Jeff Gibson

  • Erik Parker, Oh Yeah!, 2018, acrylic and collage on canvas, 68 x 68".

    Erik Parker

    Calibrated for maximum hallucinogenic effect, Erik Parker’s ultra-vivid, hyper-pictorial paintings go all out to grab and hold one’s attention. For this show, his first with Mary Boone, the artist’s hyperbolic solicitations came in three distinct forms—portraits, pyramids, and planks. The portrait paintings, of which there were five (three of solitary visages, one bearing two heads, and one comprising a group of four severely discombobulated busts), were either medium or large in scale, and constituted the most labor-intensive, complex, and accomplished works in the show. Each portrait was

  • Hartmut Geerken, Sun Ra Arkestra Performing at Heliopolis, Egypt, 1971, gelatin silver print, 5 x 7". From “Cosmic Communities: Coming Out into Outer Space—Homofuturism, Applied Psychedelia & Magic Connectivity.”

    “Cosmic Communities”

    Like a magazine article come to life, this exhibition, enticingly subtitled “Coming Out into Outer Space—Homofuturism, Applied Psychedelia & Magic Connectivity,” existed primarily as illustrative accompaniment to a thought-provoking essay. In lieu of a press release, Berlin-based scholar and critic Diedrich Diederichsen—who organized the show in collaboration with Galerie Buchholz codirector Christopher Müller—provided a feature-length work of art-historical exposition drawing comparisons among historically and geographically disparate cultural phenomena, fleshed out by loosely

  • View of “Peter Halley,” 2017. From left: The Line, 2017; Revolt, 2017; Rift, 2017.

    Peter Halley

    Peter Halley’s latest show—his first with Greene Naftali—was spectacular, though severely and queasily so. Setting the tone for severity, the artist commandeered the Brutalist ambience of the gray, cinderblock-enclosed courtyard adjacent to the gallery entrance with a prominently placed, bodily scaled, faux-concrete-and-asphalt work from 1994, Cell with Conduit, thrust several inches out from the wall by a hefty steel armature. A distilled (one-cell, one-conduit), quintessential Halley composition that signaled, as always, a core contemporary paradox—the isolating effect of mediated

  • Bruce Conner, Booji Boy: Devo, May 1978, 2011, ink-jet print, 28 x 21". From “Mark  Mothersbaugh: Myopia.”

    Mark Mothersbaugh

    Best known as cofounder, singer, and keyboardist of archetypal art band Devo, Mark Mothersbaugh has cut a singular path through the intersecting margins of art and popular culture. Born (1950) and raised in Akron, Ohio, the artist spent his formative years, which were marked by creative inclination, subjected to the kind of banal cruelties routinely administered by boomer jocks to nerdy, bespectacled kids. (Mothersbaugh has severe myopia.) In a podcast interview with comedian Marc Maron, recorded on the occasion of this exhibition, Mothersbaugh describes his experience of kindergarten through

  • Erin O’Keefe, Things as They Are #42, 2017, ink-jet print, 20 × 16".

    Erin O’Keefe

    More than a little of the considerable appeal emanating from Erin O’Keefe’s photographs lies in the difficulty we encounter deciphering them. With these works—razor-sharp depictions of abstract, brushily painted, sculptural tableaux, for the most part—not only does one struggle to identify the medium, but the compositions traffic in shadowy illusion and spatial ambiguity, making it hard at times to know exactly what is being portrayed. Consequently, the eye moves searchingly across the picture plane, propelled by the pleasures arising from the work’s bold construction and rich yet

  • Jeff Donaldson, Wives of Sango, 1969, mixed media, 36 × 24".

    Jeff Donaldson

    Jeff Donaldson (1932–2004) attained many distinctions in his lifetime. In addition to chalking up a highly impressive list of academic and pedagogical achievements, culminating in a Ph.D. in African and African American art history from Chicago’s Northwestern University and, later in life, a long-standing deanship at Howard University in Washington, DC, he played a defining role in the development of a “trans-African” aesthetic that endeavored to help shape attitudes toward the African diaspora via unifying signs of protest, positivity, and cultural pride. A founding member of the Organization

  • Theo Triantafyllidis, How to Everything, 2016, live digital simulation, color, sound, indefinite duration.

    Theo Triantafyllidis

    For his New York solo debut, Theo Triantafyllidis, an Athens-, Los Angeles–, and Berlin-educated architecture graduate turned artist, presented one small sculpture; a medium-size wall relief composed of shape-fitted shards of colorful trash; two ink-jet-on-nylon wall hangings; and, most notably, three self-generating videos, two of which were accompanied by comical props and cosmetically augmented computer hardware. The sculpture, Mountain (Ceramic) (all works 2016), a piled-up mound of extruded white clay bearing splashes of color and bright plastic appendages, crowned a plain white plinth.

  • John O’Connor, Charlie (Butterfly) (detail), 2016, colored pencil and graphite on paper, 86 1/4 × 69 7/8".

    John O’Connor

    John O’Connor revels in schematic mutation. Ceding varying degrees of aesthetic agency to programmatic procedures that give visual and linguistic form to statistics, sociocultural phenomena, and chance operations, he is best known for large, labor-intensive, colored-pencil-and-graphite drawings that creep and sprawl across their supports in accordance with eccentric, self-imposed directives. Pertinent examples include A Recurrence Plot, 2013, in which economic data and markers of social stratification are gaudily plotted onto a cross-sectional chart of planet Earth’s geologic layers, and Cleverbot

  • Ross Knight, Peg (Skin Replacement) Stem, 2015, urethane, silicone, 12 × 5 1/2 × 12".

    Ross Knight

    One of my favorite Instagram feeds, going by the handle @techappeal, sifts for pictorial gold among athletic, medical, and technological product photography. Featuring such psychoactive eye candy as space-age sneaker soles set against ethereal gradients, flawless limbs sporting latex prophylaxes in antiseptic-blue environments, and spotless anatomical teaching aids shot against pastel infinity screens, its imagery is routinely airless and otherworldly yet grounded in an ineluctable mortality. The feed catalogues a nascent zone of our collective digital imagination, a creepy realm of artificial

  • Lauren Silva, Sling, 2015, ink-jet print on silk charmeuse with paper, acrylic, ink, gouache, and spray paint, 38 × 46".

    Lauren Silva

    There’s something not quite right about the paintings in Lauren Silva’s second show at Zieher Smith & Horton. At first glance, they appear not so much off, as overly on. The best ones register immediately as implausibly charming, working a confectioner’s palette to recall such feel-good pop-cultural genres as vintage and contemporary comics and children’s-book illustration. Yet there’s something else. The paintings’ surfaces shimmer slightly, and as you draw near you’ll see that the softly hued, blurry grounds extend around the sides of the stretcher frames. You might then notice that the

  • Mason Williams, Sunflower, 1967. Production still for an unfinished film.

    “Double Standard: Ed Ruscha & Mason Williams, 1956–1971 (Part 1)”

    Legend has it that in 1956 an eighteen-year-old Ed Ruscha set out solo from Oklahoma City in a customized Ford, taking the fabled Route 66 to Los Angeles (passing twenty-six gasoline stations along the way), where he would study at the Chouinard Art Institute (now CalArts) en route to elevating urban graphic vernaculars to the status of art. It’s a tidy account of a no doubt messy affair. Of course, the factual distillations and narrative compressions enabling such myths of origin are, necessarily, founded on omission. Case in point: Riding alongside Ruscha on his move to LA was childhood friend

  • View of “Pieter Schoolwerth,” 2015.

    Pieter Schoolwerth

    Pieter Schoolwerth knows how to paint. In recent years, he turned his hand to no less daunting a task than the subjective reinvention of old-master iconography, which he deftly reconstituted via digital and analog overlays and abstractions—a contemporary remastering, if you will, of the compositional mainstays of Western figuration. Yet for his latest show, Schoolwerth put his considerable skills in the service of a throwaway gag: The press release informed us that while using a cheap, ineffectual vacuum cleaner, the artist blurted out, “This vacuum sucks!” and was so amused by the unintended