Ara H. Merjian

  • Rue Simon Le Franc, 1974, décollage mounted on canvas, 21 1/2 x 29 1/2".
    picks June 16, 2008

    Jacques Villeglé

    At once fields of images and urban artifacts, layered comminglings of figurative forms and histories of those forms’ nuanced desecration, Jacques Villeglé’s décollages cannot be pinned down, as it were. Consisting exclusively of torn posters mounted on canvas, the décollages invert the operations of collage, stripping away slices of imagery rather than pasting them together. Since the 1950s, Villeglé has gleaned his raw materials from the walls and billboards of Parisian streets, where various strata of advertisements and political posters provide the palimpsest for a new image, reframed and

  • View of Oia, Santorini Island, Greece, 1929, watercolor, pencil, and gouache on paper, DIMENSIONS TK.
    picks April 18, 2008

    Bernard Rudofsky

    This exhibition opens with a series of striking topographic studies by the Austrian-born polymath Bernard Rudofsky in watercolor, pencil, and gouache. The spontaneity of color and quivering line in these views of a riverbank in France, from 1926, and San Francesco, Fiesole, from 1927, lends them an endearing uncertainty, more reminiscent of German Expressionist landscapes than run-of-the-mill architectural surveys. This kind of felicitous disregard for genres and disciplines emblematizes Rudofsky’s career, which spanned eight decades, several continents, and various media. Occupying one L-shaped

  • Peter Wegner, Buildings Made of Sky (detail), 32 2004/2007, color photographs, 64 x 104".
    picks April 02, 2008

    “Cut: Revealing the Section”

    Of all the various architectural representations, it is perhaps the section view that presents the most edifying (as it were) image of a structure, revealing the space both inside and around it, the vertical ascension of its walls as well as their horizontal disposition and contiguity. Taking the section view—loosely conceived—as its point of departure and bringing together a range of related images, objects, and installations in various media, this exhibition remains true to the essence of the section cut: at once arbitrary and inclusive, a mere slice and a comprehensive view. Organized by

  • Gloriosa Victoria (Glorious Victory) (detail), 1954, tempera on canvas, 78 3/4 x 196 3/4".
    picks December 10, 2007

    Diego Rivera

    As the largest and most comprehensive exhibition in Mexico City’s multivenue “national homage” to artist Diego Rivera, marking the half century since his death in 1957, this exhibition lives up to the “epic” proportions promised in its title. There is perhaps no more fitting place to stage a Rivera retrospective than Mexico’s Palacio de Bellas Artes—a jewel of fin-de-siècle and Art Deco splendor, whose interior already bears prodigious, permanently installed panels by the "Three Greats” of Mexican mural-making: David Alfaro Siqueiros, José Clemente Orozco, and Rivera. The show includes nearly

  • Untitled (Albuquerque), 1952, oil on canvas, 68 3/4 x 60".
    picks November 27, 2007

    “Diebenkorn in New Mexico: 1950–52”

    The word ALBUQUERQUE––appended to otherwise untitled and serially produced canvases—raises some inevitable questions regarding Richard Diebenkorn’s early abstraction. Already a young professor at the California School of Fine Arts, Diebenkorn left the Bay Area in 1950 to pursue a master’s degree at the University of New Mexico, where he stayed for more than two years on the GI Bill. How do the desert and its particular topographies resonate in his body of work (one so seemingly wedded to the West’s coastal light and atmosphere)? This cogent exhibition of more than fifty paintings and works on

  • Desiree Holman, The Magic Window, 2006–2007, still from a three-channel color video with sound, 15 minutes.
    picks November 02, 2007

    “TV Honey”

    Desiree Holman’s fifteen-minute video, The Magic Window, 2006–2007, revisits—and restages—two of the 1980s’ most influential sitcoms: The Cosby Show and Roseanne. On two screens, the Huxtables and Connors are played (or, rather, pastiched) by actors whose loose-fitting masks call attention to the staged nature of their pantomime. This awkwardness, in turn, highlights the contrivances of the original shows themselves. Holman captures the particular “situation” of each comedy: the Huxtables’ spirited and wholesome relationships, the Connors’ loafing and lumbering. But in distilling each series to