Catherine Liu

  • “Fluxus: Selections from the Gilbert and Lila Silverman Collection”

    Fluxus was fun art. Sometimes it was a little dumb, but most of the artists, and especially George Maciunas, the ostensible leader and founder, rode with skill and humor the fine line between puerility and subversion. Maciunas’ proclaimed antiart stance and his insistence on “art nihilism” enabled him to be engaged in the very serious struggle of discrediting the meaning-filled art object and of championing the action-oriented events, performances, and publications that were being produced as Fluxus. Not all of the Fluxus artists were as polemical as Maciunas, and many of them went on to greater

  • Jack Risley, David Nyzio

    This show opened the year with a seductive, ominous vision of biotechnology and the future. Jack Risley and David Nyzio create very different objects, but both construct visual artifacts in which biology’s destiny is technology. Risley’s soft sculptures, made of leather, aluminum, rubber, and fiberglass, are like new limbs waiting for bodies that have not yet been created. They protrude from the wall, as if reaching out to touch the viewer. Some rubber and leather parts slide around the hard armatures like prophylactics. But these sculptures are more than fetishes, they are prostheses: fragments

  • Bo Bartlett

    Bo Bartlett’s paintings are a moving synesthesia of two very different things: the space of monumental figurative painting and the disaster of contemporary life in all its violence and banality. In About Reality and the Sky, 1988, a young man with a shaved head stands wrapped in a sheet against a dusty sky. The brown flat landscape behind him is interrupted by a tent, a wisp of smoke, and what may be telephone poles. Is this some strayed Hare Krishna? A madman recently released from an asylum, a serial killer on the morning of his next murder? The emptiness in the young man’s eyes can be identified

  • Paul Georges

    Paul Georges’ recent paintings are huge and unabashedly allegorical. In all of them, a naked Diane, usually suspended in the firmament, pursues an earthbound Actaeon. The figures and the landscapes are oneiric—half fantasy, half nightmare. Georges uses a particularly vibrant, saturated red, sometimes streaking the sky with it or using it as a bloody backdrop. But he is not at all Actaeon-like as a painter; he is too much a master of the situation. His facility with brushwork served his previous paintings well, giving his color a distinctive density and texture. But in these paintings his mastery

  • Nancy Barton

    “I took up photography and its attraction was not that of creativity or expression, but the potential for recrimination.” This is one of the autobiographical statements Nancy Barton has silkscreened onto a marble-patterned Formica panel. Barton has managed to be recriminating at a time when most artists, male and female alike, seem to be more than content with the status quo. The installation is called, terrifyingly enough, “Swan Song,” and it consists of panels covered with quotations from the artist, her mother, and the writings of Hélène Cixous, Luce Irigaray, and Catherine Clement, all

  • Elaine Sturtevant

    The viewer who has grown accustomed to looking at copies in a certain way over the past few years must unlearn this habit when looking at Elaine Sturtevant’s drawings. For the artist, making copies is not the result of some recently occupied theoretical position, it is a longtime obsession; this show spans more than 20 years of work. The cluster of ideas around replication, technical prowess, and the essential copy has paved the way for a discourse resembling a kind of transhistorical sports commentary: things begin to revolve around questions of who is ahead of whom. As a woman artist, Sturtevant

  • Rebcecca Horn

    Rebecca Horn’s Art Circus, 1988, the largest and most complex sculpture in this show, takes us into a space where time is experienced as a new, harrowing sensation. It consists of an egg balanced between two long steel needles, and glass cones fixed to the floor of the gallery. Everything is circumscribed by a large black circle on the floor—a circus ring. One needle, attached to the ceiling, moves with excruciating slowness in a spiral motion, starting perpendicular to the floor and gradually becoming parallel to it. Watching the complete movement of the needle takes quite a few minutes—the

  • Nouveaux Réalistes

    The Nouveaux Réalistes were brought together by the French critic, Pierre Restany, in 1960. Like several other European art movements of the twentieth century, the Nouveaux Réalistes existed more on paper than in reality. The artists did sign a manifesto written by Restany that declared their consciousness as a collectivity: the manifesto also declared that the artists were moving into a “new perception of the real.” The artists who signed the manifesto, Jacques Arman, Francois Dufrêne, Raymond Hains, Jean Tinguely, Jacques de la Villeglé, and Martial Raysse, and were later joined by Gérard