Jeffrey Kastner

  • Buck Ellison, Rain in Rifle Season, Distributions from Split-Interest Trusts, Price Includes Uniform, Never Hit Soft, 2003, 2021, ink-jet print, 39 3⁄4 × 53 1⁄8".

    Buck Ellison

    Buck Ellison’s shrewdly destablizing “Little Brother,” the most recent installment of his ongoing conceptual deep dive into the construction and presentation of white privilege, took as its subject Erik Prince—wealthy heir, former navy SEAL, founder of infamous private military contractor Blackwater, alleged arms trafficker and disinformation operative. The son of a profoundly conservative Michigan businessman (and younger brother of former US education secretary Betsy DeVos), Prince and his private security groups have reportedly won billions of dollars in government contracts while participating

  • Alex Brown, Untitled, ca. 2015, ink on paper, 16 × 12".

    Alex Brown

    On a Thursday afternoon at the beginning of February, I joined an unusual Zoom broadcast linking Cathouse Proper in Brooklyn with its director, David Dixon, who was in Iowa. The occasion was the installation of the first gallery exhibition of works by painter Alex Brown since his death almost exactly four years earlier. Dixon—who is also an artist and was at the time participating in a residency Brown’s family had initiated posthumously in his name—was sitting with the late painter’s mother at her home south of Des Moines, directing the proceedings back at Cathouse and talking with her about

  • Adam Putnam, Tower, 2023, mixed media, 13' 6" × 36" × 36". Photo: Stan Narten.

    Adam Putnam

    In a conversation a few years ago with critic Lauren O’Neill-Butler, Adam Putnam spoke of his interest in what he called “the format of the fragment” and the role it plays in supporting a certain mood of circumspection he wants present in his work—an “ambition to keep things hidden,” as he put it. For the artist, who has embraced a wide assortment of modes and media over the past two decades, this willful opacity isn’t just free-floating obscurantism. Rather, it’s designed to be placed in productive tension with the idea that meaningful connections are in fact ultimately discoverable within and

  • Richard J. Scheuer, Woman with Veil, Sarajevo, Yugoslavia, 1934/2018, ink-jet print, 24 × 16".

    Richard J. Scheuer

    On a December evening in 1933, an English teenager named Patrick Leigh Fermor boarded a steamship in London bound for the Hook of Holland. Disembarking the next morning, Fermor walked into the snowy Dutch countryside with a rucksack full of clothes and gear from an army surplus shop to begin what would become a thirteen-month journey, on foot, to Istanbul. Along the way, he slept in workhouses, barns, and castles and drank with farmers, aristocrats, and budding Nazis, finally arriving at his destination on New Year’s Day 1935. Though he had recorded his experiences in journals—and eventually

  • Rafal Bujnowski, White Dress (American Night), 2021, oil on canvas, 26 × 26".

    Rafal Bujnowski

    Named after, and starring, an ancient pigment made from the soot produced when oil is burned for illumination, Rafal Bujnowski’s exhibition “Lamp Black Love Story” was a meditation on darkness, light, and how the interplay between the two can suggest new operations of the painted surface. Bujnowski first came to prominence during his art-school days in the second half of the 1990s, when he was a member of the Ładnie collective—named for a Polish word that roughly translates as “pretty” or “nice,” chosen to sardonically memorialize the befuddled faint praise he and his contemporaries (including

  • Emily Nelligan, 28 JUNE 92 (1), 1994, charcoal on paper, 7 1⁄4 × 10 1⁄2".

    Emily Nelligan

    Roughly two miles long and a mile wide, Great Cranberry Island is, like many of the settlements along Maine’s juddering Down East coastline, a place defined as much by water as by land. Reachable via a short boat trip from the bigger and busier tourist island of Mount Desert, it is itself a (much more modest) vacation destination, with a year-round population of a few dozen that swells by a magnitude of ten in the warmer months. Artist Emily Nelligan (1924–2018) was one of its part-time residents. Making work solely on the island in the summer and early autumn, she produced numerous quietly

  • John Gerrard, Flare (Oceania), 2022, simulation, dimensions variable.

    John Gerrard

    The first time I encountered John Gerrard’s work was five years ago, when he showed his X. laevis (Spacelab), 2017, at New York’s Simon Preston Gallery. An example of the Irish artist’s so-called simulations—immaculately made, confoundingly credible digital animations built on the backs of programming-rich game-engine technologies—it featured the eponymous creature, an African clawed frog, floating before a pair of gloved hands in zero gravity. (From time to time, the animal would spasm as an imaginary camera hovered around it.) The initially inscrutable piece actually turned out to be a conceptual

  • View of “Kazuko Miyamoto,” 2022. Photo: Naho Kubota.

    Kazuko Miyamoto

    The trio of pieces that greeted visitors at the entrance to this memorable survey of Kazuko Miyamoto’s art at the Japan Society succinctly triangulated the intellectually nimble, technically adroit artist’s practice. These three works—Stunt (181 Chrystie Street, 1981), 1982, a photocopy collage featuring Miyamoto, nude except for a Mardi Gras–style mask, executing a yogic leg raise in her studio in front of a pair of Sol LeWitt cube constructions; Untitled, 1973, a wall-mounted grid made from black cotton string and nails; and a large acrylic-on-canvas painting from the same year called Ways of

  • Pieter Schoolwerth, Unicorn Landing Page Real Estate (Rigged #16), 2022, oil, acrylic, and ink-jet print on canvas, 79 × 72".

    Pieter Schoolwerth

    With a mood that often suggests a trippy twenty-first-century recapitulation of Richard Hamilton’s iconic 1956 proto-Pop collage Just what is it that makes today’s homes so different, so appealing?, Pieter Schoolwerth’s newest works propose a world swollen to the point of disfigurement with the flotsam and jetsam of the capitalist now. The consumerist heartache at the core of Hamilton’s sardonic dream home was founded on a welter of newfangled appliances, product logos, and hypertrophically idealized male and female forms. For their part, Schoolwerth’s virtuoso paintings swarm with low-budget

  • Cristine Brache, Film Stills from Bermuda Triangle 1–12 (2), 2022, digital C-print, 9 × 6".

    Cristine Brache

    At the bottom of a long flight of stairs, a floor below Baxter Street on the edge of Manhattan’s Chinatown, Cristine Brache’s quietly elegiac presentation “Bermuda Triangle” bathed Anonymous Gallery’s space in an uncanny aquatic ambience. The show’s dreamily natant mood was due in part to its artifactual centerpiece: a blue inflatable pool set in the middle of the gallery. The object functioned as a double aide-mémoire—a physicalized symbol of the recollection at the heart of the project, as well as a site for the transmission of its phantasmal traces in beautifully grainy Super 8 footage

  • Dirk Braeckman, U.C.-T.C.I.-21, 2021, five ink-jet prints, each 70 7⁄8 × 47 1⁄4".

    Dirk Braeckman

    Among the many rewarding provocations in the oeuvre of the late, lamented English cultural theorist Mark Fisher was his retooling of Jacques Derrida’s punningly allusive notion of “hauntology”—a historical spectrality that hovers around ideas and institutions, unsettling them with a sense of the lost futures they unavoidably represent—as a way to think about his first and arguably greatest love, music. “The [musical] artists that came to be labelled hauntological,” Fisher wrote in an essay published in 2014, “were suffused with an overwhelming melancholy; and they were preoccupied with the way

  • Liz Larner, Bird in Space, 1989, nylon cord, silk, stainless-steel blocks. Installation view, Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery, 1991.


    ORCHIDS, PENNIES, BUTTERMILK. A sphere made from sixteen miles of surgical gauze and a cube woven out of thin strips of copper. Sly arranged marriages between rubber and wood; leather and false eyelashes; sand, stone, and bark. Gossamer lattices and sheets of chain. Forms rendered in polyurethane, steel, and bronze; in found objects; in porcelain and ceramic. Viewers who have only encountered Los Angeles–based sculptor Liz Larner’s work piecemeal across her more than three-decade career might be forgiven for feeling a certain bewilderment in the face of the stylistic and material diversity that