Hard, Fast & Wet is a new article series by Studio Beat co-founder and managing editor Rachel MacFarlane. It chronicles her experiences and opinions about exhibitions currently on view. Her intent is to write about the art she views economically, without censorship, and as directly as possible. The reviews are critical, short form and juicy–hard, fast & wet.
In February 2015, she visited Tal R’s bare ass at Cheim Reed and wasn’t impressed by splashy Chris Martin rip-off emoji Michael Jordan paintings. Also, if you’re looking for some artist therapy material, check out the latest show at MoMA. It will make you feel feelings.
January 15 – February 14 , 2015
This exhibition of paintings –and one couch–is stunning but its apolitical attitude is disturbing. Tal R began these paintings by employing unfamiliar women to pose for him. The paintings combine stunning brushwork, a sophisticated full palette, and deployment of a heavenly relationship between a rabbit skin glue ground and the absorption of paint.
Despite these very alluring material details, I walked into the gallery space a big fan and left the exhibition hurt, due to Tal R’s sexist dismissal of the accountability of his content. I do not care if I’m interpreted as a staunch feminist viewer–if you make a painting, as he did, of an anonymous woman’s bare ass offered to the viewer, it doesn’t matter if the work is gussied up with astonishing formal devices you are going to experience a loss in respect from a conscious and discerning viewer.
December 14, 214 – April 5, 2015
Love it or hate it this show leaves the viewer considering the current role of painting, the art market, grandiose curator statements and the question of sincerity versus irony. Make sure to look at the Amy Sillman and Richard Aldrich paintings. Go to it, develop an opinion, feel sad or elated or enraged and then discuss it over beers with a couple of close opinionated friends–consider it like strange artist group therapy.
Devin Troy Strother
January 10 – February 14, 2015
Entering Strother’s solo show was like entering a selfie carnival but thankfully I didn’t have to pay admission. I’ve seen Strother’s work on numerous occasions at Cooper Cole Gallery in Toronto where he presented pop influenced thoughtful and lively paintings that seemed to have just as much to do with Jacob Lawrence as Philip Guston or Gumby. Unfortunately, this show seems to be motivated by some sort of fast cash initiative.
The thinking was, “Let’s make big garish installations, hire probably 7 assistants and forget about my obvious interest in the history of painting. This is Chelsea baby and I’m making splashy Chris Martin rip-off emoji Michael Jordan paintings!”
It appears that Strother didn’t realize that his audience was actually intelligent. The only piece that moved me a little was the deflated bronze basketball plopped in his modernist basketball court beside a superfluous black monolithic structure called “Fly Like an Eagel,” an ironic and pathetic gesture that seemed befitting of the exhibition.