Lisa Turvey

  • John Altoon

    In 1971, reflecting on John Altoon’s notability, Walter Hopps remarked that “anyone hanging around art in Southern California after the war had at least vaguely heard of Altoon, if they hadn’t met him.” The Ferus Gallery lion was as renowned for his giant personality as for his venturesome work. Yet if Altoon’s career was cut short by his early death in 1969 at age forty-four, he was an art-historical casualty as well: He was not, for example, included in the important 1981 exhibition “Seventeen Artists in the Sixties” at LACMA. The museum now offers a kind of belated

  • Konrad Lueg

    For some, making art is a second act: Henri Rousseau was a tax collector prior to retiring, at age forty-nine, to paint; Frederick Wiseman taught law before filming his first documentary; Grandma Moses picked up the brush in her seventies. Others, like Maureen Paley and Pat Hearn before her, channeled youthful creative inclinations into different art-world pursuits. In the late 1960s, Konrad Lueg forsook painting to open Berlin’s Konrad Fischer Galerie (he had taken as his artistic nom de guerre his mother’s maiden name). Before becoming a beloved and legendary dealer, however, he was a charter

  • Giosetta Fioroni

    In 1964, American Pop art arrived in Italy with a bang. Claes Oldenburg,Jasper Johns, and Jim Dine showed at the Venice Biennale, and Robert Rauschenberg won the exhibition’s Grand Prize, the first American ever to do so. That award process, accompanied by jury dissension and partisan maneuvering, set astir the art press, which saw in the laurel nothing less than a blow to European cultural hegemony administered by American imperialism. For its part, Italy’s homegrown strain of Pop was sidelined, and has remained so in the decades since, by the dominance of Arte Povera in 1960s narratives. But

  • Catherine Murphy

    Peter Freeman’s new SoHo digs are high-ceilinged and capacious, and this inaugural exhibition of recent paintings and drawings by Catherine Murphy, her first with the gallery, afforded the work ample breathing room. Still, one is never quite sure where to stand or, more precisely, where one stands in an encounter with Murphy’s close-cropped, meticulously realist, bigger-than-life renderings of humdrum things and scenes. They admit only to rebuff, aping the usual vantages of perception just to implode under multiple, irreconcilable perspectives, and intimating depth in impossible tandem with

  • Thomas Lanigan-Schmidt

    Pick any single work by Thomas Lanigan-Schmidt, and chances are it glows. Or sparkles, or shimmers, or, at the very least, reflects light, thanks to some medley of the glitter, foil, theatrical gel, tinsel, cellophane, neon tape, floor shine, and vinyl with which the artist forges collages, sculptural objects, and installations. The effect of encountering 160 such works, packed in vitrines and jamming the walls and columns of a single gallery at MoMA PS1, was quite literally dazzling; the lights were dim, one imagined, since the art was coruscating enough on its own. And because many of the

  • Kiki Kogelnik

    “I’m not involved with Coca-Cola,” Kiki Kogelnik avowed in 1966, marking her distance from Pop art, or at least its consumerist strains. But making the association was sensible enough. After moving to New York in 1961 (encouraged by Sam Francis, whom she’d met in Venice), the Austrian artist befriended Claes Oldenburg and Roy Lichtenstein, and visited Warhol’s Factory; her early stateside output—in painting, drawing, prints, and sculpture—admits Benday dots and spray paint, flattened forms and jazzed-up surfaces. Kogelnik, who died in 1997, is having a belated moment. She was recently

  • Louise Fishman

    The 1973 work that greeted visitors to Tilton Gallery’s miniretrospective of Louise Fishman’s paintings declares its maker as someone with an ax to grind: The phrase ANGRY LOUISE is scrawled graffiti style across the surface, framed by athletic strokes of crimson and teal and the words SERIOUS and RAGE. Then part of a New York–based feminist consciousness-raising collective, she was lamenting the critical and institutional sidelining of women artists; other works in the same 1973 series honor Jenny Snider (Angry Jenny) and Yvonne Rainer (Angry Yvonne). Fishman felt the blackballing acutely,

  • Katharina Wulff

    In Sheila Heti’s recent book How Should a Person Be?: A Novel from Life, the central character culls a list of international cities most populated by “Important Artists” from a digest of biographies. Finding that New York, natch, tops the tally, she promptly hops a bus from Toronto to Manhattan. I thought of this episode—and the novel’s attendant musings on the self-consciousness of creative ambition—while viewing this intimate exhibition of paintings by Katharina Wulff, who has, with as much apparent deliberation as Heti’s protagonist, charted a reverse tack. Born in East Germany in

  • Nina Katchadourian

    Claustrophobic and rank, suffused with a clinical fluorescence that does nobody’s mirror reflection any favors: Few places rival the airplane bathroom for inhospitality. Most of us minimize our time there, or avoid it altogether; not so Nina Katchadourian, who has been lingering in skyborne commodes for the past two years—annexing them, along with tray tables, as makeshift studios, and calling herself and fellow passengers into service as models. “Seat Assignment,” 2010–, selections from which comprised her fifth solo show at Catharine Clark Gallery, includes hundreds of photographs, digital

  • “An American Language”

    “An American Language”

    Guerrero Gallery

    Any passerby who chanced upon this group show would have immediately realized that all was not business as usual: Suspended from Guerrero Gallery’s ceiling was a hulking wooden swing-stage scaffold bedaubed with enamel stains and labeled SIGN PAINT. Perhaps some viewers would recall an exhibition mounted by Guerrero last summer, when the gallery presented pieces by designers affiliated with San Francisco’s New Bohemia Signs, the city’s oldest sign shop, alongside the work of Jeff Canham and Stephen Powers, who, after cutting their teeth on sign painting

  • Rebecca Lowry

    Los Angeles–based artist Rebecca Lowry champions an openness, even a generosity, of interpretation. In the artist’s statement that accompanied this exhibition, she writes, “The goal is simply to stimulate thought and provoke new understanding,” identifying one of her intentions as to render “meaning wholly inaccessible while leaving suggestions of its presence.” From such hermeneutic elasticity emerge accordingly motley works. Described as “object poems,” the dozen on view here were made of materials ranging from the customary (graphite, ink, and glue) to the arcane (magnetic videotape,

  • B. Wurtz

    “How have I never heard of him?” This eavesdropped question, asked with equal measures of surprise and embarrassment by a tapped-in critic, likely typified the response to this wonder of a show. B. Wurtz—born in Pasadena, California, in 1948; educated at University of California, Berkeley, and CalArts; working in New York since the mid-’80s—has largely avoided detection by art-world radar. This solo exhibition, curated by Matthew Higgs and mounted in collaboration with Feature Inc., Wurtz’s longtime gallery, went some way toward rectifying the artist’s too-little-known status even as