CULTURE & ARTS
09/05/2014 08:37 pm ET Updated Sep 05, 2014

Get Your Quick And Dirty Arts Education With Haiku Reviews

HuffPost Arts&Culture's Haiku Reviews is a monthly feature where invited critics review exhibitions and performances in short form. Some will be in the traditional haiku form of 5x7x5 syllables, others might be a sonnet and some might be more free-form. This month, Laurence Vittes and Peter Frank give their quick takes on performing and visual arts.

Is there an exhibition or performance that you think people should know about? Write your own "haiku" with a link and shine a light on something you think is noteworthy in the comments section below.

  • Eve Aschheim doesn’t simply paint abstractly; she argues, almost polemically, for the inherent power and presence of abstract
    Eve Aschheim doesn’t simply paint abstractly; she argues, almost polemically, for the inherent power and presence of abstraction by producing work that seems deliberately to summarize abstract practice over the last hundred years. At once geometric and gestural, rich in color and tonal in treatment, driven by a mark-making impulse and yet struggling to inhere an oblique imagery, Aschheim’s approach proves broadly syncretic, deft in its careful but fluid conflation of what were once considered mutually exclusive methods and aims. Aschheim’s inherent painterliness would be self-evident at the large scale we expect of our abstractions. But the sequence she exhibited comprises myriad works all under two feet in length or height – a size at which no line, no color combination, can be incidental, lest the painting dissolve into the tentativeness of a sketch. Everything already counts in these card-like paintings, so Aschheim has to make everything work – and does. (Lori Bookstein, 138 10th Ave., NY. www.loribooksteinfineart.com) – Peter Frank
    EVE ASCHHEIM, Red Chance, 2014, Oil and charcoal on canvas on panel, 16 1/8 x 12 inches
  • Telemann Double Concertos. Rebel conducted by Jörg-Michael Schwarz. Bridge CD
By Laurence Vittes <br>

Rebel have jumped on t
    Telemann Double Concertos. Rebel conducted by Jörg-Michael Schwarz. Bridge CD By Laurence Vittes
    Rebel have jumped on the Telemann bandwagon with a new CD for Bridge that is alive with the prolific composer's unique energy and flair. The results are magical throughout, as in the slow movement of an E Minor Concerto where the flute and violin solo lines are accompanied by the backing strings playing pizzicato—an enchanting effect. There are also two magnificent, Handelian double violin concertos. Bach himself, when Kapellmeister in Weimar, made a copy of one of them. If you like their Telemann, try their Vivaldi: Venetian Dreams, including the complete op. 10 flute concertos, also on Bridge.
  • Tameka Norris works in several media, even disciplines, but in all of them focuses on memory, loss, and cultural identity. Th
    Tameka Norris works in several media, even disciplines, but in all of them focuses on memory, loss, and cultural identity. These tropes have been mined almost to exhaustion by two generations of American artists, but the country keeps sundering at these points, so their message remains acute. Norris, in particular, enlivens the stream of commentary with a keen aesthetic and dramatic sense, as well as a finely honed, if also broadly comic, sense of place. A New Orleanian through and through, Norris seeks to recapture – and, failing that, re-invent – a childhood whose markers were obliterated in Katrina’s wake. Her exhibition consisted primarily of “quilts” sewn together from diverse materials and diverse sources. They resemble similar work of Rauschenberg’s at first, in spirit as well as form – fair enough, given his own roots in the region. But Norris intervenes in the imagery as well as composition of her textiles, evoking associations with the Deep South whose implications – certainly for African-Americans – are mixed. As if to answer back to this compromised patchwork heritage and render it “whole,” Norris has invented an alter ego, rap sistah Meka Jean, who projects a streetwise toughness and confidence tinged with deconstructive wit, even self-mockery. Born during Norris’ MFA work at Yale, Meka Jean presents herself through a music video that inverts the tropes of hip-hop, glorifying the life and the ‘hood in mundane settings such as a Laundromat and a bathroom. Norris’ video projects an impressive sass, right down to her moves, that at once contradicts and lightens the poignant gravity of her quiltworks. It also promises that a Star is being born, so watch for the feature film. (Lombard Freid, 518 West 19th St., NY. www.lombard-freid.com) – Peter Frank
    TAMEKA NORRIS, 12 Times Table, 2013, Acrylic and oil on fabric, 60 x 100 inches
  • Music of the French Baroque: A film by Paul Fenkart. Arthaus DVD
By Laurence Vittes<br>

The musicians featured in Paul Fenka
    Music of the French Baroque: A film by Paul Fenkart. Arthaus DVD By Laurence Vittes
    The musicians featured in Paul Fenkart's captivating film are Giovanni Antonini, Enrico Onofri, Vittorio Ghielmi, Luca Pianca and Ottavio Dantone, and seeing them in such intimate detail (particularly Antonini's embouchure on his recorder) can be initially unsettling, but once the entertainment gets underway, including Antoine Forqueray's Le Couperin, a chaconne from one of Telemann's Paris Quartets and some bits from Rameau's Pieces de clavecin en concerts and a wonderful pair of "tambourins" danced by a small but delectable mixed corps de ballet, It is like the dreams of the early music pioneers like Arnold Dolmetsch and Louise Dyer realized. Salzburg's magnificent Mannerist pleasure palace at Hellbrunn provides evocative settings for brilliant performances of rarely-performed works from the French-style baroque repertoire. Nothing like hearing Robert de Visée's Overture for the Grotto of Versailles in a grotto. And what's with the chairs with fountains photographed in the accompanying booklet?
  • Nancy Brooks Brody conflates two still-radical-seeming practices, the dance of Merce Cunningham and the intimate post-minimal
    Nancy Brooks Brody conflates two still-radical-seeming practices, the dance of Merce Cunningham and the intimate post-minimalism of artists such as Richard Tuttle and Robert Mangold. Brody finds the formal language of the one in that of the other, taking photographs of Cunningham and his dancers in motion and describing perimeters around their captured positions. The seemingly dumb gambit captures the eccentric but powerful architecture that underscores Cunningham’s elegant, self-possessed choreography and also manages to translate it into an eccentric notation. Frequently, the lines Brody inscribes around the figures in the photos seem to bound their actions, as if they were dancing with black elastic bands circumventing them. In a parallel series, Brody further translates the contours she has found in the Cunningham pictures (and/or other inscriptions) into single-color shapes, enamel on lead, embedded in the exhibition space’s drywall. Thus, she maintains a single vocabulary across two markedly different object-languages. (Andrew Kreps, 535 West 22nd St., NY. www.andrewkreps.com) – Peter Frank
    NANCY BROOKS BRODY, Merce Drawing, 2013, Ink on newsprint paper, 8½ x 11 inches
  • Johann Gottlieb Janitsch (1708-63) Sonate Da Camera 3. ATMA Classique CD
By Laurence Vittes <br>

Just when you think you kne
    Johann Gottlieb Janitsch (1708-63) Sonate Da Camera 3. ATMA Classique CD By Laurence Vittes
    Just when you think you knew every obscure Baroque figure, alongs come a guy named Janitsch to throw your universe into disarray. His music has been described in the French press as "Velours pour l'oreille," which sounds like something very nice. From the engaging liner notes: "Among Frederick the Great's carefully chosen retinue of court musicians, Johann Gottlieb Janitsch, contraviolonist in the Royal Orchestra of the Court of Prussia is survived by a large number of complex, sonically rewarding chamber pieces." Christopher Palameta leads the original instrument ensemble called Notturna on their Janitsch mission and quest. This collaboration with ATMA Classique and the Scottish publishing house, Prima la musica! means you can play the music yourself if you have the instruments and the chops.
  • John Newman’s egregiously eccentric sculptures each comprise several discrete segments whose shapes and colors argue aggressi
    John Newman’s egregiously eccentric sculptures each comprise several discrete segments whose shapes and colors argue aggressively between themselves. Newman maintains a surprising harmony among this recipe for visual cacophony, however, turning the arguments between what look like jewels, lamps, screens, stones, body organs, and all other manner of object into a vibrant, logical, and, yes, loud chorus of daft forms and formal combinations. Newman’s work is nothing if not baroque, but it has been assembled with a Rube Goldberg sense of modernist dynamism, every element knocking against and further agitating every other already active element – no matter that all these components are fabricated from wood, aluminum, foamcore, resin, papier maché, and just about any other rigid material you might imagine (plus a few, like felt and nylon, not necessarily so rigid). The sculptures, all tabletop-size (and exhibited here on table-like surfaces rather than pedestals), suggest utilitarian objects – or even creatures – from another world, part machine and part organism. It is easy to imagine these three to five times as large and resting on the floor or even occupying stretches of public lawn, and Newman has worked on that scale. But by keeping things relatively intimate with this series of works, he has removed the sculptures’ potential for jungle-gym-amusement-park-ride thrill; they’re much more peculiar, and ominous, at these grippable sizes. (Tibor de Nagy, 724 5th Ave., NY. www.tibordenagy.com) – Peter Frank

    JOHN NEWMAN, installation, Tibor de Nagy Gallery, Photo: Alan Wiener
  • Scarlatti Recreated: Transcriptions & Hommages. Sandro Russo. Musical Concepts CD 
By Laurence Vittes <br>

I know, I know, i
    Scarlatti Recreated: Transcriptions & Hommages. Sandro Russo. Musical Concepts CD By Laurence Vittes
    I know, I know, it's Scarlatti on the piano, but the 19 brilliant tracks are either transcriptions of Scarlatti's own keyboard sonatas or works inspired by and in the style of Scarlatti including Carl Tausig's Capriccio and Sonata, Czerny's Sonata in the Style of Domenico Scarlatti, Marc-Andre Hamelin's Etude VI: Omaggio a Domenico Scarlatti, Jean Francaix's Hommage a Scarlatti and Raymond Lewenthal's Toccata alla Scarlatti. The playing is so beautiful that you almost forget how anachronistic it is.
  • Eleanor Antin was seen in microspect with a relatively small range of works going back to the mid-1960s – that is, farther ba
    Eleanor Antin was seen in microspect with a relatively small range of works going back to the mid-1960s – that is, farther back than other surveys of this veteran post-conceptualist have gone. The lovely pair of collages dating from 1967 anticipate Antin’s subsequent fascination with narrative and the relationship of subjective viewpoint to historical condition in an almost Joseph Cornell-ish manner. Antin herself cast her wildly varied show, ranging from photography to drawing to video to paper cutout) as an experience of passage, passage through time and space, setting down here in 1920s Paris, there in Graeco-Roman times, here in 1970s suburban San Diego, there in the Crimean War. At the time, however, each series documented a process of fantasizing, of projecting herself into fabled, or at least fabulated, circumstances. The show sampled some of Antin’s best known bodies of work, including the “100 Boots” series and the pulp-fiction-feminist “Adventures of Nurse Eleanor,” but also provided a “behind-the-scenes” look at studies for “Before the Revolution,” for instance, or the little known “Dance of Death.” Even such a spare selection of Antin’s supposedly post-modern works (under 30 in all) demonstrated her powerful formal sense and other aspects of her late-modernist ethos: Antin’s interest is less in the invention of fictions than in the process of fictive elaboration, making her a storyteller enchanted by the telling at least as much as by the story. (Diane Rosenstein, 831 N. Highland Ave., LA. www.dianerosenstein.com) – Peter Frank
    ELEANOR ANTIN, Death and the Maiden 2, from “Dance of Death”, 1974-75, Pastel on paper, 20 1/8 x 11 1/8 inches
  • Purcell Musitians Of Grope Lane: Music Of Brothels And Bawdy Houses Of Purcell's England. The City Waites. United Classics CD
    Purcell Musitians Of Grope Lane: Music Of Brothels And Bawdy Houses Of Purcell's England. The City Waites. United Classics CD By Laurence Vittes
    Silliest CD of the year but who's counting? Broadside ballads were everyday musical fare, whistled and hummed in all walks of life; they were primitive precursors of social media, as likely to be bought for domestic amusement as pinned up on a tavern wall. The songs on this recording served another purpose: "To complement a lewd scene in a theatre, to cozen a marketplace gathering, or 'stir up unchaste thoughts' in taverns and bawdy-houses." With a riot of period instruments, voices and attitudes, Lucie and Roddy Skeaping's City Waites perform with so much exuberance and enthusiasm that you may forget just what it is they are singing about—and advertising.
  • Lisi Raskin assembles her collages not out of pasted papers, but out of painted, carpentered chips and other elements. Raskin
    Lisi Raskin assembles her collages not out of pasted papers, but out of painted, carpentered chips and other elements. Raskin seems to have collected such elements collected from her studio floor or even from construction sites, fitting the pieces together as if jigsaw puzzles. In doing so, she has found the perfect midpoint between dada and post-minimalism, her cheerily random sense of accumulation evoking Hausmann, Höch, and especially Schwitters, and her equally nonchalant abjection and compactness admitting to the examples of Tuttle, Heilmann, and Nozkowski (among others). Raskin’s crunchy little painting-collage-objects not only bespeak such impressive bloodlines but honor them with an infectiously witty sensuality. Nothing is visually out of place, but any number of jagged edges dare you to caress them or try to push them “back” into their slots. Yet more provocative is the backstory to these beguiling structures. They arise, apparently, from the artist’s recent visit to Afghanistan, where she visited museums, palaces, and other sites imbued with the frissons of ancient and recent history alike. The artworks do not document her visits or build on the information she gleaned but improvise, quite freely, on photographs she took. Knowing this explains, or at least contextualizes, the fraught nature of these aggressively but compellingly built paint-things, and perhaps color our apprehension of them with an urgency and historical gravity; but they stand on their own, grabbing the eye on first glance and not letting it go. (Churner and Churner, 205 10th Ave., NY. www.churnerandchurner.com) – Peter Frank

    LILI RASKIN, Untitled (for DN 3), 2014, Acrylic paint on wood, 1 5/8 x 1¼ inches
  • Agostino Steffani (1654-1728). Stabat Mater & Overtures et Dances Cecilia Bartoli, I Barocchisti/ Diego Fasolis. 2 Decca CDs,
    Agostino Steffani (1654-1728). Stabat Mater & Overtures et Dances Cecilia Bartoli, I Barocchisti/ Diego Fasolis. 2 Decca CDs, sold separately By Laurence Vittes
    Cecilia Bartoli's exploration of Agostino Steffani continues with an album of a Stabat Mater, even more beautiful and ecstatically radiant than you might expect, completed shortly before the composer died in 1728. In pursuit of her passion, Bartoli leads an array of internationally celebrated singers while Diego Fasolis conducts the authentic instrument forces of I Barocchisti and the chorus of RSI Lugano for all they are worth (which means let Bartoli's trademark sound take it away). The album is completed by six world premiere recordings of Steffani's remaining sacred music scored for orchestra, chorus and soloists, including a seven-minute solo motet for Cecilia Bartoli. On a separate disc, Fasolis conducts 43 great tracks of enchanting early-baroque music, colorfully orchestrated, opening with seven pieces from his celebrated Orlando and including preludes, gavottes, gigues and airs.
  • Allan D’Arcangelo was at one point as prominent a Pop artist as James Rosenquist or Robert Indiana, his stylized conjurations
    Allan D’Arcangelo was at one point as prominent a Pop artist as James Rosenquist or Robert Indiana, his stylized conjurations of the American highway as vivid and gorgeous as they were easily and universally comprehensible. This survey, bringing together many of D’Arcangelo’s roadscapes (including several of his best known), also highlighted his earliest Pop works, arch – and rather prescient – commentaries on women’s social roles and representation in mass media. These modified cartoon treatments parallel the work of Tom Wesselmann, Marjorie Strider, and John Wesley, among others, but didn’t last long; once he found the American Highway motif, he never gave it up. D’Arcangelo clearly thought of himself as a landscape painter, although in this case he indulged as much in the signage of the road as in its wide open space. He treated both with brittle, brilliantly colored formality; taking his cue from the stark contrasts and notational shorthand of directional arrows, lane markers, and gas station motifs, he wrought variation upon variation on the bright, eye-filling shapes. Approaching the 70s D’Arcangelo became more minimal (in motif if not in composition), employing the repeated depiction of a single thing, the diagonally striped traffic barrier, in an often elaborate, almost architectural structure (and, slightly later, arranging the barriers into pinwheels). A little D’Arcangelo goes a long way, both because his idée fixe was so readily grasped and his treatment of it was so flat and uninflected. But any one work maintains its powerful brilliance and elegance, and surprising humor, to this day. Especially droll are the multiples D’Arcangelo realized based on a bus’s prominent rear-view mirror. (Hollis Taggart, 958 Madison Ave., NY. www.hollistaggart.com) – Peter Frank

    ALLAN D’ARCANGELO, Landscape on Bus Mirror, 1970, Assembled mixed-media multiple, 18½ x 22 x 18¾ inches
  • Bach 3 Gamba Sonatas. Nicholas Altstaedt, cello. Jonathan Cohen, harpsichord. Genuin CD
By Laurence Vittes <br>

In 2010, cel
    Bach 3 Gamba Sonatas. Nicholas Altstaedt, cello. Jonathan Cohen, harpsichord. Genuin CD By Laurence Vittes
    In 2010, cellist Nicolas Altstaedt played the Schumann concerto with Gustavo Dudamel and the Vienna Philharmonic in Lucerne. In 2011, at the suggestion of Gidon Kremer, the 29-year old Altstaedt was named Artistic Director of the Lockenhaus Chamber Music Festival. In 2012, playing an 1821 Nicolas Lupot fitted with steel strings tuned to 415 and partnered by rising star Jonathan Cohen on a modern copy of a 1754 French harpsichord, Altstaedt's suave capture of Bach's Three Cello Sonatas' elusive beauty could spark a reevaluation of where they lie relative to the 6 Solo Suites. The most dramatic revelation is how big a piece BWV 1029 in G minor is, with Altstaedt and Cohen giving it a splendid virtuoso flair in the opening movement and, in the fugal last movement, seeming to prophesy the last movement of Beethoven's Cello Sonata Op. 102 No. 2. Similarly, in the last movement of BWV 1027, the normally choppy lines are revealed as being long-limbed with a lyrical attitude that enhances the music's flow and momentum. Throughout, the engineers at Jesus-Christus-Kirche in Berlin insure that there is balance between the two instruments, acoustically as well as musically.
  • Richard Nonas and Joel Shapiro, sculptors who emerged in the wake of Minimalism, practice two sides of a common aesthetic, ad
    Richard Nonas and Joel Shapiro, sculptors who emerged in the wake of Minimalism, practice two sides of a common aesthetic, addressing issues of scale and material in complementary manners. Theirs is an integrative sensibility, bridging nature and architecture. Nonas emphasizes natural forms and substances, minimally and yet clearly (and artfully) manipulated as much to inhabit space as to arrogate attention to themselves as object. Shapiro’s sculptures inhabit space as well, but by assuming shapes referent to clearly recognizable, usually manmade things (often dwellings or simple tools), he provokes sensations of scalar dysmorphia; in particular, very small house shapes get lost in very large sheds – as here. Nonas’ work integrates with rough-hewn, time-worn places like the Knockdown Center, while Shapiro’s are swallowed by their cavernousness. Both bodies of work reappear gradually, depending on situation, light, and even relative texture: at least one of Shapiro’s wood pieces had been burnt to charcoal while retaining its structure, and its coarse blackness made it glisten in the sunlight and disappear into shadow. Meanwhile, the march of Nonas’ bisected boulders across the floor of the Center seemed to animate the space, bringing to life its rigid but weathered wooden vertical beams and its stained floor. (Clocktower at Knockdown Center, 5219 Flushing Ave., Maspeth NY. www.clocktower.org) – Peter Frank

    JOEL SHAPIRO and RICHARD NONAS installation, Clocktower at Knockdown Center, Photo: Richard Nonas
  • Sol Gabetta. Il Progetto Vivaldi 3. Cappella Gabetta, Andreas Gabetta. Sony Classical CD
By Laurence Vittes <br>

For the thi
    Sol Gabetta. Il Progetto Vivaldi 3. Cappella Gabetta, Andreas Gabetta. Sony Classical CD By Laurence Vittes
    For the third installment of her Vivaldi Project, Sol Gabetta salutes a cello-playing 18th century German count whose remarkable library in the first half of the 18th century included cello concertos by Giovanni Benedetto Platti, Andrea Zani, Fortunato Chelleri and Vivaldi. In fact, Platti, Zani and Chelleri wrote numerous concertos for Rudolf Franz Erwin (1677-1754) and their energy and beauty combine with individual touches to provide an enormous amount of listening pleasure similar to Vivaldi, more sophisticated perhaps; except for a few moments in the last movement of Zani’s concerto, however, there are few moments of technical derring do. Gabetta's excellent selection of four Vivaldi concertos includes a delicious concoction in the form of an adaptation of Vivaldi’s iconic Mandolin Concerto RV 532 as a concerto for violin and cello. The outer movements are pleasant if forgettable; in the middle movement, however, when Gabetta and her brother Andreas play pizz throughout along with the backing orchestra, the effect is definitely unforgettable, like the Koto Vivaldi recording which was a big hit for Japanese EMI decades ago. Playing on a Baroque cello by Ferdinando Gagliano (Naples, 1781), and backed by the smooth, original instrument Cappella Gabetta, Gabetta circumvents the extremes of the leading-edge authentic performance movement with her intimate knowledge of Baroque style and her commitment to making gorgeous, sumptuous sounds. The recordings themselves are a perfect marriage of sound and beauty, and Matthias Hengelbrock's elliptical program notes, featuring five fetching photos of the soloist, tell a fascinating story.
  • Jeff Koegel paints paintings that seem to toggle between graffiti art, video gaming, expressionist (not to mention futurist)
    Jeff Koegel paints paintings that seem to toggle between graffiti art, video gaming, expressionist (not to mention futurist) conceptions of architecture, color field painting, comic strips (especially but not only the underground kind), surrealism (at least the abstract organic kind), and any number of other sources, influences, parallels, and accidental reflections. But these factors reflect fleetingly in Koegel’s painting, facets of its rapidly shifting, yet visually solid, nature. Koegel doesn’t so much compose his paintings as build them, compiling elements and moving them around so that they seem to grow out of one another in an articulated process of improvisation – not naturally so much as logically, this shape emerging and leading toward this other shape, this reference hiding itself behind that one, this textural suggestion pointing at that arabesque, and so forth. Koegel composes as if doodling, going for a walk, Klee-like, with a line in many instances, but always within and in relation to the bounds of the picture. In this regard his pictorial thinking reacts more to the screen than to the canvas: Koegel could be working on a computer or on an Etch-a-Sketch; he could be inventing a television cartoon or a video arcade machine. Whatever his imagined medium, he transfers the aesthetics of the early digital age to canvas with an uncommon and winning facility. (Launch, 170 S. La Brea Ave., LA. www.launchla.com) – Peter Frank
    JEFF KOEGEL, Termite Economics, 2013, Acrylic, polymer, pumice, linen, canvas, wood, 20½ x 32½ inches
  • Sergey Malov: 13 Strings, Vol. 1: Bach by Sergey Malov. EaSonus CD
By Laurence Vittes <br>
From Russian-Hungarian violoncello
    Sergey Malov: 13 Strings, Vol. 1: Bach by Sergey Malov. EaSonus CD By Laurence Vittes
    From Russian-Hungarian violoncello da spalla (the cello you play on your shoulder) virtuoso Sergey Malov comes a first installment of the Bach Solo Suites, 1007 and 1012. The ease and felicity with which Malov and his largely hypothetical instrument (made by Dmitry Badiarov) handle the challenges of Bach's writing have a justification in just being able to listen to such familiar music on such unfamiliar grounds. Beautiful sound and presentation. (Since Malov is also a virtuoso violinist, in between the Bach he plays Bela Bartok’s Sonata for Solo Violin!)
  • Noah Erenberg paints with a spontaneity and refreshing lack of self-consciousness, especially in the most varied of the three
    Noah Erenberg paints with a spontaneity and refreshing lack of self-consciousness, especially in the most varied of the three groups of paintings exhibited. The pictures in this group take off on the observed world, on faces and places, but abstract them to such a degree that only formal considerations remain; they may be spiced with sly references to figure or landscape, but their vivid color and structure, loose and assured, are their most compelling characteristics. Erenberg’s more overt “portraits,” expressionistic fantasy-visages that burgeon within the canvas, share that painterly, color-drunk brio, but take on a worried intensity that ultimately possesses the brushwork. The third group lets the formal mastery dissolve into obsessive notation, at the expense of pictorial qualities but not of presence: they comprised a wild wall-ful of spinning numbers. A diversity of approaches here couldn’t mask a unity of spirit or technical facility. Erenberg’s autism (the reason he was showing at a gallery dedicated to “outsider art”) frames his painterly pursuits and skills, but does not define them; the son of accomplished artists, he has a natural facility for paint and for visual logic. (Good Luck, 945 Chung King Rd., LA. www.thegoodluckgallery.com) – Peter Frank
    NOAH ERENBERG, Red Board, 2012, Acrylic on canvas, 48 x 36 inches
  • Bach Christmas Oratorio. RIAS Chamber Chorus and Orchestra conducted by Karl Ristenpart. Audite 2 CDs
By Laurence Vittes <br>
    Bach Christmas Oratorio. RIAS Chamber Chorus and Orchestra conducted by Karl Ristenpart. Audite 2 CDs By Laurence Vittes
    Audite continues its series of historic recordings from the archives of RIAS Berlin with a complete performance of the Christmas Oratorio from 1950 that recalls simpler, more innocent times when performance practice was mostly a dream, and it was with relatively forward-thinking conductors like Karl Ristenpart in whom many placed their faith, using modern instruments with a sense of style and expressive content that was aligned with the RIAS Chamber Choir (as opposed to the heavier, amateur choruses which usually sang most major performances of the big choral pieces before the war, and continued to do so after). As soloists, Ristenpart engaged leading Bach singers of the time, thus ensuring that the recitatives of the Evangelist, the arias and ensembles were of particularly high quality. Excellent sound for the time. Deep emotional impact for some.
  • Pamela Davis Kivelson has not only painted but assembled a series of portraits of collectors, enhancing their rendered depict
    Pamela Davis Kivelson has not only painted but assembled a series of portraits of collectors, enhancing their rendered depictions with photographs and objects documenting their obsessions. Some possess Important Artworks; others collect rugs, books, all sorts of artifacture – even children’s art, displayed on the refrigerator. Kivelson’s series does not dwell on what people have so much as how they have it, not what the stuff they have means to them but what it means to collect in the first place. Lest this sound like a sociological exercise enhanced with (smallish) portrait paintings, it has a lot more blood running through it than that. Kivelson – who paints, quite skillfully, what’s collected as well as who collects (so that she can include a “Pollock” painting, or detail thereof) – practices a kind of “live conceptualism,” where direct contact with the subjects not only dictate content and method but impel narrative and texture. This is a collection itself, of personalities. It’s no surprise that Kivelson’s mother turns up in the midst of the medley, and that personal friends and professional acquaintances rub elbows and seemingly exchange interests. (Mark Miller, 92 Orchard St., NY. www.markmillergallery.com) – Peter Frank

    PAMELA DAVIS KIVELSON, Installation, “A Gentle Madness,” at Mark Miller, Photo: Mark Miller
  • Bacharcades. Lautten Compagney and the Calmus Ensemble. Carus CD
By Laurence Vittes<br>

The Calmus Ensemble and Lautten Comp
    Bacharcades. Lautten Compagney and the Calmus Ensemble. Carus CD By Laurence Vittes
    The Calmus Ensemble and Lautten Compagney present an exciting program of music from the Renaissance to the present day conveyed and linked through Bach chorales, as if under and through arcades formed by Bach's music. Spectacular, stunningly lifelike sound, especially a breathtaking arrangement of Arvo Pärt's Fratres.
  • Maura Bendett once produced elaborate, curlicuing sculpture, dripping with resin, part plant and part rococo wall fixture. Be
    Maura Bendett once produced elaborate, curlicuing sculpture, dripping with resin, part plant and part rococo wall fixture. Bendett’s new work, coarse, gnarled, and blanched, seems light years away from the degenerate grace of her previous stuff, but her formal reasoning remains practically unchanged. She combines the manufactured with the organic, only now the references to things, man-made and natural, are far more diffuse, less about structure and more about spirit. The free-standing confabulations, often placed on idiosyncratic pedestals, no longer seem like parodies of extant things but like new things entirely, invented precisely to close the gap between living and inert. Laboriously fashioned from museum board, cement, wood, and other construction materials, the sculptures twist awkwardly back in on themselves, agitated even while inanimate. It’s tempting to think of these ghostly, subtly colored apparitions as Bizarro versions of late-Renaissance marble figures, but they don’t really play off given models: they define a whole new species. Paul Gillis’s representational references are far more apparent, but most he reduces to a few very simple lines or contours and sets these up as simple, decorous patterns – a condition enhanced by the exaggerated weave of the burlap on which he has applied his near-colorless paint and graphite. Gillis’ silhouettes and diagrams suggest everything from early tintypes to Paul Klee’s heraldic shorthand imagery, but his distinctive method transports whatever he renders into a separate visual world, one of shadow and faint breath. (Edward Cella, 6018 Wilshire Blvd., LA. www.edwardcella.com) – Peter Frank

    MAURA BENDETT, Sea Foam, 2013, Museum board, acrylic, hot glue, cement, steel, and glass, 59 x 27 x 25 inches
  • Handel Six Piano Concertos op. 4. Matthias Kirschnereit (piano), Deutsche Kammerakademie Neuss conducted by Lavbard Skou Lars
    Handel Six Piano Concertos op. 4. Matthias Kirschnereit (piano), Deutsche Kammerakademie Neuss conducted by Lavbard Skou Larsen. CPO CD By Laurence Vittes
    That's right, it's Handel's Opus 4 Organ Concertos arranged for piano and chamber orchestra. And surprise, surprise, it works brilliantly. The cool tones of the piano fit the music's clean lines and provide a wonderful companion to the music's stimulating melodic and harmonic adventures. The ensemble is immaculate and Matthias Kirschnereit, while not a poet in the mold of Glenn Gould, brings out a depth and beauty that makes you wonder about the pros and cons of authenticity.
  • Maja Ruznic and Yevgeniya Mikhailik exhibit well together, as both limn a realm of intimate fantasy, generating sprightly ima
    Maja Ruznic and Yevgeniya Mikhailik exhibit well together, as both limn a realm of intimate fantasy, generating sprightly imagery with fluid but precise marks on small pieces of paper or panel. There is a certain parallel with comic-book drawing, but both Ruznic and Mikhailik avoid the self-conscious stylizations and amplified narratives characteristic of cartooning. Rather, their models are evidently Sino-Japanese. Mikhailik clearly takes inspiration from Asian landscape painting in her craggy, atmospheric, and eerily animate views of imaginary places, while Ruznic’s figures, conjured with an aqueous brush, seem the almost liquid descendants of Japanese illustrative calligraphy. Neither Ruznic’s approach nor Mikhailik’s orients itself to storytelling, but each proposes the conditions for a story to emerge. (Bustamante Gill, 2675 S. La Cienega Blvd., LA. www.bustamantegill.com) – Peter Frank
    YEVGENIYA MIKHAILIK, The Quiet Aftermath, 2014, Watercolor, ink, graphite on clayboard, 12 x 12 inches
  • Terry Winters, always a persuasive painter, has become a transcendent one in his recent paintings, certainly to judge from th
    Terry Winters, always a persuasive painter, has become a transcendent one in his recent paintings, certainly to judge from those comprising this exhibition. Built of myriad discrete sections, so many of which mirror or at least echo one another, these paintings do not become preoccupied with their patterning, their sense of motion, or even their color – although all these factors are remarkable in and of themselves – but instead harmonize such elements, and others beside, into breathtaking images, glowing, burgeoning, even breathing apparitions that seem imbued with some sort of living spirit. The paintings warrant such hyperbolic description, as they reward the eye with an optical ecstasy whose intensity, you feel, must be functioning at the service, or as the result, of an unseen force. Even the non-symmetric paintings, which were in the minority, arguably function as mandalas, their lines and forms serving to draw the eye into endlessly restless vortices. Even when one resists this mystic gravity, pulling the eye back for an “objective” regard, the paintings reward the gaze with surprising compositions, luminous colors, and sensuous painting. Small and contemplative, the early-1970s photographs of the late Luigi Ghirri have a different effect, coolly tactile and almost dreamy even at their most agitated, somewhere between the photos of William Eggleston and the objects and collages of the Nouveaux Réalistes (especially “déchiristes” such as Raymond Hains and Mimmo Rotella). Ghirri’s conceptualist captures, however, are hardly less captivating than Winters’ painterly excursions, driven as they are by an instinctual opticality that delights in architecture, montage, and the textures and rhythms of urban life. In this, Ghirri brought together two powerful strains in modern Italian art, De Chirico’s light-filled melancholy and the busy stimulation of the Futurist environment. He was also unusually attuned to the visual conditions provided by the photographic color of his day, and in this he paralleled Eggleston, Stephen Shore, and others in America and elsewhere who were seeking to legitimize and fully exploit color by strategically pointing their cameras at the world and delighting in its delirious banality. (Matthew Marks, 1062 N. Orange Grove Ave. and 7818 Santa Monica Blvd., LA. www.matthewmarks.com) – Peter Frank

    TERRY WINTERS, patterns in a chromatic field (3), 2013, Oil on linen, 40 x 32 inches
  • Rameau Les Surprises de l'Amour. Soloists and Les Nouveaux Caractères conducted by Sébastien d’Hérin. Glossa 3 CDs
By Laurenc
    Rameau Les Surprises de l'Amour. Soloists and Les Nouveaux Caractères conducted by Sébastien d’Hérin. Glossa 3 CDs By Laurence Vittes
    Sébastien d’Hérin and the recently-formed, Lyon-based Les Nouveaux Caract\'e8res debut on Glossa with Rameau's opéra-ballet, first performed in 1748 when the composer had finally made it as a court composer. It's a familiar story: Three tales of love struggling against aggression (L’Enlèvement d’Adonis), indifference (La Lyre enchantée) and drink (Anacréon) come alive in a melange of vocal airs, dialogues and duets enhanced by the emerging palette of Rameaus orchestral physicality and color, including battle and sleep scenes, dances and thunder effects. The whole shebang, as they used to say in Paris. Not.
  • Allison Stewart’s new paintings, as always, abstract plant forms – or, more to the point, abstract from plant forms. The form
    Allison Stewart’s new paintings, as always, abstract plant forms – or, more to the point, abstract from plant forms. The forms themselves tend to retain their recognizability; indeed, Stewart renders them with particular care and precision, bringing out their natural color and textures even when rendered with painterly brio. Around these botanical renderings, building off their humid colors, bent or straight stems, and almost comical flowers, the New Orleans-based artist strews painterly marks and drips and atmospheric scumblings. These areas of abstract elucidation ultimately predominate in Stewart’s pictures, but they inhere so much of their sources’ natural vitality that the whole canvas is charged with an energy that bridges the “real” and the “painted.” There is finally no real distinction between those two states – a condition many organic abstractionists seek but only a few achieve as regularly, and as deftly, as Stewart. (Mark Gallery, 11 Grand Ave., Englewood NJ. www.mark-gallery.com) – Peter Frank
    ALLISON STEWART, Over the River #7, 2014, Mixed media on canvas, 48 x 60 inches
  • Bach Brandenburg Concertos Nos.1-6. Freiburger Barockorchester. Harmonia Mundi 2 CDs 
By Laurence Vittes<br>

Brandenburgs ma
    Bach Brandenburg Concertos Nos.1-6. Freiburger Barockorchester. Harmonia Mundi 2 CDs By Laurence Vittes
    Brandenburgs may come and go but when one of exceptional merit shows up it is time to remember the many glories of the music and the times that were spent in listening to them, again and again. For some unaccountable reason, thanks for to my pioneering father, I grew up listening to a chamber orchestra version by the Cento Soli of Paris with a real harpsichord, conducted by Hermann Scherchen on an obscure French label named Omega. It was sturdy and colorful and chugged affectionately along. This new set from the leading edge Baroque Orchestra of Freiburg is considerably more expert, more au courant in terms of the sophistication and knowledge that backs the way they play their instruments and put the music together interpretively. It is a light, fleet-fingered, bowed and bow-on reading which has enough plasticity in its phrase shaping and enough at least occasional uncertainties about what will happen next (including a wonderful harpsichord cadenza in the Fifth) that the music comes to life even if after listening for the whole two CDs worth it begins to sound suspiciously like one long, admittedly delicious Bachian fabric rather than in any significant sense except the outward, six different concertos. Playing these splendid performance/recordings loud helps avoid this side effect (perhaps more accurately put, a side affect).
  • While “Quality of Life” featured art that “whether directly or obliquely, reflect, challenge, or illuminate the way we measur
    While “Quality of Life” featured art that “whether directly or obliquely, reflect, challenge, or illuminate the way we measure or choose to define the quality of life,” the exhibition’s real strength lay in the vast stylistic breadth it was able to arrogate from the work of five artists (well, six, as two work as a team). All are winners of emerging artist grants from the Rema Hort Mann Foundation, which organized the show. Besides artists, the foundation also gives grants to cancer patients – people for whom the “quality of life” issue is immediate and actual. Artists have the relative luxury of considering that elusive “quality” from a more theoretical or poetic standpoint, and that is what the artists here do. From Aliza Nisenbaum’s rough-hewn portraits of immigrants to the plants Ethan Breckenridge imprisons in tinted glass, from the fantasies Reka Reisinger concocts out of real places to the objects Claudia Cortinez+Carlos Vela-Prado wrest from the details of real (if man-made) landscape, “Quality of Life” looked at various metrics taken, imposed, and imagined upon life as it is lived. Daniel Bejar’s graphic declarations almost sent up the whole concept of “quality of life,” treating it as a slogan no less than a concept: his seemingly revolutionary rallying cries – “Now more than ever,” “A breath of fresh air,” “Demand truth” – are taken verbatim, right down to their sans-serif type, from campaign posters of a more hopeful (and perhaps foolish) era, one already dependent on Mad Ave branding. (Bosi Contemporary, 48 Orchard St., NY. www.bosicontemporary.com) – Peter Frank
    DANIEL BEJAR, Rec-Elections (We’ve been misled too often. Demand truth.), 2014, Archival pigment print on dibond, 22 x 13½ inches
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