Frances Richard

  • Rachel Berwick

    Rachel Berwick’s may-por-é, 1997, is a streamlined sculptural installation enveloped in an elaborate narrative that addresses the interplay of natural history and science. The objects are inextricably linked to the accompanying textual documentation; both objects and text circulate in larger schemes of assumptions and associations. If this sounds rather Conceptual, it is, and like many Conceptualists Berwick uses language as the basis for her investigation. Her interest, however, is not so much semantic as poetic. She aims not to deconstruct or to educate but to gaze, which makes the work both

  • Robert Smithson

    IN HIS “SITE/NON-SITE” projects of the late ’60s and early ’70s, Robert Smithson mapped the ravages and beauties of the twentieth-century landscape. His chosen sites were poisoned lakes, rubbish dumps, and construction zones, by-products of industrial capitalism. Intervening and scavenging in these wastelands, he carried back from them evocative fragments—stones, salt crystals, tar samples—which, in the gallery, became non-sites, abstract reminders of the absent site’s meaning. “My view of art,” Smithson wrote in 1969, “springs from a dialectical position that deals with whether something exists

  • Montien Boonma

    Smell is thought to be our most associative sense—an instant trigger of memories, a conduit for delivering nuanced and complex meaning directly to our animal selves. But even in installation-based art, the richly evocative power of smell is usually ignored. Montien Boonma’s recent show, a sculptural environment whose main ingredients were medicinal herbs from the traditional Asian pharmacopoeia, was a pungent exception. Employing metaphors of cleansing and curing, Boonma’s installation proposed to offer sensory sanctuary, a kind of aromatherapy for the visually overstimulated. Exceptional, too,

  • Yukinori Yanagi

    Although officially abandoned in 1963, Alcatraz is still arguably the most famous prison in the United States. The island stronghold has become a cultural trope, a sign of hard-rock isolation and miraculous escape. For the Japanese artist Yukinori Yanagi, the site provided an at-times-unlikely platform for his personal investigations of nationality and migration—investigations conducted for the most part using the lowly ant as a medium.

    This exhibition presented three works originally installed on Alcatraz as part of Yanagi’s 1996 residency there, sponsored by Capp Street Project in San Francisco.

  • Roni Horn

    Iceland has for a number of years functioned as a kind of archetypal location for Roni Horn. In fact, she has collected the work on this terrain under the rubric “To Place,” and she returned to that evocative domain in her latest show. Here, as elsewhere, her romantic appropriation of a wild and unstable landscape was tempered by a bracing formalism and a fascination with seriality.

    On the cement floor in the windowed gallery sat two square blocks of solid cobalt-blue glass. They were low to the ground, like ottomans, and placed at oblique angles to each other. Simple, minimal even, the pair was

  • Rosemarie Trockel

    When Rosemarie Trockel began showing in New York in the late ’80s, her best-known work—machine-made woolen pieces presented as “paintings” and minimalist cubes with stove-top burners—seemed to categorize her as interested in the female domestic realm. She became known in the shorthand of the moment as “the knit person,” but a certain chilliness or ironic distance pervaded these pieces; this somewhat mocking stance problematized easy feminist labels, suggesting instead a stranger, more idiosyncratic engagement with questions of female subjectivity in the process of making art.

    Trockel’s recent

  • Peggy Preheim

    There is something inherently obsessive about miniature portraits—an exquisite, hyperfocused sort of scrutiny that shrinks a presumably full-scale beloved to pocket-size—and it is this quality that animates Peggy Preheim’s recent show of thirty-seven pencil miniatures made between 1993 and 1997. In this album of intimate distortions and meticulous fantasies, each image measures just a few inches across, floating in the milky void of an 18-by-15-inch sheet of paper. The portraits are richly worked and tonally varied, built up with tiny strokes that disappear into a seamless photographic illusion.

  • Tacita Dean

    As a filmmaker who also works with the tools of drawing, Tacita Dean’s interest lies with the liminal potential of the storyboard: incomplete, evocative, suggesting a visual narrative bigger than it can contain. Unlike the film still, which is finished and looks backward, signifying a real but absent whole, the storyboard is a seed-idea, a blueprint. In Dean’s recent installation of seven chalkboard drawings—which together formed one integrated work, The Roaring Forties: Seven Boards in Seven Days, 1997—the artist sketched an epic tale with ephemeral means, a narrative whose cast and setting

  • Juan Uslé

    How does the use of light in photography—a medium that takes the inscription of illumination as its own identity—differ from its wider, deeper, more idiosyncratic application in painting? The question is as old as the camera, and there are as many answers as there are beholders. But despite its constancy (or perhaps because of it) artists still engage the issue, as Juan Uslé’s exhibition of separately conceived but clearly interdependent paintings and photographs attested.

    Titled “Luz Aislada” or “Light Isolated,” the show consisted of six paintings and twelve Cibachromes, the latter taken from

  • Jennifer Bolande

    Like all convincing sleight of hand, Jennifer Bolande’s show “Forest Spirits” prompted reflection on the technologies of appearance. In the tradition of classic nature photography, her suite of subtle, computer-assisted prints (published in an edition of eight) was unabashedly pretty, a modest and appealing celebration of the ways in which the camera’s intervention creates “natural” beauty. That in this case an appropriated photograph actually replaces a real-life landscape as the object of representation only serves to remind us that the difference between what the camera does and what digital

  • Hiroshi Sugimoto

    In Hiroshi Sugimoto’s seascapes, action, what there is of it, transpires in the subtle play between opposites. In each photograph, change and stasis, clarity and fog, detail and totality oscillate, creating a theater of “non-happening,” what the artist calls “time exposed.” With a few significant departures, this show represented a continuation of Sugimoto’s ongoing photographic series, begun in the mid ’70s, in which images are produced by leaving the camera shutter open for as long as three hours, allowing the passage of time to coalesce into the single moment a still photograph purports to

  • Nancy Rubins

    After nearly a century of readymades and bricolage, the cultural resonance of trash is well established. Debris is both abject and talismanic: it represents not only what is thrown away but what remains, and a successful bricoleur like Nancy Rubins can make these qualities function simultaneously. In this show, presenting two sculptural installations of junked airplane parts, Rubins set herself devilish problems in gravity and suspension. But she also commented on the balance between waste and salvage, machismo and vulnerability.

    The more impressive of the two sculptures, a lofty, shattered arc,