Ian Wallace

  • picks August 05, 2014

    James Lee Byars

    This retrospective, which takes over the second floor of PS1, reveals James Lee Byars as a peripatetic showman whose work engaged some of the most compelling artistic questions of his time. Included in his variegated oeuvre is a collection of letters—the majority addressed to Joseph Beuys, Byars’s hero and most obvious influence—that evince the artist’s desire for creative correspondence. But, these letters, written in Byars’s intricately ornamented “star script,” evince a simultaneous fascination with gnomic indecipherability, as in all of his work. This conflicting set of impulses is equally

  • picks February 12, 2014

    Park McArthur

    For her second exhibition at this space, Park McArthur has laid out an arrangement of twenty wheelchair ramps on the gallery floor, from the weatherworn and homemade to the high tech and telescoping. Vinyl lettering on the wall points visitors to the URL for the Wikipedia page on disability activist Marta Russell, who wrote extensively on the political economy of ableist prejudice; a copy of Russell’s book Beyond Ramps (2002) sits on the gallery’s office desk.

    McArthur, who uses a wheelchair, has borrowed the ramps from institutions where she has worked as an artist. Each readymade sculpture is

  • picks November 25, 2013

    David Malek

    Each painting in David Malek’s latest exhibition is composed of enamel in two colors applied with either a roller or a brush. These limitations in palette and texture echo familiar strategies of painting from the last century, but Malek also makes canny use of quasi-subliminal iconographic motifs culled from various ancient and contemporary sources. Some of his paintings, which appear at first glance to be Op art–esque abstractions, use images directly from pop culture: Mainframe (all works 2013), for example, displays the artist’s penchant for sci-fi refulgence as it visually mimics a backdrop

  • picks April 05, 2013

    Philip Guston

    This year marks the centennial of the late painter Philip Guston and the forty-third anniversary of his alienating midcareer exhibition at the Marlborough Gallery, which prompted New York Times critic Hilton Kramer to proclaim the artist “a mandarin pretending to be a stumblebum.” Kramer was referring to Guston’s unexpected turn to cartoonish figuration after his successful career as an Abstract Expressionist was curtailed by his increasing disenchantment with abstraction’s stymieing commercialism (Guston said in 1969, “Every time I see an abstract painting now I smell mink coats”).

    This exhibition

  • picks January 30, 2013

    Peter Nadin

    This exhibition of thirteen paintings and a short film is upstate New York artist Peter Nadin’s first solo exhibition since his 2011 showing at Gavin Brown, which marked the artist’s return to the New York art world after nearly a decade of abstention. Nadin spent the interim years as a farmer in New York’s Catskill mountains, raising livestock and crops, and producing paintings and sculptures as a part of that milieu.

    As Nadin intones in Taxonomy Transplanted (all works 2012), a 16-mm film made in collaboration with designer Aimée Toledano, “If you want to sell the pork, you have to name the

  • THEIR FAVORITE EXHIBITIONS OF THE YEAR

    To take stock of the past year, Artforum contacted an international group of artists to find out which exhibitions and events were, in their eyes, the very best of 2011.

    ERICKA BECKMAN

    Mary Reid Kelley, Sadie the Saddest Sadist (Armory Show, New York) Tucked away in the back of the Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects booth at the 2011 Armory Show was a monitor showing a costumed figure with exaggerated face paint, pacing in front of a hand-drawn black-and-white background. The piece was Mary Reid Kelley’s Sadie the Saddest Sadist, 2009, and the mixed metaphors, narrative snippets, and repurposed