cover your shoes, if you can't wait for his four billion dollar PATH station. Downstairs are collages of Korean mulberry bark paper by Park Seo-Bo at Galerie Perrotin, whose previous show was an installation by Elmgreen and Dragset that brought us the press release (pdf): "'Past Tomorrow'.. follows the life of.. an elderly, disillusioned and failed architect, after his inheritance runs out and he is forced to leave his home in London's South Kensington neighborhood, resettling in a smaller apartment in New York's Upper East Side. . An old man whose lifestyle and beliefs are grounded in the past and no longer align with contemporary culture, Swann's character can be regarded as a metaphor for 'old Europe', stubbornly refusing to face its changed position within the world," an indication that Donald Rumsfeld is eclipsing Ruskin as an influence on Upper East Side curators.  Their installation included a full length play in text form, in which the architect shows an exuberant enthusiasm for Foucault, pictured with Deleuze (right) on one of numerous glossies on the wall, not combined with any substantive discussion of any of his texts, leading to sit com-ish family interventions, with no indication that either the playwrights nor the curators understand a single point Foucault ever made.

Twombly's late paintings at Gagosian 980 Madison til June 20 are pared down on account of his physical decline, featuring the red-on-white, "funereal" "Blooming" from his "Scattering of Blossoms" series which was all the more powerful for me perhaps since I hadn't seen the more extensive 2007 show, with its press release stressing a connection to Bashō and Japanese hokku, of which this translation comes to mind:

an octopus pot -
inside, a short-lived dream
under the summer moon

Several Twombly sculptures are also featured.  In the same building is a show of Miró's Birds in Space til June 13 and works that "chronicle the cowboy’s rise to omnipresence in art" til July 11.  Across the street at 975 Madison, Burri Fontana Manzoni & Tàpies til June 6. Michael Werner has Sigmar Polke's white on white, mostly abstract Silver Paintings til June 27, made of 'silver bromide, silver sulfate and silver nitrate,' arising from his interest in alchemy.

Organized by Televisa, the people who brought you the Enrique Peña Nieto serial, is a retrospective of the cinematography and early photographs of Gabriel Figueroa at Museo del Barrio til June 27, who shot much of the Golden Age of Mexican cinema as well as Buñuel's Los Olvidados, The Young One, Nazarín, The Exterminating Angel, and Simon of the Desert plus John Huston's The Night of the Iguana and Under the Volcano (all Piri' Miri Muli' recommended).  Themes of Figueroa's shots are compared to the paintings of Mexican contemporaries, beginning with several landscapes by Dr. Atl and including Rivera, Orozco, and a Buñuel collage co-created by Alberto Gironella (not the one to the right, another one); a gallery of photos including Manuel Álvarez Bravo and two by Juan Rulfo, leading to a room for screening clips from his Mexican oeuvre.  It is well presented, taking up the entire exhibition space, with a dramatic 'video art'-style montage at the entrance, and tho some protest "the absence of specialized full-length screenings," Film Forum has you covered, devoting two weeks of repertory to highlights from his career June 5-18.

Delhi Art Gallery in Midtown has a show of modern Indian art til June 6, to go with the Queens Museum's Indian Modernism to Contemporary India, 1947/1997 til June 28, to save you the 20 hour flight to the National Gallery of Modern Art in Delhi - I'll try to get to both this week.

As with Twombly, Gagosian's Chelsea show of Michael Heizer (til July 2, 24th St) contains signature works familiar to those who have followed his career and is selling quite well.  It is a massive, monumental show if you're in the neighborhood. I was kinda hoping that declaring his "City" in Nevada a Basin and Range National Monument would be, as alleged by a Republican congressman, "affecting aircraft sorties from the Nevada Test and Training Range" but Harry Reid staffers have shot that possibility down in a manner of speaking.

If you're tired and you want to lie down and indulge any nostalgia for late 60's MIT computer graphics, head for Stan VanDerBeek's Poemfield series at 544 w. 24th St. Andrea Rosen also has quite a wonderful selection of Motherwell's "Opens" series at 525 24th, both til June 20.
* I had a phase in high school where I liked some of Charles Wright
** as with the subtitles for Olivier Assayas' Something in the Air there's a reference to a poet named John Ashberry.. wasn't that an Otter Pop?

25 May 2015

What's up for another week, v. VII

Speaking of CoBrA, the Western Hemisphere's largest collection of the group's works is actually at the NSU Art Museum in Fort Lauderdale, but unfortunately they don't show it.  A large section of the museum is dedicated to the paintings of William Glackens, space that could be divided up, and a vast majority of the space is for temporary exhibtions of artists that are fashionable elsewhere, despite a large number of vacationing visitors and part time residents

The museum's Kahlo/ Rivera show is still up til the 31st, showing the Gelman collection of Kahlos and Riveras, which I recall seeing in NYC a few years back but I can't recall where but here with several Kahlo drawings I hadn't seen before, I think second only to the Dolores Olmedo collection of those two artists.  Added to that is the Goodman collection of Mexican paintings including early Tamayos and Toledos, in fact a masterwork from a teen Toledo with two others, the first Mexican painting by Leonora Carrington (below), Remedios Varo's Minotaur (left), several Gerzsos.

Update 5/26: Just heard from the nice folks at NSU that a new exhibition up til October features Asger Jorn and others from that collection, so Piri' Miri Muli' readers can see 'em both this week, and it hasn't hit 90 degrees yet.  Still a permanent display would be more visible when guests like me are there at other times.

24 May 2015

What's up for one more, well, a few hours..

The Wifredo Lam: Imagining New Worlds retrospective, the product of ten years of work by Boston College's Elizabeth Goizueta, is winding up in Atlanta, and as with her other research interest, Matta, I have difficulty summarizing my thoughts in advance of its closing. There are a few original thoughts I can quickly relate while other questions will pop around in perpetuity..

Lam is commonly named as one of the rare students of Picasso. Lam, Gilot, and...? Breton wrote "Picasso has chosen to show a greater interest in Wifredo Lam than any of the younger painters." The show includes original Lam illustrations (left) for Fata Morgana.

Why didn't Picasso take on students? 1960: "To know what we are doing cubism we should have to be acquainted with it! Actually, nobody knew what it was. And if we had known, everyone would have known... The condition of discovery is outside ourselves, but the terrifying thing is that despite all this, we can only find what we know." Two statements to Jaime Sabartes: "If you want to draw a circle and be original, don't try to give it a strange form which isn't exactly the form of circle. Try to make the circle as best you can. And since nobody has made a perfect circle, you can be sure that your circle will be completely your own. Only then will you have a chance to be original." "In the museums, for example, there are only pictures that have failed.. Those which today we consider 'masterpieces' are those which departed most from the rules laid down by the masters of the period. The best works are those which most clearly show the 'stigma' of the artist who painted them."

Why did the take on Lam? I quoted here a few years back the recently departed Galeano's quip "Pillaged by its colonial masters, Africa would never know how responsible it was for the most astonishing achievements in twentieth century European painting and sculpture" but Picasso, a political anti-imperialist, immediately and paternalistically sought to get Michael Leiris, studying African art intensively, to tutor the quarter African, half Chinese Lam on the subject, which Lam knew about but he wanted to know more and revered Picasso, Breton's explanation for the apprenticeship. Picasso's influence was crucial to Lam, crucial to Picasso, to the future of Caribbean art, the CoBrA movement, so on and so forth, and Picasso seemed to have little doubts or reserve about the opportunity. Lam reflected "I could act as a Trojan horse that would spew forth hallucinating figures with the power to surprise, to disturb the dreams of the exploiters."

Lowery Sims wrote "(Lam) decided not to follow the wishes of his godmother, Mantonica Wilson, a Santeria religious leader, that he become a babalao (high priest)." Richardson said Picasso's mother "although incapable of understanding his son's work.. always had implicit faith in his messianic aspirations." The subconscious desire to realize these lofty aspirations through unconventional means, I think, bound them. Also several years before he met Lam, Picasso completed his etching Minotauromachia, which I thought "appears to depict Marie-Thérèse Walter as a wounded, skeletal torera attached to a horse and also the bearer of the light that the bull hurls itself at. Juan Larrea remembered "hearing from (Picasso's) own lips as an obiter dictum that in pictures from a certain period of his artistic development, the horse generally represents a woman who played an exceptionally important part in his life." Sims wrote "Lam's 'horse-woman'.. personifies the devotee who is literally 'ridden' by the possessing orisha in the Santeria toque (drum rhythm)." Lam also spent his adolescence in the Prado, which may explain why it looks as if the figures in Bosch's Garden of Earthly Delights are often arraigned in the manner of Las Meninas.

I loathed the High Museum building before it was renovated and, after its expansion, my loathing of it has expanded, as it is an extended joke directed at anyone who arrives with a mind to look at the art rather than regard the visit as conspicuous consumerism in a floor plan that prevents walking from one side of the building to the other, confining visitors to one area. Aside from a large section of outsider art, acquisitions have from the beginning have been minor, decorative afterthoughts, eager not to offend traditional sensibilities especially in its earlier acquisitions.

23 May 2015

Some commentary on today's beatification of Archbishop Romero over at WKMA..

17 May 2015

Actually I was offline for two weeks and when I got my account set up the other day I was happy, not because I was online again so much as I had the pleasure of being offline for two weeks.
The Apu Trilogy comprises Piri' Miri Muli's best ever adapted screenplay,* best film about being a writer,** and perhaps the best romance (for the last episode). I have vhs copies of it somewhere but it hasn't been on dvd for a while. This predicament has come to a happy end, as the Criterion restoration made from four different sources and a negative that was burned in the 1990s is out, and I got to Film Forum this week to see Aparajito (The Unvanquished). My favorite has always been no. 3, The World of Apu, but watching Subrata Mitra's tracking shots of Varanasi projected helped me get into the sad beauty of no. 2. They had a little bit of a budget after making the first on a shoestring and put it on to the screen. There are crowd scenes of the ghats but no crowd scenes in Calcutta - the Calcutta sequences happen in studios, with two scenes on architecturally interesting street corners and one scene loafing on a big lawn in front of what appears to be Victoria Memorial.

Of the novels, the childhood memoir Pather Panchali was the biggest hit in Bengal, and Ray filmed it with borrowed money on Sundays between his advertising gig not knowing he would make a sequel. Translator T.W. Clark doesn't believe an English word exists for panchali: "These poems (panchali) were transmitted from generation to generation by strangers who chanted them with musical accompaniment at the appropriate ceremonies, which often lasted for ten days or more, or by actors who produced them in popular form on the stage of the indigenous theatre. The heroes, and the episodes in which they figure, were part and parcel of the Bengali cultural inheritance, and still are." Apu's initiation in the Trilogy follows novelist Bebhutibhushan Bandopadhyay's own life very closely, a sort of diary imagined as an oral epic eventually to become the main inspriration for Akira Kurasawa's reflection "Never having seen a Satyajit Ray film is like never having seen the sun or moon." They'll be showing in rotation there for the rest of the month and are to make their way to Philly soon and then to dvd land.

* The four films on my top 15 list that would be considered for this would be Stalker, Apu, and A Passage to India. I vouch for the last as an adaptation but Lean probably wouldn't even compare it to Apu. Stalker, like Solaris, was Tarkovsky's literary reworking of a sci fi concept;
** Followed closely by La Notte by Antonioni who said "My admiration for Ray is total" with Ray's 1964 The Lonely Wife, one of many of his films in need of restoration, not far behind. 

Update 5-31: Film forum is holding over the Trilogy til June 16 and they are in rotation in Philly's Ritz at the Bourse now.

19 April 2015

What's up for six more days, v. XVI

Brian Maguire, Erika
Seeing Brian Maguire's painterly dispatches from Cuidad Juárez in person (514 w26th St, til April 25) not only allows one to take in the large scale paintings but throws in a screening of the 80-minute documentary Blood Rising, co-produced by and featuring Maguire (pdf). Blood Rising is a good name for the overall mood of the paintings, as they are angry, strident, and unambiguous, depicting the unrelenting violence afflicting the corrupt, gang-infested border city. Attention was first paid in the English language press to the 'feminocidio' of Juárez when Charles Bowden published an account of the post-NAFTA urban landscape in the December, 1996 issue of Harper's (pdf) in cooperation with local photographers, which led to the book Juárez: The Laboratory of Our Future which made a strong impression on me upon its release.

Molly Malloy, who has collaborated with Bowden, has offered the rejoinder after years of research that although Bowden, as intended, appropriately brought attention to the increasing violence in the city, by her count females were not a proportionately high percentage of the victims,* stating in an interview last year, "It’s almost like we’re fetishizing these dead women. To always be looking back at these women as if their bodies are this kind of sacrificial host—I find that to be troubling, in terms of our culture and our focus on life and death and what it means. In other words, if you’re constantly focusing on women as if they’re this symbol for suffering, you never move beyond that particular death to look at the social conditions that gave that kind of life, and that kind of death, for so, so many people." Malloy states in that interview "the violence associated with organized crime escalated" in 2008, and that "Nothing has been done to address the economic suffering that came from [the North American Free Trade Agreement]. Nothing has been done to address the issues of drug trafficking, and why it’s so appealing for people in Juárez to become a part of these criminal enterprises. No one has really created a public school system in Juárez that serves all of the children that need to be going to school rather than working in factories or joining gangs." Maguire reports a higher percentage of female victims than Malloy: 1,400 since 1994 out of a total of over 5,000, and joins others in describing a distinct phenomenon of legal impunity for the perps of feminicidio.

Several years before Bowden's article in Harper's, Roberto Bolaño developed a sustained, obsessive interest in the femicides that he intended from the start to be central to an upcoming novel. Any intention to link the murders to social and economic factors was an non-starter for Bolaño, whose mind was firmly planted in crime genre conventions. "[Sergio] González Rodríguez [reporter and reviewer for a Carlos Monsiváis-edited publication] told Bolaño how his findings suggested that the killings in Juárez were connected to the local police and politicians and to the mercenary gangs maintained by the drug cartels. The police don't seriously investigate the murders, he explained, because they're badly trained, or they're misogynists, or they've made deals that allow the narcos to operate with impunity.

"So there's no serial killer? González Rodríguez recalls Bolaño asked him... This revelation, González Rodríguez says, disconcerted Bolaño. By then, the writer had already devised an elaborate, ingenious structure for his novel, a structure that in some ways depends on the idea of a single serial killer."

Bolaño proceeded to fill 300 pages with graphic forensic details of murders of women, suggesting at one point that the murderer is Benno von Archimboldi, a novelist hailed by several literary critics in another section of the book, who symbolizes the effect created by the 16thC painter Giuseppe Arcimboldi when forms of vegetation combine to form a human face at a distance, similar to Salvador Dali's "paranoiac-critical method" and the garbage that forms Art History figures in the work of Vik Muniz, who refers to the 'magic' that takes place when seemingly unrelated objects take on a different form when stepping back. Revisions prevented by Bolaño's death leave us with the genre-induced intent of this portrait more than its refinement and realization, but the inaccurate, merciless caricature of Mexicans written in Spain and signed, conveniently, with a Chilean name, intentionally oblivious to the underlying social and political causes of the crimes, helped make 2666 a rousing success amongst Anglophone critics who would never praise the novels of, say, Monsiváis, too close for comfort to the actual people and their struggles.

Maguire moved to Juárez around the time of 2666's publication and got an NGO to introduce him to the victims' families on the condition that he teach their children, which led to the practice, chronicled in the documentary, of presenting portraits of the victims to their families. For whatever reason, the gallery show contains none of these portraits, but does include five large canvases of severed heads and limbs of male victims left dramatically by drug cartels. The deference given these cartels inspired the 2015 canvas Cash, a portrait of wads hung opposite the screening of Blood Rising, and the 2014 3x4 meter Police Graduation 2012 (Juárez) (above), as well as a lithograph series with the image of academy recruits giving a Nazi salute without the irony imbued on the gesture by Kiefer early in his career, while spare acrylic strokes and selective coloring remind me of Daniel Richter a decade ago, especially Richter's works on paper. Whatever the influences, Maguire's skill as a representational painter is evidenced in acrylics like Cardona Bridge (Juárez), depicting what appears to be real Mexican eagle on a sculptural pedastal.

If you want to see a film of birds flying without the tragic symbolism, Etel Adnan's birds and other scenes of nature are screened next door at Lelong 528 w26th til May 8, along with two ink and watercolor accordion books (below) and various pastels.

At 547 w25th Cheim & Reid has abstract paintings by Bill Jensen, who paints with Piri' Miri Muli's favorite artist film, Andrei Rublev, running, canvases full of references to Michelangelo's Last Judgement and Chinese poetry anthologies, til May 9.

Also up til the 25th are seven white sculptures of polyurethane resin by Janine Antoni that combine internal and external body parts at 531 West 24th Street.

* I recall in Zacatecas a young Mexican woman talking about how her friends wanted to move to Juárez and what a 'fun' city it was, at which time a chorus of gringo men recited what they had heard of the feminocidio which she downplayed, realizing then the mythological divide over the murders.