Hand Heart, 2021
54 x 77 x 17 inches
Part of my ICON series, Hand Heart joins the history of symbolic form-making which extends from cave painting to airport directional signage. Using universally recognizable forms, Hand Heart presents a symbol of compassion and empathy that goes beyond language to become universally communicative across lines of age, race, gender, and culture.
Hand Heart is part of Sculpture Milwaukee, the 2021 edition of which was curated by Michelle Grabner and Theaster Gates. The work is located in Catalano Square Park, in Milwaukee’s Historic Third Ward. Viewing is free. The work is available for acquisition.
You can’t call it Minimalism, or Expressionism, or Color Field Totalitarianism. So don’t even try with any other -ism you can think of, play charades with, or throw into a prism.
Krushenick uses the language of comics—bright primary colors, thick black lines, the rigid rectangularity of a cel. It’s a style often associated with cartoon strips or advertisements. Or it brings to mind Warhol and Lichtenstein, who imported comics and advertisement illustrations directly into museums.
But there are no figures, no commodities, and no trademarks in Krushenick’s work. He rejects any direct reference to our world. It’s a Pop devoid of any actual Pop.
“Up until 1954, I could not do a totally abstract painting,” Krushenick confessed in an interview for the Smithsonian. “I had to have some kind of recognizable element before I could conceive it and do it. [...] It was a real battle royal, getting myself to accept that idea [of abstraction].”
Yet in a way, Krushenick never quite succeeded in creating a pure abstraction either. His struggle to shed himself of recognizable images is present in the prints displayed at PICKLEMAN. His shapes—ragged edges like the circumference of a comic book POW! or curling thought bubble—teeter on the edge of our understanding, as if they have been plucked from a piece of pulp science fiction. As do his colors, which lie closer to an approximation of Superman red and lightning bolt yellow.
Instead, Krushenick has created an amalgam. A pop-tinged abstraction. His work is eager, rather than cool. Enthusiastic over impenetrable. It feels of our world, yet still manages to be novel.
It’s a friendly invitation to interpretation.
Krushenick’s seven prints displayed at PICKLEMAN are like passing clouds; they resemble whatever you want them to. One of them looks like a zipper. Another’s a folded folio. Next to that is the sawtooth blade. Or at least that’s what I think. See them, and you can decide for yourself.
12 x 16 x 2
acrylic on wood panel
Leah Ke Yi Zheng
Perpetual Motion Machine
Color on silk
7.74 x 7.8 x .8 inches
Title unknown (drinking glass)
Drinking glass and wire
4 x 2.625 x 2.625 in
Bauernfamilie (Farming Family)
1913, printed 1990
Gelatin silver print, framed
9½ × 7½ in, image size
Prior to Pickleman I ran a collection-based art gallery in Chicago called Lawrence & Clark. The storefront gallery was an opportunity to exhibit privately held artwork in a public setting. This book chronicles many of the chance installations the gallery fostered.
If you are interested in living with the peculiar communication that certain objects possess, then perhaps you might be interested in some of the artwork that I champion.
Any number of LED Open signs, on the floor, illuminated
I never set out to be a collector or dealer of contemporary art. I just acquired things that my peers were making that I found interesting. After 35 years I’ve realized that owning art has become synonymous with living a creative life. Art accumulates in parallel to the memories it brings: the people met along the way, the places visited, and feelings felt. Perhaps people get tattoos for similar reasons. I don’t have any tattoos. But I do have a lot of art.
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