Friends & Mentors The Williamsburg Art and Historical Center
October 9- December 2, 2001
In any curatorial effort with regard to a specific theme, it is essential that the works of art chosen appear cohesive as a group. For some time now, the Williamsburg Art and Historical Center has repeatedly mounted indiscriminately curated group exhibits. This show appears to be a more promising effort. It was, of course, delightful to see the sculpture of Isamu Noguchi and the paintings of Esteban Vicente, but in the context of Friends and Mentors, even the greatness of their works neither illuminates nor so much as relates to the works of the other artists in the show. Clearly the show would have been stronger and less curiously anachronistic if it had included artists whose work shares greater affinities with that of both Noguchi and Vicente.
As much as I acknowledge the potential of the theme, no dialogue, either formal or historical, is established among the works. First of all, the work of Toshiko Uchima and Ansei Uchima (I assume they are related) is itself entirely different. Toshiko creates austere and haunting constructed boxes, assemblages and collages in the tradition of Josef Cornell and Arthur B. Dove. Ansei, on the other hand, conceives paintings which waver between conflicting styles: the Klee-like color scheme in irregular and all-over square or rectangular divisions, and the more abstracted landscapes of Slaloming’s forms, which seem unchallenging in their repetitive motifs.
The lithographs of Jerry Rudquist relish a certain sculptural configuration in the light of John Chamberlain and Mark di Suevro. I wonder if these were made for sculpture, if Rudquist has ever made sculpture at all. Jack Lenor Lawson’s silk piece with minimal patterns and the large painted ceramic sculptures of Toshiko Takaezu only intensify the show’s lack of harmony in terms of visual reading for the viewers.
Again, one leaves the show feeling perplexed and unsatisfied. As an institution that has existed for many years, the Williamsburg Art and Historical Center needs to keep up with the current and intense activity of the Brooklyn galleries. It is time for WAH Center to bring in outside curators and to collaborate with other respectable galleries whose insights and professionalism could only benefit and broaden its vision.
Center for Book ArtsBy Megan N. Liberty
MARCH 2023 | ArTonic
Wandering around the flower district of Manhattan, you may be surprised to see a green flag hanging high above the flowers, signaling the location of the Center for Book Arts (CBA) on the third floor, where it has been located since 1999. As artist and designer Ben Denzer recently wrote to me, Despite coming and going to CBA all the time, I can never really get over how much of an unexpected gem it is. The fact that this book utopia is hiding on the third floor of a random building on 27th street has always made me look at all NYC buildings as if each might contain delightful secrets inside.
Interspecies Futures, Veiled Taxonomies, and Lights, Tunnels, Passages, and Shadows
By Amber Jamilla Musser
at Center for Book Arts
JUNE 2021 | Art Books
All three exhibitions manifest theorist Donna Haraways concept of sympoiesis and use the forms of the book to enlarge what constitutes knowledge and being together. In these profound (and profoundly different) engagements with sensing, we realize that the book not only contains knowledge, but also invites ethicshow can and should humans engage?
70. (Corner Lispenard & Church Streets, North Tower of the World Trade Center)By Raphael Rubinstein
SEPT 2021 | The Miraculous
Its early on a Tuesday autumn morning and a sixty-two-year-old painter is standing in front of his home conversing with a neighbor and some firemen who have arrived to investigate a reported gas leak on the block. About a mile away a thirty eight-year-old sculptor who was working so late the day before he decided to spend the night in his studio on the ninety-second floor of a skyscraper is probably still asleep.
Cora Cohen: Works from the 1980sBy Alfred Mac Adam
OCT 2022 | ArtSeen
Cora Cohen: Works from the 1980s is a time capsule, and like all time capsules it is an enigma. Time capsules are supposed to provide people of the future a sample of things typical of the moment when they are buried. Which raises the critical issue of perspective: are we to understand these eight glorious pieces according to what we think they meant thirty-five years ago, or should we understand them according to what they say to us today? Even if we lived through them, the 1980s are as irrecoverable as the 1880s: an abyss separates us from that decade even if human timememorymay trick us into thinking we actually know that remote moment perfectly.