New American Paintings/Blog


Dina Deitsch: A Q&A with the Northeast Juror by openstudiospress

It’s time to begin preparations for one of our most anticipated issues of the year, the Northeast Competition! (The deadline to apply is August 31, and the competition is open to artists in CT, DE, ME, MA, NJ, NH, NY, PA, RI, and VT. Apply online!)

For nearly two decades, the Northeast book has featured artists of exceptional promise who have gone on to incredible international success, and NAP alums from the region include such celebrated contemporary artists as Matthew Day Jackson, William Cordova, Eddie Martinez, and countless others.

We are beyond thrilled to feature the perspective of talented curator (and friend) Dina Deitsch, Assistant Curator of Contemporary Art for the deCordova Sculpture Park + Museum, Lincoln, MA. Dina’s years of experience working with emerging artists for the museum’s deCordova Biennial and her intensive work with multiple media, make her an incredible candidate for jurying the Northeast Competition. 

I chatted with the Cambridge-based curator this week to talk up the competition and her experience with emerging work. She also shares with us her thoughts on recent developments in contemporary painting, which you don’t want to miss. Our conversation is below! More after the jump!  —Evan J. Garza, Editor-at-Large

EJG: As the curator for a sculpture park and museum, how do you address painting in the museum’s program?
DD: Easily and often! While deCordova is a sculpture park, and a fantastic one at that, we also have a good 5000 sq ft of gallery space that we program with not only sculpture but general contemporary art. One branch of our mission is to collect and promote artists from the New England region, which we do through single-artist PLATFORM projects and our sprawling Biennial program. In that particular program, variety is the name of the game and there’s always room for painting! I also organize group thematic shows that often do and can include or even center on painting, such as the forthcoming show I’m curating with you, Paint Thing (working title), which looks at painting as a spatial art, and where and how it meets sculpture.

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Small Crowd: RISD MFA Painting Grads at Mixed Greens by openstudiospress

Katie Bell, Breaker, 2011 | Vinyl, acrylic, foam, rope and paper. Approx. 9 x 10 feet. Courtesy Mixed Greens, New York.

There have been countless MFA thesis shows around the country since May, but few have been as captivating or as relevant as that of the RISD Painting MFA 2011 grads on view at Mixed Greens in New York. (And even fewer are still on view through July.) Hailing from the Rhode Island School of Design, the show features work by Corydon CowansageCollin HattonField KallopNell PainterAnna PlessetMike Schbreiber, Keith Allyn Spencer, and Katie Bell, who we recently saw in the annual New Insight show of promising MFA candidates, curated by Susanne Ghez for NEXT Chicago.

If the work by artists in Small Crowd is any indication of what’s taking place in MFA painting programs across the country, the outlook is good. Abstraction is unsurprisingly favored over figuration here, and wielded by Hatton, Kallop, Spencer and others. Contemporary painters are frequently returning to ideas of the painting as object, an approach used by Bell and Plesset, and to brilliant effect.

More pics after the jump!  —Evan J. Garza, Editor-at-Large

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Wrestling with Painting: Steven Frost by openstudiospress

Steven Frost, An Audience & Lines to Speak, 2011 | Foam padding, pleather, straight pins, thread, 48 x 82 x 3 inches. Courtesy the artist.

Last Friday in Chicago, once crowds had abandoned the aisles of endless booths at the Art Chicago and NEXT fairs, the biggest opening in the city was the annual Thesis Exhibition at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. (And as someone who was there last year, it’s safe to admit the crowd this year had reached unparalleled size, making the crowd at Merchandise Mart look like a knitting circle.) The scale of the 2011 SAIC Thesis Show, and the number of MFA grads itself, had grown so immensely this year that, for the first time, two sites were necessary to exhibit all the work.

With our new MFA Annual currently on newsstands, we’ve had our eye on young MFA candidates for a while, and I was excited to take in some new work. Standing out from the pack were a group of artists (including Jesse Butcher, David R. Harper, Ivan Lozano, and Soo Shin) whose sparse — and spacious — group installation, The World is Not a Calm Place, was, in fact, a much-needed calm from the storm. Featured in the center, Steven Frost‘s installation of sculptural, fiber-based objects revealed subtle painterly qualities through the use of black sequins, pleather, and everyday materials.

Also featured at Swimming Pool Project Space in the GOFFO section at NEXT that weekend, Frost and I spoke this week about his practice, Lucha Libre, sequins, and BDSM (oh, and painting). More after the jump!

Evan J. Garza, Editor-at-Large

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NAP Artists at Art Chicago | NEXT by openstudiospress


TOP: Nathan Vernau (edition #89 cover) at Robert Bills Contemporary. BOTTOM:
Matthew Woodward (forthcoming, edition #95) at Linda Warren Gallery. (via Flickr)

With Art Chicago | NEXT‘s new combined layout on the 12th floor of the Merchandise Mart this weekend, crowds were in full force, as were the numbers of New American Paintings alums. It was fantastic to see so many previously featured artists from countless regional editions, booth after booth. Our Publisher, Steven Zevitas, and Associate Publisher, Drew Katz, caught a few snapshots of NAP artists on view in both fairs, and here are a few highlights.

For a more extensive collection of work by artists previously included in New American Paintings, check out our Flickr photostream! More pics after the jump!

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NAP Panel at NEXT Talk Shop by openstudiospress

From left: William Cordova, Dominic Molon, Dina Deitsch, Evan J. Garza at the Art Chicago | NEXT Talk Shop

We were thrilled to participate yesterday in CONVERGE Chicago: Contemporary Curators Forum at the Art Chicago | NEXT Talk Shop. New American Paintings Editor-at-Large, Evan J. Garza was the moderator for “Beyond the Stretcher: Breaking Down Spatial Limitations in Contemporary Painting, a panel discussion featuring Dina Deitsch, Associate Curator at the deCordova Sculpture Park + Museum, Dominic Molon, Chief Curator for the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis (and the juror for NAP edition #85), and New York, Miami, and Lima-based artist and curator, William Cordova.

A packed crowd gathered to take in the discussion as throngs of collectors and fair-goers passed up and down the aisles of booths at NEXT. The curators discussed issues of material specificity and spatial concerns in contemporary painting practices, and examined the work of cutting edge artists whose work ignites a dialogue about sculptural and installation forms of painting. The event and conversation were great, and the company we were in was even better. Check out our pics after the jump! 

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New Insight: Top MFA Students on view at NEXT by openstudiospress


Antonia Gurkovska, Untitled (Europa), 2010 | Oil, acrylic, wax, latex paint, fabric, and enamel, 92 x 72 inches. Courtesy the artist and The Renaissance Society at The University of Chicago.

As part of the Special Projects on view at Art Chicago | NEXT this weekend (opening today!), New Insight is an exhibition featuring 18 of the top MFA candidates from some of the strongest graduate studio programs in the country. Curated by Susanne Ghez, director of The Renaissance Society at The University of Chicago, an institution with a vast history of exhibiting cutting edge work, this year’s New Insight show, now in its fifth year, is right in line with NEXT‘s mission of being a platform for new ideas and young, newly emerging artists.

With MFA students freshly on our brains at New American Paintings, with the recent release of #93, our new MFA Annual book on newsstands, the presence of national, high-profile MFA talent is tantamount to the idea behind the fair itself. And with works not available for sale by the students, the show drives home the point that the attitude at NEXT seems to put content over commerce.  —Evan J. Garza, Editor-at-Large

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Shepard Fairey kicks off NEXT! by openstudiospress

Shepard Fairey poses with New American Paintings #93 and posse, Dan, Nick, and Z

Being a student at RISD, it’s impossible to not know the name Shepard Fairey. Even back in 2001, when I was studying there, he was already a legend and referenced often by the students and faculty. Some stories true, some total myths. His stickers were passed around like nudie mags in an elementary school boys’ bathroom. They seemed to appear out of no where, like magic. He must have still had someone on the “inside,” dishing them out to students.

I’ve also had the pleasure of working with Shepard at my own gallery, back in 2004, moments before he went from famous to mega-famous. Though our working relationship was brief, he is always gracious and extremely friendly whenever I see him. He’s that way to total strangers too, which is ultimately why he’s liked so much by his fans.

I was thrilled to learn Shepard would be around for the NEXT art fair opening, DJing the opening party. It’s always great to see him and his posse (shout out to Dan, Nick, and Z), as I’ve gotten to know them well over the past few years as well. Glad to pop off these shots while he was in action. Hope you enjoy, it was a great night at NEXT

Were you there? Any favorite artworks to speak of? Let us know. More pics after the jump!

Andrew Katz, Associate Publisher

Shepard Fairey spins at the 2011 NEXT opening

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