The Alan Gallery JanuaryFrom the brochure essay by John Ashbery [Brainard's work forms] a glittering microcosm, ordered, very formal, very dramatic, and beautiful, and he proves that beauty is really interesting after all. A painter said, "He just puts down a color, and it's right.
In the all-over ones he calls Gardens like that on brainard new york chat room cover [of this issue] the scale is the size of a petal, or its color. Or, the scale is the size bdainard a color area, and only sometimes is the fact of the stroke left to see. Nor is scale realistic. A white Oriental poppy is smaller than a morning glory, Johnny-jump-ups are huge because life-size.
Parts of this fiction are nearer than others, although distance has been suppressed, or brainarf, not called into being. The flowers are pretty and they are not alive; the pure compacted colors interlace and lock livingly together.
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It is the pictures that are beautiful. Third Solo Exhibition Landau-Alan Gallery March April 17, From a review rom Peter Schjeldahl, Art International May Joe Brainard's show of flower paintings and collages at the Landau-Alan Gallery, though modest in scope and scale, further confirmed the presence in our midst of a prodigiously talented and original young artist.
Like Watteau, Francis Picabia, and Andy Warhol, he engages subject matter in a personal, anti-conventional way so pervasive brxinard to render sterile any strictly formal analysis of his work. He will be unique or nothing. In line with Yeats' dictum about poetry, these works have been labored to remove all trace of the artist's exertion.
Their real identity comes as something of a shock, like a snowball with a rock inside it. It is rather unsettling to confront a perfect little watercolor of some pansies with the consciousness that no "appropriate response" is possible.
Like Nature herself, it challenges us to for its complete, unambiguous beauty, and of course we can't. Brainard gives both a run for their money, if not with roses then with pansies, and with tulips and poppies tied for second place, row upon row of garden-variety flowers painted with meticulous deftness.
The effect is always of profusion and of strangeness beyond that. What is a flower, one begins to wonder?
A beautiful, living thing that at first seems to promise meaning. Here they merely continue, each as beautiful as the others, but only beautiful, with nothing behind it, and yet. The unfinished clause secretly binds the work together and raises it above a high level of provocation.
Public Talk and Q&A with Lael Brainard, Member, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System
Exhibition at Fischbach Gallery MayFrom a review by Carter Ratcliff, Art International October In his most recent show [Brainard] painted objects, then cut the paintings to make them more object-like. This interplay between the natural and the artificial, between what is displayed an object and what displays also an object, the same one breaks down the ordinary notions of composition and coherence in favor of an illuminated concentration. His latest show is intentionally, one suspects "minor," but what emerges as a result of its scattered thrust is a sense of the exhibition as some kind of rare, major potpourri.
Brainard is approaching 30, but his art has not as yet hardened softened is, perhaps, a better word into a form or a formula.
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It is, more than any noble fixation, a markedly fluid, meaningful style, a refreshingly old way of perceiving new things which, by its artful interweaving of skill with force of personality, is continually in the process of clearly revamping itself. The artist is, as has been said, a "creative" and diverse talent, and one of the triumphs of his new show is the unusual but undeniable equation it makes between quantity and quality. Neww we have come to expect many contemporary artists to turn out series of singular last words on the dismayingly twin subjects of yorm and art history, brqinard are slowly but surely coming to see Joe Brainard's career as a continuing and sincerely comic dialogue between art and artist, an always-promising work-in-progress that is, at any recent point, all there.
Brainard's plunge into realism is a deft one: the new paintings are as intimate as his former work and as visually skilled and expressive.
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From an uned review brainard new york chat room New York [These oil paintings are] brilliant, unselfconscious, charming. No moment of the day is dead to him. With his nimble fingers and even nimbler wit, he has cobbled up an untoldsome say of tiny works of art for his new show. Yokr of the works are no bigger than a postcard, and the general level inevitably goes up and down; but the ups are way up, and we sense throughout the show an ongoing energy which insists that images are there to tease, provoke, and give pleasure.
In Mr. Brainard's hands they do all three of these things. This is the wittiest show of the winter.
Brainard's favored means for a minor but very amusing and endlessly fascinating art. He makes up in copiousness what he lacks in scale.
The Retrospective at Tibor de Nagy Gallery nnn March-April From a review by Peter Schjeldahl, Village Voice April 22, Now here is a pocket Brainard retrospective, full of things to just about buckle my knees with recollected and renewed pleasure. There are racy early Popish paintings and collages, riotous pseudoreligious assemblages such as an evilly green one keyed to ranked bottles of Prell shampooexquisite oil studies like rebirths of Berthe Morisot, and breathtakingly lovely painted and cutout paper gardens of ordinary flowers, with a modestly magnificent effect like Beethoven's Ode to Joy played on toy pianos.
Among other things, Joe nailed, one after another, every major variety of aesthetic kick proper to the art of collage past, present, and humanly possible. From the exhibition catalog essay by Robert Rosenblum In this ambience of gentle affection, even the crassest stuff of Americana refuses to look vulgar when transported to Brainard-land.
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In this artist's hands, even a Holiday Inna few boxes of Tide, or a comic-strip character like Nancy looks like something eoom an imaginary, pre-industrial world, viewed with the enchanted love of a remembered first encounter. But if his art can look backwards, sideways, and forwards, it refuses to the march of history, staking out its own magical territory. From a review by Holland Cotter, New York Times March 28, The show, shrewdly edited to give a sense of this artist's weight and range, is pure delight.
Brainard characteristically worked in several styles at once.
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Brainard, like [Frank] O'Hara, was ahead of his time. Metaphor and sensuality are the hallmarks of this beautiful show. Lewallen, Berkeley Art Museum From the exhibition catalog essay by Carter Ratcliff Brainard dazzled by taking art back to those moments, early in life, when the very idea of an image becomes intelligible and almost unbearably rich with meaning.
From the cover article by Brad Gooch, Artforum February What [Joe] was up to, artwise, was keeping his look fresh, his vision uncorrected.
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Roon you walk briskly through a room of Vermeers in the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam without even staring at them, you still catch flashes of luminescence peripherally. A walk through a roomful of Brainards has the same allover halo effect.
I remember endless conversations among us young poets about what Brainard was up to. Especially as his hair turned silver gray, there were all sorts of suspicions that his early retirement was somehow touched by saintliness.
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That he was teaching us a lesson. That he was a bodhisattva, not just burned-out.
It was just such an unusual thing to do. Behind this talk was the felt conviction that Brainard as an artist was going to add up to more than the sum of the hundreds of thousands of pieces he produced before he quit the business.