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"Joe Zucker: Armada" in The Brooklyn Rail

Joe Zucker: Portrait of the artist. Pencil on paper by Phong Bui.

"Joe Zucker: Armada," the exhibition I organized at The National Arts Club, is reviewed by Harrison Tenzer in The Brooklyn Rail

Joe Zucker has avoided the limitations of working in a cohesive style, instead embracing logic to produce diverse bodies of work that seek to unite subject, technique, material, and support. From his cotton-ball paintings depicting the ills of slavery with the very commodity that fueled the trade in human flesh to his lake paintings, the result of paint being poured and hardening in a shallow container to create monochrome works about their own creation, Zucker constantly intertwines art history with practical craft, logic, and wit. Much has been written about this formal and conceptual balancing act, but relatively little attention has been paid to Zucker’s subject matter in itself. Armada, the recent retrospective of his works on paper and studies from the 1970s to the present that feature nautical themes curated by James Panero offers an opportunity to consider a specific topic that has proven particularly fruitful to Zucker over the decades: piracy. 

Read the full review here. 

What can the tech bubble learn from the art bubble?


James writes:

What can the tech bubble learn from the art bubble? I offer some thoughts in this piece by Gary Sernovitz in The New Yorker.

The art world knows about prices floating ever higher on abstraction and hope. The resonances aren’t completely coincidental. Both venture capitalists and art buyers are in the business of valuing the invaluable. Both stake their reputations on exquisite selection. Both nurture talent before it can support itself. Both have a soft spot for youth, for unbowed ego, for the myth of solitary genius, for the next new thing. Both operate in a world of frustratingly limited information and maddeningly unpredictable success. Both depend on consumer culture while holding themselves superior to it. And both the art market and venture investing have become increasingly winner-take-all games, with more clout to the companies and artists backed by the most powerful dealers or venture capitalists.

Complete article here.


Critic's Pick: Steve Mumford at Postmasters


Steve Mumford, "Anbar" 2016, oil on linen, 60 x 96 inches

James writes: 

My Critic's Pick this week- “Steve Mumford: Recent Paintings,” at Postmasters (Through June 18)

For Steve Mumford, the politics of war are personal. As an artist embedded with the U.S. military over a ten-year period in both Afghanistan and Iraq, Mumford creates latter-day history painting for latter-day conflicts. His focus is not on some triumphant leader crossing the Alps but the full range of people caught up in the tide of war.

Steve Mumford, "Trisha and Brian at Camp X-Ray, Guantanamo," 2016, oil on canvas, 120 x 192 inches (10 x 16 feet)

Now at Postmasters through June 18, Mumford is showing his latest compositions—drawn from numerous field studies—that tell their stories in a scale ranging from the small to the cinematic.

Looking for the tiniest clues—from the details of clothing to one’s pose and expression—Mumford’s photorealism brings the unseen people of war into sharper focus than any photograph.

Steve Mumford, "Female Barracks (study)," 2016, oil on linen, 24 x 24 inches