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A young Ed Ruscha appears on the cover of Ends of the Earth: Land Art to 1974 (Prestel), pointing at the dirt on the side of the road that stretches beyond him to distant, sun-baked hills. The volume was published in conjunction with the recently opened exhibition at LA MOCA, set to travel this fall to Haus der Kunst in Münich. The grainy, black-and-white photograph is from Royal Road Test (1967), an artist's book done in collaboration with Patrick Blackwell and Mason Williams that documents the destruction of a Royal typewriter tossed from the window of a car speeding along Highway 91 in the southern California desert.
Accompanying an exhibition at the Seattle Art Museum on view through Sept. 2, Ancestral Modern celebrates the gift of Robert Kaplan and Margaret Levi's collection to the Seattle Art Museum (SAM). This marks the first substantial gift of contemporary Australian Aboriginal art pledged to a major US museum. A useful and beautiful addition to the literature on indigenous Australian art, the collection uniquely focuses on works produced in the last 15 years.
It's tricky to mix abstraction and illusionism. The abstract painter's fealty to materials and process is fundamentally different from the mimetic painter's goal of naturalistic depiction. Some years ago, Gordon Moore found a language that merges key elements of each idiom's vocabulary-most significantly, abstraction's nonobjective line and representation's cast shadow-and his latest refinements of that pictorial patois have yielded his most articulate works yet.
Intermittently since 1989, the New York painter Michael Scott has made black-and-white line paintings in enamel on large honeycomb aluminum panels. Intensely optical, each consists of one or more fields of slender, straight-edged stripes of equal distribution. The black lines initially read as figure and the white as ground, owing to the white of the surrounding wall. Immersive in scale, the paintings soon begin to flicker and buzz, energizing pictorial space in the manner of 1960s Op art works. They build on and transcend familiar perceptual phenomena, disrupting the viewer's physical equilibrium and visual habits.
Known to her classmates at Georgia State College for Women as "the cartoon girl," Flannery O'Connor provided satirical illustrations GSCW's student newspaper, The Colonnade, and other school publications while earning a social sciences degree and planning a career in journalism. Executed in the high-contrast technique of linoleum cut from the fall of 1942 until her graduation in 1945, her cartoons skewering the denizens of the Milledgeville campus—roughly drawn but formally dynamic, and often accompanied by punchy, dialogue-driven captions—are the subject of a revelatory new book by O'Connor scholar Kelly Gerald.
Since the vast majority of Lucian Freud's paintings are portraits, Sarah Howgate enjoyed broad purview while selecting work for the Freud survey now at the National Portrait Gallery, London, and scheduled to travel in July to the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth. Published to accompany the exhibition of the same name, Lucian Freud Portraits clutters with anecdote the discussion of Freud's idiosyncratic meditations on the human form. Howgate avers that the exhibition is "a life represented in paint rather than a biographical retrospective," but her essay stresses the artist's personal relationships with his sitters, distracting attention from his pictures' universality by imposing a diaristic reading on his life's work. Such a strategy doubtless makes more accessible the canvases some might find difficult, but it misrepresents the self-evident intention of the pictures, particularly those painted after the late 1950s.
The conventional story of postwar American art relies heavily on the chapter in which Abstract Expressionism establishes itself as the dominant idiom, and New York, its home, as the hegemonic art capital. Figurative modes were, if out of fashion, alive and well, of course; MoMA's 1959 exhibition "New Images of Man" surveyed recent American art dealing with the human form. Among the participants was a stalwart of the Los Angeles scene, painter Rico Lebrun (1900–1964), whose grim, harrowing vision of bodies in distress is among 41 painters, sculptors, photographers, installation artists and performance artists that curator Michael Duncan compiles in L.A. RAW: Abject Expressionism in Los Angeles 1945–1980, From Rico Lebrun to Paul McCarthy.
Five works dated this year or last consti- tuted the sixth solo exhibition at Team for the midcareer New York-based sculptor Ross Knight. Consisting of dissimilar components conjoined in curious, arresting configurations, they are primarily imagistic rather than spatial.
A handsomely produced volume would contradict the spirit of Kienholz: The Signs of the Times. From the book's cover, which features an incomprehensible detail of a poorly photographed sculpture and "KIENHOLZ" stamped in gold; to gratuitously pastel-tinted pages printed with bizarre typefaces; to an overabundance of snapshots of husband-and-wife team of Edward Kienholz and Nancy Reddin Kienholz; the monograph's cheesy design is perfectly suited to the aggressively vulgar Kienholzian oeuvre.
It seems that Nick Mauss loves drawing so much he wants to totally fuck with it. The 32-year-old Cooper Union grad, who is included in this year’s Whitney Biennial, has been showing internationally for a decade, starting with a group exhibition at the late Colin de Land’s American Fine Arts when the artist was just 21.