Lloyd Wise

  • Matthew Ronay, The Lobes, 2020, basswood, dye, gouache, flocking, plastic, steel, cotton, 11 × 16 1⁄2 × 5".

    Matthew Ronay

    Perhaps it’s his artworks’ eye-popping colors, antiseptic corporeality, or intractable otherness—or, for that matter, the difficulty of speaking about abstraction to begin with—but something leads viewers of Matthew Ronay’s carved-basswood sculptures to consider them initially as products of citation: as accumulations of formal motifs or references that the spectator is tasked with identifying. Ren and Stimpy, “Cow Tools,” Frederick Kiesler’s biomorphic Surrealism, anatomical models in the urologist’s office, Yves Tanguy, undersea coral. And while dutifully surmising such “influences,” real or

  • Jonathan Lasker, Lives of Perpetual Wonder, 1997, oil on linen, 90 × 120".

    Jonathan Lasker

    This past fall, Jonathan Lasker’s “Born Yesterday: Drawing into Painting, 1987–2020” marked the artist’s first solo exhibition in New York in more than five years. It was also his largest in the city, a career survey that included a selection of fifteen paintings, most of them large-scale and all of them rendered in the artist’s signature format of garish artificial color and “frozen” line.

    Despite a range of effects achieved in the work, Lasker’s process has remained consistent from the beginning. He starts each canvas by making random scribbles in a four-by-six-inch notebook; he then creates


    IN DIANE SEVERIN NGUYEN’S PORTFOLIO for Artforum the artist shares a selection of production stills shot by photographer Dawid Misiorny while Nguyen was filming If Revolution Is a Sickness, 2021. The video, set in Warsaw, appears in Nguyen’s first solo institutional exhibition, at New York’s SculptureCenter. (The show is co-organized with Chicago’s Renaissance Society, where it will open in the spring.) Just a few blocks away, at MoMA PS1, Nguyen is participating in the fifth edition of Greater New York, which opens later this month.

    If Revolution Is a Sickness begins with an orphaned Vietnamese

  • Alex Hay, Cash Register Slip, 1966, spray lacquer and stencil on linen, 80 5⁄8 × 37 7⁄8".

    Alex Hay

    In 1959, Alex Hay came to New York. He hung out at Max’s Kansas City, sipped whiskey at Robert Rauschenberg’s dining table, married dancer Deborah Hay (née Goldensohn), and appeared in “9 Evenings,” 1966. Then, roughly a decade later, he left and has remained largely absent from received accounts of New York’s storied 1960s art world. (He barely comes up in this magazine’s archives.) Since 2002, Peter Freeman, Inc. has been on a mission to correct that oversight, and this past spring the gallery put up its fifth exhibition of the ninety-one-year-old artist’s work: a retrospective of more than


    THANKS TO THE PERVERSE incentive structures of platform capitalism, we have witnessed the weaponization and proliferation of the rhetorical technique of decadent insincerity. On our screens, every emotive utterance drips with the air of pseudo-truth: performative outrage, virtue signaling, disingenuous smarm. Even the most heartfelt cris de coeur sound empty. One day, Notre-Dame burns. That night, an Instagram post appears in my feed: A picture of the blaze, captioned: “So sad.” So sad! Eight hundred years of history—-gone, in a white-hot flame. :(


    These are some of the thoughts brought to

  • “Günther Förg: A Fragile Beauty”

    A Cologne-scene contemporary of Albert Oehlen and Martin Kippenberger, Günther Förg could easily be mistaken for a cynic, an artist whose blunt allusions to Barnett Newman, Piet Mondrian, and the Bauhaus were calculated simulacral feints in painting’s dismal 1980s endgame. But such a reading fails to account for the richness, depth, and, yes, even sincerity of the German artist’s oeuvre, which includes not only paintings (on weird, unorthodox grounds such as aluminum and lead), but also stark wall drawings, darkly fascinating photographs, and cerebral

  • Mirosław Bałka, 7 x 7 x 1010, 2000, soap, steel, 33' 1 5/8“ × 2 3/4” × 2 3/4".

    Mirosław Bałka

    Like other artists of his generation (e.g., Roni Horn, Tom Burr), Mirosław Bałka reimagines the deadpan, impersonal, quasi-anthropomorphic geometry of Minimalism as an avatar of something more straightforwardly human, whether a prompt for poetic association, a metonym for the body, or a vessel of elegiac Beuysian allegory. “CROSSOVER/S”—the Polish-born artist’s most comprehensive exhibition in Italy to date—is billed as a retrospective, featuring roughly fifteen sculptures, installations, and videos made between the 1990s and today. The show includes early

  • View of “Yanyan Huang,” 2016.

    Yanyan Huang

    Some seventy or so years after its heroic American heyday, Abstract Expressionism has seen a lot, having been debased, parodied, subverted, enshrined, disavowed, mocked, and reinvented a thousand times by as many artists to as many different ends. An indelible metonym for modernism, it is, as they say, overdetermined, so much so that to make a gestural mark today is to court a certain generic quality—and the nagging sense that whatever you’re doing has, regrettably, been done before.

    Which is not to say the weight of history dooms gestural abstraction to cliché; to the contrary, its legacy

  •   Eberhard Havekost, Transformers, B14, 2014, oil on canvas, 47 1/4 × 70 7/8".

    Eberhard Havekost

    The slick, sinister paintings of Eberhard Havekost have begun to show their age, which is a wonderful thing, since they now help put the present in sharper relief. Born in Germany and based between Düsseldorf and Berlin, Havekost has shown regularly in New York and in Europe since the late 1990s. The twenty-five works in this exhibition, his first in New York since 2012, took us on a languid tour of the postindustrial world. The thematic constellation was compelling but also familiar: rusted factory ruins, muted signification; objects coming into focus, noise resolving as information; bar codes

  • Urban Zellweger, Everything You Need for Smalltalk, 2015, oil on canvas, 31 1/2 × 39 3/8".

    Urban Zellweger

    For “Tables and Landscapes” at Shoot the Lobster, Urban Zellweger’s sprightly first New York solo show, the young Zurich-based artist presented six paintings from 2015 that mined art-historical conventions, and while at first this might sound familiar—yet another tiresome, “critical” recapitulation of painting’s heroic, bygone forms—Zellweger did something different. The paintings he displayed were positively alive, teeming with a playful surrealism that is at once inventive and unstable.

    The most striking works were the “Tables” of the show’s title, thanks largely to Zellweger’s

  • Sadamasa Motonaga, Two in Order, 1985, oil on canvas, 23 7/8 × 19 3/4".

    Sadamasa Motonaga

    One of the coolest pieces of ephemera in the catalogue accompanying this exhibition of Sadamasa Motonaga’s later work is the artist’s “My Abstract Manga Manifesto,” a sequence of four line drawings published in a 1963 edition of Bijutsu techō, a Japanese art journal. Consisting of wordless, biomorphic shapes, the illustrations lay out the knowingly “low” and faintly obscene mode of abstract painting that would become central to the artist’s practice until his death in 2011.

    Born in 1922, Motonaga joined the Gutai group in 1955, parting ways with the avant-garde movement a year before its dissolution

  • Tabor Robak, Newborn Baby, 2015, HD video (color, silent, 3 minutes), two AUO transparent displays, three flat-screen monitors, five networked interactive digital signage players, HDMI cables, solid-state data storage in SD format, wall-mount brackets, power supplies, adapters. Installation view, Team Gallery, New York.


    THE MOST VISIBLE ART about technology today often comes across as a kind of Net art brut. Think of glitch art, of the nostalgic proliferations of drop shadows and gradients, of the post-Internet preoccupation with stock images, or of vaporwave. The hacking-versus-defaults debates of the early 2000s seem to have devolved into a primitivist mannerism: de-skilling as thoroughly emptied branding. Tabor Robak’s work, though, is anything but. His slick confections are the antithesis of crude: Sparkling and synthetic, color-splashed and sumptuous, they are gloriously seamless and refined—a luxe