Ambiguous Figures: Max Ernst and Dorothea Tanning


It’s the beginning of April, and in honour of Max Ernst’s birthday (April 2) and National Poetry Month, we thought we’d do a little feature on Ernst, key figure in the history of Dada and Surrealism, and Dorothea Tanning, prolific artist and late-blooming poet who also happens to have been Ernst’s fourth wife.

A dashing and charismatic pair, they met in New York in 1942, when Ernst was still married to Peggy Guggenheim. Four years later, upon his divorce from Guggenheim, Ernst married Tanning in a double Beverly Hills wedding with Juliet Browner and Man Ray. Settling first in Sedona, and then the south of France, Ernst and Tanning continued their innovative and ever-evolving artistic practices, encompassing painting, collage, printmaking, sculpture, filmmaking, costume and set design, book illustration, and writing.

Continue reading

A little love for Baltimore: Nudashank turns 3

Nudashank, an independent, artist-run gallery space in Baltimore, Maryland, is celebrating their third anniversary this week. Founded by Seth Adelsberger and Alex Ebstein in 2009, the gallery is dedicated to showcasing young and emerging artists in group, two-person and solo exhibitions. Over the past three years, Nudashank has shown the work of over 150 artists from Baltimore and beyond, fulfilling a mission to bring new blood into the Baltimore scene, benefitting regional artists and providing a new venue for local, national, and international artwork. The gallery is located on the third floor of the H&H building in downtown Baltimore, which also houses numerous other artist-run galleries and performance spaces.

Continue reading

If I had a million dollars: A selection of artworks available online from The Armory Show and others

In recent years there has been an unprecedented rush into online contemporary art sales, a formerly taboo practice among gallerists accustomed to a fair amount of opacity in their dealings. My, how things have changed, with well-known commercial galleries such as David Zwirner and White Cube, not-for-profit spaces including Artists Space and SculptureCenter, and even museums such as the Whitney and the New Museum unashamedly making works available through Artspace and other online venues. Last week, The Armory Show announced an exclusive partnership with Paddle8 to present artworks for collectors to preview, reserve, and purchase in advance of this Thursday’s opening. Following in the footsteps of the online-only VIP Art Fair, The Armory Show is hedging its bets that having an online presence will extend its reach into new markets far beyond the tri-state area.

Continue reading

Two to see by Sunday: Ryan Wallace at Cooper Cole and Maggie Groat at ESP

This weekend is your last chance to see two great exhibitions in Toronto, just around the corner from each other in the West End. At Cooper Cole, new work by Ryan Wallace rewards close inspection, as the deceptively simple compositions give way to a richly detailed surface rendered with layers, colours, and textures of oil paint, enamel, ink, graphite, PVA, mylar, artist tape, and cut paper.

Continue reading

CollisionExhibition: accrochage at Miguel Abreu

Intrigued by a recent Blake Gopnik post (the one led off by his irresistible tweet: “Pieter Schoolwerth slices and dices Caravaggio”), we took a closer look at the group show in which Schoolwerth’s fascinating painting, Portrait of ‘The Supper At Emmaus’ (after Caravaggio) is featured. Titled accrochage, a French word with multiple meanings encompassing small collisions, encounters, or hangings of the exhibition sort, the show is positioned simply as “an installation of recent works by gallery artists and others.”

Although no explicit thematic connection is made between the works of the eleven artists in the show, the exhibition is remarkably satisfying and coherent on both visual and conceptual levels. The disparate artworks, running the materials gamut between oils and acrylics, ink and chalk, synthetic felt, steel, 6-cartridge ink dispersion on powder coated vinyl, chromogenic prints, and unadorned postage stamps stuck directly to a wall, contrast markedly with regard to process and scale, but are unified by a decisive aesthetic sensibility which is restrained yet committed in its approach to colour and composition; spare yet sumptuous in its materiality and visual effects.

Continue reading

The medium is the money: Hennessey on Hirst, Occupy George, Mark Wagner, and Gary Taxali

In the wake of Hennessey Youngman’s hilarious and pointed YouTube critique of Damien Hirst (linked below) in which Hirst gets skewered for: a) perpretrating “a perfect storm of banality”, b) oozing an unprecedented level of “Iroc-Z Axe Body Spray douchery” and  c) yes, using money as his medium, it seems an opportune moment to take a look at some other recent money-based projects as an interesting counterpoint to the art of excess.

Just yesterday, Hyperallergic profiled Occupy George, an online initiative in which infographics visualizing aspects of the economic disparity in the US have been made available for anyone to download and print onto dollar bills. The stated intent? To circulate the stamped money as much as possible, passing knowledge to all who come across the bills.

Continue reading