This week at The L Magazine I review the Thomas Nozkowski show at Pace Gallery. It’s not his best exhibition.
There was a time when the separation of working sketches and finished paintings in exhibitions annoyed me. I was young, and I thought hanging the works side-by-side, so I could easily compare them, would help me learn.
The Pace Gallery’s current Thomas Nozkowski exhibition (through December 4) satisfies my younger self, hanging nearly half of the 60 careful abstract paintings next to what appear to be their studies (apparently he made the paintings first). It presents a strong argument for why such displays rarely occur: successive similar artworks often aren’t very interesting.
I tried to imagine the rationale Nozkowski would have offered in 2001, when he taught one of my classes at Rutgers. I came up with very little, but the pairings communicated a distilled narrative about the artistic process. My own evaluation of Nozkowski’s apparent decisions immediately followed. “Untitled (8-120)”: “I’ll make the circles smaller inside this blob.” Better. “(Untitled (8-115)”: “I’ll make the sky yellow instead of grayish-purple.” Worse. “(Untitled (N-30)”: “I’ll remove the white from this thicket of red hatching.” Not sure.
To read the full review click here.