In Walks: Considering Kiefer

Anslem Kiefer has been called one of the great artists of our time, Germany’s greatest living artist and has been on the scene larger than life since the 70s. I began asking myself what makes for a “Great” artist?

Is it the 10,000 hours of working at something that Malcolm Gladwell suggests it takes a person to become a master? Is it the volume of work, having a compulsion, a personal vision, a burning idea which one feels compelled to impart, an innate ability or a learned craft? Is it a taking on of the mantel of one’s generation or one’s country? Is it planned out as a strategy, which seems suspiciously like what some of our Big Box artists today seem about (and is that bad, or just big business)? What about intimate art? What about art that doesn’t bash boundaries but is innovative in its honesty?

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The Invitational

The American Academy of Arts and Letters’ “Invitational Exhibition of Visual Arts” opened on March 4th and runs through April 12th. The 250 Academy members look at contemporary American art and find about 150 artists who they nominate. These artists are then narrowed down to this year’s participants by a committee of 10 who choose those to be included his years show. 37 were chosen. The curator Souhad Rafey, then working with the artists, picks the work to be included based on their input and her own vision for the exhibit. – See more at:

Three Correlations WB 2014

Authors: Yuko Otomo  –  Christine Hughes – Randee Silv

By various estimates there are between 60 and 300 biennials worldwide, and the number seems to be growing daily. Each biennial (which is by definition a show of contemporary art) has at least one curator, usually more. Where are all these curators coming from? And what is their role in the current art market? – See more at:

Three Correlations: Jess & Duncan

Authors: Yuko Otomo  –  Christine Hughes – Randee Silv

“Best minds of my generation”* some of them
“angelheaded hipsters”* most of them
missing persons,
missing pieces needed from persons present.
graphic work, paintings needing cleaning.
romanticism, mysticism, wisdom.
palettes formed by crayon colors, by muted mystery,
by yellowing newspapers.
ephemera, glimpsing genius. – See more at:

In Walks: John Davis Gallery

Review & Interview

I spent a very cold January morning this week at the John Davis Gallery in Hudson speaking to John about his life, work, past and upcoming shows at his gallery. This gallery for me is one of a handful that I can count on for seeing a show of interest. The work may not always be to my liking, but it is always high caliber.

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A Moment in Time

The Photography of Donald Vega

Elsewhere Café

This exhibit of over 30 black and white photographs done by Donald M. Vega is a stunning example of ordinary characters frozen in both time and in their own emotional worlds.

“Vega”, as he prefers to be called, has lived in the East Village of New York for the past 15 years. The pieces he has chosen for this exhibit have all been shot within blocks of his residence on East 6th Street. He did a tour of his show this evening. Vega, as we learned, studied at The Brooks Institute of Photography in Santa Barbara in the 70s. He moved to NYC directly afterwards with a sound knowledge of all the technical skills and the trained eye of a pro. He spent the next 20 years working in the field of high fashion, along side many of the top fashion photographers including Steven Meisel and Jacques Malignon.

These photos have a visual texture as rich as the characters he has chosen to study. His whites are sculptural; his blacks are full of detail. Each piece does have the full range of tone, white to black and seven shades of gray in between. These are photos shot using a wide range of cameras from a 1930’s Leica to a panoramic Polaroid.

Vega always printed up all his own work preferring to change the carrier, which holds the negative to print each picture individually. Sometimes creating the effect of a black rim border, or showing the sprockets and picture number on others.

All the work in this exhibit is figurative. He seems to be interested in creating a complex composition almost always with a contextual setting, many with reflections of the surrounding buildings. His characters, even if they are celebrities, seem to be existing in a space either physically or emotionally confining them uncomfortably.

His photos seem an interesting juxtaposition of visually rich and skilled photography chops and the grimier, earth-bound side of humanity.

The show remains up until January 3rd at Elsewhere Café 335 East 6th Street, NYC.