Debora Kuan

  • picks September 19, 2011

    Luke Stettner

    At first glance, Luke Stettner’s first solo show in New York City—comprising nested plates, a white enamel grid with individually lacerated foam rectangles, framed sheets of paper—appears deliberately underwhelming. But deeper inspection uncovers narratives of intimate valence and the laborious processes that brought the artworks into being. In the past several years, Stettner has created (and exhibited in group shows) a considerable body of highly conceptual work inspired by the death of his father and the obsessive, all-consuming grief that surrounds such a loss. Such work also populates the

  • interviews September 22, 2009

    Emmet Gowin

    Emmet Gowin is known for his compelling photographs of landscapes altered by nuclear testing, as well as his recent details of nature at its smallest scales. To mark his retirement from Princeton, the exhibition “Emmet Gowin: A Collective Portrait,” featuring his own work and that of students from the past thirty-six years, opens at the university’s art museum on October 24.

    IN 1997, I PHOTOGRAPHED the Nevada test site from the air. I was elated to be able to see it, because of the power it had over our lives. I had been trying to get permission for at least eight years, since the sudden end of

  • picks December 01, 2008

    “Body Memory”

    “Body Memory” gathers together contemporary works—most of them from the museum’s permanent collection—that deploy the human body as either subject or material. As one might expect, many of the pieces in the exhibition examine issues of power and desire as they relate to the objectified or idealized human form. Kenyan-born, New York–based artist Wangechi Mutu’s Chorus Line, 2008, comprises eight contorted, or violently deformed, female figures created with watercolor and collaged elements. Their exaggeratedly large rear ends and breasts, as well as, in one instance, multiple drooping labia, recall

  • picks February 05, 2008

    Mark Bradford

    Los Angeles–based artist Mark Bradford, a former hairdresser who is perhaps best known for employing end papers and other materials found in hair salons in his collages, continues to investigate the reaches of urban abstraction in “Nobody Jones,” his second solo exhibition at this gallery. These large-scale works, created by the additive and subtractive processes of collage and décollage, as well as with paint, read like aerial views of contorting, mutating, and decaying cities whose tiny, intricate street grids can no longer maintain their structural integrity against unknown, epic forces (

  • picks December 12, 2007

    Pieter Hugo

    Pieter Hugo’s first solo photography exhibition in New York, “The Hyena and Other Men,” focuses on two groups of considerably obscure individuals: Nigerian animal charmers and Ghanaian honey collectors. The result is a series of deeply arresting, often-troubling large-scale color portraits depicting uneasy relationships to the wild. In Abdullahi Mohammed with Mainasara, Ogre-Remo, Nigeria, 2007, a massive, rope-muzzled hyena pounces on his master, while the latter glares defiantly at the camera, his bicep flexed. In Dayaba Usman with the monkey Clear, Nigeria, 2005, a young man and his monkey,

  • picks November 15, 2007

    Do Ho Suh

    In an age of purposefully ugly “bad art,” Do Ho Suh’s current exhibition may appear so elegant as to be considered reactionary. It is a testament to Suh’s talent, then, that he accomplishes not only beauty but also allegory—arguably one of the most morally entangled expressive modes—with such élan. Karma Juggler (all works 2007), a large colored-pencil drawing of a spread-eagled figure whose head, shoulders, and arms are subsumed by an enormous pastel cloud, greets visitors with a warm pink ebullience. The cloud, which on closer inspection reveals itself to be innumerable small concentric circles,

  • picks October 15, 2007

    Laura Letinsky

    R. B. Kitaj once wrote, in a foreword to a book of Lee Friedlander’s work, “The religion of photography rather insists on remembrance.” Nowhere does that notion seem more resonant than in Laura Letinsky’s luxuriously lit still lifes, in which what asks to be remembered always occurs before our witness. In this exhibition, titled “To Say It Isn’t So,” Letinsky moves her elegiac images of abandoned tables after a meal, formally reminiscent of classic Dutch and Flemish still lifes, out of their domestic sphere and into the studio. This time, rather than using religiously fraught objects such as

  • picks October 13, 2007

    Tobias Putrih

    This exhibition is the most recent of Tobias Putrih’s ambitious explorations of quasi-scientific experiments and the intersections of architecture and sculpture; this time, he takes as his springboard Yona Friedman’s pioneering 1975 treatise Toward a Scientific Architecture, which argues that when designing collaboratively, a designer must present a “repertoire” of possible options to the “user,” or client. In Putrih’s case study, the users are a couple, Jessica and Stuart, who are led by the artist through a series of exercises to develop ideas regarding their ideal dwelling. The resulting

  • picks September 28, 2007

    Kohei Yoshiyuki

    The last time Kohei Yoshiyuki’s photographic series “The Park” was exhibited, nearly thirty years ago, the images were blown up to life-size, the gallery lights were shut off, and viewers were provided flashlights. It was the perfect metaphor for what they were about to discover, inch by slow inch: couples—heterosexual and homosexual—covertly trysting in various parks at night while covetously watched by bystanders.

    This presentation wisely does away with the heavy-handed gallery-as-nighttime-park gimmick (if we’re looking, we’re all voyeurs!), but loses none of the images’—now sixteen by twenty