On View

‘Nate Lowman: I Wanted to Be an Artist but All I Got Was This Lousy Career’ at the Brant Foundation Art Study Center

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Installation view of the exhibition

A booming market has turned contemporary art into a fixed game, it’s said. Even if you have never before subscribed to that theory, a favorite of philistines and, recently, some indignant art writers, you may find yourself considering it after a visit to the exhibition of work by New York artist Nate Lowman at collector Peter Brant’s private museum in Greenwich, Conn.

Much bland, derivative art has been buoyed by the surging market in recent years, but little of it is as painfully lazy as Mr. Lowman’s, which for the past decade has fixated on America’s trash culture, pop tropes and historical trauma, following a path already well traveled by appropriation artists of the 1980s and ’90s like Cady Noland, Richard Prince and Michael St. John (as many have noted). Even with all of the money involved, it’s shocking that anyone takes him seriously, much less Mr. Brant, whose foundation has in the past few years presented superb shows with artists like Urs Fischer and Karen Kilimnik. Read More

On View

‘Société Anonyme: Modernism for America’ at the Yale University Art Gallery

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Katherine Sophie Dreier, Two Worlds (Zwei Welten), 1930

Chance meetings can dramatically alter the course of history, but that cliché is rarely as richly illustrated as in the case of the introduction of artist Marcel Duchamp to Katherine Dreier, a Connecticut artist and heiress, at the New York salon of Duchamp’s patrons, Walter and Louise Arensberg, in the late 1910s. After striking up a friendship, they joined with Man Ray in starting the Société Anonyme, Inc. (i.e., Corporation Incorporated) in 1920 to present modern artists to a skeptical American public a full nine years before the Museum of Modern Art was founded. Read More

On View

‘Trisha Baga: Plymouth Rock 2′ at the Whitney Museum of American Art

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Installation view of Trisha Baga's Plymouth Rock (2012) in 'Rock' at Vilma Gold in London, 2012

After a year in which New York museums focused largely on grand historical shows and star-studded blockbusters, the Whitney offers up a welcome outlier: a modestly scaled show of a promising young talent. From Trisha Baga, a New York-based artist who is 27, comes Plymouth Rock 2 (2012), a 30-minute video and mixed-media installation that is one of the most vitally new-feeling artworks on view in the city right now. Read More

On View

‘Inventing Abstraction 1910-1925’ at the Museum of Modern Art [Updated]

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Giacomo Balla, Abstract Speed and Sound, 1913-14

Abstract art just turned 100, MoMA tells us with a new exhibition, and the museum is throwing it a birthday party. Packed with some 350 artworks, the show, curated by Leah Dickerman and MoMA curatorial assistant Masha Chlenova, is busy and buzzing, a star-studded gala for historic experiments in color, form and even sound.

Visitors are greeted by Picasso’s Woman With Mandolin (1910), but abstract form quickly cedes the floor to immersive color. Wassily Kandinsky’s Impression III (Concert), from 1911—not coincidentally, the same year he released his book On the Spiritual in Art—is a revelation: you probably know that his early paintings derive from listening to Schoenberg’s music, but you might be surprised to see how literally his preparatory sketches take a black grand piano and a concert audience and reduce them to the painting’s flat blocks of color and form. For a moment, abstraction’s mystery seems solved. Not so fast—it is difficult in the extreme to imagine an origin point for Kandinsky’s enormous, sweeping Composition V, 1911, also on view here. Read More

On View

‘Christian Marclay: The Clock’ at the Museum of Modern Art

Installation view of Christian Marclay's The Clock, 2010

At this point, even my father, whose tends to skip contemporary art shows for ancient Chinese stone-carving exhibitions, has run into and enjoyed Christian Marclay’s 24-hour film, The Clock. To recap: each scene is sampled from a snippet of a movie or TV show and synchronized with real time such that the film itself can be used as a working clock. Made in 2010, it has already been shown at Paula Cooper Gallery in New York, White Cube in London, the Venice Biennale, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Sydney’s Museum of Contemporary Art and, recently, in New York again, at Lincoln Center. It has screened in Glasgow, Ottawa and Yokohama. Several international museums own time-shares of the film. Read More