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Trudy Benson at FREIGHT+VOLUME, Who's Afraid of Ornament at NURTURE ART

James Kalm believes in the serendipity of fate, and sometimes, despite the best laid plans, ends up turning on the camera and capturing intriguing happenings. Such was the case when he popped into view a debut exhibition by Trudy Benson. The artist uses thick slabs of oil paint in coloristically rich pictures that verge on relief. Trudy discusses her "fetishization" of paint, and her painterly influences in a brief chat.

Heading east we visit NURTUREART to partake in the opening of "Who's Afraid of Ornament?" curated by Natasha Kurchanova. This show investigates decoration and ornament and bares testament to the reemergence of the Pattern & Decorative movement from the late seventies.

Shepard Fairey May Day at DEITCH PROJECTS

James Kalm attempts to visit Shepard Fairey's May Day exhibition, the final show at this location of the Deitch Project. However, the crowds are too thick to get in the door, so your reporter documents some of the goings-on outside the gallery including a brief chat with Mark Kostabi, and the arrival of a motorcycle gang. A few days later, Kalm returns to tour the exhibition at an opportune time, without the mobs, for a better viewing of the art.

Edward Kienholz’s Roxys at DAVID ZWIRNER

James Kalm schmoozes his way into the exclusive private debut of Ed Keinholz's installation "Roxys". This major piece is an artistic representation of a classic brothel. The interior space is populated with sculptural elements and period furnishings.

William Graef "Tread" and Rick Prol "Break Out"

ENGLISH KILLS Three Year Anniversary

James Kalm brings revelers along for the celebration of English Kills three year anniversary. Having been witness to much of this energetic milieu's production since its inception and, taking into consideration the current recession, this milestone is admirable and Kalm congratulates them. As one of the earliest and most ambitious galleries in the MoJo neighborhood (between the Morgan and Jefferson Streets stops on the L line in Brooklyn), English Kills has exhibited work by: Andrew Ohanesian & Tescia Seufferlein, Don Pablo Pedro, Peter Dobill, Lenny Reibstein, Brent Owens, Andrew Hurst, Andy Piedilato, Steve Harding, Holly Faurot & Sarah H. Paulson and others.

Amy Sillman, Anna Sew Hoy at SIKKEMA JENKINS & CO.

James Kalm wheels into Chelsea to sample the exhibitions of Amy Sillman and Anna Sew Hoy. If anyone was to be put forth as an example of where the current state of the "New York School" is, Amy Sillman qualifies. Her luscious and physical use of paint, strong drawing, strange figurative fragments and an adherence to the legacy of Ab-Ex have given her a local cult-like following as well as international recognition. Anne Sew Hoy mixes masterly craft skills with an appreciation of the suburban abject, rendered in the ubiquitous materials of denim, ceramics and shades.

Wilhelm Sasnal at ANTON KERN

James Kalm is curious to see how the paintings of Wilhelm Sasnal stack up to the international hype attendant to this painter. In this brief visit, viewers can judge for themselves, as we see examples of Sasnal's wane landscapes, limp faceless figure studies and slight text works that also incorporate references to his use of pigment and other substances to create a material and textural presence. Sasnal was featured in a cover story in ARTFORUM, has received strong support from Charles Saatchi and was also featured in "Cave Painting II" curated by Bob Nickas.

Jules de Balincourt "Premonitions" at DEITCH

James Kalm is back in Soho at the Deitch Project for what might be the last exhibition in this location. As a longtime fan, it's a pleasure to bring viewers a bit of what is, to this point, the most ambitious painting show from this influential young artist. Combining odd scenes depicting a strange tropical vacation resort or ribbon strewn and pixilated versions of near abstract figures, these paintings are a mélange of techniques with a rich and sensitive palette, and intriguing textual headings. De Balincourt has been included in several noteworthy recent exhibitions including shows at PS1 and the Saatchi Gallery.

Monumental Piccolini at LA VIOLA GALLERY

James Kalm brings viewers a brief tour of "Monumental Piccolini", a provocative show highlighting current abstraction by contrasting the ambitious scale of classic "New York School" works with the more modest productions of contemporary practitioners. One of the contentions of curator Jennifer Riley was that, due to market forces, monumental works are being ignored by galleries. It's hoped that by creating a dialog between works, scales and generations the sphere of formalist abstraction will display its vibrancy. Includes interviews with Craig Fisher and Jennifer Riley.

Marlene Dumas Against the Wall at DAVID ZWIRNER

James Kalm recovers from St. Patrick's Day with a visit to the latest exhibition of works by controversial artist Marlene Dumas. Since 2005, when one of her paintings set a record for attaining the highest price ever paid at auction for a work by a living female artist, Dumas has become a lightning rod for criticism. Dumas's "Against the Wall" uses the image of the wall as a metaphor of the intractable and tragic situation present in the Middle East, and contrasts the political and spiritual implications of what these structures portend.

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