David Levi Strauss

  • Ilya and Emilia Kabakov

    Installation artists may be the last social optimists, for their work depends entirely on the willing participation of viewers they haven’t met and will never meet. When installations work, it is as a dialogue between artist and viewer that remakes the social.

    Long misperceived in the West as a Conceptualist, Ilya Kabakov is, rather, an imagist and a fantasist who constructs situations in which the work’s most active site is the viewer’s imagination. Kabakov has often said that installation is a young art. Indeed, he has done more than any other living artist to foster its growth. When The Empty

  • Judy Pfaff

    Like Judy Pfaff’s gallery-filling 1997 installation Round Hole, Square Peg, which seemed to push the walls of its site out in all directions (circling the square), her latest project, Neither Here nor There, integrated an astonishing variety of materials, motifs, and symbols into a dynamic whole. This time, she put more emphasis on the vertical, using wood-and-steel post-and-lintel joinery and pipes to support a gridwork of wood, steel, aluminum, and string, while an intricate iron latticework snaked from floor to ceiling through a deluge of centrifugal white plaster pendants. The installation

  • “Strangers”

    In the face of an identity crisis brought on by constitutive shifts in the art/photography relation, the International Center of Photography has lately made one bold move after another: relocating from its original home in a chilly Upper East Side mansion to the hot crush of Midtown; launching a graduate program in photography (in cooperation with Bard College) directed by artist Nayland Blake; and assembling a curatorial dream team—Brian Wallis, Carol Squiers, Christopher Phillips—to chart a new course in exhibitions. Now it’s unveiled its most ambitious project to date: the first ICP Triennial

  • Glenn Kaino

    For his first solo show in New York, Los Angeles–based artist Glenn Kaino commandeered the gallery with two new sculptures, pointed in their social critique yet open-ended enough to allow multiple interpretations. Upstairs there was In Revolution (all works 2003), a heavy metal triangular base with an armored motor at its apex, supporting an eight-foot propeller-like arm. This angled arm spun at forty revolutions per minute, filling the room with the sound of its turning. Mounted at one end of the revolving arm was a three-foot-square curved architectural model of suburban real estate: a

  • Sergei Bugaev

    Splash-painted in oil or tar onto a white gallery wall, the title of Sergei Bugaev’s installation Stalker 3, 1996/2002, could be that of a low-budget slasher film, but it soon became clear that a different kind of terror was being evoked. The cinematic reference is to Andrei Tarkovsky’s densely allegorical 1979 film, Stalker, in which a tormented guide, or “stalker,” leads two hapless seekers through the treacherous terrain of the mysterious Zone (Tarkovsky called it “a diseased area”) in search of a room where one’s ultimate desires might be realized. The distributed version of that film is

  • “The Heavenly Tree Grows Downward: Harry Smith/Philip Taaffe/Fred Tomaselli”

    Harry Smith (1923–91) is today remembered mostly as an avant-garde filmmaker and musicologist. During the 1940s, he made the first frame-by-frame handpainted films in America, and his later works in cinema are widely accepted as masterpieces of alchemical collage animation, among them his film Mahagonny, 1970–80, a four-screen two-hour-and-twenty-one-minute epic based on the Brecht-Weil opera. Three of his many ethnographic collections (Smith called them “encyclopedias of design”)—the Paper Airplane Collection, the Seminole Patchwork Quilt Collection, and the String Figures Collection—are

  • Jeff Wall

    There have been times (and particular pictures) in the past when it seemed that Jeff Wall was determined to take the technical image from classicism to mannerism in one digital swoop. But in his recent works, the style (or stylelessness) of the pictures definitely acts as a vehicle for meaning.

    Even though the six images displayed in the front gallery (three large black-andwhite photographs and three color light boxes) were not made as a series, the correspondences among them lead inexorably to linked narratives. Four images depict social scenes in the “near-documentary” mode, wherein the apparently

  • Elisa Sighicelli

    As the gulf between painting and photography is increasingly crossed and recrossed by artists using approaches from digital manipulation to new economies of scale, Elisa Sighicelli bridges the gap with the oldest tricks in the book: luminosity and immanence. On first viewing the works in the London-based artist's US solo debut, one might think they were mounted on stretched canvases. Even after one notices the concealed cords running up from the baseboards and realizes these are light boxes, they hardly read as such. The artist selectively paints the backs of the photographs before mounting them

  • Artur Nikodem

    At a time when Chelsea is filled with wall-size, color-saturated photographs pursuing “the painting of modem life,” there is something perversely appealing about a show of minuscule black-and-white photographs made by a painter. Known for his Tyrolean landscapes, agrarian scenes, portraits, and nudes, modernist Artur Nikodem was influenced in his native Austria by the Vienna Secession and Art Nouveau; he studied in Munich and Florence and lived briefly in Paris, where he was especially drawn to the work of Manet and Cézanne. From 1914 to 1930, Nikodem tested photographic equipment for a dealer

  • James Hegge

    James Hegge's first solo show in New York comprised three sculptures, two series of drawings, and a video, all related to real or imagined performative actions. Megaphone for Speaking to the Wall, 1999 is a forty-inch-long fiberglass-and-resin cone with an opening at its vertex, a foam gasket around its base, and two rough handles halfway between. The object at first seems absurdly whimsical, then turns darkly cartoonish when one imagines it in use, since the wall fancier's words would only be trapped in the vacuum and thrown back into his or her face. Similarly, Conversation Tool, 2000, which

  • New York: Capital of Photography

    The September 11 World Trade Center attack was probably the most photographed event in history, partly because there were so many cameras in the vicinity.

    The September 11 World Trade Center attack was probably the most photographed event in history, partly because there were so many cameras in the vicinity. As this exhibition guest-curated by Max Kozloff demonstrates, New York has been the “Capital of Photography” since the end of the nineteenth century. Kozloff’s emphasis on the critical role of Jewish immigrants in this history is supported by his selection of 102 images by 59 photographers (from Stieglitz, Steichen, and Hine to Goldin, Mermelstein, and Fink) and his penetrating catalogue essay. At a time when documentary

  • Beverly Semmes

    For some time now, Beverly Semmes’s sculptural installations have extended bodily forms through an eccentric, winsome Pop abstraction. Recently, her expanded dresses (whose hemlines cascade across the floor into velvety pools or undulating folds) and impossible costumes (without openings for head or limbs) have given way to room-filling forms of stuffed fabric. The centerpiece here was Untitled, 2001, a gorgeous pile of coiled chartreuse soft cylinders or tubular pillows that nearly touched the ceiling. Like most soft sculpture, these bright mils were funny right away and get even funnier with

  • James Nachtwey

    THE FIRST IMAGE ENCOUNTERED in this midcareer retrospective—a color photograph taken in San Miguel Province, El Salvador, in 1984—goes straight to the aesthetic and ethical core of James Nachtwey's documentary work. In the foreground, a middle-aged man bends forward on his knees to cradle a wounded girl, perhaps seven or eight years old, in his arms. The blood on her legs and abdomen has stained the man's shirt. Behind and above them is a group of five soldiers in green fatigues. One lifts a fallen comrade onto the shoulders of another, thrusting the wounded man's clenched fist skyward

  • Daido Moriyama

    “Less art and more truth.” I remember that motto scrawled across a wall in the Robert Frank retrospective at the Whitney Museum in 1995–96. The idea that anyone would use photography to try to tell the truth seems preposterous these days, but Frank has been doing so for over fifty years—very often with success. It is now clear that the one artist who most resembles Frank in this quixotic quest is the Japanese photographer Daido Moriyama, whose work has finally been made available to an American audience in a spate of recent exhibitions: “Stray Dog,” at the Japan Society; “Hunter,” at the

  • Paul Graham

    Paul Graham’s latest series, “End of an Age,” 1999, consists of forty-nine large color photographs of twenty-somethings hanging out in clubs somewhere in Western Europe or the US (Edinburgh? Munich? Helsinki? New York? Graham refuses to specify). Most of these images are portraits that catch the singular subject unaware and unposed, usually in profile, often leaning against a wall. No one looks directly into the lens. One turns three quarters away, like Betty in Gerhard Richter’s eponymous 1988 painting, into a sea of red and gold. Harsh, stark, sharply defined flash pictures alternate with

  • Frederick Sommer

    When the elevator doors opened onto the recent Frederick Sommer show, some viewers might have thought they’d gotten off on the wrong floor, perhaps at an exhibition of midcareer Pollock or (more to the point) early Max Ernst. One might not expect paintings and drawings of organic abstraction in a show drawn from the photographer’s estate, but there they were, provocatively on display among four of the more familiar gelatin-silver prints: four drawings in ink on charcoal paper and four paintings in tempera on stretched canvas. This was a risky and delightful show, both for what it attempted and

  • Jörg Sasse

    The first thing one notices about Jörg Sasse’s new images is that they’re gorgeous, then that they resemble everyday snapshots. Only somewhere down the line does one recognize—in the strange tonalities and heightened formal rhythms—that they have been digitally tweaked. Sasse collects casual photographs made by others, studies them, and then teases out their latent formal and conceptual properties. That he uses digital imaging to effect his changes is almost beside the point, since the resultant works are manifestly about photography—“practicing photography by other means,” as Richter has

  • “Kenneth Josephson: A Retrospective”

    A first-generation product of the seminal photography program set up by Harry Callahan and Aaron Siskind at the Illinois Institute of Design, Kenneth Josephson, now sixty-seven, gets retrospective treatment at the institution where he taught for thirty-five years. Is the Windy City veteran, best known for his “photographs about photography,” ripe for revisioning in light of contemporary tastes? Maybe; but his images, firmly bound to the old formalist ethos and look of institutional art photography, were never as witty or as plugged-in as those of ’70s-syle LA conceptualists like Robert Cumming

  • Josef Sudek

    In this first of a series of planned exhibitions drawn from the estate of the Czech photographer Josef Sudek (1896–1976), the gallery, in collaboration with curator Anna Fárová, chose to highlight over sixty pigment prints made by the artist between 1947 and 1954. They are all contact prints, laboriously transferred onto small (7 by 9 inches or less) sheets of textured rag paper in golden, rose, and verdant hues. In this process, the images are transposed chemically onto carbon tissue and the pigment is then pressed onto regular paper. In reinterpreting his images in the ’40s and ’50s through

  • Arnaldo Morales

    In his first solo show in New York, thirty-one-year-old Puerto Rico-born Arnaldo Morales displayed what he calls “electrobjetos”—interactive anthropomorphic automatons meticulously fashioned in polished aluminum and stainless steel and powered by small motors and air compressors compressors. He anchored one to each of the four walls of the gallery’s front room and suspended the title piece, Triobegun Ironik, No. 98, 1998, from the ceiling.

    The aesthetic here is Popular Mechanics meets the Critical Art Ensemble’s Flesh Machine, with a conceptual focus on the emotional inadequacies and