David Frankel

  • James Lee Byars

    Shaman, charlatan, oddball, dandy—James Lee Byars carried off all these roles with flair, uniting them without contradiction. Like Yves Klein, whom he in many ways resembled, he brought to art a group of self-taught extracurricular ideas that set him somewhat beyond the grasp of art historians and critics (with the notable exception of Thomas McEvilley, one of the most convincing explicators of both men’s work). As with Klein, his thought lay as close to religion as to aesthetics, though if Klein was influenced by readings in Rosicrucianism, for Byars the deepest impression seems to have been

  • Tim Hawkinson

    Tim Hawkinson often depends on ingenuity and surprise, on shifting something familiar or at least imaginable into an unimaginable medium or scale. Like Tom Friedman, an artist I’ve fantasized seeing him paired with, he fosters in viewers a sense of jaw-dropped wonder, the “How did he do that?” coming way before “And why?” For this show, for example, Hawkinson made a full-scale motorbike out of feathers. He made a stool out of eggshells and a model of the atmosphere out of tape and what looked like a bicycle frame. There’s something of the science nerd in Hawkinson, and also something of the

  • Michael Brown

    Michael Brown’s apparently unassuming show looked at first like the contents of your kitchen closet, but on second glance was more corporate than that—you might well own the dustpan and brush, the brooms, or the mop, but you probably wouldn’t do your mopping with so large a bucket, and the desk chairs were strictly office-storeroom. What else? An electric floor fan, smacking of Home Depot; a well- used paintbrush, its handle smeared with white paint . . . nothing handsome or new, everything ostensibly not just store-bought and worn but low-functioning in the first place. Wondering what was

  • Alex Bag

    TV SHOW HOST IN FUGUE STATE. Like LINDSAY LOHAN ESCAPES REHAB, or similar headlines in the tabloid press, the sentence seems calculated to strike terror in the heart of our republic, media dependent as it is. Make that CHILDREN’S TV SHOW HOST IN FUGUE STATE and America is lost. Yet Alex Bag made that bloodcurdling image the premise of her latest video installation—her first solo, to tie the knot a little tighter, in a major museum, or actually in any museum at all. In going mainstream Bag hasn’t exactly cleaned up.

    The work has Bag developing a TV show in which she will star. It’s one of those

  • Will Cotton

    It must have seemed a good idea at the time: to symbolize habits of consumption—habits of appetite and its indulgence—with images of candy and confectionery. Will Cotton began doing that over a decade ago, painting increasingly elaborate, increasingly accomplished landscapes made up of sugar products of all kinds, and as the years passed, and the stock market rose, his work felt to some all the more acute. His sweet tooth also attracted him to portraying conventionally beautiful women, usually naked or nearly so, except that they’re often decorated—you can’t really say they wear these things—with

  • Robert Irwin

    Grand, stately, and a little static—that is the magisterial phase that Robert Irwin’s work is going through, judging from his last two installations in PaceWildenstein’s Twenty-second Street space: the recent Red Drawing White Drawing Black Painting and, in 2006–2007, Who’s Afraid of Red Yellow and Blue3. Both involved homogenous treatments of large fields: In the earlier one, twenty-two-foot aluminum-honeycomb panels were painted with the primary colors; in the later one, two walls running nearly the length and height of the large space each got an arrangement of fluorescent light tubes. The

  • Hiroshi Sugimoto

    Sometimes, when looking at solemn, serious works of art, particularly religious art, I have the giggle reaction of a teenager in church: I wonder, Does this guy ever go to the mall? What are his feelings on chocolate? It helps to get over this hump if I can mentally substitute art for religion—if the artist seems to have invested in artmaking the concentration that a Christian might spend on prayer or a Buddhist on meditation, a care that rewards looking even without shared belief. Hiroshi Sugimoto is one such artist. The quality of his attention to the subjects of his photographs—most famously

  • Cindy Sherman

    Looking at Cindy Sherman’s recent photos, I thought, eventually, of what in the lit-crit practice of my college years used to be called “image clusters”: groups of related metaphors and other verbal figures that run through the works of some writers—Shakespeare, Dickens—embedding a mood and character in the language of each text. Given how fast such authors worked, on the schedules of theaters and journals, I couldn’t imagine they consciously planned these scattered but pervasive linguistic knots; they can’t have had time. But apparently they were so immersed, their minds so fully engaged, that

  • James Coleman

    Spread across three venues, this show bills itself as “the largest and most ambitious staging of James Coleman’s work in Ireland to date”—the crucial phrase being “in Ireland.”

    Spread across three venues, this show bills itself as “the largest and most ambitious staging of James Coleman’s work in Ireland to date”—the crucial phrase being “in Ireland.” Underexhibited in his native land, Coleman, like his more famous compatriot, has been a trafficker in exile and cunning. Of the six works to be shown here, three—Seeing for Oneself, 1987–88, Charon (MIT Project), 1989, and Untitled, 1998–2002—will be appearing in that country for the first time. Philosophical, conceptual, and enigmatic, Coleman’s “slide/tape” projections quite properly have

  • Betty Parsons

    The biographies of New York School artists are often sprinkled liberally with the name of Betty Parsons, who is acclaimed for staging groundbreaking shows of their work at her Fifty-seventh Street gallery. She is less well known as an artist in her own right, or rather, while the fact that she was an artist is quickly learned by those interested, the chance to see her work in depth remains rare. This show was accordingly welcome.

    Parsons trained in painting and sculpture in the Paris of the 1920s, and the show included both media, though the paintings were out-numbered by reliefs—wall-mounted

  • “Painting: Now and Forever, Part II”

    “Du hast keine Chance. Nutze sie!” You have no chance. Use it! So ran the title of an essay in this magazine in 1981, by Wolfgang Max Faust, quoting the then-young Neue Wilde painters of Berlin. To seize the chance you didn’t have, as if it actually was a chance—that was a viable motto for painting back then; for ten or fifteen years the form had been well on the dull side of the cutting edge, and though plenty of painters were working, the breaking news was elsewhere. In the context of the time, too, the slogan rhymed painting with punk, if not visually then intellectually. “You have no talent.

  • Alison Elizabeth Taylor

    As images, Alison Elizabeth Taylor’s works tell oblique, partial stories of the American Southwest, which they cast as a place where an only ambiguously friendly terrain and local community meet cool young homesteaders who live geodesically, swim and bicycle, and keep peacocks as pets. In Wonder Valley, 2007–2008, a guy in shades and a pickup watches from the other side of a barbed-wire fence as two women chat on the steps of their ecologically fashionable domed home. If there is menace here it is implicit and external, but danger is elsewhere immediate, as when perhaps one of the same women,

  • Jenny Holzer

    The early '90s, according to MCA chief curator Elizabeth Smith, marked “a turning point where [Holzer] began to work more directly with issues of violence and trauma,” and this exhibition surveys the years since then.

    In dealing with the edgy overlap between art and language, Jenny Holzer's work connects with the Conceptual art of the 1960s and '70s, but its quality of social engagement is more explicit—it started out, in fact, as street art, a kind of enigmatic agitprop. Fairly early on, too, it moved into sculpture, installation, and elaborate experiments with computerized lighting and signage. The early '90s, according to MCA chief curator Elizabeth Smith, marked “a turning point where [Holzer] began to work more directly with issues of violence and trauma,” and this exhibition

  • Jeanne Silverthorne

    The most obviously, even cornily beautiful set of works in Jeanne Silverthorne’s show also neatly summed up some of the artist’s longstanding concerns. This was a group of floral still lifes from 2008, hung in ornate frames on the wall like any in the great tradition of flower paintings from Jan Breughel on down. But Silverthorne’s blossoms, in blue, white, and pink, have an overblown, sugar-candy kind of ripeness that makes them seem to overflow their frames—in fact they literally bulge outward, being three-dimensional, cast in rubber several inches thick. In this material the petals seem weird

  • Martha Wilson

    Martha Wilson is best known as the founding director of Franklin Furnace, the archive and performance institution that has been a necessary part of the New York art world since 1976. Considerably less familiar is her work as a Conceptual artist in the early 1970s, when she was teaching English at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, in Halifax. This work has been exhibited only occasionally over the years, even though, as Jayne Wark wrote in 1991, in an essay reprinted in the catalogue for the present show, it has acquired a certain profile through the writing of Lucy Lippard. The Algus

  • Amy Cutler

    Not so long ago, Amy Cutler’s drawings would have been unlikely to appear in an art gallery, at least one that called itself contemporary; they would have been classified as illustrational and she would have been told to find a good children’s-book publisher. These fine-tuned narrative images of slightly impossible undertakings, quasi-Edwardian in manner, seem to speak out of fairy tale and dream to anyone whose imagination when young was fed by stories of magic, by Edith Nesbit and Kenneth Grahame and perhaps especially Hans Christian Andersen, whose fantasies always seem to clothe or bandage

  • Nayland Blake

    The Nayland Blake piece that almost always comes to mind first when I think of him is a video from 2000, Starting Over, in which he struggles to perform a kind of disco scenario while wearing a bulky, heavy white bunny suit. (Blake is a big man; the bunny suit is bigger.) That, and Feeder 2, a walk-in-scale cabin from 1998, made of steel and gingerbread. Both are works of unbalanced heft and mass, dealing with size, appetite, and desire. But there’s another side to Blake’s art, delicate and miniature, and this show of drawings and wall- and floor-based sculptures fell firmly into that second

  • Wade Guyton

    Smart and smart-looking, Wade Guyton’s new prints/paintings, all from 2007, evoke a lot of history while appearing bracingly current—in fact they could only have been made today, with today’s technology. A virtuoso of the ink-jet the way Pollock was a virtuoso of the pour, Guyton made these works on canvas with an Epson printer. A number of contemporary artists have experimented with using computers to make traditional-painting-like objects; essentially giving up the images and image traces that informed earlier work made by the same method, Guyton’s present solution is elementally simple and

  • Isaac Julien

    Isaac Julien’s multiscreen film installation WESTERN UNION: Small Boats, 2007, advances his already refined fusion of politics, history, and stunningly lush aesthetics. Julien is utterly sensual in his approach to imagemaking; his films take physical pleasure in both the human body and its natural and created environment. At the same time, this Londoner of Caribbean descent has both shaped and been shaped by the postcolonial thought of recent decades—the exploration of culture and identity, migration and diaspora, that has become so important a legacy of an intellectual generation. Those who

  • Barbara Bloom

    Though organized by ICP exhibitions director Brian Wallis, “The Collections of Barbara Bloom” sounds less like an exhibition than like an artwork sui generis—an artist's reimagining of her own history.

    Though organized by ICP exhibitions director Brian Wallis, “The Collections of Barbara Bloom” sounds less like an exhibition than like an artwork sui generis—an artist's reimagining of her own history. Or, to put it as Bloom does, “It's in between a midcareer retrospective and an estate sale.” Some years back Bloom had a near-fatal accident that caused her to closely reexamine her stuff—the objects, both made and found, that make up her faintly eerie fusion of Conceptual art and informed connoisseurship. She is now readdressing those objects, reconfiguring a comprehensive