Claudine Ise

  • picks May 06, 2013

    Jason Lazarus

    Jason Lazarus’s solo exhibition, installed in two separate areas of the museum, investigates the learning process and the various overlapping contexts—public and private, individual and collective—in which it happens. Strangely, Lazarus does so through displaying objects and images that are partially hidden from view and are thus not fully comprehensible. Snapshots are pinned to walls with their “backs” facing viewers, a board of photographs found in New Orleans is completely covered by a brown blanket, and a smallish “X” of white glow-in-the-dark tape is placed high on a wall. The works’ titles

  • picks April 18, 2013

    “Model Studies”

    “Model Studies” presents Thomas Demand’s photographs of three-dimensional models that he did not make himself, which is something Demand has never done before. If this move seems slight, consider the implications of the German artist’s usual process, which ends with the destruction of the life-size paper environments he meticulously replicates from media images and then photographs—actions that seem to fulfill Jean Baudrillard’s prophesy of a world where simulation is all. Given this, Demand’s choice of subject here is remarkably tangible—twelve fairly beat-up working models by the midcentury

  • picks March 08, 2012

    “This Will Have Been: Art, Love & Politics in the 1980s”

    “This Will Have Been: Art, Love & Politics in the 1980s” examines artists’ responses to that decade’s cultural upheavals, including the rise of gender politics, the fall of the Berlin Wall, Cold War anxieties, and President Ronald Reagan’s malign indifference to the AIDS epidemic. Spanning the years 1979–92, it features approximately one hundred artists’ works, which are grouped into four thematic sections, each addressing a different area of cultural conflict: “Gender Trouble,” “Democracy,” “Desire and Longing,” and “The End Is Near.”

    This framework successfully vivifies major thematic concerns

  • picks December 01, 2011

    Irena Knezevic

    Could democracy be the cause of all the world’s misery? This is one of many provocative questions posed by Irena Knezevic’s “Here Comes the Darkness,” an unsettling, profoundly relevant exhibition whose metaphorical center is a thirty-two-minute video from which the show’s title derives. The video intercuts shots of far-flung locales—the Zagros Mountains bordering Iraq and Jordan, an apple orchard, the scenery from Hitler’s nature walks just outside Munich—with animated images of spinning stars and scenes of dancers performing movements choreographed by the artist. A slow-building tension is

  • picks November 14, 2011

    Dianna Frid

    Humanity’s often poignant reliance on language at the precise moments when it falls short—or fails altogether—is a subject of continual fascination for Dianna Frid. In her current solo exhibition, titled “Evidence of the Material World,” the works on view attempt to give form not to sublime or ineffable experience, but to the inevitable gaps and fissures that arise from our use of language to describe it. Frid’s Words from Obituary (#1) (all works cited, 2011) consists of four graphite-covered sheets of paper on which the text “The Fourth Word Spoken on the Moon” appears, each letter embroidered

  • picks October 28, 2011

    Jonathan Baldock

    The clown—a source of laughter for some and of unease or even terror for others—is the central motif in Jonathan Baldock’s sculptural installation Pierrot, 2011, which takes its title and inspiration from Jean-Antoine Watteau’s 1718–19 painting of a commedia dell’arte fool. Standing alone above his fellow actors, Watteau’s Pierrot appears lost in thought, the expression on his unpainted face remote. In this moment, he seems unable to fully inhabit his persona—perhaps he is a man forced to play a part that stopped making sense long ago. Baldock’s version of the Pierrot figure evokes a similar

  • picks September 30, 2011

    Barbara Kasten

    Since the mid-1970s, Barbara Kasten has been making abstract pictures that reveal and exploit the medium’s underlying properties—in particular, photography’s dependence on light to record material phenomena and its tendency to flatten or otherwise distort the viewer’s perceptions of a given volume, spatial relationship, or object. Kasten will typically build a still-life tableau in her studio, using pieces of glass or Plexiglas, mesh screens, mirrors, and other materials that can be transparent, reflective, or both. The resulting compositions slide between the hard-edge dynamism of Constructivist

  • picks July 27, 2011

    “The World As Text”

    Part exhibition, part library, and part metatext about the nature of textuality itself, this concise yet wide-ranging gathering gives equal consideration to the handmade zine, the limited edition chapbook, the e-book, and a host of other material and conceptual approaches to the hybrid form known as the artist’s book. Dianna Frid’s delicate, hand-sewn text is the only work requiring a vitrine—everything else is fully accessible. By including roughly seventy-five selections (chosen by a panel of artists that included Buzz Spector and Maria Fusco, among others), curator Jessica Cochran has made

  • picks June 21, 2011

    Uta Barth

    Uta Barth’s new photographic series “ . . . and to draw a bright white line with light,” 2011, subtly departs from her previous bodies of work, two of which, “white blind (bright red),” 2002, and “Sundial,” 2007, are also on view in this exhibition. Barth’s photographs are composed of elements that are normally relegated to a composition’s background—the blanched sky, barren trees, and telephone lines of the “white blind (bright red)” series, for example, or the hanging lamp, mustard-colored sofa, and light-filled window of “Sundial.” Although her images rarely include people, as of late Barth

  • picks June 14, 2011

    John Neff

    “John Neff Prints Robert Blanchon” resurrects a project by the late Blanchon, Untitled (aroma/1981), 1995––a work that, in turn, resurrects a lost period in history: the gay sexual revolution that had reached its ebullient heights in the late 1970s, just prior to the onset of HIV and AIDS. Blanchon’s installation consists of one hundred ads for sex products that he collected from gay magazines of the late 1970s and then photographed, leaving the resulting prints intentionally unfixed so that the images would fade over the course of exhibition. With each new set of prints, Blanchon could revive

  • picks May 29, 2011

    Sara Greenberger Rafferty and Ruby Sky Stiler

    Sara Greenberger Rafferty’s highly conceptual output looks at how the logic of performance—be it comedic, musical, or even domestic in nature—becomes as slippery as a banana peel once the performer herself is removed from the scene. Rafferty’s works ask: Without bodies, does a stage become a shelf? Will the jokes still fly if they take the form of pictograms, as they do in the cutout Plexiglas images of a banana, a rubber chicken, and Groucho glasses lying flat on the grass outside the exhibition space? Inside, a fiberboard platform, images of a woman wailing into a microphone, abstracted images

  • picks May 04, 2011

    Rinus Van de Velde

    Rinus Van de Velde’s mural-scaled wall drawing is a short story hand-lettered directly on the gallery’s walls. Told from a first-person perspective, the narrative is interspersed with charcoal illustrations appropriated from archival sources and subtly altered in ways that make oblique reference to the story. The Flemish artist’s fictional alter ego, a painter also named Rinus Van de Velde, authors the fictive letter on which the actual artist’s current exhibition “Dear David Johnson” is based. The letter explains why the avatar-as-artist failed to show up for a meeting with Johnson (an equally