Ellen Berkovitch

  • Nic Nicosia

    Pictorializing the stagecraft of art is Nic Nicosia’s purported subject. The eight new photographs included in this exhibition depict the artist in the process of making, or having just completed, drawings on the white walls of sets that he has built. These sets hold the artist’s figure and his marks in a relationship that is both a performance of making a picture and a picture of making a performance. Nicosia’s miniature theaters serve as simultaneous arenas of technical possibilities and constraints. Scale is the first illusion. The sets are mostly semicircular, the photographs universally

  • Steina

    The elemental throb of nature and the engineered pulse of electronic circuitry make for a potent combination in Steina’s current retrospective at SITE Santa Fe. Steina and her husband, Woody Vasulka, have lived in Santa Fe since 1980. Yet longtime viewers will see immediately that the style of low-end installation that they pioneered together (banks of old TV sets and military-industrial gadgets) is long gone. Glamorous new gear—Steina’s seminal work, The West, 1983, is shown here on a twenty-one-monitor LCD flat-screen ziggurat—makes the work appear newly sleek and sumptuous.

    Six large-scale

  • Heather McGill

    Heather McGill’s sculptures flaunt an essential flatness. While the forms at first appear to make specific allusions to recognizable objects, from toasters to guitars, they resist completing those thoughts but instead suggest, with a lipstick-slick seductiveness. Enacting a tightly controlled giddiness, McGill employs up to thirty layers of acrylic lacquer (commonly known as “candies”) sprayed onto laser-cut aluminum or stainless steel skeletons, which are covered with fiberglass and layers of epoxy-coated urethane foam, then cold-molded using a vacuum bagging process. The five sculptures and

  • Paul Sarkisian

    The new, shaped paintings that crowded veteran New Mexico–based artist Paul Sarkisian’s ten-year retrospective not only smack vaguely of anime, they look like the kind of thing that Bridget Riley might produce were she to embark on a second career in packaging design: wavy-edged fields of emerald and magenta applied to panels that seem inspired as much by Karim Rashid as Frank Stella. But the show, curated by Louis Grachos, director of Buffalo’s Albright-Knox Art Gallery, also amounted to a cautionary tale about the dangers of dividing a solo survey unequally between styles (of the twenty-eight

  • Judy Chicago

    At the very beginning of her career, Judy Chicago married Minimalism’s repetition compulsion with an illusionistic approach to material and color. Considering her onenote reputation based on her feminist landmark, The Dinner Party, 1974–79, this exhibit, which assembled about sixty-one of Chicago’s earlier paintings, drawings, and sculptures, presented viewers with a girls-too revue of Minimalism and a more comprehensive look at an artist most often seen as the high priestess of feminist kitsch.

    The inclusion of twenty-five works on paper revealed the scope of Chicago’s formal experimentation.

  • Carrie Mae Weems

    When Newcomb College at Tulane University commissioned Carrie Mae Weems to create new work commemorating the bicentennial of the Louisiana Purchase, she made several sets of photographs, a video projection, and sets of video stills in which she juxtaposed sites of slavery and antebellum pomp with the industrial locales of the “New South.” In the photos, Weems herself appears in period costume; for the videos, she shot footage of a Mardi Gras ball off the TV and integrated it into her own imagery of contemporary and Civil War–era maids, mistresses, and masters in shadowy silhouette. Both photos

  • Mark Baseman

    This exhibition of Marc Baseman’s graphite–and–powdered pigment miniatures brought together eighteen works made between 2000 and 2003 as well as a vitrine-filling assortment of slightly larger graphite drawings and woodcut prints from 1996. The artist’s kaleidoscopic worlds—which measure two and seven-eighths inches by two and one-fourth inches—are part Dick Tracy and part Piranesi, as seen through a Pee Wee’s Playhouse microscope.

    Baseman’s compositions always contain a central building, bird, or insect, which anchors the picture and causes the eye to make the circuit of its crowded periphery.

  • Janine Antoni

    Tightrope acts are anxious spectacles. So it’s appropriate that Janine Antoni, a virtuoso of public displays of anxiety, learned to walk the high wire for a video commissioned by SITE Santa Fe for her career survey, “taught tether teeter.” Miming a fearless Ariadne whose brave crossings double as a hero’s journey, Antoni, dressed in sky blue, performs in front of her childhood home in Freeport, Bahamas. The camera angle makes her appear to tread the ocean’s horizon. This walk on air and water is a self-parodying pun on the precocious success of the artist, who, at thirty-eight, has been famous

  • Ed Ruscha

    Make a letter crystal dear or fuzzy, give it good posture or a slouch, shear its edges or pad its curves, and you've got some of the variations Ed Ruscha bleached or stained onto the faded cloth covers of his ‘'S Books,“ 1993–2001, and ”O Books,'’ 1992–97. These letter objects can't help but suggest roads and mouths, respectively. Sly references come unbidden: S is for Standard, Ruscha's jutting logo out of Amarillo, Texas; O is Oklahoma, the state the artist hails from and was driving back to in 1963 when Twentysix Gasoline Stations, his first book, appeared.

    Yet as if to show how little he