Joshua Decter

  • Christopher Wool

    In the pursuit of annihilating imagery, Christopher Wool’s new paintings present a richly inarticulate pictorialism on the verge of collapsing into nonobjectivity. He lays siege to the rudiments of his own painting language to embark on a fitful construction process that not only allows for mistakes and false clues but actively exploits them. Wool offers us access to a world where things are layered to the point of implosion, where iconographic elements are built up only to virtually fall apart. These recent paintings are also his most emphatically “painterly” to date: the more Wool endeavors

  • Allan McCollum

    Allan McCollum’s latest series, “Natural Copies From the Coal Mines of Central Utah,” 1994–95, is equal parts Jurassic Park, Walter Benjamin, Marcel Duchamp, Claes Oldenburg, Sol LeWitt, and even Franz West. Offering endless recastings of dinosaur tracks that have already undergone a natural casting process, this group of new works can be read as the third installment that began with the artists’ series “Lost Objects,” 1991–, (endless recastings of dinosaur bone fossils) and “The Dog from Pompeii,” 1990–, (endless recastings of that notoriously blackened and contorted canine form ).


  • Andrea Zittel

    Andrea Zittel wants to make our lives a little bit more livable, and she’s determined enough to have established an “administrative services” business that promises to enhance our domestic experiences through a marriage of art, design, and architecture. Under the auspices of her pseudocompany “A to Z Administration,” Zittel both manufactures and tests utilitarian/art objects—or “prototypes” as she prefers to call them—within the comforts of her own home, regularly inviting friends over to sample the goods. In a sense, all of her artworks are objects of utility—or is it the other way around?

  • Chris Wilder

    Wrapping the gallery in foil as if it were a great big gift, L.A.–based artist Chris Wilder created a shiny, happy, reflective environment in which the not necessarily shiny and happy New York public could contemplate a group of peculiarly attractive paintings. The experience of Chill Out, 1995, was smoothed out by the eclectic sounds of a CD made in collaboration with fellow Los Angeleno T. Kelly Mason (which featured a compilation of excerpts from such disparate and relatively obscure sources as Spiro T. Agnew Speaks Out and Action Stereo! Adventures in Stereo Sound Effects), and one section

  • Elizabeth Peyton

    If her charmingly antiquated paintings are any indication, Elizabeth Peyton harbors a major crush on the late, great Kurt Cobain. Peyton’s neo-Romantic works resonate with the kind of libidinal melancholia—or posthumous-sub-pop-hero-worship—commonly associated with fawning teenagers enamored of their idol’s sexy, nihilistic tendencies. Here, we are discreetly reminded that, pushing tendency into reality, Cobain blew his brains out in his Seattle home last spring.

    While still alive, Kurt might have dwelled somewhat uncomfortably in the heart-shaped box of Courtney’s love, but he ended up in an a

  • Uta Barth

    In that never-never land between the sensuous purr of painting and the chilly idiom of photography, Uta Barth makes ethereal pictures (in fact photos) that delicately resist being arrested by the pictorial condition, yet somehow remain unrepentantly picturesque. Her perfectly blurred, cloyingly out-of-focus images obscure, yet politely demur from obliterating, an external referent. Her works offer only an oblique set of visual clues, identification of the essentially banal subject matter—which ranges from empty to almost empty interiors to specific domestic objects—is only momentarily suspended.

  • Carl Ostendarp

    With his unapologetically dumb Miracle Whip–Modernism paintings of the late ’80s, Carl Ostendarp achieved a welcome levity. Rudely digesting the delicate chromatic resonances of Color Field painting, Ostendarp spun out something resembling a mutant meringue flattened into the basic shape of a canvas. Imagine a debased Robert Ryman, smothered with ridiculous excesses of lather, and you’ve got the basic picture. Recently, however, evidence of a more sober method has surfaced: an increased emphasis on a more delicate manipulation of materials, and a stricter regulation of tonal range. In other

  • Tony Oursler

    In the midst of a jumble of pieces scattered in the darkly lit space, you could make out someone’s face—registering the kind of abject terror and nascent humiliation usually associated with an infant’s struggle to escape his crib—incarcerated in an oversized, capsulelike object. A tripod-based, miniature projection system faced this chirping visage (that of the artist himself), which stared back at the site of its origin: the video camera beaming the image into/onto the capsule form. Technically deft, Tony Oursler’s Instant Suckling, 1994, also coyly acknowledged the tradition of self-portraiture.

  • Stephen Prina

    As Stephen Prina’s newest project, Dom-Hotel, Zimmer 101, Köln, 1994, suggests, analyzing the institutional context of art and artmaking can be fun. Earlier works such as Exquisite Corpse: The Complete Oeuvre of Manet, 1988, and Monochrome Painting, 1988–89, addressed the way in which our insatiable appetite for constructing elaborate architectures of classification inevitably leads to a perverse privileging of the naming/coding system over the objects themselves, thereby reducing cultural artifacts to the status of pitiable signs to be exchanged like commodities.

    Like Sherrie Levine, Prina

  • Mark Dion

    As Mark Dion is fond of pointing out, the world’s ecosystems are really screwed-up. Focusing on how this sad state of affairs came into being, Dion investigates the shifting conditions of species generation, survival, and extinction within an increasingly hybrid environment. Using research and classificatory methods lifted from environmental science and ecology, Dion relates these conditions to specific sites or situations. For Dion, “site-specificity,” or “context-specificity,” has as much to do with testing the physical/ideological parameters of the cultural institution as it does with making

  • Doug Aitken

    Work for the attention-span impaired in all of us, Doug Aitken’s installation provoked the sort of fleeting engagement that characterizes watching television. This should come as no surprise since Aitken supports himself by producing and directing music videos and television ads. Presenting this so-called commercial work in a gallery would be a rather welcome development in the art world, but the problem here is that Aitken is too preoccupied with the notion that what he presents in that context must resemble, behave, or feel like Art. There should be nothing particularly embarrassing about

  • Nayland Blake

    After passing through a portal in the shape of a guillotine, the viewer was immediately confronted by a provisional metal scaffold behind which hung a drawing of an architectural interior. On the other side of this strange construction stood a Neoclassical miniature stage set, complete with a number of tiny chairs—the set for Nayland Blake’s marionette production of the Marquis de Sade’s text, Philosophy in the Bedroom, 1793.

    In an age when there is perhaps a little too much psychoanalysis in the bedroom, a little philosophy might be just what the doctor ordered. And I’m not talking about Hegel’s