Joseph Nechvatal

  • Kiki Smith, Black Madonna, 1992, silicon bronze, 71 5/8 x 26 3/8''.
    picks June 17, 2021

    Kiki Smith

    “From Inside,” the title of Kiki Smith’s first exhibition at Galerie Lelong’s modest Matignonspace, suggests both the inner urges and workings of the body (the show draws heavily from the artist’s powerful anatomical drawings of the mid-90s)—but also an inside job. That is apt, as Smith curated and planned the hanging herself. And it shows.

    Hanging on one wall is Black Madonna, 1992, a silicon bronze bas-relief that might suggest to some a comical carbonized human, flattened by a cement roller. But in the French context, Black Madonna evokes occult magic: It slips into the zone of ambiguity and

  • View of “Omaggio a Lucio Amelio,” 2021.
    picks May 20, 2021

    “Omaggio a Lucio Amelio”

    When Galerie Pièce Unique opened at 4 rue Jacques Callot in Saint-Germain-des-Prés more than thirty years ago, it triggered a friction between seduction and the street rarely seen off Rue Saint-Denis. Tipsily departing Café La Palette past the gallery’s titanic window façade, one could not avoid close (if cool) contact with a single sizable contemporary artwork in its window, day or night. This slick setup was generously orchestrated by Neapolitan gallerist Lucio Amelio with the assistance of Belgian dealer Isy Brachot.

    After Amelio passed away from AIDS-related complications in 1994, his Rive

  • Günther Uecker, Lichtbogen (Arc of Light), 2020, watercolor and tempera on canvas, 118 x 78 3/4". © Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn.
    picks November 24, 2020

    Günther Uecker

    For the first exhibition at their new Parisian location, Lévy Gorvy has adorned the large gallery with a series of six monumental and lyrical minimalist paintings by Group Zero’s Günther Uecker—mural-like in their consistent scale and limited blue and white palette—along with an array of small watercolors. Presented here, in Uecker’s first Parisian solo show since 1968, they mark a decisive departure from the opulent, nail-studded works that have largely delineated his career. Its title, “Lichtbogen” (Arc of Light), abstractly suggests current struggles to flatten the curve during the bulging

  • Alberto Giacometti, Homme et femme (Man and Woman), 1928–29, bronze, 15 1/2 x 15 1/2 x 6 1/2".
    picks January 27, 2020

    “Giacometti/Sade, Cruel objects of desire”

    Nestled within Giacometti Institute’s tony townhouse is a small jewel of an exhibition of about sixty works that charts the impact of Marquis de Sade’s writings on Alberto Giacometti, who infused his sculptures and works on paper with a perversely erotic jolt—see, for the first time, Esquisse de femme et homme brandissant une épée (Sketch of Woman and Man Brandishing a Sword), ca. 1951, a furious pencil drawing in which a female nude, dorsal recumbent, is accompanied by a man brandishing a priapic sword. The survey, curated by Christian Alandete and Serena Bucalo-Mussely, can be considered a

  • HYPERDEATH AND THE SCOPIC CORPSE

    IN THE CIMITERO DEI CAPPUCCINI in Rome, a forbidden fruit of lapidary style, I found myself tipsy with a morose and peculiar vision—overwhelmed, engulfed, supersaturated. The designs and mise-en-scènes of this ossuary as art are arranged from innumerable human bones, the skeletons of over 4,000 of the Capuchin monastic order’s 17th-century brothers, displayed by their survivors as an unashamedly ornamental attack on death. The syntax is so rich and evocative as to border on logorrhea. The style is so purple as to spill over into ultraviolet.

    The monks whose bones create this macabre installation