Domenick Ammirati

  • 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

    “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

  • “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

  • Jack Smith, Untitled, c.1962.
    picks July 25, 2003

    “Half Air”

    Throughout “Half Air”—an exhibition of paintings, drawings, video, and photography by fringe avant-gardists and underground visionaries—there's a sense of sly knowingness, a cagey approach to the abyss. In the Wooster Group's film By the Sea, 1979 (made in collaboration with Ken Kobland), oceanic tableaux pass the camera in a jerky circular course; this centripetal motion offers itself as a kind of fulcrum and ur-form for the exhibition. It's echoed by Glenn Branca's mandala-like drawings of harmonic patterns and by the circular symbols of Forrest Bess's paintings; we also see video

  • David Cotterrell, Foreign Body, 2003. Installation view.
    picks July 11, 2003

    “Palazzo delle Libertà”

    A massive palace built by the family of a fifteenth-century pope now houses a contemporary-arts center, and with “Palazzo delle Libertà,” Siena’s CAC makes its curious location its subject. The exhibition includes thirty-odd artists from Italy and beyond who were enjoined only to produce something new and site-specific. Some of them take on the building as a physical, almost phenomenological entity. James Casebere offers a trademark photo of a flooded maquette presented in the room it represents, while Alex Hartley fills a nook with a dizzying, Turrell-like installation of a black-and-white

  • Larry Clark, “Punk Picasso,” 2003. Installation view. Courtesy of the artist and Luhring Augustine, New York.
    picks May 29, 2003

    Larry Clark

    The surface of Larry Clark’s world is all teen boys and drugs, screwing and screwing up. But the undertow is death, and never has its drag seemed more powerful than in the autobiographical exhibition “Punk Picasso,” which displays photographs, scribblings, newspaper clippings, collages, typed recollections, and all manner of ephemera. The sprawling show begins with a circa-1940 billet-doux addressed to Clark's mother (from his father) and concludes with recent photos of her in the bedridden end-stages of Alzheimer's. In between is Tulsa; jail time; friendships with, among others, River Phoenix

  • Untitled (Berlin Demonstration, Television Crew), 2002.
    picks May 06, 2003

    Josephine Meckseper

    It's revolution, baby, in an installation laid out a little like a bedroom without furniture: shelves arrayed with baubles, magazines, and dirty pictures; none-too-fancy paintings, works on paper, and photos on the walls; TV murmuring on the floor. While shopping carts burn and Baader-Meinhof look-alikes vamp, German-born Meckseper pays out the cultural strands knotted post-’68, ties them to the present, and loops them back again. A grainy, sun-shot video documenting a summer-of-love-style day in the park turns out to depict a recent “No Blood for Oil” rally, and a collage juxtaposes the flower

  • Reverse, 2003.
    picks April 15, 2003

    Jenny Saville

    Jenny Saville’s 1999 show at Gagosian, which marked her US solo debut, demonstrated that she’d transcended associations with the Saatchi stable. Her strange imagery included a transgendered odalisque and women’s heads and torsos stacked or laid over one another like photographs taken through a faceted lens. But the most unsettling thing about these monumental nudes was Saville’s style itself: dramatic cropping and foreshortening; brushwork that was aggressive in some areas, nearly mute in others; and a morbid palette of flesh tones. Saville referred as much to Rubens and Courbet as to Lucian