Posts By elizabeth johnson

Man in powdered wig

Exchange Rates — The Bushwick Expo

[Elizabeth experiences Bushwick, Brooklyn’s recent art fair, highlighting works that stayed with her; she notes that a relaxed atmosphere is among the fair’s admirable accomplishments. — the artblog editors] I can’t stop repeating “Something for the weekend, sir?” and comparing Exchange Rates: The Bushwick Expo to a barbershop, since the free art exposition recalls a chummy, neighborhood business that encourages serious networking amidst fleeting, down-to-earth pleasures. Months in the making, the international art exposition, which took place from Oct. 23-26, was fruit of the collaboration between Centotto and Theodore:Art galleries from Brooklyn, and the London-based Sluice___ Art initiative. Over 30 international ... More » »


Steve Tobin at the James A. Michener Museum

[Elizabeth grapples with a comprehensive exhibit of Steve Tobin’s works that collects pieces from several of the artist’s large-scale sculptural series. — the artblog editors] In the midst of July’s humidity, thunderstorms, and nerve-shattering fireworks, I visit the James A. Michener Museum in Doylestown, PA for Out of This World: Works by Steve Tobin. This selection of Tobin’s work to date includes samples from his Steelroots, Exploded Clay, Paintings, Sumi Ink Drawing, Doors, Lantern House, Syntax, and Earth Bronzes series. Large-scale construction; controlled destruction   Tobin is best known for Trinity Root, a memorial to the 9/11 attacks–a bronze cast of the ... More » »

Kim Tran, Square (2012). Wood furniture parts, acrylic. 19.5 x 19.5 x 8 inches

Off the Wall at Parallel Art Space in Queens

[Elizabeth tours an upbeat, five-artist show that tests conceptions of space and the picture plane — the artblog editors] Like a mullet haircut–“business up front and party in the back”–Rob de Oude and Enrico Gomez maintain Parallel Art Space in the Ridgewood neighborhood of Queens, New York and their respective studios as a single unit. Parallel’s current show, Off the Wall, pushes boundaries by challenging the traditional wall format, and includes work by Gilbert Hsiao, Stacie Johnson, Kim Tran, Ken Weathersby, and (former Philadelphian) Alex Paik, who opened a sequel to Tiger Strikes Asteroid in New York in 2012. Capitalizing on ... More » »

Sharon Butler, Silencer, 2013, pigment, binder, latex enamel, gesso, pencil, staples, loosely stretched linen tarp, 66 x 72 inches.

Sharon Butler’s New Casualist paintings at The Painting Center in New York

(Elizabeth tours Skin, a group show, and speaks with New Casualist painter Sharon Butler about Butler’s approach to failure, success, and “rightness” in her work. — the artblog editors) My eye fastens on a crumpled staple in Sharon Butler’s painting, and then I get it. A sense of loosening my expectation of what painting can or should be invades me. Butler and I are in front of “Silencer,” her large painting made with house paint on a linen tarp that has been nonchalantly stapled to the wall. I am stretching canvases this week and have removed many crumpled staples to perfect ... More » »

Mike Kelley, Fortress of Solitude

Mike Kelley at MoMA PS1 – California performance and installation art connection

(Elizabeth sees the Mike Kelley show at MoMA PS1 with her friend, the West Coast artist Lani Asher, and they talk about the California common denominator to a recent spate of art shows in New York and Philly.–the artblog editors) Joining the hipster crowd on a Sunday at PS1, San Francisco artist Lani Asher and I encounter Mike Kelley’s provocative, disturbing childhood themes in a cheerful, kid-friendly setting, circumnavigating strollers, toddlers and babies being lifted to see. Most of the kids giggle and enjoy the  spectacle, dazzled by the bright colors, dark spaces, catchy music and fuzzy toys. Shocking video ... More » »

Jake in his shop in the 70s.

Jake Grossberg, artist and teacher, on art and life in New York in the 60s-80s

(Elizabeth talks with her former teacher, Jake Grossberg, about his roots in the New York art world of the 60s, 70s and 80s.–the artblog editors) It’s early September, 2013, and I am sitting in upstate NY listening to my former teacher/mentor and friend Jake Grossberg, now 81, tell stories about the New York art scene from the 60s, 70s and 80s. How satisfying it is to hear this raconteur’s unvarnished, personal take on a period he participated in fully that is already beginning to feel ossified in the art historical canon. Also sitting in with us at Jake’s house in ... More » »

Hyejin Song, Open Studios Installation: School of Visual Arts, NYC, 
2013, women's hose, dimensions variable, photo courtesy of the artist.

Hyejin Song’s Punkish stockings at the School of the Visual Arts in New York

–>Elizabeth visits Hyejin Song’s open studio in New York and revisits thoughts about Louise Bourgeois’s mama spiders and the Punk rebellion. –the artblog editors——————–> Visitors to Hyejin Song‘s one-night open studio at the School of the Visual Arts were greeted by meandering lengths of razor-cut, stretched women’s stockings that alluded to feminine strength and resiliency. The airy and transparent material switched back and redoubled in strength as it skittered across the wall and floor, evoking the visible wake of Louise Bourgeois’s spider sculptures. In Bourgeois’s Maman, the dread and fear evoked by the matriarch’s knobby, batwing-arched legs is paired with ... More » »

David "Big Dutch" Nally "Roadside America," mixed media on canvas, 30" 
x 32". photo Matthew Crain.

Metropolis Collective at Trash Art Gallery in Mechanicsburg

—>Elizabeth visits a show in Mechanicsburg, PA, with work by self taught and outsider artists. —the artblog editors——————–> Thanks in part to TV programs like Antiques Roadshow and American Pickers, collectors are waking up to the value of found object art. With materials sourced from defunct factories, trash piles, flea markets and farms, the works — often made by self-taught, visionary and outsider artists — have found an audience far from the urban centers, in places like Trash Art Gallery on Main Street in Mechanicsburg, PA, where the current show Field of Vision brought together artists of the Metropolis Collective and collectors ... More » »

Donna Cleary's "Venting Installation." Photo by Scott Sherk.

Art in sight of the cemetery – Pig Pen Project at Allentown’s Mayfair Arts Festival cues on the earthy and the otherworldly

It’s an unseasonably cold and windy Memorial Day Weekend, and, lulled by the quintessential American smell of fry oil and the sound of overlapping band riffs, I wander the annual Mayfair Arts Festival in Allentown en route to The Pig Pen Project.  I linger and read signs that boast, baffle, conflate, and entertain: “Temporary Tattoos That Last A Lifetime”…”Wine Slushies.” Elbow to elbow in a knot of people, I join their search for the hidden animals in Cheryl Hochberg’s painting of a big buffalo. At the back of the Agri-Plex, past Holstein-print garbage barrels and emergency vehicles, I find the ... More » »

Photo credti to Brian Cypher

"Long Division," 2011, acrylic and collage on monotype, 11" x 15.5"

Brian Cypher’s science-fueled lines, spaces and shapes at Bushwick’s new Schema Projects

—Elizabeth tells us in this post about a self-taught artist whose work grows from his fascination with science and the natural world.  His show is in Bushwick.–the artblog editors———————————–Brian Cypher’s works are a perfect fit for the new Bushwick, NY, gallery Schema Projects, started by artist Mary Judge. Cypher’s organic shapes, repeated undulating lines and allusion to the natural world echo the long-time focus of the gallerist, whose work was featured at Gallery Joe in 2005 (see Roberta’s review). Cypher is primarily a draftsman who uses color, in his own words, “as a singularity.” You would expect to see numerous ... More » »

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