The Great Fires


January 5 - February 11, 2018

Katherine Bernhardt  at CANADA



Katherine Bernhardt Let's It Rip

Katherine Bernhardt's "GREEN", which closes tomorrow at CANADA, continues to show her fearlessly flexing her muscle and painterly prowess in unexpected ways.  Bernhardt's ability to democratize and juxtapose seemingly any and all objects on the planet is simply masterful.  But what might be missed by focusing on scale (with some canvases as long as 26 feet), and the myriad of images she deploys, is her evolving application of paint which continues to feel deeper and more nuanced, garnering more weight each time she comes around. 

Refreshing are the viscerally vibrant stains and colorful drips that make this show so exiting to see.  In works like "Climate Change" and "Nike, Ñ, Garfield", both from 2017, the figure/ground relationship is so much more blurred, and concerned with the experience of traveling through the work, than ever before.  Bernhardt is among a list of amazing women and standard bearers, some who are now getting their just due, who remind us to let it rip, and let the freak flag fly. 

See it for yourself.   




Safe gallery, brooklyn, NY

January 10 - February 11, 2018

John Newman

at Safe Gallery

   curated by Dan Nadel     



On the Radicality of
John Newman

Walking into Brooklyn's Safe Gallery on the final weekend of John Newman's show (covering 35 years of his career from 1982-2017), was an absolute riot.  The exhibition is spare and better for it: consisting of ten sculptures, four large-scale drawings, and an installation of 65 recent works on paper, one for each year of the artists's life.  It is clear Newman's work demands space to understand the radicality of spirit thundering throughout this exquisite show.   

In "The foggy lens needs adjustment" from last year, the work is astounding for the variety of disparate and seeming odd and incongruous pairing of materials: blown acrylic, obsidian sphere, rusted forged steel, wood, foam, papier-mâché, and acqua resin with acrylic paint.  So, space is important here.  The real power is the work's ability to bring you in close, engaging you in a wonderful call and response between art and the body.  

"The foggy lens", like the nearby piece "Headhunters", from 2008, is in a continual dance of unraveling itself.  You'll find yourself moving and twerking around the work, mimicking curves and elaborate movements, while it simultaneous denies you the ability to narrow down its meaning.  Here is the joie de vivre attitude I am sure had viewers dancing and cheering (admiring Newman's innovative and productive output), as his career moves forward with renewed power, clarity, and unwavering optimism. 

Congrats to Dan Nadel for curating such a beautiful show.

See it all here



Sharpe-walentas STudio program

brooklyn, NY

February 27, 2018

Derek Fordjour



SHARPE-WALENTAS studio program, Brooklyn, NY 

Studio Visit: Derek Fordjour

The culture of visiting artist studios in New York is very special. So much of it is about rallying each other on, and providing a space for artists to bounce critical ideas about their work; but it is also about something larger than the work in the studio.

Today, I visited Derek Fordjour who is currently doing a one year residency at the Sharpe-Walentas Studio Program in Dumbo. I was excited about getting into a deep discussion about his practice; his beautiful and still talked about installation "UPPER ROOM" at Robert Blumenthal Gallery in 2015, and his recent installation at Sugar Hill Children's Museum, which just came down last month.

What I hoped would be a talk about his work, Derek turned around and asked about me, and kept his focus there. Derek didn't have to do that, but he did. We talked about art, culture, the market, and how we personally navigate these structures as brothers of black and brown skin. Only at the end did we sneak in and exchange a few lines about Derek's work and his upcoming projects. Today, Derek gave me more than just his time and his ear. He carved out a space for me. And I am grateful.

Check out Derek's work here: 

To learn more about the Sharpe-Walentas Studio Program visit: 






FEBRUARY 27, 2018

Martha Tuttle




Studio Visit: Martha Tuttle

After visiting Derek Fordjour's studio at the Sharpe-Walentas Studio Program yesterday, we ran into an artist who was making their way to a sink to wash off a brush. In a quick exchange, Derek introduces her but I don't catch her name. "Here is another up and coming artist" is all hear. I asked if I could visit her studio, and serendipitously end up having another great visit.

We talked about the sensitivity with which she uses silk, wool, coal, iron, paper, clay, and other materials; and pondered over the question: at what scale is intimacy lost or gained? It's not so fixed, is it?

We talked about biography; an artist's personal history and relationship to materials; briefly questioned and acknowledged the agency of abstraction in today's increasingly tumultuous world. All of this happened, without knowing each other's names, just from looking at the work. It was only until I asked if I could take a picture, and exchange contacts, did I learn I was speaking with Martha Tuttle. With the pink sticky note she gave me in hand, it all made sense, and I gave her a hug.

Thanks to Derek Fordjour and Martha Tuttle for incredibly inspiring visits yesterday.  Martha Tuttle currently has a solo show at Tilton Gallery which runs through March 10th.