John Ganz

  • *Gerhard Richter in his studio with Spiegel (Mirror), 1981, and Abstraktes Bild (Faust) (Abstract Painting [Faust]), 1980, Düsseldorf, 1981. © Gerhard Richter.


    IN MARCH, New York’s David Zwirner opened its first solo exhibition of Gerhard Richter’s work since the painter’s defection to the megagallery from Marian Goodman, his gallerist of thirty-seven years. The show featured fourteen of his last paintings, completed in 2016 and 2017, made before the artist, now ninety-one, declared his retirement from painting. It also contained seventy-six drawings—the products of the practice that replaced the physically arduous process of painting for Richter—and a single glass-and-steel sculpture. If one were looking for a kind of retrospective, or a coda and

  • Curzio Malaparte, Lipari, Italy, March 1934. Photo: Wikicommons.


    “OH, WE WILL NOT BE COMMENTING ON THAT” was the answer I got from a gallery representative at the opening of a show of furniture designed by the Italian writer and filmmaker Curzio Malaparte at Gagosian’s space on Park Avenue, New York. The “that” in question was Malaparte’s prominent membership in Mussolini’s National Fascist Party, a fact that is not mentioned in the press release. Instead, the text supplies euphemisms, calling him a “provocative writer” who was “notorious for his oscillations between the ideological extremes of the era.”

    The reason for this evasion is not hard to fathom: “Casa

  • View of “Lucas Knipscher, Win McCarthy, Sigmar Polke,” 2013.
    picks January 25, 2013

    Lucas Knipscher, Win McCarthy, Sigmar Polke

    Time hangs heavy on this woebegone group exhibition. All of the sculptures, photographs, and paintings bear the traces of decay, collapse, and erosion: The show seems to offer products of a universe with such a high degree of entropy that it is impossible to keep anything from immediately falling apart. Each artist—two young, one dead—has made his own type of bargain with the inconstancy of the world, and their output reflects the relentless harrow of time rather than heroically opposing it.

    Lucas Knipscher’s untitled black-and-white fiber prints from 2012 are warping from the heat in the gallery.

  • Ernst Fischer, Blind Date 1, 2012, books, dimensions variable.
    picks December 21, 2012

    Ernst Fischer

    Freud once wrote that when “a dream is written out it may perhaps fill half a page. The analysis setting out the dream-thoughts underlying it may occupy six, eight, or a dozen times as much space.” In the same way, it’s possible to make a quick inventory of the objects around the faux living room that comprises Ernst Fischer’s “Greedy Fish”: A picture on the wall depicts a Cash Money Records–style blinged-out dollar sign superimposed on a photo of a red snapper’s eye; a coffee table bears the word “credit”—a microphotograph of the imprint on a bar of silver; on the bookshelf, volumes of

  • Sebastian Black, untitled, 2010, oil on canvas, 9 x 12”. From the “Puppy Paintings,” 2010.
    picks January 26, 2012

    Sebastian Black

    The cascading alliteration in the title (“Period Pieces, Puppies Paintings, Prototype, Placeholders”) of Sebastian Black’s latest show suggests that a comprehensive selection of his work will be on view, but in fact the show is quite spare. A single instance from Black’s series of “Puppy Paintings,” 2010, graces one wall, and on the floor are several angled mirrors—the kind that one sees in the upper corners of elevators—affixed to concrete. Another wall is covered in white plaster patches that disappear in direct daylight but are visible in shadows. The restrained atmosphere of the show

  • View of “Pog-an-ee,” 2011.
    picks August 14, 2011

    Gwenn Thomas

    The eleven photographic emulsions in Gwenn Thomas’s latest exhibition, “Pog-an-ee,” have such an unassuming wit and elegant presence that one could miss that the series is at once a sharp reflection on the legacy of modernism and a virtuosic performance of some of its most famous formal ambitions and techniques. Made of construction paper, corrugated plastic, and packing tape, the collages were photographed and then printed on photosensitized linen. Each plays off motifs borrowed from early avant-gardes such as the Bauhaus and Russian Constructivism, but also from contemporary artists––for