Domenick Ammirati

  • “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,

  • Marilyn Minter, Shy Shoes, 2005.
    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

  • Left: Allison Smith. Right: The crowd during the “Declaration of Principles.” (Photos: Sam Gordon)
    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

  • Rachel Foullon, Dugout for the Global Consulting Group, 2004.
    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

  • Untitled (Memphis), 1973–1974.
    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

  • “You.” Installation view.
    picks October 14, 2003


    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

  • “The Paper Sculpture Show.” Installation view.
    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