Lloyd Wise

  • Justin Adian, Slow Goodbye, 2015, oil enamel on canvas on ester foam, 24 1/2 × 25 1/2 × 4 1/2".

    Justin Adian

    Justin Adian’s show “Fort Worth” presented sixteen works that were made using a technique he has employed since 2007, and that has come to be his signature and calling card: The artist places hunks of foam on shaped wooden stretchers, stretches canvas over the foam, and applies oil enamel paint to the canvas surface. The results—puffy, shiny, asymmetrical—have a crisp, graphic appeal. They stand out from the wall with pleasing aplomb, like pop-surrealist upholstery, or comics come to life.

    They are also possessed of a zany, cartoonlike expressivity; Adian can coax quite a bit of energy

  • Tina Barney, The Reception, 1985, C-print, 48 × 60".

    Tina Barney

    Money, I’ve heard, cannot buy happiness. And through the 1980s, Tina Barney’s darkly witty pictures of her insular upper-class milieu gave a diabolically cheerful endorsement of that tried-and-true claim. These now-classic half-staged, half-spontaneous shots are a visual tone poem of WASP privilege and icy repression—a hot mess of sunburned boredom, simpering awkwardness, and vacant stares. This show, the artist’s first at Paul Kasmin Gallery, included eleven works that span forty years and that range from the iconic (Mark, Amy and Tara, 1983) to the newer and lesser known.

    Among the earliest

  • Dana Schutz, Twin Parts, 2004, oil on canvas, 78 × 72".

    Dana Schutz

    Mercifully free of easy irony, gimmicks, and suspended-in-scare-quotes gags, Dana Schutz’s virtuoso painting melds and morphs the oddball corners of modernism—Neue Sachlichkeit, Hairy Who—to produce its own mutant strain. Her work is jubilant body horror, depicting the human figure in all manner of distressed, disheveled, and unhinged states: screaming, laughing, shaving, smoking, caught up in a crowd, hideously dismembered, or arrayed on a dissection slab. Her tableaux are bright, miasmal, anxious—freakish pictures of what yuppified Brooklyn might look

  • Heimo Zobernig

    Today, it’s hard not to feel a little bad for high-modernist abstraction. Everyone gives it such a tough time. And since the 1980s, Heimo Zobernig has been one of its most cheerful antagonists, giving due respect to the monochrome and the grid but then gleefully polluting the geometric purity of these structures with utilitarian or ostensibly base media—drawing, architecture, design, and, most notably, theater. Sited in Peter Zumthor’s 1997 Zen-Brutalist Kunsthaus Bregenz, this exhibition—featuring a selection of work made between 1980 and the present and

  • Win McCarthy, Hard Enough, 2015, Plasticine, resin, ink-jet-printed acetate, lag bolts, Hydrocal, 15 1/2 × 61 × 2".

    Win McCarthy

    A signal addition amid the recent vogue for neo-Surrealist sculpture, Win McCarthy’s recent show at Off Vendome came across as a kind of queasy, provisional self-portraiture. The relief Hard Enough (all works 2015) introduced the exhibition’s basic formal and material vocabulary: Roughly five feet across and one foot high, it is a shallow Plasticine dish that has been filled with clear resin, oriented vertically, and then bolted to the wall. Transparent acetate strips on its surface display ink-jet-printed designs—the picture of a face, scrawled lettering, and circles containing the words

  • Günther Förg, Untitled, 1990, acrylic on lead, 110 1/4 × 63". Skarstedt.

    Günther Förg

    The work of German artist Günther Förg, who died in 2013, has been shown infrequently in New York in recent years. So the simultaneous presentations of his art earlier this year—at Greene Naftali and Skarstedt—constituted a noteworthy event, one that followed major institutional revisitings of his contemporaries Albert Oehlen and Martin Kippenberger.

    The exhibition at Greene Naftali was divided into two parts. In the gallery’s ground-floor space, visitors encountered ten large monochrome canvases from 1991, each painted a modish shade—olive, lime, and a kind of pale burnt umber, for example. If

  • View of “Call and Response,” 2015.

    “Call and Response”

    To survey painting in 2015 is to take on a seemingly impossible task. How to sort through its stylistic shifts, its post-medium-specific mutability, its disorienting variousness? How to define painting’s boundaries? What could one possibly say? One well-trod approach is to make no claims at all: Throw everything against the wall and see what sticks. And that, broadly speaking, was the route followed by “Call and Response,” a show at Gavin Brown’s Enterprise that presented some fifty artworks made in the past few years in a cacophonous mishmash of a salon-style hang. Instead of cohering around

  • View of “The Forever Now: Contemporary Painting in an Atemporal World,” 2014–15. Floor, foreground: Paintings by Oscar Murillo, 2012–14. Left wall: Oscar Murillo, 1/2, 2014. Background: Kerstin Brätsch, Sigi’s Erben (Agate Psychics), 2012. Photo: John Wronn.

    “The Forever Now: Contemporary Painting in an Atemporal World”

    THE PAST IS NEVER DEAD—it’s only a click away. And the artists in “The Forever Now: Contemporary Painting in an Atemporal World” immerse themselves in a networked, GIFed-up history that’s as promiscuously accessible as it is screen-deep. Contemporary culture, claims the show’s curator, Laura Hoptman, is defined by the compulsion to synthesize disparate historical tropes. Ergo, for artists today, movements such as AbEx, Minimalism, Constructivism, Fauvism, and De Stijl are no longer landmark steps along modernism’s teleological progression, but tools in a toolbar or colors in a palette. The

  • Mike Nelson, Gang of Seven, 2013, mixed media. Installation view.

    Mike Nelson

    Though perhaps not beautiful in the classic SoCal sense of surfably blue waters and dazzling sunsets, nor, for that matter, in the East Coast manner of the beach-plum and sand-dune William Merritt Chase picturesque, the shoreline running from Oregon to Canada—that of the Pacific Northwest—is nevertheless marked by an arrestingly despondent strangeness. It is a place of gloom and doom and endless drizzle, of creeping moss, decay, and rot. It is home to primordially large crabs and ironlike mist, and to survivalist ecotopias and motorcycle gangs. Littered with hunks of bone-white driftwood

  • Jean-Luc Moulène, Blown Knot 1 (CIRVA, Marseille, June 2014), steel, glass, 18 1/8 × 15 3/4 × 15 3/4".

    Jean-Luc Moulène

    After visiting Jean-Luc Moulène’s “Torture Concrete” at Miguel Abreu Gallery this past fall, one would have been forgiven for scratching one’s head. The artist’s diverse, astringent work, which has ranged from monochrome paintings and landscape photographs to enigmatic sculptures comes wrapped in an aura of obdurate difficulty—the implacable air of the deadly and complex. Split between the gallery’s two spaces, this show displayed thirty-seven pieces in various media, many (though not all) belonging to “Opus,” 1995–, a series that was the subject of a major survey at Dia:Beacon in 2011.

    In

  • Gabriel Orozco, Satellite View of North America, 2014, oil-jet painting, 15 × 9 × 4 1/2".

    Gabriel Orozco

    Coming to Gabriel Orozco’s work a generation late, I find it difficult to imagine the impact it had when it was first presented to New Yorkers in the form of the legendary installation Yogurt Caps at Marian Goodman Gallery in 1994. The aggressive simplicity of that ultra-unassuming piece—it consisted of only four clear Dannon lids, one tacked to each of the walls of an otherwise empty room—was seen as deeply audacious, if not an affront. It was also, by most accounts, amazing, at once capturing and crystallizing a wide and diverse range of sensibilities then floating in the air in a

  • Tomma Abts, Oke, 2013, acrylic and oil on canvas, 18 7/8 × 15".

    Tomma Abts

    At once volatile and precise, Tomma Abts’s work keeps shifting beneath your feet. Echoing a wide range of precursors—from high Constructivism (Alexander Archipenko and Henryk Stażewski), to geometric abstraction’s flashier midcentury incarnations (Richard Anuszkiewicz, Victor Vasarely), to the eager swallowing-up of both by the “rad,” spray-paint-besmirched graphic design of the 1980s—the London-based artist’s neat, sharp, labor-intensive paintings unite a shallow if convincing illusory depth with a neurotic meticulousness to erect optical labyrinths that both tantalize and deceive.