Trenton Doyle Hancock’s exhibition “Pandemic Pentameter” is at James Cohan Gallery in New York through November 27. Hancock grew up in East Texas, in a deeply Christian family. “I’ve developed a perspective over the way that I grew up, the whole Christian background thing,” he told Artpulse in 2012. “I think about what are the good things that I could take from that rigor or that lifestyle and incorporate it into my studio practice. I think there’s still a little bit of residue left over. I don’t want to say guilt, but maybe the fear that’s a deep Southern Baptist, black Baptist thing. It’s definitely not guilt-based, it’s more fear-based. I think there’s something interesting to be said about making a painting that you can fear for yourself for having made it.”
Revisited is a series in which writers look back on a work of art they first encountered long ago. Here, Jen George revisits Balthus’s painting Thérèse Dreaming.
In Balthus’s painting Thérèse Dreaming, a young girl sits, face turned to profile, arms up, elbows out, hands rested on her head, legs a little open, underwear visible—a sort of clothed, daydreaming, preteen odalisque. She is at home in her youth. She has the countenance of someone who knows other things are coming, eventually. Maybe she knows what, though she probably doesn’t. Not like she needs to—experience comes from being alone in the world, and with time. When asked about the provocative poses of preadolescent girls in his work, Balthus said, “It is how they (young girls) sit.”
When I first saw Thérèse Dreaming, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, I stopped to sit. Maybe I’d been tired. I had been traveling cross-country with a counterfeit sixty-day Greyhound Ameripass—it allowed for unlimited bus travel within the U.S—and I had been smoking heavily and maybe not sleeping at all. I couldn’t stay all day in the Brooklyn apartment where I’d been sleeping, so most days I went to the Met, looking at art, spacing out, reading, sometimes staring at blank walls. It was inviting, the room and the painting. Thérèse’s skirt was like mine. My hair was longer. I liked her shoes. I liked that she was both in this room and not; she was dreaming, but I couldn’t see where she’d gone. Read More
- The airport is more than a place—it’s a state of mind. If you’re still wracked with anxiety and frustration whenever you head to JFK, be advised that the whole world is essentially an airport at this point, and it’s up to you to make peace with the essence of airportness. Christopher Schaberg writes, “Airportness transcends airports themselves. It has to do not so much with surface-level features such as sloping hallways and undulating rooflines but a host of more disparate effects that make air travel something humans can internalize and learn to live with. Airportness is how flight becomes natural to us, expected and accepted: contrails in the sky, layovers between flights … Airportness is all around us, exceeding not only airports but also air travel itself, perhaps even becoming a kind of proxy for what it means to be American. Airportness shifts from the derogatory to the sacrosanct, sliding from protected spaces to abject places.”
- You might’ve held off on reading Kierkegaard because you assume that, like most philosophical writing, his books are stiff, boring clumps of logical premises shouted at you by a dead white man. But you’re wrong. They’re unlike any other philosophical writing before or since. Will Rees explains, “John Updike famously argued that Kierkegaard’s works owe much to the art of novel-writing. After all, they are written by and about fictional characters whose worldviews they attempt to occupy from within. In a way that would please the contemporary teacher of creative writing, Kierkegaard does not tell—he shows. But we mustn’t get carried away; we do Kierkegaard a disservice if we simply appreciate his books. By departing from the normal philosophical form, they arguably tighten rather than slacken the demand on our attention, because arguments are present, but one must search for them, and often they reside in what Kierkegaard’s characters do not or cannot say—in the implicit gaps in their imperfect world views.”
The below is excerpted from Flooded Penthouse, a book by the painter Margaux Ogden and the writer Hunter Braithwaite, launched to commemorate Ogden’s new exhibition at Puerto Rico’s Embajada, a gallery in a former sex-toy shop. The show, “Nothing Had Yet Been Sacrificed,” takes its title from Luc Sante’s line about the young Bob Dylan—“Everything seemed possible then; no options had been used up and nothing had yet been sacrificed.”
Much as a relationship grows from a mulch of moments, these drawings are built up on a ground of notes, numbers, lists. Small bills, pocket change. Doing so causes a slight impropriety to arise, not only because it’s so decidedly un-art (or, depending on how much Rauschenberg you looked at when you were younger, too-art) but because the pocket scraps are exhibitionist. Stored in our pants, folded tight against ourselves, they reveal how we pass our days: what we plan to buy, how much we paid for it, how we check off the world. Read More
Recently, thanks to heavy wait times at the twenty-four-hour Genius Bar on Fifth Avenue, I found myself killing an evening at the Plaza with nothing to read but the galleys of a book of art criticism, How to See, by the painter David Salle. It turned out to be perfect company—witty, chatty, intimate, sharp. And slightly exotic (at least for this reader): you rarely see novelists write so knowingly, on a serious first-name basis, about each other’s work. Soon I was dog-earing and drawing lines in the margins next to favorite passages, as for example:
On recent paintings by Alex Katz:
Some of the color has the elegance and unexpectedness of Italian fashion design: teal blue with brown, black with blue and cream. You want to look at, wear, and eat them all at the same time.
Amy Bennett’s exhibition “Time Speeds Up” is showing in New York at Ameringer McEnery Yohe through October 8. Bennett, who works in Beacon, New York, paints her landscapes after dioramas she’s painstakingly constructed at a 1/500 scale. She carves valleys and rivers into Styrofoam and freckles the map with wooden houses and wiry trees; over time, she adds farmland, grocery stores, and schools. “The creation and gradual alterations of these models allow Bennett to indulge a novelistic sensibility,” Eleanor Heartney writes in an essay to accompany the exhibition. “The settings she selects are precisely those in which the American ideals of freedom and security clash.”