Alex Jovanovich

  • picks May 22, 2015

    Juliet Jacobson

    Take what you want from all the Marxist cant surrounding Christopher Williams’s long-term project on the history and discourse of the photographic. What one finds at the heart of his practice is something simpler but no less profound: a reverence for the miracle of seeing and for the efforts we’ve made at trying to approximate or capture the mystery of this extraordinary phenomenon with the invention of the camera.

    Juliet Jacobson is a drawer who works exclusively from photographs, transforming the information of mechanical reproduction into experiences that are startlingly physical and emotive.

  • picks May 15, 2015

    Marjorie Strider

    History does not remember Marjorie Strider as well as it should. Tom Wesselmann, Mel Ramos, and Roy Lichtenstein were all contemporaries of hers in the 1960s, and there was a great deal of overlap in all their subject matter: Crayon-colored Pop representations of the female form. But what Strider didn’t do, which her dudely confreres did, was to subject her women to the burnishing effects of male Eros. Even the most embittered of Roy’s girls always wanted Brad back, pretty-perfect in crisp lines, red lips, tears, and distress. Strider wasn’t big on this form of boy’s-club fantasy and gaze—her

  • picks May 01, 2015

    Arthur Ou

    For his second solo exhibition at this gallery, Arthur Ou took fourteen portraits of artists who work primarily within the realm of the photographic—people such as Uta Barth, James Welling, and Moyra Davey—reading parts of Ludwig Wittgenstein’s famous treatise on the limits of perception and language, Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, in settings both public and domestic all over the world. Also on view are two R. M. Schindler–inspired chairs on which viewers are encouraged to dally and pore over pocket-size volumes of Wittgenstein’s book, republished in three variations—World, Picture, and Fact

  • picks April 10, 2015

    Lutz Bacher

    Lutz Bacher’s current solo exhibition, “For the People of New York City,” feels a lot like a Frank O’Hara poem: clever, buoyant, wistful, and utterly enthralled by all the garbage and loveliness of city existence. Her ability to resuscitate amateur videos, industrial throwaways, or bodega tchotchkes into numinously charged tableaux aligns her with urban visionaries such as Jess or Joseph Cornell, makers seemingly preordained to make even the stupidest of ready-made things exquisite.

    Bacher’s Empire (all works 2014) has nothing of the dead-eyed, steely glamour of Andy’s: Hers swings, blurs, and

  • picks March 13, 2015

    Caitlin Keogh

    Oh, how we long to be seduced. Imagine that quickening of the pulse when Christian Dior unveiled his New Look in 1947, after all the misery and asceticism of the World War II years—that fulsome twenty yards of fabric draped over a revamped Edwardian silhouette, returning to the world what Parisian fashion had always done best: aristocratic hauteur alloyed with sumptuous glamour.

    Faggy, filigreed, fabulously flat—Caitlin Keogh’s scintillating crop of nouveau paintings are a welcome respite from all the slopped-out, dudely, abstractionist facture littering Chelsea and far beyond. Keogh’s in possession

  • picks February 13, 2015

    Tomi Ungerer

    “If people didn’t fuck, you wouldn’t have any children, and without children you would be out of work,” remarked Tomi Ungerer, creator of the charming and lucrative Mellops family series of children’s books, to a crowd at an American Library Association conference in 1969, when the artist was angrily questioned about the dirty pictures he was unashamedly making and publishing in addition to such innocent fare. That event marked the end of Ungerer’s visibility, at least in the United States, for nearly thirty years.

    But it didn’t dampen his success overseas: He was named the Goodwill Ambassador

  • picks January 23, 2015

    Libby Rothfeld

    Car parks, Sam’s Club, mom’s house, Target. At Panera Bread with your sister-in-law. Driving to Home Depot for shower hooks, a towel rack, new batteries. Take some more Tylenol, and you’ll still feel like shit. This stripe of existential cauterization sits at the heart of Libby Rothfeld’s solo show—her first in New York—titled “Good To Think With, Good To Think Against.” Rothfeld’s work acts as a sort of excavation of selfhood from suburban life, an attempt to find distinction within a landscape of mediocre vistas and big-box desolation.

    Rothfeld’s three floor sculptures, all 2015, are mainly

  • picks October 29, 2014

    Michelle Grabner

    There is an expansive effort to create a steady sense of joy in the carefully constructed paper weavings and enamel paintings of Michelle Grabner. Her work feels steeped in the rhythms of ritual and dailiness, thoroughly tended to and loved, like a garden or a family. Count every strip of paper and modulated dot of paint—of which there are many thousand—and you get the impression that we are witness to a tabulation of blessings.

    Grabner pulls her abstractions from the patterns of domestic life—the plaids of kitchen dishtowels or the zigzags and crocheted squares of the handmade baby blanket—then

  • picks October 10, 2014

    Dave Hardy

    There’s a great tradition of garbage art, from Kurt Schwitters’s collage and assemblage works and the Situationists’ reconfigurations of trash culture to Rachel Harrison’s and Isa Genzken’s brilliantly mean-spirited monuments to the nastiness of late capitalism. And then there’s Dave Hardy, whose formal, poetic coordinates within this realm fall rather elegantly between Apollonian facture and unadulterated abjection.

    Hardy’s primary materials for all six works in this exhibition are scavenged panels of glass and cast-off chunks of cheap, desiccated furniture foam (think the appointments of an

  • picks September 19, 2014

    Genesis BREYER P-ORRIDGE and Pierre Molinier

    Imagine a sexual identity outside of the tedious LGBTQ-whatever-whatever-whatever acronym, one that doesn’t fall into the rank and file of stultifying political positioning or compartmentalization. Imagine bodies who’d balk at the notion of belonging to anything other than themselves, their ideologies indefatigably linked to the viscerally erotic—getting you off while scaring you shitless. Welcome to the savagely erogenous theatre of Genesis BREYER P-ORRIDGE and Pierre Molinier, two beacons of glittering black light amid a pallid sea of dumdum process-based abstraction by fuckwit,

  • picks June 02, 2014

    Charles James

    Charles James’s life wasn’t all debs, soigné parties, and Slim Keith. By the time of his death in 1978, after a lifetime of striking up bad business deals and alienating scores of friends and supporters, the visionary fashion designer was living in sheer squalor in New York City’s Chelsea Hotel: sick and a pauper, months behind in rent. Despite having a small coterie of minders (or nightclubbing fans who occasionally borrowed some of his renowned frocks to party in), he died alone.

    But James was far more than your average fashion-land burnout, and in this bravura retrospective, put together by

  • picks May 13, 2014

    Keil Borrman

    Keil Borrman’s second solo show in New York, “The Choice We Face,” is—to quote the press release—“a collaboration with some of New York’s leading audio designers.” For this exhibition, Borrman completed over twenty new paintings, many of which were designed to function as acoustic shields for the crown jewel: A hyperfabulous analog sound system composed of equipment lent by high-end audio-fetish manufacturers such as DeVore Fidelity, Rogers High Fidelity, VPI Industries, and Grado Labs.

    On opening night, little attention seemed to be paid to Borrman’s luscious abstract paintings in dourly preppy

  • interviews February 08, 2014

    Justin Cooper and Ross Moreno

    Artist-comedian Justin Cooper and artist-comedian–professional magician Ross Moreno are the coconspirators behind Chuckles+, a comedy/performance project they commenced in 2011. On February 9, 2014, they will perform at Harbor Gallery in Queens, New York. Here, Cooper and Moreno speak about their upcoming performance and its hybridism.

    CHUCKLES+ began as a simple framework to explore different approaches toward performative projects; since 2011, it has evolved into an ongoing investigation into the intersection between comedy and art. We think conventional “showbiz” structures—the variety show,

  • picks January 26, 2014

    Allison Schulnik

    Shit is death but also life—the stuff of waste and resurrection. Georges Bataille quite acutely understood this material’s deeply mortal qualities. So does Allison Schulnik. In “Eager,” her second solo exhibition at this space, the artist gives us ceramic sculptures, paintings, and a breathtaking new stop-motion puppet video that seems extracted from an imagination preoccupied by the numinous characteristics of nature’s various cycles, rife with sunshine and scat.

    Schulnik’s ceramics have a careless, expressionistic facture that one sees plenty of in contemporary clay artworks. But her energy is

  • slant December 10, 2013

    Alex Jovanovich

    AMERICA, like its psychic capital, New York City, is intolerable and bright. And, being Americans and New Yorkers, we are envied and reviled by many the world over—deservedly so. Nonetheless, I am grateful to be immersed in this marriage of misery and light, which is so often at the core of a truly memorable and, indeed, genuinely American art, some of which I was lucky enough to experience this summer, Gotham’s cruelest, most luminous season.

    Ken Price, “Slow and Steady Wins the Race, Works on Paper 1962–2010” at the Drawing Center (June 19–August 18, 2013); Albright-Knox Art Gallery (September

  • Heather Cassils

    In many contexts, soft is a derisive term. When describing character, it connotes wimpiness or gullibility; when describing physique, it suggests the flabbiness our fat-phobic culture finds utterly repellent. In 2011, Heather Cassils banished every trace of physical softness—without surgery or any kind of hormone treatment—by adhering to a grueling diet and workout regimen, gaining twenty-three pounds of muscle in as many weeks. For this solo show, Cassils used his body—now a paragon of hypertrophic hardness and butched-out sexiness—as both medium and prop.

    A display of twelve

  • diary October 27, 2013

    Bell, Book, and Candle

    Raconteur Kristine McKenna once asked the inimitable curator Walter Hopps why he loved art. His response: “Because it’s the most beautiful secret language we have.

    Sadly, these days it ain’t secret enough. Art fairs are cropping up everywhere, holding out the promise of instant cultural cachet to any dummy with deep pockets and a few connections. Plebes like me can buy a ticket to lookie-loo at any one of these high-end craft conventions, our new sacred, with the desperate hope of stumbling across something good (which happens… sometimes) or, indeed, even something great (much less than sometimes).

  • picks September 24, 2013

    Cary Leibowitz

    Cary Leibowitz collects disappointments like a comedian does one-liners—he has, in fact, made an extraordinary career of it. Indeed, after nearly thirty years, one would label Leibowitz’s body of work up to now as a kind of compendium of disappointments. And his current solo show, “Cary Leibowitz (Paintings and Belt Buckles),” is simply more of what we’ve come to expect from one of contemporary art’s best and bleakest post–Borscht Belt–style funnymen.

    One walks into the gallery choking on pink, a particular shade that seems to suffer as a cross between Barbie’s Dream Home and a bleached asshole.

  • picks July 24, 2013

    Ken Price

    My hope is that Ken Price spent the majority of his life as a very happy man. Though his last few years, plagued by throat and tongue cancer, were surely his darkest, he still managed until his death in 2012 to create a kind of artwork that is in short supply these days: exquisitely conceived and unabashedly joyous.

    “Ken Price: Slow and Steady Wins the Race, Works on Paper 1962–2010” is a survey of his relatively small-scale drawings, which, over the years, were created right in tandem with his modestly sized ceramics, but only recently have been receiving the kind of attention they so rightly

  • interviews May 21, 2013

    Brigid Berlin

    Brigid Berlin is an artist, actress, and one of the most memorable personalities to emerge from Andy Warhol’s coterie. In 2000, she was the subject of a documentary, Pie in the Sky: the Brigid Berlin Story, which was directed by Vincent Fremont. Berlin’s diaristic recordings of her life and milieu during the 1960s and ’70s—her Polaroids, audiotapes, and journals—recall much of early Conceptualism’s documentarian impulses, but include an acidity and dark wit that is entirely her own.

    I GOT INTO POLAROIDS even before Andy got into them because of some pictures I saw in Vogue in the early ‘60s by