David Rimanelli

  • Dean Sameshima, Untitled (Blowjob), 2003, C-print, 12 1⁄4 × 9 5⁄8". From the series “Outlaw,” 2003.

    CLOSE-UP: INDIFFERENCE AND REPETITION

    GIVEN THE RATHER MARKEDLY heterosexual lineups that are taken as the wellsprings of both Minimalism and Conceptual art, one wouldn’t immediately assume that these movements—tendencies or inclinations might be better words—would prove fertile for art with a pronounced gay or queer agenda. Yes, the Gay Agenda—perhaps you’ve heard of it? But a number of queer contemporary artists have indeed proceeded from Donald Judd and Robert Morris and Sol LeWitt and John Baldessari. I’m thinking of Tom Burr’s reinventions of Minimalist and Land art precepts as filtered through gay cruising and the public

  • Jack Pierson, Silver Jackie, 1991, plywood, silver Mylar, Christmas lights, 96 × 48 1⁄4 × 48".

    CLOSE-UP: STAGES OF GRIEF

    JACK PIERSON’S SILVER JACKIE looks like nothing much: a rickety little postage stamp of a stage, just a raised platform made by the artist himself, and he says he’s no carpenter. (“Those early stage pieces I did myself—and I’m not a woodworker—so they have a real slapdash quality.”) Behind the stage, there’s a silver Mylar curtain that I can’t pry apart from my memories of 1970s Christmas decorations. It looks cheap; the materials are cheap. This sort of bedraggled, taped-together curtain and stage feel appropriate to those venues that one comes to with few expectations. The best one might expect

  • INDECENT PROPOSALS

    FOR A FIGURE SO SEEMINGLY OBVIOUS, so received into art history and its more populist banlieues, Aubrey Beardsley is fucking hard to write about. My friend and I sit on the bed as I page through Linda Gertner Zatlin’s 2016 catalogue raisonné, and I ask him what appeals, what’s fun. We never say Beardsley. “Aubrey,” my friend always says: just Aubrey.

    So, Aubrey . . .

    Aubrey was born in Brighton, England, in 1872. He died just twenty-five years later, and this premature burial is one of the first things you learn about when you learn about Aubrey. Within the achingly worked-out taxonomies of the

  • Nancy Barton, Swan Song, Lakme, 1988, chromogenic color print and Formica, panel: 60 x 24“; photograph: 36 x 24”. From the series “Swan Song,” 1988.
    picks May 17, 2019

    Nancy Barton

    Nancy Barton’s “Swan Song” is a series in two times. Originally presented in 1988 at New York’s American Fine Arts, Co., this body of work can be located within the trajectory of CalArts’ “Skeptical Beliefs,” with its expectation of ceaseless critique or, at worst, critique reified as “smart” style. This feels like a distant memory, it seems, even though so many significant artists were born of that acidic soil, such as Mike Kelley, Christopher Williams, Carrie Mae Weems, and, of course, Barton herself.

    “Swan Song” consists of ten reliefs that pair photo-based images and text. They mimic the look

  • “BASQUIAT’S ‘DEFACEMENT’: THE UNTOLD STORY”

    Curated by Chaédria LaBouvier with Nancy Spector and Joan Young

    This woefully timely exhibition takes Basquiat’s rarely shown painting Defacement (The Death of Michael Stewart) as its inspiration. Created in 1983 as a response to the killing of the artist Michael Stewart by New York City transit police, after he allegedly tagged a subway station in the East Village, Basquiat painted Defacement directly on the wall of Keith Haring’s studio. In addition to paintings by Basquiat, the exhibition will include works addressing the murder by Haring, George Condo, David Hammons, and Lyle Ashton Harris,

  • “PIERRE BONNARD: THE COLOUR OF MEMORY”

    Curated by Matthew Gale with Helen O’Malley and Juliette Rizzi

    Twenty­-one years after the Tate’s last Pierre Bonnard retrospective, the master dauber of the Nabis will reap­pear at the museum. With one hundred–odd paintings and works on paper, this show should be reliably pleas­ing, even if the pleasure it offers inheres very much in perversity—chromatically unhinged in a genius way, Bonnard’s female models teeter on the edge of decom­position in his claustrophobic paintings. If ever the word deliquescent were unavoidable in art criticism, it ought to be with regard to Bonnard’s torpid

  • David Rimanelli

    PAT HEARN AND COLIN DE LAND were never professionals. Instead, Hearn, who ran a contemporary art gallery that opened in 1983 and whose last show was in 2001, and de Land, whose gallery American Fine Arts, Co., ran from 1984 to 2003, were explorers. Pat Hearn Fine Art was the most elegant gallery in the most bombed-out zone of the pre-gentrified East Village; de Land’s American Fine Arts later followed Hearn onto Wooster Street in South SoHo; and in February 1995, Hearn’s was one of three galleries to open in then-deserted West Chelsea. But more than pioneers of real estate, they were cosmonauts

  • Borna Sammak, Not Yet Titled, 2015, heat-applied T-shirt graphics and vinyl on canvas, 70 x 60".
    picks June 14, 2018

    Borna Sammak

    Those sectional sofas from a timeless 1970s—meaning you can buy one now at Roche Bobois—that suburban feeling, with a hint of swingers (cinematically, more L.I.E. than The Ice Storm key parties, but still: from the ’70s). Or from the Middle Ages, from the Baroque. In my own memory: a seemingly vast serpentine mountain range upholstered in gray velvet, a barrier reef in the seldom-used living room of the house I grew up in. Mystery and fantasy, science fiction and the hint of as-yet-undiscovered porn: One Million Years BC meets Escape from the Planet of the Apes. So yeah, Borna Sammak’s Not Yet

  • “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination”

    Sometimes the edgiest, most controversial thing is something very old indeed, and the Met’s Costume Institute deserves kudos for its nerve in mounting this exhibition. Folks have long been fascinated by, or worried about, the blur between the sacred and the merely sacerdotal. Federico Fellini’s 1972 movie Roma includes an ecclesiastical runway show, with models sporting miters and chasubles for an obviously dissipated clerical audience. Fashion is an art, if not Art—though it’s seldom accorded the dignity of a Michelangelo—and has always referenced the Renaissance

  • Leelee Kimmel, Little Screaming Rig, 2017, acrylic on canvas, 43 x 35".
    picks February 12, 2018

    Leelee Kimmel

    Leelee Kimmel’s paintings aren’t specifically referential, though there are references to be had: from Miró and Masson to Twombly, Basquiat, Jonathan Lasker. And there’s a strange connection to Philip Guston, too—Kimmel’s abstractions have Guston’s nervous line recrudescences; think of the textures of his forlorn shoes. Kimmel deals in a kind of electrocuted biomorphism that’s descended from Surrealism, but the life’s been polluted by the morph: incandescent amoebas, skittering deep-sea/outer-space/inner-voyage paramecia, flagella, the world of Ernst Haeckel pumped up with unreal colors. Even

  • Cecily Brown, Untitled (Ladyland), 2011, watercolor, 10 1/2 × 14 1/8".

    Cecily Brown

    When I see a stellar work by Cecily Brown, I feel excited. There’s the audacity of execution—that messy control that courses through so much of the art I love, even among old masters. Brown is frank regarding her references to the great artists of the past, whether Veronese, Rubens, or Hogarth, and no less so about the modernist masters before whom she bends the knee: De Kooning comes to mind, and Gorky, even Picasso. “Rehearsal,” the artist’s first solo museum show in New York, will contain roughly sixty small canvases and a few very large drawings, several exhibited

  • Tom of Finland, Untitled, 1977, graphite on paper, 17 1/2 × 21 1/4". © Tom of Finland Foundation.

    Tom of Finland

    THE ARTISTS SPACE SHOW “Tom of Finland: The Pleasure of Play” presented more than half a century of the artist’s drawings, gouaches, paper dolls, and photocollages made from advertising imagery; together, they set up a narrative described as existing in “dialectical relationship” to a mainstream culture in which both pornography and homosexuality were illegal. And indeed, throughout his career as an advertising executive in Helsinki, Touko Laaksonen (1920–1991) contributed to the ever-expanding lexicon of images representing straight family life in postwar Europe. But after hours, he cut up and