Johanna Burton

  • Hannah Wilke

    Fifteen years after Hannah Wilke’s death, her oeuvre still confounds the desire to find in it a purely critical impulse. Though now firmly installed in the feminist canon (however oxymoronic such a concept may be), Wilke doesn’t rest easily there. Some still argue that she developed a practice whose bedrock—though veined with resistant acumen—consisted primarily of whatever was necessary to sustain its own gaze-baiting operations. But it is less Wilke’s detractors than her advocates who, in some ways, continue to register the clearest anxiety about her work. Indeed, those that most

  • “Project for a Revolution in New York”

    Many galleries have upped the group show ante of late (particularly during the summer months) and, freed from the workaday routine of solo exhibitions, now offer group shows that aspire to the level of museum fare. Take “Project for a Revolution in New York,” which was on view in Matthew Marks’s West Twenty-fourth Street space. Curated by Mitchell Algus, a dealer known for his taste in and privileging of the overlooked and the eccentric, “Project for a Revolution in New York” was named for Alain Robbe-Grillet’s eponymous 1970 novel, and its object was to whet our taste for what Algus calls in

  • Alex Hay

    When we use the phrase “like watching paint dry,” it’s typically to register our impatience with the leisurely unfurling of some event over which we have no control. But recently, as I looked at Alex Hay’s new paintings, the phrase came to mind in the form of a peculiar compliment and, perhaps more to the point, as a way of articulating a methodological paradigm for the artist’s long—if arguably interrupted—oeuvre. By interrupted, I mean that Hay, a fixture of the New York art world in the 1960s and early ’70s, abruptly quit the scene at the moment he seemed to have it made, and it has been

  • Louise Bourgeois, Cumul I, 1969, marble, 22 3/8 x 50 x 4". © Louise Bourgeois/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY.

    Louise Bourgeois

    The Tate’s retrospective (the first in the UK since 1995) brings together more than two hundred drawings, sculptures, installations, and fabric pieces from Bourgeois’s seven-decade-long career.

    “I don’t dream,” Louise Bourgeois once claimed. And although her images, ideas, and objects feel half-submerged in the unconscious, the artist describes her working method as more akin to operating “under a spell” than derived from any somnolent source. The Tate’s retrospective (the first in the UK since 1995), curated by Marie-Laure Bernadac, Frances Morris, and Jonas Storsve, brings together more than two hundred drawings, sculptures, installations, and fabric pieces from Bourgeois’s seven-decade-long career. The accompanying

  • Barbara Bloom

    Tracy Williams operates one of the few New York gallery spaces that could still be described as charming. Visitors must duck into a diminutive, below-ground-level doorway before being escorted into the first of two rambling floors of a Greenwich Village brownstone. To remark that the space still bears a tangible whiff of domesticity simply by virtue of its rooms’ scale and design would be an understatement. Yet this willful lack of neutrality does more than spark nostalgia for a less uniform New York art world. Williams has crafted a program of exhibitions by artists whose practices are well

  • Martin Beck

    The title of Martin Beck’s exhibition at Orchard—“The details are not the details”—is a quotation from Charles Eames, whose thought concludes with the assertion that, indeed, details are hardly mere accoutrements but themselves “make the product. The connections, the connections, the connections.” Beck, who (often in collaboration with Julie Ault) has long been engaged in plumbing the material, historical, and ideological specificities of exhibition practices, structures his own as a kind of hymnal to the detail par excellence: not just connections but literal connectors (system connector joints,

  • Jonathan Monk

    A few years ago, Ken Johnson, reviewing a Jonathan Monk exhibition at Casey Kaplan Gallery, stated that “Conceptualism can be overbearing but it can also be sweet, wry and poetic.” Such readings—of Monk as the sensitive offspring of a band of drier forebears—abound. The word playful is often used to characterize the artist, who is generally considered to be enacting a kind of spunky homage. Indeed, Monk is most often understood to be nudging viewers into believing that conceptual tenets remain relevant by acknowledging the tendency’s contemporary potential for a “softer” side.

    But Monk’s overarching

  • Liz Deschenes

    In the 1920s, Aleksandr Rodchenko suggested that the camera could and should be used as a tool of Soviet advancement, one capable of encouraging visual awareness in a mass audience. Traditional photography was not up to the task, since photographs mimicking painterly illusion offered no more than a middle vantage, a “belly-button” view, as Rodchenko termed it. Modern photography ought, he argued, to harness perspectives “above down and from below up and their diagonals.” The value of such exercises manifests in viewers who ordinarily “don’t see what [they] look at” being granted—via photographic

  • Rachel Harrison

    This February, a resident of President Street in Brooklyn received a number of announcements for the same exhibition. The interior of the mailer—folded and sent sans envelope—offers a close-up detail of a densely textured surface swathed in patches of bright green, red, blue, and purple paint; a fake apple is tucked into its irregular contours. One exterior side of the announcement provides the details of Rachel Harrison’s fifth solo show at Greene Naftali and a blank space where address labels and stamps are affixed. But the other side bears competing information.

    Reproduced there at actual

  • Annette Messager

    “Art is a secret,” Annette Messager once said, “a secret shared between the individual and the collective.” Indeed, Messager has long been protector and purveyor of many partial disclosures that reflect on both self and society. Along with a new site-specific piece, the Pompidou will offer a meaty sampling of some eighty of the artist’s works, arranged nonchronologically to encourage dialogue between different periods of her production. Early photography-based works, including Voluntary Tortures, 1972, will whisper in the ear of recent installations such as Inflating,

  • “Louise Brooks and the ‘New Woman’ in Weimar Cinema”

    It seems that the Bubikopf is experiencing a kind of Renaissance. The only English words that describe the oh-so-particular haircut (equal parts naughty schoolgirl and punishing schoolmarm) are pageboy and bob, but the connotations aren’t quite right. One had only to visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s recent, breathtaking exhibition “Glitter and Doom” in order to understand just how historically “German” the style is. In canvas after canvas, there was hardly a prostitute or absinthe drinker whose hair wasn’t clipped into a Bubikopf helmet. And while there were certainly other incarnations

  • “Semina Culture: Wallace Berman & His Circle”

    Having meandered across the country on a five-city tour, “Semina Culture: Wallace Berman & His Circle,” which originated at the Santa Monica Museum of Contemporary Art in late 2005, found its final destination at NYU’s Grey Art Gallery this January. The loose trajectory from West to East is hardly unrelated to the exhibition, which—while rich in SoCal, Beat-era flavor—highlighted the vehement cross-pollination between coasts as it was manifested particularly within Berman’s wide-ranging group of friends and acquaintances. Indeed, while the quintessential (but never mainstreamed) bohemian was the