Andy Warhol’s Shadows at the Hirshhorn

I don’t know about you, but I guess size matters. When I see a big painting, I typically wind up spending more time trying to take it all in. I guess there is some unwritten equation size=profundity.

However, when I took in the current exhibition of Andy Warhol’s shadows, any ideas that I should pour over each nuance of color or textural drip were immediately dispelled.  The piece is comprised of 102 panels and stretches nearly 450 feet around the second floor of the circular museum.

Indeed rather than take my time, I found myself wanting to go faster and faster – I would have run if the security guards would have let me. I felt like I was caught inside an Eadweard Muybridge zoetrope – not certain if I was the viewer or the subject.

I have a feeling this is appropriate – Warhol himself said it isn’t art, but rather disco decor. The paintings are of no discernible objects – speculation running from architecture, to cardboard maquettes to erect penises. The big bold colors are applied with floor mops in crude bravura strokes. Sure, it gives reference in terms of color and context – alluding to the AbEx painters and minimalists, to Duchamp’s questioning of iconography and Man Ray’s experiments from the 1920’s.

For me, ultimately it is just fun…it’s thoroughly exhuberant and fleeting – lasting as long as it takes to run through it.

The show goes to mid-January, so check it out if you can.

Warhol Shadows at the Hirshhorn Musesum

Clyfford Still Museum Opens

Last night my partner and I went to the opening of the Clyfford Still Museum here in Denver.  WOW!  It is amazing!

The inaugural exhibit it thoughtfully curated – offering a chronological view of his work spanning his career. I think, for me what struck me the most was seeing the evolution of the work. The show clearly presents a progression beginning with landscapes and portraits, quickly leading us into his exploration of abstraction and ultimately his readily identifiable expressionist pieces.

I was anticipating the darker, heavier pieces that represented his agrarian roots during the depression but didn’t anticipate the lighter, more cheerful works. These treasures, hidden for so many years, are a bit like giants awaking from their slumber – still stretching out and beginning to tell their stories.

The rooms are perfectly proportioned and sequenced to showcase his art with carefully constructed vantage points revealing from one gallery, the next.  The honeycomb ceiling allows natural light to permeate the concrete building, providing ideal viewing conditions while louvers protect the artwork from the damaging sun.  The two-story building, designed by Brad Cloepfil of Allied Works Architecture is refined – it is an elegant solution to display the work and to house art being stored, archived & researched.


Clyfford Still’s work was marked by expressive brush work, and abstracted forms – the blending of color, texture and shape to create something entirely new. His shift away from figurative and surrealist styles in the late 30’s and early 40’s happened nearly a decade before other artists including Willem de Kooning, Franz Kline, Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko and Barnett Newman began the pursuit of what is now known as Abstract Expressionism. His estate, along with that of his wife, has been left to the city and will be maintained by the museum – it represents the bulk(94%) of Still’s life work – some 2400 paintings, works on paper and sculptures.

At the Clyfford Still Opening

At the Clyfford Still Opening

Fred Sandback at MCA Denver

“In every block of marble I see a statue as plain as though it stood before me, shaped and perfect in attitude and action. I have only to hew away the rough walls that imprison the lovely apparition to reveal it to the other eyes as mine see it.” Michelangelo

The Sandback show at MCA Denver is terrific!

His installations of thread barely create structure but capture the “apparitions” of monumental planes and forms throughout the space.  The pieces slice through the rooms, highlighting the building itself and then go on to challenge the viewers’ perceptions by redefining – breaking away from the physical walls and illustrating planes of nothingness that exist concurrently.

When I first saw the show, I thought it seemed solemn and a bit serious – it’s so structured, so minimal and so devoid of color.  If you felt this way, then I would definitely encourage you to see it again. It is uplifting and hopeful: the optimistic gestures allow the viewer to see the museum as constructed and then offer a glimpse of what could be…of something more. It makes me happy.

My “Top 10” Art Shows in NYC (Oct 2011)

This past week I went to NYC to see the first art shows of the season  – Wow! What a season it is…this year the museums and galleries are really hitting it out of the park with major retrospectives and beautifully produced shows.  De Kooning at MoMA heads the pack, but there were great shows everywhere.  The galleries are ambitious – they are showing an awful lot of incredibly expensive works (moderately priced works in the $100k-500k+ range) – I did see works range from as little as $500 going beyond  the $1m mark.  

Of course there is no real way to cover it all, especially in 4 days.  I only barely scratched the surface but what I did get to see was amazing.  I walked up and down the city (100-200 blocks a day) and managed to squeeze in 5 museums and about 60 galleries.  Of course I experienced the NY gallery snobbery… I understand it though as I was out of uniform. I wore my sneakers  instead of Pradas and I opted for a white jacket instead of Black…I was actually told that I looked like I was auditioning for “Miami Vice.”

I tend to have a voracious appetite for all things visual so I ate it up; there were a lot of shows that I could have lingered over for hours to look at all the nuances of the works, but I set out with a mission to take in as much as I could so I literally kept moving the entire time. 

Usually when I travel I like to compile a “Top 10” as a record for myself and to share, but with a so much going on, I couldn’t really bare to whittle it down past 7 museum shows and 15 gallery exhibitions:


  • De Kooning @ MoMA
  • Cy Twombly Sculptures @ MoMA
  • Lyonel Feininger @ Whitney
  • David Smith @Whitney
  • Master Painters of India (1100-1900) @ the Metropolitan
  • Frans Hals @ the Metropolitan
  • Hans Peter Feldman @ Guggenheim


  • Do Ho Suh @ Lehmann Maupin
  • Leandro Erlich @ Sean Kelly
  • Agnes Martin @ Pace
  • Frank Stella @ Paul Kasmin
  • Milton Resnick @ Cheim & Read
  • Nicholas Krushenick @ Gary Snyder
  • Ronnie Landfield @ Stephen Haller
  • Ad Reinhardt @ Pace
  • Nick Cave @ Jack Shainman
  • Jenny Saville @ Gagosian
  • Ethan Murrow @ Winston Wӓchter Fine Art
  • Nathan Slate Joseph @ Sundaram Tagore
  • Monroe Hodder @ Andre Zarre
  • Andy Denzler @ Claire Oliver
  • Paul Winstanley @ Mitchell-Innes & Nash

With any luck I will get to go back in November and continue the expedition  – places I was really eager to see but missed this time around included the Neue Galerie (they are installing an exhibition of works from Ronald S. Lauder’s Collection), The Noguchi Museum, the Brooklyn Museum and the New Museum down in the Bowery. I didn’t make it over to Williamsburg or DUMBO this visit so they will be a must and I only got through about half of the Chelsea neighborhood. 


Do Ho Suh @ Lehmann Maupin Gallery


Frank Stella at Paul Kasmin Gallery


Nicholas Krushenick at Gary Snyder Gallery


In NYC – looking at art

Cy Twombly Sculpture


Daniel Buren


De Kooning, Judgement Day, 1946


In Washington, DC looking at art

I went to the beach over the holiday but now I am busy looking at art in Washington, DC before heading home.

So far, one of the highlights of the trip has been my visit with Royce Burton over at his gallery near the Phillips Collection.  He has an extensive inventory of prints and showed me some gorgeous Diebenkorns, Rauschenbergs, and a precious little piece from Kenneth Noland’s Circle Series made out of handmade paper. However, my absolute favorite was a mixograph by Louise Bourgeois, Crochet IV.  It is perfect!