Monthly Archives: October 2011


                                                                                                                                                          Untitled, Clown, Jesse Hill, 2011

I just returned from a weekend in NYC, where I visited the de Kooning retrospective at the MoMA. The show spans the great American painter’s rather massive and phenomenal oeuvre, taking up the entire 6th floor of the museum. Seeing all of his work together in one space makes it clear why he is considered to be one of the most important painters of the 20th century. What ravishing color, such imaginative and impeccable sense of design, offering one glorious masterpiece after another.

I also had time to check out a bit of the permanent collection, and saw some very fine Picabia paintings and a couple of Duchamp pieces in the Dada room I had never seen before, such as a cute little assemblage called To Be Looked at (from the Other Side of the Glass) with One Eye, Close to, for Almost an Hour, a mini version of an aspect of the great Large Glass.  The work shattered when it was first being transported to a gallery, an act which of course delighted Duchamp. I finally had to tear myself away to  head south to Wall Street to extend my support to the protesters for trying to make the world a better place, before schlepping back to Ithaca.

Now back, we’re occupied with preparing the gallery space for the final show of the season – a new series of paintings and sculpture by local artist Jesse Hill which goes up this week.  As you can see from the image above (untitled, clown, 2011)  Hill is quite a talented colorist in his own right. I like the East-meets-West vibe taking place in this picture, and the Zen painting within the painting that the figure (rodeo clown?)  is holding up to show us, and the way the whole scene appears to be rising up out of a sea of aquamarine waves crashing in the foreground.

I can’t wait to see more.

The opening reception is this Saturday from 6pm to late.

public art happening

I finally made it down to see the French muralist who has been creating such a buzz around town, and I’ll say it was well worth the hype.  Definitely stop and have a look the next time you’re driving down Green Street.  The piece is being created as we speak on the parking ramp outside City Hall, across the street from the public library.

Being reminded of Max Ernst every time one goes to pay a parking ticket is an accomplishment in itself, but this surrealist dreamscape is an absolute joy to behold and a welcome addition to Ithaca’s public art offerings. Hopefully there will be more of this to come.

final show of the 2011 season

big week at the Johnson

It’s an exciting week for Cornell’s Johnson Museum of Art, with the GRAND OPENING of the new wing taking place this Saturday. From 1 to 5pm they will be giving tours of all the new and renovated spaces, as well as the chance to meet the new director, Stephanie Wiles.

I have not yet been to see the newly renovated 5th floor which houses the Asian Art collection and offers breathtaking views from every angle – the fall foliage is beginning to pop in Ithaca so this should offer a stunning visual experience to say the least.

I look forward to checking it out, and I’m extremely excited about seeing the inaugural exhibit in the new wing featuring a series of paintings and drawings by five of the central figures of abstract expressionism – Adolph Gottlieb, Clyfford Still, Arshile Gorky, Mark Rothko, and Willem de Kooning – from the collection of Peter and Nancy Meinig, Cornell Classes of 1961 and 1962.  Sounds like a delightful way to spend a Saturday afternoon.

open season invitational

Although I was not able to attend the opening reception on Oct 1st, I had a chance to check out the new gallery space at the soon-to-be Standard Art Supply at 308 E. Seneca Street (next to The Shop) during Gallery Night last night, and see the rather phenomenal little group show that is currently up, curated by Kaleb Hunkele.

Titled ‘Open Season Invitational,’ the show features work by 13 artists, presenting a range of medium from painting and drawing to sculpture and assemblage, printmaking and photography and one charming work of video animation by Stella Salumaa.  The show offers an array of works by local artists including Josh Sperling, Stahl Caso, Hallie Lee, Kaya Donaj-Keys, Phoebe Aceto, Edith Fikes and Kaleb Hunkele, as well as an enticing collection of some really fine pieces by non local artists, creating a welcome artistic dialogue that is generally much lacking in Ithaca.

Standouts included Morgan Sims paper lithograph ‘Pepsi Coyote,’  a delightful homage to Joseph Beuys on brown paper,  Edith Fikes’ lush photo narrative and one that plays into the show’s title, which she describes as documenting her father’s experimentation with deer hunting in the backyard. Overall, the show is pulsating with good design, such as first generation Estonian-American artist Kristina Paabus, whose tantalizing screen prints combine elements of Francis Picabia with ancient tantric forms, and Josh Sperling’s newest creation, a magnificent circular canvas in shimmering gold with a splash of the brightest red across the surface.

This space is a breath of fresh air and a welcome addition to Ithaca’s downtown gallery scene.  And not to mention we will at last have a a place to purchase art supplies. Kaleb said that Standard Art should be open for business the first week in November.

For more information, visit Standard Art Supply on Facebook or email