Taka Ishii Gallery New York is tucked neatly away on the third floor of an Upper East Side townhouse. The elevator opens directly into the spare gallery entry where, currently, you will be confronted by a two-foot oil and acrylic monochrome on paper that looks to be made of molten lead. The work is by 78-year old Japanese painter, Tomoharu Murakami, and it is one of ten works comprising what seems to be his second solo presentation to date in New York.
If you are a fan of the Irish painter Francis Bacon, you are in for a serious joy ride (if such a term can be applied to Bacon’s work). Earlier this year his estate released a painstakingly researched and compiled Catalog Raisonné of his work. That’s right – every single Bacon painting known has been searched for, discovered, photographed, described and put into this five-volume cloth bound colossus, distributed in the US by D.A.P.
Facility of DECLINE at Gladstone Gallery reunites installations, sculptures, videos and drawings from Matthew Barney’s 1991 New York debut from when the gallery was on Greene Street in SoHo for the first time in twenty-five years.
If you happen to be in New York this spring, Enrico Castellani’s new exhibit, Interior Space, at the uptown gallery Dominique Levy is worth a visit. It’s the first solo exhibition of the revered Italian artist in the gallery, and it spans Castellani’s oeuvre from the 60s to the near present. Castellani was part of the Zero movement, which is now having a resurgence of interest with museum and gallery exhibits around the world, and he, along with his acquaintance Lucio Fontana, is one of the best known Italian figures of the mid-20th Century avant-garde.
Trauma – it is rarely possible to describe an artist’s oeuvre in one word, but in the case of the Belgian artist Berlinde De Bruyckere, it fits neatly and without reducing or trivializing her art.
Boris Mikhailov is a somewhat accidental artist. He worked as an engineer in the Soviet Ukraine, dabbling in photography on the side when he was ratted out for taking nude photos of his wife. He was subsequently thrown out of work for spreading pornography – a common practice to remove “undesirable elements,” especially those of Jewish descent. Consigned to the dregs of society, which included the bohemia of the artists unapproved by the state, Mikhailov began to take photos in earnest. Photos that reflected the deep aesthetic and spiritual ugliness of the homeland that betrayed him.
If you happen to be in Venice in the next few months, don’t miss the Sarah Moon exhibit at Palazzo Fortuny. Moon is a perennial favorite, and this sensual, melancholic series of photographs taken at the Palazzon is no exception.
Few artists that came into their own after high modernism measure up to Francis Bacon, whose paintings are models of twisted introspection. What’s more, Bacon actually knew how to paint. Not silk-screen, not put messages on LED boards, not make collages, not arrange objects together, but actually work with phenomenal skill like the greatest of the artists had done. And his work hits not only on the visceral level, but on the intellectual as well.
For those fond of making lists, Alberto Burri: The Trauma of Painting, a large-scale solo exhibition of paintings currently on view at the Guggenheim Museum in New York provides a fertile stomping ground: Catrami, Gobbi, Muffi, Bianchi, Sacchi, Combustioni and Legini, Ferri, Combustioni Plastiche, Cretti. Tars, Hunchbacks, Molds, Whites, Sacks, Combustions and Woods, Irons, Plastic Combustions, Cracks. Ground pumice stone, tar, discarded linens, burlap sacks, wood veneer, cold-rolled steel, plastic sheeting off factory rolls, Celotex and blowtorch.
Bookshelves line the walls of the American sculptor Barry X Ball’s compact office and, while walking me through the blueprints depicting his new Greenpoint, Brooklyn production facility and studio, he directed my gaze up to some palm-sized sculptures resting on them.