Arts

Yoko Ono, More Urgent Than Ever

Yoko Ono, “Eyeblink (Fluxfilm no. 9)” (1966), 16mm black-and-white silent film, projected on the I.M. Pei-designed Everson Museum building, Syracuse, New York, October 2019 (photo by the author for Hyperallergic) SYRACUSE, New York — Could it be that some of the themes of Yoko Ono’s work, from a career that has spanned more than six decades, feel more relevant, resonant, and urgent than ever? This is one of the unexpected questions posed by Yoko Ono: Remembering the Future, a mini-retrospective of the now 86-year-old artist’s work in various forms and media, which is on view through October 27 at the Everson Museum of Art in Syracuse, New York. As its title suggests, this is an exhibition that looks back to look ahead. Organized by D.J. Hellerman, the curator of art and programs at the mus...

Damien Hirst, Turning In Circles

Damien Hirst, “Mandalas” at White Cube Mason’s Yard, installation view, © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd, all rights reserved, DACS 2019, photo © White Cube (Ollie Hammick) LONDON — It’s a hot mid-afternoon in the West End’s posh Mayfair district, and Damien Hirst is standing outside the glass double-doors of the White Cube gallery, looking every inch the devil-may-care prankster out of some early Shakespearean comedy. At once instantly recognizable and wholly unrecognizable — black woollen beany hat pulled well down over his eyes, Balenciaga T-shirt, and billowy white trousers overprinted with flittery butterfly motifs — he’s in great good cheer, smiling and exchanging quips with his gangly-legged, long-haired mate. Leaning to sign the odd catalogue for a Japanese admirer,...

Paintings with a Retinal Buzz

Anoka Faruqee and David Driscoll, Relative Brightness, installation view (courtesy the artists and Koenig & Clinton, Brooklyn, photo by Jeffrey Sturges, New York) Straightforward in structure but visually confounding, the eight paintings in Relative Brightness, made collaboratively by Anoka Faruqee and David Driscoll, provide an understated retinal buzz with an undertow of genuine feeling. All dated 2019, the paintings are square in format — six measure 33 ¾ inches per side, the other two, 56 ¾ inches — and feature a primary motif of concentric circles, rendered as thin stripes about an eighth-inch wide, separated by intervals the same size. Each of a single, precisely mixed color, they orbit around a tiny dot of paint at or very near the center, extending outward to the edges and (by ...

Twenty Years of Peter Schjeldahl

Has there ever been another art writer quite like Peter Schjeldahl? Addictively quotable, great when writing about the art he loves (and he loves a great deal), he is also challenging when discussing the art he hates. When he describes Charles Baudelaire as his hero, you see right away where he is coming from. Just as Baudelaire summarizes the characters of Rubens, Leonardo, Rembrandt, Michelangelo, Goya, and others, each in a self-contained four-line stanza, in his poem “Les Phares” (“The Beacons,” from Fleurs du mal, 1857), so Schjeldahl offers these marvelously condensed accounts, among many others: Of Anselm Kiefer: “Amid ruins he reared the fragile symbol of a palette, an emblem of the artist as a survivor determined to forget nothing.” Of Giorgio Morandi: “In my ideal world, the home...

The Cosmic Vessels of an Adventurous Glass Artist

Josiah McElheny, “Three Twilight Labyrinths” (2019
), handblown mirrored glass, transparent and low-iron industrial mirror, blue mirror, oak, blue dye and stain, electric lighting, hardware, architectural intervention made of sheet rock, metal studs, plaster and latex paint
. Dimensions variable with installation. 
Running length of triptych: 24 x 111 x 2 in. Dimensions of individual “paintings”: 24 x 37 1/2 x 2 in. (Left); 24 x 31 1/2 x 2 in. (Center); 24 x 26 x 2 in (Right). (© Josiah McElheny 2019. Image courtesy the artist and James Cohan, New York. Photo by Jason Mandella) For the inaugural exhibition at its new space in Tribeca, James Cohan Gallery has presented Josiah McElheny’s Observations at Night. Long known as an adventurous and visionary glass artist, doing unprecedented thing...

A Painter’s Dissonant Geometry

Gary Petersen, “Blue Monday” (2018), acrylic on canvas, 40 x 44 inches (all images courtesy of McKenzie Fine Art) Thinking about the artist’s relationship to art history, Robert Motherwell put it like this: Every intelligent painter carries the whole culture of modern painting in his head. It is his real subject, of which everything he paints is both an homage and a critique, and everything he says is a gloss. By Motherwell’s definition, Gary Petersen is a highly intelligent painter, which is to say he has absorbed a lot of art history and, more importantly, is at ease with it. Exuberantly at ease, in fact, which is one reason why I was eager to follow-up and see his current exhibition, Gary Petersen: Just Hold On, at McKenzie Fine Art (September 3–October 19, 2019). Gary Peter...

A Forgotten Painter and Her Visionary Abstraction

Sonia Gechtoff, “The Chase” (1959), oil on canvas, 72 x 72 inches, © Sonia Gechtoff Estate Sonia Gechtoff, who lived in San Francisco from 1951 until 1959, actively contributed to the burst of abstract painting that became a worldwide phenomenon in the late 1940s and ‘50s, with the rise of Abstract Expressionism in San Francisco and New York City, Art Informel in Europe, and the Gutai painters in Osaka, Japan. Gechtoff and her husband, the painter James (“Jim”) Kelly, lived at 2322 Fillmore Street, which one of its residents, the poet Joanna McClure, dubbed “Painterland.” Her next-door neighbors were Wally Hedrick and Jay DeFeo, who began working on her monumental painting, “The Rose” in 1958. It is likely that Gechtoff, who used a palette knife to make swirls of slashing strokes, inspired...

Two Artists Use Weather as a Metaphor for Hong Kong’s Protests

Installation view of Liquefied Sunshine at Blindspot Gallery, Hong Kong (all images courtesy of Blindspot Gallery) HONG KONG — The cockroach, rust-hued, bulbous-bodied, fuzzy legs akimbo, that most dreaded of pests, awaits me near the entrance of Luke Ching’s solo show, Liquefied Sunshine, at Blindspot Gallery in Hong Kong. Indiscernible at first, save for the spotlights that shine on them, these insects lie incapacitated, arranged in triangular formations. Nearby is a theatrically lit black and white video in which two hands (Ching’s) mime gestures of tying, folding, and squeezing between fingers a small unseen object. Every few seconds, the picture glitches; we see a fleeting still image of the Hong Kong Police Force (HKPF) at the site of recent rallies, in which civilians protest for un...

Designing a Sculptural Synthetic Skin

Holly Hendry, “Slacker” (2019), installation view, Yorkshire Sculpture Park (all photos by the author for Hyperallergic) WEST BRETTON, UK — Sunlight filters into the Yorkshire Sculpture Park’s new Weston Gallery through slanted skylights, while large French doors look out to a vista of grass, rocks, and trees. Occasionally, a sheep shuffles past. For her solo exhibition The Dump Is Full of Images, artist Holly Hendry has produced a mechanized sculpture suited to this beautiful space, filling the room with whispering and whirring. The motion of the machine creates a powerful contradictory sense of calm and unease. To create her first animated sculpture, “Slacker” (2019), Hendry worked with Parik Goswami, a professor of technical textiles at Huddersfield University who studies th...

13 Best Things to Do in L.A. This Week

From a peak into the dawn of Stanley Kubrick’s career to L.A.’s own Comic Con, here are the 13 best things to do in Los Angeles this week. fri 10/11 CULTURE The Other Comic Con While L.A. Comic Con is younger and smaller than its massive predecessor San Diego Comic-Con, the three-day gathering has expanded in recent years after renaming itself following earlier incarnations, when it was known as Comikaze Expo and then Stan Lee’s L.A. Comic Con. This year’s guests encompass the worlds of Hollywood (Elijah Wood, Ron Perlman, Felicia Day, Barry Bostwick and much of the cast of The Office) as well as comic books (with legendary artists Neal Adams, Jim Starlin and John Romita Jr.). Rapper DMC, comedian Gabriel Iglesias, Bela Lugosi Jr., and a legion of cosplayers, including Maid of ...

Brooklyn Museum Visitor Dies After Trying to Slide Down Third-Floor Banister

The Brooklyn Museum, New York (photo by Jules Antonio/Flickr) A visitor to the Brooklyn Museum on Saturday, October 6, fell to his death while sliding down a stairwell banister, the museum confirmed to Hyperallergic. Kirkland Dawson, a 34-year-old New York-based attorney, toppled over the third-floor staircase railing and landed on the ground floor, according to a police report first obtained by the New York Daily News. The incident occurred around 9:30 pm on during the monthly “First Saturdays” program at the museum. Dawson was rushed to New York-Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital. He died from his injuries the following day. Dawson’s family told the newspaper that the museum never reached out to them to provide details about the accident or offer condolences. “I w...

A Movie Envisions the Trial that Eric Garner Never Had

Still from Roee Messinger’s American Trial: The Eric Garner Story (all images courtesy the New York Film Festival) From time to time, debates emerge on the purpose of films, and the purpose of art as an extension. Many ask why, in a world where children die of hunger, people remain homeless, we spend money on making films. Many answer that films help us imagine a future, they give us the radical opportunity to envision a world that doesn’t exist but should. On July 17, 2014, Eric Garner, a Black man in Staten Island, was murdered by Daniel Pantaleo, an NYPD officer, after Pantaleo held Garner in a chokehold while Garner resisted arrest. Struggling to speak as Pantaleo climbed on to Garner’s back to hold him down, Garner said, “I can’t breathe” 11 times before he passed away. His words woul...