Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Remembering Linda Nochlin

Kathleen Gilje, Linda Nochlin at the Folies Bergère, 2005

When I asked Linda Nochlin, art historian and humanist extraordinaire, why she selected Manet's Bar at the Folies Bergère for her Appropration Portrait by Kathleen Gilje, she answered: "I could be both subject and spectator at once, in a wonderful setting."*  This self-awareness was one of Nochlin's greatest gifts, an unfiltered curiosity perfectly suited to long-term, rigorous investigation.  She was a sleuth, she was a mystery, she was a seductress, and she was the seduced - by art, by literature, by Paris and by the sheer pleasure of consuming experience.

Above all, Linda Nochlin was a towering intellectual, a poet, a  musician (recorder), a generous mentor, and an exceptional scholar.  And she knew how to really live, eyes wide open, sucking in all the  juice of the moment with genuine gusto. Insatiable, she seemed to know everything about every topic, from "high" to "low," respectable to raunchy. She was never a fan of banality or simple prettiness.  She loved controversy and transgression.  She was, in short, a rebel with many causes, especially political.

Her zest for life seemed to surrender her body and soul to art.  Her extensive vocabulary controlled the narrative - she could precisely describe color, lines, form and iconography.  She could see what most of us failed to see and guide us toward joining her vision.

Linda Nochlin in front of 
Philip Pearlstein, Portrait of Linda Nochlin and Richard Pommer, 1968

In the October 31 blog for Artnews, which published her revolutionary article "Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?" in 1971, Andrew Russeth, Executive Editor wrote:

"Ten years ago, in Montreal, art historian Linda Nochlin delivered a lecture to the American Council of Learned Societies discussing the crucial role that art had played in her life. She spoke of visiting the Brooklyn Museum as a child, reading the great Russian novelists at the suggestion of her grandfather, and spending five days with the Isenheim Altarpiece in Colmar, France, 'writing about what I saw and felt, without scholarly constraint or rational limitation.' 

'We live in contradiction: that is what becomes clearer and clearer to me as I get older,' Nochlin said in Montreal. 'I am, on the one hand, the most aesthetic of creatures: my appetite for high art is unappeasable.'  At a recent Velázquez show, the 'miraculous squiggles of white-edged painted brocade close up' had put her and her 'feminist friends' in mind of Eva Hesse; Nochlin revealed that 'I try to practice Bach an hour a day, I write sonnets and odes for relaxation. The ballet and modern dance make life complete.' On the other hand, she added, 'I also drown myself in TV detective shows, and love nice clothes, playing with my cats, having silly fun with family or friends at dinner parties.'

'Indeed, more and more,' she continued, 'I feel myself to be many selves—a woman, a Jew, a scholar, a feminist, a mother and grandmother, a teacher, an athlete, a friend, a passionate devourer of printed matter not necessarily connected. I am more and more convinced that ‘inner life’ has no meaning for me: my life is exterior, lived on the surface of experience, devoted to the world and the things in it, for better or for worse'.”


Carrie Ricky in Hyperallergic offered this Nochlin quote from her 1994 essay "Starting from Scratch": “In 1969 and the years that followed,” she wrote, “the intersection of myself and history was of a different order. It was no mere passive conjunction of events that united me to the history of that year and the ones that followed, but active engagement and participation, a sense that I, along with many other politicized, and yes, liberated, women, were actually intervening in the historical process and changing history itself: the history of art, of culture, and of institutions, and of consciousness.”

I can only add, with sadness in my heart that it has come to this day to have to say anything at all about the passing of Professor Nochlin: we will miss you, Linda.  Miss bumping into you at the museums and galleries.  Miss splurging on lunch at the Russian Tea Room or downing rakija at Kafana in the East Village. Miss the hugs.  Miss the encouragement. This week, New York and Paris have lost their glow without you.

* * *

*Beth S. Gersh-Nesic, "Portrait as Performance: The Theater of the Self in Kathleen Gilje's Series of Curators, Critics and Connoisseurs," in Breaking New Ground in Art History: A Festschrift in Honor of Alicia Craig Faxon, edited by Margaret A. Hanni (New Academia Publishing, 2014).

Friday, October 27, 2017

Last Call: Bosom Bodies on Sunday, October 29th - Performance, Artists' Panel and Reception

The New York Arts Exchange cordially invites you to the 

Finissage/Closing Performance, Artists' Panel Discussion and Reception for 

An Exhibition in Honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month
Dedicated to SISTAAH: Survivors Inspiring Sisters through Art and Advocacy for Health

Sunday, October 29
3 - 5 PM
SIA Gallery
1 South Division Street
Peekskill, NY 10566


Roni Ben-Ari, Lynn H. Butler, Marcy B. Freedman, Kathleen Gilje, Nadine Gordon-Taylor, Wilhelmina Obatola Grant, Grace Graupe-Pillard, Clarity Haynes, Carla Rae Johnson, Barbara Lubliner, Sasha [Alexandru] Meret, Ioana Niculescu-Aron, Toni Quest, Ruby Silvious, and Christina Thomas. 

Curated by Beth S. Gersh-Nesic, Ph.D., director and owner of the New York Arts Exchange

Gallery Hours: Friday, Saturday, Sunday, 1 - 5 PM

All events are free and open to the public

Bosom Bodies is a New York Arts Exchange Production

Monday, September 18, 2017

Bosom Bodies Opens on October 7th at SIA Gallery in Peekskill

School of Fontainebleau, Portrait of Gabrielle d'Estrée and her Sister the Duchess de Villars (?)
Date, c. 1594, artist unknown, The Louvre, Paris

The New York Arts Exchange cordially invites you to: 

An Exhibition in Honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month
Dedicated to SISTAAH: Survivors Inspiring Sisters through Art and Advocacy for Health

Saturday, October 7 - Sunday, October 29
SIA Gallery
1 South Division Street
Peekskill, NY 10566


Roni Ben-Ari, Lynn H. Butler, Marcy B. Freedman, Kathleen Gilje, Nadine Gordon-Taylor, Wilhelmina Obatola Grant, Grace Graupe-Pillard, Clarity Haynes, Carla Rae Johnson, Barbara Lubliner, Sasha [Alexandru] Meret, Ioana Niculescu-Aron, Toni Quest, Ruby Silvious, and Christina Thomas. 

Curated by Beth S. Gersh-Nesic, Ph.D., director and owner of the New York Arts Exchange

Opening on Saturday, October 7th - 3 - 6 PM
Closing with Performance and Panel on Sunday, October 29th, 3 - 5 PM

Slide Lecture: "The History of the Female Breast in Art" 
Sunday, October 22nd, 2 PM

Gallery Hours: Friday, Saturday, Sunday, noon- 5 PM

All events are free and open to the public

Bosom Bodies is a New York Arts Exchange Production

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Remembering artist Michael Richards at Francis Naumann Fine Art on September 11th

Michael Richards, Tar Baby vs. St. Sebastian, 1999
at Francis M. Naumann Fine Art, through November 17th

A tribute to Michael Richards, the artist who perished in the World Trade Center attack on September 11, 2001, opened on Friday, September 8th at Francis M. Naumann Fine Art, 24 West 57th Street, NYC.  The gallery will be open on Monday, September 11th from 11 am to 6 pm, in honor of Michael  Richards' and all the victims of the 9/11/2001 attacks.   

The New York Arts Exchange joins with Francis Naumann Fine Art in honoring Michael Richards and all the lives cut short because of those heinous acts of terrorism. Our hearts go out to the first responders and those who worked on Ground Zero, who still suffer from the health-hazards posed by this toxic environment.  We remember you. We salute you. We still mourn you who perished on that day or because you stayed to help in the aftermath.

Michael Richards, Are You Down?, 2000
2' 10" x 22' 6" x 22' 6" 

Fiberglass, Bronze Bonded Resin, Concrete & Black Beauty Sand
Michael Richards FSP/Jerome Grant Recipient 2000

Franconia Sculpture Park, St. Croix Trail, Shafer, MN

Michael Richards' biography and legacy are available here, on the Francis M. Naumann Fine Art website and also at the Franconia Sculpture Park website, where an installation of Michael's Are You Down? is on permanent display.

Uncannily prescient, this Tar Baby pierced with planes, like St. Sebastian's tortured body pierced with arrows, "... was about death," Michael's art dealer, Genaro Ambrosino explained in the press, and: “ . . . about liberation, freedom, being able to escape. It was a sad message because of what it meant historically … It was like redemption from all that.”  

The relevance of Michael Richards' work continues to resonate in ways beyond his experience of America's inability to deal honestly with racism. Take note that he felt optimistic and empowered to make a difference, to right a wrong, to enlighten where there was ignorance or denial.  We hope his work will eventually become known for its excellence above all else.
Michael, your light shines on.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Fall into Fall: September 2017 Newsletter

Clarity Haynes and Beth Gersh-Nesic in front of Robin, 2015

New York Arts Exchange Fall Exhibitions - 
September and October 2017 

NYAE is proud to present two curatorial projects that bring attention to "Breast Cancer Awareness Month (October)":

Clarity Haynes: Bearing Witness, The Breast Portrait Project, 1998 - Present
Payne Gallery, Moravian College, 346 Main Street,  Bethlehem, PA 18018
September 7-October 15, 2017


An Exhibition In Honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month

A group show with over 15 artists
SIA Gallery, 1 South Division Street, Peekskill, NY 10566
October 7 - 29, 2017
Opening: Saturday, October 7th, 3 - 6 pm
Closing with Performance and Panel Discussion: Sunday, October 29, 3 - 5 pm
Gallery Hours: Friday, Saturday, Sunday, 12 - 5 pm
Dedicated to SISTAAH: Survivors Inspiring Sisters Through Art and Advocacy for Health

We know that Bethlehem, PA is far, so we hope you will join us in Peekskill on October 7th as we celebrate the female breast in all its beauty and power!
Please save the date and look for other announcements related to the exhibition.

Florine Stettheimer, Self-Portrait with Palette and Faun, c. 1915

September-Early October exhibitions closings:

Jewish Museum: Florine Stettheimer: Painting Poetry, through September 24th. 
(NB: Stettheimer's Cathedral Series is still at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, eight blocks down Fifth Avenue, and the Stettheimer Dollhouse is still at the Museum of the City of New York, ten blocks north on Fifth Avenue, on display.)

Hilary Knight, Eloise for the Plaza Menu, 1957-8

New York Historical Society: Eloise at the Museum, through October 9th.  Absolutely delicious!  A must-see.

Richard Gerstl, Semi-Nude Self-Portrait, 1902-4

Neue Galerie: Richard Gerstl, through September 25.   Excellent!

Robert Rauschenberg, Monogram, 1955-59

Museum of Modern Art: Robert Rauschenberg Among Friends, through September 17th.
Outstanding - I went a few times and will return before it's gone.  Loved the modern dance videos and E.A.T. (Experiments in Art and Technology) installation.

Beth's courses at Purchase College this Fall: "Realism in Art" and "Modernism, Media and the Middle Class."  Wednesday evening, 7 - 10 pm; Thursday evening, 6:30-9:50 pm, respectively.
Consult the Purchase College, School of Liberal Studies, to audit:

Best wishes for Fall 2017!

Beth S. Gersh-Nesic, Ph.D.
Director and owner
New York Arts Exchange, LLC

Friday, July 14, 2017

Summer Selections 2017 - Hand-Picked and Still Fresh

Bastille Day, le 14 juillet/July, Paris 
Bonne Fête

What a fabulous summer in New York!  I love this city and our surrounding areas. After much running around to see the museum shows, here is my carefully Selected Summer Exhibitions 2017 recommendations!   I am also touring New York landmarks: synagogues, churches, museums and mansions, etc.  (a list will be forthcoming).

NB: The New York Arts Exchange is preparing 2 exhibitions for the fall:  
  • Clarity Haynes at Payne Gallery, Moravian College, Bethlehem, PA, September - mid October, 2017. (Opening: TBA)
  • Bosom Bodies: A Celebration of the Female Breast in Honor of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month (October),  October 7-29, 2017, at SIA Gallery, Peekskill, NY. 

(Please save the dates - a full program will be announced in August.)

Here is what's on now in NY/CT museums near you:

Metropolitan Museum of Art:  "Age of Empire: Chinese Art from the Qin and Han Dynasties, 1221 BC-220 AD," through July 16; " "Irving Penn Centennial," through July 30; "Comme Les Garçons: Rei Kawakubo [retrospective]," through September 4; "The Theater of Disappearance," through October 29; "Drawing and Prints Selected from the Permanent Collection," through August 7.

Met Breuer: "Lygia Pape," through July 23; "The Body Politic," through September 3.

The Cloisters: Permanent Collection

Guggenheim Museum: "Visionaries: Creating a Modern Guggenheim," through September 6; "Mystical Symbolism: Salon de la Rose + Croix in Paris, 1892-97," through October 4.

Jewish Museum: "The Arcades: Contemporary Art and Walter Benjamin," through August 6; "Florine Stettheimer: Painting Poetry," through September 26; "Vivian Suter," through October 22.

Neue Galerie: "Richard Gerstl," through September 25; "Austrian Masterworks from the Neue Galerie New York," through September 25.

Museo del Barrio: "NKAME: A Retrospective of the Cuban Printmaker Belkis Ayón," through November 5; "Uptown: Nasty Women/Bad Hombres," through November 5; "Video Art: Elena Wren," through November 5.

Museum of the City of New York "Muslim in New York," through August 13; "Rhythm and Power: Salsa in New York," through November 26; permanent collection.

Museum of Modern Art: "Projects 106: Martine Syms," through July 16; "Louise Lawler: Why Pictures Now," through July 30; "Making Space: Women Artists and Post-War Abstraction," through August 13; "Robert Rauschenberg Among Friends," through September 17.

MOMA, PS 1: Consult their website - most ending in September.

Whitney Museum: "Calder: Hypermobility," through October 23.

Morgan Library and Museum: "Henry James and American Painting," through September 10; "The Ever New Self: Thoreau and his Journal," through September 10; "Poussin, Claude and French Drawings in the Classical Age," through October 15. 

Scandinavia House: "Independent Visions: Helene Schjerfberck and her Contemporaries," through October 3. 

New York Historical Society: "John F. Kennedy," through January 7, 2018; "World War I," through September 3; "Eloise in the Museum," through October 9.

Museum of the Native American: "Native American Fashion," through September 4; "Infinity of Nations [from the Permanent Collection]," ongoing.

Hudson River Museum: "Robert Zakanitch: Garden of  Ornament," through September 17.

Neuberger Museum: "Fred Wilson," through July 30; "Leandro Erlich," through July 30.

Bruce Museum: "Spring into Summer with Andy Warhol and Friends," through September 3; "Nikon Small World," July 29-October 29;  "Highlights from the Permanent Collections, through September 3.

Katonah Museum: "Wall to Wall: Carpets by Artists," through October 1. 

Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art: "Between I and Thou," through December 2017.

Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum:  Exhibitions of work by Suzanne McClelland, Beth Campbell; William Powhida, and Kay Rosen,  through September 4; Tony Matelli's Hera, through October 21.

Lehman College Gallery: "Wonderland: Photos from the Bronx Museum Permanent Collection," Summer 2017.

I am teaching a course online at Purchase College through August 8: Impressionism.  If you would like to audit, please let me know. 

Also - for more timely recommendations and information about art and art criticism, please follow us on Facebook, where I post daily: New York Arts Exchange on Facebook

Best wishes for the summer,

Beth S. Gersh-Nesic, Ph.D.
Director and owner
New York Arts Exchange, LLC

Friday, June 2, 2017

Last Call: Duchamp's Fountain, Sasha Meret @ Shchukin, Esmeralda Kosmatopoulos @ 2 Rivington


Marcel Duchamp, Fountain, 2017/1964

On April 10, 2017, Francis Naumann Fine Art celebrated the centenary of Marcel Duchamp's famous/infamous Fountain with an exhibition of artworks that pay homage to this revolutionary artist's gesture: a urinal turned up on its side, signed by a mysterious unknown called "R. Mutt." It was submitted to the supposedly open, unjuried first exhibition of the Society of Independent Artists in New York City, in the Grand Central Palace (since destroyed to make way for a taller, more lucrative real estate investment). The Society of Independent Artists included Marcel Duchamp, Katherine Dreier, Walter Arensburg, Albert Gleizes, William Glackens, and Man Ray.  From a position of power, Duchamp dared to submit a "ready-made" (already a concept in his repertoire, begun with Bottle Rack of 1914).  In this case, it was a decidedly male bathroom fixture with a sort of vaginal orientation on its pedestal.  This mass-produced ceramic site for depositing urine was sold by the J.L. Mott Iron Works Company. Nothing could be more antithetical for art.  It was a total Dada gesture: not unique, not handmade, not meant to be enjoyed for its aesthetic invention, and not made by the artist himself in any way, even as a commission from the foundry.  The supposedly "open" committee immediately rejected Duchamp's conceptual piece before the opening on April 10, and Duchamp immediately resigned from the SIA.  The urinal was photographed in Alfred Stieglitz's studio, published in The Blind Man magazine, and somehow lost. Reproductions are in various collections, most notably at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, which has curated its own homage to Marcel Duchamp's "scandalous" gesture (on view through December 3, 2017).

 Kathleen Gilje, Sant'Orinale, 2017
gesso, goldleaf, gouache, oil paint on panel
16 3/4 x 13 inches

My favorite is Kathleen Gilje's Sant'Orinale (Saint Urinal) which says in its concise visual vocabulary how this subversive gesture has been transformed into a icon of art historical veneration, becoming as sanctified as a devotional image from the early Renaissance. Moreover, Gilje's painting amplifies the irony of this particular show by intimating that these appropriations may enrich many an artist due to the sales of their creations in response to Duchamp's anti-art work. In Gilje's work we see a masterfully rendered image of Fountain (Duchamp's rejection of "retinal art") surrounded by gold leaf in the manner reserved for Christian saints, Christ and the Virgin Mary. The sheer opulence, precious materials, uniqueness of the hand, and artistic fame of both artists (Duchamp and Gilje) flies in the face of Duchamp's original intentions, enacting a rebellion on its own terms and insisting on the glorified permanent art object that Duchamp decided to militate against and do without (by misplacing the first Fountain).  
Mike Bidlo, Fractured Fountain, Series of 8, 2015
Bronze, 14 3/4 x 16 x 11 inches

Mike Bidlo, Sherry Levine and Ray Beldner (Peelavie) transgress the original transgressive object by casting a urinal in bronze or sewing a urinal out of dollar bills, respectively.

Sophie Matisse, Fountain Cake, 2017 
Meringue, frosting, chocolate chips
16 x 16 x 12 inches

More in keeping with the original may be Sofie Matisse's white frosted meringue cake, fashioned into the fabled Fountain, embedded with chocolate chips to depict the urinal's holes.  Saul Melman's Johnny on the Spot, a concert hall in the shape of Duchamp's urinal that was burned during the Burning Man Festival in 2003, also plays into the Duchamp's anti-fetishizing of art through longevity, collectability and enshrinement as scholars anoint the object with masterpiece status.  Their works are ephemeral, in keeping with Duchamp's original iteration.

The Francis Naumann Fine Art website announced that May 24th would be the last day of the show. However, you can still see the exhibition through today, Friday, June 2nd. Gallery hours are 11 am - 6 pm and online at Francis Naumann Fine Art, 24 West 57th Street, NYC.

Sasha Meret at his opening, Shchukin Gallery, 110 East 31st. Street, NYC
through June 6th

Sasha Meret: Incendiary Artifacts of Past Digressions, opened on May 4th at Shchukin Gallery amidst a flurry of fans eager to partake in the magical journey of Meret's surrealist mind. The evening felt electrified with excitement.  Fortunately, the show will continue past the closing day announced on the invitation.  At this moment, June 6th is the closing date.  Hopefully, it will be extended further.

Mythological in origin, each work resonates with Meret's profound insights into the humor and darkness of human existence. Above, we find beauty in  Meret's reordering of existential chaos, for here are material castoffs recontextualized into magnificent creatures/creations and prints replete with phantasmagorical figures writhing inside fascinating compositions.  We see connections and disruptions, Dantesque heads spilling pipes from one mouth to another.  It's a scene reminiscent of Purgatory or Hell or both. For Meret disturbs our minds into a state of morbid curiosity. There is humor and their is demonic discourse presented in deliciously intricate detail and excellent drawing. 

Sasha Meret, Emperor Duck, 2017

As always, entering Sasha Meret's exhibitions feels like a trip into another realm of existence, an exploration into an extraordinary consciousness of reorientations.  Meret is indeed a response to Marcel Duchamp's Fountain in our time: the ready-made loses its identity.  It's fluid, undefined and yet part of an ensemble that functions as an artwork. Thus, it is postmodern and Dadaesque without being Dada at all. For Meret creates an aesthetic environment that retains the appearance of each object while he subordinates the individual identities of the ingredients to the whole vision.  Sasha Meret: Incendiary Artifacts of Past Digressions was curated by CATM  NYC.

Esmeralda Kosmatopoulos, "What I always wanted to tell you but never dared," 2 Rivington, NYC
May 31 - June 5

Curator Clémence Mailly explains that the artist Esmerald Kosmatopoulos discovered the uncanny abilities of predictive digital programs in text and email applications.  "The virtual machine had been learning from the artist’s everyday written communications and was now trying to mimic at its best her writing style, appropriating her most used vocabulary and style, in an attempt to predict her next words. This parapraxis was shedding light in a somehow disturbing way the complex - man versus machine - dialectic as the phone had been anticipating the artist’s next words without her consent." To that end, the artist decided to use these written artifacts to help digital "ready-mades" become artworks by virtue of the artist's intervention. "And the rest is history . . . .," as she quotes in one of her audio pieces.  What I always wanted to tell you but never dared, is a pop-up exhibition at Parasol Projects 2 Rivington Street gallery, just around the corner from the New Museum and on the way to Morgenstern's ice cream.  Another heir to Duchamp's Fountain, Kosmatopoulos dares to re-contextualize the algorithmic accidents that occasion our co-dependent  relationship on our smartphones and other mobile devices, teasing out the humor in accidents of communication. detecting significant in this banal quotidian territory.   This pop-up show will last until Sunday, June 4th.  So try to catch it before it disappears or visit Kosmatopoulos' website to see more images of the installation.

Happy Birthday, Fountain, and thank you, Marcel.  Let's us also celebrate rejection and the victories that finally ensue.

Best wishes for the weekend,
Beth New York

aka Beth S. Gersh-Nesic, Ph.D.
Director and owner
New York Arts Exchange, LLC