Emily Hall

  • Katrín Sigurðardóttir, Dinning Room, Hallway, Bathroom, Coat Closet, 2012, Hydrocal, wood, 46 x 28 x 24".

    Katrín Sigurðardóttir

    Ellefu,” an exhibition by Katrín Sigurðardóttir, comprised three structures representing cross-sectioned portions of the artist’s childhood home at Langahlíð 11, Reykjavík, Iceland. Ellefu means “eleven” in Icelandic, and its consonance with the gallery’s name, Eleven Rivington, was entirely appropriate to the various keys of order and disorientation that the installation produced.

    The four-foot-tall structures are made of plaster poured into basswood frames, chalky white and adorned only with the natural lines of the wood. They resemble overgrown architectural maquettes, more ideal than real.

  • Alix Pearlstein, Moves in the Field, 2012, HD video, color, sound, 20 minutes.

    Alix Pearlstein

    In a video projected wall-size, people come and go. They meet, part, walk toward one another, and run away. They confront the camera or they ignore it. The only sounds are of footsteps, quickening and slowing. Facial expressions are for the most part neutral, although some of the performers occasionally exhibit a wider range of emotion, in particular a handsome dark-haired fellow who glowers and flirts, his posture looser than the others’. At one point, he and an older woman press their cheeks together, and she smiles rather radiantly—an understated emotional peak.

    This is Alix Pearlstein’s

  • Jessica Rath, Sisters small and different, 2012, ink-jet print on paper, 32 x 41".

    Jessica Rath

    Jessica Rath’s large-format photographs of apple trees in winter, all made this year, have a kind of alarming beauty. Taken with clinical precision, the ten images portray the barren trees against lengths of white muslin, either alone or in a row, rising up from a scrubby ground that is in places littered with bruised and rotting fruit. The blank backdrops and bare branches emphasize the shapes of the trunks and configurations of branches—the “architecture” of the trees—inviting the viewer to track the differences between each image: Some trees have a narrow, columnar shape, others

  • View of “Tomás Saraceno,” 2012.

    Tomás Saraceno

    The sculptures and collages shown in Tomás Saraceno’s recent exhibition belong to a wide-ranging scientific and philosophical project begun in 2002, variously called Cloud Cities and Air-Port-City. At the crux of the undertaking is a speculative metropolis composed of continuously shifting configurations of cell-like modules that float above the earth, the entire process powered by solar energy and wind.

    In Tanya Bonakdar’s large downstairs space, various arrangements of polyhedrons made from beech plywood or nylon string—representations of the Cloud City’s component cells—hung from

  • Mamiko Otsubo, Untitled (Glass Horizon with Ball), 2012, glass, rubber ball, wood, museum board, 24 x 18 1/2 x 2 1/2".

    Mamiko Otsubo

    A sculpture called Equivalent, 2012, neatly sums up the premise of Mamiko Otsubo’s exhibition. The work is partly composed of used copies of a mass-market edition of the 1946 book Selected Writings of Gertrude Stein, which the artist has laid out on the floor in neat rows. Toward one end of the arrangement, cast-silicone tablets stand in for the books. A rose is a rose is a rose—or is it? What precisely constitutes an equivalent? In search of possible answers, Otsubo creates relationships between things that are approximately the same, tying them together with loose association, puns, and

  • Ellen Harvey, The Nudist Museum Gift Shop (detail), 2012, oil on wood panel, dimensions variable.

    Ellen Harvey

    Ellen Harvey’s “The Nudist Museum Gift Shop” included installations evoking both a museum and a gift shop, as well as works situated in a bathroom and a stairwell. This is all to the point: Harvey’s practice engages not just with art history, but with the spaces in which we experience art. For New York Beautification Project, 1999–2001, she painted small, classical landscapes on buildings and Dumpsters, allowing for unexpected encounters at public sites already claimed by graffiti. Arcadia, 2011, created for the inaugural show at Turner Contemporary, in Margate, UK, furnished a scale model of

  • Uri Aran, Untitled, 2012, mixed media, dimensions variable.

    Uri Aran

    Presiding over Uri Aran’s exhibition was a video, taken by the artist via Skype, of a man examining a plate of cookies. He picks up each one and looks at it closely, then shows it to the camera, as though the concept of a cookie were entirely foreign and slightly suspect. He groups them at one end of the plate, spreads them out again in neat rows. One of the cookies is broken, and he tries to reassemble it, over and over again, patiently, curiously, evincing no visible awareness of the task’s futility. Later, the man dips a tea bag into a cup of water again and again, this commonplace task made

  • Matthew Picton, “Ghost Map” The 1854 London Cholera Epidemic, 2011, archival Japanese absorbent paper, 32 x 32".

    Matthew Picton

    A map, reductive by definition, is full of ghosts. Matthew Picton engages these specters with paper sculptures that add a third dimension to the map and in various ways give form to imaginary cartographies of history. Indeed, he renders his maps four-dimensional by referring to the passage of time.

    For his recent show at Christopher Henry, Picton presented a selection of these works. Some begin with a specific historical episode: A map of London comprises only the area of the city affected by the cholera outbreak of 1854. The map appears blank when looked at head-on, but from the side one sees

  • Aleksandra Mir, The Seduction of Galileo Galilei, 2011, still from a color video, 16 minutes 33 seconds.

    Aleksandra Mir

    Aleksandra Mir’s video The Seduction of Galileo Galilei, 2011, is based on Galileo’s fabled experiment with falling bodies. The physicist is said to have dropped objects of different weights from the top of Pisa’s famous leaning tower in 1598, in order to demonstrate that they would accelerate at the same speed regardless of mass. In Mir’s version, the tower itself is the object of experimentation: A group of volunteers piles car tires on top of one another until the stack gives in to gravity and crashes to the ground.

    The video—on view at the Whitney Museum of American Art in a presentation

  • Yamini Nayar, Cascading Attica, 2011, color photograph, 40 x 50".

    Yamini Nayar

    The overwhelming experience of looking at Yamini Nayar’s photographs is that of mystification: One can look and look and still be puzzled. The photographs invite us to view them as representations of three-dimensional space, but they complicate or even do away with the tools we use, largely without realizing it, for interpreting volume: perspective, vanishing point, background, and foreground. It is difficult to describe, much less understand, what one sees.

    To create these beguiling images, Nayar built ephemeral sculptural tableaux from little bits of this and that, paper, foil, and string, and

  • Marc Hundley, A Woman Under the Influence, 2011, ink on paper, 12 1/2 x 16 1/2".

    Marc Hundley

    Marc Hundley’s works are as compactly evocative as a concert flyer and as cryptic as a yearbook quote; some are carefully made to resemble the DIY concert posters often found stapled to telephone poles on city streets. For “Joan Baez Is Alive,” his show at Team Gallery, the sheets of paper with band names, snippets of lyrics, quotes from books were given lots of room to breathe on the gallery wall, with stern but generous white benches in front for repose and contemplation. That the benches resembled pews seemed deliberate: We were invited to consider something we only partially understood, akin

  • View of “Hilary Lloyd,” 2011. Foreground: Shirt, 2011. Background: Moon, 2011.

    Hilary Lloyd

    Thighs, 2011, by Hilary Lloyd, appeared to have legs, as did nearly all of the works in her exhibition at Artists Space last summer. Pairs of slender silver poles, set close together and running from floor to ceiling, supported monitors, giving the works a somewhat humanoid presence and stature. In Thighs, the effect is particularly pronounced: The two poles are formally echoed in actual thighs shown in close-up on a split-screen monitor set near to the ground; the limbs are mostly still but occasionally slip apart, revealing sunlight streaming between them. And there is another echo as well,