Jeffrey Kastner

  • Elad Lassry: Sum of Limited Views

    The focus in Elad Lassry’s sneaky, beautifully nuanced photographs is not really on what is there—nor quite, somehow, on what is not—but rather on a delicately poised conceptual space, concocted by the artist, where the conditions of there and not there become uncannily difficult to tease apart.

    The focus in Elad Lassry’s sneaky, beautifully nuanced photographs is not really on what is there—nor quite, somehow, on what is not—but rather on a delicately poised conceptual space, concocted by the artist, where the conditions of there and not there become uncannily difficult to tease apart. Whether détourning found imagery with collage, shooting straight-faced still lifes in which inexplicable artifacts such as cosmetics, ceramic knickknacks, and tropical fruits are balanced on plinths in supersaturated color environments, or exploring the poetic

  • Edward Kienholz

    “Marvelously vulgar artist. Marvelously vulgar. I like that work.” This assessment of Edward Kienholz, conveyed to the artist’s close friend and longtime business partner Walter Hopps, came courtesy of Marcel Duchamp, who—as Hopps recounted in a catalogue essay for the 1996 Kienholz retrospective at the Whitney Museum of American Art—“leaned back, laughed and laughed, and slapped his hands on the table” as he delivered the verdict. Duchamp had recently seen Kienholz’s 1963 New York debut at Alexander Iolas’s gallery, the centerpiece of which was Roxys, 1960–61. The work—whose situational point

  • Jeffrey Kastner

    ON A RECENT DAY IN EARLY MAY, two e-mails showed up in my in-box within a few hours of each other. The information they individually contained was unremarkable—the opening of an exhibition and the gift of artworks to a museum. Taken together, however, they provide a glimpse into one intriguingly unsettled facet of today’s contemporary art world: the complex landscape shared, sometimes uneasily, by private art collectors and public art institutions.

    The first e-mail concerned an opening at the Brant Foundation Art Study Center, an apple barn–turned–personal museum in Greenwich, Connecticut.

  • Tatiana Trouvé

    In a text accompanying her long-overdue US debut, at Gagosian uptown, Tatiana Trouvé remarks that “the body is simply of no use” when encountering her sculptures. Though referring to her tendency to play with scale, her comment also offered a potential theoretical frame for the entire show. Staging interventions throughout the space (graphic embellishments on the floors and walls, rogue scraps of building systems, and irruptions such as portals, blockages, and cuts punctuating the spatial logic of the rooms), Trouvé intended to disorient viewers—to put them out of their comfort zone, literally

  • Jeffrey Vallance

    Depending on your temperament, or maybe just your mood, it’s possible to have wildly divergent experiences with Jeffrey Vallance’s work. In certain lights, his thirty-year-plus project—here, in his debut at Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, taking the form of a collection of “relics and reliquaries”—reads as a gently affirmatory paean to the latent poetry in castoffs and kitsch, a sincere mash-up of pop-culture doodads, dork-cool autobiography, and low-wattage ritual that eludes criticality and expands the range of aesthetic permissibility. Viewed from a slightly darker perspective, however, Vallance has

  • Markus Schinwald

    Elegant, unsettling, and thoroughly persuasive, Markus Schinwald’s New York solo debut provided an overdue introduction to the versatile Austrian-born artist’s uncanny talent for lavishly evocative modes of détournement. Schooled in both theory and fashion design, Schinwald is fascinated with the potential and limitations of bodies, as physical objects and as metaphoric subjects. Despite its slightly bewildering disciplinary heterogeneity (his projects over the last decade, seen almost exclusively in Europe, have involved painting, photography, sculpture, film, video, installation, theater,

  • Dan Flavin

    Somehow, no matter how many times I see Dan Flavin’s work, I always seem to harbor the exact same misconceived expectation, namely that I’m going to encounter things of striking perceptual luxury—light mobilized within spatial scenarios à la James Turrell or Olafur Eliasson, say, in which the physical apparatus of the lamp is simply a vehicle for producing the radiant focus of the show, a nonphysical (even metaphysical) form of illumination that envelops and swallows the viewer in its lyrical maw.

    Of course, this is for the most part misremembered bunk: Flavin was no mystic and his work—as this

  • Tino Sehgal

    A show with no catalogue, no documentation, and no objects—for Tino Sehgal, it’s simply business, or the lack thereof, as usual.

    A show with no catalogue, no documentation, and no objects—for Tino Sehgal, it’s simply business, or the lack thereof, as usual. With an unconventional background in dance and economics, and a conviction that the world is already too full of things, Sehgal reimagines the museum as a choreographed agora, a stage for interpersonal scenarios that lay bare the animating mechanisms of exchange between viewer and artwork. In quintessential Sehgalian fashion, his infiltration of the Guggenheim is preceded by a conspicuous lack of specifics, other than that he will be creating

  • Paul Chan

    The orgy was already in full swing when I arrived at “Sade for Sade’s sake,” a predictably serious-minded if surprisingly dry survey of recent work by Paul Chan inspired by the eighteenth-century libertine author and philosopher. Elements of Chan’s project—a sprawling exploration, grounded in the Marquis de Sade’s work and routed through contemporary sociopolitics, of sexuality, violence, and liberty; of the relation of the body to language and the individual to the law—have been shown at the Venice Biennale and Chicago’s Renaissance Society. But this show, Chan’s second solo at Greene Naftali,

  • Juergen Teller

    Although Juergen Teller’s recent show at Lehmann Maupin (his fifth solo there) was billed as a project “blurring the distinction between his commercial and non-commercial work,” for the photographer it’s essentially a distinction without a difference. His practice moves with lucrative ease between the two worlds—in the pages of Vogue or W one day and on the walls of the Fondation Cartier or Tate Modern the next. Teller has made a tidy career selling precious things without appearing to be selling them (is it any wonder he’s found a home in the contemporary art world?) and does it so nimbly that

  • Laurel Nakadate

    For viewers who have struggled to untangle the wicked snarl of contradictions that animate Laurel Nakadate’s provocative and polarizing oeuvre, the artist’s recent show—her debut at Tonkonow and her first solo exhibition in New York since 2006—suggested one possible solution. A number of the works in “Fever Dreams at the Crystal Motel” are meant, according to their titles, to be thought of as “exorcisms.” Incongruous ecclesiastical overtones aside, this notion of a battle with tormenting spirits, taking place along a continuum from the ecstatic to the psychotic, does provide a useful way to

  • Bruce Nauman at the 53rd Venice Biennale

    “BRUCE NAUMAN: TOPOLOGICAL GARDENS,” the title of the exhibition organized by the Philadelphia Museum of Art for the United States pavilion at this year’s Fifty-third Venice Biennale, may at first seem incongruous. Why use a mathematical term in connection with an artist famous for focusing on language and the body? Yet topology—a field of math that, as the museum puts it, “examines the continuity of space amid changing conditions”—does turn out to be slyly apropos. Already invoked by critics to describe post-Minimalism’s torqued and twisted forms, here it suggests a way of understanding not

  • “Dreamtime”

    Nineteen international artists were invited to execute site-specific projects conceived for the Mas d’Azil cave complex in the Ariège region of the French Midi-Pyrénées and to exhibit work recently made while in residence at the nearby Caza d’Oro.

    Channeling the prehistoric, contemporary art goes subterranean with this unique partnership between an archaeological park, a residency program, and an exhibition space. Nineteen international artists (including David Altmejd, Miquel Barceló, Mark Dion, and Xavier Veilhan) were invited to execute site-specific projects conceived for the Mas d’Azil cave complex in the Ariège region of the French Midi-Pyrénées and to exhibit work recently made while in residence at the nearby Caza d’Oro. The exhibition will be split between the park and the Toulouse exhibition space Les Abattoirs—the latter (on

  • “Matthew Buckingham: Time Proxies”

    This first comprehensive museum overview of Matthew Buckingham’s work will survey the New York–based conceptualist’s nuanced and erudite investigations of time and memory. Comprising sculpture, film and video projection, photography, and sound, the exhibition will present a broad selection of work.

    This first comprehensive museum overview of Matthew Buckingham’s work will survey the New York–based conceptualist’s nuanced and erudite investigations of time and memory. Always evocatively oblique and deeply informed by scientific and historical study, Buckingham’s practice transitions readily among media—a quality this show will take particular advantage of. Comprising sculpture, film and video projection, photography, and sound, the exhibition will present a broad selection of work, including Celeritas, 2009, a consideration of the limits of our temporal perception from

  • Michaël Borremans

    Welling up over and over in the sepulchral chamber carved out for it from David Zwirner’s cavernous Chelsea multiplex, Michaël Borremans’s looped film The Storm, 2006, is poised—like the concise, affecting show it fronted—at the extremities of both visibility and logic. Just over a minute long and projected to cinematic scale on a wall of the blacked-out space, the film is anything but tempestuous. Instead it’s all stillness, pure mood and palette: With a static gaze the camera blinks drowsily between light and darkness, eyeing three men sitting impassively in a corner, their black skin and

  • Lothar Baumgarten

    A long hallway separated the two primary elements of Lothar Baumgarten’s recent show at Marian Goodman, suggesting the distance between the locales of the projects—one focused on the South American rain forest, the other on the Hudson River Valley north of New York City—as well as the contrast in approaches (soundless imagery for the former, imageless sound for the latter) to what turned out to be congruent conceptual goals, namely an investigation of how “knowledge” of a given place is constructed.

    The exhibition demanded real commitment from viewers, with the works unfolding over hours rather

  • Matthew Day Jackson

    Any exhibition that name-checks Jorge Luis Borges while explicitly quoting a list of artists including Goya, Bierstadt, Brancusi, Buckminster Fuller, Bruce Nauman, and Charles Ray would seem all but fated to read as a hopelessly derivative muddle. Yet Matthew Day Jackson’s recent project rarely felt like simple epigonism. (And make no mistake: While it was split into two independently titled shows, each in its own Chelsea gallery, this was unmistakably one project.) In fact, it rarely felt like simple anything—rummaging through the histories of culture and society, looking for fungible commodities

  • Tetsumi Kudo

    This tantalizing introduction to the work of Tetsumi Kudo, via twenty-five of his wildly idiosyncratic and often strenuously lurid multimedia sculptures, constituted the first gallery show in the United States devoted to the late Japanese artist. It was also intended to do some advance work for his major retrospective, which opened last month at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, by demonstrating that Kudo—little known beyond his native country and his adopted home of France, where he lived from the early 1960s until the late 1980s—was, as the Rosen show’s essayist and curator Joshua Mack

  • Robert Therrien

    The difference between the colossal and the merely big is more than just a matter of size. Take Robert Therrien’s recent show at Gagosian: Like much of the Los Angeles–based artist’s sculptural work over the past decade and a half, the bulk of the objects installed in the cavernous space (here reconfigured to roughly half its regular dimensions) painstakingly reimagine a selection of quotidian objects at outlandishly exaggerated scales. Yet the fact that most everything shown here is large does not necessarily mean that everything is larger than life, and the reasons for this disparity suggest

  • “Badlands: New Horizons in Landscape”

    Taking its title—and some of its conceptual ambience—from both the bleak terrain of the high plains and Terrence Malick's magisterial film of doomed lovers on the run there, “Badlands” casts an anxious eye on a natural landscape where beauty and brutality walk hand in hand.

    Taking its title—and some of its conceptual ambience—from both the bleak terrain of the high plains and Terrence Malick's magisterial film of doomed lovers on the run there, “Badlands” casts an anxious eye on a natural landscape where beauty and brutality walk hand in hand. The exhibition promises a range of approaches to our contemporary environs, from the aesthetic to the historical to the remediative, in work by sixteen artists and groups—including Boyle Family, Alexis Rockman, Melissa Brown, and Marine Hugonnier—as well as five commissions by the likes of the Center