New York Part Three – Ford, Green, Jacobson
The nuclear art world has descended on Miami Beach this weekend. I remember in 2004, 5 and 6 strolling down Collins Avenue and quite literally seeing dozens of NYC art World denizens, both friends and those I recognized professionally, having breakfast, getting out of taxis, and gesticulating madly on their cell phones. NY has emptied out and relocated to Florida temporarily for the week. So while I’m not in attendance, by choice, I’m offering these aesthetic Truffles Rounding out the Chelsea leg of my art marathon in November. They are three disparate exhibitions, each of which I admire for vastly different reasons. They remain on view for between 1 to 3 weeks and should not be missed.
Up through December 23rd, the Walton Ford extravaganza is a delight. Ford, firmly in grasp of technical gifts (in watercolor, pencil, gouache and ink) that verge on wizardry, presents three large-scale portraits of King Kong. Each portrait measures 9 by 12 feet and the scale is truly the subject matter as much as Kong himself. The overwhelming nature is further accentuated by the almost claustrophobic installation. The seven additional pieces on exhibit, each with an Ape and Bird, are a nod to his more branded art making paradigms. They reference Audubon illustrations with a surreal and disturbing narrative. The Kong tritych though is the star. Unlike works from Ford’s past oeuvre, the paper is mounted to Aluminum giving the surface a clean crisp flatness. You can get lost in the detail up close, marvel at the technique and contemplate the noble savage in his 1933 visual incarnation.
I was delighted to stumble upon a disquieting installation by Gregory Green, an artist I had long admired but forgotten to miss. The Anna Kustera exhibition lays out a major portion of the gallery floor with a couple of thousand predatory tire spikes. With Syrian human rights abuses and the increasing militant response to the Occupy Wall Street Movement, Green proves again to have his finger on the pulse of an international zeitgeist. Political art too often becomes dogmatic and preachy. Green practices an art of emotional intimidation and dread. It’s intelligent, evocative and on a tactile level remarkably beautiful. The Green Exhibit continues through December 23rd, 2011 as well.
Titled INTO THE LOVING NOWHERE (1989 TILL NOW), the Bill Jacobson exhibition at Julie Saul is a mini retrospective. As an introduction to Jacobson’s etherial and poetic photographic paradigms the show works wonders. But what made the exhibit really sing are three new pieces from newly minted series. Place and Some Planes are rigorous abstractions that miraculously remain earth-bound. The compositions reference everyone from Rothko, Kelly, Malevich and Ryman but these are not an art historical circle jerk. They present the unapologetic beauty in the most common observations. Jacoboson harnesses photography’s innate ability to be real. It’s an exhibition that resonates insistently in the aesthetic caverns of my mind. Jacobson at Saul remains on view until December 10th, 2011.
–Mario M. Muller, November 30th, 2011, Los Angeles
Anna Kustera Gallery, 520 West 21st Street, New York, NY 10011
Julie Saul Gallery, 535 W 22nd St # 6F New York, NY 10011