Tyler Green
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Tyler Green Modern Art Notes

The Modern Art Notes Podcast: Philip Taaffe

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This week’s Modern Art Notes Podcast features Philip Taaffe. An exhibition of Taaffe’s most recent work opens Friday, May 3 at Luhring Augustine gallery in Chelsea. Taaffe has re-designed his website just in time for the show. Among the better artist websites, it features most (if not all) of the paintings he’s made since 1980.

Taaffe’s work engages cultural, natural and art history, often all at once. Taaffe’s work is in the collection of major museums such as the Museum of Modern Art and the Philadelphia Museum of Art. A 2001 survey of his work was launched by the Galleria Civica of Trento, Italy.

Among the topics we discuss are:

  • Whether Taaffe hopes his deployment of imagery from the sciences or world history motivates his viewers to learn more about those topics;
  • Why he has deployed many of the same objects over and over again, objects such as diatoms, snakes and thorny plants;
  • How he builds a painting both on a loose grid, but also from the surface of the canvas ‘up'; and
  • Whether he is a different kind of history painter.

On the second segment, William Powhida discusses new work he’s exhibiting at Charlie James Gallery in Los Angeles. The gallery has made available a PDF catalogue of the exhibition. Powhida’s work typically engages in a pointed critique of the art market and the institutions and individuals who are part of its ecosystem. In 2010, Powhida created a drawing that served as the announcement that Modern Art Notes was moving from its previous home to Artinfo. Despite living and showing in New York, he has not been included in a Whitney Biennial because, well… awkward. [Image: William Powhida, A (really bad, bad) Neo-Expressionist Painting, 2013.]

Nota bene: Regarding  the Powhida images below: Each object comes with a ‘written’ panel. The panels are easily readable in the PDF catalogue of the exhibition, but not so much at the size at which I’d have to publish them here. So download the catalogue!

How to listen: Download the show to your PC/mobile device. Subscribe to The MAN Podcast via iTunesSoundCloudStitcher or RSS. Stream the program at MANPodcast.com.

The Modern Art Notes Podcast is an independent production of Modern Art Notes Media. The program is edited by Wilson Butterworth. The MAN Podcast is released under this Creative Commons license.

For links images of artworks discussed on this week’s show, please click through to the jump.

Philip Taaffe, Scribe, 2013.

Philip Taaffe, Earth Star, 2012.

Philip Taaffe, Panel with Diatoms, 2012.

Philip Taaffe, Diadem, 1999.

Graham Sutherland, Thorn Head, 1947. Collection of the Pallant House Gallery, Chichester, England.

Philip Taaffe, Tsuba Colony, 1995.

Henri Matisse, Bathers by a River, 1910, 1913, 1916-17. Collection of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Philip Taaffe, Monocled Cobra, 1996.

Philip Taaffe, Monocled Cobra and King Snake, 1997.

Philip Taaffe, La Sciara, 1993.

William Powhida, Some Shiny Objects, 2013.

William Powhida, Some Asset Class (Digital) Paintings — Color Fields, 2013.

William Powhida, A Hypothetical Phrase or Word in Neon, 2013.

William Powhida, An Informal Materialism (with Free Wood and Rectangles), 2013.

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