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Urs Fischer: Marguerite de Ponty at the NEW MUSEUM

James Kalm braves fall showers and trains his way to the Bowery’s New Museum for the first major museum exhibition by Urs Fischer. Lionized as one of contemporary art’s most distinctive talents, Fischer earned the New York spotlight in 2007 by cutting a hole in the floor of Gavin Brown’s Enterprise and digging out tons of dirt leaving a gaping crater for visitors to climb into and explore. As an astute observer of spatial perception, and a master of digital technology with a mischievous sense of humor, the artist uses the most advanced commercial printing techniques to tweak space and challenge “reality”.

Steven Charles “The Upstairs Room” at MARLBOROUGH GALLERY

James Kalm treks into Marlborough Chelsea for the second one-man show by the eccentric abstract painter Steven Charles. Three days earlier, your reporter biked to West Harlem for an impromptu studio visit and interview with the artist. Charles discusses his recent investigations of figurative subject matter and accumulative sculpture.

So You Think You Know Painting?

Well known curator Bob Nickas has spent several months visiting studios in L.A., New York, London, Paris and Berlin and he’s selected a group of works that exemplify his version of where abstract painting is today. "Cave Painting" is the second in a three part series of exhibitions presented in conjunction with the publication of his new book Painting Abstraction by Phaidion Press. Presented in the unusual space of the basement of 511 West 25th Street, this show will no doubt be controversial, and should give the painting pundits many topics of debate. Includes an interview with Gresham’s Ghost Director Ajay Kurian.

Jack Pierson: Abstraction at CHEIM & READ

James Kalm makes a walking tour through the recent exhibition of Jack Pierson. Known for his poetic wall constructions in which he uses found letters from commercial roadside signage, this new body of work investigates the formalistic aspect of these shapes without regard for their linguistic meaning. The resulting accumulations resemble totems or snippets of calligraphy. The weathered and faded surfaces evoke a romantic nostalgia yet Pierson’s arrangements remain elegant, humorous and formally satisfying.

Frank Stella Polychrome Relief at PAUL KASMIN

James Kalm has been watching the work of Frank Stella since his days as a student in the Far West. This icon of New York Modernism presents “Polychrome Reliefs” as his statement of where painting is today. Though not properly reliefs, nor paintings, these extravagant works employ the latest in high tech composites, stainless steel and lustrous lacquers. These works juxtapose curving organic forms with pierced and engineered struts and ribbing, contrasting the mechanical with the romantic and continuing Stella’s theoretical investigations of color and form. With appearances by Kenny Scharf, Irving Sandler, Adam Weinberg, Mark Kostabi and of course Stella.

Kara Walker and Mark Bradford at SIKKEMA JENKINS & CO.

James Kalm makes a must see stop for this double bill during the 2009 season opening night in Chelsea. Both Kara Walker and Mark Bradford have gained recognition for their work with paper, cut silhouettes for the former and grand scaled collage for the latter. Walker weaves a narrative derived from the history of slavery and repression, while Bradford imbues his work with an abject elegance capturing the essence and life of contemporary urban neighborhoods. Includes an interview with Kara Walker discussing her views on the painterly direction of some recent work.

Allan Kaprow's "Yard" Reinvented by William Pope.L at Hauser & Wirth

James Kalm climbs to the top of the pile of tires in this “reinvention” of Allan Kaprow’s Yard at the debut exhibition of Hauser & Wirth New York. William Pope.L adds his own narrative text using a Barack Obama imitator, and flashing lights in this restaging. Upstairs we tour an in depth collection of posters, prints and documentation tracing the historic arc of this “Happening” which was originally created in this very location in 1961.

Georgia O’Keeffe: Abstraction, Whitney Museum

James Kalm partakes in the press preview for this icon of American Modernism. Over twenty years in the making, this exhibition surveys the lesser known but perhaps more profound side of O’Keeffe’s work, her abstraction. Beginning with her discovery and eventual relationship with Alfred Stieglitz in 1916, O’Keeffe was thrust to the stratosphere of the New York art scene. She was at the forefront of pursuing a type of organic abstraction that Stieglitz championed as America’s contribution to Modernism. Examples of O’Keeffe’s paintings covering nearly fifty years of development are on view. Includes brief statements by Director Adam D. Weinberg and the curatorial team lead by Barbara Haskell, Barbara Buhler Lynes and Sasha Nicholas.

Goldberg Variations

Glenn Goldberg Correction

The Plot Thickens

The Plot thickens.

I’ve now been asked by Jim Rutman from Sterling Lord Literistic Inc. to remove the Dave Hickey lecture videos. I have no idea who Jim Rutman is, or what his relationship to Dave Hickey is, but I am taking this all under advisement. I still intend to write Mr. Hickey a letter regarding this matter. Mr. Rutman's letter appears below.

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