reviews

  • Alberto Savinio, La vedova (The Widow), 1931, tempera on paper mounted on canvas, 21 5/8 × 18". © Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/SIAE, Rome.

    Alberto Savinio

    CIMA - Center for Italian Modern Art

    THE MUSICIAN, PAINTER, AND WRITER Andrea de Chirico changed his name to Alberto Savinio in 1913. An Italian born in Greece in 1891, having studied under the renowned composer Max Reger in Germany, he’d moved to Paris in 1910, followed shortly thereafter by his older brother, Giorgio. The elder de Chirico was just starting to make his own now-indelible reputation, though he was already painting the works for which we still know him best. But at this point—as the cultural historian Keala Jewell has pointed out in her book Art of Enigma: The De Chirico Brothers and the Politics of Modernism

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  • Gerard Byrne, In Our Time, 2017, 4K video, color, sound, indefinite duration.

    Gerard Byrne

    Lisson Gallery | 138 10th Avenue | New York

    Gerard Byrne’s brilliantly imagined and rendered film In Our Time proceeds from a concept that is, in its basic shape, so simple and straightforward that it almost eludes description. Set in a commercial radio station, the film—originally commissioned for Skulptur Projekte Münster in Germany in 2017—focuses on a DJ with a graying goatee and a magnificently fugly cardigan performing his duties in a cozily cluttered control room: introducing pop songs, cuing commercials, reading news and traffic reports. Meanwhile, on the other side of a soundproof window, a few men and women fiddle with

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  • Yayoi Kusama, Infinity Mirrored Room—Let’s Survive Forever, 2017, wood, metal, glass mirrors, LED lighting system, monofilament, stainless steel balls, carpet, 10' 3“ x 20' 6” x 20' 5 1/4".

    Yayoi Kusama

    David Zwirner

    The experience of standing in line for hours in the cold, on the blustery West Side, in order to be immersed for forty-five seconds each in three successive environments by Yayoi Kusama falls somewhere, culturally speaking, between waiting to skate beneath the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center and staying out all night at a club in the hope that Grace Jones will show up. On the one hand, it’s tiring, touristy, and probably not worth it; on the other hand, it’s Yayoi Kusama. When the eighty-eight-year-old phenom signs her name with the regal title Avant-Garde Artist after a comma—as she

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  • Hartmut Geerken, Sun Ra Arkestra Performing at Heliopolis, Egypt, 1971, gelatin silver print, 5 x 7". From “Cosmic Communities: Coming Out into Outer Space—Homofuturism, Applied Psychedelia & Magic Connectivity.”

    “Cosmic Communities”

    Galerie Buchholz | New York

    Like a magazine article come to life, this exhibition, enticingly subtitled “Coming Out into Outer Space—Homofuturism, Applied Psychedelia & Magic Connectivity,” existed primarily as illustrative accompaniment to a thought-provoking essay. In lieu of a press release, Berlin-based scholar and critic Diedrich Diederichsen—who organized the show in collaboration with Galerie Buchholz codirector Christopher Müller—provided a feature-length work of art-historical exposition drawing comparisons among historically and geographically disparate cultural phenomena, fleshed out by loosely

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  • Jean-Luc Moulène, Hump Hand (Paris, 2017), concrete, 11 1/2 x 5 1/4 x 4 1/2".

    Jean-Luc Moulène

    Miguel Abreu Gallery

    The work of the erudite, Sorbonne-trained French photographer-sculptor Jean-Luc Moulène can seem to be machinated by an artist more interested in theory than practice. Yet this sprawling, diverse show full of tenderly handcrafted objects revealed a profound joy in making.

    For his second solo show at Miguel Abreu Gallery, Moulène presented eighteen new, midsize pieces in the venue’s main gallery, in addition to two earlier works on view in a smaller space a few streets south, both of which had been recently exhibited at the artist’s 2016 retrospective at the Centre Pompidou in Paris. While his

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  • Anna Conway, Storm Preparations, 2017, oil on canvas, 48 x 90".

    Anna Conway

    Fergus McCaffrey

    With their brooding tones, stark settings, and elusive narratives, Anna Conway’s paintings are the visual equivalents of spy novels. Like the best works in the genre (books by John le Carré, for example), Conway’s oils on canvas are marked by the abundance and clarity of their details—and by the thrill of trying to decipher which details are significant and which are merely mundane. Every object—from river-rock-paneled trash can to Castiglioni Arco lamp to safety-orange extension cord—is rendered with such precision that it can be difficult to figure out where the meaning resides.

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  • View of “Adriana Lara,” 2017. From left: Interesting Theory #57, 2017; The Hip Recycler/The Poor Collector 2, 2017; The Hip Recycler/ The Poor Collector 3, 2017. Photo: Farzad Owrang.

    Adriana Lara

    Greenspon

    CARBON; FIRE; GAS; NOISE; SILENCE; PLASTIC; DIET COKE; DEBRIS; PRODUCT; ALLUMINUM [sic]; INFORMATION; COPY; MARKETING; TRASH; VOICES; BURPS; RECORDINGS; RADIO; CC; FORM-EXFORM; THEORIES; POST-PUNK-POST-PRODUCT; STRATEGIC UNPREDICTABILITY; BORDER-MEXICO-U.S. In the lead-up to her third solo exhibition at Greenspon, Mexico City-based Adriana Lara supplied this dizzying end-times vocab list to half a dozen writers as fuel for a series of original conspiracy theories, making the (suitably paranoid) results available in the gallery as simple printed handouts. As well as providing rich inspiration,

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  • Farah Al Qasimi, Nose Greeting, 2016, ink-jet print, 35 x 26 1/2".

    Farah Al Qasimi

    Helena Anrather

    A year ago in February, a white US military veteran in his fifties walked into a bar in the Midwestern town of Olathe, Kansas. The man scanned the crowd and spotted two brown-skinned men sitting together. He left and returned with a gun. He shouted, “Get out of my country!” and then shot them both. He killed one and wounded the other; a bystander who tried to intervene was also injured. The gunman then turned, ran out of the bar, and drove to another one eighty miles away. He was arrested after he told the bartender there that he had just shot two men he thought were Iranian. His victims were

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  • Jessica Vaughn, Learning From the Work of Others (detail), 2017, ink-jet prints, photocopy, Plexiglas, 76 × 48".

    Jessica Vaughn

    Martos Gallery | New York

    In his book 1971: A Year in the Life of Color, 2016, Darby English adopts the term representationalism to critique the tendency among scholars to analyze the abstract paintings of black artists by seeking out coded affirmations of racial identity—relating, for instance, the layered compositions of Joe Overstreet to the hair weaves at his mother’s beauty salon, or characterizing Ed Clark’s use of a broom to spread acrylic over his canvases as an homage to janitors. This tendency, English contends, foists onto abstraction precisely the sort of static definitions it aims to elude. This past

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  • Brook Hsu, Psychedelic Outfit (Sweatshirt and Bellbottoms), 2017, felted llama wool, mesh, wooden plinth, 2 x 48 x 84".

    Brook Hsu

    Deli Gallery

    “On an April evening in the year AD 1,” wrote British classicist Robert Graves, and quoted by Brook Hsu in the essay that accompanied her first solo show, “a ship was sailing to Northern Italy along the coast of Greece, when the crew heard distant sounds of mourning, and a loud voice from the shore shouted to one of them: ‘As soon as you reach the next port, be sure to spread the sad news that the great god Pan is dead!’ But how and why he had died nobody ever knew."

    Pan—the caprine god of wilderness, shepherds, and rustic music—died in the traditional Anno Domini 1, symbolically marking

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  • Arthur Szyk, We’re running short of Jews!, 1943, ink and graphite on paper, 8 1/4 x 5 7/8".

    Arthur Szyk

    New-York Historical Society

    When thinking of the most prominent American artists of the 1940s, the names Edward Hopper, Ben Shahn, and Jackson Pollock come to mind, but not Arthur Szyk, who was perhaps the most significant of them in his response to the events and problems of that decade. While both Shahn and Szyk were Jewish activist artists, Shahn did not address the rise of fascist dictators—especially Hitler, whom Shahn rarely portrayed or caricatured, as Syzk brilliantly did in such works as in Antichrist, 1942—nor did he tackle anti-Semitism, which Szyk took on in To Be Shot as Dangerous Enemies of the

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  • Christie Neptune, She Fell from Normalcy, 2017, digital video, color, sound, 7 minutes 37 seconds.

    Christie Neptune

    Rubber Factory

    Three boxy Sony televisions sat on white pedestals of diminishing heights, positioned along a diagonal axis within the white cube of the gallery. On each screen, looping video segments depicted another white cube, inside of which two women were trapped. Dressed in white undergarments that contrasted starkly with their dark skin, they moved in sync within their confines, looking alternately up at the ceiling, around at the surrounding walls, or out at the viewer, who was made conscious of her position within a comparably claustrophobic space.

    The video piece, She Fell from Normalcy, 2016, is the

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  • Doreen Garner, Rack of Those Ravaged and Unconsenting (detail), 2017, silicone, foam, glass beads, fiberglass, insulation, steel meat hooks, steel pins, pearls, 96 x 96 x 96".

    Doreen Garner and Kenya (Robinson)

    Pioneer Works

    Doreen Garner and Kenya (Robinson) offered a challenge to deep-seated legacies of revered white men in America with their exhibition “White Man on a Pedestal.” After collaborating for two years, the artists put together eight new sculptures and installations (all works 2017) at the largest scale of either of their careers to date. As stories of sexual misconduct and harassment proliferate against the white supremacist backdrop of Donald Trump’s presidency—including allegations against former Artforum copublisher Knight Landesman—it has become clear that white men won’t descend from

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