PDN: The Curator

I am spending all day judging “The Curator” for PDN Magazine. Seeing some very strong work. . .

Other judges include my friends: Michael Foley (FOLEY Gallery), Sasha Wolf (Sasha Wolf Gallery), and Kris Graves (+Kris Graves Projects).


Blog post by:
Brian Paul Clamp, Director

Bruce Sargeant (1898-1938)

“Bruce Sargeant is a mythic figure in the modern art movement. He embodies a world that is in many ways lost to us; he exudes a sensibility that fills every corner of his canvas; the heaviness of his figures hides an elusive levity. . . In the stock-still gaze of his athletes, in the subdued intensity of his still lifes, in the reflective sheen on his three-dimensional work, it is clear that he goes beyond reality. In his attempt to prove the simplicity of imitative simulacra, he achieves a sort of non-realism. If you look closely in the eyes of his subjects, they seem beyond the world of the viewer. They simply cannot exist—nor can the artist who created them. Sargeant is at the height of his powers when he achieves this superficiality—in the pure sense of what lies on surfaces—an analogue for the sublime.”

– Gary L. Haller, December 2004

Hippolyte-Alexandre Michallon (1849-1930)

“By his own account, the most ambitious work of Michallon’s career was a thirty-foot canvas depicting Noah’s Ark, which he exhibited in the Salon of 1875, where it went unmentioned by the critics. Preparatory work for this elaborate composition took him frequently to the Jardin des Plantes, where he made painstaking drawings and oil sketches of the animals on view. These studies were enthusiastically remarked upon by visitors to his studio, some of whom counseled him to give up history painting altogether and pursue the less dignified but presumably more lucrative career of animal painter. Following this advice, and profiting from the tremendous vogue in 1880s Europe for all things African, Michallon began painting atmospheric but zoologically correct images of exotic animals in the wild…”

– Wheelock Whitney, September 2004

Edith Thayer Cromwell (1893-1962)

“The bold brush of Edith Thayer Cromwell lays a riot of color onto the canvas that could only have developed in the milieu of the early-twentieth-century avant-garde…Few women of the twentieth century used the nude as subject, but Cromwell was a member of the figure without reserve…Truly Cromwell was a member of the American vanguard. Her art was radical in every way – from her brash, high-keyed style to her choice of subject. Her painting stands today as a reflection of a woman in the midst of a changing time.”

– Richard York, May 1999

Brechtholdt Streeruwitz (1890-1973)

“A tall, striking older man was standing near the bar with a cigarette in his mouth – smoking. He moved toward Henry…gently exhaled smoke into Henry’s face and then put out his cigarette in a half empty glass of wine…As I was turning to follow them, Streeruwitz said: ‘I am a painter and I studied in the Bauhaus…I suffered because my ideas were not the same as theirs; I was too good for them – and they knew it.’ Somewhat mystified, I replied: “Too good in what way?’ ‘I was a dashing young man in those days and many teachers wanted me to be their protege. Why should I do that, I said to myself, because I only like girls.’ I turned way from Streeruwitz, whose last comments to me have made me slightly nervous…When I say his paintings some twenty years later, I thought they accurately reflected the rather strange and mysterious man I had met years earlier.”

– Ashton Hawkins on meeting Brechtholdt Streeruwitz, December 14, 2004

Peter Coulter (b. 1948)

“Peter Coulter worked with political elements of holocausts such as the Armenian and Belgian. His work with the American slave trade and his many installations include this recent monumental work showing black rubber hands piled in the center of a gallery floor to express the horrors of the 1890s Congo holocaust.

As a friend and colleague of Peter Coulter, it is interesting for me to see a didactic lineage that we both share as well as an almost hereditary connection through my great Uncle Bruce and his colleagues. Though I have not had the successes of Peter Coulter, we have shared models, exhibitions, and good times. It was Peter who introduced me to the novel use of Polaroid transfers, and for that I am grateful.”

– Mark Beard, October 2004