The Ignorant Schulmeister and his Armchair Revolution

This essay is a preliminary examination of the artistic pedagogy of Josef Albers mainly using his encounter with Constancio Bernardo, his student at Yale School of Art in the 1950s, as a case study. After being mentored by Albers, Bernardo made the earliest examples of modern abstract painting in Southeast Asia. Drawing from Jacques Ranciere’s… Continue reading The Ignorant Schulmeister and his Armchair Revolution

Bauhaus in the Boondocks: Ideas for an Epilogue

Albers teaching a class at Yale in 1956 Or stuff that won't make the cut in my MFA Research Project at the School of Visual Arts in NYC I intend to follow some leads from Jacques Rancière’s Politics and Aesthetics (Verso, 2003) and his more specifically art critical Aisthesis: Scenes from the Aesthetic Regime of… Continue reading Bauhaus in the Boondocks: Ideas for an Epilogue

Three Painters from Bandung

Tondi Hasibuan Overly rigid attempts at comparisons to Picasso do not do justice to Tondi Hasibuan’s incredibly multifaceted work. The stylistic caesuras are too abrupt. Forms reminiscent of Picasso’s late period pieces are given a new lease on life with reinventions from the fund of the artists imagination. A Fine Arts Professor, Tondi Hasibuan’s ambivalent… Continue reading Three Painters from Bandung

The Myth of a Degree Zero Moment

Degree Zero: Drawing at Midcentury Photo: MoMA Degree Zero at MoMA provides counterpoints to the understanding of drawing’s role in post-war art. Gathering 75 works, made between 1948 and 1966, from Louise Bourgeois, Yayoi Kusama, Henri Matisse, Jackson Pollock, Alfredo Volpi, and many others, as well as recent acquisitions by artists such as Uche Okeke,… Continue reading The Myth of a Degree Zero Moment

The Tormented Square

Kazimir Malevich, Black Square, 1913. Kazimir Malevich was clear in his intentions to discover the “zero point” of painting; that is, painting that does not represent life outside its surface. He wanted to completely abandon depicting reality and instead invent a new world of shapes and forms. In his 1927 book The Non-Objective World, he… Continue reading The Tormented Square

Hooded Trauma

On the offensive figures of Philip Guston The decision by four major museums to delay the retrospective of painter Philip Guston has generated renewed interest in his controversial life. Perhaps because he is still often ranked with American abstract expressionist painters that many were flustered when museum directors deemed his images unfit for public consumption,… Continue reading Hooded Trauma

Brief notes on Teddy Roosevelt’s statue being removed from the steps of the Museum of Natural History

In the New York Times today: the equestrian statue of Theodore Roosevelt, the former president of the United States who declared the end of the Philippine-American War in 1902, will be removed from the steps of the Museum of Natural History. The Museum maintains that it is removing the statue not because of Theodore Roosevelt's… Continue reading Brief notes on Teddy Roosevelt’s statue being removed from the steps of the Museum of Natural History

Rage against the image

  On the night of February 25, 1986, the Filipino people took to the streets to celebrate the downfall of the dictator Ferdinand Marcos. Around ten thousand protesters held a vigil to retake Malacanang, the presidential palace originally built by the Spaniards for the Governor-General of the former colony. The plaza which was once open… Continue reading Rage against the image

The decollage we live in

It’s hard to explain, even to myself, why an artwork from more than fifty years ago can speak to our time without resorting to clichéd notions of the timelessness and universality of artistic language. I try to think of concrete experiences that can constitute a right mindset to write about Jacques Villegle, a Parisian artist… Continue reading The decollage we live in

Meaning over spectacle: Gerhard Richter retrospective online

The abrupt closing of Gerhard Richter’s retrospective at the Met Breuer, among other art world events in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic has refocused the energies of its curators to use online platforms. While it serves its purpose well of extending the reach and lifespan of art exhibitions, the Met Museum’s website is not… Continue reading Meaning over spectacle: Gerhard Richter retrospective online

Portrait of a lady on fire (Celine Sciamma, 2019)

Marianne must cross the rough seas when she is summoned by a countess (Valeria Golino) who would like to have a portrait of her daughter, Heloise. The portrait will be sent to Heloise's fiancé, an Italian aristocrat, as a confirmation of their arranged marriage. Hoping to save their crumbling estate or move back to an… Continue reading Portrait of a lady on fire (Celine Sciamma, 2019)

Poems in the shape of paintings

With a history of cultural iconoclasm, the Arab region has become a fertile ground for abstract art. Yet Arab artists remain marginal in the global conversation of modern abstraction. An ambitious project initiated by the Barjeel Art Foundation seeks to issue a long overdue corrective. Taking Shape: Abstraction from the Arab World, 1950s–1980s, slated to… Continue reading Poems in the shape of paintings

122 Rue du temple, 1968

122 Rue du temple, 1968 Jacques Villeglé torn-and-pasted printed paper on canvas 62 5/8 x 82 3/4" (159.2 x 210.3 cm) Museum of Modern Art  The words of French crime novelist Leo Malet comes to mind every time I encounter a work by Jacques Villegle: “The collage of the future will be done without scissors,… Continue reading 122 Rue du temple, 1968

Throw Away Day

A new documentary on the life and work of abstract expressionism's invisible man, Clyfford Still and the quest to reclaim one of his paintings in an auction at the Sotheby's Contemporary Evening Sale A few minutes after four and the day slipped into darkness, signalling stagehands at the Sotheby’s Contemporary Art Evening Sale to finalize… Continue reading Throw Away Day

Defacement painting as memorial

The Guggenheim exhibition has achieved for Basquiat's Defacement (1983) a level of relevance achieved by few paintings: a memorial to violence with potency to comment on our current social crisis. Jean-Michel Basquiat – Defacement (The Death of Michael Stewart), 1983. Photograph: Allison Chipak/Collection of Nina Clemente, New York Picasso’s Guernica and Goya’s Third of May… Continue reading Defacement painting as memorial

The show everyone loves to hate

Short review of the Whitney Biennale The Whitney Biennale is a show everyone loves to hate. A general discontent directed towards important exhibitions hangs over any appreciation of individual works. As in, what else can art do to change the world? In a show where most visitors spend less than a minute on average to… Continue reading The show everyone loves to hate

Lucas Arruda at David Zwirner

Lucas Arruda. Sem título (Untitled), 2017. Oil on canvas, 24 x 30 cm (9 1/2 x 11 7/8 in). © Lucas Arruda. Courtesy Mendes Wood DM, São Paulo/Brussels and David Zwirner, London. Photograph: Everton Ballardin. Lucas Arruda grapples with what its means to paint through tradition in his first solo exhibition in New York, 'Deserto-Modelo'… Continue reading Lucas Arruda at David Zwirner

North Atlantic White

A color walk piece inspired by William Burroughs. Originally written for Emmanuel Iduma's class on narrative criticism. One similarity that struck me with Burroughs and a Filipino painter named Juan Luna is that they both killed their wives. In Luna it was the heat of passion and jealousy but for Burroughs it was the blur… Continue reading North Atlantic White

Romero Barragan: Beyond Representation

Traces of the everyday On the surface of the series Destinations, a red line on the black-and-white copy of a city map runs through several streets on the bottom right. Which city is it? Is this the documentation of a mental walk or was the path actually taken? If yes, in a rush or during a leisurely… Continue reading Romero Barragan: Beyond Representation

Borlonganesque

Elmer Borlongan’s Extraordinary Eye for the Ordinary Elmer Borlongan’s mid-career retrospective held on his 50th birthday at the Metropolitan Museum of Manila establishes him as the essential post-EDSA artist: an artist painting in the veristic sociocritical vein of the 90s, but who, with the downfall of the Marcoses, finds himself with no one to rebel… Continue reading Borlonganesque

La Mujer Filipina allegedly by Felix Hidalgo

Some doubts have been casts on the authenticity of a Felix Hidalgo painting which was sold by auction recently. FÉLIX RESURRECCIÓN HIDALGO Y PADILLA (Filipinas, 1855 – España, 1913). “Nativa Filipina”. Óleo sobre lienzo. The most common misgivings are that the painting did not seem to conform to the fashion style of the period when… Continue reading La Mujer Filipina allegedly by Felix Hidalgo

Laura Owens at the Whitney Museum

There are manifold levels in the work of the American artist Laura Owens. For more than twenty years, the 47-year-old has been experimenting with the genre of painting, always with a claim to explore what is visually and creatively possible, to transcend the boundaries of the known, both in form and in content. Laura Owens… Continue reading Laura Owens at the Whitney Museum