• Aesthetics
  • Willing Magic

    Agnes Martin at Dia:Beacon The etymology of the term “jaded” surprised me. It has been traced back to a 14th century Middle English word for a worn-out horse, one that can no longer pull a cart or work the fields. It is about being wearied, exhausted, spent, bored, out of juice. While the roots of […]

  • Art Making
  • Sunging

    Image of a house on a mountain top, Sung Dynasty Guston could easily play with the notion that the working artist aspired to be a demigod and, as such, would have to experience a peculiar kind of hubris—Guston’s own idiosyncratic hubris. This was one of his most distinctive leitmotifs, expressed in another way when he […]

  • Poetry
  • Enduring the Mystery

    A close up view of Candara, from a painting series inspired by space and planetary bodies 1. Tina says what if dark matter is like the space between people When what holds them together isn’t exactly love, and I think That sounds right—how strong the pull can be, as if something That knows better won’t […]

  • Noncanonicals
  • The Noncanonicals

    Lenore Tawney, “A Wreath for Lillian,” 1969 My view of how art history is assembled and canonized was changed inexorably after seeing Pacific Standard Time in Los Angeles last fall.* The Getty’s outrageously ambitious and sensationally successful mega-exhibit about Southern California art between 1945-1980 featured 1300 artists at over 200 museums and art galleries. Many […]

  • Art Making
  • Doubting and Other Chance Encounters

    Alexander Trauner, Street scene in Paris, 1930 (Photo: Trauner Estate) The Surrealists were fascinated by chance, by the spontaneous event that might unlock the unconscious. They wandered the streets and let those chance encounters play out. André Breton‘s novel Nadja is based on just such a random encounter, and the character Nadja quickly comes to […]

  • Current viewings
  • Color as the Breath of Bodies

    Kathy Butterfly, Pillow Sue Williams, Color Pile Figuring Color at the ICA features works by Kathy Butterly, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Roy McMakin and Sue Williams. The intent of the exhibit is to explore the use of color and form to speak to the body: McMakin’s brightly colored and quirky sculptures address the human form; Butterly describes […]

  • Aesthetics
  • Living Outside Interpretation

    From “The Return” (Photo: Nathaniel Dorsky) Manohla Dargis has written a stop-in-your-tracks kind of piece about the filmmaker Nathaniel Dorsky in the Sunday Times. His rhapsodic appreciation of a body of work completely captured me even though I have never had the oppoortunity to see any of Dorsky’s films. (His book, Devotional Cinema, is now […]

  • Aesthetics
  • Lawrence Rinder: Speaking My Language

    Lawrence Rinder (Photo by Ben Blackwell) I was introduced to the writing of Lawrence Rinder through his very unexpected and engaging introduction to the book Tantra Song (and written about previously on Slow Muse here and here.) Although he comes to art writing with serious credentials (he was the curator for the 2002 Whitney Biennial), […]

  • Art Buying
  • Going Direct

    Moira Dryer In the last few weeks I have had a number of conversations with artists and gallerists (using that term freely) about changes that are coming at us, each with its own velocity. Some are moving like a sea change, some are seismic. But the old forms are morphing, of that I am certain. […]

  • Aesthetics
  • An Enormous Absence to be Filled

    What catches the eye and entices the imagination is a mystery. What snags me and holds my attention is often a surprise. Why does India endlessly compel? Why are fluid dynamics and ferrofluids so mesmerizing? The landscape of the desert, what is it about that barrenness that keeps pulling me in? And what is it […]