David Frankel

  • GEGO

    Curated by Pablo León de la Barra, Julieta González, and Tanya Barson

    Born in Germany in 1912, Gego (née Gertrud Goldschmidt) was forced into exile in 1939 and lived in Venezuela until her death, in 1994. Though she explored many media—installations, drawings, weavings, prints, sculptures, and more—she is best known for her intricate networks of metal rods and wires, simultaneously delicate and strong and ranging in scale from modest to room-size. This retrospective of more than 150 pieces sets out to cover her output of the 1940s to the ’90s in all its variety. I would expect the curators to

  • Josh Smith

    Philosophers addressing the problem of infinite regress—the impossibility of finding a first cause, since every cause must itself have a cause, which in turn must have a cause, and so on ad infinitum—make a turtle joke: If the world is supported on the back of a giant turtle, as posited in Hindu mythology, what in turn supports the turtle? The answer: It’s turtles all the way down. To think Josh Smith had that joke in mind while working on his exhibition “Emo Jungle” is tempting, not just because of the show’s surfeit of turtles—one part of the exhibition contained fifty-five paintings of them—but

  • Carol Rama

    Born in 1918 in Turin, Carol Rama stayed there for close to a century, until her death in 2015. Accounts of her life insist on her engagement with artists and writers in her hometown and on the Italian scene more generally, yet she comes across as something of a recluse. Whatever her social life was, her career was quiet until relatively late: In the catalogue for this exhibition, “Eye of Eyes,” Robert Lumley writes that her work reached wide visibility only in 1980, with a show called “L’altra metà dell’avanguardia, 1910–40” (The Other Half of the Vanguard, 1910–40) in Milan and Stockholm. Rama

  • Vivian Maier

    The photographer Vivian Maier is well known by now, at least in the storybook outlines of her career: Seen during her lifetime mostly as an eccentric live-in Chicago nanny who for some reason always carried a camera, she was revealed after her death—in 2009, at the age of eighty-three—as a photographer of grand authority. Though she is already the subject of two biographies and two movies, much about her life remains obscure, but her tale is best told by her images—more than 150,000 of them—discovered posthumously and now working their way into the public eye. Ignored in life, cherished in death,

  • Lyle Ashton Harris

    On the gallery counter at Lyle Ashton Harris’s show were two books for the public to leaf through, Robert Farris Thompson’s Flash of the Spirit (1983) and Amber Musser’s Sensual Excess: Queer Femininity and Brown Jouissance (2018). Harris named his new project after the first of these, an influential, even inspiring attempt to describe aesthetic and cultural continuities between Africa and the African diaspora, but his work in general seems closer in temper to the second—a more theoretically informed book than Thompson’s, and addressing complexities of queer identity that were not Thompson’s

  • Aneta Grzeszykowska

    The doll is a long-standing device in modern art, from Hans Bellmer to Laurie Simmons and Greer Lankton. You could call it a shortcut to the uncanny and surreal, but that wouldn’t do justice to its lasting power to unsettle—and if you doubted that power, the Polish artist Aneta Grzeszykowska’s show would have given you the lie. Other artists kept coming to mind as I walked through this exhibition—Claude Cahun, Sally Mann, Grzeszykowska’s compatriot Alina Szapocznikow, Arthur Tress, Francesca Woodman—along with movies: Charles Laughton’s poetic frightener The Night of the Hunter

  • Jeff Perrone

    A visitor to this show might understandably have come away thinking Jeff Perrone is an angry guy. All of the sixty-odd works exhibited, made over a ten-year span, are based on words, and a lot of those words are in your face—HATE, VILE, FUCK. The earliest pieces here, from 2008, featured one four-letter word each. By the following year, Perrone had broadened both his vocabulary and his syntax, but he’d kept his politics blunt: OVERTHROW NOT OCCUPY, ALL PROPERTY IS THEFT, WITHOUT BOSSES. A work from 2010 is just one word, but that word has six syllables: RADICALIZATION. By 2017, Perrone

  • Ranjani Shettar

    THE INDIAN ARTIST Ranjani Shettar first exhibited in the United States in 2003, just three years after getting her MFA in Bangalore, and has shown here steadily ever since. Among her New York appearances was a spectacular installation in the exhibition “On Line,” curated by Cornelia Butler and Catherine de Zegher at the Museum of Modern Art in 2010. I use the word spectacular, but what was most striking about the piece was its delicacy: A hanging net of small beads of pigmented wax strung on threads dyed in tea, it formed a voluminous but ethereal constellation in the show’s opening space. This

  • Kynaston McShine

    I AM STANDING in Galerie Lelong, looking at a show of the art Hélio Oiticica made during his years in New York in the 1970s. On the front desk is a book that I pick up and skim, finding an interview with a fellow Brazilian who was close to Oiticica in those years of shared exile. He is asked whom the two men spent time with—who was their social world. Well, he says, we were pretty much alone, we didn’t really know anyone . . . except, of course, Kynaston McShine at the Museum of Modern Art.

    This memory from a good few years back, which I now can’t completely reconstruct—was Oiticica’s

  • Kay Rosen

    That politics should have been on Kay Rosen’s mind in preparing this show, “Stirring Wirds,” is in tune with the tenor of her work for some decades past—politics are a habit of mind for her. But the times of Donald Trump have given her special urgency. Of course, I thought the same thing a dozen years ago about the times of George W. Bush, when Rosen produced acute responses to the fate of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. When something bad happens, we sometimes console ourselves by saying, “Could be worse.” Given recent trajectories, though, this may not be such a reassuring idea.

    Rosen

  • LaToya Ruby Frazier

    This recent exhibition of LaToya Ruby Frazier’s, which filled three floors of Gavin Brown’s new building in Harlem, included photographs from one much-acclaimed body of work—“The Notion of Family,” a thirteen-year project that Frazier began in 2001, when she was not yet twenty, and that eventually became a prize-winning book—and two more-recent groups, “Flint is Family” and “A Pilgrimage to Noah Purifoy’s Desert Art Museum” (both 2016–17). “This will be Frazier’s first solo gallery exhibition in New York City, her first solo commercial gallery debut in the United States, and her largest

  • “Love Among the Ruins: 56 Bleecker Gallery and Late 80s New York”

    Look up “NoHo” on Airbnb and you will find a neighborhood tagged “trendy” and “touristy,” a place “filled with eclectic cafés, spacious studios, and sublime shopping.” Gentrification works fast: Such a description of this part of downtown Manhattan would not long ago have been unimaginable, as “Love Among the Ruins: 56 Bleecker Gallery and Late 80s New York” virtually made a fetish of establishing. Dedicated to the 56 Bleecker Gallery, which flourished from 1986 to 1989, the show documented an art space that at that early date had fled a previous location, a derelict theater on Second Avenue

  • Maira Kalman

    Despite its bone-deep elegance, Strunk and White’s Elements of Style (1919/1959), familiar to many of America’s editors and authors but demonstrably not to enough of either, seems an unpromising text for visual illustration, being, as it is, a brief guide to words and how to combine them. (That is, how to write.) Short of a series of rebuses, what could its images be? You would need a Maira Kalman to imagine and draw them, which in fact Kalman did, producing a celebrated edition of the book in 2005. This show offered a chance to see the original gouaches, along with a new set from this year, “

  • Henrique Oliveira

    Now in his mid-forties, the Brazilian artist Henrique Oliveira has a long exhibition history in both Latin America and Europe, not to mention scattered shows in the United States, but his installation Devir (Becoming), 2017, at Van de Weghe Fine Art was his first appearance in New York. As such, it may not have been completely representative: He is capable of very large-scale installations—Transarquitetônica (Transarchitectural), a maze of wood and brick tunnels at the Museu de Arte Contemporânea da Universidade de São Paulo, in 2014, filled a space around 240 feet deep, while another

  • Willie Doherty

    Once home to twenty thousand people, the town of Braddock, Pennsylvania, now houses around two thousand, having lost 90 percent of its population through the withering of the steel industry. That means empty houses and streets—the visual substance of Willie Doherty’s No Return, which he made for a show of work by Northern Irish artists at the Mattress Factory, Pittsburgh, very near Braddock, in the spring and summer of 2017. Alongside its succession of images, this fifteen-minute video has an aural component: Doherty combines his pictures of the town with a voice-over narrative, an

  • “Fast Forward: Painting from the 1980s”

    After seeing and in some cases reviewing a number of shows of the New York art of the 1980s over the past few years, from Arch Connelly back in 2012 to a show about Manhattan’s Pier 34 in 2016, through Alvin Baltrop, Greer Lankton, and others along the way, I’d gotten into my head a memory of that time as funky, inventive, and in some way modest, a period of doing a lot with a little and of making art that was often intimate and ultimately personal. “Fast Forward: Painting from the 1980s” might have been designed to rebut that idea: The literally big thing here was scale, from Kenny Scharf’s

  • film April 21, 2017

    Stealing the Scene

    WHEN LAURIE SIMMONS’S new film My Art was screened at the Whitney Museum last fall, the artist and now movie director accompanied it with a talk in which she remarked on how few films had gotten the business of being an artist right. Indeed, so many films which have gotten it wrong come to mind—we probably all have our own cheesy favorites—that the prospect of a movie on artmaking by a feminist artist of Simmons’s standing, and one that she not only directed but wrote and stars in, seems likely to draw murmurs of “At last.” Certainly when the film finds a distributor—it plays at the Tribeca Film

  • James Coleman

    This multipartite show by the Irish artist James Coleman included two fairly new works (Untitled, 2011–15, and Still Life, 2013–16); a mini-retrospective of five works from 1970, the year of Coleman’s first exhibition; a loner work bridging the turn of this century (D 11, 1998–2002); and a work begun in 2004 and still in process (Working Arrangement—horoscopus). The show, then, was a kind of primer, running from early to present in Coleman’s career. And while all of these works were projected images, his signature medium, they involved quite different forms and methods, from 16-mm film (

  • Elizabeth Murray

    Remembered deeply fondly by those who knew her for her intelligence and warmth, the late Elizabeth Murray, who died in 2007, was also a heroine for many artists, both as a painter who came up in the 1960s and ’70s, when painting seemed increasingly in crisis, and as a woman in a man’s or boy’s world. Growing out of this embattled place, Murray’s work was as brave as it was funny, as determined as it was adventurous and odd. Her presence in today’s art world—hell, today’s world—is greatly missed.

    The drawings in this welcome exhibition dated from the 1980s to the early 2000s and ranged

  • William Christenberry

    Years ago I was talking to a woman from Virginia about Ireland, where I grew up, and she said, “I love Ireland. It reminds me of home.” Ireland not being known for its tobacco nor Virginia for its stout, that surprised me, until she said, “They’re both tragic.” Indeed, both Ireland and the South have deeply embedded histories of defeat, of eclipse by a nearby elsewhere, and in both places, as William Faulkner wrote, “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.” I often think of that conversation when I look at William Christenberry’s photographs of Alabama, but I’m also reminded of the Band