The art of Kevin Blythe Sampson

THE ART OF
KEVIN BLYTHE SAMPSON

2/14/13

ART IN REVIEW; 'Artists to Artists' -- 'A Decade of the Space Program' - New York Times

ART IN REVIEW; 'Artists to Artists' -- 'A Decade of the Space Program'
By ROBERTA SMITH
Published: May 24, 2002

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Ace Gallery

275 Hudson Street, at Dominick Street

South Village

Through June 1

This exuberant sprawl of work by 161 artists, which fills one of New York's largest commercial gallery spaces almost to bursting, opened with a crush that resembled Grand Central Terminal at rush hour. It celebrates the first decade of the Marie Walsh Sharpe Art Foundation's Space Program, which provides up to a year of free studio space in TriBeCa to participants selected by committees consisting entirely of artists. All but two of the program's alumni responded to the invitation to show something; each work was selected by the artist who made it.

The outcome is one of the more noninstitutional big exhibitions around, unskewed by curatorial taste or agenda, by budgetary latitude (obviously there are no commissioned works) or by distinctions of age, medium or place of residence. You could think of the show as a Whitney Biennial that chose itself. The installation is similarly random: it proceeds chronologically with the works by each year's artists grouped together, and a list of the members of the committee that selected the participants that year.

The show, which represents all major mediums, is a great chance to catch up on nearly every front imaginable. You'll see impressive pieces by young artists whose previous appearances may have escaped your attention, in my case people like James Sheehan, Jennie Booth, Ellie Lee, Jennifer Dubnau, Katherine Daniels and Max-Carlos Martinez. Also present are artists who have already emerged with a splash, among them Teresita Fernández, Josiah McElheny, Jennifer Bornstein, Arturo Herrera and Sarah Sze. Others made New York debuts this season, including Anna Sew Hoy, Dannielle Tegeder and Tim Doud.

Portia Munson, Rhonda Zwillinger and Janet Cooling are among the artists exhibiting promising departures from their previous efforts. And there are relative veterans of all persuasions, including Michael Smith, Carl Fudge, Mira Schor, Garth Evans, Phyllis Bramson, Glen Seator and Paul Laffoley.

Some of the other standouts are Tom Burckhardt's paintings, Tari Campbell's drawings, Kristin Lucas's mouse-pad drawings made as she works at her computer, Arthur Simms's sculpture and Kevin Blythe Sampson's altarlike amalgam of mediums. The catalog reproduces two other works by each artist and is a separate mine of information.

This exhibition attests to the widespread vitality of painting as well as to the effect of New York's serious real estate crunch on the arts. It answers the question of what philanthropists can do to help artists get started. And it demonstrates the efficacy of artist-run organizations, evidence that cultural institutions would do well to ponder. ROBERTA SMITH
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