Alex Jovanovich

  • Inka Essenhigh

    When I come across a work of art as weird and seductive and startlingly beautiful as an Inka Essenhigh painting, I haven’t the faintest desire to engage my critical faculties. I just want to be overcome by the supple, erotic strangeness of her surrealist narratives; the chitinous sheen of her works’ surfaces; her Prada-meets–Star Trek palette; and the gelatinous, ectomorphic figures. You want to dissolve into an Essenhigh painting, in the same way that she dissolves virtually all solidity within her forms and spaces. Every body, every thing looks as though it’s made of melted caramel, or flowing

  • interviews May 15, 2018

    Hermann Nitsch

    Hermann Nitsch, one of Viennese Actionism’s principal and last-surviving members, has been making his visceral and ceremonious work for decades. His art dives into the heart of human history and experience, plumbing its excruciating depths while celebrating its most ecstatic heights. The artist’s show at Massimo De Carlo in London, which runs through May 25, 2018, outlines the artist’s DAS ORGIEN MYSTERIEN THEATER performances, spanning almost sixty years. Here, Nitsch talks about the London show and the core philosophy of his work.

    MY LONDON SHOW, at Massimo De Carlo, features different types

  • interviews May 07, 2018

    Cody Critcheloe

    Artist Cody Critcheloe—the figurehead behind the music, video, and performance pop group SSION, which he founded in 1999 while he was in high school—is releasing O, his first album in five years, on May 11, 2018 through DERO Arcade. The thirteen-track record features collaborations with artists such as Ariel Pink, Róisín Murphy, and Contessa Stuto, and draws inspiration from musicians including Frank Zappa, Alice Cooper, the Pet Shop Boys, George Michael, Atari Teenage Riot, and Hole. Here, Critcheloe talks about the making of O and the magic involved in crafting the perfect song.

    THERE WASN’T

  • “Black Light: Secretive traditions in the arts since the 1950s”

    Art is rarely a rational product of human experience, as human experience is rarely a rational thing. That is why art is such a marvelous instrument for limning the divine. We expect it to take us elsewhere, be that the numinous edge of the self or the infinite. “Black Light,” orchestrated by curator and poet Enrique Juncosa, is a dense and multifaceted offering that explores the ways in which occult traditions have influenced artmaking—from Jungian conceptions of the imagination to the evolution of the superhero genre. Brace yourself for contributions from the

  • Gil Batle

    Gil Batle used to go to Walmart in Southern California and scrutinize the cashiers. He’d keep his eyes peeled for anyone who was new, bored, or unremittingly sloppy. When he found his mark, Batle would visit his or her checkout line with some expensive appliance in tow and would pay for it with a money order. But the piece of paper he’d hand over for his big-ticket item was an exquisitely made drawing—a counterfeit. Batle would then sell his stealthily looted merchandise on the street for cash to support his crystal meth addiction. His skills as a master forger got him into a lot of trouble;

  • picks January 19, 2018

    Michael Stamm

    Woe to the modern young urbanite who tries to remedy his existential queasiness with the sundry potions and palliatives offered up through the wellness-industrial complex. Is there any homeopathic pill, miracle woobie, blessed fruit, or chill yoga teacher that can coax you out of your rarefied malaise, your bummer ennui, as the world around us continues to burn?

    Michael Stamm uses these conditions as a pretext for his exhibition of paintings here. Thank goodness it’s flimsy. Stamm is a painter of exceptional skill and finesse who has the preternatural ability to synthesize the lessons of Alex

  • picks January 12, 2018

    Genesis Breyer P-Orridge

    Perhaps at the very heart of your subconscious rests Snoopy. Or a scribbly crescent moon with a smile and winking eye. For Genesis Breyer P-Orridge—pandrogyne (a two-spirit being of malleable gender), soft pornographer, and so-called wrecker of civilization—it’s a cartoony little tree that looks like a four-leaf clover, sitting next to a simply rendered house: an image straight out of kindergarten, or the verdant environs of Teletubbyland. It’s the first thing the artist draws when zoning out and doodling—an elementary scene that is at the center of many striking and extraordinarily complicated

  • picks November 10, 2017

    Scott Covert

    Death pairs well with glamour: Think of Marlene Dietrich’s prostitute-spy character in Dishonored (1931), as she applies her lipstick before meeting a firing squad; Bette Davis as terminally ill socialite Judith Traherne in Dark Victory (1939); or Divine’s punk murderess Dawn Davenport in John Waters’s Female Trouble (1974), where the actor soliloquizes from an electric chair like a demented starlet accepting her first, and final, Oscar.

    Scott Covert certainly understands the seductive appeal of merging Eros and Thanatos: For twenty-five years, the artist has traipsed the world, from Père Lachaise

  • interviews October 03, 2017

    Barbara Hammer

    Barbara Hammer, a beloved icon of lesbian and experimental filmmaking, has a very full season ahead of her: the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art in New York is hosting “Evidentiary Bodies,” a retrospective spanning fifty years and featuring her never-before-seen artworks, which opens October 7, 2017 and runs until January 28, 2018; the New York Film Festival is screening five of Hammer’s 16-mm works, made between 1975 and 1989, on October 9, 2017; the gallery Company in New York is presenting an exhibition of her work, “Truant: Photographs, 1970–1979” from October 22, 2017 to November

  • interviews September 21, 2017

    Tabboo!

    Painter, theatrical designer, and drag artist Tabboo!, also known as Stephen Tashjian, was an essential figure in New York’s early downtown art and club scene. “World of Tabboo! Early & Recent Work” will feature a new batch of his paintings in addition to a suite of pieces he made when he first moved to New York and was living with his friend and collaborator Pat Hearn (who went on to open her own eponymous gallery in 1983). The show is on view at Gordon Robichaux in New York from September 24 to November 19, 2017. Additionally, a selection of Tabboo!’s works will be featured in “Club 57: Film,

  • picks August 11, 2017

    “The World Without Us”

    If you’ve been at all conscious since the start of this dreadful year and never once wished for Armageddon, you probably shouldn’t be trusted. “The World Without Us,” the darkly suggestive title of this group exhibition, casts the assembled works as detritus from a civilization—ours, of course—gone to hell. This is not a negative assessment of the pieces on view, but rather a testament to the misanthropically groovy black energy they radiate as a whole.

    Upon entering the space you notice Lin May Saeed’s fabulous Lioness Relief, 2015, a Styrofoam and wood sculpture of the titular creature wading

  • interviews July 25, 2017

    John Giorno

    Ugo Rondinone’s massive project “I ♥ John Giorno” is a love letter to the titular poet—and Rondinone’s husband—which originally opened in 2015 at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris before coming to New York this summer. The exhibition, a major retrospective of John Giorno’s work, is also a homage, with contributions from artists such as Billy Sullivan, Verne Dawson, Elizabeth Peyton, Anne Collier, and Judith Eisler. “I ♥ John Giorno” is spread across twelve institutions throughout the city, including the Swiss Institute, Red Bull Arts New York, New York University’s 80WSE

  • diary July 02, 2017

    Second Coming

    SUMMER IN NEW YORK IS DISMAL. It turns your face into a pus farm, the air is rich with the scent of garbage cooking on the sidewalks, and my friends’ lengthy trips to Montauk or Morocco remind me of what everyone else seems to have and I don’t.

    Thankfully, others approach the season with a spirit of generosity—specifically Vanessa Carlos, Simone Subal, and Nicole Russo, the organizers of Condo New York, “a large-scale collaborative exhibition of international galleries” (as per Condo’s website) that sidesteps the enervating costs and madness of the art-fair circuit and promotes collaborative

  • picks June 30, 2017

    Pauline Boudry / Renate Lorenz

    Anita Pallenberg is dead, long live Anita Pallenberg.

    I couldn’t help but think of the sublime rock goddess, a mere two days after her passing, upon entering Pauline Boudry / Renate Lorenz’s exhibition (organized by Alhena Katsof and Mason Leaver-Yap), a glamorous sepulcher that calls to mind a sex dungeon, an abandoned cabaret, and a dressing room—Alice Cooper’s perhaps, during the height of his power. Near the entrance is a rotating stand of microphones, he ear r (all works 2017), glittering in the darkness, while a screen of imitation blond, black, and ombre hair, Wig piece (whose body? –

  • picks June 09, 2017

    Maureen Gallace

    I would like to die inside of a Maureen Gallace painting. The New England of her intimately scaled canvases and panels—full of solitary beach shacks and desolate coastlines, summer homes, Christmas cottages, flowers, and trees—is irradiated by an endless midmorning sun. Her world is beautiful, sumptuous, yet just out of reach—every barn or verdant hedge seems dangerously close to being swallowed up whole by its vanishing point. The artist’s tableaux call to mind Paul Cézanne’s obsessive looking, the domestic surrealism of Lois Dodd, or Jane Freilicher’s rural poeticism. But the mood Gallace

  • interviews May 30, 2017

    David Gordon

    David Gordon—longtime director, choreographer, actor, playwright, and cofounder of the Judson Dance Theater and the improvisational dance company Grand Union—is preparing to present Live Archiveography, 2017, a performative extension of “ARCHIVEOGRAPHY – Under Construction,” his massive retrospective that was recently presented at the Vincent Astor Gallery at the New York Public Library, as he discusses here. Live Archiveography runs from June 1 to June 3, 2017, at the Kitchen in New York as a part of the LUMBERYARD in the City Festival.

    WHEN I WENT TO TALK WITH THE PEOPLE AT THE NYPL about them

  • picks March 17, 2017

    Vija Celmins

    Vija Celmins is a ruthless poet. The artist’s images in this exhibition—rippling waters, blank slates, stones, stars—are as obdurate as they are yielding, as everything as they are nothing. Experiencing a fastidiously constructed painting, sculpture, drawing, or print by the artist, often made over many years and with an endless supply of patience, is not unlike looking into a mirror. You see yourself in the picture or object you’re gazing at—or falling into—wondering how it came to be, and how you got there, too.

    Celmins frequently works small—it is when she is at her most astonishing. Here,

  • interviews March 07, 2017

    Cary Leibowitz

    There’s a ceramic piece by Cary Leibowitz from 1993 that reads: FUCKED UP HOMO BAR-MITZVAH GAY BOY WORRIES TOO MUCH ABOUT WHAT HIS MOTHER WILL WEAR. “Museum Show,” which runs through June 25, 2017, at the Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco, is Leibowitz’s first-ever solo museum exhibition and midcareer survey, covering nearly thirty years of the artist’s identity-centric, bummer-rich comedy via paintings, drawings, sculptures, texts, and more. Here, Leibowitz talks about his work, organizing his show, and Fran Drescher.

    I’M STILL SURPRISED THAT THIS EXHIBITION MADE IT INTO EXISTENCE.

  • diary January 31, 2017

    Band of Outsiders

    DESPERATE TO LOCATE SOME SHRED OF LIGHT, grace, or decency at the beginning of our new Dark Age, I lumbered downtown to see the Outsider Art Fair the Saturday before last—as my blessed sisters were marching, raging—at the Metropolitan Pavilion in Chelsea. I was in dire need of tempering my apoplectic bloody-mindedness. (When I saw our new chef à l’orange being sworn in with the Lincoln Bible—the same bible Barack Obama used for his 2009 and 2013 inaugurations—I wanted it to explode into flames.)

    When I got there, I had the good fortune of meeting and talking to the delightful Jackie Klempay—proprietress

  • interviews January 24, 2017

    Joyce Pensato

    Homer, Kenny, Donald, Mickey: Joyce Pensato’s painterly masticating of these American cartoon icons—distilled in black-and-white enamel—have been seducing audiences for decades. One of her earliest Mickey Mouse paintings will be featured in the Whitney Museum’s survey of image-making in downtown New York, “Fast Forward: Painting from the 1980s,” curated by Jane Panetta and Melinda Lang. The exhibition opens on January 27 and runs through May 14, 2017.

    I WAS SUPPOSED TO HAVE my first ever solo show in the East Village at Fiction/Nonfiction gallery in 1991. A couple of the Mickey Mouse drawings I