Justin Spring

  • Adam Cvijanovic

    Adam Cvijanovic’s installation was a delightful surprise: at once a visual pleasure and a commentary on the politics of viewing. The artist compiled an impressive series of representational paintings that borrow heavily from the Romantic tradition. But the work is hardly pastiche; rather, it attempts to reconcile theories of the nature and purpose of art with its seductive properties.

    In the tiny storefront gallery, painted bright white, 18 delicate, grisaille paintings of erupting volcanoes ranged across the walls, forming a large and colorful imaginary landscape, complemented by a painting of

  • Wolf Kahn

    Wolf Kahn’s new work explores the possibilities of outrageous color in otherwise highly traditional landscape compositions. Ranging from tiny pastels on paper to very large oils on canvas, these works were completed in a variety of locations, from Vermont to Mexico. All feature Kahn’s signature explosive color combinations: shocking pink, cobalt blue, bloody orange, and ultraviolet. Drawing on an extraordinary sensibility for the permutations of natural light, Kahn makes the most unseemly and unlikely combinations into beautifully coherent works, so much so that each work seems not just striking,

  • Lisa Bradley

    To the casual observer, Lisa Bradley’s paintings may simply suggest spectacular optical effects achieved by way of a monochromatic painterly medium. The paintings—all nearly square and in various shades of blue—evoke the swirling tumbling forces of water and sky. They seem to derive their power to confound the eye from the abstract potential of photography: the maelstrom viewed through a camera obscura. But, in fact, the longer one spends with them, the more disorienting the paintings become. Or perhaps “disorienting” isn’t quite the word; all the blueness makes them oddly tranquil.

  • David Hockney

    David Hockney’s new paintings are entirely of a piece. Uniformly small in size (“My gazebo studio overlooking the sea is not very large,” he explains) and similar in texture, pattern, and bright, highly keyed palette, they seem less like individual works than components of a suite. Their uniformity, set against the artist’s coy diffidence and seemingly arbitrary methodology, leads to the conclusion that Hockney is satisfied to let his new vision speak for itself. That he is, in fact, merely acting as a scribe.

    Rich in eye-grabbing color, these jewellike paintings suggest an imaginary world in

  • Odd Nerdrum

    Though striking and technically accomplished, Odd Nerdrum’s recent paintings seem at first like so much virtuosic pastiche, as if, after eating a particularly rich meal late at night, one saw all the great paintings on the second floor of the Metropolitan coalesce into one enormous work of nightmarish intensity, in which all the illnesses and shortcomings of man loomed up out of varnished brown sauce.

    These images arc puzzles. They do not illustrate any particular myth or moment in time; they do not explain themselves or seek to explain any particular system of belief. They are of primal man,

  • Sally Gall

    Sally Gall’s idyllic, gelatin silver-print landscapes record the natural world with precision, but not without artifice: they are less documents of place than romantic evocations of a world untouched by man. By recreating the landscape through carefully composed black and white images and by selectively diffusing the light during the printing process, the artist presents a world that is heartbreakingly beautiful, but at the same time completely fabricated—reminding us gently, before we grow too sentimental, that there is really no such thing as natural beauty.

    Each photograph is startlingly

  • Andrew Young

    At first they seemed simply handsome and restrained, but over time, Andrew Young’s paintings do act on the mind gradually and indirectly. They reveal themselves to be much less stable, much more complicated and disturbing, than they at first appear. Almost aggressively elegant, calm, and self-possessed, each work keeps rather determinedly to itself, exerting an atmospheric influence. A viewer is tempted not to get too involved since the paintings seem so preoccupied with one another, so much of a piece. And besides, the particular representational conceits of the paintings—their windowsills,

  • SEASON'S READINGS

    Sex, Art, and American Culture: Essays, by Camille Paglia. New York: Vintage Books, 1992.

    So far we have seen two acts of the razzle-dazzle Camille Paglia show. The first act—the exposition, as it were—was Sexual Personae: Art and Decadence from Nefertiti to Emily Dickinson, a tumescent tome that ranges swaggeringly over the whole of the Western cultural patrimony, resembling in its ambitions such old-fashioned surveys as Erich Auerbach’s Mimesis and E. R. Curtius’ European Literature and the Latin Middle Ages, but hyped-up and amphetamized for the MTV generation. Dirty, too—Paglia’s willful

  • Fairfield Porter

    This uneven, desperately cluttered exhibition of the work of Fairfield Porter was alternately thrilling and infuriating. Thrilling, because Porter’s work was assembled here for the first time in a long while, with some truly extraordinary paintings on view. But infuriating because so many inferior paintings and sketches were included that Porter seemed much less talented than he actually is.

    Though cityscapes and depictions of the working life made a brief appearance in his early work, they quickly gave way to luminous summer landscapes and scenes of gracious country living. One need look no

  • Wallace Putnam

    Putnam’s late work is joyous, stylish, witty, and bright; whatever is portrayed (a field covered in snow, flowers, the beach in high summer) captures moody happiness. It’s deceptively simple, in the way Wallace Stevens can be. You return to the paintings over and over again, astonished at the way they continue to surprise, delighted by their evocation of something other than pure joy. This exhibition of paintings by Wallace Putnam, produced between 1950 and 1978, showed a mature artist, pursuing a distinctive and idiosyncratic style of drawing in paint.

    The best of these paintings are of animals

  • John Chamberlain

    This show of 15 sculptures, 1991-92, would probably surprise even a die-hard John Chamberlain fan: the pieces look like scaled-down versions of themselves. Ranging from 7 to 90 inches in height, but mostly averaging between 7 and 12 they’re remarkably attractive little objects that would not look out of place in an upscale gift shop. The first of these sculptures was created—at the suggestion of Chamberlain’s old friend Henry Geldzahler—to decorate a box of chocolate truffles.

    There’s nothing not to like in this show. In the past decade, Chamberlain’s work has evolved from something

  • Roy Lichtenstein

    This exhibition of Roy Lichtenstein’s sculptures posited the success the artist—primarily a painter—has had working in three dimensions throughout his career. Arranged chronologically, the exhibition brought a lot of work into a limited space, perhaps to the detriment of the objects, which, despite their brightness and clarity of line, seemed fussy and baroque—but there may be more to this than the simple placement of the work.

    Lichtenstein, now an éminence grise in the art world, seems to have been refining the same set of ideas throughout his career, and while the work has grown in finish and