-- A Cyberspace Review Of The Arts

Volume 21.4
October 7, 2014


Vivian Maier Documentary

See the Vivian Maier Newsletter for the story about the new documentary. Our review of Vivian Maier's work is here.

Judith Schaechter's
  'Dark Matter'

Judith Schaechter's Dark Matter is a show of stained-glass light-boxes and sculpture at the Claire Oliver Gallery in Chelsea at 513 West 26th Street, New York, presently up and open until Saturday, October 25.

Most of the present show consists of a series of stunning stained-glass windows shown through lightboxes affixed to the walls. This is one of the reasons one must see it in the flesh, or rather, in the glass. Stained glass is a kind of sculpture with light, and, as such, comes out of its framework and interacts with the viewer as sculpture does (or ought to) changing as the viewer looks at it in different ways. Indeed, one might consider it to be sculpture with light. So, instead of reading this, you should go immediately to the Claire Oliver Gallery, unless it is after October 25, 2014, in which case you will be out of luck for the time being.

Fortunately, some very good, high-resolution photographs of the works in the show have been made and can be found on the web site of the Claire Oliver gallery beginning here so you can get an idea, if only a partial one, of what is being shown.

Unlike the thematic Eastern State Penitentiary series, these works proceed in a variety of directions. For instance, one is the anthemic 'New Ghost', (detail above) a transfigurational yet intimately moving descendent of the Assumption pictures of the Renaissance, overlaid with a neural network (which perhaps all new ghosts pass through as they depart from the lower realms and our thoughts about them), and hovering above a distant worldly, indeed, global urban glow lit with the dark fires of civilization. On the other hand, down in those dark fires, there are the 'Fleeing Foxes', in flight from an apocalyptic army of trucks and ominous cloud-formations, a world all too real in its frightening physical hostility.

Others works, less transcendental or apocalyptic, comment in a complex way on character or mental state, for example, 'Acedia' (listlessness) in which the posture of the central figure is stretched out as if crucified, apparently imprisoned while surrounded by layers of intensely lively figures. Once again, Schaechter is radically expanding the realm of her medium.

One image the photographers couldn't quite get as it appears in real life is 'The Birth of Eve'. What you can see on your computer is impressive enough, but if you look closely you can notice curved lines radiating from the body of Eve. In person, these lines have a metallic sheen which makes them more distinct and enables them to contribute to the vertiginous position of the fetal yet full-grown and complexly characterized upper subject, as she falls dubiously into the created world below out of the void.

Indeed, all of these works need to be looked at closely and carefully. Besides a central figurative part, there are numerous forms, some abstract, geometrical, some biotic, of dazzling variety, which support, comment on, or adorn the central figure and if they stood alone would be significant works of art in themselves.

Besides the stained-glass lightboxes, the show also has a number of small sculptures made of glass. The glass is first cast in a mold, and then finished by carving. Unlike the windows, the sculptures are small and plain in color; however, they reflect the concerns and moods of the stained-glass work. I especially noticed two. One was a Minotaur who seems to be undergoing crucifixion. Minotaurs are rather involved mythopoetically, bringing together unnatural lust, engineering, imprisonment, cannibalism, and labyrinths -- exciting times in the ancient world (and still significant in contemporary high, medium, and low art, and other popular culture). Even Man Ray's famous visual pun on the subject is disquieting rather than humorous. The Minotaur did not have much to be happy about in his prison-sepulchre. Maybe he, too, once a sun god, died for our sins.

The other sculpture, found downstairs, is the bust of a woman one of whose breasts has been removed. (This is not apparent from the photographs.) It is aptly called 'Bust', pushing the point home. The subject is either the survivor of surgery, or an Amazon, or both; she is peering upward attentively as if from the bottom of a well, so the placement of the sculpture at the foot of the stairs was quite effective. The mood of the character, as I read it, is stoical and resolute rather than angry or anxious.

Again, the show will be at the gallery until Saturday, October 25th. Don't miss it.

Images by Judith Schaechter,
text by Gordon Fitch, 2014.

E A R L I E R     A R T I C L E S

Our Publisher Becomes A Conceptual Artist


Kara Walker: Subtlety (detail)
Kara Walker: Subtlety (detail)

[permanent link to this article]


The Draughtsman's Congress

[permanent link to this article]

Announcement and Preview
by Susan Roecker

Read the PDF here....

Exhibition opening
Sunday, November 17th, 2013 from 1:00 to 4:00 pm
368 East 8th Street, NYC (between C & D)
or see

Sara Schneckloth

Sara Schneckloth, 2013 (detail)
Sara Schneckloth, 2013 (detail)

at Soho20 and the
Fowler Arts Collective

In late June and early July of this year, Sara Schneckloth, an artist currently working in South Carolina who should be known better here (and in the world) visited the Fowler Art Collective in Greenpoint to do several days of intense work (ten hours a day, according to the artist) on her characteristic drawing. A few months previously (in March) she had a brief show at Soho20 in Chelsea, sharing the space with some other artists.


Minerva, Model (Elizabeth Hellman), and Artist Demonstrate in Petrosino Square Plaza
Minerva, Model (Elizabeth Hellman), and Artist Demonstrate in Petrosino Square Plaza

The Battle of Petrosino Square

A war of sorts has broken out between two improbable belligerent parties around a little-known pocket park in Lower Manhattan, Petrosino Square. On the one side are some of the immediately local residents of the rather unusual neighborhood that surrounds the park; on the other, the Greenwashing Department of Citibank. The central issue is the Citibike installation in the park's plaza, which has preempted a space intended and used for large public works of art.



Battle of Carnival and Lent (detail)
Battle of Carnival and Lent (detail)

Judith Schaechter: Battle of Carnival and Lent At Claire Oliver Gallery, NYC

This is not a review, but a pointer to the announcement of Judith Schaechter's upcoming show at the Claire Oliver Gallery in New York, where you can see the works we reviewed while they were still at the Eastern State Penitentiary site in Philadelphia. The show will be there from May 23d until June 29, and there is a reception with the artist on May 23d from 6 to 8 p.m. The Claire Oliver Gallery is at 513 West 26th St. in New York.

For more information, see the announcement,; see the Artezine article for an idea of what to expect.


S H E L L    G A M E

Molly Crabapple: Great American Bubble Machine (detail)
Molly Crabapple: Shell Game / Great American Bubble Machine (detail)

'Shell Game': Molly Crabapple At Smart Clothes Gallery

This is not a review, just a pointer to this show and artist, whose most recent works have been noticed in Wired, The New York Times, HuffPo, The Village Voice, and so forth. The public show opening is at 7 p.m. April 14th (this evening as I'm writing this) and is to be an Event. It will be up for only a short time. I strongly recommend it; the artist's combination of a sensuous, indeed luscious graphic style, sharp wit, surrealism, humor, and political consciousness are not to be missed.

See the artist's web site for further information.

The gallery is at 154 Stanton Street (corner of Suffolk Street in the Lower East Side) and the opening is at 7 p.m. April 14.


Thomas Lanigan-Schmidt at MoMA/PS1

Thomas Lanigan-Schmidt: Tender Love Among The Junk (installation)

Entering this exhibition, which occupies one of the larger spaces at MoMA/PS1, was overwhelming. I don't think I've ever seen anything quite like it. The entire space is filled with numerous, mostly shiny artifacts, made of the most diverse materials, mostly things one might obtain from a 99-cent store or a trash pile. Several themes and concerns come together: formal pictorial and plastic values; religious sensibility and aesthetics; Gay and general sexuality; class politics; diverse cultures; the conflicts and cross-pollination between these elements.


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Judith Schaechter

Judith Schaechter: Andromeda
Judith Schaechter: Andromeda

at Eastern State Penitentiary

   by Gordon Fitch

On a chilly day late in November, as the sun was already declining towards the horizon, I found myself within the heavy, gray stone walls of a prison, or rather the ruin of a prison....
Read about it here!

Susan Roecker's Cat(s)

Susan Roecker
Susan Roecker

at Avenue C Gallery

-- read about them here --

Vivian Maier: detail of book cover self-portrait

Like a figure in a dream, Vivian Maier begins to disappear even as we catch sight of her. With one ambiguous gesture she points out our world and shows us things that were always there, but which we had never seen; with another, she declines our questions and steps back into the darkness. We want to call out to her to wait, but the dream silences us, and then she is gone forever. We turn and, scattered all around us, see the objects of her work, an enormous treasure we will spend years, even lifetimes, trying to order and decode. About Maier herself, we can mostly only guess. ... -- more --




October 7, 2014