New American Paintings/Blog


A Resurrected Aesthetic: Obama’s “Art Works” Posters and the New Deal of 2012 by New American Paintings
February 13, 2012, 8:15 am
Filed under: Art World | Tags: , , ,

Amidst the political rallying that has really only just began to rear its loud and often noxious head, I was excited to see a side of Obama’s campaign drawing on artists and an art history that I am especially drawn to.


Rebuilding America, Julie, Seattle WA

In October of 2011, the Obama campaign began seeking artist submissions for a poster competition to visually support and articulate President Obama’s American Jobs Act.  The guidelines detailed in the “Creative Brief” encouraged artists to use a handful of provided mottos and choose a “broad theme, or focus on a specific aspect: why we’ve got to rebuild and modernize our roads and bridges, help veterans find work once they’ve returned home from service, support the small businesses that are the engine of our economy, make sure teachers can stay in their classrooms, and so on.” - Ellen C. Caldwell, LA Contributor

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Gallerist at Home: Catlin Moore by New American Paintings

Catlin Moore, the Director of the contemporary Mark Moore Gallery and co-Director of 5790projects, is stylish, youthful and a definite force to be reckoned with.  Though she cites her collection as being “in its infancy” (especially compared to her father gallery-owner and namesake Mark Moore), her art and artifice at home make me drool.  An established arts writer and LA gallerist, Catlin has created a respite at home, reflecting a space where contemporary art browses with library-esque bookshelves, curiosity cabinets, and a tangible life of its own.

I am so pleased to feature Catlin in the official launch of the monthly column Gallerist at Home for New American Paintings.  Following the same inspiration and interface of the interview I conducted with Heather Taylor in October of 2011, Gallerist at Home will showcase American art personas and explore the process of collecting art for both for public and private spaces. I see this largely as a forum for discussing the practice, process, and procedure of art collecting, and look forward to the conversations it sparks. - Read the interview with Catlin Moore by Ellen Caldwell, LA Contributor, after the jump!

Catlin Moore at home, Photo by Cambria Beilstein.

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Above the Grid: Thomas Aaron by New American Paintings
January 23, 2012, 8:15 am
Filed under: Q&A | Tags: , , , , , ,

Thomas Aaron’s (NAP #96) birds-eye visions of natural landscapes shift the viewer’s perspective instantly.  His paintings offer us satellite-like images of the earth, highlighting both nature and man’s imposition upon it.


Thomas Aaron | UT T12N R11W, Mixed media, 2011, 78″ x 78″

His work reflects something of a combination of photographic realism and fantasy, as Aaron’s forced positioning of structured order, gridlines, and commoditization of the earth is projected in subtle earth-tones and paintings that somehow evoke peacefulness and calm rather than violence and degradation. - Elen C. Caldwell, Los Angeles Contributor

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NAP Annual Prize Winner: William Betts by New American Paintings

This year’s New American Paintings Annual Prize has been awarded to William Betts. If you’re a longtime subscriber to New American Paintings you’re probably familiar with the work of the Houston-based artist. Betts has appeared in editions #60, #72, #84 and most recently as an Editor’s Pick in #96. Even if you’ve never picked up an issue there’s a chance you’ve seen his work somewhere — he’s represented by galleries in New York, Chicago, Dallas, Albuquerque and Denver, and is currently preparing for a group show at Kunstmuseum Stuttgart. In other words, William Betts is an artist that’s hitting his stride, and this year’s Annual Prize is one more item in a growing list of accolades.


William Betts

Selected by a jury of distinguished curators and previous jurors, Betts will receive a cash gift of $1,000, courtesy of the magazine, and a $500 gift card sponsored by Blick Art Materials, for supplies. And, thanks to NEXT ART CHICAGO, Betts will also have a painting hung at the fair in April.

The panel for the Annual Prize consists of three previous NAP jurors who have not made selections in the last year, including Bill Arning, Director, The Contemporary Arts Museum Houston (CAMH), James Rondeau, Curator and Chair of Contemporary Art, Art Institute of Chicago, and Peter Boswell, Senior Curator, Miami Art Museum.

Fellow NAP contributor Ellen Caldwell and I caught up with Betts earlier this week to talk about his work and process. – Matthew Smith, Washington, D.C. contributor


William Betts | Untitled YYZ 10-30-2010, acrylic on canvas, dimension5: 36″ x 72″

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The Personal and Personified: Painting with Chelsea James by New American Paintings
January 18, 2012, 8:15 am
Filed under: Q&A | Tags: , , , , ,

Painter Chelsea James (NAP #96) captures everyday scenes that are soft and enduring. Personal nooks, quiet contemplative spaces and belongings, and everyday interiors are captured in a warm and nostalgic light.

Something about her work makes me want to live in these homes and spaces she both creates and reflects upon. – More by Los Angeles Contributor, Ellen Caldwell, after the jump!


Chelsea James | Bookshelf, 36″ x 36”, oil on panel

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Top 10 NAP Posts of 2011 by New American Paintings

Even though we are looking forward to 2012, it’s still fun to look back. We want to take this opportunity to thank all of our blog contributors for making our site a great place to find commentary on relevant contemporary painting. These very talented writers and videographers from all over the country include Ellen Caldwell, Brian Fee, Josh Reames, Erin Langner, Nadiah Fellah, Graham Kolbeins (Future Shipwreck), Hallie Miller, Catherine Wagley, Paul Boshears, Joey Veltkamp, Alex Ebstein, and Matthew Smith.

On that note, after the jump we list the top 10 most viewed posts by our contributors in 2011. If you haven’t had a chance to read them, please check them out now! And, it’s never too late to comment.


story-telling booth in Oakland at which participants were invited to share their ‘99% Story’

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Crafting & Curating: “Recrafting History” at Taylor De Cordoba by New American Paintings

I was recently asked to curate a show for Taylor De Cordoba, a gallery in LA’s Culver City art district. “Recrafting History: History, Nostalgia, and Craft in the American Memory” opened on October 29th and since then, I have had a lot of people ask me what exactly curating entails. - Read more of Ellen Caldwell’s curating experience after the jump!


Frohawk opening viewer, Courtesy of Taylor De Cordoba

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Reflections on Richard Serra’s Works on Paper by New American Paintings

At once heavy, inviting, bold, and unbalancing, Richard Serra’s “Works on Paper” at the John Berggruen Gallery have a similar effect to his well-known steel sculptures.  While his larger-than-life sculptures welcome viewers through their vast curvatures, strange passages, and interactive fields, his works on paper do something similar, though on a much smaller and subtler scale. - Read and see more from LA Contributor, Ellen Caldwell, after the jump!


Installation view of Paths and Edges #12 & 13. Courtesy of Ellen C. Caldwell.
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Fact, Fiction, and Friction: Frohawk Two Feathers by New American Paintings

During a time when fiction dances eerily with fact, it feels appropriate to look to a contemporary artist from my generation who is using acrylics, tea-dyed paper, and a variety of mediums to blur, illuminate, disguise, and play with these lines.  I first saw Frohawk Two Feathers’ (NAP #73) work at Taylor De Cordoba in 2006 and have followed him and his empire literally through many gallery and museum openings, and figuratively through 100’s of years, numerous battles, wars, and revolutions.  Lives have been lost, prisoners have been taken, but Frohawk always comes out on top.

As current 30-somethings, Frohawk and I grew up in a murky time.  For me, my 20’s were formative: besides being post-college and post-9/11, the 2004 elections, The 9/11 Commission Report, the United States’ invasion of Iraq, and Sarah Palin’s vice presidential nomination influenced my worldview largely.  Bottom line: I don’t believe anything anyone says anymore. - Read more by Ellen Caldwell, LA Contributor, after the jump!


Frokawk Two Feather | Amir Al Bahr. Admiral Deucalion Of The Pirate Fleet of Batavia, 2011, acrylic and tea on paper, 30″ x 22″ Courtesy of Taylor Cordoba

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We Have a Pulse by New American Paintings

Pulse Contemporary Art Fair ran this past weekend in the heart of downtown LA—at LA Live.  Or at least we’re told LA Live is the “heart of the vibrant and burgeoning downtown Los Angeles community.”  As a native Angeleno, I certainly wouldn’t label LA Live the heart of downtown, nor would I label downtown Los Angeles a “burgeoning community” – because quite frankly, downtown LA has been a thriving and distinctive community for some time. - Ellen Caldwell, LA Contributor (more thoughts on the show and images after the jump!)


Heidi Tullmann and Ben Wolf at Christina Ray

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