“Radical Women”

The New Yorker

May 18, 2020

The first season of the Getty’s “Recording Artists” podcast is hosted by the renowned curator Helen Molesworth, whose enthusiasm for her subjects—six formidable twentieth-century artists—is as illuminating as the audio interviews at the heart of the series. In the first episode, Molesworth describes herself as a “fangirl” of the figurative painter Alice Neel, but she’s erudite and critical, too. Lee Krasner, Betye Saar, Helen Frankenthaler, Yoko Ono, and Eva Hesse are each the focus of a subsequent episode. Molesworth deftly sets up the archival recordings—conversations conducted by the feminist art historians Cindy Nemser and Barbara Rose mostly in the nineteen-sixties and seventies—with lively biographical accounts and commentary from an outstanding group of guests. The artists Catherine Lord and Sanford Biggers have refreshing takes on Ono; the painters Amy Sillman and Lari Pittman are great on Krasner. And it’s a treat, of course, to hear the old recordings. In a memorable moment, Frankenthaler, speaking of a studio visit with the critic Clement Greenberg circa 1951, states, as though it’s a matter of fact, that “to his astonishment, I was knocking out paintings that were pretty terrific.” The self-reflective insights and smile-provoking swagger in the entire series are pretty terrific, too.

The T List: A Look at an Artist Inspired by the Natural World

T Magazine

May 14, 2020

Best known for his large-scale public sculptures — like “Santa Cruz (Blunk’s Hunk)” (1968), a gnarled piece of redwood carved like a boat — J.B. Blunk was also a proficient painter and jeweler who turned his Inverness, Calif., home into a showcase for the artistic splendor of natural materials, including redwood burls and stones made smooth by the Eel River, which he foraged himself in the north of the state. Given his output and the fact that, in the 1950s, he was an apprentice to Japanese masters like Rosanjin and Kaneshige Toyo, it’s surprising that no monograph on his life and work has existed until now. “J.B. Blunk,” which publishes tomorrow, has been meticulously curated by Mariah Nielson, Blunk’s daughter and the director of his estate, and spans the artist’s long and varied career. What makes his oeuvre so exceptional, according to Nielson, is “the confluence and synergy between life and work, and the fact that he didn’t distinguish between art, design and craft the way we do in Western culture.” The book is laid out to reflect Blunk’s approach: Images of sculptures of wood and stone sit alongside those of early ceramic works and items of gold jewelry, many of which served as studies for the sculptures. Its release was initially meant to coincide with Blunk’s first (and also long-overdue) solo show in New York, at the Kasmin Gallery, which will now take place in the fall and feature works from both the artist’s home and private collections. Head to Vimeo to flip through the book and see some of Blunk’s home.

LA Gallery History: Copley Galleries by Jonathan Griffin

Gallery Platform LA

May 14, 2020

It’s impossible to quantify the impact of the Copley Galleries. If Copley is to be believed, few people saw its exhibitions (at least, not in the light of day, its boisterous booze-fueled previews notwithstanding). But countless people have since been inspired by the mere fact of its existence, as improbable and fleeting as a snowstorm in Beverly Hills. Some may even have opened galleries themselves. Among the gallery’s regular audience was a ragtag bunch of local children. Copley and Ployardt welcomed these visitors, even arranging for one keen 16-year old to visit Man Ray’s studio. That boy was Walter Hopps, who less than ten years later would go on to found perhaps the most famous gallery in Los Angeles’ art history.

Frieze New York exhibitors bring a domestic touch to online viewing rooms

The Art Newspaper

May 7, 2020

Kasmin gallery presented works that explore “interior states, a sense of contemplation and reflectiveness”, says the director Nick Olney. David Hockney’s photographs of his friends and lovers captured in the privacy of their homes were some of the first works to sell in the day, ranging in price from $6,000 to $10,000 each.

The Painter Lee Krasner Has Long Been Eclipsed by Her Much More Famous Artist Husband. Now, a New Book Is Rewriting Art History on Her Terms

artnet news

May 6, 2020

When asked how she managed to face the canvas again, she said, “Painting is not separate from life. It is one. It is like asking—do I want to live? My answer is yes—and I paint.” With Krasner, there is never a singular style, even if she wanted one, “My own image of my work is that I no sooner settle into something than a break occurs. These breaks are always painful and depressing but despite them I see that there’s a consistency that holds out, but is hard to define.”

Frieze New York Moves Online With Brisk Sales and Blue-Chip Art


May 6, 2020

Blue-chip dealers trotted out big-ticket works—and saw sales in return. New York’s Kasmin gallery, still going strong after the recent passing of its founder, had Robert Motherwell’s all-black oil painting Untitled (Iberia), from 1963, priced at $1.7 million.

7 Artists on the Self-Care Rituals that Keep Them Creative


May 3, 2020

For Naama Tsabar, self-care means waking up early. She begins her days slowly, rising at least two hours before she needs to leave her home. This gives her body and mind “time to adjust,” she noted. Tsabar completes a short workout and, when the weather’s good, bikes from her Bedford-Stuyvesant apartment to her Greenpoint studio. Maintaining a strong body is important to the sound and installation artist. Tsabar said that the performative aspect of her work can “be very taxing” and the sculptural part of her practice requires “working with large, heavy materials.”

With New York in lockdown, Tsabar is no longer commuting to her studio. She has more time to read and listen to music. She’s particularly excited to hear Fielded’s new album, Sacrifice Zone, out May 1st, which the musician has written and produced in quarantine. Tsabar said she also “loves looking at things grow,” and her houseplants—palms, spider plants, succulents, coleus, cacti—and fruit and vegetable garden “have never been happier.”

The Gallery Paul Kasmin Built Continues with William Copley, California Surrealism, Barry Flanagan Exhibitons


April 23, 2020

“He was always really interested in aesthetics,” Olney continued, “and how you show work to its best.” Kasmin was always someone who was “ahead of the game and really nimble and often looking for what might have been out of fashion for a bit that needs to be in fashion now.” To sum it up, Olney says Kasmin “was always looking for quality and interesting characters.”

“We have this brand new space to move back into it,” Olney said. “So it’s going to be like Christmas morning when we when we get back in there […] and, you know, really run this machine that Paul created.”

How Surrealism Changed Los Angeles Forever


April 17, 2020

Curated by Harmony Murphy and Sonny Ruscha Grande, the show posits a loose aesthetic lineage that starts with the Surrealists and ends with contemporary artists. Instead of declaring explicit connections, as Murphy writes in the exhibition essay, the show posits “a traceable legacy of influence” revealed in “a flicker of mischievousness, an uncompromising approach,” and a “re-writing of rules.”

The paintings of Luchita Hurtado and Lee Mullican help tell the story, as well. Mullican co-founded the Dynaton group of Post-Surrealist artists in San Francisco in the late 1940s. The movement enjoyed a major exhibition in 1951 at the San Francisco Museum of Art. Over the next decade, Hurtado and Mullican settled in Los Angeles, taking Dynaton aesthetics with them. Hurtado’s spare, uncanny landscapes exemplify her avant-garde influences.

This Nature-Focused Design Book Is the Perfect Lockdown Escape

AD Pro

April 9, 2020

As the world remains on lockdown, people are looking to their libraries more than ever for inspiration, comfort, and beauty. A major highlight of the spring season is a new book surveying the work of acclaimed American designer and artist David Wiseman. The sumptuous monograph, David Wiseman (Rizzoli Electra, 2020), edited by the designer’s older brother and business partner, Ari Wiseman, leads readers through a garden of earthly delights, showcasing myriad installations and objects of wonder crafted by Wiseman in homage to nature. The book includes essays by Susan Weber, founder and director of the Bard Graduate Center for Studies in the Decorative Arts; Bobbye Tigerman, curator of decorative arts and design at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; and, in the name of full disclosure, yours truly.

Images of Irretrievable Sound: Theodora Allen

Mousse Magazine

April 7, 2020

In Allen’s From Dark into Light, and Back Again I (2019), the outline of a diamond-shaped frame opens into the portrait of a woman, framed by waxen hair, whose soft jawline is turned upward from a bare elongated neck. The visage, whose features are barely articulated in hues of warm sepia, appears melded into the image of a full Moon, obscured by the texture of passing clouds. Surrounding the frame, moonflower vines and a coiled serpent are bathed in a desaturated emerald-blue glow. Is she looking away or looking back? As Sarah Lippert writes of French Symbolist Gustav Moreau’s Salomé Dancing before Herod (1874-1876), “She need not look, given that she is the object that is viewed.” Two similar portraits are inverted in Allen’s Refraction (One Million Dead Soldiers) (2019), a diptych whose source is a 1974 performance by Todd Rundgren of A Dream Goes On Forever. In a video accessible online, we see him at a piano, long multicolored hair center parted, adorned in a silver halter top, with blue eyeshadow in the shape of a robber’s mask across his gaze. Yet the reference in the portrait could just as easily be to a work by Dutch Symbolist Antoon van Welie, La Douleur (1895), whose paradoxical expression exists somewhere between suffering and ecstasy. Rundgren sings, “All is silent within my dream / a thousand true loves will live and die / but a dream lives on forever.” As Allen proposes, perhaps this is the fate of Eurydice: in the regeneration of dreams, she is eternal.

François-Xavier Lalanne's Sheep Sculptures and Five Decades of an Irreverent Icon


April 7, 2020

When Lalanne unveiled his first flock over five decades ago, the 24 functional sheep-shaped pieces made of sheepskin and bronze made quite the impression at the Parisian salon. The critic Otto Hahn raved about the exhibition in 1966 in the French Journal L’Express, noting that nothing exceptional had been seen there except for Lalanne’s work, which he discussed as furniture: ‘The Salon de la Jeune Peinture nevertheless holds one surprise: François-Xavier Lalanne’s chairs… he has brought an entire flock of sheep. it is the most amazing thing in the show.’

Available online or by appointment: the best new commercial exhibitions to check out during lockdown

The Art Newspaper

April 1, 2020

William N. Copley: The New York Years

Kasmin, online (until 22 April)

Orphaned as an infant, William N. Copley was adopted when he was two by the wealthy Chicago newspaper magnate Ira Copley and his wife Edith—and the toddler became the heir to their fortune. Thus, twists of fate are an enduring theme in his proto-Pop paintings. This show explores the surrealist influences and sexual politics in the artist’s work from the 1960s to 1980s, when he lived in New York. Although the Manhattan gallery is closed due to coronavirus-related shutdowns in New York, Kasmin is offering artist-led Instagram tours and virtual viewings.

Call to action: Lee Krasner was a great painter, not just Jackson Pollock’s wife

The Washington Post

April 1, 2020

She painted “Celebration” in 1960, four years after Pollock’s death. She had moved into his old studio in East Hampton, N.Y., and suddenly had more space. She started painting pink, rounded forms on this canvas, only to abandon her efforts and return to it in a later campaign. Along with black and white, there are three distinct colors. Green. A rusty pink. And maroon. But the sense of teeming action and multiplying incident keeps your eye roving across the entire canvas.

Sex and the city – William N. Copley in New York

Apollo Magazine

March 31, 2020

While it’s easy to understand Copley (whose artist signature was styled CPLY) as treating Surrealist themes with a Pop art aesthetic, the artist developed an eccentric sensibility all his own. Nowhere is this more evident than in his treatment of sex. In the X-rated series (1972–75), for example, which took erotic scenes cribbed from dirty magazines purchased in Times Square, Copley blows up his subject material in bright colours – but also, somehow, makes it fun. The joy and lack of judgement in these scenes of entwined bodies makes them sexual, but avoids lechery. Even though the eye-popping outlining and foreshortened space can feel almost cartoonish, these depictions are as awkwardly charming as the real thing can be.

11 Acclaimed Artists Offer Strategies for Getting the Most Out of Working From Home, Whether From Your Studio or Bedroom Office


March 30, 2020

Use this time to read, to think, to concentrate on important things like family, and the process of creation. These are times to reorganize yourself. You don’t need a big space, you don’t need a big studio or gallery. Do your work: create your art.

—Bosco Sodi

Paul Kasmin (1960–2020)


March 27, 2020

I knew Paul Kasmin all his life. When Paul was a small baby, his father used to have a Tuesday evening soirée, where I met a lot of people, David Sylvester and Francis Bacon among them. And then, in the late ’60s, we used to go to a chateau in the Dordogne at Carennac, which Kas rented every summer. Paul was then seven or eight years old. I always loved him. He used to come and see me in London, then Paris, and then many times in California. From his father he inherited a fabulous eye—the gallery he opened in New York proved it. It was flawless. I last saw him here in Normandy, where his mother has a charming house near Dieppe. The shows he put on in New York were some of the best. He will be very missed.

Here Are 13 of Our Favorite Gallery Shows From Coast to Coast That You Can Visit Virtually


March 26, 2020

“William N. Copley: The New York Years” at Kasmin, New York

Price: Free
Time: All day, every day

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