Thursday, May 12, 2016

Reviews for Joan Snyder's Exhibition "Womansong" at Parrasch Heijrn Gallery in Los Angeles

Joan Snyder’s eight paintings at Parrasch Heijnen Gallery are a joy to behold. Tough and abuzz with enough visual energy to make your eyes wide with excitement, they look like they were fun to make.
Even better, they’re fun to look at. Pleasure takes center stage in the New York painter’s mixed-media abstractions, each of which draws your eyes into a lively dance all its own.
In the entryway hangs “Spring 1971.” The largest and oldest work in the exhibition, it alone makes a visit worthwhile. Composed of 15 horizontal lines, its orderly format is interrupted by numerous dots, dabs, drips and a handful of echoing curves. If a sheet of musical notation were hallucinating, this is what it might see.
In the main gallery hangs “Womansong,” seven canvases Snyder has painted during the last year and a half. They are freer and meatier than “Spring 1971.” But the bones can be sensed beneath the spunky surfaces of the new paintings, where luscious colors, rambunctious brushwork and madcap collage give visitors plenty of room to roam.
Sometimes your eyes rest on a glistening puddle of inky blue or ricochet off a decorous dollop of whip-creamy paint, into which a sprig of dried flowers has been stuck. At other times, they fly through atmospheric expanses of tangy colors, wash-boarding over the weave of raw canvas, pinballing around dense chunks of supersaturated colors and skittering into clotted smears of dirty brown, soiled yellow, gooey red and spectacular lavender.
Messy drips, flick-of-the-wrist flourishes and vigorously rubbed-out clouds of color happily cohabitate with loose constellations of glass beads, lumps of clay, blobs of papier-mâché and smears of mud.
You rarely get tired of looking at a painting by Snyder because each time you do, your eyes follow a different path. The magic intensifies the more time you spend with the paintings, which hold nothing back.

Review by David Pagel

Joan Snyder's solo exhibition, Womansong, at Parrasch Heijnen Gallery is currently featured on's “Must-See Shows” list, our editors' selection of essential exhibitions worldwide.

“At the time my idea was studying the anatomy of a stroke, isolating them and using them almost like creating a symphony or a piece of music. My whole idea was to have more, not less in a painting.” So says Joan Snyder, the septuagenarian painter from New York whose show Womansong is currently on view at Parrasch Heijnen.
Snyder burst into the art scene in New York in the ‘60s with a series of pieces called ‘stroke paintings’ which were brush strokes of varying sizes and colors arranged on a grid. Although the art world at the time was dominated by minimalists like Rothko, Snyder considered herself more of an expressionist, reexamining the brush stroke and telling a narrative with the paint.
Womansong will include a previously unseen piece from that era, as well as a new series, which the artist says was created in a burst of creativity over the course of the last fall and winter.
I spoke to Snyder on the phone on the eve of the opening of Womansong.
What is your definition of expressionism?
I think it’s someone who expresses a certain amount of emotion in a painting, letting it all hang out in some ways. The opposite would be cool, or impersonal or minimal maybe.
Going back to minimalism, do you feel that you took something from that, or was your work, for lack of a better term, a reaction to it?
Well I think I did take something from it, Brice Marden was well known at the time and I liked his work. There’s always something to take from other work, it’s not that I didn’t think people like Rothko were not great artists, but to me, it wasn’t enough, I was looking for more than that. It was also the beginning of the women’s art world in the ‘70s; women were doing something different, we had stories to tell. Our forbearers were not minimalists, or abstract expressionists, there was a language that we were using that was very new in the late ‘60s/early ‘70s.
In the mid-’70s your work changed quite a bit, you started layering more, and creating these sort of sculptures almost.
The work did change in the mid-’70s, pretty radically actually, from the stroke paintings. People used to refer to them as ‘lyrical abstraction’ and I always hated that term. One painting that made it change very radically and that was a painting called “The Storm” which the Guggenheim owns now. What happened to me is that I was a young artist and I became very well known very quickly, and it was very difficult because I was suddenly collecting people in my life like butterflies, and also I had a long list of collectors who wanted these stroke paintings, there was a waiting list, and this was in 1973/’74.
I then moved to a farm in Pennsylvania with my now former husband Larry Fink. What it was, is that I made a stroke painting, and every time I made something beautiful with the paint, I covered it up with mud color, browns and reddish browns and blacks, and it was a kind of grid of these dark colors, with a little of the stroke painting showing through. What that was about is that I felt so over-exposed in the art world and that painting was covering it all up. Then I became a feminist.
How has your relationship to painting changed over the course of your career? Is it easier or harder to pick up the brush now?
You know, it’s not harder. Miraculously, with the set of paintings that is going to be shown at Parrasch Heijnen, to me it’s always a shock [to see them] it’s like, ‘did I really do that?’
The last show I did, in May at Franklin Parrasch in New York, was three years of work that was really about a certain kind of mourning, and suffering and agony. It always ends up being beautiful, but it really ends up being heavy duty stuff that was going on in my life an in my work. Then came the summer where I didn’t work that much, and then the fall and the winter, where suddenly I was making the paintings that you are going to see in this show, and they were so light, and so not-heavy. It was almost like going back to the stroke paintings idea, but bringing with it all the landscape ideas.
In answer to your question, no one was more surprised than me by what came out of that winter. I feel like I still have a lot of ideas.
Womansong is on view at Parrasch Heijnen until June 10th.
Written by Amy Marie Slocum

Parrasch Heijnen is located at 1326 South Boyle Avenue, Los Angeles. Gallery hours are Tuesday-Saturday, 11a-6p. For further information on this exhibition, please contact Parrasch Heijnen at info@ph-

Peter Halley's New Installation at the Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt

12:00 pm /
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Peter Halley creates a multi-part installation of his complete oeuvre in the Schirn Rotunda
Peter Halley. The Schirn Ring © Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt, 2016, Photo: Norbert Miguletz.
FRANKFURT.- From May 12 to August 21, 2016 the Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt is presenting the installation The Schirn Ring by the American artist Peter Halley (*1953). Halley has developed a multi-part installation, using the architecture and spatial conditions of the Rotunda and the Schirn Kunsthalle as his starting point. Halley’s installation begins in the exterior space of the Rotunda, then extends into the interior of the Schirn, employing the two ring-like galleries that surround the Rotunda as well as the adjacent exhibition space on the second floor. Across an area of some 450 m² Halley has designed an atmospheric, spatially complex, inventively coded environment that draws on both current and older elements of the artist’s oeuvre. Halley achieved notable fame in the 1980s with his Day-Glo geometric paintings that challenged previous assumptions about abstract art through his insistence that geometry is always tied to social realities. Today he is considered to be one of the most influential artists and art theorists in the United States. Since the mid-1990s he has also been creating site-specific installations for art galleries and public spaces in Europe, America, and Asia. Peter Halley’s installations are always grounded in his understanding of the cultural and architectural context of the spaces for which they are made. Thus, the development of The Schirn Ring was preceded by an intensive study of the architectural and conceptual context of the Schirn Rotunda. Halley sees the architecture of the Rotunda as loaded with cultural associations: the Rotunda’s form echoes that of the nearby historical, Neo-classical Paulskirche. At the same time, it is on axis with the adjacent Frankfurt Dom. From there, Halley went on to explore analogous elements in the architecture of the Schirn Rotunda and the design of the CERN Large Hadron Collider in Geneva. He imagined the Rotunda itself as a high-energy collider full of explosive energy bathed in yellow light.

Max Hollein, the curator of the exhibition and the Director of the Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt, comments: “Thirty years ago, Peter Halley was already far ahead of his time: his geometric paintings with their characteristic iconography of prison, cells, and conduits demonstrated the logic, the interdependences and forms of organization of the social space. His works have a strong seismographic quality: in his geometric-abstract pictures and his location-specific installations he casts an analytical and critical look at the spatial, communicative and organizational structures which dominate people’s everyday lives. Today as our lives are being shaped and changed by the algorithms of the digital industry and by the superficial charms of the media world, we are standing in the middle of a Halley composition.”

Taking up the idea of the particle accelerator, Halley charges the entire space of the Schirn Rotunda with energy. Sunlight entering from the skylight passes through a 14 meter translucent disc, filling the space with an artificial yellow light; the entire floor is painted yellow to further intensify the effect, while two floors of the Rotunda’s perimeter are clad with a grid of 3-meter-high reflective digital prints using Halley’s semi-abstract explosion images repeated 28 times in two rows. In the circular galleries surrounding the Rotunda, the artist has made two additional immersive installations. In the first floor gallery, Halley has covered the walls from floor to ceiling with a digitally printed mural illuminated only with ultraviolet black light. Rendered in delicate glowing white lines on a deep blue background, Halley has reproduced, with myriad repetitions, his computer-drawn studies for his prison paintings, transforming the wall into an endless luminous grid. Visitors follow a route around this closed circle, from which they cannot look out into the open space. Under the black light, the feeling of disorientation becomes intentionally.

heightened. On the entire wall of the second floor gallery, against a yellow background, Halley presents a montage of drawings reproduced from his sketchbooks of the1980s (presented publicly here for the first time), mixed together with diagrams from the Large Hadron Collider and other notations taken from the particle physics. Seeing how the artist has arranged this vast amount of material over a distance of 45 meters provides a differentiated insight into Halley’s complex creative process, his specific motifs and their development. These 1980s studies serve the artist to this day not only as direct preliminary studies for his paintings but also as reference material for his digital prints, installation concepts, and theoretical essays. Halley himself imagined the overabundant notations on the walls as an imaginary code producing the explosive energy present in the rotunda itself. The Schirn Ring culminates in a final exhibition room that visitors enter through a doorway in the second floor corridor gallery. In this gallery, Halley has placed several more works from the early years of his career. His pioneering painting, Rectangular Prison with Smokestack from the year 1987, holds center stage. It is accompanied by two wall-size flowchart diagrams from the late 1990s, demonstrating Halley’s early interest in the algorithms that were beginning to dominate digital processes. Lastly, the artist has included a digital animation video of 1983, Exploding Cell. Using an early video game syntax, it depicts a narrative in which one of Halley’s cells becomes filled with red-hot gas and explodes. With this early video, Halley refers back to the theme of the Explosion that dominates the Rotunda. In so doing, he reminds us that his work has come full circle in this major installation, The Schirn Ring.

The artist and cultural theorist Peter Halley has lived and worked in New York City for over 35 years. From 1996 until 2005 he was the publisher of index, a magazine which presented the city’s diverse cultural scene. Halley’s studio became a meeting place for artists, authors, photographers and creative people from a variety of spheres. He was director of the MFA painting program at the Yale University School of Art from 2002 to 2011. Halley studied History of Art at Yale, where he graduated in 1975, and Fine Arts at the University of New Orleans, graduating in 1978.

During the 1980s he lived in New York City’s East Village, which was, at that time, the center of artistic activity for a new generation. Fascinated by the geometrisation of social and public space, the artist began making paintings that utilized elements of geometric abstraction to create an iconography of prisons, cells, and conduits. Studying the urban topography, the architecture, the façades, traffic routes, and streets of New York City, Halley combined the results of his observations with his interest in the geometric abstraction of the twentieth century. Halley’s first New York show took place in 1985 in the innovative East Village gallery, International with Monument, which was directed by artist Meyer Vaisman. At the time, the gallery also represented Ashley Bickerton, Sarah Charlesworth, Jeff Koons, Sherrie Levine, and Richard Prince. In 1987, Halley, along with Bickerton, Koons, and Vaisman, now identified with the movement variously called “Neo-Geo” and “Neo-Conceptualism,” began exhibiting at the Sonnabend Gallery, which subsequently introduced the work of these artists to a wide international audience. Alone among the Neo-Conceptual artists, Halley’s work focused on the history of geometric abstraction, which he viewed as symptomatic of the rapid spread of isolating regimented spaces, such as apartment and office blocks, hospitals, and schools, in the twentieth century. In response, Halley decided to redeploy geometric form in his paintings for representational or diagrammatic purposes. Thereby, squares and rectangles in his paintings became prisons and cells. Halley was equally interested in the invisible technological networks that linked individuals, such as power lines, water mains, and transportation networks. He expressed this in his work by interconnecting his prisons and cells by means of rectilinear networks of what he called conduits. Halley’s fascination with such networks clearly anticipated the emergence of digital communications networks in the 1990s. Since 1980, Halley has traced the state of the social space in post-industrial society in numerous texts and essays. He was among the first American artist to become interested in the sociological theories of French Post-Structuralists, including such authors as Guy Debord, Michel Foucault, and Jean Baudrillard. In the early 1990s, Halley became an early innovator in the use of digital techniques. In particular, he was among the first artists to make use of digital printing to create wall-size murals. As early as 1983, Halley had become interested in the explosion as an allegoric element in his work.

Peter Halley’s works have been presented in numerous solo and group exhibitions throughout the world. His first solo exhibition in Germany was held in the Museum Haus Esters in Krefeld in 1989. In 1992-93, a survey exhibition of his work was organized by the CAPC Musée d’Art Contemporain, Bordeaux, travelling to the FAE Musée d’Art Contemporain in Lausanne, the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia in Madrid, and the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam. In 1998 the Museum of Modern Art in New York presented an exhibition focusing on Halley’s work in printmaking. Since 2000, in addition to his ongoing painting practice, Halley has created sitespecific permanent installations for the Daimler Benz in Stuttgart (2003), at the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, Texas (2005), the Gallatin School of Individualized Study at New York University (2008), among others. In Germany Peter Halley’s works were last shown in 2014 in the exhibition, Prisons, at the Friedrich Schiller University in Jena. This spring, his works are on view in galleries in Barcelona and Knokke.

The Städel Museum received Peter Halley’s painting Rectangular Prison with Smokestack, 1987, as a gift from the artist in 2015. In the exhibition “Peter Halley. The Schirn Ring” it will be shown in Frankfurt for the first time. Works by Peter Halley are prestigious public collections worldwide, including the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, as well as the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, the Tokyo Museum of Contemporary Art, the Tate Modern in London, the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, and the Museum Folkwang in Essen.

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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Cincinnati Art Museum Honors Carl Solway

Cincinnati Art Museum presents "Not in New York: Carl Solway and Cincinnati"

CINCINNATI, OH.- The Cincinnati Art Museum presents Not in New York: Carl Solway and Cincinnati April 30 through October 30.
The exhibition explores many of the most compelling contemporary artworks in the museum’s permanent collection that connect to
Carl Solway’s transformative influence on the Cincinnati arts scene.

About 50 artworks, including paintings, sculptures, prints, drawings and multi-media, are on display, some for the first time. The exhibition
features works by John Cage, Ann Hamilton, Nam June Paik, Andy Warhol, Tom Wesselmann, Jim Dine, Robert Rauschenberg, J
udy Pfaff, Pat Steir, Helen Frankenthaler and many others. Solway’s unique role in the museum’s history is evidenced in these works,
drawn solely from the permanent collection of the Cincinnati Art Museum. The exhibition is independently curated by the Cincinnati Art
Museum and part of an ongoing series examining the 140 years of development of the museum’s encyclopedic collections of over
66,000 objects.

Solway’s generosity and relationships with artists, artmaking processes, museums and the community indelibly raised Cincinnati’s
place in 20th century contemporary art discourse. Born in Chicago and raised in Cincinnati, Solway is a publisher, donor, gallerist and
most importantly, an educator. He played a vital role in building contemporary art discourse and awareness in the Midwest and beyond,
including many public and private collections.

Away from the art centers of New York and Los Angeles, Cincinnati became an influential place for late 20th century artists not
because of the size or heft of the market, but because of Solway and others who created it. Solway and his former wife, Gail Forberg,
 opened Flair Gallery in 1962. It was later renamed the Carl Solway Gallery in 1970. For a period of time Solway simultaneously
operated his namesake gallery and the Not in New York Gallery on West Fourth Street in Cincinnati, as well as shared space in
 New York City’s SoHo neighborhood. Not in New York brought the emerging Midwest art scene to the attention of the art world,
and in return brought leading international artists to Cincinnati.

“The Cincinnati Art Museum is thrilled to recognize Carl Solway’s contribution to the Art Museum’s collection. He has made his
mark in Cincinnati homes and the Art Museum’s permanent collection and has made a name for himself as a leader in contemporary
art collecting in the Midwest,” says Kristin Spangenberg, Cincinnati Art Museum’s curator of prints. Spangenberg is co-curating
this exhibition along with Matt Distel, exhibitions director at The Carnegie, Covington, Ky.

Published in Artdaily, May 1, 2016.

Nam June Paik (1932–2006), Powel Crosley, Jr., 1992, mixed media with parts from various Crosley products, 
John J. Emery Endowment and The Edwin and Virginia Irwin Memorial, 1992.140, © Carl Solway Gallery.