Thursday, October 22, 2020

New in the Studio

Loverman (the Guardian), 2020, acrylic on canvas, 18 x 18 in.

New in the studio: Small works concentrating on formal elements, dissolution of form, and broken color.

Monument to Clairvoyance, 2020, acrylic on panel, 16 x 12 in.

Study for an Imaginary Monument, 2020, acrylic on panel, 16 x 12 in.

Dark Monument, 2020, acrylic on panel, 16 x 12 in.

Monument to People Who Did Right, 2020, acrylic on panel, 16 x 12 in.

*All works © Paul Behnke 

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Amy Sillman: Twice Removed At Gladstone Gallery


Amy Sillman: Twice Removed

Through November 14, 2020

Gladstone Gallery
515 W 24th Street
New Tork, NY

From the Press Release:

Dear Reader,

      The time we’re living in is crazy, horrible, almost medieval with disease, increasing police brutality and militarization, diminishment of democratic rights, and the upcoming ledge of a terrifying election. I was supposed to have a show of drawings and paintings last May at Gladstone and titled it “Twice Removed”: "twice" to propose the idea of a multiplied subjectivity, being of two minds, forked paths, and having allegiances to both subject and object, thinking and feeling, abstraction and figuration, form and content, dialectics and contradictions; "removed" because my paintings are built through negation, a kind of violent erasure, scraping down, undoing, getting rid of. But twice removed was also a pun on the family relation, being adjacent to something older. I’m a knight’s move away from the old tradition of gestural painting, but I’m really not trying to kill the father: I love gestural painting like it was my grandma, even though I’m skeptical, pessimistic, and sometimes critical of what she stands for. (My mom always said I was too negative.) So I was also thinking about painting as an unrolling of time—both my own genealogy and the way I wanted to unfurl paintings and drawings in long horizontal sequences around the room. I wanted the work to be like scraps and fragments, a bunch of spare parts, puzzling things dug up archeologically, arranged around the rooms of the gallery in a frieze of tangled patches. I was already thinking bleak thoughts about America, and the work looked like it: melancholy, mostly only black and white, ambiguous, often either too raw or over-cooked, ambiguous. I was trying to make a new language out of a bunch of spare parts.

      That show was postponed due to Covid19 and will now open in late September. But the new show is an even more shaggy, complicated affair, containing all of the above plus all the new work from this agonizing spring and summer shuffled in. For much of this time, I didn’t have a painting studio, so I just drew flowers, the opulent irises, daylilies, and sunflowers that were springing up around me from bushes and trees and from the earth. As Lorraine Hansberry asked (in her 1962 play), “what use are flowers?” I was obsessed with their colors and shapes, the simple joy of observing them, and how they exude libido, healing, and rebirth, even though while I was drawing them I was wondering if we might all die. Were they funerary or optimistic? During this spring, painting itself was overshadowed by the question of whether painting-life could continue to exist at all. But after months of the flowers, they started to morph into abstractions. The flower stems looked like the legs of figures stalking around, their heads bent over in a kind of looped narrative with no particular story except growth and then withering. The world’s ground was shifting, so I started concentrating on the fields behind the figures— patterns, plaids, and confusing figure-to-grounds, a purposefully destabilized signal-to-noise ratio. And eventually, it was the process of improvisation itself that seemed the most timely and urgent. I was thinking about a quote by Fred Moten, “improvisation is making nothing out of something.” In this sense “nothing” is a good thing, it means you’re in a hole, on the brink of change, and you have to listen, to pay attention. Improvising is a process that comes from within and that proposes a without, a nowhere that is everywhere. The hard questions continue (how to keep making paintings at all, if the world can possibly be rebuilt, and how) but I hope there's an alchemy in there, a use, in keeping on working with the motion between the known and an abstract (but felt) unknown.


All images © Gladstone Gallery

Sunday, October 18, 2020

Patrick Graham: Interitus at Hillsboro Fine Art

Self Portrait, 2020, oil on canvas, 160 x 160 cm.

Patrick Graham: Interitus

On view through Nov 7, 2020

Hillsboro Fine Art
49 Parnell Square West
Dublin, Ireland

Installation view, Hillsboro Fine Art, Dublin.

Installation view, Hillsboro Fine Art, Dublin.

Patrick Graham: Thirty Years - The Silence Becomes the Painting

Friday, October 16, 2020

Jullian Schnabel at PACE


Installation view, Julian Schnabel: The Sad Lament of the Brave, Let the Wind Speak and Other Paintings, Sep 18 – Oct 24, 2020, Pace Gallery, New York © Julian Schnabel

Julian Schnabel: The Sad Lament of the Brave, Let the Wind Speak and Other Paintings

Through October 24, 2020

510 W 25th Street
New York, NY


Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Jeffrey Morabito: Open Studio


Jeffrey Morabito, My Name is Jack,
Part of the Lost Pet Series begun during the COVID-19 lockdown.

Jeffrey Morabito: Open Studio 

By Appointment Only

Fri, Sat and Sun, Oct. 16th - 18th, 2020

Please dm to RVSP.

A limited amount of people are allowed in at a time.

A mask must be worn.
Hand sanitizer provided.

David Pollack: New on Paper Since COVID-19 at Monklike Habits | online project space


David Pollack, Summer Rainstorm (Ascend) 2020, watercolor on paper, 11 x 15 in.

David Pollack: New on Paper Since COVID-19

October 11 - November 10, 2020

Monklike Habits | online project space


From the Press Release:

"The new work presented here is a response to, and an interpretation of, nature and the awesome sway it exerts on us. These modest and elegiac watercolors allude to a feeling of beautiful helplessness that we often experience in response to the seemingly arbitrary acts of nature, and by extension, to our times.

But the paintings also support an underlying humanity - a joining with (in death?), or perhaps a transcendence from, an irrational, subjective megacosm. This ingredient, more than anything, confirms the poetic sensitivity in the work."

Blurring Boundaries: The Women of American Abstract Artists, 1936 - Present at South Bend Museum of Art


Melissa Staiger, Connection 2 Ways, 2017, 24 x 12 in.

Rhia Hurt, Pretty in Peach, Reflecting Pool Series, 2018, acrylic and watercolor on paper, 14 x 11 in.

Lee Krasner

Blurring Boundaries: The Women of American Abstract Artists, 1936-Present


South Bend Museum of Art
120 South Dr. Martin Luther King Blvd.
South Bend, IN 46601

From the Press release:

October 17, 2020 – January 3, 2021
Warner Gallery

Opening Reception October 16, 2020,
Donor Reception 6:00 – 7:00 p.m.
Public Reception 7:00 – 9:00 p.m.

Artist Talk with Jamea Richmond-Edwards at 7:15 p.m.

The Robert C. Shields American Series is an annual event that shares, with our regional audience, the rich art history and culture of our nation. Represented in these exhibitions are many of the key artists and artistic movements responsible for creating an American art legacy. This will be the 13th year we have offered this series and it continues to gain momentum and respect in the community for the rich visual perspectives it offers on American art.

An awe-inspiring celebration of an intergenerational group of artists—one that is both comprehensive and long overdue—Blurring Boundaries: The Women of American Abstract Artists, 1936 – Present highlights the indelible ways in which the women of American Abstract Artists have, for more than eighty years, shifted and shaped the frontiers of American abstraction.

The hierarchy of distilled form, immaculate line, and pure color came close to being the mantra of 1930s modern art—particularly that of American Abstract Artists (AAA), the subject of a new exhibition entitled Blurring Boundaries: The Women of American Abstract Artists, 1936 – Present. From the outset—due as much to their divergent status as abstract artists as to their gender—women of American Abstract Artists were already working on the periphery of the art world. In contrast to the other abstract artist collectives of the period, where equal footing for women was unusual, AAA provided a place of refuge for female artists. Through fifty-four works, Blurring Boundaries explores the artists’ astounding range of styles, including their individual approaches to the guiding principles of abstraction: color, space, light, material, and process.

More than eighty years after its founding, AAA continues to nurture and support a vibrant community of artists with diverse identities and wide-ranging approaches to abstraction. In celebration of this tradition, Blurring Boundaries: The Women of American Abstract Artists traces the extraordinary contributions of the female artists within AAA, from the founders to today’s practicing members. Included are works by historic members Perle Fine, Esphyr Slobodkina, Irene Rice Pereira, Alice Trumbull Mason, and Gertrude Greene, as well as current members such as Ce Roser, Irene Rousseau, Judith Murray, Alice Adams, Merrill Wagner, and Katinka Mann.

Blurring Boundaries: The Women of American Abstract Artists, 1936-Present was organized by The Clara M. Eagle Gallery, Murray State University, Murray, KY, and the Ewing Gallery, The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN and is toured by International Arts & Artists, Washington, DC.

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Ann Purcell: Kali Poem Series at Berry Campbell


Kali Poem #52 (Vanishing Time ||), 1987-89

Ann Purcell: Kali Poem Series

October 15 - November 14, 2020

view exhibition | view catalog

For pricing information email:

Berry Campbell

530 W 24th Street

New York, NY 10011

Tuesday - Saturday, 10 am - 6 pm

COVID-19 precautions will be observed.

Kali Poem #24, 1986


NEW YORK, NEW YORK, SEPTEMBER 22, 2020 – Berry Campbell Gallery is pleased to announce an important exhibition curated from Ann Purcell’s “Kali Poem” series.  For Purcell, the desire to achieve more spontaneity led to this series, which she started in 1983 and is ongoing.  She notes: “For the first time in my work, it was not out of joy, but from some other place, some other sphere. They just seemed to appear.”

However, Purcell knew they had a meaning, and the answer came to her from a poem: May Sarton’s “The Invocation to Kali,” published in Poetry (1971).  At the time, Purcell had only read six lines of the poem and was not aware of the attribution, which later she discovered was by the acclaimed poet, May Sarton.  In fact, such a hindsight recognition is perfectly in keeping with Sarton’s poem, as the poem is one of process and reckoning. In four sections, the poet and reader examine the human need to destroy. The poem’s fifth section, the “Invocation,” is an entreaty to the Hindu goddess Kali to “be with us,” in order to “bring darkness into light.” For Sarton, it is the power represented by Kali—a goddess with a seemingly terrible form who is a destroyer of evil forces and also a kind protector of the universe—that gives recognition to how we must strive to bring creation out of destruction.[i]  These six lines of the “Invocation” had long lodged in Purcell’s mind: “Help us to be the always hopeful / Gardeners of the spirit / Who know that without darkness / Nothing comes to birth / As without light / Nothing flowers.”  

Since 2013, Berry Campbell Gallery has represented Ann Purcell exclusively.  Purcell is preparing for an upcoming solo exhibition at the Provincetown Art Association and Museum and will be included in a group exhibition at the American University at the Katzen Arts Center next year. “Ann Purcell: Kali Poem Series” is on view from October 15, 2020, through November 14, 2020.  The gallery is open with regular fall hours, Tuesday – Saturday, 10 am – 6 pm. 

A nationally recognized artist whose abstract work is represented in museums across the United States, Ann Purcell considers the process to be a critical factor in her work. Employing both gestural and analytical approaches in her paintings, collages, and works on paper, she works within tensions of paradox, ambiguity, duality, and contradiction. Her method is related to dance—an important form for her beginning in her childhood—as well as to music, while she draws on her thorough grounding in European and American Expressionist traditions. Art history is also an important source for Purcell; she states that “one of the things that is so wonderful about art is that art history is an endless resource—one cannot consume it all. There are thousands of years of art to mine and find a challenging and supportive foundation for the artist.” In the catalog for a solo exhibition of Purcell’s work at the Corcoran Gallery, Washington, D.C. (1976), the museum’s chief curator Jane Livingston commended Purcell’s “fluidity with a vast range of idioms.” Livingston stated: “Purcell is among the most disciplined and prolific artists I have encountered: the number of fresh, sometimes startlingly brutal, sometimes exquisitely refined works she manages to create in the continually ongoing process of her production is proportionately remarkable.”[ii]

Purcell was born in 1941 in Washington, D.C. and raised in Arlington, Virginia. She studied independently in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, and received her B.A. from the Corcoran College of Art and Design and George Washington University, Washington, D.C., in 1973. She went on to receive her M.A. in Liberal Studies from New York University in 1995. While finishing her degree at the Corcoran, Purcell took a summer course with Washington Color School painter Gene Davis, who became her mentor and lifelong friend. Through Davis, she met Jacob Kainen, who had been Graphic Arts curator at the Smithsonian. Purcell recalls often walking through museums in Washington, D.C. with Davis and Kainen, considering the historical context of works of art and critiquing them. Her development was also shaped by the artist’s colony at Provincetown, Massachusetts. She initially went to the Cape Cod artist’s colony in the summer of 1982 on the recommendation of E. A. Carmean, Jr., then chief curator of twentieth-century art at the National Gallery. In Provincetown, Carmean introduced her to Robert Motherwell, from whose work Purcell has drawn much inspiration. Other sources of influence for Purcell are the cutouts of Matisse and paintings by Helen Frankenthaler and Mark Rothko.

Purcell first exhibited her work in 1971, when she had a solo exhibition at Villa Roma Gallery in San Miguel de Allende. When she showed at the Corcoran in a six-artist show in September 1976, a critic stated: “Ann Purcell may be the one painter here to achieve a personal mood. She draws and paints like an Abstract Expressionist, spreads pigment like a color field painter, uses color like a Darby Bannard or a Richard Diebenkorn, but adds a gentleness all her own.”[iii] In addition to her 1976 solo exhibition at the Corcoran—she has had one-artist shows throughout her career, including two at Tibor de Nagy Gallery, New York (1980, 1983). She has also participated in numerous group exhibitions, including many organized by museums, including the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, and the National Museum of Women in the Arts.

Working in series, Purcell combines a wide range of sources from art history and life, uniting associations and extrapolations. Her “Caravan Series” evoke journeys, as well as “finding new things, places of influence, buying old things, ancient histories, and open discoveries.” The series was inspired by Purcell’s summers in Provincetown in the early 1980s. In the August 1984 issue of The Advocate Summer Guide, Purcell told Margaret Seaver that she had finally found “the mystical, paradoxical space” that she aimed to illustrate in her paintings from the landscape, culture, and light of Provincetown. “I see it in the boats on the bay. They are suspended in the endless and infinite space.”[iv] Other works belong to the “White Space,” “Lagniappe,” “Playground,” and “Kali Poem” series. Whereas the “Lagniappe” works reference a word that entered the English language from Louisiana French, describing small gifts given by merchants to customers for good measure, the “Kali Poem” paintings, featured in this exhibition, emanated from May Sarton’s 1971 poem of invocation to the Hindu goddess.

Throughout Purcell’s career, critics have given recognition to her willingness to explore a range of artistic methods and reconcile seemingly disparate means of expression. In 1976–77, when she was included in Five Plus One, a group exhibition at the Corcoran Gallery, Benjamin Forgey observed in ARTnews that the “light-filled paintings of Ann Purcell, alone among the artists in pursuing a complex, painterly style, are a delightful, sensual explosion.”[v] In 1983, Dan Cameron took note of a few exhibitions of Purcell’s work in an article in Arts magazine. Describing Purcell as “a fervent disciple of modernism,” he remarked on the way she brought together painting and drawing in the collages in her “Playground” series “by manipulating edge, mass, and composition in a single gesture.” Cameron went on to comment that Purcell had extended the “metaphoric velocity of her pieced paintings” into paintings themselves, in which she developed new methods of applying “thin lines, drips, oil stick calligraphy, and controlled skeins of color that act as chromatic splinters.” Observing that within a picture, these elements served to hold the frontal plane in place, Cameron stated how Purcell was able to balance “the stable pictorial structure with a new sense of disorderliness.”[vi] When Purcell exhibited her work at Osuma gallery in 1987, a critic commented that her works were “pure abstractions—Jackson Pollock paint drips accented with the occasional rugged brushstroke of a Franz Kline.”[vii]

Purcell was a prominent teacher of painting, drawing, and art history at the Corcoran College of Art and Design; the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.; and Parsons School of Art and Design in New York. She has been a guest lecturer and artist-in-residence at several universities. Her awards include grants from the Hereward Lester Cooke Foundation, National Gallery of Art (1988, for mid-career achievement), the Pollock-Krasner Foundation (1989, 2018), the New York Foundation for the Arts (2013), the Joan Mitchell Foundation (2014), and the Adolph and Esther Gottlieb Foundation (2014). Purcell’s work is represented in the collections of the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; the Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C.; Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York; the Baltimore Museum of Art; the National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, D.C.; the Santa Barbara Museum; the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond; and the Luther W. Brady Art Gallery, George Washington University, Washington, D.C.

Kali Poem #46 and #47 (Vanishing Time), 1989

Blue Deep (Kali Poem #41), 1987

Kali Poem #53, 1987

[i] Kali is associated with Shiva (as his consort, wife, or associate), a god of destruction and creation. She is depicted with either four or ten arms and is usually dark-skinned (black or blue), indicating that she was created from darkness when the creation had yet to occur. Her features include eyes that are red with intoxication and rage, sharp fangs, claw-like hands with long nails, a red tongue that extends outward, and hair flying and disheveled. She is often shown on a battlefield, wearing a garland of human heads, which represent her killing rage but also her creative powers (the heads symbolize the letters of the Sanskrit alphabet and the beginning of language). Many images portray her naked (conveying her purity) and dancing, standing with her right foot on Shiva’s chest, holding a Khadga (a crescent-shaped sword) in each hand as well as a severed head and a cap to collect its blood. See David R. Kinsley, Hindu Goddesses: Visions of the Divine Feminine in the Hindu Religious Traditions (Berkeley, Calif.: University of California Press, 1988), pp. 116–31.
[ii] Jane Livingston, Five Washington Artists, exh. cat. (Washington, D.C.: Corcoran Gallery of Art, 1976).
[iii] Barbara Gold, “Five Plus One at Corcoran,” The Sun (Baltimore), September 26, 1976, p. D8.
[iv] Margaret Seaver, “Ann Purcell, A Self-Assured Artist,” The Summer Advocate (Provincetown, Massachusetts), August 16, 1984.
[v] Benjamin Forgey, “Washington, D.C.: Catching Up with Morris Louis,” Art News (November 1976), p. 104.
[vi]  Dan Cameron, “Ann Purcell,” Arts (November 1983).
[vii] Pamela Kessler, “Four Artists in Search of No Subject,” Washington Post, September 25, 1987, p. WK47.

In Common Writers Series: John Yau and Andrew Joron, Reading and in Conversation


John Yau  |  Andrew Joron

For the last program in The Poetry Center's In Common Writers Series for 2020, we are delighted to host renowned poet and art critic John Yau, appearing from New York City for two dates. He's joined Thursday, October 15 by poet, translator, and SF State faculty member Andrew Joron, each of them reading their poetry and talking with one another and in response to questions from the audience. Then, on Saturday evening October 17, Yau is reading and in conversation, focusing on his work as art critic and curator, with poet/performer and editor of Open Space at SFMOMA, Claudia La Rocco, with emcee Brandon Brown. Thursday night's emcee is Carlos Quinteros III.

This remote-access event starts promptly at 7:00 pm Pacific Time and is free and open to the public. Real-Time Captioning provided here. For other reasonable accommodations please contact

The In Common Writers Series is supported by the Walter & Elise Haas Fund. 


  • Inauguration Day

      If you think the next President

      is going to improve your quality of life


      you choose to believe

      that war is a three-letter word


      that does not affect anyone it touches

      except the tender pages of youth


      You know, those dirty sheets

      young lovers write odes on


      before they die between blinks


      —John Yau, from Bijoux in the Dark

John Yau is a poet, fiction writer, critic, editor, curator, and publisher of Black Square Editions, a small independent press that has published books and broadsides of poetry, fiction, criticism, and translation, as well as prints. He has contributed to essays in many catalogs and museum publications, as well as written for Art in America, Artforum, Art News, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and Art Press. His work is included in many anthologies of poetry, fiction, and criticism, and has been translated into French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, and Chinese. After serving as the Arts Editor for the Brooklyn Rail (2007–2011), Yau left and helped start the online journal Hyperallergic, where he frequently posts his reviews.

Yau is the author of over 40 books, recently Bijoux in the Dark (poetry, Letter Machine Editions, 2018), The Wild Children of William Blake (essays, Autonomedia, 2017), Foreign Sounds or Sounds Foreign (essays, Madhat Press, 2020), and artist monographs on works by Philip Taafe (Lund Humphries, 2018) and Suzan Frecon (David Zwirner Books, 2020). He has received fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, Academy of American Poets, New York Foundation of the Arts, Ingram Merrill Foundation, and the General Electric Foundation. Yau was named a Chevalier in the Order of Arts and Letters by the French government in 2002. He is a Professor of Critical Studies at Mason Gross School of the Arts (Rutgers University) and lives in New York. More at

Andrew Joron is the author of The Absolute Letter, a collection of poems published by Flood Editions (2017). Joron’s previous poetry collections include Trance Archive: New and Selected Poems (City Lights, 2010), The Removes (Hard Press, 1999), Fathom (Black Square Editions, 2003), and The Sound Mirror (Flood Editions, 2008). The Cry at Zero, a selection of his prose poems and critical essays, was published by Counterpath Press in 2007. From the German, he has translated the Literary Essays of Marxist-Utopian philosopher Ernst Bloch (Stanford University Press, 1998) and The Perpetual Motion Machine by the proto-Dada fantasist Paul Scheerbart (Wakefield Press, 2011). As a musician, Joron plays the theremin in various experimental and free-jazz ensembles. Joron teaches creative writing at San Francisco State University.