Rough Magic

These are the times when I would practically sell my soul to still live within driving distance of NYC. The Joan Mitchell exhibit at Cheim and Read is still up until January 4th, but I’ll miss it. Loren Munk (aka the James Kalm report) posted his video walk-through on Facebook, which is reposted here for your viewing pleasure. These are Mitchell’s last paintings, a collection of thirteen from 1985 through 1992, the year she died. Not all the works are identified on the gallery site.

UNTITLED. Oil on canvas, 31 5/8 x 25 1/2 inches, 1989.

Trees. Oil on canvas diptych, 1990-91, 86.8 x 157.5 inches.

The Press release states: “Through her late work, she strived for immortality, for a merging with the timelessness and formlessness of nature”. I’m not sure she would agree with a lack of form in nature. Mitchell is quoted as saying, “I become the sunflower, the lake, the tree. I no longer exist.” 

Another milestone this week was sculptor John Chamberlain’s death at 84. The New York Times at least gives an elegant title to his obituary. The Washington Post titled their blog post ‘John Chamberlain, sculptor of crushed cars’. Maybe this is why they don’t compensate these writers.

“Kline gave me the structure,” he once said. “De Kooning gave me the color.”

Chamberlain notes in the interview: “I’ve found that Abstract Expression is really the only one you need”.

John Chamberlain, “HAWKFLIESAGAIN” (2010).

John Chamberlain, Glossalia Adagio, 1984. Painted and chromium-plated steel, 83 × 87 × 124 inches. Philadelphia Museum of Art, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. David N. Pincus, 2000. 125th Anniversary Acquisition

S, metal, 1959. In the Hirshorn Museum and Sculpture Garden.

One of Mr. Chamberlain’s works shown at the Gagosian Gallery in 2011.
Photo by Librado Romero/The New York Times; John Chamberlain/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

A retrospective of Chamberlain’s work, which the artist helped put together, will show at the Guggenheim museum in New York in February, also the venue of his first retrospective in 1971.

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2 Responses to Rough Magic

  1. Ali Hossaini says:

    Thanks for the tip on the Joan Mitchell show. I’ll try to see it next week. Happy holidays, Victoria, and thanks very much for your always informative blog!

  2. V says:

    Be sure to take photos, Ali. Happy holidays!

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