James Lewis

  • Mark Dion with William Schefferine

    In consultation with the staff of the zoo in Belize, Mark Dion has designed a series of ten signs to serve as guides to the animals housed there. A newly reorganized, English-speaking democracy in Central America, Belize is rich with rain forests and wildlife. The zoo, as Dion explains in an accompanying statement, is dedicated to celebrating and preserving the country’s animal population, and accordingly, the signs are both instructive and cautionary. Both the Spanish and the English names are supplied for each animal and together with standard “naturalistic” line drawings, matched with a less

  • Meyer Vaisman

    As if by some unexpected formal progression, Meyer Vaisman has moved from representations of blown-up canvas weave to actual fabrics and reproduction tapestries. His new work is richer both in texture and in associations than anything he’s shown so far. Starting with expensive decorator tapestries, Vaisman seamlessly incorporates cartoon figures into the depicted scenes. As in a game of “What’s Wrong with This Picture?” at first glance it is difficult to tell what has been altered. In a work entitled The Making of the Wool (all works 1990) the viewer suddenly discovers a pair of cartoon laughing

  • Will Insley

    For the past 18 years Will Insley has been exhibiting drawings and designs for a massive imaginary dystopia he calls ONECITY. Insley envisions a home for some 400 million citizens plunked down in mid-America, but while he designates its location it remains temporally unspecific; ONECITY is not so much a vision of a predicted or hoped-for future as an atemporal fiction. Insley has an elaborate, almost obsessive tale to tell about the cultural structure of ONECITY, its Byzantine forms of government, entertainment, and work rivaling those of Dante’s Hell. Although the work has changed formally

  • James Casebere

    The scenes that James Casebere builds and then photographs have always seemed underdetermined, whitewashed and so starkly lit that it is difficult to tell how big they are or what kind of space they occupy. Though the models are in fact quite small, Casebere has recently turned to making sculptures that, by contrast, are enormous. The two room-size works exhibited here together with four prints and one light box offer a continuation of Casebere’s spare reconstructions of the past—dreams of 19th-century American living spaces, and of the peculiarly American way they have been swept away.

    The

  • Hans Danuser

    For some years now Hans Danuser has been taking photographs of the interiors of laboratories and industrial plants. Three series were on display here: “A-Energie,” 1982, scenes from various atomic power plants and research facilities; “Medizin I,”1984, observations of pathology and anatomical instruction labs; and “Chemie II,” 1989, views of genetic engineering labs. The black and white prints are not so much studies of work environments as landscapes of a world, depopulated and half-dark; not illustrations of the life spent in the acquisition of knowledge, however odd and arcane, but portraits

  • Sean Landers

    The plaster casts Sean Landers uses in his works are cheap copies, commercial reproductions of famous or popular sculptures sold as bookends or piano-top knickknacks. The head of the great Laocoön appears in one, a Roman sculpture of Agrippa in another, and there are portraits of Shakespeare, of Marie Antoinette, of Pan, and of an anonymous French aristocrat. Landers takes the casts, puts them in deep cylinders, and submerges them in a translucent brown polyester resin. The block that emerges is then placed on a pedestal of Landers’ own making.

    Landers seems to be fascinated the way contexts

  • Alexis Rockman

    Insects have always played a prominent part in the imagination of horror, perhaps because these creatures are the most resistant to being humanized, to taking on characteristics which would make them seem friendly. Their habits are irreducibly disquieting; their life world is necessarily cruel. In our recognition of that, nature becomes a nightmare. Nothing has to be invented. A simple shift in scope and scale will do—we need only to look down to the life below our feet. Alexis Rockman’s recent oil paintings offer compelling glimpses into that world; the grass crawls with insects, blind worms

  • Miquel Barcelo

    Miguel Barcelo displayed a number of sketchbooks and drawings made on an extended trip through Africa in 1988; a dozen paintings, made upon his return to Paris, were also on exhibit. The self-absorption of some of his earlier work has apparently been mitigated by his travels; where once he had tended towards a romanticism that put himself and his work and habits at the center of attention, this body of work contains little evidence of self-reference. Barcelo remains a remarkable draftsman. The sketchbooks and drawings––all gouache on paper––present the spareseness and privation of the North

  • Jonathan Adolphe

    Like the codes Jonathan Adolphe uses to signal his oblique messages, the works shown here are at once full and evocative, and oddly impoverished. Using flags, sign language, braille, written English, and a cryptogram composed of stick figures of dancing men (invented by Arthur Conan Doyle for Sherlock Holmes to decipher), the artist spells out messages on half-painted, rectangular boards. Strips of lead have been sunk into the center of these so that some elements can be stamped directly into the work rather than painted onto it. The pieces seem like bits of flotsam, not just because the boards

  • Ton van Summern

    The Greek philosopher Empedocles was the first among Western scientific thinkers to propose that the universe was composed of four distinct elements: earth, air, fire, and water. His theory survived in various forms at least until the 16th-century and still holds powerful symbolic, if not scientific, sway over the imagining of nature today. Ton van Summern investigates that theory’s attraction in this collection of five altered black and white photographs.

    The central images, enlarged from the pages of science books, depict each of Empedocles’ supposed four elements as they appear when placed

  • Ilona Granet

    Ilona Granet is best known to the public at large for a series of metal street signs that she designed and hung in New York last year. The signs borrowed the authority of city parking instructions and used it to try to make life for women here a bit more tolerable: “Curb Your Animal Instincts” said one in English and Spanish, over a schematic drawing of a beast straining on a leash towards a woman in a short dress. Another said “No cat calls, whistling and kissing noises.” In this show Granet presents two more public projects, one a group of signs that ABC/Capitol Cities commissioned last year,

  • Michael Mooney

    There are ten landscape paintings in this exhibition, each a small oil on panel in a large white frame. These rural scenes are rendered in deep greens and yellows, with paint so thick that it is raised in wide grooves by the brushstrokes. A number of different locales are represented: the almost miniature Tahiti (all works, 1989) shows what looks like a pineapple tree in an expanse of yellow and green grass. Warrensburg and Joe Indian pond road both look to be from upstate New York (the artist has spent a good deal of time in Albany) and have the tone of Americana. Fields near the flats, perhaps