Amoreen Armetta

  • picks February 10, 2009

    Derek Jarman

    Like Stan Brakhage, British independent filmmaker, painter, and writer Derek Jarman was an avid diarist, a maker of “home movies”: Sloane Square, 1976, consists of collaged footage of friends and collaborators hanging around his space. Warhol, it has been said, also made home movies, but in contrast to the Factory’s stark and still productions, Jarman’s films emphasize superimpositions and fast cuts. Accentuating the jumpiness of Super-8 with artful editing—stop-frame filming and dissolves—Jarman honed a language that looks back through the history of avant-garde film and forward to music videos

  • picks December 21, 2008

    Catherine Opie

    Of all the identities that photographer Catherine Opie has claimed throughout her career (“leather dyke,” “mother,” “queer” . . . ), “American” may be the most transgressive. In a recent interview with writer A. M. Homes, Opie spent a moment pondering that overused word, noting, “It’s transgressive just to try to live your life the way you actually want to live it,” a point well illustrated by her current midcareer retrospective.

    Opie works in series, lending all subjects the same measure of respect, with an aesthetic that ranges from Baroque to Romantic. For her ongoing, Düsseldorf School–influenced

  • picks December 13, 2008

    Corin Hewitt

    “What is he doing?” I overheard several viewers stage-whisper while watching Corin Hewitt work within his enclosed installation, a kitchen and workshop—with a root cellar and compost—cluttered with tools and props, including a hotplate, a refrigerator, a band saw, a printer, Plasticine, the Dictionary of Gastronomy, and various jars of canned vegetables. Peering through the narrow apertures between the walls, I impatiently observed him keeping an eye on a pot of boiling water and fiddling with some vegetables. The viewers’ inquiry was not the usual armchair complaint concerning the inscrutability

  • picks September 23, 2008

    Roe Ethridge

    In Roe Ethridge’s photograph Oysters, 2008, six gleaming bivalves are arranged on a crisp bed of sea salt that has been poured onto a sturdy white plate resting on a rustic wooden table. The composition is bathed in sunlight. Initially seductive, on second glance one discovers this is not a great photograph: The shadows are a bit harsh, the angle is awkward, and the framing is skewed. In no time at all, the viewer no longer really desires these oysters. Similarly, in Myla with Column, 2008, what at first glance seems to be a classical nude turns out to be just odd. Not Vice-magazine odd, but

  • picks July 16, 2008

    Harry Dodge and Stanya Kahn

    “You’re not saying humans are bad, you’re saying things go wrong, right?” Stanya Kahn says to the cameraman (Harry Dodge) at one point during the Los Angeles–based duo’s video I See You, Man, 2008. Kahn draws out the sentence so one expects that it, too, will be punctuated with a man. The peripatetic camera, its path as winding as Kahn’s improvised monologue, follows her goofy jaunt along the beach and into and out of the ocean. Dodge and Kahn have wooed audiences since 2004 with this kind of idiosyncratic storytelling, which hinges on Kahn’s sharp comic timing. Here, the duo also stretch into

  • picks June 16, 2008

    Sean Dack

    In capturing images mid-download and making unique photographic prints from the partially encoded results, Sean Dack reveals the poetics of a kind of chance cryptography. Their pixels frozen in flux, the images are neither fully present nor fully absent. The subjects (mostly girls and certain forms of postmodern architecture) are obscured, while the untranslated information—which appears as vibrant CMYK striations and geometric blocks—becomes the primary content. In Girl Next Door, 2008, a girl’s lips are the most legible part of the image; the rest is pretty much lost in noise. The print is so

  • picks June 09, 2008

    Alison Elizabeth Taylor

    A Google search for “wood marquetry” reveals online galleries showcasing landscapes, portraits, and decorative abstractions made using the traditional inlay technique. The self-explanatory Sailboat in Sun, 1989, by Canadian artist Paul R. Dean, which deftly employs a broad palate of exotic wood veneers, is characteristic. Alison Elizabeth Taylor stumbled across this milieu while completing her MFA at Columbia and learned the craft, which she uses to make large-scale “paintings.” She has since significantly upped her marquetry skills while continuing to explore the environmental and socioeconomic

  • picks May 13, 2008

    “Philip Guston: Works on Paper”

    In this exhibition, washy biomorphism gives way to calligraphic, densely crosshatched abstract jumbles; those in turn smooth out into voluptuous Gorkyesque forms that gradually become more specific until what emerge, rudely, are the books, clocks, paintbrushes, boot soles, and scruffy smoking Cyclopes for which Philip Guston is best known. The one hundred pieces gathered here—the most exhaustive US presentation of the artist’s drawings since the 1988 MoMA retrospective—are arranged chronologically in two rooms demarcated at 1967–68, a period when Guston, then a noted Abstract Expressionist,

  • picks May 09, 2008

    fierce pussy

    fierce pussy was a New York–based collective of queer women that emerged in 1991 from the ferment spawned by ACT UP. Promoting lesbian visibility and self-defined identity, fierce pussy helped politicize the urban landscape by wheat-pasting posters, distributing stickers and T-shirts, and “renaming” a number of New York streets after lesbian heroines.

    Their low-tech aesthetic is exemplified by photocopied posters, which have been reissued in a book published by Printed Matter and are exhibited there above vitrines of related ephemera. Members’ childhood snapshots are emblazoned with words like

  • picks March 24, 2008

    Adrian Piper

    Adrian Piper’s inaugural solo exhibition at Elizabeth Dee—her first in New York in nearly a decade—meditates on the phrase (printed on most pieces) EVERYTHING WILL BE TAKEN AWAY, which is the linchpin of her series “Everything,” 2003–. A limited-edition mailer for this exhibition contains Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s proclamation, from his 1968 novel The First Circle, “Once you have taken everything away from a man, he is no longer in your power. He is free.” Piper holds a doctoral degree in philosophy and is a lifelong student of yoga; Solzhenitsyn’s paradoxical assertion resonates.

    At the entrance

  • picks March 17, 2008

    Paul Etienne Lincoln

    Paul Etienne Lincoln’s zeal for esoteric knowledge and mechanical invention gives him the air of a leisurely Victorian. “Hyperbaric—Hypobaric” is representative of the fastidiously crafted, elegantly structured installations he has been known for since the early 1980s. A large print near the gallery entrance offers dense, metaphoric text and imagery describing the effects of unconsciousness caused by hyperbaric (high) or hypobaric (low) atmospheric pressure on memory; the former causes euphoria, the latter anxiety. Proposing a form of armor against these barometric vicissitudes, Lincoln provides

  • picks January 28, 2008

    Eve K. Tremblay

    At the entrance to Buia Gallery, Quebec-born, Berlin-based artist Eve K. Tremblay has posted a fan letter to Ray Bradbury outlining an experiment inspired by his classic dystopian novel Fahrenheit 451 (1953). Staging “a real life sort of mise-en-abîme,” Tremblay aims to commit the book to memory. During the opening, the artist enacted a performance in which, among other poses, she lay on the floor on her back with the novel under her head (echoing both the trademark psychoanalytic position and a scene in which Fahrenheit’s protagonist sleeps with a book under his pillow) and recited several

  • picks December 29, 2007

    Molly Springfield

    Washington, DC–based artist Molly Springfield has titled her first New York solo exhibition, which consists of ten exquisitely rendered drawings of photocopied books, after Douglas Huebler’s 1969 statement “The world is full of objects, more or less interesting; I do not wish to add any more.” True to this invocation of 1960s Conceptualism, Springfield embraces the materiality of language—though not Huebler’s insistence on ephemerality. The question arises why Springfield would cast into the world a twice-removed facsimile that involves copying photocopies by hand with carbon paper and using

  • picks December 03, 2007

    Lynne Cohen

    The majority of the photographs from Lynne Cohen’s “Camouflage” series, 1971–2004, are housed in custom-made Formica frames made by a kitchen counter fabricator. The odd frames echo other synthetic materials (linoleum, Naugahyde) that appear everywhere in these enigmatic black-and-white images of institutional interiors, exhibited together here for the first time. Untitled (Little Man), ca. 1970s, is illustrative of the idiosyncratic style Cohen has honed during her nearly forty-year career: A flowered plastic and chrome chair sits in a shabby corner, flanked by an electric outlet and a Colonel

  • picks November 30, 2007

    Robert Beck

    Poetic phrases written in white chalk cover the floor. A smudged line neatly traces the gallery’s perimeter; the text has been eroded by viewers’ feet shuffling past the forty-five drawings hanging on the walls. In one, a nude woman appears to be emanating rays of light, though two blocks of text typewritten directly on the drawing describe the scene as A WOMAN’S BODY APPARENTLY EMERGING FROM THE EARTH. With the title, Untitled (“Approaches to Art Therapy: Theory and Technique” ed. by Judith Aron Rubin), 1996–2007, Robert Beck indicates his methodology and provides a clue as to why the drawing

  • picks November 07, 2007

    Bruce Conner

    Departing Angel, 1973, a photogram self-portrait created by posing in front of photosensitive paper, presides over this meditative Bruce Conner exhibition. Part of the artist’s “Angels” series, the incandescent glow delineated a portion of Conner’s askew torso, and the resultant artwork suggests ecstasy, a state which runs the gamut from fear and madness to pleasure and rapture—a bid for bodily transcendence and the effect of one of our most popular recreational drugs. This range typifies Conner’s practice. One of the original angel-headed hipsters, he was part of the early-'60s California scene