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Beer and Art, So Right

It’s always nice to spice up your art-viewing treks in NYC with something new, an artist I haven’t met before, something stranger than usual happening on the street, or a new spot to eat with a clean bathroom -- you know, the simple pleasures. This trip I ended my day in Park Slope, Brooklyn, at a very cool place called The Beer Table. It’s a tiny, dimly lit sanctuary with the most unique and extensive collection of brews I’ve ever come across. There is even a daily menu of at least 25 varieties. It’s a perfect respite to contemplate a day of gallery hopping.

The painter Thomas Nozkowski’s work seems to be everywhere lately. His recent switch to the Pace Wildenstein Gallery most likely has had an effect on his higher profile, and good for him -- I can’t get enough. His current show at Pace fills the gallery with more than 40 paintings on canvas stretched on board and paintings on paper. The washy layers of paint, chipping and scratching, the gorgeous crescendos of color, on a structure of real and ghostly grids; each work has its own inventive organic form to decipher. Amazing! Nozkowski is my current favorite painter.

I gushed over more paintings at, of all places, The Painting Center in SoHo. The seven-artist exhibit Painting Structures: Specificity and Synthesis has some well-known names like Rackstraw Downes and Sarah McEneaney, but I fell hard for Sharon Horvath’s dreamy nighttime stadia-scape Dunn’s Field (shown).

I liked Anthony Pontius’s surreal twist on history in his paintings at 31Grand. They in turn brought me back to Jake Berthot’s latest paintings, which I had seen at Betty Cunningham earlier in the day. Both artists' dark, lush, and moody landscapes kept reminding me of George Inness -- full circle.

Unrelated but working through the darkness never the less at Jack Shainman are the unsparing drawings of Bitterkomix creator Anton Kannemeyer. He skewers the post- apartheid South African government, in a way that polite society and the press dare not.

I’m writing this at 30,000 feet over Kansas (hi, Dorothy!) on my way to Los Angeles. Time permitting, I will have plenty of art to share along the way and maybe a celebrity sighting or two. As always check my Flickr site for more pictures and comments of my wanderings.


roberta said...

Nice roundup, Mark! I didn't know Nozkowski had traded galleries but his work deserves big play. Painting Structures originated at Swarthmore College Art Gallery where Libby and I saw it and I wrote about it on artblog. We too were blown away by Sharon Horvath's work!

Mark Barry said...

Love them both!