Jan Avgikos

  • Barbara T. Smith, Holy Squash (detail), 1971, digital video transfer, altar fiber-glass drawing and cast test tubes, bag with foam, spacing material in bag, plastic drop cloth with overspray, three foam sheets with overspray, four foam sheets, reliquary, sound, staff with fiberglass hand, old shoes used during production, miscel-laneous items from production, shirt used during production, the Holy Squash and plastic casting of original offering, flowers, dimensions variable.

    Barbara T. Smith

    In 1971, when she was a graduate student at the University of California, Irvine, Barbara T. Smith created Holy Squash Ceremony, a durational performance for the campus art gallery that extended to an adjacent fountain pool. The inspiration for the piece was a dinner party she had recently hosted, conceived as a way to bring together her new art friends and older acquaintances she had known during her previous life as a 1950s housewife. On the menu for her special evening was a dish she made from the flesh of a large Hubbard squash, which she served in its hollowed-out husk. She felt that the

  • Michelle Stuart, Area-Sayreville, New Jersey 40-30 Latitude 74-30 Longitude Specimen Fragment Sample of Earth Showing Impression of Rock Forms, Location-Views of Northwest Section of Quarry Site, Date-July 26th, 1976, 1 PM, earth on muslin-mounted rag paper, color-coupler photographs, pencil on mounted rag paper, 22 × 30".

    Michelle Stuart

    When Michelle Stuart inaugurated her studio practice in the late 1960s, feminism and art had barely discovered one another. An expanding interest in ecosystems was just beginning to take root in Conceptualism, and the nascent Land art movement was being served up with extra helpings of machismo. Many artists engaged in forms of “field work.” Among them was Stuart, who never fully identified as a maker of feminist art, reluctantly staked her claim as an environmental artist, and avoided presenting her work as being solely systems oriented—indeed, she consistently operated somewhere in between.

  • Abraham Palatnik, Objeto cinético (Kinetic Object), 1968/2006, wood, Formica, magnets, metal, motor, industrial paint, 79 7⁄8 × 45 1⁄4 × 16 1⁄8". From the series “Objetos cinéticos,” 1966–2006.

    Abraham Palatnik

    Abraham Palatnik (1928–2020) seems to have always been ahead of the curve. His studies as an engineer in Tel Aviv during the mid-1940s would have put him in touch with nascent cybernetics and systems theories that later figured into the design and production of his kinetic sculptures. On another front, his art-school training as a painter would have introduced him to the cultural avant-garde and factored into his later receptivity to Constructivism and Concrete art—hot topics among the artists of midcentury Brazil, where he was born and eventually returned, in 1947, from Israel. Rio de Janeiro

  • Helen Pashgian, Untitled, 2021, cast epoxy, artist-made pedestal, 45 × 45".

    Helen Pashgian

    One of the members of the California Light and Space movement that emerged in the 1960s, Helen Pashgian made her mark with translucent abstract sculptures crafted from pigmented acrylic resins—forms so seemingly perfect that they tested the limits of retinal vision. She and her cohorts, including Peter Alexander, Robert Irwin, John McCracken, and DeWain Valentine, were keen to explore the plethora of new industrial materials ushered into commercial applications after World War II and, notably, were pioneers with polyester resin after it appeared on the market in 1966. In those days, their approach

  • Dorothea Rockburne, Trefoil 7, 2021, enamel paint and copper wire on layered boards, 40 × 40 × 2". From the series “Trefoil,” 2019–.

    Dorothea Rockburne

    Interrogating those intersections where the body, the object, and the space that contains them meet, Dorothea Rockburne has long sought to assert the singularity of her art. Early on, her fascination with mathematical theory, topological models, and systems of proportion became a springboard for thought and form. For decades, the artist has tested and torqued her materials with an alchemist’s zeal while also incorporating movement as an important expressive element of her production process. She contributed significantly to the flow of Minimal and post-Minimal art—and she was able to hold her

  • Georges Mathieu, Paris, Capital of the Arts, 1965, oil on canvas, 9' 10 " × 29' 6 1/4 ".

    Georges Mathieu

    Georges Mathieu (1921–2012) took painting where it had never been before—not just in pioneering lyrical abstraction but also, remarkably, in opening it up to include performance. A prototype of the artist as global citizen, Mathieu collaborated with members of the Gutai group in Osaka, Japan; staged tour-de-force events and exhibitions throughout Europe, South America, and Israel; and was an active participant in New York’s art scene. On occasion, he’d make his cinematically scaled canvases in the street. Sometimes he wore incredible kimono-style ceremonial garb to create his pictures for museum

  • Mickalene Thomas, May 1977, 2021, rhinestones, glitter, acrylic, and oil on canvas, 98 1⁄8 × 82 1⁄8".

    Mickalene Thomas

    There used to be a joke that went around the art world: When is a painting finished? The answer: When it goes to the conservator. The truth lurking in this gag addresses the experience of many painters who’ve realized they didn’t always know when to quit. Mickalene Thomas’s strength, in part, resides in the very fine line she walks between a fabulous intricacy and a dizzying overabundance. In her show of collaged canvases here—the first of four successive exhibitions, all to be titled “Beyond the Pleasure Principle” and to be staged throughout the fall at Lévy Gorvy’s other branches, in London,

  • View of “Cady Noland,” 2021. All works Untitled, 2021. Photo: Carter Seddon.

    Cady Noland

    Cady Noland rarely shows new work, but when she does it’s a big occasion—and in this instance doubly so because the exhibition of six new sculptures (and three prints on metal from the early 1990s) was produced in tandem with the release of her self-published two-volume book, THE CLIP-ON METHOD (2021), which also happened to be the title of her presentation here. As much a catalogue raisonné as an extended manifesto and meditation on evil, the publication contains copious photographs of her art and exhibitions from the 1980s to the present (including the 1989 work for which the volumes and show

  • Jennifer Bartlett, Leaking Systems, 2001, oil on five canvases, overall 104 × 88".

    Jennifer Bartlett

    The dichotomous tension between abstraction and representation is as important today as it was a century ago. The polarity is particularly rich in painting, where the construct tests relations between what we see, what we imagine, and what we know. That this domain has been the basis of Jennifer Bartett’s practice for more than half a century is in and of itself quite remarkable. Her exhibition here, presenting work made between 2000 and 2003, showed how adept she is at activating both the sensual and the cerebral, using formal vocabularies that emerged in her art during the late ’70s and early

  • Arthur Monroe, Untitled, 1983, oil on canvas, 96 × 84 1⁄2".

    Arthur Monroe

    Suppose you had never heard of San Francisco Bay Area painter Arthur Monroe (1935–2019). He might be obscure, but his work, which was on display in a solo presentation at Malin Gallery, speaks for itself. It was immediately apparent that the large-scale gestural abstractions, produced between 1980 and 2012, were extremely accomplished. The viewer was drawn in by their rhythmic intensities, the linear storms of calligraphic black strokes, the honeycombs of vibrant color, and the grids that wove in and out of forms vaguely suggestive of Mayan hieroglyphs or tribal markings, influences cultivated

  • Jane Freilicher, Parts of a World, 1987, oil on linen, 68 1⁄2 × 53".

    Jane Freilicher

    Jane Freilicher, a painter who emerged in the 1950s and achieved near-legendary status before her death in 2014, notoriously chose gestural realism over pure abstraction. As she once remarked, the approach gave her an emotional reason to make art. Even though representational styles moved in and out of fashion, she was never not part of the art world. An exhibition devoted exclusively to her still lifes at Kasmin—both on the gallery’s walls and in an online viewing room—put her virtuosity on full display, affording one an opportunity to contemplate how much she achieved by focusing on the

  • Mernet Larsen, Gurney (after El Lissitzky), 2019, acrylic and mixed media on canvas, 45 1⁄4 × 70".

    Mernet Larsen

    Think back a hundred years ago to the high-water mark of Russian avant-garde art, when, in stark contrast to our present day, utopianism was at a peak. Currents of revolutionary fervor, coupled with industrial expansion and promises of liberation for all workers, stirred a radiant vision of the future: “The people” would be released from poverty and the onerous social conditions they had endured. Everyone could be a creator—an artist!—and manifest their own unique essence. El Lissitzky and Kazimir Malevich were among those prophets of the new world order, and their radically abstract art mapped