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William Corbett

WILLIAM CORBETT is a poet who has written books on the painters Philip Guston, Albert York, and Stuart Williams. He directs the small press Pressed Wafer and lives and works in Brooklyn.

Arshile Gorky: A Retrospective of Drawings

The Whitney Museum’s recent show of Arshile Gorky drawings deteriorated into too much of a glorious thing. There were so many drawings from 1941 until Gorky’s death in 1948 that they became a blur and only the specialist or one obsessed could keep them in focus. Half their number would have made this excellent show a triumph.

from print edition

Because of a chance conversation I had with Philip Guston’s New York dealer David McKee in mid-April, I went to San Francisco in August to see Guston’s retrospective at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. When I ran into David on 57th Street I asked about the show, which had recently opened in Fort Worth. "Great, great," but David didn’t want to talk about that. It was the version of the show set to open at New York’s Metropolitan Museum in October that had his agitated attention.

In Conversation

E.V. Day with William Corbett

E.V. Day is a New York-based installation artist and sculptor whose work explores themes of feminism and sexuality, while reflecting upon popular culture. Day received her MFA in Sculpture from Yale University in 1995, and she began her dynamic Exploding Couture series in 1999.

Frank Stella 1958

At 24, John Keats had his annus mirabilis, during which he wrote “The Eve of St. Agnes,” “Ode to Psyche,” “La Belle Dame Sans Merci,” and “Ode to a Nightingale.” Within two years he was dead.

In Conversation

Wynn Kramarsky with William Corbett

Wynn Kramarsky’s collection of contemporary works on paper consists of more than 3,000 drawings amassed over the last 50 years. His interests focus on the work of Minimalist and Post-Minimalist artists.

Philip Guston: Laughter in the Dark

Philip Guston’s 180 Richard Nixon drawings—there are also three paintings in the show—are nasty, scabrous, witty, grossly unfair and one of the juster verdicts handed down on our thirty-seventh president, the only one to resign from office. They are relentless, in part because Guston drew them without let up in two short bouts, possessed, in a fury of anger and joy at what he saw come from his pen. They gouge and hit below the belt yet the closer you look the more subtleties emerge.

THOMAS NOZKOWSKI:
16 x 20

The prolific and consistently inventive Thomas Nozkowski celebrates a favorite format, 16” x 20” in this retrospective covering thirty-five years.

Material Witness: The Selected Letters of Fairfield Porter

In law a material witness is someone with “relevant knowledge” about the case at hand. Fairfield Porter certainly had relevant knowledge of American painting from 1935 until his death in 1975. But Material Witness holds a pun. Just as Mallarmé reminded Degas that poems are made of words not ideas, Porter held that paintings are made not from ideas but from paint. He had learned this, like he learned most of what he knew about painting, through experience, and when he taught, this is what he told his students.

Golden Eyes:
Alex Katz at Ninety

This show is so right that it effortlessly hits the note of happiness and celebration, the major key Katz means to reach every time out.

Living Things

Every single one of Anne Porter’s poems is as clear as this one, diamond-clear. Because of this Living Things is easier to buy and give to friends than to write about. Porter’s poems need no explanation, no accompanying prose. Their direct, level gaze sees through all that. The proper response to her work is to open her book, point to a poem and exclaim, “Here, read this!”

POETRY: Act and Aftermath

In that poem Heaney watches his father dig in the family potato patch and remembers his grandfather’s prowess at cutting turf. ...

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The Brooklyn Rail

MAY 2020

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