Sunday, January 30, 2005

More about Oli Shivonen

As it turns out, you can see more images by Oli Shivonen at the Canfield Gallery site. The more I see by this painter the more I am entranced and excited. Oli hailed from Brooklyn and the Canfield Gallery is in Santa Fe, so there is really a lot more here than meets the eye, although what meets the eye is absolutely right on.

OLI SIHVONEN (1921-1991)

An American exponent of the theories of German Bauhaus painting, Oli Sihvonen was born in Brooklyn of Finnish ancestry. Sihvonen began formal art education at the Norwich Connecticut Art School, then attended classes at the Art Students League in New York City. After WW II he studied at Black Mountain College with the painter Josef Albers, who had directed the Bauhaus school in Germany in the 1930s and was associated with the painters Klee and Kandinsky.

Don't forget to see the Josef and Anni Albers show "Designs for Living" at the Cooper Hewitt before it closes on Feb. 17th. I become a real fan of Bauhaus textiles in general and Anni Albers in particular. check back for a review of this show in the next week or so.

Saturday, January 29, 2005


The current exhibition of BECKMANN-PICASSO/PICASSO-BECKMANN has been extended for two weeks which will give me the time to see the show and post a review. Look for it here in the next few days. After having our appetites whetted at the magnificant Matisse/Picasso exhibit and the Max Beckman show at the MoMA Queens, it seems only fitting and oddly familiar to see these two giants paired together toe-to-toe on Manhattan soil.

Richard L. Feigen & Co. and Jan Krugier Gallery are pleased to announce a major collaborative exhibition Beckmann-Picasso/Picasso-Beckmann on view from October 30 to January 31 at the premises of Richard L. Feigen & Co., 34 East 69th Street. The exhibition is comprised of over 20 paintings and an extensive selection of prints and drawings by these two powerful masters of the 20th century. The juxtaposition of these works from the inter-war, Second World War, and postwar periods throws into relief two distinct styles, trajectories, and personalities, and highlights some of their shared formal and thematic concerns.

Read more about this exhibit.

Saturday, January 22, 2005

Painting Senses: Oli Shivonen @ sandra gering gallery

Walking down 22nd Street after a particularly grueling game of NYC basketball at Chelsea Piers, I stopped to see a group of paintings that had attracted my eye. Those same eyes rolled up inside my head as I took in these vaguely familiar (as in “Oh No, not more repetitive DULL and hackneyed minimalist rip-off paintings”) hard-edged, square color-field paintings in the vein of the “Homage to the Square” series by Josef Albers.

I almost did a quick about-face like the one I do whenever some fool turns on a Powerpoint slide show at a trade show but then I stopped dead in my tracks. BOOM! POP! Zap! My eyes were hyper-stimulated and my cynical self dropped away in the face of the sheer electric kool-aid acid test overload in my optic nerves. These paintings were, in fact, the real deal. Who was this guy? When were they painted?

Turns out, Oli Shiven was a student of Albers (he had been to the mountain) and these were the received wisdom passed on to us. Painted in the late seventies, these paintings were alive with kinetic energy and infinite space to spare. Reproduced images can’t compare to seeing these paintings up close and personal, take my word for it. Rare are the paintings that can to bring you to your senses.

In looking back on the 3x3 series in 1979, Sihvonen felt that he had "explored the notions of multi-temporality: Flow, rhythm, beat, growth... etc., and found that these different manifestations of temporal phenomena could co-exist within an art work." This analysis perfectly describes the experience of viewing these dynamic canvases.
-from the sandra gering gallery

Next on my list is the Josef and Annni Albers show at the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005


Typographics by Hans Andersson

No. 7 and No. 8 are animated.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Still to Be Seen: Picasso, Beckman, Albers, FLW

What's Left to See:
Frank Lloyd Wright: The Vertical Dimension @the Skyscraper Museum , through Jan. 9. Last chance to see this show before it closes.

@Richard Feigen & Co. 34 E.69th St. through Jan. 31. Two giants in a tete-a-tete.

Jacob Lawrence's War Series @ the Whitney Museum
Through Jan. 31.

Josef and Anni Albers: Designs for Living @ the Cooper Hewitt through Feb. 9. The Bauhaus is Dead! Long Live the Bauhaus!

What to Read:

I recently finished Ada Louise Huxtable's biography of Frank Lloyd Wright, a concise and compelling overview of the “greatest Architect of all time”.

Tom Wolfe’s “I Am Charlotte Simons”
While Tom can be a might turgid at times, I still savor his turns-of-phrases, bon mots and outragous-ness.

Saturday, January 01, 2005

Mondrian Fights Back!

With all the hoopla over the latest incarnation of Mondrian on the web (Pac-Mondrian), I went searching for the real thing
and discovered “The Transatlanic Paintings” web site.
It just doesn’t get better than this. This site features photomicrographs taken with a 35-mm camera mounted on the microscope, photomacrographs, infra-red photographs and details of the 17 paintings which the Dutch Master re-worked after his move to New York City.

As a student of Harry Holtzman in the early seventies, I gained my earliest introduction to Mondrian, abstract and modern art in general.
If you have some time to browse, check out this overly obsessive collection of "Mondriana".