Lee Ambrozy

  • Carlo Vitale, Cherry Hill Park, 1980–91, oil on canvas, 71 1/2 x 51 1/2".
    picks May 11, 2022

    Carlo Vitale

    The small selection of paintings here, made between 1978 and 1989, was culled from Carlo Vitale’s vast oeuvre. The artist’s maximalist abstractions feature elaborate compositions in which thousands of impasto brushstrokes are overlaid on fields of color, creating undulating layers of graphic instability that make one’s eyes dance––even ache. Their optical effects cannot be properly photographed, but must be parsed in person for their dizzying illusionistic effects to emerge. An encounter with his work offers up a deeply physical experience, in sharp contrast to our virtual lives and the consumption

  • Cay Bahnmiller, Home Sweet Home, 2003, oil, latex, Sharpie, dried flowers, metal sign, wood, 18 × 21 1⁄2 × 3".

    Cay Bahnmiller

    Between the 1960s and the 1970s, Detroit’s Cass Corridor was the center of a burgeoning local art scene that echoed and responded to what was happening in New York’s Greenwich Village. Its artists embraced a rough formalism in works often crafted from repurposed industrial materials. Cay Bahnmiller (1955–2007) was loosely associated with this milieu and intersected it in multiple ways, but she surpassed it with her vibrant thinking and art. She was a painter and sculptor whose accumulative rhizomatic approach to object making incorporated Detroit’s material and psychic detritus, but she turned

  • diary April 08, 2019

    Legend of Wuzhen

    DUBBED “CHINA’S VENICE,” the twelve-hundred-year-old water town of Wuzhen abuts the Grand Canal, the world’s largest man-made waterway. ’Twas the eve of Art Wuzhen, the second installment of a government-sponsored invitational exhibition, yet nestled inside the Mu Xin Art Museum, all appeared calm. Artist Chen Danqing sat in his executive director’s office, which hovers over the water outside as if it were buoyed by the surrounding bamboo. Having returned to his ancestral home of Wuzhen after decades of exile in New York, Mu Xin passed away in 2011, but his creative spirit continues to shape

  • Xu Bing

    Although Xu Bing’s conceptualism has succeeded in brewing controversy domestically and abroad (recall the removal of his A Case Study of Transference, 1994, from “Art and China After 1989” at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York last year), he stands out among contemporary artists as a respected educator and pedagogue within the Chinese academy. This exhibition will present a career-spanning selection of Xu’s art, from his breakout 1989 woodblock-print installation, Book from the Sky, to his 2017 feature-length film Dragonfly Eyes, to brand-new works.

  • Yang Jiechang, Soy Sauce Drawing 1, 1988, soy sauce, paper, 14 3/4 × 12 1/8". From the series “Soy Sauce Drawings,” 1988.

    Yang Jiechang

    The show “Earth Roots” proved the continued power of the monochromatic density and crusty strata of black ink as a metaphorical primordial stew that continues to nourish experimental art in China. Here, forty-six instantiations, of Yang Jiechang’s famed series,“One Hundred Layers of Ink,” 1989–99, were featured alongside a selection of the artist’s works from the previous decade. The exhibition’s narrative pivoted on the 1989 Centre Pompidou exhibition “Magiciens de la terre” (Magicians of the World), in which Yang participated as one of three artists from China. The curators noted that Yang,

  • 11th Shanghai Biennale: “Why Not Ask Again? Maneuvers, Disputations & Stories”

    New Delhi–based trio Raqs Media Collective bring a refreshing geographic perspective to the Shanghai Biennale, assembling an exhibition that takes the underexamined cultural nexus of India and China (and, more broadly, South and East Asia) as its promising point of departure. Yet the show is no mere regional survey. Inspired by both Chinese speculative fiction and Jukti Takko Aar Gappo (Reason, Debate, and a Story), a pioneering 1974 work of Indian New Cinema by director Ritwik Ghatak, “Why Not Ask Again? Maneuvers, Disputations

  • Liang Yuanwei, 2015 No. 16, 2015, oil on linen, 55 1/4 × 47 1/4".

    Liang Yuanwei

    At first, it is difficult to see what is different about Liang Yuanwei’s new oil paintings. In the series titled “Oval,” 2014–15, the artist employs her signature method, meticulously interpreting patterns lifted from found textiles. Liang doesn’t produce preliminary sketches or drafts; rather, she allows the design to materialize in the accumulation of palpable, impressionistic brushstrokes. But unlike her previous fabric-inspired paintings, these sixteen canvases can be read as a single, multifaceted work.

    Titled in sequence from Oval 1 to Oval 16, the works evince eight months of the artist’s

  • Sonam Dolma Brauen, My Fathers Death, 2010, used monk robes, plaster, dimensions variable.
    picks March 20, 2015

    “Transcending Tibet”

    Tibetan art is now meta-ethnic. In this exhibition, the Shangri-la imaginary collides with realities particular to the global Tibetan cultural diaspora. The redefinition proposed here delivers a broad range of formal possibilities and artistic strategies. Most involve some degree of secularizing the Buddhist themes that defined art––thangka painting––for centuries.

    The inclusion of Western artists working in Tibetan idioms dramatically expands the discourse. Livia Liverani trained in Ladakh with an experienced painter of the sacred arts; she recreates traditional compositions in a pastiche of

  • Hu Xiangqian, The Public Speaker Who Forgot His Words, 2014. Performance view, Cathedral of Saint John the Divine, New York, July 16, 2014. Hu Xiangqian.
    performance August 29, 2014

    Falling Down

    ONE WEEK before his performance last month at the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine, I sought out Hu Xiangqian in his Upper East Side studio apartment. Amid dozens of ceiling-high houseplants, in front of a full-length mirror, stood a music-stand, to which were taped copious handwritten scripts. Hu was silent about the details of his upcoming performance, but screened for me instead a video of his most recent work, Speech At The Edge Of The World, made for inclusion in this year’s Gwangju Biennial. The two works share a protagonist, and the format of a public speech.

    In his video, Hu plays the

  • Song-Ming Ang’s “Guilty Pleasures” listening party with artists Nadim Abbas and Magdalen Wong at Spring Workshop, Hong Kong, August 18, 2013. Photo: Ken Fung.
    interviews May 27, 2014

    Heman Chong

    Singapore-based artist Heman Chong makes work that often dissolves boundaries between literature, performing arts, and graphic design. Moderation(s), his latest project, is a two-year experimental platform that involves collaborative institutional programming between artists, curators, and writers. It is being held at the Spring Workshop in Hong Kong and the Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art in Rotterdam, and it concludes this month at the latter venue with “The Part in the Story Where a Part Becomes a Part of Something Else,” a group show on view from May 22 to August 17, 2014.


  • Xu Zhen: A Madein Company Production

    In 2009, Shanghai-based artist Xu Zhen founded MadeIn Company, trading his singular identity for a corporate brand. Now, for this sprawling survey, the bellicose prankster turns his given name into the moniker of a MadeIn subsidiary, staging recent installations and paintings by the company-cum-collective alongside earlier works from the artist-as-individual. Among the items on view: the disturbing Starving of Sudan, 2008—featuring an animatronic vulture monitoring a live child—and 8848-1.86, 2005, in which the artist, claiming to have shaved 1.86

  • Left: Artist Cai Guo-Aiang with Vivienne Tam. Right: Outside the Metropolitan Museum. (Except where noted, all photos: Lee Ambrozy)
    diary December 18, 2013

    Ink Tank

    ONE MET. MANY WORLDS. The Met’s slogan is emblazoned across Fifth Avenue over banners that cover its facade and the now under-construction Koch Plaza. The phrase heralds the museum’s globalist vision, but in Chinese characters it reads slightly different, roughly translating to: Visit the Met. See Multiculturalism. Last week, invoking the grand narrative of “Chinese tradition,” the arbiters of the world’s cultural heritage launched a provocative foray—the Met’s first major exhibition dedicated to contemporary Chinese works—with “Ink Art: Past as Present in Contemporary China.”

    The title itself