Elizabeth Schambelan

  • A.R. Penck

    A. R. Penck’s painterly language—a kind of visionary semaphore forged under the pressures of life in the GDR and refined in the hothouse of the 1980s art world after his move to the West—could use some revisionist lexicography. This ambitious retrospective will present some 150 works, including large-format paintings, sculptures, and artist’s books. Together with the accompanying catalogue, which includes essays by Isabelle Graw and others, the exhibition should help redefine an important oeuvre that has often been overshadowed by that of wilder Neue Wilde. Travels to

  • Chris Hammerlein

    In George Eliot’s Middlemarch, the character Edward Casaubon famously devotes his life to deducing “the key to all mythologies”—a sort of ur-fable underlying and explaining all others—only to realize that there is no such thing. He dies a beaten man, leaving behind a mountain of disorganized notes. Brooklyn-based artist Chris Hammerlein seems to have something in common with Casaubon: For the past eight years, he has been making drawings that delve into the mythic iconography of various locales and epochs, including that of modern pop culture. But instead of evincing a desire to unify the field,

  • Amy Granat

    NEW YORK–BASED ARTIST AMY GRANAT makes films but generally dispenses with the camera, producing images by damaging film emulsion through direct manipulation. Or, as she put it in a recent interview, “Whatever kind of assault you can make on film material, I’ve done.” Her first such attacks were carried out when she was studying for her BA at Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York, in the late ’90s; working in total darkness, she would dump a spool of 16-mm stock into a bathtub full of (highly toxic) chemicals, then mash and grind the film against itself. Around the start of the current

  • Karen Kilimnik

    Karen Kilimnik’s trademark cocktail of ardor and acidity, camp figuration and dispersed installation, pop iconography and historical idioms (most recently, maritime painting and French Empire design) has exerted such a wide influence that this exhibition, her first major US survey, feels long overdue.

    Karen Kilimnik’s trademark cocktail of ardor and acidity, camp figuration and dispersed installation, pop iconography and historical idioms (most recently, maritime painting and French Empire design) has exerted such a wide influence that this exhibition, her first major US survey, feels long overdue. Curated by Ingrid Schaffner with a generous selection of some eighty works made since the early 1980s—paintings early and recent, scatter pieces from the ’90s, heretofore rarely seen photographs and videos—plus an accompanying catalogue with essays by Wayne Koestenbaum

  • “Second Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art”

    Preceded last fall by a symposium examining the intersections of political and aesthetic theory, the Second Moscow Biennale, whose theme is “Footnotes About Geopolitics, Markets, and Amnesia,” is centered around an eighty-artist exhibition and includes numerous special projects, ranging from a survey of the art of the former Soviet republics to the mournfully titled “The Feminist Project Was a Utopia.”

    Preceded last fall by a symposium examining the intersections of political and aesthetic theory, the Second Moscow Biennale, whose theme is “Footnotes About Geopolitics, Markets, and Amnesia,” is centered around an eighty-artist exhibition and includes numerous special projects, ranging from a survey of the art of the former Soviet republics to the mournfully titled “The Feminist Project Was a Utopia.” Indeed, everything about the program indicates a post-utopian mood, with an emphasis on engagement over escapism. Elaborating their concept, the curatorial team—which includes Joseph Backstein,

  • Elizabeth Schambelan

    1 “Dada” (Museum of Modern Art, New York) “It often happens that the real tragedies of life occur in such an inartistic manner that they hurt us by their crude violence, their absolute incoherence, their absurd want of meaning, their entire lack of style.” Oscar Wilde’s aphorism, which came to mind as I wended my way through MoMA’s rendition of this sprawling bazaar of a traveling show (co-organized by the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, and the Centre Pompidou, Paris), seems weirdly germane to the Dadaists. In their efforts to come to grips with “real tragedy”—World War I,

  • Norbert Schwontkowski

    Most artists, on the occasion of their first New York exhibition, might be expected to jealously hoard all the available wall space for themselves, but Norbert Schwontkowski, in a gesture that seems to typify the unassuming spirit of his practice, chose to incorporate works by fellow painters into his recent show at Mitchell-Innes & Nash. Thus the exhibition was an unusual amalgam of solo debut and artist-curated group exhibition: Ten of Schwontkowski’s easel-size canvases were interspersed among a smattering of works by Forrest Bess, Philip Guston, Alex Katz, and Pablo Picasso—artists who

  • Diane Arbus

    ADAPTED FROM the 1984 biography by Patricia Bosworth, the new Arbus biopic has been a long time coming—twenty-two years, to be exact. Bosworth’s article in the August issue of Vanity Fair, detailing the two-decade odyssey that brought her book to the screen—as Fur: An Imaginary Portrait of Diane Arbus, with Nicole Kidman in the title role—is a classic story of development hell, full of the Molièrian drollery that characterizes the genre. And yet, as I read her tale of dropped options, fired writers, litigation, and really bad ideas (The Singing Photographer, starring Barbra Streisand), I felt

  • A. R. Penck

    A. R. Penck was born in Dresden in 1939 and lived there until 1980, when he emigrated to the capitalist side of the Iron Curtain. As a young man, in an environment in which any art outside the socialist realist mold was liable to be dubbed subversive, he made paintings whose abstract imagery was meant to render political and existential realities legible. In 1968, he coined the term Standart to denote “a method of making information products,” as he put it in a 1971 statement. Standart was “a production of the brain, made with the purpose of achieving a total perception of its visual information

  • Al Hansen

    “I am not at all interested in having a retrospective exhibition of my work,” artist Al Hansen (1927–1995) wrote toward the end of his life, adding that such a show “would take up at least an airplane hangar or two.” Putting together an overview of the innumerable assemblages, collages, paintings, and other objects that Hansen produced over the course of his lengthy career would indeed be a daunting task. But poignantly if implicitly absent from Hansen’s imagined hangars are works that challenge curatorial acumen not through unruly profusion but through evanescence. Somehow Hansen’s performative

  • “Grey Flags”

    “Grey Flags” rounds up a generation-spanning coterie of artists who, in a variety of mediums, flood the marketing circuits of the art world, engaging in direct interventions (à la Seth Price, whose work here is the commandeering of the exhibition’s title and promotional text from the institution) or simply dancing between the categorical raindrops (à la the protean John Armleder).

    “Grey Flags” rounds up a generation-spanning coterie of artists who, in a variety of mediums, flood the marketing circuits of the art world, engaging in direct interventions (à la Seth Price, whose work here is the commandeering of the exhibition’s title and promotional text from the institution) or simply dancing between the categorical raindrops (à la the protean John Armleder). All nineteen participants, including Lutz Bacher, Tacita Dean, Allen Ruppersberg, Shirana Shahbazi, and Apichatpong Weerasethakul, resist pigeonholing and branding—something

  • Kelley Walker

    In 1967, advertising guru George Lois launched a famous print and television campaign for Braniff Airlines in which celebrity odd couples (Bennett Cerf and Ethel Merman; Sonny Liston and Andy Warhol; Rex Reed and Mickey Rooney) chatted while perched on the airline’s fashionably upholstered seats. In his recent show at Paula Cooper, Kelley Walker appropriated imagery from the campaign for a series of digital prints and a take-away poster. The prints feature the slightly off-register layering of imagery that inevitably recalls Warhol silk screens, but with a difference: Each Braniff photo appeared

  • Phil Collins

    In the nearly two decades since the Smiths broke up, the band’s music seems to have become a lingua franca for teens the world over who suspect that life is one big hatful of hollow. Photographer and video artist Phil Collins can attest that fans may be found in locales as far-flung as Bogotá, Istanbul, and Jakarta—the sites of a multi-phase project for which Collins invites local adolescents to perform karaoke renditions of Smiths songs, capturing their moves and vocal stylings on video. The results thus far have been two exceedingly engaging (and unusually danceable) video installations: el

  • de Rijke/de Rooij

    Dutch artists Jeroen de Rijke and Willem de Rooij are best known for their 16- and 35-mm films, which often push the moving image toward stasis in service of the duo’s coolly cerebral, career-long examination of the mechanisms of photographic and filmic representation. If that sounds dust-dry, the work is usually anything but, because de Rijke and de Rooij, collaborators since 1994, have a sneaky wit and a knack for mesmerizing visuals. Their recent film installation Mandarin Ducks, 2005, which debuted at the 2005 Venice Biennale, featured ten characters cryptically interacting in a modish

  • 1000 WORDS: JESSICA STOCKHOLDER

    TRYING TO COME UP with a taxonomy for the burgeoning idioms of contemporary sculpture is probably ill advised. But one can’t help wishing for a bit of handy nomenclature to categorize the abundance of recent work in which rigorously formal propositions achieve an odd, uneasy détente with, well, junk—tchotchkes, cast-offs, discount-bin merchandise. The result of this dynamically unstable alliance—visible in the work of artists as diverse as Jim Lambie, Gedi Sibony, and, perhaps most notably, Rachel Harrison—suggests less a simple rejiggering of old terms, e.g., assemblage, than an evolution of

  • Gareth James

    Despite the rise of computer animation, many of the special effects we see in movies and on television are created using an old technique in which subjects are shot in front of a featureless blue screen that is later replaced by a different background. When used skillfully, blue-screen imaging lends perceptual credence to fantasy; when used poorly (as it frequently is in basic-cable talk shows, corporate motivational videos, and local-news weather reports) it gives rise to a grab bag of optical anomalies—absence of parallax, actors with halos around their bodies—that add up to a uniquely

  • Lucy McKenzie

    The press release for Scottish artist Lucy McKenzie’s New York solo debut curiously asserted that one of the five series of works on paper in the show consisted of “studies of Tintin from life.” Created in 1929 by Belgian artist Hergé, Tintin—preposterously cowlicked journo-adventurer who moved, Zelig-like, through most of the mid-twentieth century’s geopolitical hotspots—is, of course, a cartoon. But there he was in McKenzie’s show, fleshed out with eerie naturalism in a group of colored-pencil portraits that depict him posing rakishly in plus fours and trench coat. In fact, McKenzie’s subject

  • diary October 17, 2005

    Murk of the Penguin

    New York

    It goes without saying that one must suffer for one’s art, but some of us prefer to suffer for other people’s art. And so it was that on Friday night a few hundred hardy, masochistic souls, myself among them, showed up in a downpour at Central Park’s (roofless) Wollman Rink, where a sequence for Pierre Huyghe’s film A Journey That Wasn’t was being shot. The film, which will debut at the 2006 Whitney Biennial (it’s not just for Americans anymore!), centers around a trip that Huyghe and some fellow artists took to Antarctica earlier this year. Having heard stories that the changes wrought by global

  • OPENINGS: MATTHEW MONAHAN

    Los Angeles–based artist Matthew Monahan has said that figurative drawing is the “core” of his practice—in graduate school in the mid-’90s, while his fellow students delved into video and installation, Monahan recalls, he wrestled with the question “How do you put a shadow under a cheekbone?”—and he is perhaps best known, especially to New York audiences, for his works on paper, which he exhibited at Anton Kern Gallery in 1997 and 2002. But Monahan is not an ironic neoclassicist blithely reanimating unfashionable forms; rather, his relationship to the depiction of the human figure is dead serious,

  • Aernout Mik

    Aernout Mik’s video installation Refraction, 2005, which tracks the aftermath of a bus accident in the Romanian countryside, comes closer to naturalism than any of the Dutch artist’s earlier moving-image odes to disaster, dislocation, and freakish misadventure. Previously, Mik’s works have featured complex arrangements of screens, dizzying camera movements, ambiguously eschatological scenarios, and an almost Melièsian sense of creepy artifice. But Refraction, projected straightforwardly on a long, low, free-standing wall, at first seems to be merely an extended documentation of the type of