Judith Russi Kirshner

  • Louise Bourgeois

    With the 1980 exhibitions and the anticipation of the upcoming Museum of Modern Art retrospective, the significance of the work of Louise Bourgeois is again being recognized and documented. Over the years, the artist has furnished a narrative of her childhood near Aubusson, of mathematical and philosophical studies in Paris, of training with Fernand Leger, and finally of adulthood spent on the outer edge of the Surrealist circle and New York school in the ’40s and ’50s; for some, this biography supplied by the artist’s recall (even if somewhat embellished and fictionalized) has become a key to

  • Phil Berkman

    When Phil Berkman makes objects, they are props or implements used to communicate ideas in his performances and installations. In the cover photograph of a catalogue for a 1976 exhibition entitled “The members of N.A.M.E. have agreed to show together,” Berkman lowers his head so that his is the only hidden face in the lineup of participants; it’s the one you notice. In a group self-portrait show in 1979. Berkman carved a jack-o’-lantern face out of the gallery wall and called it Okey-Doke. Despite its modest means, scale and negative presence, the calculated placement of Okey-Doke, a Halloween

  • June Leaf

    June Leaf’s newest and most ambitious work is a three-foot high mechanical portrait-bust of a woman. Cast in aluminum and mounted on an armature, the painted Head is operated by a crank at its side. Inside the head is a simple transmission, visible through perforations (“holes in the head”), which drives a whirligig on which are mounted steel cones, irises that flicker as they spin past the blank openings of the eyes. When you turn the crank, the bellows at the neck force air through the mouth and the tongue wags up and down in the frozen half-smile. Like a colossal toy, The Head breathes and