Dena Shottenkirk

  • Anne Deleporte

    Anne Deleporte’s work converts a simple image into a symbol for the nightmare of state control that we find ourselves increasingly diminished by even in first world countries. The process of getting a passport involves, of course, having one’s picture taken. In Paris, where Deleporte lives, a photograph of the applicant’s face is cropped down to the tightest perimeter, cutting off the neck, hair, and sometimes part of the outer ears. In the end, what you end up with is a picture that eliminates much of what we normally depend upon to identify the individual.

    Deleporte does not exhibit these

  • René Pierre Allain

    Without sentimentality or romance, René Pierre Allain’s paintings refer to flags, emblems, and abstracted floor plans of military fortifications. Heavily constructed of plaster, burlap, and steel, they do not speak of glorified testosterone and the stalwart virtues of dominance. Instead, Allain seems to be trying to negate the message of militarism associated with flags and heavy steel the references are clearly not approbatory.

    The deflation of these aggressive signs is accomplished through his use of materials. Each thin layer of pigmented plaster is carefully sanded before the next layer is

  • Bill Komoski

    In Bill Komoski’s recent paintings, black configurations jostle like cosmic star bursts in abstract fields. His viewpoint is not bound by the limits of optical perspective, rather, Komoski’s paintings seem to depict the world from a godlike perspective. His is the view from a spacecraft, and indeed, the scattered light in these pictures recalls stellar photographs. From somewhere out in the unknown, a diffused yet powerful light bathes all the pictorial incident in its path, imbuing the paintings with an air of mystery and awe that never seems contrived or flip.

    The impenetrable surface of these

  • Lewis Baltz

    Lewis Baltz’s photographs are disquieting in their combination of espoused politics and Minimalist cool. This comes across more clearly in the work in the retrospective at P.S. 1, than it does in the more recent work shown at Castelli Graphics. The works at P.S. I employ a detached Minimalist perspective to depict a world of escalating ecological abuse that one would expect to elicit horror. The images themselves are clear enough; plowed-up topsoil can only hint at its former lushness, and details of tract housing evidence the cost to all those who must pay too dear an ecological (and esthetic)

  • Nancy Spero

    Nancy Spero represents the historical nightmare that constitutes women’s relationship to culture. Her representations of victims of medieval torture, Nazi sadism, and sexual abuse are hand-printed and collaged onto empty white backgrounds next to pornographic images, prehistoric female running figures, and defiantly vulgar women; it’s the story of power struggles played out on the bodies of women.

    Spero adopts the role of the loud-mouthed raconteur, telling this tale of horror that others would like to ignore. Here, ten pieces combined to form an installation of sorts. Various colored and textured

  • Ted Serios

    In a world in which every dark corner has been exposed to merciless scientific scrutiny, we yearn for evidence of a different reality. We crave the outrageous—we want to defy reason, explanation, and categorization. In short, we need romance, and photographs of something that our logic tells us is impossible or unbelievable satisfies this thirst.

    Although as yet unchronicled on the Phil Donahue show, Ted Serios has attempted to answer this need for decades (he is now 72). A self-defined alcoholic living out of a pickup truck with his canine companion, somewhere in Colorado, Serios provides the

  • Victor Burgin

    Photographs borrowed from advertising, movies, or political propaganda that have become part of our collective consciousness are, nevertheless, subject to the porousness and inexactitude of the individual memory. Scenes from Hollywood movies overlap with childhood memories, which in turn are confused with adult reflections and psychological interpretations of early experiences. One never sees an image solely within a given context; it always combines with memories of other images and experiences.

    Victor Burgin exploits this fact in a new body of work that alludes to the 1958 musical South Pacific

  • Tracy Grayson

    Painting, of late, has been alternately despised and romanticized, hauled out of the closet and trumpeted as the savior for lost souls in one instant, only to be debased as a corrupt songster for unethical powers in the next. Is the practice capable of sustaining genuine emotion or simply generating more kitsch?

    Tracy Grayson walks this fine line and in the process gives us some of the best of both worlds. All ten of the paintings in his show are images of idyllic picture-postcard mountain scenes, standardized as 60-by-60-inch oils on wood. Like the Heidi-land fantasies that flitter in the minds

  • Deborah Kass

    Deborah Kass’ paintings appropriate subject matter from other 20th-century artists, pop culture, and literature. Although diverse, none of the sources are particularly novel. Some of the paintings, in which thinly stained backgrounds in decorator colors are overlaid with the black outline of an exposed and willingly-available-for-abuse female nude, harken disconcertingly back to David Salle. Other works incorporating white drips on empty expanses of black quote Jackson Pollock’s transcendental abstraction directly. Still others are derived from cartoons, naively painted kitschy landscapes, and

  • Barbara Steinman

    Montreal-based artist Barbara Steinman employs photography and video in installations that address the epistemological concerns around iconographic representation. A specially constructed room on the third floor of the museum provided the site for her recent installation. Upon entering, one was immediately confronted with a life-sized photograph of a Renaissance Madonna and child. An abrupt 90-degree turn led into a small antechamber on the far wall of which hung an identical image, somewhat obscured by its variegated Plexiglas surface. Diffused light and subdued sound emanated from behind a

  • Robert Morris

    Robert Morris has been a reliable monitor of the art world’s pulse for 25 years. At one moment in the ’60s, he wanted the work of art to be perceived as an object in its brute materiality. Soon, however, in rhythm with the mutating taste of the time, he moved on to a less macho brand of art-making employing felt and a range of strategies aimed at dematerializing the art object. The ’80s saw another shift in Morris’ approach, again in sync with the tempo of the moment, to the grandiose historical mode in which he continues to work today.

    Darkly monochromatic, cryptlike, and partially filled with

  • Ted Stamm

    Until his death in 1984, Ted Stamm practiced a fairly rigorous kind of reductive abstraction: always painting in hard-edged black, and almost always on substantial-sized shaped canvases. Emphatically flat, and painted with a severity of purpose, Stamm’s canvases constitute the epitome of surface elegance; solid masses interact with one another to compose subtle statements of material fact. Regardless of the vehemence or oddity of the shapes, the pieces themselves pose no threat and reveal no vulnerability. Even in the small framed drawings inflected with visible markings, the theme remains one

  • Cary Smith

    Cary Smith’s seemingly minimalist paintings differ subtly from the mainstream model in both undercurrent and appearance; to look at Smith’s work is to be inaugurated into the world of the symbol: abstract, diffuse, and potent. Though Smith’s paintings are based on the rich yet austerely symmetrical designs of early Americana, in his hands they become separated from the folk culture of which they were originally a part. Smith lifts his patterns from the world of the usable, culturally embedded object and inserts them into the abstruse world of art, yet his work is not conceptual in the Duchampian

  • Allan McCollum

    Allan McCollum presented more than 2,000 framed drawings, created from some 200 infinitesimally varied and variously combined plastic templates, in a dense salon-style arrangement. Though the repealed images sat mutely one next to the other, together they had the force of an invasion. With blind fecundity, McCollum’s drawings seem to replicate without teleological intent or vanity of purpose. As in all of his work, the frightening spector of repetitive psychosis looms large. By presenting numerically limitless objects, all derived from the same host, McCollum presents a kind of user’s manual

  • Claudia Hart

    Claudia Hart takes Jean-Jacques Rousseau, historian, playwright, social critic, and Romantic par excellence, as the subject matter for her show. Three separate titles: “Brief Lives, Part 1” “Chance and Circumstance/1” and “The Contingency of Selfhood,” explicitly open the cultural Pandora’s box of Romanticism. Intended as the first in a series of exhibits dealing with the topic, this show opens up the dialogue surrounding the theoretical foundations on which both contemporary and historical art are based. Romanticism, as a response to the post-Cartesian disjunction of a free moral mind, and a

  • Mary Kelly

    Remarkable both in its ambition and in its radicalness, Mary Kelly’s gallery-size installation Interim is divided into four parts: Corpus, Pecunia, Historia and Potestas. The first section, Corpus (Body, 1984-85), consists of a series of coupled panels. One half of each pair features white handwritten text on a black background with occasional red highlighting. Phrases like “a presence much like hers” or “Look at my body” highlight an individual woman’s physical transformation over the years. The other half of each diptych consists of a silk-screened photograph of articles of clothing arranged

  • Dara Birnbaum

    Dara Birnbaum couches her recent video installation, Break in Transmission, 1990, in the fervent language of private recall and public censure. Intercutting clips from news reports about demonstrations in Tiananmen Square with images of Chinese singers in a recording studio, Birnbaum offers a subtle yet overpowering rendering of the massacre of student protesters in China. She shows how the fragile lives of individuals, filled with intricate moments of moral yearning, were not merely ripped apart, but simply negated: quietly and completely nullified.

    Birnbaum, known for her videos duplicating

  • Dan Graham and Jeff Wall

    Individually, Dan Graham and Jeff Wall have consistently investigated architecture for its parallels to human psychology. For them, the act of opening a door reiterates the experience of psychological interiorization; looking up into the broadening expanse of a portal suggests the physical manifestation of the unutterable infinite. Every physical detail of an abode becomes a recreation of a state of mind, and an ironic description of human emotional needs. This history informs their collaboration on The Children’s Pavilion, 1989.

    The architectural sources for this half-sized model are diverse.

  • Daniel Levine

    Daniel Levine reiterates images. Taking an arbitrary source such as a painting or print, he reproduces part of that image in black and white acrylic paint. But recognition of the original source is obviously not the desired goal, since each of his images is equally abstract; they resemble each other more than they resemble their sources. What is retained from the original is only a hinted movement, a darkened area, or a surface texture. The fact that the original sources are referred to neither in the works themselves nor in their titles underscores Levine’s interest in pursuing an arbitrariness

  • Matt Mullican

    The absence of a universal lexicon of symbols is something utopians and mystics bitterly regret. To give birth to an internal system of signs with such simplicity and directness that their truth is evident to all: such has been the goal of cosmologists from Pythagoras to Monty Python. Matt Mullican is known for his own complex system of emblematic signs. But his recent installation here steps through another dimension. Through the use of a device called "Connection Machine–2,” Mullican has created an imaginary world city, presented as though ready for a future real estate agent’s sales pitch.