Frances Richard

  • Kara Walker, Darkytown Rebellion, 2001, projection, cut paper and adhesive on wall, 14 x 37".

    Kara Walker

    Kara Walker won a MacArthur Award in 1997, and her art—for all its consistent comedy and fury—has seen radical formal experiment since then.

    Kara Walker won a MacArthur Award in 1997, and her art—for all its consistent comedy and fury—has seen radical formal experiment since then. Despite her epic history, this show will be the first attempt in the United States to mount a full-scale survey of her work. Arcing a loose narrative from antebellum antics to Hollywood nightmares, the exhibition—curated by Yasmil Raymond and Philippe Vergne—promises some one hundred installations, murals, videos, and works on paper made between 1993 and 2005. The catalogue brims with essays by Vergne and art

  • Dario Robleto

    Dario Robleto’s sculptures are reliquaries, totems whose power derives from the authenticity of the stuff of which they are made. He has, for example, cast a male rib from female-rib dust, and presented a pair of interlocking pelvises formed from melted-down rock-’n’-roll albums that belonged to his father and mother. His recent show “Fear and Tenderness in Men” was the artist’s first solo exhibition in New York. Coming as a coda to an ongoing project begun in 2003, it dealt with soldiers’ relics and survivors’ mourning rituals. Installed against walls the color of dried blood, the seventeen

  • Richard Serra

    There was a period, beginning with the removal of Tilted Arc, 1981, from Manhattan’s Federal Plaza in 1989, during which critics routinely castigated Richard Serra’s sculptures for being megalomaniacal. Weighing many tons and dominating human bodies with brutal solids of cast or hot-rolled steel, the work seemed to many to be interested only in its own enormity—and, implicitly, in the money, will, and firepower that allowed it to be forged, transported, and installed.

    But over the past five years or so, the worm has turned. In 2005, Serra unveiled a permanent installation of eight sculptures,

  • Douglas Gordon

    In 1993, twenty-six-year-old Douglas Gordon had the bright idea of assembling a quartet of components: an ordinary, commercially recorded VHS tape; a double-sided translucent screen; time; and a collective cultural memory of noir pleasure/terror. The result was 24 Hour Psycho, still his most famous work. Given pride of place in a midcareer retrospective at MoMA, the daylong video—which plays Hitchcock’s film in extreme slow motion—establishes a suite of themes pursued with precise, if not obsessive, regularity in the other twelve works on show. In a sense, if you’ve seen (a part of) Gordon’s

  • Betty Woodman

    This exhibition, her first retrospective in the United States, spans Woodman’s fifty-year career by way of some seventy drawings, paintings, wall reliefs, and ceramics—like usable (albeit fantastical) teacups, “Pillow Pitchers” (two fused cylinders with pinched ends), and five large urns commissioned for the Metropolitan’s Great Hall.

    Ancient as culture itself, the clay vessel is a simple but endlessly mutable form, which New York– and Italy-based painter and sculptor Betty Woodman has explored in ways that fuse its various historical incarnations—from the utilitarian to the art-historical—referencing Tang Dynasty objects, Sèvres porcelains, Greek sculpture, Japanese kimono patterns, and paintings by Matisse and Picasso. This exhibition, her first retrospective in the United States, spans Woodman’s fifty-year career by way of some seventy drawings, paintings, wall reliefs, and ceramics—like

  • “Transmission: The Art of Matta and Gordon Matta-Clark”

    Bringing together eighty-one works by both artists, as well as archival material, the exhibition will, surprisingly, be the first to compare their careers.

    A Chilean expat in Paris and the US, Roberto Matta Echaurren was a painter, an architect, and, as a friend of Breton and Duchamp, an inner-circle Surrealist. He was not, apparently, a very good father. But his son (and Duchamp’s godson) Gordon Matta-Clark, who was born and bred in New York and also trained as an architect, became a pathbreaking artist anyway, by introducing Land art principles to urban settings. Bringing together eighty-one works by both artists, as well as archival material, the exhibition will, surprisingly, be the first to compare their careers. In

  • Jon Kessler

    In the twilight of empire, in the spider hole where the masters of the universe have gone to ground with their simulacral weapons, reality gives way to violent phantasmagoria. This is not news. But it was the scenario described by Jon Kessler’s multiroom installation at P.S. 1 Contemporary Art Center, The Palace at 4 A.M., 2005, and it packed a wallop, its physically overwhelming formal properties synced tightly with the simple, lonely rage that was its subject.

    Kessler’s first solo museum show in New York was also his largest show to date, filling a high-ceilinged hall and its side galleries.

  • Seydou Keïta

    Seydou Keïta, “the Bresson of Bamako,” died in 2001, leaving a body of work specific to the postcolonial, urban Mali of the 1950s and ’60s. But Keïta’s story—from his experience as a self-taught photographer catering to a regional clientele, to the nonpareil portraits that constitute his legacy, to the bitter struggle now raging for control of his estate—also frames discussion of his oeuvre as a parable about photography itself.

    The prints exhibited recently are posthumous and had not been seen before. But while their exhibition may have been a political move in the estate battle (of which more

  • Joseph Grigely

    A typical work by Joseph Grigely comprises bits of paper pinned to a wall, each one scribbled with a snatch of conversation. These scraps—napkins, envelopes, notebook pages—are presented in formal, snowflake-like arrangements, but their motley shapes and finishes suggest that they are incidental as objects; they simply came to hand while Grigely, who lost his hearing as a child, was scrawl-chatting with a friend. What counts is the sense of just-missed implication: the casual “tone” expressed by loopy or cramped handwriting; the cryptic phrases whose in-jokey resonance is kept though their sense

  • Nancy Spero

    Few contemporary artists could call an exhibition “Cri du Coeur” (Cry of the Heart) and expect the phrase to be read unironically. But Nancy Spero has no compunction about agonized honesty, and her command of compositional and emotional synergies now appears quite effortless. As a caption for her new project’s central image, an acknowledgement of previously private motives, and an open letter to her audience in wartime, Spero’s outcry was wrathful, lyrical, heartbroken. Paradoxically, however, her mastery of the work of mourning made the work of art uplifting.

    Cri du Coeur, 2005, an unframed

  • Vik Muniz, Toy Soldier, 2003, color photograph, 90 x 72".

    Vik Muniz

    The largest survey to date of Vik Muniz's work will perforce showcase the artist's wide range of materials, from chocolate syrup to hole-punch confetti.

    The largest survey to date of Vik Muniz's work will perforce showcase the artist's wide range of materials, from chocolate syrup to hole-punch confetti. Using these unlikely items, Muniz makes perceptual jokes (“clouds” drawn by planes) and reconstructs images appropriated from various sources (LIFE magazine, Renaissance art). He then photographs the results, exhibiting the pictures rather than the elaborate creations themselves. Like his Neo-concrete predecessors, Muniz makes works that are both playful and socially aware, as in “Sugar Children,” 1996, his series depicting

  • Lorna Simpson

    For the artist's first mid-career survey, American Federation of Arts curator Helaine Posner has gathered forty-six works—a healthy selection of early image-and-text pieces, seven major photographs on felt, six film installations, and a smattering of recent photographs.

    While working alongside the Pictures artists, Lorna Simpson pioneered a practice that applied Conceptual strategies to visual considerations of race and gender, earning her a place among the most influential artists to come out of the '80s. Now—two decades and countless exhibitions later—she is truly a force to be reckoned with. For the artist's first mid-career survey, American Federation of Arts curator Helaine Posner has gathered forty-six works—a healthy selection of early image-and-text pieces, seven major photographs on felt, six film installations,