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From Bas to Picasso to the Psycho-Kinetic

I'm not so sure I know what's going on in Hernan Bas's paintings, but the more I scanned them at his opening this past Thursday night at Lehman Maupin, the more mesmerized I became. At first glance they have a German, New Leipzig feel to them, Neo Rauch or Matthias Weischer. Many themes interchanging, some old school blending with contemporary abstraction and just plain beautiful areas with layers of paint and scumble to get lost in -- good stuff.

If you're a regular gallery-goer you are well aware of the profusion of large-format C-print photographs, most notably the images of Ryan McGinley's band of gypsy trust fund babies -- nude night swimming in the ocean, nude in trees, nude smoking cigarettes. Don't get me wrong, I like them and it looks like fun, but there's no there-there for me. I'm sure it's my age, too young to appreciate the angst.

Lately I've been noticing a shift towards a theme of the common people on the street, the workers and the out of work, as the depression era photos of Berenice Abbott, Dorothea Lange, Walker Evans, Jack Delano, Russell Lee, and many others are being dusted off. Tyler Green recently wrote of what looks like a wonderful exhibit at the Nelson-Adkins Museum in Kansas City, of someone unknown to me, the Photographs of Homer Page. I would like to get there but am enjoying the images on line for now.

The Bruce Silverstein Galleries exhibit E.O. Hoppe: Early London Photographs features one gem after another, mostly small 3" x 4" prints proving that great imagery can also come in a small size. Silverstein also represents my favorite contemporary photographer, Zoe Strauss. Zoe will put on her ninth annual Under 95 exhibit coming up on May 3rd, where she attaches her photos to the concrete supports under the I-95 overpass at Front and Mifflin Streets in downtown Philadelphia -- be there!

How are you coping in these times of economic torture and swine flu? Via the fine ladies at Artblog, First Person America has a national competition in the areas of photography, writing, and video asking just that question: details here.

Several galleries in New York have either closed or moved to new locations. Cheryl McGinnis is one of the movers, recently going from way uptown to the Hell's Kitchen area at 555 Eighth Avenue, bringing her closer to Chelsea and more wall space for her first show of Stephanie Hightower's juicy little abstractions on gessoed paper.

Always an entertaining read are William Powhida's latest reports and gossip from the art world. This time we must suspend our sense of reality as he reports from late 2009 after being released from a Thai jail. I know, but it's funny stuff.

Mary Ryan always has something worth seeing. I think Robert Stuart's recent exhibit of paintings was one of her best shows in a while. They sneak up on you, quietly, slowly, and then a subtle hypnotic glow of luscious color radiates forth and stays with you -- still.

This Saturday signals the true beginning of Spring when the American Visionary Art Museum's wacky, crazy, fun Kinetic Sculpture race takes to the streets and waterways of Baltimore! I'll have loads of pictures and video on Monday.


libby said...

Is anyone handicapping the race? I wanna place a bet on you! Hope you can make it up to Zoe's extravaganza!

Mark Barry said...

I'm just covering the race from the safety of an electric cart and am going to make it to my first Zoe-a-thon! or is it thong?