Jan Avgikos

  • Sigmar Polke

    Sigmar Polke’s long-standing fascination with amber, or Bernstein, was reflected in a recent exhibition of ten double-sided paintings (five new, five dating from 1989) plus two single-sided paintings (both from 1989) that simulate the fossil resin’s look, juxtaposed with three dozen rare Renaissance and Baroque amber objects, including several raw, unworked chunks of the material that are between thirty million and fifty million years old.

    The paintings are built from honey-colored, semitranslucent artificial resin layered on polyester. The tone of the striations varies as a result of the process

  • Andy Warhol

    Late work is not always great work—a truism that scholarly opinion and auction prices generally bear out. Andy Warhol, who died in 1987 at the age of 58, never really got to his own late period, although we now regard his paintings of the ’80s as such by default. By that time his reputation was already tarnished by his production of art for schlocky galleries, and by a stream of arguably undiscriminating society portraits. Yet while the art establishment may have raised an eyebrow over Warhol’s “slumming” (don’t forget his appearance on The Love Boat), his genius was never really in doubt. His

  • Jesper Just

    It Will All End in Tears, 2006, Jesper Just’s splendidly moody threepart film, weaves an oblique melodrama that involves two protagonists—a beautiful, aloof young man and a somber old man who yearns for him. Their episodic encounters are charted against three distinctly different settings—a garden in morning light, where we glimpse moments of arousal and joy; a courtroom in which an interrogation is under way; and an industrial rooftop at night, where danger seems palpable. Given their contradictory behavior, what the characters mean to each other is unclear—the young man entices

  • Catherine Opie

    Catherine Opie’s interest in community underpins an increasingly diverse body of work that ranges from life at home with partner, child, and pets to portraits of her neighborhood to the subcultures of Los Angeles (notably, its queer scene and its surfers). She also has a penchant for road trips, and it’s evident from the photographs produced on her journeys across America that she’s attracted to the down-home aesthetics of out-of-the-way places and to folk cultures that haven’t quite caught up to postmillennial modernity. Opie appreciates life lived on one’s own terms and to the fullest, and

  • Lee Mullican

    Lee Mullican, who died in 1998, is one of the most important American abstract painters nobody knows—at least nobody on the East Coast (except perhaps some of those familiar with his son, Matt). Born in the “Indian territory” of central Oklahoma in 1919 and educated at the Kansas City Art Institute, he found his way to California in the late ’40s via a stint as an army cartographer. By the mid-’50s he was producing radiantly colored canvases characterized by precision knife work that resulted in shimmering linear striations. His practice as a painter extended into the ’70s and ’80s, by which

  • Amy Sillman

    In her recent exhibition of ten new paintings, Amy Sillman demonstrated that she continues to mine the edges of abstraction, meshing patches of color with bursts of chaotic line and weblike compositional scaffolding. Sillman balances dense passages with barely worked fields washed in pale color and often traversed by fragmented horizon lines that convey a sense of open space. Her paint handling—which may appear ferocious or lyrical, careful or slapdash—is invariably deft. She borrows painterly conventions associated with an experimental visual language that can be traced back to Paul Klee and

  • Agnes Martin

    It’s rare indeed to see twenty-two works by the late Agnes Martin in the same place at the same time, but a recent show at PaceWildenstein Gallery was also unusual in juxtaposing very early works with works from the last four years of her life. After moving to New York from New Mexico in 1957, Martin began to paint abstractly and rose to prominence. But in 1967, she abruptly put her practice on hold, gave away all her tools and materials, and drove out of town. Her subsequent nomadic hiatus lasted over a year, until, as she told it, she had a vision that compelled her to return to New Mexico,

  • Alec Soth

    Like many contemporary photographers who have rediscovered the value of the road trip as a route to vernacular culture, Alec Soth encounters out-of-the-way places and people and pushes past documentary investigation into lurid hyperrealism. His new series, “NIAGARA,” 2005, demonstrates not only a knack for convincing strangers to reveal themselves, but also a penchant for channeling personal experience into passive-aggressive pictorial sensationalism. We might empathize with his subjects, but at the same time we can’t stop staring at their naked bodies and impoverished surroundings. This spectacle,

  • Polly Apfelbaum

    Trends in contemporary art come and go with brisk regularity, yet pushing the boundaries between painting and sculpture is a perennial fascination. Polly Apfelbaum surfs this never-breaking wave with consummate skill, making “bi-formalism” a leitmotif of her floor-bound fabric installations, which have sometimes been referred to as “fallen paintings.” For much of the past decade, this painterly allusion has been grounded in Apfelbaum’s quasi-Expressionist patterning of high-intensity color on synthetic velvet. The cartoonlike floral images that animate her most recent installations flash back

  • Hans Haacke

    Hans Haacke is never without an agenda; for almost forty years, he has been investigating, exposing, and protesting, refusing to be silent in the face of corporate crime, governmental corruption, and artworld mischief. He’s a perennial whistle-blower with a long and notable history of social activism and doesn’t blanch at the problematic designation of “political artist.” Frequently, he names names: Jesse Helms, Philip Morris, Daimler-Benz, Deutsche Bank, and Ronald Reagan have all figured in an ever-growing pantheon of culprits.

    Anyone familiar with this oeuvre might be justified in wondering

  • Shirin Neshat

    Shirin Neshat’s transition from photographer to filmmaker is grounded in an ongoing examination of the everyday lives of Islamic women that is shadowed by her own exile from her Iranian homeland and her subsequent displacement to Morocco, where she has tapped into the energy of a fledgling women’s movement. When we watch Neshat’s films—which are paradoxically both short and epic—we are thus seeing something both personal and political.

    How many locations, scenes, and events in Neshat’s work inform us about the actual texture of day-to-day life of women in the Middle East, whether from the

  • Krzysztof Wodiczko

    Memorial art is inherently site-specific, as contingent on place as it is on the events that occasion its production. Its evocative power is predicated not only on the acknowledgment of loss but also on the idea of resistance: We will not forget the victims; we will not forget the violence; we will not be silent; we will not go gently into the night. This fusion of politics and passion also appears in the art of Krzysztof Wodiczko, which eulogizes the living, particularly those who are disadvantaged or who suffer at the hands of authority.

    Wodiczko is perhaps best known for works designed for