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Muse Reviews: 31 August

31 August 2014

A roundup of the week’s reviews and interviews…

(1965), Jess.

The Enamord Mage: Translation #6 (1965), Jess. Collection of the M.H. de Young Memorial Museum, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco

‘An Opening of the Field: Jess, Robert Duncan, and Their Circle’ at the PMCA (Jonathan Griffin) 

It was while at the California School of Fine Arts that Jess (as he chose to be called) met the poet and artist Robert Duncan. They fell in love, and the household that they created together was a nexus of literary and artistic life in the city from the early 1950s through to Duncan’s death in 1988. Packed to the rafters with their own art and the art of friends, as well as books old and new on every surface, the home was a treasure trove of erudition and fantasy. ‘You can’t take a piss in this house without hitting a myth,’ Duncan reportedly joked.

(detail; 2012), Xavier Ribas

Desert Trails (detail; 2012), Xavier Ribas © Xavier Ribas

‘Xavier Ribas: Nitrate’ at MACBA, Barcelona (Rye Dag Holmboe)

In a series of photographs hung near the gallery’s entrance, Ribas documents the fences and watchtowers that demarcate the borders of the European Union…As with the other works displayed in this section, which document vacant roadside spaces frequented by prostitutes, for instance, or the social impact of natural disasters, these photographic works highlight the violence and arbitrariness of borders and frontiers…’

(1961), Charles Burchfield.

The Moth and the Thunderclap (1961), Charles Burchfield. Burchfield Penney Art Center, The Charles Rand Penney Collection of Work by Charles E. Burchfield, 1994

Charles E Burchfield at the Brandywine River Museum (Louise Nicholson)

While a show putting Marsden Hartley firmly back on America’s art map is at LACMA, the east coast is spotlighting another mid 20th-century American artist who should be better known, Charles Burchfield…Throughout his six decades of painting, Burchfield worked in watercolour ‘like an oil painter, using an easel, and a large format by joining pieces of watercolour paper together’, explains the show’s curator Audrey Lewis. ‘He painted in the wet and dry manners, dragging the colour. It’s really an eye-opening experience to see his work.

(detail; 2014), Andrew Brischler

The Foul Rag & Bone Shop of the Heart (Ellsworth) (detail; 2014), Andrew Brischler

Aaron Curry and Andrew Brischler: the art of process (Grace Banks)

‘Pretty much everything is painted’, the artist says, ‘from the actual paintings to the sculptures. I’ve always been really interested in paint – both on a canvas and on objects’. Without any reference to the medium’s historical heritage such as Impressionism and mid-century paintwork by the likes of Mark Rothko, Curry is far from picturesque…