Kirby Gookin

  • Nancy Burson

    Nancy Burson has devoted the past two decades to the human face, not so much to learn from it as to learn what it cannot tell us. This midcareer survey, “Seeing and Believing: The Art of Nancy Burson” (co-organized with the Blaffer Gallery, the Art Museum of the University of Houston), includes more than one hundred photographs as well as drawings and interactive computer stations (at which you can see various modified versions of yourself—merged with another face, as a different race or age, or with various physical anomalies). The show opened with a selection of the early-’80s composite

  • Lynne Yamamoto

    Lynne Yamamoto’s recent exhibition, “Resplendent,” immersed viewers in a pastoral tableau of cherry blossoms by the hundreds (all works 2001). At first glance the outstretched petals resembled wings, making the flowers look like butterflies—an illusion encouraged by the fact that they were pinned to the wall like insects splayed out in a natural history museum vitrine. (The allusion to methods for collecting and preserving natural specimens was strengthened by the nine large blown-glass bell jars lined up on the floor in the middle of the space, each with the stylized outline of a cherry blossom

  • Katy Schimert

    CASTS OF ANTIQUE STATUARY have formed the backbone of artists' education since the late Renaissance. Gathered in laboratory-like settings of ateliers and arts academies across Europe and the Americas, such figurative models demonstrate the standards of excellence according to which generations of artists learn the classical idioms of beauty and perfection. Katy Schimert takes this paradigm as a starting point for her investigations of the classical tradition's pervasive influence on our cultural psyche. For her recent exhibition she sculpted various body parts in clay, cast them in ceramic,

  • Tehching Hsieh

    From September 30, 1978, to September 29, 1979, Tehching Hsieh lived inside a locked cage, eleven-and-a-half by nine by eight feet. He wore a white laborer’s uniform and refrained from speaking, reading, writing, watching television, and listening to music or the radio. The room was a barren environment, furnished only with a cot, mattress, pillow, blanket, sink, and wastebasket. His only human contact came when an aide brought food and disposed of his body waste, and on several scheduled occasions when the public was invited for visits in the spirit of exhibition openings.

    Hsieh was not languishing

  • Tatsuo Miyajima

    SINCE HIS EARLIEST LED INSTALLATIONS, in 1987, Tatsuo Miyajima has been reshaping the timeless and pristine white cube into a black abyss governed by the pulse of our biological clocks. While the Japanese artist is best known for orchestrating digital LED counters into richly varied arrangements—strewn across the floor, installed in geometric patterns on walls, even placed on little robotic cars—the works in his recent installation “Totality of Life” span a wider range of media and incorporate a certain humanist dimension that his earlier installations lacked.

    In the large video projection

  • “Police Pictures: The Photograph as Evidence”

    With urban crime declining across the country and former prosecutor Rudy Giuliani running the city with an iron hand, the streets of Gotham appear to be safe again—the fruit, we’re told, of unceasing vigilance. It was therefore an appropriate moment for “Police Pictures: The Photograph as Evidence” to arrive in New York from the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, where it was organized by curator Sandra S. Phillips. With more than 150 images, it comprised a dense tableau of crime scenes, executions, victims, and every conceivable stripe of “criminal” (from murderers to opium smokers to political

  • David Bunn

    Mining what might be described as a poetics of the archive, David Bunn’s current project is a byproduct of the rapid conversion within our culture from printed information into bits of electronic data. His works are built from an increasingly antiquated artifact: the library card catalogue. “Here, There and (Nearly) Everywhere,” his first solo exhibition in New York, grew out of his permanent installation at the newly renovated and computerized Los Angeles Central Library. Having rescued some two million card entries from the shredder, Bunn used them as raw material to cover the walls of the

  • Paul Ramirez Jonas

    The desire to lasso “everything” together into a single theoretical corral drives such contemporary scientific concerns as the genome project, chaos theory, and super-string theory. Paul Ramirez Jonas borrows the semiotics of scientific inquiry for a visual language of incomplete pictures and empty gestures that question the validity of an objective, unifying system of knowledge. Referring to scientific manuals and do-it-yourself construction methods, Jonas’ work examines practices intended to improve our knowledge by getting a better view.

    In Top of the World (all works 1997) he creates a walk-in

  • “Counterculture”

    “Counterculture,” a survey of the last thirty years of “Alternative Information from the Underground Press to the Internet,” displayed some 1,000-plus items organized around such general themes as “Students, Youth, and the Rise of the Underground Press,” “Black Panthers and Third World Struggles,” “Feminism and Gay Liberation,” and “Punk Subculture and Zines.” Walking through this exhibition, fresh and full of discoveries, was at times like browsing through the drawers of a Wünderkammer. Those new to the material could familiarize themselves with “alternative information,” while those more

  • Dan Peterman

    Dan Peterman’s 4 Ton Vertical Storage, 1996, was a multifaceted and surprisingly deceptive work. Upon entering the gallery, one confronted a massive “wall” of green brick that extended all the way to the ceiling, slicing through the space like one of Richard Serra’s arcs of Cor-Ten steel. Walking around it, one discovered that what appeared to be a solid wall was in fact an interlocking hollow mass of modular units: a facade made of stacked empty storage bins that Peterman fabricated from planks of postconsumer, reprocessed plastic. This bank faced another floor-to-ceiling arrangement of storage

  • Jochen Gerz

    For an American audience unfamiliar with Jochen Gerz’s work, the traveling retrospective “People Speak” provided a good introduction, offering a wide selection of work from the past 27 years. The exhibition included both freestanding sculptures and wall works combining text and image; exhibited as well were examples of “interactive sculptures” (some produced in collaboration with Esther Shalev-Gerz), pieces either re-created, presented in the form of photographic documentation, or made accessible by computer.

    Though formally diverse, Gerz’s works all seek to empower viewers, offering them the

  • Doug and Mike Starn

    Constructed from an archive of images of the solar system, the works in Doug and Mike Starn’s luminous show “Heliolibri” cantilevered from the walls of the dimly lit space in a panoply of galactic imagery. The Starns’ heliocentric cosmologies excavate the mythical foundations of our universe through rich palimpsests: black-and-rusty-toned photographs of the sky and ocean waves, translucent book pages, and portraits appropriated from Eastern and Western art printed on transparent sheets of polyester.

    As if to emphasize the degree of trial and error in the origins of cosmology, the collection of

  • Mary Beth Edelson

    For three months, a blazing pink banner that read “COMBAT ZONE: Campaign HQ Against Domestic Violence” hung across the facade of a SoHo storefront. With its two independent entryways, one opening onto Broadway’s array of cut-rate kitchenware, shoe, and electronic warehouses and the other onto SoHo, COMBAT ZONE straddled the worlds of the art-viewing elite and the everyday pedestrian.

    Conceived and coordinated by artist Mary Beth Edelson, the multimedia installation was a reaction to what the artist considered the public apathy surrounding the Lorena Bobbitt case. Edelson felt that the media

  • Neil Jenney

    The six paintings selected for “Neil Jenney: Natural Rationalism” depict that mythic North American landscape of verdant forests, picturesque valleys, swollen rivers, and open skies. Recalling John Locke’s proclamation that “in the beginning all the world was America,” Jenney’s paintings conjure the unspoiled frontier of the New World and the transcendental visions it inspired.

    Reminiscent of the works of the Hudson Valley and Luminist painters in particular, Jenny’s paintings appropriate the epic proportions of sublime landscape painting, exaggerating the horizontal format in some works to such

  • Laura Stein

    Comprised of an array of potted plants, large-scale photographs, and colorful botanical drawings, Laura Stein’s first solo exhibition in New York resembled an exotic garden cum experimental laboratory. Close investigation of the plants revealed that they were not examples of discrete species but complex amalgams.

    Transforming studio practices into horticultural ones, Stein grafted a branch or bud from one plant species onto the trunk of another species in the same genus to form a rooted bond out of which grew a single living organism. The titles are lexical compounds of the names of the plants

  • Jackie Ferrara

    In her most recent exhibition, “Wall-works & Tableworks,” Jackie Ferrara presented small-scale, rationalist wooden constructions. Built from layers of horizontal wooden slats, each of these seven works formed a pristine communal space that recalled traditional gathering places such as public baths and arenas.

    Red Pool House 288, Grey Pool House 292, and Yellow Pool House 289 (all 1993) each consist of a succession of rooms arranged laterally along a thin horizontal plane. While the actual function of each chamber is not clear, each space evokes the various elements of a public bath—pool,

  • Chuck Close

    Chuck Close’s recent colossal portraits are a testament to painting’s continued vitality. The brilliance and appeal of their lushly painted surfaces are not indicative of a post–Whitney Biennial trauma—a swing of the pendulum of artistic style and taste away from “political” art as if in protest—rather, they suggest that painting is still capable of acting on the spectator.

    Using his now-familiar method of transposing photographic portraits onto canvas with a polychromatic grid, Close’s recent paintings have matured to the extent that each two-inch square is an independent abstract painting worthy

  • Rachel Berwick

    Rachel Berwick’s recent exhibition “Sounding Measures” consisted of two interdependent installations fabricated from translucent blocks of copal, a premature form of amber. Large irregular chunks of unrefined copal with hollowed impressions of animal heads hidden within their core were placed on tables and wired with ultrasound devices that calibrated the shape of the negative space within the “amber” rocks with incomprehensible numerical measurements flashing from an LCD display on the wall. The second piece, The Amber Room, 1993, consisted of translucent panes of golden copal slabs covering

  • Ben Kinmont

    “Public Projects: 1990–1993” displayed the archive of Ben Kinmont’s ongoing investigation into the creation of what he calls “Social Sculptures.” Over the past three years, Kinmont has developed three public works that originated in the city’s streets by engaging in conversations with passersby about the content of the flyers he hands them. In their performative aspect, these works mark the invisible space of human interaction and communication, spoken or otherwise. In Kinmont’s words, “In between the self and the other there exists a space. A malleable space. . . .”

    Each archive preserves the

  • Fred Tomaselli

    Over the past several years, Fred Tomaselli has introduced otherworldly, mind-altering experiences into his art, transporting the viewer far from the mundanities of conscious perception. In his installations these effects are often achieved by transforming the exhibition space into an alien environment where the spectator travels through space and time as if into a parallel universe. His paintings create a sense of distance by mixing traditional abstract patterning with an arsenal of prescription and nonprescription drugs that hold out the promise of psychological transcendence. Tomaselli’s art