Hannah Stamler

  • Jules Adler

    The French painter Jules Adler was a popular artist in his lifetime, and this, ironically, is likely why you have never heard of him. Adler, the subject of the recent survey “Jules Adler: Peintre du Peuple” (Painter of the People), curated by Amélie Lavin and Claire Decomps, was not part of the Parisian avant-garde. He didn’t need to be: He had mainstream acclaim. Born in the Franche-Comté in 1865, Adler trained in Paris at the elite Académie Julian and entered the École des Beaux-Arts in 1884. In 1885, he had his first painting accepted into the Salon, which was notorious for rejecting many

  • “How shall we dress for the occasion?”

    Climate change poses many dangers, but perhaps the most insidious one is the erosion of our faith in the future, a belief regarded by some philosophers and scientists as essential to human nature and progress. If we act and moralize our actions around imagined consequences for coming generations, then what are we to do in the face of a dying earth and an uncertain tomorrow? This question lies at the heart of “How shall we dress for the occasion?” at 601Artspace. Curated by Ulya Soley, with help from Mari Spirito, the show brings together works by four artists who consider how to cope with the

  • film December 25, 2019

    Soul Sisters

    GRETA GERWIG’S GREAT SUBJECT is the twilight of girlhood. She has become something like the patron saint of girls on the precipice, or, as Britney Spears put it twenty years ago, not-girls-not-yet-women. Her heroines, sharp and tender, find themselves caught between their past and future selves; they are consumed by the task of reconciling youthful hope with present realities, slouching toward some kind of self-actualization and away from adolescence, real or protracted.

    In Frances Ha (2012) and Mistress America (2015), both cowritten by Gerwig, she plays an adrift twentysomething struggling to

  • picks December 13, 2019

    From the Douanier Rousseau to Séraphine: The Great Naive Masters

    This is the first large-scale exhibition focused on the “Naives,” a loose coalition of self-taught painters so called because their delightfully amateurish canvases were reminiscent of those by the original “naive master,” Henri Rousseau (1844–1910). Organized by theme—with galleries dedicated to landscapes and seascapes, florals and animals, still lifes and portraits—the show provides a comprehensive introduction to the circle, active until the mid-twentieth century yet since largely forgotten to art history.

    Unlike the Realists or Impressionists who preceded them, the Naives did not distinguish

  • Bill Viola

    In his eponymous museum, Albert C. Barnes (1872–1951) divided his impressive collection into small “ensembles,” juxtaposing paintings, sculptures, and decorative objects without regard for chronology or geography: a modern abstraction beside pages from a medieval Book of Hours, an African ceremonial ax suspended above a European rendering of Christ carrying the cross. As curator John G. Hanhardt writes in the catalogue for “I Do Not Know What It Is I Am Like: The Art of Bill Viola,” Barnes’s eclecticism made his museum the ideal site for this Bill Viola exhibition—the first of its size in

  • Rina Banerjee

    HERE IS A SAMPLING of the materials in one sculpture by the artist Rina Banerjee: an Anglo-Indian pedestal, a Victorian birdcage, feathers, gourds, and fractured Frozen Charlotte doll heads. The title of this work is even more intricate than its constituent parts: Her captivity was once someone’s treasure and even pleasure but she blew and flew away took root which grew, we knew this was like no other feather, a third kind of bird that perched on a vine intertwined was neither native nor her queens daughters, a peculiar other., 2011.

    Banerjee is a poet of products, a psychic medium of manufactures,

  • Yael Bartana

    In February of last year, Poland’s president, Andrzej Duda, made it illegal for citizens to suggest that their nation bears any responsibility for the horrors of the Holocaust. Though the Holocaust law, as it became known, was revised several months later to remove criminal penalties for infractions, its program of historical erasure was evidence of the strong resurgence of anti-Semitism in a nation once home to more than three million Jews.

    These national debates over the legacy of the Holocaust lend new interest to Israeli artist Yael Bartana’s film trio And Europe Will Be Stunned, 2007–11,

  • “East German Painting and Sculpture 1949–1990”

    Little is truly permanent in a museum’s permanent collection. Holdings wax and wane; new works are purchased each year, old ones sold off to fund new accessions. Sometimes, politics intervene. Western museums face increasing pressure to return antiquities seized illegally or under colonial duress; the call for such repatriation echoes efforts to restore Nazi-looted art to descendants of its original, Jewish owners.

    Both the precarity and polemics of museological “permanence” are highlighted in an excellent showcase of East German painting and sculpture at Dresden’s Albertinum, one of the leading

  • "Le centre ne peut tenir”

    "Things fall apart; the center cannot hold.” This line, from William Butler Yeats’s 1919 poem “The Second Coming,” is often resurrected in today’s political landscape, expressing the decline of centrism and the unraveling of established ideologies. Rather than lament the precarity of the center, however, “Le centre ne peut tenir” (The Center Cannot Hold)—curated by François Quintin with Charles Aubin, Anna Colin, and Hicham Khalidi—asked visitors to reconsider the value of centrality. The show displayed work by eleven artists that revealed how binaries fail to capture social and physical

  • picks July 16, 2018

    Chaim Soutine

    At the entrance to “Flesh,” a survey of Chaim Soutine’s meat still lifes, we are greeted by an oil on canvas of a dead rayfish (Still Life with Rayfish, ca. 1924), inspired by a Chardin painting. The titular creature hangs flag-like, facing the viewer with empty eyes and a wide-open mouth that wavers between song and scream—an ecstatic martyr for the dinner table.

    Like all of the paintings in this show, Rayfish reminds us that the pleasure of consumption relies on the pain and sacrifice of others—an understanding that should prompt us to give meals the solemnity of ritual they deserve. This is

  • Deana Lawson

    In her highly acclaimed 2007 book Lose Your Mother: A Journey Along the Atlantic Slave Route, Saidiya Hartman observes that the black diaspora has, out of necessity, mythologized a shared past: a Mother Africa. When one’s ancestors, as well as the stories they carried, have been violently effaced, speculation and lore are all that remain. “Slavery,” she writes, “made your mother into a myth, banished your father’s name, exiled your siblings to the far corners of the earth.”

    For her first solo show at Sikkema Jenkins, Deana Lawson exhibited two landscapes and eight portraits that explore what a

  • picks January 19, 2018

    “Josef Albers in Mexico”

    Josef Albers’s series “Homage to the Square,” 1950–76, oil paintings of the titular form in three or four colors on Masonite, are icons of modern art—printed in textbooks, on posters, and, in the 1980s, on US postage stamps. We are familiar with these works. We have memorized their contours. We have learned the principles of color theory and geometry they make manifest. And yet, what remains exceptional about them is precisely what we cannot immediately perceive—the infinity of reactions their disarmingly simple designs cause. What will lingering in front of an Homage piece make us see, and how