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The Week in Arts: Robert Motherwell

The New York Times

April 13, 2019

You don’t look at a painting like Motherwell’s “Hoppla, wir leben!” with just your eyes. The exuberant orange expanse, one of eight paintings by the titan of abstract expressionism in “Sheer Presence: Monumental Paintings by Robert Motherwell” at Kasmin Gallery’s skylit new flagship location on 27th Street, is just under nine feet tall. You can’t see the scribbly charcoal figure, an impulsive cross between a fence and a Cyrillic letter, in the canvas’s roiling, sky-blue canton without imagining him stretching up on his tiptoes to draw it — and it’s hard to imagine that without rising to your toes yourself. As for “The Grand Inquisitor,” an explosive riff on the Belgian flag more than 14 feet long, it may require a few balletic leaps.

CLAUDE LALANNE (1924–2019)

Artforum

April 11, 2019

The French artist Claude Lalanne, known for whimsical nature-inspired sculptures, died in Fontainebleau on April 9 at the age of ninety-three. Lalanne worked as a duo with her husband, François-Xavier, from the 1960s until his death in 2008. Together, Les Lalanne, as they were known, created playful and surreal objets, often from cast bronze and in the form of flora and fauna, including sheep, apples, and rabbits. (She earned cult status when one of her works—a man with a cabbage for a head—appeared on the album cover of Serge Gainsbourg’s 1976 L’Homme à Tête de Chou.) Lalanne was a frequent collaborator with designer Yves Saint Laurent, for whom she created jewelry and a sculpture of model Veruschka’s bust for his fall 1969 collection. She continued to collaborate with the fashion industry well into this current decade, designing accessories for Dior’s spring 2017 collection.

“I am incredibly sad to lose a great friend and artist. I was always fascinated by my many, many visits to her and her family’s magical world,” Paul Kasmin said. The dealer presented an exhibition of Les Lalanne’s work earlier this year. Les Lalanne were recently the subject of a retrospective at Les Arts Decoratifs in Paris, and their work is in the collctions of the Cooper Hewitt Museum in New York and the Centre Pompidou in Paris.

‘You Have to Be There’: The Power and Presence of Robert Motherwell’s Large-Scale Paintings

Frieze

April 10, 2019

‘The supreme gift, after light, is scale’, wrote Robert Motherwell in a letter to the poet Frank O’Hara in 1965. As demonstrated by an exhibition of his large-format paintings that opened at Kasmin Gallery’s recently-inaugurated 509 West 27th Street space last month, the artistic possibilities of scale were a constant concern throughout Motherwell’s long career. This exhibition of mostly later work is the first to focus solely on the monumental in his oeuvre, and features eight paintings: some, like Dublin, 1916, with Black and Tan (1963-64), take great joy in expanses of chromatic juxtaposition while others, such as Forced Entry (1981), exercise just a handful of brushstrokes to construct a rudimentary painterly gesture. Each of the eight captivate.

Jan-Ole Schiemann: “A Different Pose” at Kasmin Through May 4th, 2019

Art Observed

March 22, 2019

Now on view at New York space Kasmin Gallery, artist Cologne-based artist Jan-Ole Schiemann is mounting a debut solo exhibition, bringing with him a collection of new paintings that see the artist continuing to revel in both gestural abstraction and the history of 20th-century animation, aspects that combine to imbue his work with a rare sense of kinetic energy. Half-formed, simultaneously disappearing and reappearing shapes suggest that somewhere amidst the lines, there are figures tumbling, colliding, or fighting obscured by clouds of smoke. As a result of Schiemann’s meticulous, layered application of charcoal, oilstick, ink and acrylic.

Robert Motherwell Found Unlikely Inspiration in Architecture

Architectural Digest

March 22, 2019

As one of the founders of the Abstract Expressionist movement, Robert Motherwell was nothing if not ambitious. "It took a lot of courage for Motherwell to make these," remarks Kasmin gallery's director Eric Gleason, as he gestures towards the sweeping canvases pinned to the gallery's walls. "When he was making these, there just weren't very many big spaces to show them. He knew he would be sacrificing visibility for a lot of these." Given the sheer abundance of galleries and art spaces in New York City alone—throw a stone in Chelsea and you're apt to hit a white cube—it's difficult to imagine that there weren't many spaces to show 9" tall paintings in 1970's New York, but aside from Sidney Janis and Marlborough Gallery, such was the case.

9 Art Events to Attend in New York: Robert Motherwell

Artnews

March 18, 2019

Under the title Sheer Presence, this exhibit showcases eight large paintings created by Robert Motherwell between the 1960s and 1990, the year before his death. The title alludes to a state Motherwell once said he hoped to achieve: “sheer presence, beingness, as such, objectivity and true invention.” Among the works included is Open No. 97: The Spanish House (1969), a work from Motherwell’s Open series that features the outline of a rectangle inscribed on a monochromatic background.

A monumental Robert Motherwell show

Financial Times

March 18, 2019

Sheer Presence: Monumental Paintings by Robert Motherwell will be staged at the Kasmin Gallery in New York from March 21 to May 18 in what will be the first exhibition to focus exclusively on the late artist’s large-format works dating from the 1960s to 1990s. The event is also set to include a group of seminal paintings from The Dedalus Foundation, the arts organisation founded by Motherwell in 1981.

The abstract expressionist’s masterworks, some measuring 304cm x 223cm, promise to be a visual feast set against the Kasmin’s spare 279sq m interior. The eight graphic canvases on view include Dublin 1916, with Black and Tan (1963-64); The Forge (1965-66/1967-68); and The Grand Inquisitor (1989-90). Motherwell was known for his gestural, broad brushstrokes and dramatic contrasts of colour, but this exhibition also includes subtler works such as Open in Grey with White Edge (1971) – a soothing acrylic with faint hints of charcoal on canvas. Select pieces in the exhibition will be for sale through the gallery, priced from $2m to $10m.

In a career spanning over five decades, the prolific Motherwell was a painter, printmaker, teacher and editor, and these works are among his most visually arresting. “Motherwell was an especially emphatic, intuitive mark-maker, and the large-format canvas provided a vehicle for him to really embrace his painterly ambitions,” says Kasmin Gallery director Eric Gleason.

David Wiseman: profound love for nature

TL Mag

March 14, 2019

In his young, but successful career, David Wiseman has caught the attention of many through his profound love for nature and respect for the history of decorative arts and contemporary design. Ranging from transformative room installations to mesmerizing furniture, the L.A. based designer creates his dream world by drawing inspiration from the world around him. TLmag had the pleasure to sit down and talk to him about his first show at Kasmin Gallery which is on show from March 14 until April 27,  and the -soon to be opened- Wiseman Studio.

9 Art Events in New York: Naama Tsabar

ArtNews

March 11, 2019

With “Dedicated,” her latest solo outing, Naama Tsabar continues her examination of the role gender plays in music-making and performance. Bringing together three bodies of work, the show features a site-specific sculptural and sonic installation, works on canvas that function as amplifiers, and photographs set in the artist’s studio. The artist and a group of female musicians will stage a performance at the gallery in May, on the closing night of the exhibition.

Inside Bosco Sodi’s Sprawling Red Hook Studio

Galerie Magazine

March 5, 2019

When Hurricane Sandy barreled through New York City in 2012, few neighborhoods were hit as hard as Red Hook, on the Brooklyn waterfront. After the storm surge receded, the pier at the end of Van Brunt Street was stained scarlet, like the remnants of a brutal crime scene perhaps. And, indeed, the devastation that confronted the artists, nonprofits, and businesses occupying the pier's 1860s brick-and-stone warehouses was horrible. Bosco Sodi, whose washed-away cache of pigments was responsible for the red residue, lost 18 of the process-intensive paintings he is best known for—their cracked and densely encrusted surfaces calling to mind lava fields or desert landscapes, often in vivid monochrome hues. A year's worth of his work was gone. 

Creative Minds

Galerie Magazine

March 1, 2019

"This is the busiest chapter of my life," says Los Angeles artist and designer David Wiseman, "but since I've been working, I've always said the same thing." There's the slew of custom commissions, including a chandelier canopy that conjures "an overhead, glowing dream garden made of plaster, porcelain, and rock crystal," which his studio is working on for a high-profile celebrity couple. New pieces in an exhibition opening March 14 at Kasmin in New York, Wiseman's first with the gallery, will demonstrate just how his work bridges art and design. In his quest to realize a perfect jungle paradise, Wiseman will debut wallpaper depicting monkeys and a lagoon at the show as well, plus a monolithic marble fireplace with a collage composition of "fish scale, clover, chrysanthemums, water, and shark teeth." dwiseman.com – J.T. 

Six Must-See Figurative Painting Shows in New York

Galerie Magazine

March 1, 2019

Theodora Allen approaches plant life somewhat more slyly by softly weaving it into her symbolic still lifes. Blurring the boundary between landscapes and mindscapes, Allen untangles the medieval histories of Norse and English cultures to create sublime paintings of flora-filled shields and monuments. The shields envelop such psychoactive and medical plants as belladonna, marijuana and opium poppies, while the monuments depict the symbology of medieval Tarot cards—the cup, the coin, the branch, and the sword—in arched window-like forms surrounded by the same type of mentally destabilizing plants and weeds. Painted with a luminous, misty-blue, monochromatic palette, Allen’s enchanting canvases share the aesthetic appeal of early cyanotype pictures made by the first photographers during the Romantic era—thankfully resurrecting that poetic style for these uncertain times.

Matvey Levenstein Joins Kasmin Gallery

Artnews

February 26, 2019

Matvey Levenstein’s paintings explore themes of history and representation, speaking to the relevance of Romanticism in the 21st Century. His quiet meditations are filtered through the most traditional painterly genres—the landscape, the still life, and the portrait—and are imbued with a distinctly literary sensitivity. A sincere engagement with nature, combined with the prevalent cinematic aspects of Levenstein’s work, call to mind radical 20th-century filmmakers such as Andrei Tarkovsky and Ingmar Bergman.

Making in the Magic: Theodora Allen's weald at Kasmin Gallery

Eazel

February 26, 2019

Theodora Allen first began showing her otherworldly, ethereal paintings at Blum & Poe, the gallery that represents her in Los Angeles, where she lives and works. From her debut show in Los Angeles in 2015, to her first solo show in New York currently on view at Kasmin Gallery (Theodora Allen, weald, Kasmin Gallery, New York (January 24 - March 9, 2019), Allen’s work is consistently enchanting and worthy of deeper discussion.

Goings on About Town: Matvey Levenstein

The New Yorker

February 25, 2019

Can loveliness shock? Yes, as witness the fantastically skilled and sensitive neo- or para- or faux-Romantic (you decide) work of Matvey Levenstein, a forty-nine-year-old Russian-American artist. The subjects of his paintings and ink drawings (at the Kasmin gallery through March 2), some on copper or wood, are forthrightly generic: landscapes from around Levenstein’s home, on the North Fork of Long Island, floral still-lifes, and a portrait of his wife, the painter Lisa Yuskavage, in a white bathrobe. Layered grays, orange-flavored sepia, and the odd palely simmering pink or blue constitute—or conjure, or exhale—spectral woods, clouds, a snow-covered ancient graveyard, and a storm at sea. Caspar David Friedrich comes to mind as an ancestral spirit, but the work recalls no specific precedent. Its tenor is coolly confident, assuming a viewer’s empathy. That jolts. You would expect a wink or a nudge, or a smack of naïveté or perversity in so atavistic a style. But no soap. Levenstein’s temerity fascinates.

— Peter Schjeldahl

Levenstein's Long Exposures

The New Criterion

February 21, 2019

Matvey Levenstein is notoriously slow with the brush, finishing only a dozen or so paintings or sumi ink drawings each year. It’s time well spent, and, partly as a result, his work is an anti-expressionistic respite from this insane cultural moment. The finely wrought paintings in his current exhibition at Kasmin Gallery in New York—landscapes and interior still lifes—whisper their purpose rather than shout, in the way that Dana Schutz’s wildly aggressive figurations just down Tenth Avenue do.

Artist Theodora Allen Embraces the Elements at Kasmin Gallery

Cultured Magazine

February 7, 2019

In Theodora Allen’s paintings, weeds grow, translucent but stubborn. The plants themselves are drawn with scientific precision, specimen-like. While so many paintings these days announce themselves as artworks, bellowing their contemporaneity, her works seem almost like artifacts, remnants of something simultaneously here and not here—like a glassy Xerox of an ancient illuminated manuscript. They are what I imagine I’d find inside Hildegard von Bingen’s dream journal, if she were born in California in 1985.

Matvey Levenstein

The Brooklyn Rail

February 5, 2019

There are fifteen oils on wood, canvas, or copper, and six large Sumi ink drawings on paper in Matvey Levenstein's first solo show in New York since his exhibition at the now-closed Larissa Goldston Gallery in 2009. Dating from 2015 to 2018, the works address traditional genres of landscape, still life, and portraiture, but Levenstein has developed a process that combines art historicism, casual photography, and technical rigor via a realistic perfectionism that both guides you into the artist's own world and lends magnitude to the quotidian. The pictures do not resemble those of Vermeer, but these explorations of settings of subtle historical significance on Long Island's North Fork around Orient, New York, elicit a similar level of truth.

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