Facing the Truth: ‘Alice Neel: Late Portraits & Still Lifes,’ at David Zwirner and ‘Jutta Koether: The Fifth Season,’ at Bortolami

8 Photos

Alice Neel, Geoffrey Hendricks and Brian, 1978

Alice Neel paid attention. Of course, she also worked hard and was prodigiously talented, but the main thing is, she paid attention—such close, lucid, existentially present and profoundly generous but completely unsentimental attention to the friends, lovers, relatives and acquaintances whom she painted that her work dissolves theological mysteries more thoroughly than four years in a seminary. You can see, in her portraits, exactly how each of her models felt—not in general but in the very moments in which they were doing it—about sitting still and posing. And you can see in her still lifes the demurely exhibitionist pride that her mind’s eye attributed—and that her hand then highlighted with a subtle fisheye distortion—to a potted plant. How can something have its own complete personality while simultaneously expressing no personality other than its creator’s? And how is it possible for something to be absolutely changeless but distinctly alive? Read More

Spring Arts Preview

Top 10 Gallery Shows for Spring 2012

'Untitled (Fold)' (2011) by Tauba Auerbach. (Courtesy the artist and Paula Cooper Gallery, New York)

Tauba Auerbach at Paula Cooper
Opens May 5
This is unquestionably the season’s most anticipated show by a young artist. After trompe/Op painter Tauba Auerbach’s dealer, Jeffrey Deitch, left town to head L.A.’s Museum of Contemporary Art two years ago, while her work was on view at the last edition of the Whitney Biennial, she was courted by numerous high-profile dealers but settled on Paula Cooper. She has been weaving to make paintings recently, and focusing increasingly on color, but details remain scarce on her latest developments. “I paint and paint and then destroy nine out of ten paintings,” she recently told an interviewer when asked about her projects. “My standards are increasingly hard to meet.” Read More