Kate Linker

  • Olivier Mosset

    The Swiss-born artist Olivier Mosset gained attention in the last two years when his paintings were included in “neo-geo” and “new abstraction” shows, but the roots of his practice go back further. It was in 1967 that Mosset exhibited in Paris with Daniel Buren, Michel Parmentier, and Niele Toroni under the group name BMPT in the Musée de l’Art Moderne’s annual “Salon de la Jeune Peinture.” Their aim was to demystify painting, to rid it of metaphysical overtones, and to reveal paintings material, or historical, foundation as a signifying practice. Although the format of Mosset’s work has varied

  • Mark Stahl

    I first saw one of Mark Stahl’s assembled wall pieces incorporating “found” bathroom accessories and fake rocks in the exhibition “When Attitudes Become Form” at Bess Cutler last fall. The show’s title perfectly traced the artist’s trajectory from conceptualism to a commodity-based practice, just as the word “form” hinted at the closet formalism characterizing much current commodity art. In Stahl’s case, the visual values involve sophisticated plays on Minimalist esthetics. The works in his recent one-person exhibition, all from 1986, consisted of the same kind of “found” accessories and fake

  • Sherrie Levine / Haim Steinbach

    This two-person exhibition, although not a collaborative effort, demonstrated parallels in the thought of the participating artists. The works shown were about the use and character of the mass-produced object and, along the way, the artists touched on many issues concerning the expansion of consumer culture.

    Sherrie Levine was represented by spin-offs on her recent “generic” stripe paintings, with the stripes here applied to four prefabricated wooden chair seats. The ones used are the most basic, with a slightly recessed area that curves to fit the buttocks (curves that cast attractive shadows

  • Justen Ladda

    Justen Ladda treats art at its lowest, where it merges seamlessly with kitsch. His is a raunchy, rollicking temperament that delights in mining the depths of popular consciousness, and in art, fashion and religion, 1986, he explored the impact of consumerism.

    Ladda’s installation was designed according to two different spatial arrangements, with a mazelike rectilinear corridor giving onto a circular stage. Both walls of the corridor were painted with a Greek fret design, punctuated at regular intervals with clusters of grapes, and the perambulating viewer quickly noted that several grapes at a

  • “A Distanced View”

    The fall season gave rise to a range of acts of retribution. The most coherent and illuminating of the many exhibitions that aimed at redressing errors supposedly perpetuated by the recent blitz of German and Italian neoExpressionist art was “A Distanced View,” organized by Lynn Gumpert. “The hype of German and Italian neoExpressionism,” writes Gumpert in her catalogue essay, “has obscured our awareness of the current state of affairs in the other European countries and of artists working outside the dominant modes of painting and sculpture.” For this reason Gumpert focused on art employing

  • Dan Graham

    Dan Graham’s first New York show in many years seemed conceived as an ironic retrospective, one that evoked a strange familiarity in most viewers. Moving through it one encountered a project seen in this or that gallery, a model and documentary photographs for the glass pavilion reconstructed at Documenta in 1982, a videotape remembered from here or from there, and many texts and images published in the late ’60s in Arts magazine. As a whole, the exhibition encompassed models, wall works related to different video projects (Present Continuous Past(s), 1974, Public Space/Two Audiences, 1976),

  • Niele Toroni

    In his first one-person show in New York in more than ten years, Niele Toroni followed the same format and mode of application that have characterized this France-based painter’s practice for two decades. In each of the show’s three works, near-identical marks of a paint-soaked brush were deposited on wall or canvas at regular intervals to comprise uniform configurations of rectilinear colored dots. The title of the show (which also describes Toroni’s method of production) summed up the effect achieved: Empreintes de pinceau no. 50 répétées à intervalles réguliers de 30 centimètres (Marks of a

  • “Cinemaobject”

    Film is the 20th century’s capital art form, but it is also a medium whose narrative, structural, and semiological features have been broadly exploited by contemporary artists. Sharing with television and photography the cultural impact associated with techniques of mechanical reproduction, it has become both direct reference and underlying subtext in a wide range of the last decade’s artwork. Sponsored by the Kitchen Center for Video, Music, Dance, Performance and Film, and cu-rated by exhibiting artists Dennis Adams and Steve Derrickson, “Cinema-object” came billed as the first exhibition to

  • RITES OF EXCHANGE

    LOUISE LAWLER MADE HER REPUTATION with her “Arrangements,” begun in 1981 and ongoing. The idea behind these photographs of artworks as exhibited in private, corporate, and museum collections is to examine the networks of meaning set up through their different contexts. In this manner, Lawler takes issue with a philosophy of representation that sees meaning as resident in an object, as “proper” to it and “in place.” Underlying the series is a semantic play in which the notion of the a-rangement or dis-position of objects calls attention to our faith in an ideal order in which form and meaning

  • “Damaged Goods: Desire and the Economy of the Object”

    Over the past few years artists and theorists alike have addressed our complex relationship with the commodity at this particular moment in late-capitalist society. At issue is less the allure of the commodity than its altered structure, and the social adjustments entailed by that structure. The global penetration of advertising, television, and the general telecommunications industry has displaced the object as a discrete and usable artifact, replacing it with systems of shimmering signs coded to manipulated effects that are far abstracted from substantial “objectives” What we consume is the

  • “Modern Objects: A New Dawn”

    Rather than sublating the artwork within social and economic concerns, “Modern Objects” isolated esthetics pure and simple—design, that is, without the designs it has upon us. Organized by R. M. Fischer (who curated its 1983 predecessor), the show included works by eight artists, and three surfboards.

    What is a “modern object”? For Jeffrey Deitch, author of the accompanying essay-cum-brochure, it is a nigh-religious icon, an emblem of the boundless optimism and unquenchable aspirations that characterized the Modern period’s ideology of progress. Only now, he suggests, in an age weakened by

  • On the Trail of Jean Le Gac: The Case of a Painter Who Never Paints

    JEAN LE GAC'S “PAINTER” is a scheme, a stratagem, a device employed to develop a discourse on art. Less an identity than an image, he first appears, in 1971, as a Sunday painter, endlessly in search of his proper vocation—a dabbler in his métier. The hero of romantic stories, he climbs cliffs, rides horses, travels to distant lands, and engages in extreme exploits patterned on adventure tales from the ’30s. His demeanor too is formulaic, for he traffics in paint pots and berets and affects 19th-century dialects. Everything about this painter seems to issue from another century, including the

  • A REFLECTION ON POST-MODERNISM

    IN 1968, LONDON’S INSTITUTE of Contemporary Art organized “Cybernetic Serendipity” an exhibition intended to indicate the effects of technology on Modern life. As its title suggests, this dizzying display of technology presented a paradisiacal vision of the capacity of the machine, and to this day it remains one of the central projections of a techno logical utopia based on the notion of modernization. Underlying it was the premise of “technoscience” as a prosthetic, or aid, to universal mastery; the cybernetic revolution appeared to accomplish man’s aim of material transformation, of shaping

  • Sarah Charlesworth

    As opposed to Sarah Charlesworth’s earlier work, which explored the thematic terrain of passion and desire, her recent subject is what we loosely describe as “nature,” Lush green and black backgrounds support photographed images, all taken from geographic or travel-and-leisure magazines, of varied plant, animal, or ethnological scenes: an owl, snakes, or a Iamb crowned with flowers as if for some village festival are examples of Charlesworth’s purposefully reduced motifs. Coexisting with these are a Gauguinesque island woman, a seated Buddha sculpture, and other images that imply a kind of

  • “Disinformation: The Manufacture of Consent”

    Surely it belongs within the experience of all viewers of art to be so moved by a lousy review as to rush out to see the show. An exhibition so bad, goes the logic, can hardly lack interest; one is moved to discern the prick, the prong that provokes such extremes of passion. So, after reading Michael Brenson’s words in The New York Times of March 22, 1985, I scurried over to see (I quote him) “the kind of exhibition that gives political art its bad name.” What I found in "Disinformation: The Manufacture of Consent: organized by Geno Rodriguez, director of the Alternative Museum, was something

  • Silvia Kolbowski

    Silvia Kolbowski’s show seemed important for pushing the artist’s focus into a broader referential frame. All of her work deals with the construction of sexuality, and, in particular, with the imposition implicit in the feminine position; her rearrangements of photographic images generally drawn from mass media magazines treat the means employed, and masculine interests served, in the process of feminine subjection. This exhibition extended the reach of those themes into the spheres of business and fashion.

    My comment requires a stipulation, for the show, composed of three different modes of

  • Vito Acconci

    Over the past few years Vito Acconci has become increasingly involved in public projects, a fact responsible, in part, for the infrequency of his gallery shows. I sense that his recent exhibition of sculptures should be interpreted in this light; most of the exhibited works are publicly impractical, yet evade the normal compass of collectors. Instead, they appear to be intended as heuristic exercises, testing boundaries between art and architecture, sculpture and furniture, and esthetic and social issues.

    A rich mix, that, but not without precedent: all of the works deal with Acconci’s interest

  • “The New Capital”

    This show seemed to promise more than it delivered, though not from problems in structure or conception. Instead, its difficulties appeared intrinsic to the task of mapping an interesting but indefinable region in the relations between esthetics and culture.

    Organized by Tricia Collins and Richard Milazzo, “The New Capital” drew together the very diverse work of some 16 artists. Its thesis concerned the role of photography (or, rather, of photomechanical reproduction) in this last fifth of the 20th century; rather than aping Walter Benjamin, it transmuted his theory into the contemporary vernacular,

  • Laurie Simmons

    Not far away, in an East Village gallery, Laurie Simmons phrased a concise reflection on the position of women in representation. “Tourism” is a series of large color photographic prints in which famous architectural scenes—Stonehenge, the Eiffel Tower, Gothic cathedrals, and more—are glimpsed as they are “visited” by female dolls. The dolls are tall, slender, ’60s-ish figures, color cued to their environments; similarly, their gestures and groupings mimic the features of their locales. The photographs sit flush against the wall so as to simulate “windows on the world.” Because of the way the

  • “Subjects in Pictures”

    This exhibition, organized by Philip Monk, presented the work of six Toronto-based artists. Its title involves a play on words, for, as Monk notes in his catalogue essay, it can speak of both content and individuality, “subject-matter and subjecthood.” In the latter, Monk is dealing with one of the capital topics of our era, for the representation of individuals in any work extends beyond their simple figuration to encompass reflection on the forms of subjectivity in society. To “picture” individuals in and as images is to comment on the social relations their appearances imply, and on the means