Exhibiting in New York this week: Bob and Roberta Smith evoke the spirit of artists like Jackson Pollock to muster a creative pressure group opposed to a controversial political movement (rhymes with “pea tarty”) at The Boiler. Smith’s fellow Brit, Howard Hodgkin has paintings of “autonomous wholes” and abstract memories appear in a solo show at the Gagosian that provide contemplative relief. Finally, Greg Borgin’s wonderfully bright and intellectualised cheerfulness is crafted into “talismans for a wounded contemporary psyche” at Leo Koenig Inc.
Bob and Roberta Smith: The Art Party The Boiler, Pierogi Gallery New York
The Art Party is a straight-face satire of The Tea Party using Bob and Roberta Smith’s brilliantly wry humour and impressive DIY aesthetic. In a visual language redolent of punk and folk, home-made protest ephemera or sandwich shop signage, with each of Smith’s pieces communicating immediately. And the message is clear: “to advocate creative cultural innovations and solutions to America’s financial crisis,” art inspired hope as a direct antidote to the “despair and austerity” of its rival. Which is all pretty pertinent considering the Wall Street occupation and, well, global economic Armageddon. Showing at The Boiler, Pierogi gallery until December 18.
Greg Bogin: all smiles Leo Koenig Inc. New York
Joyfully described by the gallery as a “psychic cannibalism,” many artists today are (un)suspecting victims of an information and visual offensive – and the work they make is nealy always a reaction to that. They are stimulated and they are incapacitated and sometimes they make art like Greg Bogin – the all smiles bit gives you a clue as to how to react and, as with most things, I’m going to take that with a pinch of irony. The work is bright (emotionally, visually), very involved with surfaces (perhaps because the internet lacks that sensory reality) blending effortlessly between wall pieces and arcane sculpture which appear like 3D paintings. Described as "partially striving to give the viewer an escape from the barrage of "heaviosity"" there are some interesting open questions with this work that maybe even the internet can not answer (but at least it knows what heaviosity means.) On show until December 3.
Howard Hodgkin Gagosian Gallery, Madison Avenue New York
Being very new to Howard Hodgkin’s work, my immediate thought is that they’re extraordinarily expressive and staring at them, right to the edges, they are also uncannily familiar. Operating “resistant to interpretation, allusive, and fragmentary” it’s strange then that they appear as gem-like memories that appeal to a quite personal interpretation, rendered in “maximlaist gestures and saturated colours.” The emotive abstraction of landscapes and figurations are best surmised by Hodgkin’s own quote: “I don’t think you can lightly paint a picture. It’s an activity I take very seriously.” On show until December 23.
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