Thomas Hoving Picks a Collection of American Artists Who May Be the Picassos and Monets of the 21st Century
From the Print Edition:
Jack Nicholson, Summer 95
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David Jeffrey. The works are stark. Many are white, black and grayish rectangles on a white ground, made of pencil and white beeswax in daring scumbles on the surface. They are stunningly evocative and full of character--beautiful images which open the viewer's mind. This one from 1992 is untitled and is made out of beeswax, charcoal and a wax medium on paper. The central image measures 27 1/8 square inches and the overall dimensions are 40 inches by 60 inches. David Jeffrey, 230 Willoughby Avenue, Brooklyn, New York 11205, phone (718) 636-3669
Kry Bastian. The found objects brilliantly embellished and manipulated by Kry Bastian are nerve-shatteringly poetic. "Untitled (Bronze Box)," 1994, is 7 1/2-by-6-by-5-inches and is made of bronze, fabric, hair and thread. Her works make you want to embrace them. They give the impression that they are the only objects remaining in civilization at the end of time. Hers is an immense talent. Kry Bastian, 46 Hoyt Street, Apt. 2, Brooklyn, New York 11201, phone (718) 875-0565
Bill Thompson. There's almost nothing to see in his monochromatic square pictures, such as "Stage," an acrylic on wood, 24 inches by 24 inches. Gradually, from within this apparently bland and formless beige object emerge the most uncannily complicated architectural forms and the most subtle and pleasing gradations of shades enhanced by thin, almost imperceptible white lines. It is not easy to explain why or how such tension exists in this and other patently placid objects. They work. Alpha Gallery, 14 Newbury Street, Boston, Massachusetts 02116, fax (617) 536-5695
Wendy Mark. There's a universe of artistry to be found in her diminutive monotypes. Her subjects are diverse. They range from still-lifes, a portrait, swimmers bounding from Ektachrome waves, a red splash of a car and infinite varieties of landscapes--some bright, some Stygian, all deep in perspective and harmony of light--and clouds, filled with light, imparted with the kind of secret life all clouds possess. Her "One Path Leading Away," 1994, (above right) measures 3 1/2 inches by 3 1/4 inches. Wendy Mark, 2 West 67th Street, New York, New York 10023, phone (212) 874-2455
Helen Frankenthaler. She has managed to perfect complete abstraction as few other artists have. To look at one of her pieces on canvas or paper is to be calmed, put into a peaceful frame of mind. They are lyrical, sincere and satisfying. Living with a Frankenthaler brings peace to one's life. She has brought a needed longevity and purpose--and even a proper dignity--to the New York School. Knoedler Gallery, 19 East 70th Street, New York, New York 10021, phone (212) 794-0550
Andrew Wyeth. His creations are observant, independent, quixotic, romantic and never "merely real." "Whale Rib," below, painted in 1993, is an uncannily perceived picture and a deeply emotional and dramatic one--possessing a host of delicious, 'false' surrealistic touches.
The painting is a portrait of Maine as a state of physical reality, a state of mind and also a sort of inventory of the flora and fauna that can only exist on this specific and single tiny island, an environment which is utterly different from one a stone's throw away. It's at once broad, universal, specific and emotionally powerful--the reminder of the inevitable end of all things. Nicholas Wyeth Inc., 1120 Fifth Avenue, New York, New York 10128, phone (212) 348-8500
Nicole Eisenman. She is equally adept at installations and paintings such as her imposing "Amazon Composition," 1993, on page 222. Her works are amazingly imaginative and thought-provoking. She makes more startling and splendidly ominous images--many of them of women under stress--than any other artist working today. Jack Tilton Gallery
Jeff Koons. I find many of his works awful, almost arrogantly destructive--especially the raw porn he once employed in commemorating himself in coitus with his then wife Ciciolina--the pornstar cum Italian parliamentarian. But part of artistic stature is shock value, and Koons is an accomplished shocker. I don't think Koons' works are contrived shock or kid's shock or some kind of practical joke.
His marbles are gripping. You might not like them, but he's got an exceptional talent. One mark of his abilities is the hatred he generates among the mainstream art critics. Jeffrey Deitch, 721 Fifth Avenue, New York, New York 10022, fax (212) 371-9594
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