James Glisson

  • John Gerrard, Cuban School (Community 5th of October), 2010, realtime 3-D.
    picks November 27, 2010

    John Gerrard

    Re-created down to cracks in the walls and missing windows, Cuban School (Community 5th of October), 2010, is a projected digitally animated rendering of the real building in rural Cuba that is named in the work’s title. In presenting a functioning (though decrepit) edifice as an architectural model, John Gerrard and his production team illustrate an episode in the history of mid-twentieth-century modernist architecture’s once global reach. In other exhibitions, and with the same deadpan tone, Gerrard has animated industrial pig farms in rural Kansas and bobbing oil derricks in Texas and Alberta,

  • Left: Stephanie Barber, letters, notes, 2000, still from a film in 16mm, 4 minutes 30 seconds. Right: Stephanie Barber, dwarfs the sea, 2007, still from a video, 7 minutes.
    film July 27, 2010

    Flat Affect

    THOUGH EXTREMELY VARIED, the films of Stephanie Barber engage universal themes—time, death, memory, forgetting, frustration. Barber’s films also consider the impossibility of directly engaging these same themes in a media-saturated culture in which our deepest emotional reserves have been tapped by marketing and advertising.

    Even in her films with characters, she avoids facial expressions, bodily gestures, the intonation of a human voice, and the graphic expressivity of handwriting. In a way, Barber is a modernist artist fashioning, from the detritus of mass culture, appealing and opaque documents

  • Louise Fishman, Violets for My Furs, 2010, oil on jute, 50 x 42”.
    picks July 21, 2010

    Le Tableau

    Conceived by artist and curator Joe Fyfe as an antidote to the dominance of New York School abstraction in accounts of mid-twentieth-century painting, this exhibition argues for the continuing relevance of an unruly, dirtier, and at times assaultive Paris School. As such, the show does not hunt the medium of painting back to its essence, à la Clement Greenberg, so much as probe fault lines. More to the point, this diverse selection of artists working in Paris and New York from the 1950s until today has a general concern with attacking the pictorial surface by making its materiality apparent.

  • Bill Henson, Untitled, 2005–2006, color photograph, 50 x 70".
    picks April 29, 2010

    Dirk Braeckman and Bill Henson

    With figures surfacing from the glossy black void of his large-format photographs, Bill Henson evokes Caravaggio’s tenebrist paintings; yet such comparisons, if descriptively accurate, miss another, perhaps less-esteemed, referent: Hollywood cinema. The landscapes on view—a small white bridge, trees thrown into silhouette against an amber-colored cloud, a two-lane road—are pensive and expectant backdrops for dramas just finished or about to begin. One senses that something will appear to interrupt each scene’s placid continuity: A car might cross the empty bridge, or a human figure could emerge

  • View of “Sterling Ruby,” 2010. From left: Pig Pen, 2010; Big Bus, 2010.
    picks February 25, 2010

    Sterling Ruby

    Sterling Ruby’s latest exhibition, “2TRAPS,” comprises two bus-size rectangular pieces. One is a rigid steel security mesh with a fully visible cubic lattice of internal supports, equally a geometric, purely sculptural construction and a rusty but functional contraption for transporting livestock. Each cage or cell forms the walls of the next, making a seamless, efficient structure in which no space for confinement is wasted. Some cages are oriented vertically—these one can imagine stepping into. Others are horizontal—one pictures crawling in and lying prone. An unlocked and opened cage door

  • Melanie Schiff, Hellroom, color photograph, 2009, 31 1/2 x 35".
    picks September 23, 2009

    Melanie Schiff

    Melanie Schiff’s new series of photographs are called “narratives” in the gallery’s press materials, yet her pictures lack figures or anthropomorphized objects that might function as characters, much less any obvious sense of duration. The concrete viaducts and forlorn landscapes that Schiff captures are the functioning detritus of a normally invisible infrastructure that supports vast conurbations. (Perhaps these are part of the web of waterworks that service the parched Los Angeles area, where Schiff lives.)

    Unit after unit, mile after mile, the viaducts are gigantic, yet in Schiff’s photographs

  • Todd Simeone, Record Cover in a Flash (Reason to Believe), 2007, color photograph, 42 x 42".
    picks March 06, 2009

    “The End of Analog”

    Taking a cue from the federally imposed end date to analog TV broadcasts, this exhibition, curated by Eric Fleischauer, offers floor plans of sitcom living rooms, digital photographs of record-album covers, and a glowing, underlit, crystalline stack of jet-black CDs in transparent cases. It turns less to the issue of digital-versus-analog signals than to the interfaces required to translate these ethereal pulses into visible and audible forms. Electromagnetic waves hardly change, but how they are registered, transmitted, and consumed does.

    Todd Simeone’s Record Cover in a Flash (Reason to Believe)