Friday, September 18, 2009

Other People's Art

Yesterday, I spent the afternoon wandering around Chelsea popping in and out of galleries looking at art. It's always fun, but I was generally underwhelmed.

Rita Lundqvist's paintings are fun to look at, they have these sort of blank comic book-like figures painted on dark, empty, textile fields. I like how they looked, and maybe I'm permanently in search of a context, or of some kind of narrative, but without context they seemed a little lost and sterile. I feel as if I had one hanging in my house I would get tired of looking at it.

Carla Klein's show was in the same gallery, and I was much more impressed with it. I loved her really modern, car oriented vision of landscape. Her paintings are dark and moody and quiet, landscapes as seen through a windshield or at night. She uses a really limited palette that is full of blues and grays and feel like thunder.

Both are at Tanya Bonakdar Gallery and run through October 24.

I also saw the new Kara Walker exhibit, and I feel like a total Grinch, but I wasn't in love. When I first saw her black and white paper cut-outs my mind was well and truly blown. I really liked the white on white painting/collage (sorry, the catalog is not online), and the 3D paper works, but the video didn't work for me. It seemed oddly half-assed, the story was moving and the shadow puppets were exquisite, but the filming was sloppy and she perhaps could have used a little dramaturgical help. Her still images are so sharp, they could cut glass - here the effect was muted, fuzzy around the edges. I don't think there is much I can say about her work that hasn't been said a hundred times, her work is glorious and shocking and, I think, necessary.

Her show runs through October 17 at Sikkema Kenkins & Co.

(image: Tanya Bonakdar Gallery)

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