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Reflexive Self at WEISS, Okay Mountain at FREIGHT+VOLUME

James Kalm is cycling down for the summer, but before being immersed in the art world doldrums, he ventures into Chelsea for one more Thursday night gallery crawl. "Reflexive Self" at Mike Weiss Gallery features a collection of images of the macabre. Large drawings by Dead Dads Corporation have the shocking presence of crime scene photos. Kim Dorland and Stefanie Gutheil peruse chunky colorful expressionism, while Marc Seguin leavens his austere canvases with conceptual content and blobs of oil paint and elicits a spontaneous diatribe from Daniel Larkin on his use of Hitler as subject. . Okay Mountain's "Benefit Plate" at Freight+Volume, is the latest offering by this Austin Texas based collective/gallery. These ten artists have received much attention for their whimsical humor combined with critical representations of American culture. Includes interviews with Carlos Rosales-Silva, Corkey Sink and Josh Rios.

The Tell-Tale Heart (Part 2) at JAMES COHAN GALLERY

Despite the summer heat, there's a chill of death emanating from the James Cohan Gallery with this presentation of "The Tell-Tale Heart (Part 2)". In this exhibition, curated by Elyse Goldberg, many of the works, produced by some of today's most recognized artists, deal with the transitory nature of flesh and the fragile state that we, the living, inhabit. Includes views of works by Maya Deren, Jesper Just, James Ensor, Kota Ezawa, Hanne Darboven, Dash Snow et al.


James Kalm is cruising around the nabes and captures a couple of interesting local happenings, most notably the de-installation of the controversial New Museum exhibition "Skin Fruit". Rolling north-west from the Bowery, we visit the gem like mini-retrospective "Trim" and Other Works 1967-2010 by a personal favorite, Jim Nutt. This show features three recent "portrait" paintings and a group of related drawings. But the real treat is a small but choice selection of amazing work from the past forty years. As one of the leading members of the Chicago group "Hairy Who" Nutt has sustained one of the most consistent and provocative careers within the eccentric figurative mode.

Kelli Williams at LEO KOENIG INC.

James Kalm makes a early summer trek to West Chelsea to imbibe in the latest selection of works by Kelli Williams. If the Marquee De Sade was living in New York, surfing the internet, indulging in high colonics and hanging out with Brooklyn hipsters while writing "The 120 days of Sodom" Williams would be a shoe-in for creating the illustrations. Her obsessively detailed and patterned works challenge nearly every hierarchical notion of propriety and decorum, while simultaneously extending a formerly unfashionable legacy of fantastical Feminist Surrealist painting.

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.

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.

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.

Joe Bradley and Chris Martin at Mitchell-Innes & Nash

James Kalm parks his bike, and slogs through a late winter blizzard to partake in the opening of this double show featuring two of contemporary paintings most exciting practitioners. Joe Bradley employs the trappings of high formalism, Minimalism and an austere vision leavened with a unique whimsy and humor, while we are presented with a chance to view some of the massive paintings that brought Chris Martin's work to the public's attention in the late eighties. The contrasting of these two sensibilities provides us a chance to witness the wide spectrum of today's painting practice.

Scott Richter New Work at ELIZABETH HARRIS

Scott Richter is an artist who has been pushing the limits and ideas of paint and painting for decades. After investigating the process of painting and mingling with elements of sculpture, this show displays a returning to the classic rectangle hung on a wall. Richter's canvases are luscious, physical and nuanced, with an undeniable presence that is satisfyingly memorable. Includes an interview with Scott Richter.

Inka Essenhigh: The New Old Age at 303 GALLERY

James Kalm pedals up to the opening of Inka Essenhigh’s most recent selection of paintings, “The Old New Age”. In these works the artist has concentrated on developing a sharp focus depiction of the natural landscape that surrounds her summer studio in Maine. Mingling a fantastic Surrealism with the romantic sublime, forest maddens and spirits in the mist appear to observant viewers. Includes an interview with Inka Essenhigh.

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