PHYLLIS ODESSEY

a guide with adroitness and design

The term “maneuver” denotes… a directed, or planned or controlled, set of decisions; a procedural, coordinated movement designed to gain a tactical end.  The exhibition, Maneuver at The Artists Institute, Hunter College is a tiny footnote in a small show that tries to elucidate the enduring legacy of Anni Albers.

Drawing from The New Yorker, Nov. 18, 2019.  “Weaving has existed since the Neanderthal age, when paintings were created in caves.  Yet for centuries textiles have been seen as the inferior medium.” from the New Yorker AT THE GALLERIES, Nov. 18,2019 issue

Polly Apfelbaum, Grey Scale 1

“Each of her paired wall hangings comprises a checkerboard, every unit of which limns a different abstract design mapped out in ink dots with the aid of a plastic stencil.  Randomly running the gamut of the dark/light spectrum, inflected with the accidents of manual application, they contest the conformity implicit in geometric order and standardization.” Lynne Cooke, Arthur and Carol Kaufman Goldberg Visiting Curator at Hunter College.

The earliest known representation of a loom – illustration the book On Weaving by Anni Albers.

Anni Albers

Ed Rossbach, Damask Waterfall, cotton welting  cord, commercial fabric, plastic, satin damask, wrapped, 36 x 36, 1977

This example by Ed Rossbach was one of the only examples of a textile artist that clung to the principles of hand-weaving in the Anni Albers tradition.  “…he brought a refined if irreverent inventiveness, framing radical non-conformity within an anthropologist’s disciplinary understanding.”  Lynne Cooke

Medieval Loom, 1310

Sarah Charlesworth

“Charlesworth, a Pictures Generations artist, rephotographed photographs of Scottish tartans, then enlarged each print to the point where its emergent dot screen vies with the textile’s interlaced warp and weft.” Lynne Cooke

Greek loom

“Happily, the useless old wall separating high art from craft is finally crumbling.” from the New Yorker, AT THE GALLERIES, Nov. 18, 2019. Based on The New Yorker call out, I unhappily ventured to The Artists Institute, Hunter College (132 east 65 street).  No matter how much you think you know about NYC; there is always another venue for art.

Either through lack of funding or an inferior network, Maneuver at The Artists Institute offers very little of visual interest.  On the other hand, the written introduction by Lynne Cooke, curator offers great insight into how to make connections (no matter how tenuous) between one pioneering artist and a group of contemporary artists.

Felix Vallotton (1865-1925) The Lie

At a venue known around the world (Metropolitan Museum of Art), an exhibition of a painter not well known:  Felix Vallotton: Painter of Disquiet.  His work ranges from traditional realism to the modernism of the “Nabis” to black and white woodblock prints to disturbing interiors.

“It’s always a man and a woman interacting in a more than slightly claustrophobic, bourgeoise interior, she explains.  “you never quite know what the relationship is, what the transaction is.  You always get the sense it is some kind of illicit relationship.”  Ann Dumas, curator of Felix Vallotton, Painter of Disquiet, Royal Academy, London 2019.

Felix Vallotton, La pEWAAW (Laziness) 1896

I prefer to look at the ART when I am at a show.  I generally ignore the written material  on the wall next to painting, drawing, sculpture, etc.  In this case, the printed card next to the work is worth reading.  It offers insight into the artist and his work.  The paintings may be unnerving, unsettling and voyeuristic, but I guarantee the viewer will feel ebullient at discovering someone new. Going to this show may be a maneuver worth making.

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