Sunday, April 1, 2012

Lithographs from the Tamarind Institute at Newcomb


Eclectic exhibitions with limited work by each artist can be disorienting even if the artists themselves are big, familiar names. That goes double if their medium is not typical, so viewing this retrospective of lithographs from the Tamarind Institute featuring work by modern masters can be like looking for old friends in costume on Mardi Gras day; some are obvious but others are not. For instance, a mysterious image of the word Angel spelled out in Hells Angel script on a flesh toned field turns out to be Ed Ruscha playing coy, whereas Kiki Smith, bottom, is easy and Philip Pearlstein's Nude on an Indian blanket is typical of his sympathetic flair for female sensuality. And Jime Dine's prints of empty male bathrobes standing with arms akimbo suggest Hugh Hefner as a ghost haunting the Playboy mansion. Scary. Abstractions can work well in lithography and an untitled Sam Francis from 1966, left, displays perfect pitch for line and color, but Hung Liu's Wildflower, top, conveys a sense of Asian delicacy in Western terms, in a piece that is in many ways representative of this show's quietly meditative aura.             

 The Landscape, Seascape, Cityscape component of the Nola Now show at the Contemporary Arts Center has been held over for two weeks until April 7. Featuring a variety of styles and media, this too is a smörgåsbord, a Whitman sampler of new work and golden oldies by mostly local artists such as Jacqueline Bishop whose large lithograph, Sonatina, appears above. Curated by Don Marshall, this and the Spaces expo upstairs, curated by Visual Arts Director Amy Mackie, have  helped bring local artists back to the CAC in a big way for the first time in ages. Unfortunately, Mackie recently resigned due to “philosophical differences” with CAC management. Whatever the reason, the abrupt loss of the last two CAC Visual Arts Directors, both from New York's innovative New Museum, can't possibly help when it comes to attracting qualified successors. ~Bookhardt

Tamarind Touchstones: Fabulous at Fifty: Lithographs from the Tamarind Institute, Through April 15, Newcomb Art Gallery, Tulane University, 865-5328;; NOLA NOW, Part II: Landscape, Seascape, Cityscape, Through April 7, Contemporary Arts Center, 900 Camp St., 528.3805;