Jeffrey Kastner

  • View of “David L. Johnson,” 2021. Photo: Sebastian Bach.

    David L. Johnson

    The unlikely affectual centerpiece of David L. Johnson’s inspired New York solo debut here was a silent, slowed-down thirty-six-minute video of a warbler sitting in the middle of a Manhattan sidewalk. Filmed in close-up at ground level in a static single take, the tiny bird had apparently only moments earlier slammed into the glass wall of a Hudson Yards skyscraper it had mistaken for a patch of clear sky. Feathers puffed up and eyes shut tight against the disorientation produced by the collision, the creature sits dazed and motionless—save for the occasional furtive blink—as people pass by to

  • Diane Simpson, Roof Shape (Ise), 2019, painted and stained LDF, perforated aluminum, canvas, crayon, 56 3⁄4 × 59 1⁄2 × 13".

    Diane Simpson

    Conventional relationships between the two-dimensional and the three-dimensional, between drawn forms and their volumetric realization, are deranged in fascinating, supremely elegant ways in Diane Simpson’s sculptures. The eighty-six-year-old Chicagoan, who began studying art in her mid-thirties and really only started showing in earnest outside of her hometown about a decade ago, has developed a trademark approach to creating work across her forty-year career. Starting with photographs typically depicting elements of architecture, she produces detailed isometric drawings that home in on particular

  • View of “Sarah Oppenheimer: Sensitive Machine,” 2021, Wellin Museum of Art at Hamilton College, Clinton, NY. Photo: John Bentham.


    IN 2016, as Sarah Oppenheimer was preparing her project S-281913 for the Pérez Art Museum Miami, she had a telling exchange with the media theorist Alexander Galloway. The two were discussing the implications for Oppenheimer’s work of its deepening engagement with not just the spatial but also the temporal conditions of the built environment, and in particular her proposition that certain aspects of architecture might be thought of as “switches”: mechanisms, like doors and other threshold structures, that influence and modulate physical and perceptual flow. In the interview, which was published

  • Martin Roth, From 2017-2021 Martin Roth transformed a ruin into a garden for a plant concert (detail), 2017–21, soil, plants, speakers, sensors, hardware. Installation view.

    Martin Roth

    Austrian-born artist Martin Roth, who died in 2019 at the age of forty-one, created a string of memorable projects across his lamentably short career, building a poetic natural philosophy out of sly, deceptively simple collaborations with plants and animals. The archive of his practice preserved on his website serves as a reminder of his concerns and of his light conceptual touch: fish swimming across a gallery floor he had flooded; a shaggy lawn sprouting from a substrate of Persian carpets in a medieval castle; his studio transformed into a nursery for a brood of ducklings. But the site also

  • Genesis P-Orridge, Untitled (White Art), 1975, collage, 21 1⁄4 × 17 1⁄4".

    Neil Megson, Genesis P-Orridge, and Genesis Breyer P-Orridge

    A cheerfully ferocious “wrecker of civilization”—kin to Aleister Crowley and Austin Osman Spare, to William Burroughs and Brion Gysin, to Fluxus and Viennese Actionism—Genesis Breyer P-Orridge (1950–2020) occupied a crucial position at the nexus of interrelated postwar artistic streams for nearly a half century. “TIME=EMIT,” a recent show of the shape-shifting provocateur’s work at No Gallery, was billed with fitting impertinence as “a three-person solo exhibition,” revealing a sliver of the object-based strand of the polymath’s sprawling career via he/r tripartite personal and artistic identity.

  • Dan Graham, Ovoid, 2020, two-way mirror glass, stainless steel, 7' 7" × 21' × 14' 9 ".

    Dan Graham

    Despite his unimpeachable position in the postwar canon, Dan Graham has always seemed a little like a man without a country in the contemporary art world—his half century worth of media-agnostic Conceptualism has never fully aligned, for better or worse, with any single methodological or stylistic framework. Even the glass-and-metal pavilions that have been his central focus for the past several decades elude attempts at neat categorization. They’re in dialogue with modernist architecture and post-Minimalist sculpture, but hold both at arm’s length; they impersonate forms of functional decor

  • Lucas Blalock, The Floridian (Urodisny), 2017–20, dye sublimation print on aluminum, 50 1⁄4 × 40".

    Lucas Blalock

    Over the past decade, Lucas Blalock’s darkly funny eye and knack for discomfiting Photoshop magick have made clear his ambivalent perspective, not just on the integrity of the image world, but also on the fundamental coherence of the world itself. With this show, the artist also provided a crucial bit of backstory to the development of his convincingly off-kilter take on things. The exhibition, “Florida, 1989,” was so named because it was there and then that the ten-year-old Blalock was involved in an accident on the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disney World. It resulted in his right thumb

  • Bat-Ami Rivlin, Untitled (inflatable kayak, zip ties), 2020, inflatable kayak, zip ties, 20 × 18 × 110".

    Bat-Ami Rivlin

    “No Can Do,” Bat-Ami Rivlin’s cannily spartan solo debut at M 2 3, mined the rich terrain of ontological weirdness that lies between functionality and uselessness, proposing a kind of conceptual junkyard where incapacitated things reveal themselves—and the larger networks of economic and social organization to which they belong—in ways they never could have while operational. Well acquainted with the informal economy of the New York City curb, au fait with both the lightly used castoff and the straight-up piece of junk, Rivlin makes meticulously impoverished bricolage that’s always attentive to

  • Eleonore Koch, Private pier, abandoned, 1974, tempera on canvas, 35 × 45 3/4".

    Eleonore Koch

    A German-born Brazilian who developed her signature aesthetic while living in London for two decades, Eleonore Koch (1926–2018) is a vibrant outlier in the global history of postwar painting. Her enigmatically spare, jewel-toned canvases conjure a cosmopolitan network of artistic kinship, a way of thinking about objects in space that owes something to the depopulated metaphysical vistas of Giorgio de Chirico and the lambent stillness of Giorgio Morandi—but also to a certain strain of British Pop art that wends its way from Patrick Caulfield and David Hockney to Michael Craig-Martin—all set

  • Justin Sterling, Broken Windows, 2016–19, found windows, glass, caulk, expandable foam, live plants, soil, gravel, spray paint, plastic, dimensions variable.

    Justin Sterling

    The multivalent figure of the broken window—emblem of both thoughtless neglect and mindful disobedience, of a certain species of policing and righteous resistance to it—presided over “Orange Chapel,” Justin Sterling’s stirring solo show at Cathouse Proper in Brooklyn. Provocative and contemplative in equal measure, and shot through with rough melancholic beauty, the artist’s intervention into the Court Street space consisted of three sculptural scenarios placed around the gallery, whose six large windows had been replaced by his signature injured ones. Sterling first shatters and then reassembles

  • Serena Stevens, Kylie, 2019, oil on canvas, 72 × 90".

    Serena Stevens

    If the various isolative protocols necessitated by the recent lockdown have changed our relationship with the wider world, they have just as surely reshaped the ways we perceive and inhabit our own personal spaces. The altered rhythms of these pandemic days have made us suddenly aware of the heretofore unfamiliar: a pet’s midday routines, for instance, or a graceful slant of afternoon light that has always been present in our absence. These attentional shifts can have the effect of making captivating, and even profound, what had previously seemed like inconsequential minutiae. In the work of

  • Rachel Libeskind, What Happens in the Kitchen?, 2020, video, color, sound, 7 minutes 54 seconds.

    Rachel Libeskind

    In her classic 1975 video Semiotics of the Kitchen, Martha Rosler inhabits a character she has described as “an anti-Julia Child” who “replaces the domesticated ‘meaning’ of tools with a lexicon of rage and frustration.” Reciting a deadpan domestic abecedarium—apron, bowl, chopper, dish—as she stares into the camera and proffers the inventoried items to her audience from behind a countertop, Rosler reappropriates the setting and accoutrements of food preparation to stage a personal rebellion against the drudgery of that odiously limiting category of gendered labor, “women’s work.” Rachel