Kari Rittenbach

  • Rubens Gerchman, Sky Eye Yellow Line NY, 1969,painted wood, dimensions variable.
    picks May 11, 2022


    Spilling down the wall and onto the floor near the entrance to the gallery, the wooden letterforms of Rubens Gerchman’s Sky Eye Yellow Line NY, 1969, at once announce the conceptual thread of “SOL,” a group exhibition curated by artist Alexandre da Cunha. Painted in a harsh yellow, Gerchman’s sculpture describes daylight without directly naming its source. Both the errant phrase and a rare short film of Gerchman’s—Triunfo Hermético, shot on 16 mm in Rio de Janeiro in 1972—mark the gallery (and the landscape) as a place where language can become a physical material prone to weathering and decay.

  • Jeremy Glogan, The Bar, 2020, oil on Medite Ecologique MDF, 16 x 22 1/2".
    picks October 28, 2021

    Jeremy Glogan

    “The New Distortion,” Jeremy Glogan’s solo exhibition at Le Bourgeois—named for the former French restaurant and low-key sex club that previously occupied the storefront space at Eros House, a 1960s-era Brutalist block designed by Rodney Gordon and Owen Luder—presented eleven oil paintings, all with the same modest dimensions. The earliest work on view, the kaleidoscopic self-portrait Beard, 2019, was made before there was widespread awareness of the Covid-19 virus. The subsequent paintings—executed during the series of stringent lockdowns in the United Kingdom—develop a relevant through line

  • Marinella Pirelli, Film ambiente (Environmental Screen), 1969/2004, mixed media, dimensions variable.

    Marinella Pirelli

    While Italian scholarship is now beginning to recover the legacies of Maria Lai (1919–2013), Ketty La Rocca (1938–1976), Lisa Ponti (1922–2019), Nanda Vigo (1936–), and the subject of this exhibition, Marinella Pirelli (1925–2009), the unique positions of these figures within the defined trajectory of art movements remain precarious. Redressing the neglect of women’s contributions to Italian art opens a view onto the complexity of cultural life on the Apennine Peninsula, particularly during the postwar era, when the Communist Party was larger than in any other Western democracy, yet the Fascist

  • Gene Beery, Mere Decoration, 1976, acrylic on canvas, 19 1⁄2 × 25".

    Gene Beery

    Gene Beery’s ongoing painterly production over more than half a century resolutely undermines the elitism of the dominant art system (and its transatlantic channels of legitimation) as much as it self-consciously expresses resistance to any “high art” convention. The simple material forms, selectively flat colors, imperfect brushwork, and rough, sometimes mottled or yellowing surfaces of his works articulate a peculiarly American nonchalance. The environs of the small Swiss city of Fribourg, which bear a remote similarity to the woods of Northern California under the Sierra Nevada mountains

  • Paul McMahon, Spoonbill, 1995, mixed media, 30 × 19 1/2 × 2".

    Paul McMahon

    Paul McMahon’s wonderfully strange “soft” retrospective at the artist-run 321 Gallery in Brooklyn this past fall was, for a figure so doggedly unclassifiable, sympathetically out of joint. Nestled cozily into the non-rectilinear garden level of a brownstone home in Clinton Hill, the forty-four mostly framed two-dimensional works in the show—collages, paintings, pastel drawings on newsprint, tiled postcard pieces, videos (looped together on a single monitor), posters, and mixed-media sculpture—spanned the past forty-four years of the artist’s production. On the numerically related

  • Henry Flynt, Esthetics of Eerieness (selected) (detail), 1992, twelve ink-jet prints on painted MDF, each 14 1/2 × 28".

    Henry Flynt

    The philosopher, artist, musician, and one-time hard leftist Henry Flynt has engaged questions of bourgeois culture, formalism, and modernist aesthetics since at least 1961, when he coined the term “Concept Art” (not to be confused with Conceptual art) in a text published in the George Maciunas–designed An Anthology (1963). He is still hard at work undermining the ideology of dominant cultural forms today—long after abandoning his rigorously anti-art stance and confrontational protest tactics. Liz Kotz named him, in the pages of this magazine, the most elusive avant-gardist, and he is

  • Rachel Koolen, Self-Portrait in Drag, 2012, dance pole, plaster, straw, digital photo frame, dimensions variable.
    picks July 04, 2012

    “The Weight of Living”

    This exhibition of recent British and European sculpture is alive with summer malaise. Grouping together artworks that are materially chaotic, the show is marked by a unifying lack of formalism, rejecting carefully contrived facades and smooth modernist surfaces in favor of the heavier (and sweatier) bodily experience of living in the everyday.

    For example, Rachel Koolen’s Self-Portrait in Drag, 2012, is a strange homage to the brainless Scarecrow from the Land of Oz, knotting together a series of slabs coated with straw along a chrome stripper pole; it also includes a digital photo frame positioned

  • View of “Out of Body,” 2012.
    picks April 18, 2012

    Alice Channer

    For the duration of this exhibition, the interior of South London Gallery will perform as the sculptor’s body double: Along various walls in this graceful, thirty-foot-tall prism, Alice Channer has designated clusters of objects as her own disembodied Eyes, Lungs, and Thighs (all works cited, 2012). These groupings are noted on a small plan displayed under the glass hood of a vitrine in the foyer, which also contains a pair of plasticized snakeskin tights (one leg drifting out of the archive to softly skim the floor) and texts including Simone Weil’s “Metaxu”: “Every separation is a link.” The

  • View of “The Invisible Show,” 2012.
    picks February 07, 2012

    Brian Griffiths

    Brian Griffiths’s brand of quasi-Victorian Arte Povera reanimates the detritus of fantastical culture to carnivalesque effect. He is known for large-scale sculptures and motley object-constellations, which have contained puppet-size porcelain clowns, baby grand pianos perched on dark oak china hutches, and a moon-faced panda head carved into stone. Griffiths’s imagination is baroque––prey to the adventure and exoticism of a certain era of the British Empire (from the invention of science fiction through to the cold war)––and nostalgic for the now-obsolete mechanics of transformation, titillation,