With over 500,000 page views per week, Artnet.com's gallery network is clearly a handy source of information for those in the know when it comes to contemporary art. One specialized use of the database is to check up on current exhibitions at galleries around the world. For example, clicking on the "opening date" button under "exhibitions" gives access to dozens of new shows in a day-by-day listing. What follows is a survey of some of the top artists with work on view this month.
Out in California, the Beverly Hills branch of Gagosian Gallery is exhibiting eight new paintings by Jeff Koons, Mar. 22-May 5, 2001, whose last solo show in L.A. was a remarkably distant 14 years ago -- in 1987. Koons' new paintings are constructed by piecing together computer-scanned images into a fragmentary, neo-Cubist collage of body parts, hairdos, landscapes, foodstuffs, animals, rhinestones and other elements.
Koons' work has always swung back and forth between an exaggerated sexuality and a pronounced naiveté, and these new works portray aspects of sex, need and desire through an adult's eye. As such, they engage in a dialogue with the artist's 1994 "Celebration" series, which featured toy and cartoon imagery inspired (no doubt) by Koons' love for his young son. Hyper-real and kitsch, his new work makes a point of depicting the familiar and reproduced female body in a space intruded upon by elements of abstraction -- painterly emblems from another artistic narrative -- revealing just how the artists work is "packed with an art-historical consciousness."
Zip halfway around the world to Switzerland to view the latest work of the celebrated German Neo-Expressionist Georg Baselitz, who is showing at Galerie Jamileh Weber in Zurich, Mar. 24-May 5, 2001. In his painting Der Weg nach oben (The way up), done in the artist's trademark upside-down style, Baselitz displays his feeling for tradition in his rendering of a version of the Bremen Town Musicians fairy tale, in which his atmospheric dripped line is contrasted with a carved, sculpted and painted frame.
Baselitz has made clear that this engagement with the past also entails a contemplation of his own history in Saxony. "I think it is about time to look again at my old belongings, my childhood drawings and schoolwork: the eagle soaring above the mountains, the twisted pine from Darss, the chalk landscape with tree and bridge, the dam at the end of a sandy pond, the view of Kamenz village, the pre-alpine highlands...." The result is a series of paintings that have both the sophistication and naïve charm of folk wisdom.
Zurich would seem to be the hot spot for catching shows by internationally renowned artists. Galerie Lutz and Thalmann has recent work by Jennifer Bartlett, Mar. 23-May 12, 2001. A recent addition to Artnet.com's gallery network, Lutz and Thalmann has put together a colorful demonstration of Bartlett's recent experiments with her classic imagery. Mixing the imagery of grid and house, Bartlett is using splatters of paint to bind layers of glass to steel plates into a vigorous, 3-D collage. As in her work since the 1970s, the artist combines painterly elements with narrative icons and Minimalist forms into very contemporary works.
Here in New York, a different language is employed by Robert Mangold, whose "Curled Figure Paintings" are on display at PaceWildenstein, Mar 23-Apr. 21, 2001. Retaining an almost Matissean linearity, these elegant, architectonic arabesques signal a new direction in Mangold's work -- though word is that the artist first got the idea to introduce arabesques into his usually geometric paintings some ten years ago, when he was working on his "Attic" series. Mangold's version of Minimalist painting has always combined rigorous reduction of means with a sensuousness of color and shape. Curiously, this new "curlicue" motif gives Mangold's painting a classicizing air, suggesting shorthand for the Corinthian column.
Mangold's work, with its archaizing symmetry, is not unrelated to the marble sculpture of the younger artist, Saint Clair Cemin, whose "New Work" is on view at Carrie Secrist Gallery in Chicago, Mar. 23-Apr. 28, 200. Cemin, who is widely regarded as one of the wittier and more challenging Postmodernist sculptors to emerge during the go-go 1980s, once described himself as "an artist down on the sidewalk with a basket, picking up all the good stuff the 20th century threw out of the window." Indeed, his works often occupy a kind of visual threshold between two separate forms, as the work Jacob and Angel, for instance, suggests a religious subject that has been rendered with all the biomorphic viscosity of a Henry Moore.
Allegory is seen by Cemin as a method that takes something already digested, at least superficially, and makes it pass as dream. This sense of the uncanny and undifferentiated comes to mind as well when looking at the mysterious southern landscapes of photographer Sally Mann. Seen in recent years in New York at Edwynne Houk Gallery, Mann's new work is now on view in "Deep South Photographs" at Galerie Karsten Greve in Paris, Apr. 7-May 3, 2000. Mann's landscapes are like primeval forests, in which foliage, mist and light coalesce into shimmering energy fields. These beautiful images are testimony to Mann's international reputation.
Among the other shows of top artists currently on view in the gallery center’s exhibition listing are Andy Warhol "Knives" at Sperone Westwater in New York, Douglas Gordon "Thirteen" at Gagosian Gallery in New York, David Levinthal "XXX Series" at Modernism in San Francisco and Brett Cook Dizney "New Work" at P.P.O.W. in New York.
CHRISTINA SHEARMAN is a writer and account coordinator at Artnet.com.