Art News and Opinion: October 14, 2010

Dexter Dalwood, Herman Melville, 2005

On October 5th, Tate Britain unveiled its Finalist Exhibition for the prestigious 2010 Turner Prize. The shortlist for the annual coveted award is composed of painter Dexter Dalwood, installation artist and painter Angela de la Cruz, sound artist Susan Philipsz, and film collaborative Otolith (comprised of Anjalika Sagar and Kodwo Eshun). Art Observed remarked in a recent article that expert critique has been scattered—since the shortlist was announced on May 4th, critics have largely panned the judges’ decisions, and at best have responded half-heartedly to the selected finalists. While nothing resembling critical consensus on the quality or merit of each of the finalists’ work has so far emerged, Philipsz and de la Cruz appear to have received the warmest response thus far. Regardless of the media’s stout opinions, one lucky winner will be selected from among the shortlist, and will be announced at the museum on December 6, 2010.

The Independent’s Michael Glover dives into the work of the late Louise Bourgeois, who passed away earlier this year at the age of 98. Bourgeois is best remembered for her gigantically eerie spider sculptures, but a fresh take on the artist’s work is represented in “Louise Bourgeois: The Fabric Works,” currently being shown at the Hauser & Wirth galleries in London. Glover describes Bourgeouis’ life-long love affair with fabric and sewing, well documented in this new examination of her sculptures. Instead of doom-and-gloom, the artist’s fabric works are surprisingly domesticated and quietly in control. Many of the pieces were constructed during the final weeks of the her life, and show a peaceful deliberation laced with soft edges and an accepting serenity—almost as if she calmly walked right up to death, content with her life’s work.

Hyperallergic writer Kyle Chayka finds new appreciation in Abstract Expressionist artist Robert Motherwell in his recent article, “Taking Another Look at Robert Motherwell.” Chayka describes his surprisingly delightful encounter with two of the artist’s lesser-known paintings currently on display as part of the New York MoMA’s “Abstract Expressionist New York.” Motherwell is best known for his slashing black and white pieces in his Elegies for the Spanish Republic series. In contrast, the disjointed yellow ochre paintings currently on display in the exhibition lead us to discover a different side of the artist—a side that Chayka is only too happy to point out. Mentioning that this discovery helps to broaden the definition of Abstract Expressionism, he writes, “Shows that uncover previously niche corners of art history cause us to break up the one-sided view we have of artists whose ‘masterpieces’ aren’t always representative of their greater body of work.”

Roy Lichtenstein

In her recent article “Following the Dots Around the City,” Roberta Smith of The New York Times reviews the three main Roy Lichtenstein exhibitions currently sprinkled around Manhattan—yes, three. Smith maintains that it seems fitting, as Lichtenstein was born in Manhattan in 1923, was one of the great postwar American artists working out of New York, and even died there in 1997. All three shows have their own take on the artist and his surroundings, bringing to life the Americana comic book vibe that he is so well-known for—a strict canon indeed, perfectly contrasting with the interruptions and irregular beats of the city life that surrounded him. The exhibitions are “Roy Lichtenstein: The Black-and-White Drawings, 1961-1968” at the Morgan Library & Museum, “Roy Lichtenstein: Mostly Men,” at the Leo Castelli Gallery, and finally “Roy Lichtenstein Reflected,” at Mitchel-Innes & Nash. Smith concludes that this broad survey of the pop artist’s work is delightful and not to be missed.

Traditionally, art is supposed to intrigue and entrance, causing us to view our world with new eyes and appreciation. Anish Kapoor’s new installation at Hyde Park, “Turning The World Upside Down,” accomplishes this with fresh grace and lolloping ease, remarks Charles Spencer of the Telegraph. This free show of gargantuan mirror sculptures manages to delight and even create a “party-like” atmosphere, as Spencer writes of children playing in front of their reflections as gorgeous Kensington Palace dances in the background. In one curving mirror, C-Curve, the observer appears to be short and stout on the convex side, and tall and thin on the concave side. Kapoor has truly managed to create new beauty—Spencer purrs that this experience will transform a simple walk in the park into something rich and delightfully strange.

Laura Lawson paints when writer’s block strikes and writes when painter’s block strikes. She has studied fine art at LCAD and is pursuing a degree in journalism. Recently diagnosed with the degenerative eye disease retinitis pigmentosa, she strives to bring hope to those without vision through her blog. She is currently working on her first book about coping with vision loss.

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