David Everitt Howe

  • Bill Walton, Wisteria Series, undated, wisteria wood, lead, carbon, 2 3/4“ × 11” × 16". From “Wisteria Series,” no date.
    picks November 18, 2022

    Bill Walton

    Sculptor Bill Walton (1931–2010) was a master of subtle deception. What initially looks like wood might actually be copper, lead, or iron. In his exhibition here, “from bits and pieces / from lots of places / from different spots in time,” you never really know what it is you’re looking at until you’re inches away from the thing. Functioning loosely as portraits, the components of Walton’s artworks are fastidiously arranged into small-scale assemblages and spread out on a low, white pedestal, like a tray of Minimalist canapés presented for our pleasure.

    1/4 Turn (Split) (all works undated) looks

  • Catherine Mulligan, Angel 1, 2021, oil on board with gold leaf artist frame, 60 × 36".
    picks February 14, 2022

    “Legally Blonde”

    When it seems like every group exhibition in the art world is “inspired by” obscure proverbs or dry philosophical texts, it’s truly refreshing when a show comes along and takes its cue (and title) from the delicious dross of Legally Blonde—that 2001 film following Reese Witherspoon’s flaxen-haired “bimbo” character getting into Harvard and proving to her peers that she’s no dummy. At Downs & Ross, that ditzy blonde stereotype is playfully pried apart, exposing the ways in which female sexuality and identity are dictated by advertising, the media, and—by extension—men.

    It feels appropriate, then,

  • Reggie Burrows Hodges, Big We’ll, 2020, acrylic and pastel on linen, 54 × 50".
    picks February 18, 2021

    Reggie Burrows Hodges

    There’s something radical about the way the painter Reggie Burrows Hodges primes his blank white canvases with an inky, monochromatic black. He practically carves his figures out of this surface, layering different forms and colors around them in order to build out compelling scenes of everyday Black life. His subjects’ faces, bereft of distinguishing features such as eyes, noses, or mouths, are spectral presences—mirrors through which we see ourselves or project some kind of “other.” These are spaces of charged self-reflection, where notions regarding race, context, and identity come to the

  • Karlheinz Weinberger, St. Petersinsel, 1964, black-and-white photograph, 3 x 3".
    picks September 16, 2020

    Karlheinz Weinberger

    In Karlheinz Weinberger’s photographs of sexy Swiss hooligans from the 1950s and ’60s, the line between innocent modeling and outright carnality can, strangely, become awfully fuzzy. These self-fashioned Halbstarken (a German word that translates to “half-strongs”) based their bad-boy looks on glamorous images of midcentury American machismo—think, for instance, of a hunky James Dean in Rebel Without a Cause (1955). In this presentation of the artist’s work here, titled “Together & Alone,” the photographer dotes on his butch subjects as they pose, drunkenly laze around in the woods, or make out

  • Tega Brain and Sam Lavigne, New York Apartment (detail), 2020, website.
    picks April 28, 2020

    Tega Brain and Sam Lavigne

    “Looking for drama and a home that evokes the feel of an art gallery?” “Do you prefer simple shaker-style wood cabinets with solid surface counters or custom lacquer cabinets paired with a travertine marble?” “Did anyone say ‘development’?” If you’re sick of your own dingy, cramped walk-up and emphatically replied “yes” to any of these questions, then you might be in the market for Tega Brain and Sam Lavigne’s New York Apartment, 2020. On sale for a cool $43,869,676,331, it comes with 65,764 bedrooms and 55,588 bathrooms, and clocks in at just under forty million square feet, spread out over

  • View of “Michael Wang: Extinct in New York,” 2019.
    picks October 24, 2019

    Michael Wang

    Organized by the Swiss Institute, Michael Wang’s “Extinct in New York,” a botanical triage unit of sorts, propagates and tenderly cares for dozens of plants that have been driven out—or otherwise eradicated—from the five boroughs due to overdevelopment, pollution, and other adverse conditions. The greenery is arranged into tidy rows inside four large, transparent greenhouses. We can, for instance, take in the furry-looking Usnea angulata (beard lichen), hanging from a branch in a glass tank and surrounded by dramatically swirling fog (it hasn’t been seen in the city since 1823). There are also

  • Sam Ekwurtzel, mooring bollard, partially drained (a), 2019, aluminum bollard, fused silica ceramic shell, extruded hollow core kiln shelf, 30 × 30 × 30".
    picks October 04, 2019

    Sam Ekwurtzel

    East River–adjacent ferry queens like myself, who take New York City’s commuter boats up and down the coastlines, will recognize the fat mooring bollards—posts that ships get tied to when docked—in Sam Ekwurtzel’s solo exhibition, “Renderings.” They stand like rigid sentinels here, but looks are deceiving, as what appears in the gallery are actually husks—or perhaps even ghosts—of the original bollards that were created through clever acts of destruction.

    The artist has coated eight of these squat columns, made from aluminum, with layers of a white, high-temperature ceramic material that’s

  • Ida Ekblad, Filles Interdites (Gate), 2017, bronze, 84 x 78 x 12".
    picks June 25, 2019

    Ida Ekblad

    Ida Ekblad makes curious bedfellows of the most random things. For this exhibition, she scoured the streets of Mexico City for debris—such as a beat-up, yellow metal chair; a piece of wall framing; a porcelain bowl—and mashed them together in slabs of wet concrete, letting the assemblage dry poetically ad hoc. That motley assortment, Gold Bug Drift Sculpture (Tepito and Ecatepec), Amor, 2019, alongside other “drift” jumbles, is perhaps the highlight of “Blood Optics,” Ekblad’s first institutional solo show in Mexico City. Arrayed like an obstacle course in an open-air gallery, Ekblad’s blocky

  • View of “Shahryar Nashat,” 2019.
    picks May 20, 2019

    Shahryar Nashat

    Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari once described desire as a machine. The way Shahryar Nashat grapples with it, especially in the face of death, is compulsively machinic.

    In the artist’s first institutional solo show in New York, coldly lit and antiseptic spaces—some of which have windows tinted a sickly pink—feature a suite of sculptures called Bone In, 2019, which look like chunks of red meat Saran-wrapped around stiff boards. The works are appended with little printouts of statements to a theoretical lover: “Since I met you I’ve been trippin,” “Why you acting like you don’t know me?” Directly

  • Nolan Simon, Dark Droste, Black Matter, 2019, oil and dye sublimation on linen, 48 × 42".
    picks March 25, 2019

    Nolan Simon

    In “Other People,” painter Nolan Simon presents figurative, nearly photorealistic portraits of the most economical kind, zooming in on feet, chests, hands, and other appendages and objects instead of on a full body or face. Hung sparely, the modest canvases are surrounded by swaths of white wall, giving them an almost religious aura. Two ankle sock–clad feet rest butterfly-style on the floor in Ankle Socks, Pre-Owned (all works 2019). Small in scale, the painting is hung alone on its wall, giving it the appearance of a tender, fetishistic devotional. Adjacent to it we see Dark Droste, Black