Thursday, February 21, 2013

Alan Uglow at David Zwirner

It has been over two years since the death of Alan Uglow and as I predicted here at that time, the New York art world would soon descend on his posthumous ouevre. When I heard that David Zwirner would be handling his work I knew that Alan would be in good hands considering the excellent shows held at Zwirner for the estate of  Fred Sandback and John McCracken.  

The first show is curated by long-time Uglow champion Robert Nickas who also wrote the catalogue essay. With museum exhibitions in Europe in the past several years  and now this show and an upcoming show at the List Center at MIT curated by Joao Ribas of his Standards and Portraits series, there is a lot of understandable interest in Uglow's work. The Zwirner show contains a little bit of everything mostly from the 2000s and serves as an introduction to younger viewers and reintroduction to others. There are some beautiful works in the show, but it is in no way  indicative of how great a painter Uglow was. The next venue in New York will undoubtedly be a major institution. The New Museum which is a few blocks from Uglow's long-time loft on the Bowery is one possibility as well as the Whitney and MoMA and even perhaps the Dia though they never collected his work.  A complete survey will reveal how crucial Uglow was for the past 4 decades in maintaining the highest level for painting.