The Siren Song of Liz Glynn: The Artist on Shipwrecks, Pirates and Sending a Performer to Staten Island

Liz Glynn. (Photo by John Sciulli/WireImage)

Last week, the artist Liz Glynn was standing with me in the back room of Paula Cooper Gallery’s space on 10thAvenue, beneath the busted hull of a to-scale 18th-century shipping vessel she had constructed for her new exhibition. It was hanging by rope from the ceiling. She built it with hardwood, which is not easy to find in Los Angeles, where she lives, and used traditional planking techniques to assemble it. The piece, she said, is an homage to piracy and “thieves taking everything that they want off a ship and then burning it and then allowing it to sink,” something she researched intensely through journalistic accounts, along with Daniel Defoe and “The Wreck” by Alfred Lord Tennyson.

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Stark Realities

Stark with a still from her 2013 video 'Bobby Jesus’s Alma Mater b/w Reading the Book of David and/or Paying Attention Is Free.' (Photo by Charles Roussel)

After taking the stage to warm applause at MoMA P.S. 1’s Performance Dome on Sunday afternoon, the artist Frances Stark held up a little tissue. “I have a Kleenex, just in case,” she said with a sad smile.

Ms. Stark, who is probably best known for the funny, strangely moving videos she has been making over the past few years with transcripts of online chats that she has with strangers, was at P.S. 1 to give a lecture about her longtime mentor, Mike Kelley, who killed himself in 2012 and is now the subject of a galvanizing and almost unanimously praised retrospective that fills every gallery in the museum, as well as quite a few of its hallways and stairwells. She had titled the talk “Complex Education: Paying Homage.” Read More


The Shaw-Flanked Pretension: Raqib Shaw Hits New York for First Gallery Show Since 2005

Mr. Shaw with a work of his. (Courtesy Pace Gallery)

When I first met Raqib Shaw, the Kashmiri pop painter who lives in London and recently opened a three-part show at Pace Gallery’s Chelsea spaces, he’d arrived 20 minutes late to the mid-block gallery, this after having pushed our meeting a half-hour later. When he did arrive, it was with a group of middle-aged women, who I assumed were collectors, along with Andrea Glimcher, Pace’s director of communications, who towered over him in heels. She’d brought her son with her, a small blond boy who shortly after arriving laid face down on the floor. “Oh, don’t mind him,” Ms. Glimcher said. “He thought he was going to the Natural History Museum today.” Read More


The Paradox of Martin Creed: The Artist on His Biggest Gallery Exhibition Ever

Martin Creed at Tate Britain in Nov. 2011.

Lanky Martin Creed was standing on the first floor of Hauser & Wirth gallery on the Upper East Side, dressed in lightly paint-splattered, black pants that rose up just above the ankles and an ever-so-slightly mismatched navy shirt, his frizzy gray hair pulled into a ponytail and his face covered by glasses so large they looked like protective eyewear. He was laughing enormously about—something. With apologies to our brothers and sisters across the pond, his giggles were punctuated with bursts of indecipherable Scottish twang, made all the more difficult to discern by the presence of his parents, making use of their own heavy slurs. This was somehow appropriate, though, because “what is he trying to say” is a frequent starting point for the uninitiated in conversations about Mr. Creed.

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On Your Marx: Isaac Julien on His Shows at Metro Pictures, MoMA

2008 Park City - Hollywood Life House Portraits - Day 2

Last Tuesday night, as the Museum of Modern Art’s glitzy annual film benefit was starting up on 53rd Street, British artist Isaac Julien was in Chelsea, dressed to the nines, pacing the floor of Metro Pictures gallery. The benefit was in honor of his longtime friend and artistic collaborator Tilda Swinton, but he wasn’t ready to leave—last-minute edits to his exhibition kept him striding everywhere but the door. Read More


A Weird Wind From the Second City: Karl Wirsum, Chicago Cohort Have Big Apple Moment

Wirsum with 'Hollow Swallow,' 2010. (Courtesy Derek Eller Gallery)

A few years ago, the Chelsea art dealer Derek Eller and the publisher and curator Dan Nadel were discussing artists they loved when they landed on the name Karl Wirsum, a storied Chicago figure known for cartoon-like drawings and paintings. Mr. Wirsum had been making work for almost half a century and showed regularly in the Windy City, but he hadn’t had a New York exhibition in two decades. “How come we never see Karl Wirsum shows in New York?” they recall thinking.

And so they paid him a visit at his Chicago studio. “One day, I asked him if he had any sketchbooks,” Mr. Nadel told The Observer in early October, “and he started pulling out these mountains of books that had these incredible drawings in them.” They were filled with sketches for illustrations he did for Playboy and portraits of women and animals that mixed dashes of ancient and non-Western cultures, insects, vintage toys and Americana of every kind. Wild stuff. “With most people, you wouldn’t hide them away in sketchbooks,” Mr. Nadel laughed. Read More


Charles Ray on Anthony Caro

'Early One Morning,' 1962. (©Anthony Caro/Barford Sculptures Ltd/Tate)

The British sculptor Sir Anthony Caro died of a heart attack on Wednesday in London. He was 89.  Through his work and his teaching, Caro influenced an astounding number of artists over many decades, including a few one might not at first expect. Read More


‘In Search of Vanished Blood’: Nalini Malani on Her Career, the Indian Art World and Bringing Her Documenta 13 Piece to New York

Installation view of 'In Search of Vanished Blood.' (Courtesy Galerie Lelong)

A year after its debut at Documenta 13, in Kassel, Germany, Indian artist Nalini Malani’s haunting sculpture and video installation, In Search of Vanished Blood, has arrived at Galerie Lelong. The shadow play, as the artist terms her ambitious multimedia pieces, consists of five painted mylar cylinders that rotate like Buddhist prayer wheels, projecting a diaphanous web of imagery onto the surrounding walls. Cassandra, the Greek mythological prophetess who is condemned to see the future but never be believed, takes center stage in the work, embodied in a young woman on whose face sign-language symbols flicker like warnings. It’s painfully beautiful, suggesting the sort of dream that would shake you awake with horror and awe. Read More


Weapons of Choice: Chris Burden Talks Porsches, Cannons, Sailboats and Meteorites

'The Big Wheel,' 1979. (Courtesy the New Museum)

One day the artist Chris Burden was poking around eBay, looking at meteorites. “I was buying little ones and stuff, and all of a sudden I see this one, the biggest meteorite I had ever seen for sale,” he told me earlier this month at the New Museum, the day after a retrospective of more than 40 years of his art opened there. “And there was free shipping, you know?” He paused. “What, a 400-pound meteorite? Free shipping? I’ve never seen one that big. So I bought the meteorite with no idea what I was going to do with it whatsoever, and then I started thinking.” Read More