Domenick Ammirati

  • picks December 08, 2017

    Adam Putnam

    The subjects of the fifty-four intimate photographs and eighty-four short films that comprise Adam Putnam’s exhibition “Portholes” include in situ windows and doors, disjunctive architectural elements, celestial light sources, ranks of trees, and spans of dune. Also, there is the occasional human, shrouded or otherwise obscured. The photos’ gauzy processing strips away detail so that bodies and objects take on a degree of abstraction. The blur is never so much as to imply nostalgia or squander Putnam’s precision; paradoxically, it clarifies. The result is a kind of cerebral psychedelia—Kenneth

  • diary April 30, 2015

    Wishful Thinking

    AN AIR OF SOLITUDE hangs around the practice of philosophy; dispelling this aura, or its reputation, seemed perhaps the point of last week’s Night of Philosophy. Organized by, among others, the French Embassy (bien sur), the event gathered the secular monks of episteme, Francophones, and looky-loos from 7 PM to 7 AM, Friday night to Saturday morning, in two adjacent, shabby-regal buildings on Fifth Avenue a few hops from the Met. Sixty-two twenty-minute lectures by luminaries including Kwame Anthony Appiah, Barbara Cassin, Simon Critchley, and Monique Canto-Sperber (whose appearance on the topic

  • picks March 01, 2013

    Dave Miko and Tom Thayer

    One half of this show, entered via a quiet door on a thoroughfare, features work you might find familiar—and like—if you know Dave Miko and Tom Thayer’s accomplished individual practices and their vivid joint presentation at the Kitchen in 2011: exquisite, strange, mute projections of heavily processed and degraded color video (Thayer) over rough mural-like abstractions made with enamel, aluminum, and other materials (Miko). The exhibition’s other section, in a smaller, glassed-in space around the corner like one big shopwindow, highlights a complementary logic of collaboration with a caterwauling

  • diary December 24, 2011

    Weekend Report

    FOR THE PAST THREE MONTHS New York intellectuals have been climbing all over themselves to get a piece of Occupy Wall Street. Finally we can trade in all this thinking for doing, symbolic action for acting in the real world. Now is the moment to put that pet theorist into practice—Rancière or Agamben or Negri, the whole motherfucking Frankfurt School.

    The weekend of December 17 revolved around an action that gave the art world an unusually central role: D17 Reoccupy, a call for an occupation of Duarte Square. Most of the site is used by Lower Manhattan Cultural Council for its LentSpace exhibitions,

  • OPENINGS: JOSH SMITH

    IN FALL 2005, when Josh Smith was invited to fill a sliver of the basement gallery at New York’s SculptureCenter as part of that institution’s In Practice series, he responded by moving more or less the entire contents of his Harlem studio into the space. This installation strategy, Smith told me, was less a choice than a capitulation to sheer necessity—his studio was so crowded he could barely squeeze in one more tube of paint. The claim seems entirely believable, given the artist’s reputation for hyperproductivity; on the other hand, Smith may have been drily joking about that very reputation

  • “Energy/Experimentation: Black Artists and Abstraction, 1964–1980”

    At first glance, this show appears to be a simple survey of the dominant modes of postwar abstraction. In one corner hangs Melvin Edwards’s Cotton Hangup, 1965, an expressionist sculpture of black steel, tools, and rebar; in another stretches Joe Overstreet’s Saint Expedite A, 1971, a post-Minimalist rigging of green-, black-, and redpainted canvases. Barbara Chase-Riboud similarly reimports reference into Minimal forms: Her Bathers, 1972, consists of a field of low rectilinear aluminum volumes that ripples like a bed of wave-polished rocks, with green-gray silk splays suggesting seaweed exposed

  • picks December 06, 2005

    “I Wish It Were True”

    If you always thought relational aesthetics was a little bit bougie, how about some good old-fashioned social sculpture? To create I Wish It Were True, 2005, artists Leslie Hewitt and William Cordova pooled their collections of bootlegged black and Latino cinema; weekly public screenings in one of Project Row Houses' restored shotgun homes attract artsy types, activists, and neighbors from the mostly poor, mostly black Third Ward. The politically charged works veer from obscurities to acclaimed masterpieces: Warrington Hudlin's phenomenal 1974 documentary Black at Yale, John Sayles’s The Brother

  • Keith Farquhar

    Relatively unknown in the United States, Edinburgh-based artist Keith Farquhar has been exhibiting cool, humorous, at times obliquely political drawings, paintings, and sculptures in Europe for nearly a decade. Deadpan figures made of clothing have lately become a signature form—blue jeans for legs, hooded shell jackets or sweatshirts for the upper body. Pinned against walls or other supports, the characters are draped and creased to give them slight but distinct expressions; but such “individuation” only makes them appear more generic, whether they’re alone or arrayed into ritualistic room-size

  • “Make It Now”

    SculptureCenter’s “Make It Now: New Sculpture in New York” arrived hot on the heels of two other exhibitions that purported to clue us in about the country’s two big art scenes: P.S. 1 Contemporary Art Center’s bloated “Greater New York 2005” and the UCLA Hammer Museum’s “THING: New Sculpture from Los Angeles.” While hardly perfect, “Make It Now” outdid its predecessors in one unexpected way: It plotted clear connections between the substance of local art and the environment in which it’s made. From Ester Partegàs’s tarp-covered, boarded-off Monument to the Truth, 2005, in the center’s yard,

  • picks September 05, 2005

    “Bonds of Love”

    Loosen those nipple clamps, kids; though this ambitious show curated by artist Lisa Kirk borrows its name from Jessica Benjamin’s feminist treatise on psychoanalysis and power, it’s perhaps best understood as a kind of institutional critique—an exhibition comprising female artists (and one F2M transgendered contributor) in a gallery known for hosting lots and lots of boys (cf. 2003’s summer show “Today’s Man”). Beyond that gesture, “Bonds of Love” is relatively un-programmatic in tackling issues of gender, sprawling across various media and three separate suites. Marilyn Minter’s vaguely

  • Larry Zox

    If you’re interested in modernism’s effluence, you might take a look at the work of Wade Guyton, Carrie Moyer, Sam Durant, Jorge Pardo, or Milena Dragicevic. Taken as a group, these artists address both modernism’s formal emphases and that quintessentially modern idea that vanguard art should go hand-in-hand with vanguard politics. Consider, for example, Barnett Newman, in 1962: “Harold Rosenberg challenged me to explain what one of my paintings could possibly mean to the world. My answer was that if he and others could read it properly, it would mean the end of all state capitalism and

  • diary May 18, 2005

    Role Call

    New York

    My favorite thing about the Armory Show this year was the zone of discomfort surrounding the Bellwether booth. It was a sturdy little pale-wood room stocked with clunky, brightly painted fake carbines, and sabers. Behind the counter stood artist Allison Smith, looking earnest and a little awkward, wearing a hat out of a Mathew Brady portrait and a homemade uniform of off-white cloth with brass buttons: A general’s pajamas? Smith’s work treats Americana with a combination of critique and fetishization, and while I’ve preferred other examples—her creepy Zouave doll at “Greater New York 2005,”

  • Keith Mayerson

    Keith Mayerson’s painting cycle “Hamlet 1999,” 2001–2004, is nothing less than an attempt to synthesize received images of high art, popular entertainment, and American history into a chronicle of an alternative, potentially revolutionary masculinity. It looks, however, like the product of a guy who paints in a converted garage, watching DVDs with one eye, the news with the other, and an art-history textbook with an enlightened third.

    The plotless “narrative” of more than one hundred canvases, rendered in a palette of marigold and pea soup, has only a general order, accumulating meaning frame by

  • AA Bronson

    For twenty-five years, AA Bronson lived and made art as part of General Idea. The Canadian trio mimicked and mutated mass-cultural forms from beauty pageants to boutiques to glossy magazines, always returning with vertiginous glee and cutting irony to the intricacies of creating an identity in a media-saturated society. Bronson’s work since the 1994 AIDS-related deaths of Felix Partz and Jorge Zontal, his two partners in GI, has become more personal and less sportive: The most powerful image in the 2002 Whitney Biennial was his deathbed portrait of Partz, and in an interview published this year

  • Michael Mahalchick

    Michael Mahalchick weaves and stitches scraps of scavenged cloth into raggedy wall hangings, lumpy totems, and squat, motley creatures, celebrating both quiet industry and its flip side, sensual languor. One favorite trope is to take properly horizontal forms and give them the primacy, and display value, of the vertical. Quiltlike drapery No. 34 (Let Your Freak Flag Fly), 2003, was inspired by Gee’s Bend; to form the two perfectly titled To Die Dreamings, 2004, which together evoke a pair of slatted swinging doors, the artist wove strips of old clothes onto futon frames. As installed in this

  • picks April 13, 2004

    “Art in the Office”

    With a view toward a beneficent yet up-to-the-minute public image, the corporate communications firm Global Consulting Group is hosting a contemporary art show in its Financial District digs. New York artist/curator Matt Keegan rounded up the thirty-odd contributors, most near the beginning of their careers. Some take gentle nips at the hand that feeds them; others inject playfulness into the buttoned-down environment. Martha Friedman has installed a pyramid of hyperrealist polyurethane-foam cantaloupes on a conference-room table; across the hall, artist-in-residence Pia Lindman meets with staff

  • Sol’Sax

    What scares white America? Ghosts? Decrepit mansions? Or a hulking figure in a hoodie and gold chains peeling back a section of fence? In a show dedicated to the quintessential inner-city motif of chain link, Brooklyn-based artist Sol’Sax presented a video projection starring such a character, transformed into something truly ghastly by a zombie-gray ceramic mask. His midnight exploits—loitering on a street corner, creeping through a gap in a fence, cooking out in a vacant lot—layer fear of the occult over white paranoia to expose the absurdity of the latter. But Sol’Sax also lampoons his macho

  • picks January 21, 2004

    William Eggleston

    Breeze past the vintage gelatin-silver prints; the main attraction in this show of Eggleston’s early black-and-white work is the thirty-minute film Selections from “Stranded in Canton,” 1974, which takes an unexpected trip through a southern demimonde. The tightly shot vignettes, which entirely lack Eggleston’s customary offhand perfection, focus on people making spectacles of themselves. A drunk drag queen croons to the bemusement of bar patrons while Wings and Zep play on the stereo. Two guys (regular but for the metal incisors one flashes) bite the heads off chickens in an alley. But the most

  • picks October 14, 2003

    “You”

    Irreplaceable, sweet embraceable: The “you” of curator Lisa Kirk’s title is the second-person pronoun of pop odes from the Gershwins on. Kirk asked fourteen of her favorite youngish artists to lend works of their choosing, which she's installed in a temporarily reconfigured downtown apartment. Invited into the parlor, the fractious modes of contemporary artmaking conduct a lively klatch. Tamara Zahaykevich’s small, odd, wholly contempo foamcore constructions flank Jennifer Sirey’s pair of skinny, five-foot-ten vitrines filled with spoiled wine and fleshy pink sheets of cultured bacteria; though

  • picks September 16, 2003

    “The Paper Sculpture Show”

    When “The Paper Sculpture Show” asks you to make art, it gives you plenty of rules to follow. But don’t worry, there’s no Sol LeWitt waiting around to whack the sloppy and disobedient with a T-square. Instructions and diagrams for dozens of projects are printed on heavy paper and stacked on long tables; you take what you like, then settle down with scissors, glue, etc., at plywood workstations cleverly designed by Allan Wexler to mimic Tab-A-into-Slot-B construction. The contributions of twenty-nine artists represent all manner of contemporary impulses, from the pure geometry of Seong Chun’s