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  • February 20, 2010
    By Ken Greenleaf

    I can't really review the Noriko Sakanishi show at June Fitzpatrick, partly because the schedule doesn't work out, but also because I've written about her a lot over the years. I don't have much that's fresh to say.

    Even so, when I got to the show recently, I got more than I expected. I think Sakanishi is one of the best artists working in Maine today, and this is one of the best shows I've seen by her.

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  • January 08, 2010
    By Ken Greenleaf

    Ken Noland died a few days ago, here in Maine at Port Clyde. He was nearly the last of a generation of fine painters who were looking at things in similar ways, and easily the most influential. His stripe, chevron and target paintings opened to door to a whole new way of painting for a great many others that came after, including Frank Stella, Sean Scully, Pat Lipsky, Winston Roeth and many more.

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  • January 16, 2009
    By Ken Greenleaf

    The headline in New York Times, reporting the death of Andrew Wyeth at the age of 91, said he was both ‘revered and ridiculed.' That's a fitting phrase to use, not because it's true, but because it was clearly the way Wyeth wanted it.

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  • January 01, 2009
    By Ken Greenleaf

    IFO (Arrival), the big (six by nine feet) 2004  Scott Davis painting often on view at the Portland Museum of Art, is a difficult one and takes some getting used to.

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  • October 26, 2008
    By Ken Greenleaf
    I finally got around to see ‘Constant Quarry’ the Space show of photographs by Todd Seelie, a Brooklyn-based photographer who, in the words of the Space press release, has ‘inexhaustibly photographed the underground music, art, and momentous DIY counterculture that has saturated his borough and spread into other areas across the country.

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  • October 22, 2008
    By Ken Greenleaf
    The names of the artists of the next Portland Biennial have been announced and it is quite a surprise. There are 17 of them, picked out of a field of 970.

    What a number - 970! Nearly a thousand entries for a juried show in Portland, Maine. It staggers the imagination, but much of the art world of the twenty-first century is indeed boggling.

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  • October 07, 2008
    By Ken Greenleaf

    Bob Solotaire was a fixture in art in Maine for many years. He was a very good artist and good guy to have around. He was quirky and odd, but in a good way. I first met him in Portland in the late 1970's and was struck by the coherence of his landscapes, particularly the industrial constructions like views of the cement plant in Thomaston.

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  • September 09, 2008
    By Ken Greenleaf

    The fact that the South Portland tank project was done using mass calls for artists and jury selection from hundreds of entries mark it as a provincial undertaking. In the real world, great projects aren’t done that way. Juries and mass calls are done by local arts organizations and percent-for-art projects.

    Here’s the way grownups do it: You get someone who really has deep knowledge of the field, tell them the proposed budget and ask them to name some artists who could do it.

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  • August 17, 2008
    By Ken Greenleaf

    A responder to a previous post questioned my criteria for making distinctions between good art and bad. Many gallons of ink have been consumed on this topic, much of it by people a whole lot smarter than me, but it’s worth considering anyway.

    This is not a matter of taste. For instance, my own preference is for abstract art, but one of the best contemporary painters I know about is Lois Dodd, a landscape painter.

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  • August 03, 2008
    By Ken Greenleaf
    My recent post about public art drew two pointed responses.

    Paul wrote that my argument that made a direct comparison from art to newspapers, and by extension if we couldn’t have good newspapers we shouldn’t bother to have any. The function of newspapers is to provided information for civic life. A bad newspaper is probably better than no newspaper at all, although we may find that out soon anyway, for reasons unrelated to my argument about art.

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  • July 29, 2008
    By Ken Greenleaf

    It’s an article of faith among art organizations that public art is unquestionably a good thing. The fact is, most public art is far from a good thing; most of it is plain awful.

    Making art good enough to hold its own in a pubic space is special skill, and most artists, even very good artists, can’t do it. Even if they could, most committees, and Portland’s is no exception, can’t make a decision for quality art, even if they were offered it.

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  • July 24, 2008
    By Ken Greenleaf

    It’s in the nature of newspaper scheduling that you don’t always get to write about those interesting events, so I haven’t had the time or column inches to devote to a veteran painter of considerable interest, Charles DuBack at Jameson Gallery in Portland. His show ends this weekend, July 26, so here’s a somewhat belated appreciation.

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  • July 18, 2008
    By Ken Greenleaf

    For the past couple of decades or so quite a number of artists have been trying to push the limits of decency in art. It’s good business. Remember the piss Christ, the elephant-dung virgin, Mapplethorp’s special nasties? Feces and bodily functions have been a staple of reputation-building.

    All that derives from the artistic career model that grew out of the avant-garde offending the sensibilities of the bourgeoisie, as happened in Paris in the late 19the century when Impressionism and its antecedents descendants outraged the art public.

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  • July 07, 2008
    By Ken Greenleaf

    Robert Boorstin, a senior executive at Google, notes that there are now 1.4 billion Internet users, and the number is growing by 250 million a year. Over 10 hours of video are uploaded to You Tube every minute of every day. There are 3 billion mobile devices in use world wide, with another billion coming in the next year. Boorstin described it as the largest increase in expressive capability in history.

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  • June 01, 2008
    By Ken Greenleaf

    Word comes that a Marsden Hartley painting, Lighthouse, has been sold at auction at Christie’s for $6.31 million, a record for an American Modernist, as the pioneers of modernist art in this country are known. The previous record was set for a Georgia O’Keeffe painting for slightly less in 2001.Marsden

    Here in Maine we count Hartley (1877 - 1943) as one of our own.

    Read More

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A show to see
Boston Phoenix
A show to see
Published 2/20/2010 by Ken Greenleaf
 I can't really review the Noriko Sakanishi show at June Fitzpatrick, partly because the schedule doesn't work out, but also because I've written about her...

On the Death of Kenneth Noland
Boston Phoenix
On the Death of Kenneth Noland
Published 1/8/2010 by Ken Greenleaf
Ken Noland died a few days ago, here in Maine at Port Clyde. He was nearly the last of a generation of fine painters who...

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