L Rex: Art

03/10/2015 1:09 PM |
One of Romberg's more recent works currently on view in "Color Studies." Image courtesy Henrique Faria Fine Art.

OSVALDO ROMBERG: COLOR STUDIES, 1970-2015
Henrique Faria Fine Art, 35 East 67th St., through March 28th
With a taut selection of works bridging a chronological expanse of nearly five decades of the artist’s storied, almost bafflingly itinerant career, Romberg’s compact retrospective of sorts is a keenly introspective, historically reflective, chromatically inflected examination of seeing—not merely as act, but also as feeling, as sensation, as associatively layered experience. Romberg approaches his variably color-theory-based works—comprising here drawings, paintings, collages and sculptures—like a whimsical clinician, probing and intervening in a manner that is at once ordered and scattered, categorical and metaphorical, indirectly beautiful yet aesthetically candid. His studied breakdowns, so to speak, of pink and beige are also chromatically exhaustive arrays; his homages to, and formal reconfigurations of Malevich, Pollock and Piero della Francesca are both patently reverent and felicitously innovative. All that said, the balanced charms of pieces like Astor and Dirty Geometry are enough to render quite beside the point Romberg’s particularly analytical underpinnings. That, likely, is precisely the point—or at least very close to it, right next to the mark.

MORE THAN WORDS: ILLUSTRATED LETTERS FROM THE SMITHSONIAN’S ARCHIVES OF AMERICAN ART
Liza Kirwin, Princeton Architectural Press, paperback edition released March 10th
Touching and funny, intimate and flippant, and at times perhaps a bit voyeuristic, this new volume is a visual and lexical feast that promises to immediately render despairingly banal that smartphone in your pocket or tablet in your tote, along with all their sundry modes and platforms of cloven communication that have us all constantly checking in while only rarely taking proper note—and even more rarely, of course, composing proper notes. Here, such proper notes are in fact doubly composed: as letters of so many sorts, and as artworks that illustrate or embellish their featured words. Landscapes rural and urban enliven further already lively travelogues; wittily inserted pictures render written witticisms all the wittier; lovelorn longings are heartened and softened by companion drawings. If you ever manage to put it down, you’ll continue to re-read and re-savor this exquisite gathering of endearing missives and artworks for quite some time. Many of the artists in its pages will be familiar, others not so much, yet one and all will win you over. And if you’ve ever wondered what a young Warhol’s brief bio might look and read like, your curiosities will be sated here in a most amusing way—and you’ll be reminded that most NYC artists worth their historical salt have seen their share of rotten times in this city that so often illustrates, and composes notes to, itself.

Still image from Warhol's "Outer and Inner Space," soon to be screened at Anthology Film Archives.

WHITE CUBE / BLACK BOX: FEEDBACK LOOPS
Anthology Film Archives, 32 Second Ave., screening Saturday, March 14th
Curated by Anthology’s own Ava Tews, WHITE CUBE / BLACK BOX is a splendid exemplar of most welcome conceptual frankness, one that meta-spatially juxtaposes the euphemisms for galleries and cinemas so as to house the one within the other—while illumining the other with the one. In this forthcoming edition of the series, Tews’s aim is to showcase how a few artists in particular were exploiting video-enabled feedback loops when the technology was still quite nascent. The bill features film works from the 60’s and 70’s by Richard Serra, Joan Jonas and Andy Warhol, along with some footage from the 1964 World’s Fair. Think doubled personas and echoes of selves, visual overlaps and conceptual interlays—not even remotely irrelevant to the housing of a gallery within a cinema, one could say.

JASPER DE BEIJER: MR. KNIGHT’S WORLD BAND RECEIVER
Asya Geisberg Gallery, 537B West 23rd St., through March 14th
De Beijer employs a self-ascribed mode of vicariously self-reflexive, or rather alter-self-introspective imagination in this series of works inspired by the story of one Christopher Knight, a less-than-accidentally errant loner—known also as the Maine Hermit or the North Pond Hermit—who retreated, in 1986, into the solitude and comparative silence of the woods for almost three decades. For de Beijer, one of the most compelling aspects of this ‘lost’ fellow’s outlandish, so to speak, narrative is that his lone form of access to news of the outside world was simply a radio—’simply’ a radio, that is, during the very decades in which visual and audio transmissions of so many other forms have come to govern, convey and perhaps drown the rest of us. As such, de Beijer attempts to not only put himself in Knight’s place-qua-setting via material craft, but also to put himself in Knight’s mental place by envisioning reported events as Knight himself might have, a conceit that is cleverly paralleled in the artist’s practice of photographing sculptures that he makes, at least in some part, out of his own drawings. Lots of notions of inner, outer, free and ‘other’ realms to ponder in this show. Take a hint from Knight—if not also from de Beijer, and vice-versa—and go see it alone.

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