Arts Coverage and Review

August 19, 2017

11 + 4 + 1 + 1 = The Forever Now: Contemporary Painting in an Atemporal World at MoMA

Shrimp Peels & Hair

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I believe that’s eleven NY-based artists, four from LA, one Berlin and one London-based artist that comprise one of the season’s highly-anticipated shows,  The Forever Now: Contemporary Painting in An Atemporal World at the Museum of Modern Art.  Under the watchful eye of curator Laura Hoptman, the painting show highlights 17 painters (most of which are high-profile, mid-career artists with impressive pedigree) that hinge the show’s theme — Atemporality.

Joe Bradley

“A-temporality, or timelessness, manifests itself in painting as an ahistorical free-for-all, where contemporaneity as an indicator of new form is nowhere to be found, and all eras coexist.”

The chosen 17 are Richard Aldrich, Joe Bradley, Kerstin Brätsch, Matt Connors, Michaela Eichwald, Nicole Eisenman, Mark Grotjahn, Charline von Heyl, Rashid Johnson, Julie Mehretu, Dianna Molzan, Oscar Murillo, Laura Owens, Amy Sillman, Josh Smith, Mary Weatherford, and Michael Williams.

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A stacks of Kerstin Bratsch paintings tease guests at the entrance of The Forever Now: Contemporary Painting in an Atemporal World at MoMA – Photo Credit: Tony Mangle/Shrimp Peels & Hair

 

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Mary Weatherford – The Forever Now: Contemporary Painting in an Atemporal World at MoMA – Photo Credit: Tony Mangle / Shrimp Peels & Hair

According to the release:

The artists in this exhibition represent a wide variety of styles and impulses, but all use the painted surface as a platform, map, or metaphoric screen on which genres intermingle, morph, and collide. Their work represents traditional painting, in the sense that each artist engages with painting’s traditions, testing and ultimately reshaping historical strategies like appropriation and bricolage and reframing more metaphysical, high-stakes questions surrounding notions of originality, subjectivity, and spiritual transcendence. More.

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Mark Grotjahn – The Forever Now: Contemporary Painting in an Atemporal World at MoMA – Photo Credit: Tony Mangle/Shrimp Peels & Hair

 

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Nicole Eisenman – The Forever Now: Contemporary Painting in an Atemporal World at Moma – Photo Credit: Tony Mangle/Shrimp Peels & Hair

In my mind…I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall during the planning stage and artist selection/criteria for the show.  Perhaps there were a tad too many A-list art world faves.  It was great to see MoMA give nods to Matt Connors and the much-deserved Mary Weatherford, however, there could have been a few more of that ilk to balance it out.

Other Shrimp Peel observations:

  • Wonderful to see Mark Grotjahn’s weighty, sliced-up and complex “Face” paintings included in the survey.  I first saw them in 2011 at Anton Kern which and ba-loooo me away.
  • Such as smart placement for the wall of Joe Bradley’s “Schmagoo” (slang for heroin) paintings at the entrance of the show…sort of “in the beginning” hieroglyphics.  Also, if you look at my lead pix of this blog, the little girl in pink is so apropos to the simplicity of it all.
  • Hmmm, sooo many NY-based artists.  I guess we’ll never know if the 18th, 19th and 20th artists that didn’t make the cut were from Chicago, Portland or Atlanta…or perhaps Asia, South America or Canada, speaking of which…
  • How random that three artists (Matt Connors, Joe Bradley and Michael Williams) are listed on the Canada Gallery?  Like hitting the mega-ball gallery jackpot!

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Ole! Oscar Murillo – The Forever Now: Contemporary Painting in an Atemporal World at MoMA – Photo Credit: Tony Mangle/Shrimp Peels & Hair

 

  • I’m sure the Murillo devotees (code for collectors) can breathe a sigh of relief now that Murillo can check off MoMA in his back pocket.  At the Murillo’s corner of the show, I still remember the whiff of fresh oil paint from folks waving, rummaging and posing with his un-stretched canvases.  I too “participated” in the moment and got my “ole” on.
  • If I were newbie to the art scene and walked into the show, my take-away would be that the pulse of today’s contemporary art scene is all about abstraction.  While I love me a dose abstraction, the show felt anorexic in the areas of figurative (except for Nicole Eisenman’s lively portraits), representational and other painting styles.  If I played curator, I might have slipped in the likes of Jonas Wood, Ryan Mosely, Katherine Bernhardt, Ridley Howard and Angela Dufresne, just to name just a few.  Oh, and then there are paintings where not a drop of paint makes it on the canvas… Brent Wadden, Ayan Farah, Ethan Cook or Wyatt Kahn — but then again that might be another show all together.

The Forever Now: Contemporary Painting in an Atemporal World Show at MoMA runs thru April 5, 2015.  Here’s achecklist of the featured artwork.

 

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Dianna Molzan – The Forever Now: Contemporary Painting in an Atemporal World at MoMA – Photo Credit: Tony Mangle Shrimp Peels & Hair

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