headlines | about |

James Kalm's blog

Martin Wong: Everything Must Go, P.P.O.W. Gallery

James Kalm pays a heartfelt tribute to one of the legendary artists of the East Village. From 1978 to 1987, a sleazy rundown neighborhood on the butt of Downtown Manhattan became the most exciting and controversial battleground in the art world struggles. A cadre of whacked-out disenfranchised artists, using their own wits and energy, grabbed the international spotlight and for a brief skuzzy moment, changed the course of history.

Martin Wong was an essential character within that milieu and it is fitting that on the tenth anniversary of his death this retrospective of his work is presented.

Mike Kelley Horizontal Tracking Shots at Gagosian

James Kalm sneaks into the Gagosian Gallery on the “down-low” to take a brisk tour of this recent group of paintings “Horizontal Tracking Shots” by Mike Kelley. Kelley uses the theatrical device of the “set” or “backdrop” as a coloristic ground on which to place his eccentric imagist paintings. These large planes of uninflected designer colors place the applied paintings into a context with high formalism, creating a complex dialog between the abstract and the eccentric.

Gerhard Richter: Abstract Paintings at MARIAN GOODMAN GALLERY

James Kalm slips in and records a brief walk-through of this exhibition by Gerhard Richter before he is bounced from the gallery. Richter is undoubtedly one of the most highly regarded painters of his generation and the current Godfather of the German Conceptual painting tradition. This show features works created since 2005 and debuts a series of large near monochromatic light gray paintings that represent an approach to Minimalism that further complicates the artists duel approach to his subjects. A room filling multi-panel piece “Sinbad” uses a technique of poured paint on the back of clear plastic panels and delivers a decorative impact that much previous work avoided.

Philip Guston: Small Oils 1969-1973 at MCKEE GALLERY

James Kalm is delighted to bring viewers along for a holiday stroll through this exhibition of small works by one of New York’s most influential painters. Executed during a five year period while Guston was developing his “Hooded Figure” and “Roma” series, these pieces show the concentration and focus the artists was bringing to his return to figuration. Divided into four categories - single objects, hoods, city scapes and studio interiors - these small pictures retain their power despite their size, and give testament to the high regard Guston maintains among young contemporary painters.


Due to popular demand - OK actually it was just editor Steven Kaplan’s request - I’m reposting this snippet of video from an expanded program that will appear soon on my “super page” at Babelgum.

Call me nostalgic, I prefer to think of it as interested in “history”, but this clip of Smithson and Holt gives us a great insight into the types of people they were, their habits (check out Smithson lighting his cigarette) and their dry sense of humor. “1969” is the kind of show that makes PS1 so essential to the New York arts dialog.

Robert Smithson and Nance Holt riff in an experimental video performance and we sneak a view at the exhibition within an exhibition, a re-staging of MoMA's 1969 exhibition, Five Recent Acquisitions, organized by noted curator Kynaston McShine, highlighting then-recently acquired works by Larry Bell, Ron Davis, Robert Irwin, Craig Kauffman, and John McCracken.

Robert Williams Conceptual Realism at TONY SHAFRAZI

James Kalm slides through this exhibition just before closing time to bring viewers a glance at works by one of today’s most influential “bad” painters. Robert Williams has been a presence on the West Coast art scene for decades. He came to my attention while I was still in high school as the artistic director of Ed “Big Daddy” Roth’s studio. There after, he teamed up with the likes of Robert Crumb and S. Clay Wilson as a contributor to the iconic Zap Comix. In 1979 he birthed and became the Godfather of “lowbrow” and, in 1994 founded JUXTAPOZ Magazine. His aesthetic encompasses Hotrod and surf culture the seamy side of Hollywood grudge, punk, hipster, slacker, and scuzz, the epitome of current “bad taste".

Pearlstein/Held: Five Decades at BETTY CUNINGHAM

James Kalm proffers kudos to the curator who came up with the idea of juxtaposing the works of these two master painters. Philip Pearlstein and Al Held inhabited and influenced the historic flow of the “New York School”. This exhibition contrasts major works from different periods reflecting the various interests of the times. Includes an interview with Philip Pearlstein.

Tracey Emin: Only God Knows I’m Good at LEHMANN MAUPIN

James Kalm is slumming on the Lower East Side when he comes across this opening. Tracey Emin is a founding member of the YBAs (Young British Artists) and represented Great Britain in the 2007 Venice Biennial. Featuring over 53 works in neon, film, sculpture, embroideries and monoprints, this extensive show continues the artist’s exploration and objectification of her own sexuality, lust, longing and desire.

Nicole Eisenman: New Paintings at LEO KOENING

James Kalm makes a pre-Halloween visit to bring viewers some tricks and treats from the painterly grab bag of Nicole Eisenman. Combining styles and techniques, Eisenman presents a series of large “Beer Garden” paintings that capture friends and inhabitants of this bohemian milieu. The pictures are rife with art historical references and show Eisenman’s regard for past masters like Picasso, Nolde and Ensor.

Jerry Saltz Seeing Out Louder, David Hockney New Paintings 2006-2009

James Kalm makes a pilgrimage of fandom to the book launch party for Jerry Saltz’s latest literary endeavor “Seeing Out Louder”. The sequel to “Seeing Out Loud”, this edition features reviews, essays, and thought pieces that display the wit and observational acuity that have established Saltz within the top fifty most influential individuals in the contemporary art world.

Syndicate content