Katy Siegel

  • Paul Thek

    Should the artist be a man of the world? Paul Thek came up in the ’50s and ’60s, when it was hard to answer “no,” when “avant-garde artist” became a profession, an idea that repulsed him, Wrestling with this question in 1979, Thek wrote to a priest, “I am OK, still trying to be ‘an artist’ in the secular world . . . as you know, the world is the world, very ‘worldly,’ etc, etc.” He longed for recognition, but had little respect for posturing or artistic orthodoxies, retreating to Europe—and even, late in his life, to a monastery—for long periods.

    Curator and critic Richard Flood called Thek’s

  • Willem de Kooning

    The coincident scheduling of Rothko and Pollock exhibitions in New York this fall provided a great opening for three de Kooning shows, as well as the Public Art Fund’s display of two large sculptures in Central and Bryant Parks. Seeing AbEx “all over” New York, it was obvious that de Kooning alone managed at once to reinvent and to remain himself—to have the second act most American artists don’t get. While the black-and-white enamels of the ’40s and the women and landscapes of the ’50s continue to be classic, the underrated work of the ’60s and ’70s equally challenges and rewards sustained

  • Kim Dingle

    Not so long ago, angry women were all the rage, and, for Kruger, Holzer, et al., it was a clean burn. Kim Dingle belongs to that same generation, but in her case the emotions are messier and the work rejects any slickness. Not only is there nothing to read in the works, the messages are downright preverbal.

    Dingle’s exhibition included one sculptural installation and six large paintings covered with the figures of girls and horses and decorative motifs like ivy all painted in a beautiful ultramarine, with bits of raw canvas peeking through. Both the all-over pattern paintings and the monumental

  • Ann Philbin

    If the recent trend in choosing museum directors has been more business, less art, the ARMAND HAMMER MUSEUM in Los Angeles is happily swimming upstream, tapping Ann Philbin, director and chief curator at the Drawing Center in New York, for its top post. Why her, as opposed to, say, the president of a successful snack chip company? Philbin guesses it’s her historical agility in moving between old masters and the cutting edge, as well as the Drawing Center’s track record of successful extracurricular programming. Richard Flood, chief curator at the Walker Art Center, offers a more generous

  • Tony Oursler

    Watching a video in a gallery can’t help but remind us of watching TV at home, even if the artist is inspired, as in much recent work, to make the image very large. This is a problem not because TV is bad, but because it is good, that is to say, compelling. Put Who’s the Boss next to Bill Viola, and most people will eyeball the former. One solution to this no-win contest is to combine video with other media, as Tony Oursler does in his spectacular hybrids.

    Oursler is best known for projecting videotaped faces onto blank, three-dimensional oval shapes that minimally suggest heads. This show

  • “Sigmar Polke: Works on Paper, 1963-1974”

    Unlike our homegrown heroes, the Germans seem to have emerged from ’80s-style big painting (and postmodernism generally) with their reputations intact. At the top of the heap, Sigmar Polke is but a half step behind his fellow Capitalist Realist, ubiquitous über-artist of the moment, Gerhard Richter. This exhibition, the first major US museum show to focus on Polke’s drawings, gouaches, and sketchbooks, brings together 200 classic works on paper from 1963 to 1974. Organized by MoMA’S Margit Rowell, this exhibition, like the 1995-97 touring show of the artist’s photographic

  • “Ray Johnson: Correspondences”

    This exhibition offers a first opportunity to view the full range of Ray Johnson’s work, but please don’t call it a retrospective! The inventor of mail art both fully inhabited the art world and resisted its domesticating institutions. And even though Johnson’s Gesamtkunstwerk was his life, the “great communicator” was no open book. Curator Donna De Salvo sensibly sidesteps the summary and follows the bread crumbs: early paintings, collages, and roughly fifty years of correspondence. The news: This champion of the ephemeral made astonishingly beautiful work. Look for an

  • “Stan Douglas/Douglas Gordon: Double Vision”

    If you’re tired of video art made by moonlighting painters and sculptors, this double-Douglas bill organized by the Dia’s Lynne Cooke promises relief. These film/video artists both confront their medium’s inherent temporality. Time is historical here, “documenting” a lost past or high-modern ideas gone wrong, but we are also made to experience, to feel time as such: The works are shot from viewpoints that don’t mesh, or they’re manipulated, as in Gordon’s daylong version of Psycho. Will the new installations, created expressly for this show, prove better than a night at

  • Vik Muniz

    Whether ordinary guy or art-world regular, we’re all pretty sophisticated as viewers by now. In fact, in today’s image-driven culture, we’ve become so good at looking that we can do it very quickly—in a museum, about three seconds per object. But when I visited Vik Muniz’s ICP survey—a full show of pictures of pictures filled with shabby fun, a bit like Sherrie Levine crossed with a flea circus—viewers were parked in front of individual photos, staring, laughing, beckoning their companions, pointing. You might think somebody had spotted a flea doing a triple somersault.


  • Kenneth Noland

    For the past few years many young artists, followed quickly by dealers and critics, have celebrated the renewed “rightness” of Color Field painting. There may be something about any flush economy that breeds Apollonian exercises in the art world: Times were good in the ’60s and they’re good again (more or less), so perhaps it’s no surprise that Kenneth Noland has chosen this very moment to update his classic circle imagery of 1958–63.

    It’s an art-historical commonplace that in their “late” styles artists stress touch over vision—Rembrandt, Titian, Renoir, Monet. Ruled by a softening heart

  • Lisa Yuskavage

    If in the ’80s, standing in front of one of the Untitled Film Stills, you wondered what Cindy Sherman really looked like, today you might be pondering Lisa Yuskavage’s cup size. In a 1996 interview with Chuck Close, she teasingly described her cheesecake images of naked ladies: “The impulse toward self-portraiture runs through like work from the beginning all the way to the end.” Like many artists who are women, Yuskavage has been playing both the one looked at and the one doing the looking; now, like many women who aren’t artists, Yuskavage has distanced herself from critiques of the male gaze,

  • Joseph Beuys

    The Walker excels at curating exhibitions on artists whose material production is ephemeral or elusive, and its show of Beuys multiples was no exception. On view were over 300 works in Beuys’ main media—photographs, drawings, postcards, and found objects—in editions from one to unlimited, as well as film and video. Considered by category, the postcards are more successful than the drawings, and the objects are the most compelling. They share a quietly natural, Wolfgang Laib–ish aesthetic of white and yellow, milk and honey. But where Beuys’ art is calibrated at 90 percent information and 10