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Dear Readers,

I am very pleased to present the issue of TAS for January 2009, which focuses on painting, a subject dear to my heart. This issue reflects on two artists, both modernists, and a current event that should be of interest to all concerned with art.

I am so pleased to have an article about Grace Hartigan, who gained recognition early in her career but sort of fell off the map in recent years. Hartigan died at the age of 86 on November 18th of last year. As an artist, she understood the physicality of paint and how the articulation of abstracted form can create both content and emotion. Hartigan’s paintings, which straddled the line between abstraction and representation, are given a fresh reading here by curator and art dealer Michael Klein.

Anna Leung gives us insight into the painter Francis Bacon, who used form and the viscosity of paint to create works filled with strong meaning in a twisted and reformulated language that sprang from his genius. I think of his unflinching depictions of the human form, which have had such a powerful impact. The exhibition of Bacon’s work at the Tate Britain that provides the starting point for Leung’s discussion will tour to Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid from 3 February – 19 April 2009. It will be the first ever major Bacon retrospective in Madrid, the city where he died in 1992 and which houses the great works of the artists he most admired, Velazquez and Goya. It will then travel to the US to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York from 18 May – 16 August 2009.

Our Brazilian correspondent, Christina Roiter, reports again about the São Paulo Bienal (click here to see her story from February 2008). A group of the Brazilian graffitists known as Pichadores tagged the second floor space that was left empty by the exhibition’s curators. One was arrested and imprisoned for more than 40 days, and the space was quickly painted over. Although I do not wish to make a judgment about this event I must admit to being pleased that painting (or mark making—it’s all the same thing to me) can matter so much. 

All my best,

Pichação at the São Paul Bienal. Photos: Choque Photos

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