Claire Barliant

  • Ann Lislegaard

    “The miracle of order has run out,” a woman says in mellifluous tones, “and I am left in an unmiraculous place where anything may happen.” The sentence occurs in the voice-over of Ann Lislegaard’s computer animation Bellona (after Samuel R. Delany), 2005. The eleven-minute loop depicts a series of interiors that seem to fulfill Italian designer Joe Colombo’s 1960s vision of a domestic future in which “furnishings will disappear; the habitat will be everywhere.” The rooms are almost entirely empty, save for a few doors that lean against the walls and some hanging globe lamps that give this strange

  • Robert Melee

    Channeling the spirits of Jackson Pollock and Martha Stewart, so he claims, Robert Melee drips and spatters enamel onto a variety of surfaces, usually linoleum, but sometimes the naked body of his mother. One of the more interesting artists to emerge from “Greater New York 2005” at P. S. 1 Contemporary Art Center and “Make it Now” at SculptureCenter, Melee is best known for trashily glamorous installations. At P. S. 1, he built an entertainment center out of faux wood paneling and old television sets, each of which showed a different video. In one, Marbleization of Mommy, 2002, Melee is shown

  • Gary Sweeney, Sin Cuenta (detail), 2005.
    picks November 28, 2005


    Originating in South Texas, Spanglish is a hybrid dialect that provides the title and concept for an exhibition, deftly curated by Kate Green, that features eight San Antonio-based artists. The works on view address ways in which geographical barriers are regularly transgressed, not only by illegal immigrants, but also by American culture's gradual infiltration of the rest of the world via mass media and consumerism. Sin Cuenta (all works 2005), one of the more arresting pieces, uses three freestanding sections of chain-link fence. By inserting plastic cups into the fence holes, artist Gary

  • Mary Ellen Carroll

    Billowing American flag
    Bus deposits people
    Birds squawk and chirp, jets fly overhead

    The urban haiku above was pulled from my notes on Mary Ellen Carroll’s Federal and is a fairly complete summary of its action. Shot in real time on July 28, 2003, this two-part video (the halves were shot, and are screened, concurrently) is a twenty-four-hour record of the northern and southern facades of the federal building in Los Angeles, and was shown exactly two years later at Cinema Village in conjunction with an exhibition of twenty-four photographs of the northern facade at Storefront for Art and

  • Eden—First Generation, 2005.
    picks October 23, 2005

    Laleh Khorramian

    Laleh Khorramian’s animated film Chopperlady, 2005, opens with the outline of a woman, her hair pulled back into a chignon, who reaches into her belly and pulls out a baby—only to promptly toss it away. The nonchalant matricide marks the beginning of a surreal nine-minute journey that the woman embarks on, traveling through mottled, watercolor landscapes. Chopperlady rides in a helicopter (hence the name), which appears to be no more than a flimsy bit of paper, but moves with ease over rocky cliffs and oceans. Small, dark figures occasionally appear and sometimes perform acrobatics. At the film’s

  • Whoosh, 2005.
    picks October 12, 2005

    Patrick Martinez

    Do the ends justify the means? This question, which must plague many if not all artists, was neatly rendered moot by French artist Patrick Martinez’s second New York solo exhibition, titled “The Ends.” Here ends became means: Martinez used either markers or ball-point pens on the verge of expiration to execute his drawings. The almost-dead markers lend a feathery lightness to his lines, so that the drawings made with that unusual implement, such as Poisson Fakir (all works 2005), possess an airy delicacy. In contrast, two works done in ballpoint pen have a kind of ferocity; Untitled, rendered

  • Banks Violette

    In a single, melancholic afternoon, I recently saw Gus Van Sant’s latest film Last Days, and the Robert Smithson and Banks Violette exhibitions at the Whitney Museum of American Art. Though unplanned, the itinerary made sense: Each presentation was haunted by the theme of early death, a fate that has long been a trigger for cultish devotion. As Shelley wrote after Keats died at twenty-five: “He is secure, and now can never mourn / A heart grown cold, a head grown grey in vain.” Or, in the words of Neil Young, quoted memorably by Kurt Cobain in his suicide note: “It’s better to burn out than to

  • Exhibition view.
    picks July 01, 2005

    “We Could Have Invited Everyone”

    Would-be potentates unite for this cohesive and absorbing group show about micro-nations. Cocuraters Robert Blackson and Peter Coffin assembled its contents—a mixture of art and non-art—with geeky obsessiveness, focusing on fascinating details such as stamps, currency, passports, and surprising secession trivia. Who knew, for example, that Ernest Hemingway’s younger brother once tried to create his own nation on a raft off the coast of Florida? (He didn’t want to pay taxes.) The non-art complements actual artworks such as Yoko Ono’s Nutopia, 1973/2005, a map by Nina Katchadourian, and a bomb by

  • Salon de Mme. B, 1, 2004.
    picks May 31, 2005

    Katarina Burin

    Assembled with painstaking precision, Katarina Burin’s small-scale collages depict vacant, Bauhaus-style interiors. It is hard to suppress thoughts of what sort of people might inhabit these rooms—one could just as easily imagine either Sophia Loren reclining on the couch in Salon de Mme. B, 1, 2004, to give one example, or a hardy grandmother living in the Eastern Bloc. This is the Berlin-based artist’s first New York show, and, along with the collages, it also includes a large folding screen and a drawing on vellum meant to evoke a Soviet propaganda poster (with the oxymoronic title Room for

  • Tim Hawkinson, Pentecost, 1999, mixed media, dimensions variable.

    Tim Hawkinson

    Spanning nearly two decades, the diverse selection of works includes self-portraits cast from inflated latex balloons, tiny sculptures made from ground fingernails, and enormous wind instruments that mimic internal organs.

    In 1995, curious crowds lined the block to see Tim Hawkinson's first New York solo show at Ace Gallery, and chances are the LA artist's loopy, tinkerer-in-the-basement aesthetic will generate similar enthusiasm for his first major museum survey. Hawkinson's carnivalesque approach and carnal subject matter are evidenced in the sixty works on view. Spanning nearly two decades, the diverse selection includes self-portraits cast from inflated latex balloons, tiny sculptures made from ground fingernails, and enormous wind instruments that mimic internal organs. Ancillary to

  • Sam Ran Over Sand or Sand Ran Over Sam, 2004. Installation view.
    picks September 24, 2004

    Jessica Stockholder

    The art world could use more shag. Tactile, soft, and inviting, the yellow and red, extra-deep-pile rug cutting a jagged path through Jessica Stockholder’s new installation Sam Ran Over Sand or Sand Ran Over Sam is its crowning achievement. With the velocity of a Barnett Newman zip, it extends from the building’s main entrance and penetrates the large windowed wall separating the gallery from the foyer, ushering viewers down a makeshift corridor formed by a plasterboard wall on one side and, on the other, three large white blocks made of Styrofoam floating airily on plywood boards. The wall is

  • Beginning of an End, 1981.
    picks August 03, 2004

    Miyoko Ito

    In the 1950s, Miyoko Ito (1918–83) wore her clothing inside out to reveal the seams and rough undersides of her garments. Texture clearly mattered to the artist, who in the '40s moved from her birthplace in Berkeley to Chicago, where her iconoclastic abstractions exerted considerable influence, even on a local scene long dominated by the Imagists. The surfaces of her paintings come alive through a technique of underpainting—layering contrasting colors on top of one another—and in this exhibition, which focuses on the last decade of her career, the works bristle with the action of her