“Looking at”

January 20, 2007 at 12:11 pm (art)

I’ve noticed a lot of bloggers have a section on their blogs called “listening to,” where they list whatever it is they happen to have playing on their ipods while they’re blogging. Not totally sure if I love this or hate it – if it’s something that actually gives you insight into what the person is thinking while they’re blogging, or if it’s just another way to rack up some cool points by aligning yourself with whatever band you’re listening to. (I also might be bitter, because these days I’m mostly listening to this god-awful internet radio station that does extended remixes of New Wave classics; yes, I am referring to, for instance, a twenty-minute version of Never Let Me Down, which basically sends me to heaven despite myself.)

Anyway, point is: I think art-bloggers should start doing something new, which I propose should be called “looking at.” Meaning, who specifically are the artists you’re thinking about as you’re making work? Whose work is kicking your ass and inspiring you? Who is pissing you off? I don’t know – I’m kind of into that.

So anyway. All that is a lead-up for me to say the following: I think Susan Rothenberg is a sorely underappreciated artist and a really amazing painter. I mean, “sorely underappreciated” is a relative term; she’s certainly not starving somewhere in a gutter. But there is a short list of artists (Philip Guston, Balthus, John Currin) that art students in particular love to love. They put postcards of their work up in their studios and can go on and on about those artists for hours at a time, just blissing out at the mention of their names. My point is that I really think Rothenberg should be one of those artists. And her work keeps getting better. I didn’t really dig the horses so much, but the work from the ninties? Sheesh.

I mean, this is a really simple example. I had a hard time finding decent representations of her work online, but it’s also not like her work is so unfamiliar or anything. You know what I mean when I refer to it. I just want to draw your attention there.

So yeah. I’m looking at/thinking about Susan Rothenberg. A lot.



  1. Andrew said,

    I’ve noticed that a lot of art students are only looking at figurative works. I will add to your list of artists that art students love to love: Egon Schiele, Basquiat, and the grand daddy love-obsession of them all: Picasso.

    I definitely dig Rothenberg’s work. What I like best about her work is that there is evidence in the making of her pieces. You can see and almost vicariously experience the methods and way that she constructs her images. It’s like there’s this beautiful struggle. I dig it.

    For me, I have an artist crush on Danica Phelps right now. Not only is she an awesome person, but she’s got great work. If I had a couple of thousands extra bucks laying around, I’d buy up all her drawings.

    The other people I’m personally looking at are Yayoi Kusama, Agnes Martin, and Ross Bleckner. One day I will own his Watercolors book. I’ve almost had it a couple of times, but it has always alluded my grubby greedy little fingers, and now the book is like $300. Sometimes I think that I’ll steal it out of the library, but then I’d have guilt issues for life and never be able to look at it ever again, which defeats the purpose.

  2. Yadir said,

    My top 3 list (in no particular order):

    Martin Ramirez (who happens to have a show opening at the Folk Art Museum on Tuesday!!!!!) http://www.folkartmuseum.org/default.asp?id=1805

    Romare Bearden

    Wolfgang Laib

    I’m also incredibly drawn to 10th and 11th century Chinese landscape painting.

    There is an austere/lushness realtionship that stops me dead in my tracks; like Arte Povera, but good. It makes me think of cave painters…

  3. Alison Vuocolo said,

    i did a paper on her a few years ago. matt did too. although i don’t know if he ever actually wrote it or handed it in. horses, not so much, but her figures are definatly amazing. i love the weight of her huge black masses, i was actually very moved by them. she definatley is looked over, i’ve never once heard her mentioned in any class. if my modern art professor mentions her this semester, however, i’m going to walk up to him after class and give him a high five. i can see why you relate to her work.

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