Emily Weiner

  • picks April 10, 2014

    Timothy Hull

    In “Pastiche Cicero,” artist Timothy Hull nods to overlooked and off-the-cuff art of the ancient world, sourcing graffiti found at the Athenian Agora and in Pompeii as imagery for his cheeky, archeologically themed paintings and wall installations at Fitzroy Gallery. As its title suggests, the show presents stylized reproductions of classical phenomena: The oil painting Copy of a Copy of a Copy/Blue, 2013, depicts a two-handled urn that Hull has reduced to a graphic stamp, its pictorial simplicity tempered by an elaborate texture of obsessively wrought brush marks. The drawing For Amonis, Who

  • picks June 12, 2013

    Christian Holstad

    “The Book of Hours,” the title of Christian Holstad’s debut at Andrew Kreps’s new location, is painted across the gallery’s front doors, a cue to visitors that they are stepping into an allegorical space—a loose, modern take on the eponymous medieval manuscript used as a daily prayer manual during the fifteenth century. Inside, a garden of soft sculptures, wielded from crocheted yarn, twisted towels, bent wire, and other textural flotsam, spreads across the space. Holstad intersperses more bucolic works—a tree stump, a bush of flowers, even a flock of pecking chickens (their feet expressively

  • picks November 13, 2012

    Michael Byron and Stacy Fisher

    How do conventions in the history of art exhibition persist—or, alternately, break down—when familiar images are reproduced and reframed in a canvas, or common objects repositioned and rejigged upon a pedestal? In “The Study,” a show of paintings by Michael Byron and sculptures by Stacy Fisher, long-standing questions of display continue to pan out. While Byron’s approach is museological (his paintings incorporate frames, finishes, and plaques), Fisher’s is utilitarian (her works sit on raw-wood pedestals or directly on the floor). Despite their aesthetic differences, however, the two artists

  • picks August 30, 2012

    “Light and Landscape”

    Storm King, the Hudson Valley’s longtime mecca of outdoor steel-and-stone sculpture, gets a contemporary boost this summer, as associate curator Nora Lawrence brings in works by fourteen artists, all of whom bring a conceptual approach to the use of light as both subject and material. A tour of the exhibition “Light and Landscape”—snaking over five hundred acres, throughout permanent installations by the likes of Mark di Suvero, Alexander Calder, and Andy Goldsworthy—turns up some uninhibited examples of what the illuminated environment can mean to artists today.

    Those featured here take on (and

  • picks February 07, 2012

    Paul Heyer and Virginia Poundstone

    Painting and sculpture make peaceful bedfellows in this exhibition by two artists whose works, while formally dissimilar, mirror a taste for bucolic and understated beauty. The show’s title, “I know that I am awake,” is lifted from author and Zen Buddhist Peter Matthiessen, who in his 1978 memoir Snow Leopard climbs the Himalayas in search of the elusive titular beast, but finds exquisiteness in the pedestrian sights along the way. Following suit, Paul Heyer and Virginia Poundstone evoke a sense of the existential via more modest matter.

    Heyer’s subtle marks on canvas (stippled strokes, calligraphic

  • picks September 06, 2011

    “My Winnipeg”

    Manitoba’s wintry capital invades summertime Paris for this show, the first in La Maison Rouge’s series focusing on art scenes worldwide. Assembling work by seventy regional artists, the exhibition has avoided the tedium of an overhung survey by enlisting five curators to arrange seven separate chapters, each of which progressively unfurls the local characters of Winnipeg art.

    “There’s No Place like Home,” the title of the first room visitors encounter, introduces the area’s history via a salon-style arrangement of archival photos of nineteenth-century landscape paintings, early-twentieth-century

  • picks August 14, 2011

    Claude Cahun

    Raising the question “Why isn’t Claude Cahun a household name?,” this retrospective positions the artist (born Lucy Schwob in 1894) at the forefront of Surrealist photography, neck and neck with her contemporaries André Breton and Man Ray. The some 140 photographs and documents on view insinuate that Cahun’s marginality as a gay woman made for an oeuvre more audacious than those of her feted male contemporaries.

    The first works encountered upon entry are Cahun’s best-known. These portraits from the 1920s picture the artist in various guises: an androgynous, shaved-head Narcissus at a mirror, a

  • picks January 08, 2011

    Charles LeDray

    While Paul Thek’s revivalist survey commands the Whitney’s fourth floor, Charles LeDray’s midcareer retrospective just downstairs evokes a more intimate (but no less worthy) sort of reverence. Displaying numerous handmade works from, bafflingly, just over two decades, the exhibition reveals thousands of tiny sculptures within sculptures, which together reflect the strange sensitivity of a staggeringly focused and nimble-fingered artist.

    LeDray’s personal history and social consciousness bolster even some of the earliest pieces on view. The show’s eponymous installation, workworkworkworkwork,

  • picks September 22, 2010

    Andra Ursuta

    Romanian-born, New York–based artist Andra Ursuta cheekily confronts her cultural identity in the exhibition “The Management of Barbarism.” The first piece encountered on entering the show is a pile comprising thousands of eggshells painted in the Eastern European folk tradition and then systematically defiled: crushed, doused in spitlike resin, impaled with dozens of arrows, and buried with clumps of dirt as if a vulgar reenactment of a mass murder. Ursuta’s tendency to renounce and recognize patrimony resurfaces in Ass to Mouth (all works 2010), a sculpture propped against the wall that is

  • picks March 22, 2010

    Jacco Olivier

    Dutch artist Jacco Olivier’s latest exhibition melds conventional gestures of painting with video animation to bewitching effect. On view in the gallery’s darkened front room are four wall projections (each under four minutes long), composed of his repeatedly reworked impressionistic paintings, which were photographed at different stages of composition. Strung together frame by frame, the stills morph into dreamy moving pictures that eschew any singular influence.

    While Olivier surprises with this hybrid form, he also puts a sly spin on art-historical themes through his handling of subjects. The

  • picks November 03, 2009

    Matthew Ritchie

    In this exhibition, Matthew Ritchie gives new meaning to William Blake’s “eternity in an hour.” Line Shot, 2009, the show’s titular focus, is an animated opus that guides viewers on a dreamlike tour of space and time, meandering from creation to apocalypse, submicroscopic realms to infinite vastness (think Powers of Ten on acid)—in just more than sixty minutes.

    Projected into the gallery’s corner, with the image split across two walls, the video is matched by an oscillating, out-of-sync score by Aaron and Bryce Dessner of the National (who performed live with Ritchie’s video work October 28–31

  • picks May 23, 2009

    Cheyney Thompson

    Cheyney Thompson’s fourth solo exhibition at Andrew Kreps Gallery, “Robert Macaire Chromachromes,” is as multilayered as the artist’s previous exhibitions and as evasive of any signature surface aesthetic. (His works differ notably from show to show.) Here, thirteen variously shaped canvases poke fun at traditional painting: One takes the shape of a diamond; another––long and ruler thin––slants up the wall at a forty-five-degree slope; meanwhile, a wide rectangle looms high above customary, eye-level view. Each canvas is primed stark white and detailed with rows of tiny, multicolored patterns.

  • picks March 13, 2009

    Julianne Swartz

    “Words come first from here and then from there. The situation is not linear. It is as though I am in a forest hunting for ideas,” John Cage said of his late experimentations with language. This explanation just as easily describes a viewer’s experience of Julianne Swartz’s own word-centric work Terrain, 2007–2008, a lyric sound installation comprising 104 tiny speakers strung from the gallery ceiling. Standing below this web of electronics and multicolored wires, the visitor discerns tender utterances spoken by both male and female voices —“I love you” stated in a whisper; a hum of pleasure;

  • picks March 04, 2009

    Thomas Hirschhorn

    Thomas Hirschhorn’s Universal Gym is far more hospitable to thin-skinned viewers than his last exhibition at this gallery. Gone are the excessive images of war victims and the brutal newspaper headlines. Instead, he presents a droll mock gym, replete with workout equipment rigged from common objects, cardboard, and packing tape. Nearly a dozen makeshift fitness machines dominate the floor, while cardboard mats and empty water bottles are scattered throughout. An ersatz shower, stockpiles of provisional weights, and several mounted fans span the gallery’s periphery, all adding to the theatrical,

  • picks January 20, 2009

    Nick Cave

    Stepping into Nick Cave’s second solo exhibition at this gallery is a bewitching experience, akin to visiting the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute while hallucinating. Cave has converted the main space into a strange showroom that displays almost two dozen mannequins outfitted with sequins, buttons, and elaborate embroidery that make them look like alien priests, psychedelic Sasquatches, or hybrid harlequins.

    Called “Soundsuits” because of the clatter the original prototype––a costume adorned with vast bundles of sticks––made while worn in an early performance, Cave’s subsequent

  • picks October 29, 2008

    Judith Eisler

    Fifteen minutes of fame may seem fleeting to some, but for Judith Eisler, mere instants on the big screen are epic. For nearly a decade, Eisler has taken snapshots of art-house films from the 1960s and ’70s—most often stills of motion—and recaptured them in blurry large-scale paintings. The results are images thrice removed from the original scene of action; to the viewer’s eyes, the canvases seem to toggle between photorealism and abstraction.

    Eisler’s process in this exhibition, titled “I don’t believe it. I won’t let it happen” (a line appropriated from Jean-Luc Godard’s 1982 film Passion),