John Yau has three books that have landed or will soon land on earth: Joe Brainard: The Art of the Personal (Rizzoli, 2022); Tell It Slant (Omnidawn, 2023); John Pai: Liquid Steel (Rizzoli (2023). An exhibition, Disguise the Limit: John Yau’s Collaborations, will open at art museum of the University of Kentucky in Lexington in January 2024, curated by Stuart Horodner.
Simon Frost with John Yau
On the occasion of Simon Frosts recent exhibit, Nimbus, at Peter Blum SoHo, which will be on view till May 10, 2008, the artist welcomed Rail Art Editor John Yau on-site to view his new body of work.
Richard Artschwager in Conversation with John Yau & Eve Aschheim
Shortly after Richard Artschwagers exhibition of paintings and sculptures opened at Gagosian Gallery (January 24March 8, 2008) the Rail Art Editor John Yau and his wife, the painter Eve Aschheim visited the artist in his Manhattan apartment and home in Upstate New York to discuss his work.
Tribute to Bruce Conner (1933-2008)By John Yau
Bruce was innovative in a wide range of mediums, including filmmaking, drawing, photography, and sculpture. He possessed an impeccable logic that he would follow through on, no matter the consequences.
Robert Mangold with John Yau
While preparing for his new exhibit, Robert Mangold: Drawings and Works on Paper 19652008 (on view from March 6th through April 4th, 2009), the painter sat down with Rails Art Editor John Yau.
John Yau with Phong Bui
Coinciding with his recently published monograph A Thing Among Things: The Art of Jasper Johns, Art Editor John Yau paid a visit to the Rails Headquarters to talk about his observations of Johnss work with Publisher Phong Bui.
Robert Bergman WITH JOHN YAU
On the occasion of his three one-person exhibitions, Selected Portraits at P.S. 1 Contemporary Art Center, (Oct. 25, 2009 to Jan. 4, 2010), Portraits, 1986-1995 at the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC. (Oct.11, 2009Jan. 10, 2010), and A Kind of Rapture at Yossi Milo Gallery (Nov: 5, 2009- Jan. 10, 2010), Robert Bergman welcomed Art Editor John Yau to his New York City studio to talk about his life and work.
HELMUT FEDERLE In Conversation with John Yau and Chris Martin
Just a day before the opening of his new exhibit, Scratching Away at the Surface (Peter Blum, 99 Wooster Street, October 29th, 2009January 2, 2010) Helmut Federle welcomes Art Editor John Yau and painter Chris Martin at the gallery to talk about his life and work.
DAN WALSH with John Yau
Dan Walsh welcomed Art Editor John Yau to the site of his exhibit Days And Nights at the Paula Cooper Gallery to talk about his new group of paintings.
DAVID REED with John Yau
On the occasion of the current exhibit of his working drawings and color studies, which is showing for the first time at Peter Blum SoHo till March 6, 2010, the painter David Reed welcomed Art Editor John Yau to view the works at the gallery a day before the opening reception. Afterward, they both sat down to talk about his life and work.
MARK GREENWOLD WITH JOHN YAU
On the occasion of his new exhibit Secret Storm: Paintings 1967-1975 (March 17April 17, 2010), which for the first time, brings together this group of provocative and controversial early paintings as well as watercolors and drawings from the period, the painter Mark Greenwold welcomed Art Editor John Yau to the DC Moore Gallery to look at the works, and to discuss his life and work.
URSULA VON RYDINGSVARD WITH IRVING SANDLER & JOHN YAU
Just a few days before the artists opening reception of her recent exhibit Errätus at Galerie Lelong (March 18 May 1, 2010), Ursula von Rydingsvard welcomed Consulting Editor Irving Sandler and Art Editor John Yau to her Brooklyn Studio to view the works and then discuss her life and work.
NORBERT PRANGENBERG WITH JOHN YAU
In the midst of installing his first exhibition at Betty Cuningham Gallery in collaboration with Bernd Schellhorn of Berlin, Germany (April 1 May 22, 2010), Norbert Prangenberg took time off to sit down with Rail Art Editor John Yau on site to talk about his life and work.
THOMAS NOZKOWSKI with John Yau
Shortly before his exhibition at The Pace Gallery, Thomas Nozkowski and Rail Art Editor John Yau met at the gallerys warehouse to discuss his new paintings and drawings.
LOIS DODD with John Yau
Shortly before her exhibition at the Alexandre Gallery, Lois Dodd and Rail Art Editor John Yau met at the gallery to discuss her new paintings.
PHYLLIDA BARLOW with John Yau
Shortly after RIG, Phyllida Barlows debut installation with Hauser & Wirth (September 2 October 22, 2011) opened in London, Editor John Yau and the artist talked on the phone about her exhibition.
RICHARD VAN BUREN with John Yau
After Hurricane Irene prevented them from meeting at the Center for Maine Contemporary Art in Rockport, Maine, where a selection of his sculptures was on exhibition, Richard Van Buren and John Yau met in New York to discuss his work and his upcoming show at Gary Snyder Gallery (November 10 December 17, 2011).
Charles Seliger with Phong Bui and John Yau
Rail publisher Phong Bui and art editor John Yau talk with painter Charles Seliger about his life and work in conjunction with the current exhibit of his new paintings at Michael Rosenfeld Gallery.
Irving Sandler with Phong Bui and John Yau
Rail publisher Phong Bui and Art Editor John Yau paid a visit one sunny Saturday to the authors home/office which he shares with his wife Lucy Freeman Sandler, scholar of Medieval art, to talk about his life and work.
Jasper Johns with John Yau
On the occasion of his exhibition, Jasper Johns: An Allegory of Paint, 1955-1965 which will be on view at the National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C. from January 28 to April 29, 2007, the artist welcomed the Rails art editor John Yau to his home to talk about various subjects. Before the interview took place, Johns asked Yau not to ask him about the philosophy of the exhibition because he didnt know what it was.
Mark di Suvero with John Yau
On the occasion of the artists recent exhibit of indoor sculptures at Knoedler & Company and the installation of his large public works at Storm King Art Center,The Rails John Yau visited Mark di Suveros studio in Long Island City on a sunny spring afternoon to talk about his life and work.
The Photography of Robert BergmanBy David Levi Strauss, John Yau, Paul Mattick, Vicki Goldberg, and Katy Siegel
Robert Bergman is a photographer who extends out of the tradition of Walt Whitman and William Carlos Williams, poets who possessed a bottomless empathy for their subjects. And, like a poet, his work can be found in a book, rather than in a gallery.
MARY FRANK with John Yau
Shortly before her show, Transformations: Wood Sculpture, 19571967, and Recent Photographs opened at DC Moore (May 5 June 4), Mary Frank invited Artseen Editor John Yau over to her studio to discuss the sculptures, drawings and photographs she would have in the exhibition.
Whitfield Lovell with John Yau
On a June afternoon John Yau interviewed Whitfield Lovell about his charcoal drawings on wood surfaces and other found objects.
Merrill Wagner with John Yau and Eve Aschheim
On the occasion of her traveling survey, Looking at the Land, which will be on view at the Ben Shahn Gallery, William Paterson University (October 29December 2006), and the University of Rhode Island (January 15February 28, 2007), Merrill Wagner welcomes the Rails art editor John Yau and painter Eve Aschheim to her studio to talk about her life and work.
Alone and Together on The Stage of The WorldBy John Yau
Yun-Fei Ji was born in Beijing in 1963, the son of an army doctor and his wife. When he was ten, his mother sent him to study with an army officer who drew illustrations for combat-training manuals.
June Leaf with John Yau
Recently, while June Leaf was having an exhibition of paintings and sculptures at the Edward Thorp Gallery, Rail Art Editor John Yau stopped by her studio to discuss the show and her recent work.
Jonathan Lasker with John Yau
Shortly before Jonathan Laskers show opened at Cheim and Read on March 29th, on view till May 5th, 2007, Rail Editor John Yau stopped by his studio to talk about his recent paintings.
Harry Roseman with John Yau
On the occasion of Harry Rosemans recent exhibit 100 Most Popular Colors at Davis & Langdale Company, Inc., which will be on view until October 20, 2007, the Rails art editor, John Yau paid a visit to the artists studio in Hyde Park, New York, to talk about his life and work.
Allan Graham in Conversation with John Yau
Allan Graham welcomes Brooklyn Rails John Yau to his studio and home, east of Santa Fe, New Mexico.
TOM BURCKHARDT with John Yau
Shortly before the opening of his exhibition, Louder Milk at Pierogi (April 8 May 8, 2011), Tom Burckhardt invited ARTSEEN Editor John Yau to his studio to discuss his new work.
Squeak Carnwath with John Yau
This past July, art Editor John Yau visited Squeak Carnwath in her studio in Oakland, ca, to discuss her upcoming show at Nielsen Gallery, Boston (October 21 November 25, 2006).
Bruce Conner with John Yau
"I decided it would be interesting to submit an article to ArtNews about Bruce Conner making a peanut butter sandwich, peanut butter being one of my favorite foods and main standbys during periods of economic distress. I also decided that it should be compulsively and precisely detailed."
Yvonne Jacquette with John Yau
In conjunction with the painters two on-going exhibits at Museum of The City of New York, which she shares with her late husband, the painter, filmmaker, photographer Rudy Burckhardt (February 1 to May 11, 2008) and at DC Moore Gallery (from March 26th to April 26th, 2008), Yvonne Jacquette welcomed Rail Art Editor John Yau to her loft/studio in the garment district to talk about her life and art.
Stanley Whitney with John Yau
On the eve of his three-person exhibition (January 8thFebruary 14th, 2009) at Team Gallery, Rail Art Editor John Yau paid a visit to Stanley Whitneys Cooper Square studio to talk about his life and work.
DAVID ANFAM with John Yau
While in New York for the opening of Norman Lewis: PulseA Centennial Exhibition at Michael Rosenfeld Gallery, David Anfam met with Art Editor John Yau to talk about his life and work.
ELISA SIGHICELLI with JOHN YAU
On occasion of the artists new exhibit The Party Is Over, which will remain on view at Gagosian Gallery on Madison Avenue till March 6, 2010, Elisa Sighicelli paid a visit to the home of Art Editor John Yau to talk about her new body of work and more.
Alison Elizabeth Taylor with John Yau
In the midst of preparation for her first one-person exhibit at James Cohan Gallery, which will be on view from Sept. 7th to Sept. 30th, Alison Elizabeth Taylor takes time off from her busy schedule to welcome Rail art editor, John Yau, at her Brooklyn Navy Yard studio. After a brief viewing of her only oil painting, Subjects F9-L9 Finish Corporate Pride Project, they sat down and began to discuss her life and work.
Suzan Frecon with John Yau
One Sunday afternoon last month at Suzan Frecons Hells Kitchen studio, Rails consulting editor John Yau spoke with the painter about her new body of work which will be exhibited at Peter Blum Gallery from November 17 to January 14, 2006.
SYLVIA PLIMACK MANGOLD with John Yau
On the day before her exhibition Natural Sympathies opened at Alexander and Bonin, Art Editor John Yau sat down with Sylvia Plimack Mangold at the gallery to discuss her recent work.
RICHARD BAKER with JOHN YAU
A week before the opening reception of a new body of paintings at Tibor De Nagy Gallery, Richard Baker welcomed Art Editor John Yau to his DUMBO studio to view the works, and to talk about the painters work.
Stephen Westfall with John Yau
On the occasion of his new exhibit at Lennon Weinberg, Inc., which will be on view until April 22, Rail art editor John Yau visited Stephen Westfalls loft/studio last week to discuss his life and work.
Yun-Fei Ji with John Yau
During his brief visit to New York for his first one-person exhibit at James Cohan Gallery, Water that Floats the Boat Can Also Sink It: New Work by Yun-Fei Ji, which will be on view till December 22, the artist came to visit Rails art editor John Yau to talk about his new body of work.
JUAN USLÉ with John Yau
This interview was conducted via e-mail in Spanish. It began after a series of conversations, in which Juan Uslé and I decided that this would allow him to feel most at ease in language.
Catherine MurphyBy John Yau
Leading from the painter Catherine Murphys home in Poughkeepsie, New York to her studio is a beautiful path of brown sand over a field of frozen snow made by her husband the sculptor Harry Roseman.
Rosalyn Drexler with John Yau
After her mini-survey I am the Beautiful Stranger, Paintings of the 60s, which was sensitively curated by Arne Glimcher at PaceWildenstein (March 16April 21), Rosalyn Drexler paid a visit to the Rails Headquarters to talk with Art Editor John Yau about her life and work.
Wade GuytonBy John Yau
Wade Guyton is the perfect artist for these nightmarish times. He makes black monochromes using a large format Epson printer; the paintings are printed on pre-primed linen.
David ReedBy John Yau
In a 1990 interview with Stephen Ellis, David Reed defined his position vis-a-vis the debate regarding the death of modernism and the ascendance of postmodernism: I dont want to be the last painter, and I dont want to be the first. I want to be part of a continuum.
Drawing Connections: Baselitz, Kelly, Penone, Rockburne and the Old MastersBy John Yau
Its no secret that writers begin as readers. Even a genius such as Mozart listened to his sister practicing on the piano before he began playing it himself, and shortly afterward, at the age of five, began composing.
Bill Jensen Notes from the LoggiaBy John Yau
Drawing is one way to get out of a hole. Ever since Bill Jensen arrived in New York from Minneapolis in the early 1970s, bringing with him drawings of spirals and ellipses, drawing has been central to his practice.
Rodrigo MoynihanBy John Yau
A contemporary of Francis Bacon (1909-1992), Rodrigo Moynihan (1910-1990) was in his early sixties when he began painting still lifes and self-portraits in the studio, and these paintings occupied much of his attention until his death.
Harriet Korman Recent Paintings and DrawingsBy John Yau
Since her first exhibition in Germany in 1970, when she was in her early twenties, Harriet Korman has been sectioning the canvas into distinct compartments. Initially, she did this by precisely spacing thin vertical bars across the surface, methodically divided by thinner horizontal ones.
Thomas Nozkowski PaintingsBy John Yau
Might it not be time to begin rethinking what happened in painting in the 1980s? Typified by some as the moment when painting came back from the dead, and judged by others as further proof of paintings retrograde position, the eighties was a decade full of hoopla, with lots of posturing both inside and outside the art world.
Lydia Dona FROM HEAT TO SUB-ZEROBy John Yau
Something of that porousness between machine and human is to be found in Lydia Donas most recent exhibition, which consists of one large, three-panel painting (seven feet high and sixteen feet wide) and four prints. The ostensible subject is what lies behind the surface of upscale, urban lives.
Jasper JohnsBy John Yau
Ever since he completed his groundbreaking Flag (1954-55), Jasper Johns has persistently and, for many, annoyingly defined himself as an individual of no special merit, fixed identity, or authorial I, who stands outside both the Marxist definition of worker and the romanticized notion of the artist as hero.
June Leaf Paintings & SculptureBy John Yau
These days you would think that the only woman artist over seventy-five is Louise Bourgeois. And yet, even if Leaf didnt pave anyones way, and was in fact a completely isolated figure, as she has been called by some observers, her workshe paints, draws, and makes sculpturesdemands far more attention than it has received.
Philip Guston Works on PaperBy John Yau
In 1929, Philip Goldsteinhe changed his named to Guston in 1935enrolled in Manual Arts High School, Los Angeles, where he formed a lasting friendship with a fellow student, Jackson Pollock.
Abstract Expressionism: A World ElsewhereBy John Yau
A lot of reviewers have focused on the fact that this exhibition is the inaugural show of the American branch of Haunch of Venison, a commercial gallery that was bought by Christies, an art auction house, which is owned by Francois Pinault, a billionaire collector (did any of his money recently disappear?).
Chris Martin Works on PaperBy John Yau
Chris Martin is not afraid to make art that openly alludes to the work of Paul Feeley, Alfred Jensen, Philip Guston, Forrest Bess, Blinky Palermo, and Frank Stella, but in a way that is sophisticated and innocent.
Imi KnoebelBy John Yau
Is anyone surprised anymore when the culture mavens at the New York Times get it all wrong, again?
Melissa Meyer New WorksBy John Yau
When Stephane Mallarme said that everything exists to end up in a book, he didnt mean an art history book written by a university professor with an axe to grind.
Philip Guston 1954-1958By John Yau
This exhibition of eight paintings that Philip Guston completed between 1954 and 1960 got me thinking about the one or two surprises that I have encountered in nearly all of this artists exhibitions that I have seen since his retrospective in 1980, the year he died, and how there is very little explanation or follow-up to them.
Peter Saul, New PaintingsBy John Yau
I wonder how many artists would readily admit that Peter Saul has influenced them. He certainly was the first to make high art out of strident and cartoony in-your-face images.
Patty Chang: The Product of LoveBy John Yau
The slapstick performer, after skidding into a pratfall, always gives a wink to assure the audience that everything is okay. For all the strangeness she packs into her work, the performance and video artist Patty Chang never winks, allowing a merciless collision of hilarity, discomfort, and confusion to unfold.
FRANK LOBDELL: Figure DrawingsBy John Yau
In 1960, Frank Lobdell told an interviewer being anonymous is really the best condition to be able to create. Thankfully, in the half-century that has passed since the artist made this remark, he hasnt quite achieved his goal, but he has gone his own way, building upon his early encounters with the work of Clyfford Still, Mark Rothko, of other Abstract Expressionists and, most importantly, Pablo Picasso.
The Difference Between Jerry Saltz's America and MineBy John Yau
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN JERRY SALTZS AMERICA AND MINE
ROBERT RYMAN Large-small, thick-thin, light reflecting, light absorbingBy John Yau
Robert Ryman is always testing things. In 1953, while working as a guard at the Museum of Modern Art, he bought some paint and brushes because he wanted to see what the paint would do, how the brushes would work. That was the first step. I just played around. I had nothing really in mind to paint.
MICHAEL MAZUR (1935-2009)By John Yau
The first poetry reading I gave after graduating from Bard College in 1972 was because of Gail Mazur. Although she didnt know my poetry or me, she graciously invited me to give a reading at the Blacksmith House in Cambridge, Mass. It must have been in 1973 or 74, as Gail founded the series in 1973 and ran it for many years. I remember being very anxious about making the most of this opportunity.
CHUCK WEBSTER My Small AdventuresBy John Yau
The key to Chuck Websters work is drawing. His first show at ZieherSmith in 2003this is his fifth solo exhibition at the same gallerywas packed salon style with drawings, most of them less than two by two feet. Many were done on old paper, rather than the pristine sheets you buy in an art supply store.
JUDITH LINHARES RiptideBy John Yau
One of the best things about the state of painting right now is that nothing is central. You can literally paint whatever you want in whatever way you want. Amid this chaos, a viewer like myself understands and (for a second or two) even sympathizes with the critics and theorists who hate painting, and who have declared that a realm in which they have no authority has ceased to have any validity.
JANE FREILICHER Recent Paintings and PrintsBy John Yau
Jane Freilicher embarked upon her enduring subject in the mid 1950s, at the height of Abstract Expressionism. For nearly 60 years, and through the comings and goings of different styles (Pop art, Minimalism, Conceptual art, Neo-Expressionism), she has painted a vase of flowers in front of a window.
DANA SCHUTZ Drawings & PrintsBy John Yau
Each figure is doing something absurd, impossible, and mundane, simultaneously swimming, smoking, and crying; using his front teeth as a wood chipper or plane; sleeping comfortably under a pile of coffin-like shapes (an inversion of the princess and the pea); talking on the phone while neatly cutting ones eyelashes without blinking.
JAMES SIENABy John Yau
I am not sure when I noticed that 5 against 4 (2010 2011) andPharynx Dentata (2010) faced each other from opposite walls, like confident duelers and lifelong partners.
JEAN CROTTI Inhabiting AbstractionBy John Yau
In April 1916, Jean Crotti (1878 1958) was in an exhibition at the Montross Gallery, New York, along with Marcel Duchamp, Albert Gleizes, and Jean Metzinger. The newspaper dubbed them The Four Musketeers.
LAUREL NAKADATE Only the LonelyBy John Yau
Dear Laurel Nakadate: This is what I have dug up so far. You were in born in 1975 in Austin, Texas, and raised in Ames, Iowa, both university towns.
BARBARA TAKENAGA New PaintingsBy John Yau
In 2009, Barbara Takenaga exhibited Langwidere (2009) at DC Moore, a series in which she challenged herself to paint the same painting 30 times. Each work was 12 by 10 inches, and started with a small circle, which became the origin of a widening spiral of variously-sized circles.
JOANNE GREENBAUM 1612By John Yau
Joanne Greenbaum’s exhibition consists entirely of wildly colored, cacophonous abstract paintings measuring 16 x 12 inches, which are installed salon-style, with some paintings paired and others lined up diagonally, with the bottom left corner of the upper painting nearly touching the top right of the one below.
JOSEPHINE HALVORSON What Looks BackBy John Yau
Josephine Halvorson is a contemporary observational painter whose work enters into a lively philosophical dialogue with an unaffiliated group of international artists that includes the German painter Peter Dreher, the Spaniards Antonio Lopez and Isabella Quintanilla, and the Americans Lois Dodd, Catherine Murphy, and Sylvia Plimack-Mangold.
Peter AchesonBy John Yau
In scale, Peter Achesons untitled, abstract paintings and watercolors range from diminutive to small. In fact, one could reproduce all of Achesons paintings actual size in a catalogue that would fit comfortably on someones lap.
Jules de Balincourt Unknowing Man’s NatureBy John Yau
Jules de Balincourt has a grab bag of tools at his disposal. They are his means to an end. He tapes, stencils, incises, applies oil, enamel, and spray paint to wooden panels.
The Red Earth Above, the Rim Job BelowBy John Yau
The coincidence of concurrent solo shows at David Zwirner this month by Suzan Frecon and Al Taylor (1948 1999), both of whom I met many years ago, stirred up a lot of memories. One in particular was of a review of the 2000 Whitney Biennial that appeared in the Village Voice.
PETER SAUL Fifty Years of Painting / SVEN LUKIN Paintings, 1960 1971By John Yau
Peter Saul and Sven Lukin are lone wolves in extremis. Both were born in 1934, Saul in San Francisco, CA, and Lukin in Riga, Latvia. They belong to the generation of Pop and Minimalist artists that began gaining attention in the turbulent 60s.
Johns and Warhol (Again)By John Yau
In recapitulating the death of painting, as well as further buttressing their assumptions as to what constitutes vanguard art, critics often construct a narrative bracketed by the dates 1958 and 1962, from the year that Jasper Johns first showed his hand-painted encaustic flags and targets at Leo Castelli Gallery, New York, to the year that Andy Warhol stopped painting and began using silkscreens for the majority of his output.
Jack Tworkov: Against Extremes: Five Decades of PaintingBy John Yau
In 1957, Jack Tworkov (1900-1982) wrote in his journal: My hope is to confront the picture without a ready technique or prepared attitudea condition which is nevertheless never completely attainable; to have no program and, necessarily then, no preconceived style. To paint no Tworkovs.
Axell's Paradise: Last works (1971-1972) before she vanishedBy John Yau
For those who are willing to go to a slightly out-of-the-way, risk-taking gallery, located at 1182 Broadway between 28th and 29th Street, now would be a good time to hightail it over there and discover the bright, bold, erotic paintings of the Belgian Pop artist Evelyne Axell (1935-1972).
Mark Greenwold A Moment of True Feeling 1997 2007By John Yau
Consisting of thirteen paintings, five studies, and sixteen related drawings, Mark Greenwolds exhibition A Moment of True Feeling 1997 2007 is an in-depth retrospective of his paintings of the past decade, which is, coincidentally, the span of time since his last exhibition.
Unica Zürn: Dark SpringBy John Yau
This is the first museum presentation in America of the drawings and paintings of Unica Zürn (1916-1970), who is known in the English-speaking world as the author of two books, translated as The Man of Jasmine & Other Texts (1994) and Dark Spring (2000).
NICOLE EISENMANBy John Yau
Have seriousness and high-mindedness been placed on a pedestal to the exclusion of nearly everything else? It sure appears that way when I try to count all the exegetical tomes, essays, and reviews citing Walter Benjamin, Roland Barthes, Jacques Derrida, and Michel Foucault while supposedly explicating a contemporary artists project.
AI WEIWEI New York Photographs 1983 1993By John Yau
Ambitious from the beginning, Ai Weiwei studied English at the University of Pennsylvania and Berkeley before attending Parsons on a scholarship, which he soon lost after he failed an art history exam given in English. Over the next decade Ai Weiwei took more than 10,000 photographs, many of which werent developed until recently.
The New Landscape / The New Still Life: Soutine and Modern ArtBy John Yau
In terms of both Cubism and modern art, Chaim Soutine did everything wrong with a forcefulness and sense of purpose that rivals Picasso’s. His thickly packed, gelatinous paintings have no overall unity or structural design, and they concede nothing to the decorative. In contrast to most artists, whether post-Cubists or not, he didn’t systematize his gestures. For all their use of viscous paint, they are remarkably unembellished with signs of the painter’s touch.
Joyce Robins & Harry RosemanBy John Yau
Joyce Robins ceramic abstractions and Harry Rosemans simulations of drapery, curtains and napkins can be said to occupy the historical category of bas-relief.
Merlin James Paintings of BuildingsBy John Yau
It is very easy and probably even comforting to think of Merlin James as a contrarian, and certainly many people do, but this lets you off the hook. The reason he has been pegged this way is because he is a highly articulate painter and writer who openly rejects the belief that painting is dead, and even has gone so far as to say that painting should not be included in exhibitions of works done in other mediums.
David NovrosBy John Yau
In the first installment of an extensive, three-part interview with Thomas Butter in White Hot Magazine, David Novros, who traveled in Europe in 1963-64, recalled that in Spain, I went to Granada, and saw the Alhambra, and it occurred to me that painting could have the same quality of being non-pictorial, or being not a rectangle, not a picture in a rectangle.
BRENDA GOODMAN Work 1990 2010By John Yau
Flesh, Willem de Kooning famously said, was the reason oil paint was invented. A down-to-earth artist if there ever was one, he recognized the corruptibility of flesh, and to represent it one needed a susceptible material.
Al Taylor Early WorkBy John Yau
The art world finally seems to be catching up with the sculptures and drawings of Al Taylor (1948-1999), who stopped painting in 1984, and began making constructions in 1985 (he made his first mature drawings as early as 1974). Dating between 1985 and 1990, this exhibition of early work serves as an introduction to the first five years of a wildly prolific and sustained outburst of sculpture and drawing that lasted fifteen years.
John OutterbridgeBy John Yau
This was the first solo show in New York of the innovative sculptor John Outterbridge, who, at 76, is well-known as an artist, community activist, and arts teacher in South Central Los Angeles and Compton.
Thomas NozkowskiBy John Yau
Now that the possibility of being avant-garde is either a pipe dream or one more example of our sad need for spectacle, models of progress are heavily contested, and the withering away of craft of any and all kinds has become a predictable component of much contemporary art, might not abstract artists for whom drawing is an essential part of their practice be defined as radical Luddites?
Richard Prince Spiritual AmericaBy John Yau
Lets begin with the reasons why Richard Prince is having a large retrospective at the Guggenheim. The show, as even a fledgling student of semiotics knows, should be taken as a sign or symbol that, if closely examined, will divulge the true meaning of its origins.
Thomas RuffBy John Yau
Thomas Ruffs latest exhibition of large-scale, modified digital photographs is a continuation of an Internet-based project, jpegs, which he started in 2004. It expands upon his earlier, Internet-based nudes, where he downloaded and categorized, then altered and enlarged, low-resolution images of pornography.
Jess: Paintings and Paste-UpsBy John Yau
Jess (1923-2004) was twenty-five when he decided to become an artist, and felt, as he would later say, that he had come to art too late to learn how to draw. As he put it: I didnt start out as a child or young man to develop skills with the hand and eye."
Sanford Wurmfeld E-CycloramaImmersed in ColorBy John Yau
My long held curiosity about Sanford Wurmfelds paintings was piqued by the announcement stating that this would be the first time E-Cyclorama (2008), a monumental painting made on canvas stretched onto a 37-foot-long oval cylinder would be shown in the United States.
JOSHUA MARSH Ten ThingsBy John Yau
In his first solo show in New York, Joshua Marsh continues to explore as well as expand the slippery exchange between definition and deferral, a things weight and lights weightlessness. The subjects of his paintings are undistinguished domestic objects and outerwear.
Ingrid Calame ConstellationsBy John Yau
In his book Revisioning Psychology, James Hillman wrote: We sail against the imagination whenever we ask an image for its meaningrequiring that images be translated into concepts.
Nasreen Mohamedi: The grid, unpluggedBy John Yau
The drawings and photographs of Nasreen Mohamedi (1937-1990) are slowly but surely becoming better known to a wider American audience. In 2003, Holland Cotter, who has been her most eloquent champion in New York, wrote in the New York Times, if people, especially young artists, knew about Mohamedi, they would love her the way they do Eva Hesse.
MERLIN JAMES, LOUISE HOPKINSBy John Yau
Since 1995-1996, when the often plain buildings in his work became a metonym for the physical thing we call a painting, Merlin James has mounted a compelling, well-thought-out challenge to the commonly accepted narrative that, historically speaking, painting was a stand-in for a window (concerned with three-dimensional space) that became a surrogate wall (concerned with the two-dimensional surface).
MARIA LASSNIGBy John Yau
Dear Reader, can you imagine the following scenario? One day, in the spirit of Institutional Critique, the curators of the Museum of Modern Art decide to organize a series of exhibitions under the collective title Missed Opportunities and announce that the first show will focus on Maria Lassnig
Antonio López GarcíaBy John Yau
Antonio López García is the titular head of the Madrid Realists, a group of painters and sculptors little known outside of Spain. They are bound together by their commitment to working from direct observation, which many consider passé, if not altogether old fashioned and obsolete.
Xylor Jane: N.D.E.By John Yau
First known for her works on paper, Xylor Jane now paints on square or nearly square wood panels. Her methodology continues to be simple and straightforward, a fat dot of paint carefully placed within each square of a grid. Think Georges Seurat meets Alfred Jensen meets Peter Young and you get an inkling of what the artist does with her deliberately limited vocabulary.
WAYNE THIEBAUD: 70 YEARS OF PAINTINGBy John Yau
The graphite drawing Towards 280 (Study) (1976) proves to be a useful lens through which to consider this exhibition of drawings and paintings, drawn almost exclusively from the Thiebaud Family Collection, the artists studio, and from family members.
Edwin Dickinson in Provincetown, 1912 1937By John Yau
Style, the poet Robert Kelly wrote, is death. And the Transcendentalist philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote: A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds. Guided by such forces as the marketplace and a herd mentality, the art world valorizes stylistic consistency over the maverick.
Thomas Scheibitz: Missing link in DelphiBy John Yau
Painter and sculptor Thomas Scheibitz is sharp, smart, and funny without devolving into parody or citation. With a vengeful glee that I find utterly delightful, he turns formalist geometric abstraction and minimalist sculpture on their heads and glues a dunce cap to their feet. It seems to me that Scheibitz has taken a vow not to be boring, ponderous, or jokey.
PATRICK MICHAEL FITZGERALD DrawingsBy John Yau
Guest Room/Contemporary Art is the brainchild of Nicolas Lemmens and Olivia Delwart. Situated in a quiet neighborhood on top of a hill in what is known as upper Brussels (there are two levels to the city), the gallery is a small white cube facing onto the street; it is open Wednesday and Saturday from 2:00 to 6:00 pm, and by appointment.
KURT KNOBELSDORF Postcard from FloridaBy John Yau
Kurt Knobelsdorf is a young artist who recognizes that one way to gain authorityas well as negotiate the minefield planted by those who fervently believe in any of the currently popular, theoretical-cum-marketplace ismsis to paint (the death of painting be damned), while steadfastly refusing to assimilate into the mainstream, particularly in terms of subject matter.
DANIEL DOUKE Bytes of RealityBy John Yau
This exhibition of 24 works (all completed since 2000) is the first museum exhibition of Daniel Douke, who has quietly left his earlier hyperrealism (also called photorealism) to become a painter/sculptor bent on meticulously mimicking an object down to its dents.
Semina Culture: Wallace Berman & His CircleBy John Yau
In 1957, Wallace Berman (1926-1976) had his one and only show at the Ferus Gallery in Los Angeles. Two weeks after it opened, the L.A.P.D. Vice Squad closed the show because a copy of Semina, which was included in a sculpture, was considered lewd.
Don Van VlietBy John Yau
Trying to make Don Van Vliet the painter and Captain Beefheart the musician and songwriter, not to mention Don Van Vliet the poet, fit under one umbrella, is like trying to climb Mount Tamalpais backwards. One can do it, but what’s the point?
Jake BerthotBy John Yau
There is something quintessentially American about Jake Berthots paintings and drawings. For one thing, he is self-taught, which means that, like Robert Ryman and Jasper Johns, two other largely self-educated artists, he is a perpetual student. In Berthots case, he uses underpainting and glazing to build his surfaces, as well as an isometric-orthographic grid (visible in many of his exquisite pencil drawings), in order to locate the tonality, mark, or line.
KATHY BUTTERLY Pantyhose and MorandiBy John Yau
Kathy Butterly is an American original whose closest forbearer is George Ohr (1857-1918), The Mad Potter of Biloxi. The formal traits she shares with Ohr include a penchant for crumpled shapes, twisted and pinched openings, and making (as Ohr was understandably proud to point out) no two alike.
EVE ERIKSSONBy John Yau
The Swedish painter Eve Eriksson (1910-1992) would have turned 100 this year; and to mark the centennial of his birth, Thomas Kjellgren, the director of the Kristianstads Konsthall, has mounted a selection of more than 50 of the artists paintings and drawings (all untitled), most of which were done between 1978 and 1992, when he lived in Malmo.
Stuart Arends Wedges and A-SquaresBy John Yau
Since 1980 Stuart Arends has been using a box as both a support and a surface. In 1985, he began working on a small cube that extended out from the wall. While he painted all six sides, the emphasis was on the three most visible.
Neo Rauch ParaBy John Yau
As hermetic artists whose paintings pull the viewer inside, both Neo Rauch and Ad Reinhardt would likely agree on one thing; all art is political.
Kanemitsu in California during the 1960s and 1970sBy John Yau
The small selection of lithographs and works on paper by Matsumi Mike Kanemitsu (1922-1992) offered a tantalizing glimpse into the work of an artist who has largely been bypassed by history. The first time I came across his name was in Personal Poem by Frank OHara, which I read in 1971.
JASPER JOHNS Ink on PlasticBy John Yau
In 1961, while living on Edisto Beach, off the coast of South Carolina, Jasper Johns bought sheets of plastic from an art and drafting supply store in Charleston.
Rosalyn DrexlerBy John Yau
I’ve waited thirty-five years to see this exhibition of paintings and painting-collages by Rosalyn Drexler, which she made between 1962 and 1967.
Joe Brainard The NancysBy John Yau
This small selection of Brainards hilarious reworkings of Ernie Bushmillers comic strip character, Nancy, celebrates the recent publication of The Nancy Book, published by Siglio Press, with an essay by Ann Lauterbach and a memoir by Ron Padgett.
Katherine Bradford By Life & By Land, Recent PaintingsBy John Yau
Desire for Transport, the title of one of Katherine Bradfords recent, breakthrough paintings, evokes the dilemma of painting and, to some degree, all art in a nutshell.
Miroslav TichýBy John Yau
Between the late 1960s and the mid-1980s, in Kyjov, a small city about 160 miles from Prague, a dirty, unkempt man wandered the streets daily, carrying contraptions that resembled cameras. His neighbors, depending on their level of faith in the communist ideal of civic progress, considered him either a harmless old coot or a stain on society.
Helen Miranda WilsonBy John Yau
In 2005, Helen Miranda Wilson, who has been celebrated for her small, highly detailed paintings of sky, landscape, still-life, and personal moments, began showing geometric abstractions, apparently having left representation behind.
Gregory Amenoff Facing NorthBy John Yau
The quandary with Gregory Amenoffs paintings is that he has never stepped back and interrogated that initial flush of deep feeling he had about the American visionary tradition, particularly Arthur Dove, at its most optimistic heights.
Steve DiBenedetto ChaoticusBy John Yau
Best known for his symbolic paintingsencrusted surfaces jam-packed with lattices, neural networks, cracked TV screens, helicopters, Ferris wheels, and octopi pushing against the paintings physical edgesSteve DiBenedetto first gained larger attention when his work was included in an eight-artist survey, Remote Viewing: Invented Worlds in Recent Painting and Drawing, at the Whitney Museum of American Art (2005).
JUDY LEDGERWOOD April ShowersBy John Yau
There are two parts to this exhibition. In the main gallery space Judy Ledgerwood has hung eight paintings, all 60 x 60, while in the north gallery she has completed a painting in tempera on three walls.
Julian Schnabel Navigation DrawingsBy John Yau
What aberration allows bad artists to make terrific films? Why is it that the clichés that make for turgid art become acceptable and engaging when they are translated into celluloid? I am thinking of Julian Schnabel and Jean Cocteau, who, besides being self-aggrandizing artists who have made interesting films, also share a misguided obsession with Pablo Picasso.
Nicolas Carone: Recent PaintingsBy John Yau
In the past few years, we have gotten tantalizing indications of Nicolas Carones achievement as a draftsman, as a sculptor, and as a painter. But the full extent of what he has done remains hidden, like an iceberg. Whatever the backstory, the reason for this is simple. From 1954 until 1962, Carone, who was born in 1917, regularly exhibited his work in New York, first at the Stable Gallery and then at Staempfli.
Miyoko ItoBy John Yau
While the paintings of Miyoko Ito (1918–1983) have been included in most survey exhibitions and books about Chicago art from 1945 to 1995, she still remains under known in Chicago, and all but invisible in New York.
Andrew Forge and Fairfield Porter: Works on PaperBy John Yau
The pairing of Andrew Forge (1923-2002) and Fairfield Porter (1907-1975) makes sense for a lot of reasons, not the least of which is their devotion to perception and their desire to grasp the tangible and intangible aspects of reality.
Chris MartinBy John Yau
On the way to or from Chris Martin’s exhibition, you notice a large painting in red and black, “Manikarnika Ghat (Dedicated to Frank Moore)” (2002-2003) mounted high on the outside side wall of the gallery, placed exactly where someone would display a billboard advertising the latest gadget, food, or reality show we need to know about if we are to consider ourselves informed.
Stanley WhitneyBy John Yau
When contemplating Stanley Whitney’s matter-of-factly painted geometric abstractions, we should keep in mind these words of Ad Reinhardt: “all art is political.” The reason we should remember Reinhardt’s statement is because Whitney is an African-American abstract painter who makes no overt connection between the author and the self or, in academic parlance, his identity.
Carroll DunhamBy John Yau
When Carroll Dunham was in his cartoony, biomorphic period (1982-1993), critics said that he belonged to the same family as Bill Jensen and Thomas Nozkowski.
Charles Seliger: Ways of NatureBy John Yau
Charles Seligers place in history has yet to be fully secured. Born in 1926, he was the youngest and most precocious artist in the group that gathered around Peggy Guggenheim in New York in the 1940s (Piet Mondrian and Jackson Pollock were also part of this circle).
GORDON ONSLOW FORD Paintings and Works on Paper: 19391951By John Yau
The first solo show of Gordon Onslow Ford (1912 2003) in New York since 1946, which brings together major works made between 1939 and 51, is a landmark event that, among other things, further expands our understanding of what was happening in art during the 1940s.
ToadhouseBy John Yau
My first introduction to Toadhouse was in 2000 at As REAL as thinking, the large survey exhibition at SITE Santa Fe of conceptual artist Allan Graham, which was organized by Kathleen Shields.
John Ashbery: Collages: They Knew What They WantedBy John Yau
For those who still need a guide, poets can be divided into two groups, those who have at one juncture or another used collage (or a related methodology) in their writing, and those who havent. The former are interested in what has been called (rather negatively) the experimental, while the latter regard themselves as traditionalists.
TOM BURCKHARDT 157 Elements of a PaintingBy John Yau
What do you get when you cross a cartoonists animation sense with an abstract artists search for pure form? Answer: Tom Burckhardt, or at least one part of him and his uncategorizable project.
Nicholas KrushenickBy John Yau
Nicholas Krushenick (1929-1999) has rightfully been called the father of pop abstraction, which suggests that a lot of what is currently going on owes something to him. And while this is certainly the case, this well-meaning sobriquet doesnt tell half the story.
Sylvia Plimack MangoldBy John Yau
Sylvia Plimack Mangolds primary formal preoccupation is the unyielding pressure of space against the paintings surface.
Richard ArtschwagerBy John Yau
Richard Artschwager (b. 1923) is an American original, and, like Lee Bontecou (b. 1931) and Peter Saul (b. 1934), he will never be seen as a mainstream artist. In his introduction of his longtime friend, Malcolm Morley (another interesting misfit), which he read at the Skowhegan Awards ceremony in 1992, Artschwager said something that holds true for his own work.
JASPER JOHNS New Sculpture and Works on PaperBy John Yau
For years now, whenever Jasper Johns has had a show, you could count on a reviewer to cite his best-known axiom: Take an object. Do something to it. Do something else to it. Do something else to it
BILL RICE Paintings & Works on PaperBy John Yau
As the Lower East Side progresses toward a total make-over, and chic hotels and designer co-ops replace its tenements, I wonder where the community of poets and artists who cannot be assimilated will move?
Ad Reinhardt and the Via NegativaBy John Yau
Thomas Merton (1915 1968), Robert Lax (1915 2000) and Ad Reinhardt (1913 1967), who became lifelong friends, met in 1935 at Columbia University while working for the Jester, the schools humor magazine.
Art World DoggerelBy John Yau
The first time we see him painting, he is in the bathroom, trying to paint a flower that had been given to him by Katharine Kitty March (Joan Bennett) the night before.
POETRY: After the RoadBy John Yau
Between the late 1980s and early 1990s, when Clark Coolidge, Michael Gizzi, and I lived within 30 miles of each other, in that UFO zone connecting western Massachusetts and mid-Hudson Valley New York, we often got together. When we werent scouring the countryside checking out secondhand bookstores, and talking about whatever was our enthusiasm, we took road trips.
POETRY: The Poet of Post-modern LifeBy John Yau
In his seminal essay, The Painter of Modern Life, Charles Baudelaire defined the modern artist, or flâneur, as a solitary individual endowed with an active imagination. This figurewas a detached but passionate individual walking through the city, carried along by its tumultuous crowds, observing but unobserved.
Why I Am a Member of the Christopher Middleton Fan ClubBy John Yau
This is my list of the essential books of Christopher Middleton, the ones I believe you should read if you want to learn what he has been up to for the past 60 years:
TOKENSBy John Yau, Bruce Seymour, Ray Abernathy, and Nicolle Elizabeth
From Dubai to Japan to Boston to Brooklyn to Romani Gypsy grandparents, the stories in Anatolia and Other Stories (Black Lawrence) are varied and, conceptually, architected on an intriguing premise. The first story, Dubai, reads like a Malamud folklore legend/Flannery OConnor hybrid.
Still Believe In The RainbowBy John Yau
More than thirty years have passed between Bill Zavatsky’s first full-length book, Theories of Rain and Other Poems (1975) and his second full-length book, X Marks the Spot.
John Yau with Donald Breckenridge
John Yau has published two dozen books of poetry, fiction and criticism as well as numerous essays and articles on contemporary art. He is the editor of Black Square Editions.
Another ExampleBy John Yau
I think it would be extremely pleasant and even comforting if I could find a new or at least different way to fuck up my life. If only I could delude myself for a few minutes more than usual, if only I could have a few minutes when I believe that what I am doing will turn out okay. It never does.
ROBERT KELLY with John Yau, David Levi Strauss, and Phong Bui
On a late Saturday afternoon in August, Publisher Phong Bui and Art Editor John Yau drove up to High Falls, New York, to visit the poet and writer Robert Kelly at Consulting Editor David Levi Strausss library to discuss Kellys life and work.
Opinion SonnetBy John Yau
John Yau has just completed a book of essays, The Wild Children of William Blake.
Philip Lamantia (1927-2005)By John Yau
Philip Lamantia, whose poetry is “set like stars in snow,” became an enduring source of inspiration for a number of poets, myself included, in the 1960s.
from Opinion SonnetsBy John Yau
John Yau is the author of Further Adventures in Monochrome (Copper Canyon), the publisher of Black Square Editions, and a weekly contributor to the online magazine Hyperallergic Weekend. He is currently working on many projects.
twoBy John Yau
John Yau’s next book of poems, Genghis Chan on Drums, will be published by Omnidawn this fall, while his monograph on Liu Xiaodong will come out from Lund Humphries, and his one on William Tillyer will come out from Rizzoli. He has poems forthcoming in Cafe Review and the New Republic.
Biography for AmphibiansBy John Yau
Harnessed moon enchanting nostalgic armadilloes/Clipped tongue erased ornaments flooded…
sixBy John Yau
John Yau has three books that have landed or will soon land on earth: Joe Brainard: The Art of the Personal (Rizzoli, 2022); Tell It Slant (Omnidawn, 2023); John Pai: Liquid Steel (Rizzoli (2023). An exhibition, Disguise the Limit: John Yaus Collaborations, will open at art museum of the University of Kentucky in Lexington in January 2024, curated by Stuart Horodner.
fourBy John Yau
John Yau has a book, Genghis Chan on Drums, forthcoming from Omnidawn (Fall 2021). A book of essays, Foreign Sounds or Sounds Foreign, is just out from MadHat Press, as is a chapbook, Bloken Exhaust, from Ink Cap Press.