Eugenia Bell

  • Aaron Spangler

    In the contemporary art world, work featuring (or even originating from) the prairie states is about as popular as wood carving, but both figured prominently in Aaron Spangler’s recent exhibition. While there have been fitful creative explorations of Unabomber Ted Kaczynski’s Montana cabin by Seth Weiner (in faithful reproduction; Hermitage, 2007), Constantin and Laurene Leon Boym (in souvenir mode; Souvenirs for the End of the Century, 1998), and Richard Barnes (in crisp color photographs; 1998); and while Catherine Opie has captured the languor of Minneapolis’s ice-fishing huts and Habitrail

  • Wijnanda Deroo

    Between 1988 and 1992, Dutch photographer Wijnanda Deroo trawled New York City’s Lower East Side for fragments of the not yet gentrified neighborhood’s Jewish history, photographing its obscured and crumbling synagogues. In 2004, she was commissioned to document the Rijksmuseum’s prerestoration state, arriving at a sequence of desolate interiors that reflect a century of wear and tear. Considering these two projects, made more than a decade apart, simultaneously is to be struck by how unerringly Deroo has managed to invest empty spaces with emotional authority. The artist’s recent exhibition

  • Karl Haendel

    Private thoughts and public images are rendered starkly in black and white in Karl Haendel’s first New York solo appearance. Three photographs and forty-six labor-intensive, mostly large-scale drawings, depicting everything from Kenneth Noland–esque concentric circles to headlines clipped from the New York Times to iconic photojournalistic images, were arrayed around the gallery walls in a way that verged at times on the ludic (as with one work consisting of the repeated phrase BUSH, PLEASE BUY RUBBERS) and at times on the melancholy (as with elegiac renderings of moments from Haendel’s ’70s

  • The Plains of Sweet Regret, 2004–2007, five-channel video installation, 18 minutes. Installation view.
    picks April 13, 2007

    Mary Lucier

    The Plains of Sweet Regret, the treacly title of Mary Lucier’s latest work, dovetails seamlessly with the plaintive wail of the country classic “I Can Still Make Cheyenne,” which lilts through the gallery during this ambitious and oddly poignant installation. In the first half of Lucier’s work, commissioned by the North Dakota Museum of Art and first presented in 2004, five screens each detail a slightly different iteration of the Great Plains’ slow, gothic decline: The abandoned farmhouses, fallow fields, vacant paddocks, and echoing silos are scattered amid the desolation like the ruins of a

  • “Spank the Monkey”

    It’s fitting that on the exhibition floor beneath Baltic’s big show of street art—loosely ranging over two floors of the former flour mill—was a small display of early Keith Haring drawings. Haring, along with Jean-Michel Basquiat, was the first street artist to jump the curb and enter the gallery; since then graffiti and other work that falls under the catch-all label “street art” has—at least according to Pedro Alonzo and Baltic director Peter Doroshenko, the curators of “Spank the Monkey”—not only transcended the street to take up residence in the white cube but become the wallpaper of any

  • untitled, 1999, oil and collage on plywood, 48 1/4 x 47 7/8".
    picks February 16, 2007

    Josef Kramhöller

    It seems that seven years after his death by suicide, the cult reification of Josef Kramhöller is beginning—and perhaps none too soon. This selection of drawings and photographs seems a representative overview of his obscured, somewhat sad time in London—yet exhibits a sly appreciation of his adopted home. A series of small photographs from 1995 (all Untitled [fingerprint on window of luxury boutique]) are blurry evocations of shiny baubles and glad rags sullied by the mark of the commoner. Examples of Kramhöller’s writings from the mid-'90s are laid out in a vitrine: “the problem with space,”

  • Around, About Expanded Field (Sculpture Silhouette Props), 2007, MDF, paint, steel, and video, dimensions variable.
    picks February 15, 2007

    Peter Coffin

    Peter Coffin, whose earlier work investigated the naive sincerity behind bad science and the paranormal, who established his own “micro-nation,” and who has been known to play music to plants, presents here something slightly less outcast. But it’s no less ambitious and, typically, somewhat playful. On entering the gallery, dimly lit by the large video screen at one end, a haunted prop house of modern sculpture’s greatest hits emerges from the gloom: Brancusi, Giacometti, Rodin, Miró (Around, About Expanded Field [Sculpture Silhouette Props], 2007). There must be two dozen outsize figures from

  • Alvar Aalto, Shigeru Ban (Paper House), 1995, Lake Yamanaka, Yamanashi, Japan. Photo: Hiroyuki Hirai.

    Alvar Aalto

    Finnish architect Alvar Aalto said that “the Lord created paper for drawing architecture. Everything else is . . . misuse of paper.” So it is perhaps a grand irony that Japanese architect Shigeru Ban, recognized almost exclusively (albeit inadequately) for his innovative use of paper as a building material, is co-organizing (along with Tomoko Sato) the first British retrospective of Aalto’s work.

    Finnish architect Alvar Aalto said that “the Lord created paper for drawing architecture. Everything else is . . . misuse of paper.” So it is perhaps a grand irony that Japanese architect Shigeru Ban, recognized almost exclusively (albeit inadequately) for his innovative use of paper as a building material, is co-organizing (along with Tomoko Sato) the first British retrospective of Aalto’s work. Intended in part as a conversation between the two architects, the exhibition will not only present Aalto’s pioneering Nordic Modern work—which, it has been said,

  • Charles Avery, Untitled, 2006, aluminum, acrylic paint, wood, mirror, silver candelabras, and candles, 68 1/2 x 78 3/4 x 39 3/8".
    picks November 30, 2006

    Charles Avery and Keith Wilson

    This two-person exhibition primarily features the drawings of the young Scot Charles Avery. Exquisitely detailed, yet with a sense of the incomplete sketch about them, Two Hunters (all works 2006) and Eternal Forest No. 7 especially call out his proficiency and near-obsessive fascination with the line. Two sculptures also on view (Untitled and The August Snakes Stand Erect as That Is How Their Beards Best Be Admired) utilize effects seen in the artist’s earlier work. Untitled uses a two-sided mirror standing vertically on the middle of a table to reflect the image of the silver candelabra on

  • Untitled, 2006, oil on canvas, 19 5/8 x 15 3/4".
    picks November 28, 2006

    Stef Driesen

    While Belgian artist Stef Driesen claims he’s referencing old-master themes and color palettes, the smallest painting in this group of new canvases (all Untitled, 2006) echoes Magritte’s surreal empty faces. Two trees—mere stalagmites in pink and the verdigris of corroded copper—claw up from the perspectival void above the chin. Another painting features a head with a mane of black hair, prominently parted, obscuring a face one can only assume is blank, a presumption supported by the faceless lovers elsewhere in the gallery. Across the room, a supernatural landscape is steadfastly held to some

  • Silke Schatz

    “The New Architecture,” a movement based on a sociopolitical awareness of the built environment, dawned in the early 1920s. Central to its cause was the improvement of housing through the provision of natural light and fresh air and the creation of outdoor space. German architect Otto Haesler ranks among the most significant proponents of the movement, but while no other architect in the ’20s was as committed to the modernist claims of efficiency and rationalism as he, Haesler remains virtually unknown despite his vital contributions to the modernist canon.

    Haesler’s practice in the small Saxon

  • Cluster 1 (Neopolis), 2006.
    picks September 25, 2006

    Richard Galpin

    It seems appropriate that Richard Galpin apprenticed to a relief woodcarver as a teenager. Since 2001, he has made an intriguing career of chipping away at the urban environment, creating new cityscapes out of panoramic photographs of urban settings (in this exhibition, titled “Revisionary,” that setting is London). The wholesale erasure in his “peeled photographs” belies the delicate nature of the scalpel work that leaves entire blocks of office buildings not just unidentifiable but entirely unrecognizable as photographs. The result, in some cases, is delicate, as in Cluster VII (Globopolis)