DATE: 8/22/2011 | BY CORY REYNOLDS
Below is Andrew Russeth's review of Klaus Kertess' insightful essay collection, Seen, Written, reproduced from the August 15, 2011 edition of New York Observer."Klaus Kertess has had one of the more unusual careers in contemporary art. A co-founder, with Jeff Byers, of the Bykert Gallery in 1966 (where Mary Boone worked before opening her eponymous space), Mr. Kertess has gone on to a second career as a distinguished writer and curator, organizing the 1995 Whitney Biennial and publishing widely.
In these collected essays, most on individual artists, Mr. Kertess combines an eye for formal, technical details with a rare knowledge of personal history. We learn that John Chamberlain began making sponge sculptures, precursors to his foam works, as a guest at dealer Virginia Dwan’s Malibu beach house, and that Peter Hujar sometimes spent hours talking to animals he was planning to photograph.
Mr. Kertess is as astute writing about veterans he showed at Bykert—like Ralph Humphrey and Brice Marden—as he is discussing younger artists like Matthew Ritchie and Chris Ofili, whom he connects with William Blake, Francis Picabia, Philip Guston, Sigmar Polke, Dead Prez and Alice Coltrane. Also here is his essay for the show he curated at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit in 2006, which is as vital as any work being done by curators and writers that are half his age."
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