Linda Yablonsky

  • Left: Bruno Bischofberger, Larry Gagosian, and Cecily Brown. Photo: Patrick McMullan/PMc. Right: Jane Holzer and Rachel Feinstein.
    diary January 27, 2005

    Rake's Progress

    New York

    “Jerry and Roberta hate me and Artforum doesn't know I exist,” Cecily Brown was saying to playwright Tom Stoppard and Artforum senior editor Scott Rothkopf. The three were sharing a rear banquette on the third floor of 5 Ninth, where—despite the winter's first major snowstorm—Larry Gagosian had brought out the troops to toast Brown's opening at his Chelsea gallery.

    The artist was swapping war stories with Stoppard, a surprise guest, sharing tales of the awkward moments that can result from being friendly with critics. Stoppard, who has won (and deserved) just about every top honor the theater

  • Left: John Lurie, My Name is Skinny, I am a Horse, 2004. Right: Steve McQueen, still from Girls, Tricky, 2001.
    diary January 18, 2005

    Quality Time

    New York

    John Lurie's sardine-packed opening at Roebling Hall on far West 26th Street was a Mudd Club flashback so intense that Steve Buscemi went unnoticed by everyone including his own wife, Jo Andres, whom he had lost in the crush at the door. Figures from every period of Lurie's professional life—from Lounge Lizard, to Jarmusch star, to filmmaker—came together to support his new life as an art-on-paper man. Musicians (Eric Sanko, Pat Place, and Connie Berg) rubbed elbows with scenesters (Chris Parker and Maripol) and artists (Tom Otterness and James Nares, who said that since Lurie had

  • Jean Lowe and Kim MacConnel

    Kim MacConnel and Jean Lowe’s recent installation Bull Story (all works 1995) took me back to last summer when, driving through an isolated pasture down South, I came upon a family of cows. All but the big black bull moved out of my path. The bull’s eyes were rimmed with red, as if it had a hangover, its nose covered with buzzing flies. I sat in the car and watched the flies while the bull tried to stare me down. We sat like this until one of the cows swooshed its tail a certain way and the bull reluctantly moved off with her, casting a distrustful look in my direction. Clearly, they wanted to

  • Charles Spurrier

    Charles Spurrier adopts the role of artist as mender. He “paints” with the components of a first-aid kit, mapping stitchlike segments of thin black thread and gobs of pigmented petroleum jelly on sheets of translucent tape. His protoplasmic forms, muted variations on the glomming red biomorph in The Blob, 1958, have appeared on gallery walls in billboard-size reliefs.

    In his most recent show, Spurrier displayed smaller-scale, obsessively crafted examples of his tape-and-jelly pieces along with kitschy allover abstractions made of well-chewed bubble gum on board. Some of Spurrier’s vinyl squares

  • Catherine McCarthy

    A post-Modern painter with a penchant for the art-historical canon, Catherine McCarthy borrows freely from pictorial sources as disparate as Piero della Francesca, David Salle, Albrecht Dürer, and her own family scrapbook. An excavation of memories of a Catholic girlhood punctuated by dreamy flights into the history of painting, these works are mildly nostalgic, always polished, and overarchingly poetic.

    In glazed, multilayered canvases filled with details of landscapes, calligraphic notation, and pentimenti, she quotes liberally from both art and literature, creating a narrative out of disjunctive

  • Robin Lowe

    Robin Lowe takes a diarist’s approach to portraiture, putting a psychological spin on casual encounters with friends and family members. Working from snapshots, he shows ordinary subjects in ordinary contexts but from unexpected angles that reveal the extremities of their personalities.

    Painting on wood, Lowe constructs a hyperreal universe from subtle distortions and adept manipulations of color. Garden State/Gary (all works 1994) is particularly goofy. The focal point is not the happy young fellow proudly grinning from a lakeside lawn chair, but the grandly upswept genitals of the dog he holds

  • Sam Reveles

    Blazing through the sleepy terrain of formalist painting, the four paintings and three drawings that comprised Sam Reveles’ first New York solo show evoked the tough-but-delicate sensibilities of Jackson Pollock and Brice Marden (Reveles was once an assistant to the latter). His titles alone suggest a scrappy machismo: words like “cock,” “stallion,” “eagle,” “buck,” “Brando,” and “McQueen” crop up a lot, but rather than buttressing a pose, they signal genuine bravado. Madly slashing, mussing, and intersecting lines of paint across subtly washed grounds, Reveles lacerates the flat surface with

  • Randall Schmit

    Like a cybernetic David Salle, Randall Schmit runs amok in an art theme park but substitutes an unabashed corniness for the usual post-Modern irony. To confront his “Artificial Corridors” series, 1993–94, is to rummage through an attic storeroom of vaguely clichéd art-historical images. Each of his “corridors” blithely makes a jumble of his personal canon. Taken separately, the paintings are a lot of fun to look at, but as a group they can seem gimmicky. In terms of content they seem overelaborated and somewhat precious; their overriding interest lies in Schmit’s compositional declensions.

  • Colette

    With a personal symbology comprised of potatoes, high heels, white satin and silk, torn muslin, and brocade, Colette constructs art that is wearable, watchable, inhabitable, and, above all, accessible. Since the mid ’70s, she has performed in public spaces as institutional as a museum and as anarchic as the street. In the early ’80s, it was not unusual to come upon her en rituel in the corner of a nightclub dance floor or front-and-center in a trendy store window. Heavily rouged, her eyes nearly impacted with kohl, her hair piled exuberantly on her head under a tousle of trailing tulle, Colette

  • Clive Barker

    Clearly, Clive Barker knows what it is to wake up screaming. In this jam-packed fun-house of a show, featuring the myriad products of his hell-raising imagination (prints, posters, drawings, watercolors, comic books, collected first editions of his blood-and-guts novels), the popular horror meister explored a state of angst in which half-human hedonists satisfy monstrous carnal appetites, fueled by a fascination with their own corporeal mutilations.

    In Barker’s oeuvre, there’s no redemption except by violence, both for body and soul. Because his images are so flagrantly outrageous, at first you

  • Alphonse Borysewicz

    Maybe it’s the hovering rash of dark spots on the quartet he calls Hunting the Queen, or the image of a chalky, primitive hive at the bottom tier of For an Unknown Church, or the migrating scatter of drably pigmented, insectlike marks swirling around Black Mulch/Swarm, but Alphonse Borysewicz’s recent abstractions (all works 1993) produce a sweetly, transcendental buzz.

    Borysewicz does have a history of devotional art-making. He gave up seminary studies some years ago to find sanctuary in abstraction, occasionally delving into overtly religious constructions, later spending time in Japan before

  • Dona Nelson

    Dona Nelson’s recent show of anxious, cloth-sculpted and poured-enamel abstractions was as dislocating as it was inviting. Subterranean moods bubbled up through loosely strung muslin forms, dividing and multiplying acrylic surfaces in dramatic sweeps of dead-black and green or blinding-white enamel. As the title of one piece, Greedy Winter, 1993, might suggest, Nelson’s paintings threaten to swallow themselves along with the viewer’s eye. Their odd compositions make havoc of natural order in a disjunctive combination of art and artisanship, undermining the works’ meditative beauty with anarchistic