Elizabeth Schambelan

  • 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

  • picks January 21, 2003

    Tacita Dean

    Tacita Dean’s work has always seemed haunted by the ghost of Marcel Broodthaers. Here she confronts the anxiety of influence directly, treating Broodthaers’s ouevre as a kind of found object to be examined with the same mixture of judiciousness and imaginative speculation that she has previously brought to other evidence and ephemera—and that Broodthaers himself brought to les aigles. Her thirteen-minute film Section Cinema, 2002, tours Broodthaers’s Düsseldorf studio, the original site of his famous fictional museum. Now lit by bare bulbs and piled high with antique chairs, the studio is a

  • picks December 30, 2002


    In 1945, with the announcement “I’m never going to make news photographs anymore. I’m not going to take fires, or fights or accidents. That isn’t the New York that I love now,” Weegee abandoned the naked city of pulp verité in favor of what he called “creative photography” or, sometimes, “art.” Between 1945 and his death in 1968 he created more than ten thousand photographs using a range of experimental techniques, which included exposing negatives through warped Plexiglas, and making a trick lens out of a Woolworth’s kaleidoscope. With his use of multiple exposures, mirrors, projections, and

  • picks December 09, 2002

    Aïda Ruilova

    “Come to Life,” Aïda Ruilova’s exhibition of short videos, opens with the forty-five-second Tuning (all works 2002), a single shot of Ruilova seated on an ornate sofa next to an elderly gentleman. While guitar feedback drones, the image comes slowly into focus, revealing the artist and her seatmate looking as stiffly symbiotic as a couple in a Gainsborough portrait. The gentleman is Jean Rollin, director of such films as Rape of the Vampire, The Naked Vampire, and Virgins and Vampires. It's an apt beginning: Ruilova’s videos traverse the same queasy register as Rollin’s movies, shuttling back

  • picks November 25, 2002

    “New Views”

    The Lower Manhattan Cultural Council’s World Views program, which once provided studios for artists at the World Trade Center, has found a temporary home at the World Financial Center, across the West Side Highway from the WTC site. Nine artists were offered residencies and invited to create the site-specific works now on view throughout the complex, whose reconstruction was completed this fall. With its views of the Hudson River on one side and Ground Zero on the other, its disorienting floor plan of interconnecting octagons, and its decadent-‘80s decor, the World Financial Center has a melancholy

  • picks October 23, 2002

    “Moving Pictures”

    If you care about film-, video-, and photo-based art, you’re familiar with most of the work in “Moving Pictures.” But this is all the more reason to go, since the show—which includes about 150 works from the permanent collection by fifty-five prominent artists—offers the chance to separate the wheat from the chaff along the lines of your own predilections. Though there’s work dating back to the late ’60s, the exhibition actually functions like a greatest-hits reprise of the last twelve years. Many photographs here have been exhibited and reproduced extensively: While some works, such as those

  • picks October 23, 2002

    “Drawing Now: Eight Propositions”

    In the catalogue accompanying “Drawing Now,” curator Laura Hoptman suggests that artists have turned away from process-oriented practices dominant since the ’60s to rehabilitate styles and traditions once considered hopeless culs-de-sac: ornament and decoration, commercial illustration, scientific draftsmanship, and so on. Eight categories, or propositions, make a cogent framework through which to view a diverse show, which brings together approximately 250 works by twenty-six artists from around the world. Though many are quite high-profile (Kai Althoff, Matthew Ritchie, Neo Rauch, etc.),