Jeffrey Kastner

  • “The Wolfpack Show”

    Across the more than forty years of his art-world career, Jeffrey Deitch has rarely been shy, and has always been canny, about liberally leavening the blue-chip with the offbeat. And the shows he’s mounted at his old Grand Street space since returning to New York following his stint running the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles—the first featuring the outré midcentury LA artist and occultist Marjorie Cameron, and now a second, devoted to the Angulo brothers, six charismatic young isolates whose years-long confinement in their Manhattan apartment was documented in Crystal Moselle’s

  • Trevor Paglen

    Curious viewers looking for advance information on Trevor Paglen’s recent exhibition at Metro Pictures in the run-up to its opening probably encountered a rather unusual promotional tease created by the artist, an obliquely ominous “trailer” of sorts advertising the show, posted on the gallery’s website and picked up by numerous other online outlets. Clocking in at just over a minute, the video features only the names of the artist and gallery and the dates of the show interspersed among a sequence of loosely related images—a placid seascape, a scuba diver descending through murky water,

  • Philippe Parreno

    “I wonder which is worse. To feel too busy or not busy enough.” This wistfully introspective not-quite question—included in a monologue delivered by a series of child actresses as part of Tino Seghal’s contribution to Philippe Parreno’s H {N)Y P N(Y} OSIS, 2015, a two-hour-plus-long multimedia scenario that was on view at the Park Avenue Armory this summer—had a very specific contextual function in the show’s overall scheme, but it also stood out for the way it cut to the heart of the conceptual and structural ambivalences that shadowed the project, and Parreno’s practice in general.

  • “Christopher Knowles: In a Word”

    Christopher Knowles’s remarkably elastic practice—ranging freely across painting, sculpture, sound, performance, and poetry both spoken and concrete—has for more than four decades produced a jubilant array of lo-fi investigations into systems, especially into the operation and architecture of languages, linguistic and otherwise. A brilliantly eccentric detective, the Brooklyn-based artist has trained himself to find potentially significant patterns in the data stream of everyday life. Evoking Gertrude Stein, Frank O’Hara, and Daniel Johnston, his

  • “Ragnar Kjartansson: Seul Celui Qui Connait Le Désir

    Weaving together forms of production so diverse and interpenetrating that they defy almost any attempt at categorization, Ragnar Kjartansson has developed one of the least self-serious and yet most profound practices in contemporary art. Equally at home behind the camera and in front of it, painting a portrait, fronting a band, or acting as impresario for a range of inexplicably affecting scenarios, this Icelandic heir to Kippenberger makes work whose central themes—joy, empathy, embarrassment, boredom, failure—gather slowly, but arrive with the force of

  • Tomi Ungerer

    Anyone who’s ever had occasion to care for kids knows that there are certain books you read with them that are just as much for you as they are for them, perhaps even more so. In our house, we turned to the authors of these books—Hans Christian Andersen and the Brothers Grimm; Seuss, Dahl, Sendak, Gorey—not just because they were more fun to read than the usual children’s fare, but also, I suppose, with the idea that our children would detect in their work, however informally, traces of complexity and nuance, of genuine artistry. Among the volumes by these familiar figures we also had

  • Judith Scott

    The effects of an artist’s biography on his or her reception may be uncertain but they are hardly insignificant, and “Bound and Unbound,” the outstanding survey of the work of the sculptor Judith Scott at the Brooklyn Museum’s Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art, brings crucial questions about the relation of artmaking to language, affect, and intentionality—the very sort of phenomena that underpin the character of our intersubjectivity—into disorienting focus. Organized by the Sackler’s Catherine Morris and White Columns’ Matthew Higgs, the show comprises several dozen of

  • Marina Abramović

    The two trajectories that perhaps best describe the last half decade or so of Marina Abramović’s career converged almost too tidily in Generator, the artist’s recent installation/performance at Sean Kelly and her first solo show in the city since her blockbuster 2010 retrospective at New York’s Museum of Modern Art. There’s no question that that exhibition transformed the estimable performance pioneer into arguably the art world’s biggest pop-culture celebrity. Yet the emergence of her new identity as crossover diva/consciousness-raising guru—complete with an OMA-designed “institute” and

  • “Laurie Simmons: How We See”

    Laurie Simmons’s sustained investigation into both physical and psychological artifice—from the figurines and miniaturized architectural environments pictured in her early photos to her later deployment of anatomically accurate “love dolls” as actors in oddly poignant domestic dramas around her own home—has a certain conceptual and spatial trajectory to it, and her decision in recent years to begin working with human subjects represents a logical, intriguing turn in her provocative practice. Characteristically looking to trouble questions of identity and

  • Andy Coolquitt

    An extended investigation into the character and qualities of things-in-the-world, Andy Coolquitt’s practice situates objects in compelling, provocative reciprocity with the viewer. Coolquitt is at base a committed devotee of stuff—what its most acute modern theorizer, Martin Heidegger, referred to as Zeug, a slippery word that sometimes ends up being rendered as “equipment”—and the Austin-based artist’s unusual skills as a bricoleur stem from his willingness to follow various materials where they lead, even as he continually imagines some other form of presence into which they might

  • Monika Sosnowska

    Just as all fundamentally utopian propositions, whether social, political, or aesthetic, are necessarily bound to fall short of their goals, so do their remnants almost axiomatically become fodder for artistic critique and repurposing. The legacy of echt-modernist architecture and planning, for example—a creed of formal sobriety in the service of rationalized material (and social) technologies that was uniquely influential on the condition of the twentieth-century urban fabric—has long provided raw material for any number of theoretical and artifactual recapitulations. The recent

  • Tom Friedman

    Tom Friedman tells a story about hitting a creative dry patch back in grad school: Feeling stuck and out of ideas, he decided to completely empty his studio, wall off the windows, and paint the room totally white, from floor to ceiling. This evacuation complete, he began bringing objects and materials into the space, one at a time, to focus on a kind of Cagean project of close, sustained attention to the material conditions of individual artifacts and substances.

    Across his twenty-five-year career, Friedman has steadily filled up the epiphanic physical and theoretical space he cleared out for

  • Kara Walker

    Astringent and overwhelming, like the weird burned-sweet tang that harshed the air inside the decommissioned Domino Sugar Factory warehouse where it hulked, A Subtlety, 2014, Kara Walker’s first large-scale public project, was the uneasy blockbuster of the New York art world’s midsummer. The artist’s crouching, house-size mammy, made from forty gleaming tons of bleach-white sugar molded onto foam blocks, stoically presided over a clutch of baby-faced blackamoors in a vast space literally coated with the auburn residue of a century’s worth of processing the sweet stuff. And she drew huge crowds

  • Markus Schinwald

    Constraint, alteration, impediment: The figures that populate the work of Markus Schinwald are subjected to a range of psychophysical distortions, to strange bendings and bindings through which the Vienna-based artist summons a world weirdly ductile in both form and affect. Schinwald works with painting (uncannily détourned nineteenth-century portraits, seamlessly overlaid with rendered prosthetics), sculpture (contortions of elegantly flailing cabrioles), video, choreography, costume and set design, and architectural intervention. His project for the

  • Peter Buggenhout

    A remarkably convincing figuring of disorder—of irredeemable, contagious psychomaterial disarray—the solo New York debut of Belgian sculptor Peter Buggenhout coaxed improbably affecting nuance from viscerally brutish form. Functioning both as discrete objects and as elements of a larger installation scenario, the pair of dark heaps set in the ground-floor gallery of Gladstone’s Twenty-First Street space—The Blind Leading the Blind #66 hulking in the middle of the room, The Blind Leading the Blind #67, both 2014, appearing to simultaneously spill forth from and muscle up to a nearby

  • Doug Wheeler

    Fortunately, my early-morning reservation to see Doug Wheeler’s recent installation at David Zwirner—a welcome return for the exacting, reticent artist just two years after his solo debut at the gallery in 2012, and only his second-ever one-man show in New York during the five decades of his career—was scheduled at the height of one of the more aggressive of the blizzards that socked the city in a seemingly ceaseless parade this year. Fortunate, first and foremost, because I managed to snag an appointment at all: A strict limit placed on the number of viewers allowed at any one time

  • Saul Fletcher

    At a time and in a place where insanely gigantic seems to be the default scale, Saul Fletcher’s quietly stirring show of some two dozen small photographs at Anton Kern acted as a sneakily bracing disruption of the status quo. The most tangible upshot of Chelsea’s current architectural hypertrophy—nothing more, really, than a blunt spatialization of the distended market that gives rise to it—is that even the most self-confident work often seems to strain under the obligation to live up to the sheer cubic feet devoted to it, lending a vague sheen of flop sweat to even good ideas and

  • Matthew Day Jackson

    There’s so much to admire in Matthew Day Jackson’s practice—virtuoso technique in the service of a wide-ranging imagination, richly appealing and evocative production across a range of media, and a meticulous attention to formal minutiae that’s all the more impressive given the increasing physical size of his works. Indeed, attempts to assess Jackson’s deeper conceptual and ideological tendencies often seem to dissolve into airy generalizations when faced with the imposing, persuasive things he produces.

    “Something Ancient, Something New, Something Stolen, Something Blue,” the materially

  • Tracey Emin

    Anyone interested in a quick synopsis of the strangely conflicted position occupied by Tracey Emin these days need look no further than the artist’s biography on the website of London’s Royal Academy of Arts. Now nearly a quarter century down the line from her late-Thatcherite efflorescence, theYBA turned CBE was named a Royal Academician in 2007 and is today a professor at that august institution. Yet unlike those of her colleagues, her bio—which she presumably provided, or at least approved—opens not with a nod to her artistic achievements but with this revelatory, classically

  • “Jim Hodges: Give More Than You Take”

    With a poet’s eye and a devotional attitude toward technical refinement, Jim Hodges remains a signal figure from the generation of American artists that emerged from the political tumult and tragedy of the mid-1980s. Like those of contemporaries Robert Gober and Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Hodges’s vocabulary—familiar materials reconsidered and reinvented as richly strange mementos—is governed by a wistful syntax that emphasizes fragility and evanescence. His first comprehensive US survey, co-organized by the DMA and Minneapolis’s Walker Art Center,