David Velasco

  • Installation view, 2006.
    picks March 17, 2006

    Christian Holstad

    Even before entering Christian Holstad's latest show at this Daniel Reich Gallery outpost, everything—the reproduction of a chapter from Larry Townsend's 1972 Leatherman's Handbook that acts as a program; the Chashama-foraged retail space recalling Claes Oldenburg's The Store, 1961; the Love Story–inspired exhibition title “Love Means Never Having to Say You’re Sorry”—proves the artist is an excessive cultural scavenger. Once you’ve pushed through Confessional (Revolving Door), 2006, and into the dilapidated, caliginous former deli, further references abound: more Oldenberg cognates

  • Give 'em an Inch and They'll Take a Foot, 2006.
    picks March 16, 2006

    Trenton Doyle Hancock

    Elaborating on his onanistic patriarch Homerbuctas in Me a Mound, 2006, a catalogue released to accompany the artist's latest New York solo show, Trenton Doyle Hancock writes that the character “has an eye for beauty, but knows no moderation.” The same could be said for the artist, who has once again transposed his dynamic inner world onto the gallery walls in a humorous cyclone of obscurantist folklore. In the front room the outstretched Vegan Arm, 2006, greets the viewer with a pail of Pepto-Bismol, offering either a generous gesture of relief or a silent jussive to get to work. The artist's

  • Still from Fields of Fire, 2005.
    picks February 20, 2006

    Michal Rovner

    Less than two full minutes alone with Fields of Fire, 2005—the title piece of Israeli-born Michal Rovner's second solo show at the gallery—was enough to induce a panic attack. The exhibition begins innocently enough, with a large pigment on canvas (Medba, 2006) that lulls you into thinking you're in for a quiet round of seductive paintings, perhaps some nods to the gouaches of gallery artists James Siena and Sol LeWitt. But the next wall hosts the first of two departures in medium: elegant metal-framed LCD screens, the size of postcards, containing detailed halftone abstracts with small, motile

  • Ikebana #20, 2005.
    picks January 26, 2006

    Matthew Weinstein

    When an artist opens a show with an installation called The Triumph of Painting, 2004–2005, but includes no “proper” paintings, it's a bold step. When that installation consists of two “life”-size bronzed and gilded skeletons suspended, midair, playing Frisbee, that step becomes a brazen leap. Spanning a baffling array of media and motifs, Matthew Weinstein's latest solo show is a smart display of the artist's jocular mind and protean talent. Triumph plays on the eschatological premise of Charles Saatchi's (recently postponed) exhibition of the same name, wryly suggesting that such hubris is

  • Champion, 2005.
    picks January 18, 2006

    Charlie White

    “Everything Is American,” the title of Los Angeles artist Charlie White’s latest solo show, could be either a bland assertion of US imperialism or an advertising slogan for a new suburban superstore. Or both. The show, on view concurrently at this gallery and at f a projects in London, offers a terse, seven-photo outline of some of the mythical and bathetic fragments that float unmoored in the nether regions of the American mindscape. While a few of these portraits are loosely based on historic events (the Tate-LaBianca trial, the dramatic fall of 1996 Olympic gold gymnast Kerri Strug), unlike

  • Left: Old Devil Moon restaurant's Dennis Driscoll with Sonic Youth's Thurston Moore. Right: Paper's Carlo McCormick.
    diary January 17, 2006

    Scene Spirit

    New York

    With “I Love the '80s” nostalgia poised to swallow what's left of New York's twenty- and thirtysomething creative class, what remains of the object behind the infatuation? Monday night's preview of “The Downtown Show: The New York Art Scene, 1974–1984,” a sprawling study of roughly 450 works from that messy decade held jointly at New York University's Grey Art Gallery and Fales Library, promised an inside peek at the scurvy, savvy community builders who paved the way for ACT UP, the NEA Four, and Urban Outfitters.

    Entering NYU's Bobst library, I confronted the sublimely terrifying maw of the

  • Eye Body #4, 1963.
    picks January 14, 2006

    Carolee Schneemann

    Carolee Schneemann has a thing for cats. She also has a thing for hard-hitting and provocative work across a wide variety of media. Her latest show, “Corporeal: Photographic Works 1963–2005,” is a small retrospective that coincides nicely with another resurgence of her work in “The Downtown Show: 1974–1984,” currently on view at the Grey Art Gallery. But don’t let the title mislead you—though photography is integral to each of the pieces showcased here, it is always photography fruitfully engaged with another medium, whether that be video, performance, painting, or collage. On one wall, eighteen

  • Balkan Erotic Epic (detail), 2005.
    picks December 20, 2005

    Marina Abramovic

    Following quickly on the heels of her ambitious “Seven Easy Pieces” at the Guggenheim, Marina Abramovic’s latest show offers up an original and focused archaeology of the erotic rituals rooted in the heritage of her native region. “Balkan Erotic Epic,” a collection of videos in which amateur actors reenact some of these folk customs, finds the artist mixing the hallucinatory joie de vivre of the sex scene from Zabriskie Point with the spirit of the Society for Creative Anachronism. The works on display synthesize three recent themes in Abramovic's oeuvre: pedagogy, the archiving of performance,

  • Performance view, 2005.
    picks December 09, 2005

    Clarina Bezzola

    Swiss artist Clarina Bezzola's impressive first European solo show, “Inside Out,” includes drawings, photographs, and mounds of plush “toys” extracted from a large grey suit the artist wore while performing at the exhibition's opening reception. Strewn about the gallery floor and hanging haphazardly from the walls, Bezzola's beings resemble pillows, offbeat bodily organs, or extras from a Hayao Miyazaki film. Variously cheeky, sinister, and prurient, her chimerical fabric sculptures and performative purging could serve as an allegory of personal liberation—the “freeing” of the creative self

  • Bellona (after Samuel R. Delany), 2005.
    picks December 06, 2005

    Ann Lislegaard

    When Samuel R. Delany unwound the spindle of traditional narrative and stitched the threads into sci-fi classic Dhalgren's fictitious, factious city of Bellona, he set fire to the codified borders of identity politics in an outrageous display of polysexual philosophic discourse. Ann Lislegaard's follow-up of sorts, Bellona (after Samuel R. Delany), 2005, is a disconcerting tribute to the older master. Initially shown in the Danish Pavilion at the 51st Venice Biennale, the piece at first seems to be the most contrary representation of Bellona imaginable. A large white-box screen leans casually