Joseph Henry

  • Paul Cézanne, Still Life with Apples, 1893–95, oil on canvas, 25 3/4 x 32 1/8''.
    books January 03, 2023

    Peel Slowly and See

    IF THESE APPLES SHOULD FALL: CÉZANNE AND THE PRESENT. BY T. J. CLARK. Thames & Hudson, 2022. 240 pages. 

    THE MOST PUZZLING THING about T. J. Clark’s new book is its title. If These Apples Should Fall: Cézanne and the Present suggests a contemporaneity, even a topicality, that never comes. Most of the chapters derive from texts written years ago, and all the pulsations of the present day—its politics, crises, and fashions—ring somewhere beyond the book’s ambit. For the author, Paul Cézanne’s present tense instead resides in the moment of looking itself: “I want . . . a writing,” Clark issues, “

  • Gabo Camnitzer, The Student Body, 2021, video, color, sound, 40 minutes.
    interviews February 07, 2022

    Class Struggle

    FROM GRIM ACCOUNTS by New York high schoolers to student walkouts over Covid safety to labor disputes between unions and cities, public school education has opened up as another front in the war of mismanagement between the pandemic and the state. What does social responsibility, let alone learning, look like when avowedly left-wing parents blame teachers for closures, municipalities push for charter schools, and no one can Think of the Children? Over the last decade, Gabo Camnitzer has produced workshops and performances with students to test how education both challenges and enforces administrative

  • View of “Immersive Van Gogh,” 2021. Photo: Nina Westervelt.
    slant August 11, 2021

    Blow Up

    IT COULD NOT BE AVOIDED. With the lingering force of a traumatic memory, an advertisement for “Immersive Van Gogh” resurfaced constantly across social media. All over our screens, clips of masked visitors taking in wall-size projections of the Dutch painter’s self-portraits, still lifes, and landscapes proliferated. A thousand Starry Nights bloomed in rapid succession. Any cursory investigation of the phenomenon would uncover a veritable ecosystem of similarly titled, large-scale digital van Gogh installations, their locations ranging from Atlanta to Antwerp, Houston to Hangzhou: “Immersive Van

  • Amost Badertscher, Portrait with Two Brothers—Ross + Eddie Front View, 1996–98, silver gelatin print, 4 1/2 x 7 3/4".
    picks June 17, 2020

    Amos Badertscher

    One of the sections in this retrospective of work by the Baltimore-based photographer Amos Badertscher is called “Lost Boy,” named for a character that serves as a veritable emblem for the show. Portraits of these gamins—usually white, usually thin—proliferate throughout. Most are supplemented by Badertscher’s handwritten captions, which visually enframe the photographs (all gelatin silver prints) and in essence explain how the artist and his boys came to meet. The exhibition, boldly but sensitively curated by Jonathan D. Katz and Hunter O’Hanian, is up-front about its thorny ethics: In the

  • Still from Leila Hekmat, Crocopazzo!, 2020, single-channel video, dimensions variable, 1 hour 20 minutes.
    picks June 05, 2020

    Leila Hekmat

    If looking at art these days requires a certain repudiation of the body, casually perusing galleries while protecting others from droplets of your saliva and mucus, then thank goodness for Leila Hekmat’s Crocopazzo!, which fully embraces a sociality of leaking, bloated, sundered corporeality. The centerpiece of the exhibition is a video recording of a play written by Hekmat and filmed in the gallery itself. Its narrative functions as if the work were a talk show–cum-cabaret, whose cast of wigged libertines and honky-tonk banter read as a collaboration between Annie Oakley and the Marquis de

  • Jenny Hval at Hebbel am Ufer, Berlin, February, 2020. Photo: Marco Fuentes.
    music February 21, 2020

    Love Streams

    HAVING MOVED TO BERLIN from New York last September, I was dismayed to learn that Valentine’s Day is also a thing in Germany. It’s not just that the holiday tends to endorse a set of normative conventions around love (heterosexuality, monogamy, consumerism); it also reminds me that I might want parts of these normative conventions (despite—or because of—my usual queer predilections, which tend towards non-monogamy, long-distance, etc.). In preparation for this piece, I read Dodie Bellamy’s Valentine’s Day essay in this magazine: to my horror, Bellamy confessed her own attachment to February

  • Rose Wylie, Girl Now meets Girl Then (8/III), 2019, acrylic paint, acrylic ink, aquarelle ink on pigment print. 47 x 31 1/2".
    picks January 30, 2020

    Rose Wylie

    “It should just be about the quality of the painting,” insisted the British artist Rose Wylie in a 2017 interview. “That’s what I’d like to be known for . . . not because I’m old.” Although age may contradictorily seem to be the subject of Wylie’s exhibition “Girl Now meets Girl Then,” it’s indeed more than a number; here, girlhood is instead a mnemonic scaffold, one used to rewrite the position of the self in the present. In Girl Now meets Girl Then (8/III), 2019, the artist has scribbled “in a primrose yellow bathing suit costume / 1956-55?” next to a casually drawn ingenue donning a yellow

  • A New Dawn, 2019, acrylic, glass, and laquer on wood, 60 x 48".
    picks January 22, 2020

    Julio Rondo

    In case Josef Albers’ 1963 manual Interaction of Color didn’t sufficiently spell out its primary lesson—that colors exist only as relations to each other—the Spanish-born, Germany-based artist Julio Rondo has made things explicit. Through this presentation of glass paintings, a medium he has utilized since the 1980s, Rondo puts the very tectonics of stroke and chroma on display. The artist has constructed each work by enclosing a painted wood surface in a glass case, its own reverse side already treated with acrylic. In All The Way (all works cited 2019), for example, a background eggshell blue

  • Ingrid Wiener, Atelier Markus Lüpertz, 1992–93, tapestry, wool, cotton, silk, 23 1/2 x 22 1/2".
    picks October 11, 2019

    Ingrid Wiener

    The institutional revisionism of figures including Anni Albers and Ruth Asawa seems to suggest that textiles have been permitted entrance into the holy vault of acceptable art-historical media. Yet as Julia Bryan-Wilson maintained in her 2017 book Fray: Art and Textile Politics, the discursive latency of textiles and other crafts is precisely to scramble such divisions between fine and applied, high and low, professional and amateur, while rebuking and exploiting gendered notions of making. But a latency is just that—a possibility—until we have eye- or stitch-opening instantiations such as Ingrid

  • Pierre Puvis de Chavannes, Esquisse pour le sommeil (Sketch for Sleep), 1867, oil on canvas, 18 x 19".
    picks January 22, 2019

    Pierre Puvis de Chavannes

    By the time painter Pierre Puvis de Chavannes died in 1898, he had become all things to all people, like a Max Beckmann or a Giorgio Morandi. French Symbolists viewed his archaizing classicism as singular in its sparse dreaminess, while French academicians saw in Puvis the continuation of an edifying, restrained painting tradition. As the art historian Jennifer L. Shaw has noted, Puvis made his most prominent works—large-scale murals in hallowed institutions such as the Sorbonne in Paris—when the country fissured between a syndicalist left and nationalist right. Today, then, Puvis’s contribution

  • Virginia Jaramillo, Site: No. 15: (13.5099° S, 71.9817° W), 2018, acrylic on canvas, 72 x 72".
    picks November 21, 2018

    Virginia Jaramillo

    Virginia Jaramillo’s show is billed as a return to painting on canvas, which she stopped doing in 1979 in order to investigate other modes of artmaking. But the eight acrylic-on-canvas works in “Foundations” examine the logic of reliefs, or even papier collé. In these “Sites” (all works 2018), Jaramillo superposes oblique planar forms in solid matte colors. The thinnest protrusion of impasto along every contour makes the surfaces feel built up or pieced together. This nearly sutured sense of composition differentiates the current body of work from Jaramillo’s earlier painterly efforts of the