Drennen review of "Forever Now" exhibition at MoMA
Craig Drennen review of MoMA's "Forever Now" exhibition appears in ART PULSE issue 22
*The Forever Now: Contemporary Painting In An Atemporal World *
*Museum of Modern Art - New York *
*By Craig Drennen *
Curator Laura Hoptman boasts an enviable list of accomplish- ments, including the surprise 1997 MoMA painting exhibition called Projects: John Currin, Elizabeth Peyton, Luc Tuymans. What made that exhibition so memorable was that it quietly assessed the state of fin de siècle figure painting with the firm, assured touch of someone who had truly located a pulse.
Now jump ahead 18 years later to Hoptmans The Forever Now: Contemporary Painting in an Atemporal World, MoMAs anticipated encapsulation of paintings mutable practices. From the onset, the exhibitions overcrowded walls prevent proper experience of even the strongest individual works. Joe Bradleys pieces are the most obvious satires in the exhibition, each a drawn approximation of paintings grand tradition: portraiture, human figure, celebrity, religion and the artist as superhuman genius. The portrait titled Neil (2008) presents a gentle curved line that reads as a smile on a dirty, distressed canvas. Its an absurdist Mona Lisa with just a hint of bukkake degradation that makes Rashid Johnsons black wax monochromes nearby seem academic and overly cautious. Oscar Murillos 7+ (2014) borrows from Tápies and Schnabel while still managing to be non-heroic. This is due in part to studiously accidental detritus included on the surface, such as the slice of plastic bottle that meets viewers at eye level but is somehow not mentioned at all in the wall label. Nicole Eisenmans monumental portraits, equal parts comic and inscrutable, are standouts. The murky expressionist tone in her Capitalist Guy (2011) is countered by printed mask images floating by like aquarium fish. Again the wall label describes Capitalist Guy as being made from oil and cut-and-pasted printed paper on canvas, clearly ignoring the two very real 1972 Eisenhower silver-dollar coins that act as eyes. Did the MoMA staff members who printed the labels even look at the paintings?
Julie Mehretus new calligraphic pieces reveal that audiences may have been so swayed toward understanding her work politically that no one noticed that shes actually an extraordinary painter. The surfaces of Mehretus paintings are both frantic and tender, conveying the smudged urgency of a rain-soaked letter. Mary Weatherfords paint and neon combinations are equally mature and seem as naturally occurring as tavern signs at sunset. Matt Connors Variable Foot (2014) is the only work in the exhibition that challenges the physical architecture of the exhibition space itself. The paintings vertical stripes reach from floor to ceiling and would have felt at home with the French degree zero painting movement from 50 years ago, which presumably reiterates Hoptmans point. Josh Smith was granted a full wall to present nine disparate paintings of identical size that looks like he is playing a very large game of solitaire, which, like painting, is a generally singular activity in which an individual brings forth endless new combinations of the same old things, with nothing at stake. This might be one of the more cynical takeaway messages of Forever Now, but significant nonetheless.
It is likely that contemporary curatorial practice might be suspended in a forever now situation to the same degree as artists. After reading the catalogue, one gets the feeling that the intellectual framework of Hoptmans curatorial essay is not in total alignment with the works selected, but that it could have been. In fact, the overcrowded walls, label omissions and inclusion of three artists from the same Lower East Side gallery makes the entire exhibition feel rushed. Im nostalgic for the 1997 version of Hoptman, whom Ive liked forever and who we need back now.
(December 14, 2014 April 5, 2015)
Craig Drennen is an artist based in Atlanta.
"Craig Drennen Is Awful" solo exhibition at helper, Brooklyn, NY
"Craig Drennen is Awful"
May 9 - June 14, 2015
Opening reception: Saturday, May 9, 7 - 10pm
Craig Drennens solo exhibition Craig Drennen Is Awful opens at helper on May 9, 2015. This exhibition will feature the performance Awful Inside helper on opening night, with two simultaneous performers, two drawings, and additional ephemera. Props from the performances will be altered and installed as components of an installation that will continue for the duration of the exhibition. An unlimited t-shirt edition will be available to selected viewers. This exhibition is the latest iteration of Drennens ongoing intervention into Timon of Athens, the only play by Shakespeare not performed in his lifetime.
Television clips of Craig Drennen's museum project at the University of Kentucky Museum (Feb 11-14, 2015)
Short video clips about Craig Drennen's museum project from Lexington, KY television stations.
"(In The) Paint" project at the University of Kentucky Museum
Craig Drennen will create a temporary studio with the University of Kentucky Museum, February 11-14, 2015, where he will complete a new painting dedicated to UK hall-of-famer Dan Issel. The new painting will be a part of Drennen's ongoing "Timon of Athens" series.
"Gathered: Georgia Artists Selecting Georgia Artists II" @ MOCA GA, Atlanta, GA
GATHERED: Georgia Artists Selecting Georgia Artists, is an exciting and thoughtful exhibition featuring 77 artists from 25 cities in the state of Georgia. The selection committee, comprised of John D. Lawrence, Jiha Moon, Joseph Norman, and Brian Rust, reviewed more than 1,133 individual works submitted by more than 384 artists from more than 76 cities in Georgia.
"At First You Don't Succeed" @ College of Creative Studies, UC Santa Barbara
"At First You Dont Succeed," curated by College of Creative Studies alumnus Robert Wechsler, presents projects from artists more than a decade into their professional careers. The shows title reflects the reality of a professional studio artist, where success is the result of dogged persistence.
The show features: James Anderson, Sarah Awad, Craig Drennen,Victoria Fu,Gregory Michael Hernandez, Anton Liberman, Katja Mater, Anne McGuire, Yi Sheng, Brian Taylor, Ariane Vielmetter.
Craig Drennen wins Art Matters Grant 2014
Craig Drennen wins Art Matters Grant 2014 for his "Timon of Athens" project.
"Poet & Awful" at Samsøñ, Oct 31-Dec 24
Poet & Awful is Craig Drennens 3rd solo exhibition at Samsøñ. 10 new paintings, all from 2014, are dedicated to the character of Poet from Drennens ongoing Timon of Athens project. A performance, Awful Inside Samsøñ, will take place during the November 7th artists' reception from 6:30 to 7:30 PM.
"WE SHOULD TALK TO EACH OTHER, THE CLOUD AND I"
"WE SHOULD TALK TO EACH OTHER, THE CLOUD AND I."
A Group Exhibition Exploring the Creative Space between Reality and Delusion
Fia Backström, Jeff Brown, Craig Drennen, James Hyde, Fabienne Lasserre, Raoul Pacheco, Peter Rostovsky, Teaston (Sarah Wallin Huff & Liselott Johnsson), Oliver Wasow & Molly Zuckerman-Hartung
October 27 - November 21, 2014
Studio Visit: Craig Drennen in BurnAway magazine
WE SHOULD TALK TO EACH OTHER, THE CLOUD AND I
Fia Backström, Jeff Brown, Craig Drennen, James Hyde, Fabienne Lasserre, Raoul Pacheco, Peter Rostovsky, Teaston (Sarah Wallin Huff & Liselott Johnsson), Oliver Wasow & Molly Zuckerman-Hartung.
Craig Drennen interviewed by Rachel Reese on BOMBlog.
"GA Artists Selecting GA Artists" at MOCA GA
Craig Drennen has been included in the "GA Artists Selecting GA Artists" exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Georgia. The exhibition opens June 22, 2013 and runs though August 14th.
"Drawing Inside the Perimeter," High Museum
Craig Drennen will have work featured in "Drawing Inside the Perimeter," curated by Michael Rooks, at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, GA. The exhibition opens on Wednesday, June 26, 2013.
Ellen de Bruijne Projects, Amsterdam
Craig Drennen's solo exhibition "Painter and Servants" opened at Ellen de Bruijne Projects in Amsterdam on March 4, 2013.
Craig Drennen featured by Saltworks Gallery at Aqua 2012 in Miami
"Panel: Painters in Dialog"
Panel: Painters in Dialogue
Sat, May 19, 11am12pm
Atlanta Contemporary Art Center
Atlanta artists Craig Drennen, Shara Hughes, and Ben Steele discuss how paint factors into their ideas and activities.
Drennen reviewed in May 2012 Art in America
"Painters Panting" exhibition at the Atlanta Contemporary Art Center
"Painters Panting" is an exhibition curated by Stuart Horodner that draws its inspiration from Painters Painting, the 1972 documentary directed by Emile de Antonio. The exhibition opens on Apr 13, 2012 at the Atlanta Contemporary Art Center.
"From the Mezzanine" group exhibition at Ramapo College, NJ
The Ramapo College galleries will host "From the Mezzanine," a group exhibition curated by Jennifer Dudley, inspired by the work of Bas Jan Ader. The exhibition opens Wednesday, Feb 1, 2012.
Moderator for "On Ambition" panel
"On Ambition" panel at the Atlanta Contemporary Art Center, January 21, 2012. Panelists include artist Nikita Cale, ACAC Artistic Director Stuart Horodner, and gallerist Jennifer Schwartz. The panel was moderated by Craig Drennen.
Craig Drennen solo exhibition at Saltworks Gallery, Atlanta, GA. Opens January 14, 2012.
Craig Drennen receives 2011 Southeastern College Art Conference Artist Fellowship Award
"Painting in the Collapsed Field"
I'll be chairing a panel discussion called "Painting in the Collapsed Field" at the Southeastern College Art Conference in Savannah, GA on Friday, November 11, 2011. The participants include David Humphrey, Steve Locke, Katherine Smith, and Wendy White.
"Does Not Migrate"
3-artist exhibition with Matthew Ager, Craig Drennen, and Gamaliel Rodriguez at Triangle Gallery, Brooklyn NY. The exhibition opens on Thursday 11/3/11 and runs through 12/1/11.
"The Painted Photograph"
Curated by Lisa Tuttle at the Southwest Arts Center Performance Theater Gallery, Atlanta, GA, September 30-October 30, 2011.
Performed 1-Hour Awful (for Apemantus) as part of FLUX 2011 in the Castleberry Hill district of Atlanta on September 30, 2011.
e(merge) art fair
Included in The Studio Visit room at the e(merge) art fair in Washington D.C., curated by Jiha Moon.
"Skowhegan Performs" at Socrates Sculpture Park, NYC
Performed Awful Outside at "Skowhegan Performs" held at the Socrates Sculpture Park in Queens, NY on September 25th from noon-3pm.