Favorite

Finding little in the minimal 

But much in to like in 'Multiplicity' and '50 for Arkansas.'

click to enlarge VESSEL BY MICHAEL LUCERO: "50 for Arkansas" standout.
  • VESSEL BY MICHAEL LUCERO: "50 for Arkansas" standout.

I love the story of Herbert and Dorothy Vogel, the New York art collectors who lived on his post office salary so they could spend her librarian salary on contemporary art. But it was with some trepidation that I went to the Arkansas Arts Center's new show, "50 for Arkansas," fifty works from the Vogels' collection donated to the Arts Center, because I thought it would be dominated by minimalist art. Ditto with the Smithsonian exhibit "Multiplicity," which has been nicely paired with the Vogel collection.

To this reviewer's eye, there's good minimalist art and there's dated minimalist art, and there were both varieties in the show. Call me a philistine (I can hear you already!), but Brice Marden's lithographs on paper in the "Multiplicity" exhibition — at least the ones in this particular exhibition — haven't worn well. That might be because these fat brushstrokes and thin lines against flat stripes of white or black have been imitated to a fare-thee-well by succeeding artists; we've all seen something like them. Compare them to "Multiplicity" work "Untitled" by Caio Fonseca, an aquatint that, like Marden's lithos, is composed of tightly etched abstract forms in black and a dirty white. But Fonseca's composition of black and white shapes with fine stitch-like lines running through the space is gorgeous and not a bit trite. Fonseca's drawing dates from 1998 and Marden's from 1972, so it hasn't had as much time to become familiar.

Black and white works were common in both "Multiplicity" and "50 for Arkansas"; the oversized lithographs of Kara Walker (in "Multiplicity"), who enlarged engravings from "Harper's Pictorial History of the Civil War" and then placed against them silhouettes of slave figures, their features exaggerated but their worth diminished, are magnetic (the engravings themselves are quite beautiful as well). Donald Sultan's "Black Roses" (also in "Multiplicity") are lush black aquatints, flattened images of roses and leaves, fuzzy around the edges, against the white paper.

The minimalist works in "50 for Arkansas" turned out to be minimal. There's much that's figurative here, like the charming drawings of cats by Will Barnet and the funny line drawing by Michael Kostabi of a couple, he with a plug head and she with a receptacle head. There's fantasy, such as Daryl Trivieri's airbrush and inkwash drawings of a girl child whose torso, arms, legs and head are marked with line drawings — a bird's head torso, fish on one arm, a peacock's head on the other, work that is fascinatingly weird, though not as weird and funny as his frog-fish head paintings, wrought in equally odd technique. There's abstract work as well, like the mixed media paintings by Charles Clough — fingerstrokes of paint across printed images that are surprisingly and happily fresh given how widespread compositions of that sort are.

In the good-but-I-don't-care-anymore category of works in the Vogel collection are the tangled lines of William Anastasi. There's conceptual work on paper by Robert Barry and wood by Jene Highstein that those with a finer eye and more cerebral nature than I will appreciate.

The star of the Vogel collection is, to my mind, a ceramic vessel by Michael Lucero dating to the mid-1980s. (My contemporary craft slip is showing, I know.) This flattish form is like a closed vase with ears, is painted in jarringly different abstractions, juxtaposing Robert Delaunay geometrics with dark scratchy landscapes. I liked it better every time I passed it.

Favorite

From the ArkTimes store

Tags:

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Leslie Newell Peacock

  • Up and running

    It was 12 years in coming, the Little Rock Technology Park.
    • Jul 13, 2017
  • Stopping the bleeding: police, EMS coordination at Power Ultra

    Twenty-eight were injured in the mass shooting; none killed.
    • Jul 5, 2017
  • Two suits challenge new abortion laws

    Arkansas legislators "matched cruelty with creativity" this year with the passage of new laws to block women from getting legal abortions, the deputy director of the ACLU's Reproductive Freedom Project said Tuesday in announcing the filing of two suits in federal court challenging new laws.
    • Jun 22, 2017
  • More »

Most Shared

  • So much for a school settlement in Pulaski County

    The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette's Cynthia Howell got the scoop on what appears to be coming upheaval in the Pulaski County School District along with the likely end of any chance of a speedy resolution of school desegregation issues in Pulaski County.
  • Riverfest calls it quits

    The board of directors of Riverfest, Arkansas's largest and longest running music festival, announced today that the festival will no longer be held. Riverfest celebrated itsĀ 40th anniversary in June. A press release blamed competition from other festivals and the rising cost of performers fees for the decision.
  • Football for UA Little Rock

    Andrew Rogerson, the new chancellor at UA Little Rock, has decided to study the cost of starting a major college football team on campus (plus a marching band). Technically, it would be a revival of football, dropped more than 60 years ago when the school was a junior college.
  • Turn to baseball

    When the world threatens to get you down, there is always baseball — an absorbing refuge, an alternate reality entirely unto itself.

Latest in Art Notes

  • Art outbreak

    2nd Friday features Peters, Holl Collection, LGBTQ work; Delta Exhibition opens.
    • Jun 8, 2017
  • Black magic

    Women's work in wire, metalpoint, fabric, glass, cut paper at Hearne.
    • Mar 30, 2017
  • "Delta": A fine mix

    Two-headed calf brings home bacon.
    • Jun 16, 2016
  • More »

Event Calendar

« »

July

S M T W T F S
  1
2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29
30 31  

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: On "Beyond Scared Straight"

    • I need to find a scared straight program for my 14 yr old daughter here…

    • on July 20, 2017
 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation