Kate Linker

  • WENT LOOKING FOR AFRICA: CARRIE MAE WEEMS

    IN A TEXT PANEL in her recent photographic series “Sea Islands,” 1992, Carrie Mae Weems traces the African derivation of the Gullah dialect spoken on the Sea Islands off Georgia and South Carolina. “Gola Angola Gulla Gullah Geechee”: Weems’ citation performs a historical ellipsis, rhythmically connecting the region’s indigenous speech to the West African lands from which the inhabitants’ ancestors traveled, as slaves, in the 17th and 18th centuries. The artist’s allusion is also rife with ethnographic associations, however, inasmuch as Gullah is a key text in studies of the African contribution

  • Glen Baxter

    Over the past decade Glen Baxter has developed a large and heterogeneous following for his particular mode of deadpan humor. Through postcards, calendars, books, and more recently, gallery-exhibited drawings, he has elaborated a broad-reaching cultural commentary whose medium, and main characteristic, is a razor-sharp, mordant wit. In this new show Baxter shifted his established practice into a new register, with mixed results.

    On display were both Baxter’s well-known drawings-cum-texts and a new series of large-scale textless paintings. The former (all of them made of crayon and ink on paper

  • Louise Bourgeois

    Few exhibitions have the force of emotional necessity of this show of drawings by Louise Bourgeois. Spanning nearly half a century—from 1939 to ’87—these 179 works include preparatory studies for sculptures and paintings as well as independent drawings. Although enormously varied in approach (as well as in the materials employed), they debunk much of the mystique still adhering to the notion of drawn “touch.” For what astonishes the viewer of these remarkably disciplined and controlled works is the tremulous vision of the human psyche to which they attest.

    The exhibition began with a series of

  • “Projects and Proposals”

    Lacking the broad tradition of civic cultural involvement that is common to many European countries, the United States has often been a battleground for public art. The skirmishes frequently occurring between the artists of such work and their tax-paying audiences have prompted discussions in many quarters on the possibilities of an art that might be both publicly accountable (responsive to the demands of its observers and users) and esthetically sophisticated (responsive to the needs of the specialized art community). This exhibition of 22 projects that are either currently under construction

  • Meyer Vaisman

    In exhibitions, architecture often triumphs, or at least so imposes its presence on artists’ projects as to force esthetic acquiescence to its terms. This was the case in Meyer Vaisman’s show, which involved a concerted (and extremely successful) adjustment to the size and scale of the gallery space here. Behind this change in locution, however, Vaisman’s thematic concerns remained constant: the new works’ canvas backgrounds and superimposed forms are all fabricated in his characteristic mariner, using silkscreened blow-ups of the canvas weave. These constructions present images of blankness—of

  • Tony Cragg

    The work in Tony Cragg’s recent exhibition marks a significant shift away from the imagistic assembled sculpture for which he is known. Although some of the new pieces are collections of objects, his arrangements of myriad minute fragments have been replaced for the most part by large unitary forms, or by works in which two or three objects are joined in tight compositions. Cragg’s most typical material, plastic, has given way here to more traditional media—clay, metal, glass, and wood—presented in a more traditional relationship to the supporting floor. However, these differences are somewhat

  • Ida Applebroog

    Ida Applebroog's recent paintings mark a steady progression away from the storyboard-style works of the '70s and early '80s for which she is known. Gone are the curtained windows transforming viewers into voyeurs; instead, Applebroog's latest dramas surround the observer with a dense, cloying insistence. Moreover, Rhoplex has been replaced by oil paint, and cool monochromes by combinations of warm hues that often deviate jarringly from the actual colors of their referents. But the strongest change in these works lies in the new register into which Applebroog shifts her own reading of the human

  • Elaine Sturtevant

    Over the past few years myriad references have been made to this prototypical appropriator, this artist who, by copying the works of Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg, Andy Warhol, Claes Oldenburg, and others in the mid '60s, anticipated the artistic discourse on originality by two decades. These discussions of Elaine Sturtevant's work repeatedly pointed to the way in which her re-creations paradoxically reduced the practices of Sherrie Levine, Mike Bidlo, and others to repetitions of a single, seminal activity. I just had to rush to see this show of work by an artist who, it seemed, had “done

  • Joseph Amar

    There is a small and selective following for the work of Joseph Amar, the kind of viewership that anxiously awaits each new occasion to observe the latest increment in a carefully measured practice. Amar's approach to painting is quiet and ruminative, almost languid, developing a precisely determined pictorial program and avoiding sharp changes and “major statements.” Much has been made of his relationship to Minimalism, but he lacks Minimalism's obduracy and its focus on specific objects in space. Instead, the issues relevant to Amar's paintings are restraint, refinement, and the capacity of

  • Joshua Stern

    The visual and verbal rhetoric of the advertising logo has been investigated extensively in recent art. Practitioners of this genre (Gretchen Bender, Nancy Dwyer, et al.) have studied the prominence of the logo in our mediated environment, in which words efface themselves into dumb objects and, conversely, images acquire a concise eloquence. However, such an inquiry has generally been pursued through electronic media and other technologically oriented approaches common to advertising. Joshua Stern offers another perspective on this discourse.

    The five large vertical paintings shown at Greathouse

  • Mark Dagley

    My path to Mark Dagley’s exhibition was paved with posters, pasted on the sides of buildings, featuring three photographs of the artist juxtaposed with two of his paintings. At the top of the poster was an image of him “pointing” toward one work, and below it one of him “pushing” against another, while a substantial head shot at the lower right showed the bespectacled Dagley gazing at the viewer. Looking at this, I wondered what was being advertised, the art or the artist? Several visits to the gallery revealed the paintings to be the latest installment in throwaway chic.

    Dagley’s paintings nod

  • Erika Rothenberg

    Erika Rothenberg maintains a political focus of which her paintings’ format and formal devices are a direct emanation. In Rothenberg’s recent exhibition of works from 1986 and ’87, “New! Ideas for a Better World,” the 11 paintings and an installation were all based on the marketing strategies and story-board structure of television commercials. They develop the notion of advertising infused with moral prescriptions—an idea that she first outlined in her 1983 book, Morally Superior Products—and they demonstrate, more successfully than her previous works, how advertising is inextricably linked

  • Michael Young

    Michael Young is frequently associated with the “new” geometric abstraction, but his work diverges from that of many of his colleagues in significant ways. Unlike them, he is not involved in making “signs” for paintings, or in displaying lack of faith in the medium’s capacities. Instead, his work is awash in reveries on the possibilities of painting. His is pure painting, which takes as its object painting’s inherent properties and creates of them an esthetic world, firmly divided from its quotidian surround.

    Young’s recent exhibition for the museum’s “Projects” series was conceived as an

  • Ilona Granet; Danita Geltner

    This two-person show offered a perspective on engaged or, more precisely, activist art. The installation of each artist’s production in separate spaces within the gallery allowed free play to the works’ different qualities, but it also permitted a purview over the political use of devices of disjunction.

    Ilona Granet was represented by two recent series of works and four earlier pieces. In one of the series, consisting of five pieces patterned on traffic signs, she has adopted an urban semiotic, using the reduced style, basic coloring and lettering, and even the materials (enamel on metal) of

  • Barbara Kruger

    The gallery show is usually an occasion to display the year’s latest products, the newest, hottest items off the assembly line of an individual artist’s practice. However, in this exhibition Barbara Kruger eschewed the convention of showing only recent work, preferring to arrange a selection of works from 1981 to the present. The central characteristic of her work–the photograph cropped, enlarged, and juxtaposed with strident verbal statements or phrases–was evident in several forms, ranging from her now “classic” red-framed black-and-white works to variations using lenticular screens, color

  • “FAKE”

    Some ideas defy representation in exhibited form. “Large” questions –the kind that comprise what we might term a cultural condition–are too diffuse, too densely reticulated, too “fundamental” to resolve themselves easily into images; the museum or gallery effort generally seems puny (at best) or illustrative (at worst). These problems beset “FAKE,” curated by William Olander, an exhibition designed to evoke the waning of the real in contemporary art practice.

    Olander’s topic, bluntly stated, is the erosion of originality. His intention was to conjure up, through the work of 17 individual artists

  • Ann Preston

    This first New York one-person exhibition by California-based Ann Preston revealed the artist to be a master of the quizzical object. The impulse behind her roundelay of sculpture, paintings, and drawings seems to be the transformation of a limited number of formal motifs, which are first reduced to linear elements and then varied according to the different materials and techniques employed. In this case, two motifs predominated: the eye and the profile. The eye, of course, is sexless, while here the profile is sexed in the feminine; indeed, Preston reduces and refines this basic form until it

  • Roy Lichtenstein

    “The Drawings of Roy Lichtenstein,” a traveling show of some 275 works organized by Museum of Modem Art curator Bernice Rose, is a herculean effort, an attempt at a retrospective of the artist’s drawing practice and, through the drawings, his total production. “Given the very large size of many of Lichtenstein’s paintings,” writes Rose in her catalogue preface, “only at the scale of drawing is it possible to have a detailed view of his career within a single exhibition.” Her aim is to trace the “logical unfolding of Lichtenstein’s work,” to describe, in a coherent manner, the diversity of a

  • Vikky Alexander

    Vikky Alexander’s recent wall-hung constructions are made of rectilinear arrangements of laminated strips in maple, birch, or pine wood-grain finish. Alexander creates each composition by joining together several L-shaped segments (or concentric rectangles) in an alternating pattern of contrasting finishes. The illusionistic effects resulting from her manipulations of proportion bring to mind Frank Stella’s “Black Paintings,” 1958–60, whose relations of compositional elements to center and framing edge they mimic; and the materials she uses echo Richard Artschwager’s statement from 1965 about

  • Aimee Rankin

    For the works in this exhibition, “Ecstasy,” Aimee Rankin used a format similar to that of her last year’s show. Suspended from the wall at regular intervals were 13 boxes, the interiors of which are arranged with complex assemblages of miniature images and objects, and the exteriors covered with Formica in colors cued to their themes. Each box represents one “elemental” emotional state within the theme of passion, a division encompassing (to follow Rankin’s narrative sequence) Attraction, Bliss, Perversity, Suffocation, Fury, Sex, Possession, Jealousy, Sadness, Cruelty, Fear, Loss, and Memory.