Elizabeth Schambelan

  • picks August 19, 2004

    “Black & White”

    As Truman Capote proved at his socially heterogeneous Black and White Ball, even wildly divergent elements can be made to go together if you stick to the most fundamental of palettes. Using this tactic, “Black & White” rounds up thirty achromatic works by artists as disparate as Jessica Craig-Martin and Richard Diebenkorn, Malerie Marder and Benjamin Edwards. Robert Rauschenberg’s pared-down early photograph Ceiling & Light Bulb, 1950, and Paul Graham’s giant bleached-out C-prints of parking lots lie cheek by jowl with the shady, ornate portraiture of Katy Grannan and Marilyn Minter. Dorothea

  • Jim Lambie

    “Too many stripes can finally drive you mad,” Michel Pastoureau, the chief historian of this elemental pattern, has observed. But how many is too many? Glasgow-based artist Jim Lambie seems determined to find out. Since 1999, Lambie has been completely covering gallery floors with vinyl adhesive tape placed edge to edge, creating site-specific paintings that transform ordinary spaces into Saul Bass dream sequences and has garnered comparisons to figures as various as Daniel Buren, Bridget Riley, and, less often but more aptly, Gene Davis. Zobop, 1999–2003, is the best known of these works. First

  • Bill Morrison

    In A Voyage on the North Sea, Rosalind Krauss recalls that in the late ’60s and early ’70s artists including Richard Serra and Robert Smithson made a habit of visiting Anthology Film Archives, where they absorbed the canon of modernist film up to and including its structuralist endgames. These days, the art world seems to be in the midst of a similar, if more diffuse, engagement with the classics of experimental cinema—viz. Stan Brakhage’s inclusion in the current Whitney Biennial or the modernism-is-dead, long-live-modernism riffing of film and video artists from Jeremy Blake to Haluk Akakçe

  • Joel Sternfeld

    In the ’70s and ’80s, when Joel Sternfeld traversed the US on a series of cross-country trips, he toted not a Leica or a Rolleiflex but an old-fashioned 8 x 10 view camera Sternfeld was following in the footsteps of a generation of American photographers for whom the automobile had been almost as integral to the project as the camera itself; like his fellow “New Color” road-trippers Stephen Shore and William Eggleston, he modified the itinerant documentary tradition as he went along, jettisoning its chromophobia and rethinking the snapshot ethos as well. But if, say, Eggleston’s street shots

  • picks February 23, 2004

    Slater Bradley

    Slater Bradley’s video Phantom Release, 2003, is a sort of dramatization of a Nirvana concert in which Bradley’s friend Benjamin Brock, playing Kurt Cobain, agonizes his way through the song “Negative Creep.” With his stringy platinum hair, Value Village cardigan, and vacant yet soulful gaze, Brock (who also poses in four large-format photos that are on view along with the video) perfectly captures the Cobain mien. A similar impulse toward passing informs the video’s style, or lack thereof: Its unfocused zooms and randomly framed shots convincingly imitate the kind of amateur footage that is

  • picks February 14, 2004

    “Works on Paper”

    “Works on Paper” brings together drawings by more than two dozen artists, many of them so fresh to the scene that they make recent Cooper Union grad Nick Mauss—who contributes a suite of his marbleized neopsychedelic montages—look like an elder statesman. Joshua W.F. Thomson’s tiny pictures of neurotic humanoid apes, Rebecca Bird's lapidary rendering of a parrot and a hummingbird, and Beth Brideau’s oversize abstract watercolor are standouts among the lesser-knowns; more familiar names include Matt Saunders (with delicate portraits of obscure screen stars), and Sterling Ruby (with a blotchy

  • picks February 01, 2004

    Anton Vidokle

    Anton Vidokle reanimates the architecture and graphic design of the late-modernist moment, when space-age utopianism was inflected by a swinging, trippy, more frankly delusional sensibility. The two large sculptures that take up most of the space here look something like Vasarely posters in three dimensions. Each consists of eight panes of glass emblazoned with large vinyl logotypes—a narrow rhomboid in one sculpture and a set of nested diamonds in the other. Seemingly hovering in space, these generic icons have a dizzying Op-art effect, but the corporate connotations are unmistakable: They’re

  • picks January 08, 2004

    Jane Benson

    In recent projects at the World Financial Center and Socrates Sculpture Park, Jane Benson presented artificial plants in their natural habitats—a corporate lobby and waiting room, respectively. But there was something strange about her plastic shrubbery: Each leaf had been cut into a geometric shape or lacy pattern. Her installation at Satellite also makes sly use of foliage and its mass-produced (mis)representations. Here, she’s handpainted in camouflage colors hundreds of those cheap foil garlands whose intricate forms suggest stylized greenery and fruit. They hang in drooping swags from the

  • picks December 19, 2003

    Kristian Burford

    The focal point of Kristian Burford's latest installation, Chistopher. . . , 2003, is a hyperrealistic fiberglass sculpture of a nude young man who lies across a bed, the fingers of one hand dangling into a goblet filled with water. As the work’s full title (which runs to over a hundred words) explains, the setting is the young man’s dead mother’s sewing room, and he's put his hand in the goblet in an attempt to bring about some self-induced bed-wetting. Intimations of an especially unsavory family romance are amplified by the room’s decor, a slovenly profusion of bedspreads, throw pillows, and

  • picks November 23, 2003

    Karlheinz Weinberger

    Karlheinz Weinberger's '60s photos of Swiss bikers serve as a reminder of how much globalization has cost us, sartorially speaking. Surely a world in which teenagers from Tacoma to Tokyo covet the same Rocawear jacket will never produce the kind of purely local, seriously weird subcultural fashions that once prevailed among Zurich's motorcycle enthusiasts. These youngsters faithfully appropriated Marlon Brando's Wild One style but subjected its tropes to a process of exaggeration and enlargement, as if they had taken the giganticism of the movie screen literally. Thus, the photographs show us

  • picks October 17, 2003

    Tobias Putrih

    In MoMA’s 1952 exhibition “2 Houses: New Ways to Build,” Buckminster Fuller’s hyperefficient geodesic dome went head-to-head with Frederick Kiesler’s “Endless House,” which boasted colored skylights and resembled a sort of avant-garde yurt. If Fuller’s house was the apotheosis of utopian functionalism, Kiesler’s was rooted in a more expressionistic (read: flakier) strain of modernism that could be traced back, via Kandinsky, to theosophy and spiritualism. At Max Protech, photocopied documents relating to “2 Houses”—press releases, reviews, correspondence—are tacked to the wall, establishing the

  • picks October 09, 2003

    Joanne Greenbaum

    “Transparency” is a buzzword these days in the realm of corporate governance, but Joanne Greenbaum, in the realm of painting, doesn't just pay it lip service. In six very large abstractions at D'Amelio Terras, she introduces us to the nuances of her process, using thinned-out, translucent oil paint that registers every mark. You can trace each gesture, even when her forms are layered one atop the other—which they often are. Greenbaum’s compositions have lately acquired greater complexity and depth: Gemlike lozenges, punctured discs, lattices of boxlike cells, and curving lines pile up and

  • picks September 14, 2003

    Matt Saunders

    In his first solo New York show, Matt Saunders presents fifteen portraits of avant-garde film stars, who range from the obscure (Heidemarie Wenzel) to the quasi-iconic (Udo Kier) and who are all shown sleeping or on the edge of slumber. The paintings are based on Polaroids of film stills taken directly from Saunders’s TV screen; the images, rendered in layers of translucent oil on mylar, look like gorgeous indulgences in pure fandom—except for the subjects’ closed eyes, which introduce a note of ambivalence. Also on view are a pair of videos that transform filmography into a kind of concrete

  • picks August 11, 2003

    Ed Wilcox and Dearraindrop

    Ed Wilcox is a man of some cult renown—chiefly in his capacity as front man for the space-metal band Temple of Bon Matin—and many talents. At Cheery Acres, his home in the Pennsylvania woods, he writes music, paints, sculpts, and creates addled, visionary comic books: Elephants’ Graveyard, 2002, is a fragmented narrative that might be described, in high-concept shorthand, as Babar meets Henry Darger. The thirty illustrations from Elephants’ Graveyard on view at this new East Village gallery (along with a group of Wilcox’s woodcut prints and two sculptures) look like Mogul miniatures

  • picks July 24, 2003

    “Puddle-Wonderful”

    For the opening of this group show, Spanish artist Ferrán Martin installed a wax painting in the gallery's slanted skylight. What was initially a pristine geometric abstraction has been slowly liquefying in the summer heat. Now, the multicolored squares have melted into swags of collapsing curves, and the floor below is marked with pink, blue, and magenta wax. This elegantly self-immolating artwork is an extension of Martin's family business: His relatives create traditional falla sculptures that are ceremonially burned each year at Valencia's City Festival. The piece has a limpid clarity that's

  • picks July 24, 2003

    “Today's Man”

    John Connelly brings together fifty-one artists for this exhibition of works by and about the Y-chromosome crowd. Though Alex Katz’s Twelve Hours No. 1, 1985—three yuppies in earth-toned sportswear—presides near the entrance, this is not a pleated-Dockers kind of show: The preponderance of craftiness and fine-boned figuration contradicts stereotypical notions of male artmaking. Many artists here are familiar from this summer’s group-show circuit: There’s a Christian Holstad collage of a nude, cross-eyed boy crouching in a White House interior and a Paul P. drawing of a pretty, mop-topped androgyne;

  • picks June 26, 2003

    “You Are My Sunshine/You Is My Sunshine”

    A sadly moribund cultural form—the mix tape—is having a last hurrah at Canada, where it's the loose organizing principle behind a show that brings together a group of artist/musicians, including Tara Burke, Michael Mahalchick, members of the San Francisco band Caroliner, and Fort Thunder denizen Michael Williams. Each has contributed a mix that visitors are invited to play on a stereo installed in the center of the gallery, and a sort of mix-tape aesthetic prevails in the works themselves—which is to say that they are, for the most part, low-tech, highly personal pseudonarratives of sentiment

  • picks May 21, 2003

    Jules de Balincourt

    “Land of Many Uses,” Jules de Balincourt’s solo show at LFL, takes its name from the tone-deaf US Forest Service slogan, which would seem to cheerfully allude to old-growth logging. The spirit of rueful irony is borne out in paintings that show human interlopers, often nude, gamboling cluelessly through post-Edenic sylvan settings. But while nature is clearly on de Balincourt’s agenda, naturalism isn’t: Working mostly in enamel and spray paint on wood, he uses stencils and X-Acto knives to create layered, collagelike compositions that frequently wander into surreality. In Media Information

  • picks May 13, 2003

    Carol Bove

    For “Experiment in Total Freedom,” her solo show at Team, Carol Bove has fitted out the gallery to resemble a certain type of haute-bourgeois interior, circa 1972: Plexiglas photo cubes sit on blond-wood coffee tables, and geometric wall drawings made out of sewing thread elegantly rehabilitate the macramé mandala. This is domestic space reimagined as archive: The gallery is overrun with books, stacked on shelves and lined up in long rows on the floor. Heavy on the Evergreen and Grove Press titles, Bove’s library democratically intermingles the classic (Soul on Ice or Catch-22) and the highly

  • picks February 04, 2003

    Jesse Bercowetz

    Jesse Bercowetz’s crazy Merzbau of architectural assemblage, entitled “Gentlemen, If I Had Been Able to Read and Write, I’d Have Destroyed the Human Race,” confounds the eye with its accumulations of cardboard boxes, trash bags, duct tape, and empty Budweiser tallboys. Though in “Mir2,” the 2002 show at Smack Mellon Studios Bercowetz helped create, the assemblages were inhabitable, Jack the Pelican’s Outpost, 2003, offers only a tantalizing glimpse of a bi-level interior through a red plastic window. Lack of access might be the point—this show’s running joke is Bercowetz’s self-mocking stance