Lauren O’Neill-Butler

  • Muzi Quawson

    From the recent blockbusters Knocked Up and Juno to the media hounding of Katie Holmes and Suri Cruise, America seems to be in the grip of a strange obsession with young mothers. Muzi Quawson’s first solo show in New York invoked this fascination through a voyeuristic look into the life of a twentysomething folk musician and mother, Amanda Jo Williams. In twelve large photographic light boxes, Quawson documents the daily lives of Williams and her twin toddlers, who reside in Woodstock, New York. But while the photographs are effective depictions of domestic motherhood, Quawson’s work is more

  • Moving a Mountain (detail), 2008, mixed media. Installation view.
    picks May 20, 2008

    Lisa Tan

    At first glance, the three works in this show (a painting, a picture of a painting, and a sheet of text) might invoke Joseph Kosuth’s tautological investigation in One and Three Chairs, 1965. But a closer look reveals a muted introspection and restrained melancholy that couldn’t be further from Kosuth’s Conceptual landmark. Moving a Mountain, 2008, documents Tan’s visit to Mexico City last November and broadens the wanderlust increasingly central to her practice. “It was the Day of the Dead, and the city was decorated with orange clusters of candles and marigolds,” begins the text, which looks

  • Adrian Piper

    For her first solo show in New York after a seven-year hiatus, influential first-generation Conceptualist Adrian Piper, known for infusing her rigorous practice with the concerns of identity politics, focused on impermanence and loss. Piper presented a selection from a series begun in 2003 titled “Everything,” short for “Everything will be taken away,” a chilling apocalyptic statement that is inscribed on most of the works. The show was thrilling and disturbing but above all confounding; there was nothing here to indicate why she had been quiet for so long. But that, it seemed, was part of the

  • Alex Hubbard

    In his seminal 1956 essay “The Legacy of Jackson Pollock,” Allan Kaprow praises Pollock’s use of everyday materials, noting that his “so-called dance of dripping” is ultimately more interesting and influential than his canvases themselves. “Pollock, as I see him,” writes Kaprow, “left us at the point where we must become preoccupied with and even dazzled by the space and objects of our everyday life. . . . Not satisfied with the suggestion through paint of our other senses, we shall utilize the specific substances of sight, sound, movements, people, odors, touch.” More than fifty years later,

  • Molly Springfield

    For her first solo show in New York, Molly Springfield took a page from the history of Conceptual art . . . literally. The ten graphite drawings presented meticulously depict photocopies from three major books on the language- and idea-based art of the late 1960s and early 1970s. The drawings were delicately pinned to the wall of one gallery, and from a distance they do indeed resemble poor-quality, toner-heavy Xeroxes. Springfield’s work is not primarily an attempt at trompe l’oeil, however, but rather aims to mine issues of representation and appropriation. Her life-size reproductions highlight

  • Harbor (2), 2008, oil on canvas, 60 x 70".
    picks February 27, 2008

    Joy Garnett

    Scenes of the apocalypse and disasters both natural and man-made could now be considered New York–based artist Joy Garnett’s signature subjects, yet they retain their capacity to frighten. In her latest works, which once again incongruously deploy sumptuously applied paint to render open-source images culled from the Internet, the artist depicts vistas from around the world taken at ostensibly the same moment. Although they verge on abstraction, the canvases provoke memories by drawing on the lingua franca of documentary news photographs. Garnett’s talent is for simultaneously imbuing these

  • Violet-Fire Falls Ensoulment, 1968, colored pencil on paper.
    picks January 25, 2008

    Alan Saret

    In 1971, at the age of twenty-six, Alan Saret left New York for a three-year sojourn in India. By that time, he had achieved several markers of artistic success, including solo exhibitions at Bykert Gallery that aligned his work with post-Minimal and anti-form artists then gaining traction. One gets the sense while looking at his work that the trip must have affected him indelibly, perhaps deepening his interests in ritual and spirituality. The “Gang Drawings” in this exhibition, which were made between the years 1967 and 2002, seem like remnants of ritual: Each work was made by marking the page

  • Kristin Lucas

    Recently, a friend remarked to me that she was experiencing her Saturn return—an astrological phenomenon that happens about once every thirty years when, after orbiting the sun, the planet returns to the place it was when a person was born. Her feelings of trepidation, the changes in her life, and her description of the ominous effect led us to the following, from newage-directory.com: “While undergoing your Saturn Return you may find yourself turning inward and reflecting on your individual destiny. You examine your true needs and desires and the role you want to play on the world’s stage.”

  • Sadie Benning

    Sadie Benning has garnered widespread acclaim since she was a teenager for her do-it-yourself approach to artmaking, especially among those of her postpunk peers who favor collaboration over individuality. Her career arc, though fairly well known, bears repeating: In 1989, as a teenager, Benning began to make candid, diaristic videos in her bedroom with a Fisher-Price PixelVision toy camera. Ten years later, she co-founded the feminist indie band Le Tigre. After years of incorporating politics, queer sexuality, and personal history into her work, that Benning has taken an increasing interest in

  • Dana Frankfort

    “DF,” Dana Frankfort’s second solo exhibition in New York, presented ten thickly layered, restlessly gestural paintings, each featuring a word or phrase scrawled messily across its surface. Grappling with the history of abstraction, Frankfort’s canvases are marked by an engagement with text; by vibrant, lustrous colors; and by energetic brushwork. The artist’s work appeared in more than one group show this summer. GUTS (yellow/gold) (all works 2007), for example, her contribution to “Late Liberties” at John Connelly Presents, is a vivid and uncompromising canvas that confronted viewers with a

  • No Title (He began to . . . ), 2007, pen, ink, acrylic, and gouache on paper, 13 x 22 1/4".
    picks September 26, 2007

    Raymond Pettibon

    Five years ago, Andrew Card, then the White House chief of staff, explained to the New York Times why the Bush administration planned to wait until after Labor Day to unveil its plans for Iraq: “From a marketing point of view, you don’t introduce new products in August.” I’d like to think that Raymond Pettibon had this in mind while putting together his atmospheric seventh solo show for this gallery, which opened on September 11 and features over one hundred new drawings. At their best, the works boldly portray the Bush regime (mostly George, Condi, and Dick) in harrowing situations—Bush

  • Trying to Understand Your Logic, 2007, graphite, watercolor, and gouache on paper, 19 x 29 1/4".
    picks July 10, 2007

    Yuri Masnyj

    Allusions to twentieth-century art history permeate Yuri Masnyj’s austerely rendered drawings and carefully composed hand-cast sculptures, though these references tend to belie the subtle humor threaded throughout this exhibition, his second solo in New York. Here, guitars, bottles, prisms, cones, posters, modern furniture, an invented typeface, and what appears to be a never-ending library of books proliferate like cards drawn from a loaded deck. With a checklist in hand, it becomes clear that Masnyj is not trying to insert himself into a certain genealogy, but instead is grappling—coolly—with