Lloyd Wise

  • Larry Bamburg, BurlsHoovesandShells on an Acrylic Rake, 2013, wood burls, animal hooves, turtle shells, mollusk shells, acrylic, 105 x 42 x 40 1/2".

    Larry Bamburg

    At the edges of Larry Bamburg’s recent show of works made this year were two sculptures composed of the rounded deformations that sometimes appear on tree trunks—burls. Having sawed the burls from their tree host, Bamburg has stacked them, one by one, to form slender and precarious columns that reached nearly to the gallery’s ceiling, and then augmented these constructions with mollusk and turtle shells and animal hooves. The results are earthy edifices that recall the work of idle campers, or cairns marking a hiking path. Yet the slapdash nature of the works belies the challenges inherent

  • Steffani Jemison, Maniac Chase, 2008–2009, digital video, color, sound, continuous loop. From “Fore,” 2012–13.


    Intermittently over the past twelve years, the Studio Museum in Harlem has given over its galleries to large group exhibitions that survey the practices of young black artists in the United States. The first, “Freestyle” (2001), is remembered today for its coinage of the then-provocative term post-black, a descriptor proposed by the show’s curator, Thelma Golden, to encompass the heterogeneous sensibilities of African American artists of the post-civil-rights generation. That show was followed in 2005–2006 by “Frequency,” and then by “Flow,” in 2008. The latest installment, “Fore,” organized by

  • Giorgio Griffa, Obliquo giallo (Diagonal Yellow), 1971, acrylic on canvas, 69 3/4 x 89".

    Giorgio Griffa

    “Fragments 1968–2012” was the first solo exhibition of Giorgio Griffa’s work in New York since 1970, and the first time since 1973 that the artist’s paintings have been shown anywhere in the city at all. Sadly, it got off to a rocky start. Just four days after the show opened last October, a five-foot storm surge flooded West Twenty-First Street, destroying Casey Kaplan Gallery’s walls and basement storage area and seriously damaging sixteen of the artist’s works then on view. But all was not lost. The exhibition reopened in early January with two cleaned and restored canvases from the original

  • Alice Channer, MAR108, 2012, cast pigmented polyurethane resin, 29 1/2 x 9 3/4 x 7".

    Alice Channer

    In the annals of transformative buzzwords, “mass customization” seems particularly relevant to our moment. Coined in 1987, the term refers to the use of flexible, computerized manufacturing facilities to create products to order, enabling a firm to benefit from the efficiency and low cost of mass production while tailoring output to customers’ individual needs. The method is particularly well suited to the online marketplace: Measurements of your body—typed into, say, Levi’s online store—can be converted by adaptable machines at a distant factory into bespoke blue jeans that are then

  • Left: Carnegie International 2013 curators Daniel Baumann, Dan Byers, and Tina Kukielski. (Photo: David Velasco) Right: The 60th anniversary of Moncler. (Photo: Billy Farrell Agency)
    diary December 10, 2012

    Veterans Days

    “WHERE IS IT?”

    “I don’t know!”

    Predictably enough, the only Veterans of Foreign Wars hall in Miami Beach was difficult to find. We’d just been ushered out of the lobby of a pricey-looking condominium, where a listless doorman told us, simply, “It’s next door.” But it wasn’t next door; it was in the same building, one door over. The occasion was the setting for a celebration of the 2013 Carnegie International, the first in a series of nationwide run-up events in dives meant to evoke Pittsburgh’s blue-collar bars. Finally finding ourselves in the second-floor VFW (elevator only—no stairs), we

  • Ellen Gronemeyer, Gambling Caviar, 2012, oil on canvas, 37 1/2 x 45".

    Ellen Gronemeyer

    Is that a grin or a rictus? The kooky, bug-eyed faces that leer from the eighteen oil paintings in this exhibition raise the question more than once. Ellen Gronemeyer’s first solo exhibition in New York was titled with the German word Affentheater, or “ape theater,” the name for traveling shows popular in the second half of the nineteenth century in which trained monkeys were dressed in human clothes and made to perform acrobatics and imitate human behavior. Accordingly, the cartoonlike figures in her paintings imply discomfort, as if they had been painfully wrenched into their circumstances of

  • Evelyne Axell, Valentine, 1966, oil on canvas, gold leaf spray paint, zipper, helmet, 52 3/8 x 32 5/8".

    Evelyne Axell

    Cut short by a fatal car crash in 1972, Evelyne Axell’s career burned fast and bright. At the age of twenty-eight, the Belgian artist abandoned a promising career in acting and took up painting, enlisting René Magritte for a year of bimonthly art lessons as she developed a style characterized by lusty, unembarrassed sexuality, vibrant colors, and groovy, psychedelic Pop-Futurism. Axell’s well-received show at Broadway 1602 in 2009 introduced her to New York audiences. This more recent exhibition, “The Great Journey into Space,” again emphasized her utopian inclinations, while problematizing

  • Enrico David, Light Days, 2012, polystyrene, polyurethane foam, copper, tissue paper, watercolor, bone, 67 x 80 3/4 x 15 3/4". Michael Werner Gallery.

    Enrico David

    The body is supposed to decay. It’s supposed to ooze, deliquesce, attract carnivorous insects, and unto dust return. A sculpture in Enrico David’s exhibition at Michael Werner imagines what happens when it doesn’t. Bog-Piper, 2012, takes the form of a massive nerve ending—a dendrite the size of a room—that has petrified rather than putrefied, hardened into a brittle, blackened fossil. A synecdoche for the human form, the nerve’s tendrils, made from copper wire covered with painted tissue paper, bunch together to form a stem, which rises off the ground and terminates in a papier-mâché

  • Leandro Erlich, Stuck Elevator, 2011, airbrush paint, metal structure, wood, stainless steel, mirrors, and button panel,  74 x 50".

    “More Real? Art in the Age of Truthiness”

    This exhibition is inspired by the epistemological acrobatics of our day’s political discourse—think birthers, Bosnian sniper fire, and the notorious disclaimer “Not intended to be a factual statement.”

    This exhibition is inspired by the epistemological acrobatics of our day’s political discourse—think birthers, Bosnian sniper fire, and the notorious disclaimer “Not intended to be a factual statement.” Selections include An-My Lê’s “documentary” photographs of Vietnam combat reenactments, the Yes Men’s phony New York Times edition that prematurely announced the end of the Iraq war, and Joel Lederer’s scenic Second Life confections, among some sixty works from the past twelve years that mix together actual facts to concoct credible fictions or, conversely,

  • Left: Tarek Atoui's Revisiting Tarab in Sharjah. Right: New Museum curator Eungie Joo with Hu Fang of Vitamin Creative Space. (All photos: Lloyd Wise)
    diary March 30, 2012

    Context Message

    “AN ART FAIR is all art and no context; this was all context and no art,” said a smartly dressed curator navigating the crush of crowds exiting the last panel of the March Meeting, a marathon three-day symposium held by the Sharjah Art Foundation in an air-conditioned room off Calligraphy Square in the midst of Sharjah’s partly reconstructed, two-hundred-year-old Heritage Area. Operating under a relatively defanged rubric, “Working with Artists and Audiences on Commissions and Residencies,” some eighty speakers and panelists expounded on such topics as “Art and Cultural Diplomacy,” “Artists and

  • Matthew Brannon, Early Retirement, 2011, metal, wood, hand-carved high density foam, acrylic, enamel, 56 1/2 x 111 1/4 x 9".

    Matthew Brannon

    The flat, graphic style of Matthew Brannon’s work derives from the visual innovations of Madison Avenue during its midcentury golden age. In this exhibition, that coolly nostalgic look surfaced in silkscreen and letterpress prints, as well as in paintings, sculptures, and cloth uniforms (the last made in collaboration with menswear designer Carlo Brandelli). These works were installed across three galleries, each of which suggested a discrete room—or, more precisely, a theatrical set. For each gallery corresponded to an “act” in a play, written by the artist, the plot of which is elliptically

  • Şerban Savu, New Road, 2011, oil on canvas, 11 7/8 x 15 3/4".

    Şerban Savu

    Şerban Savu belongs to a loose-knit group of young Romanian painters based in Cluj-Napoca, a Transylvanian college town some eighty miles from Hungary. His subject is blue-collar work and leisure in contemporary Romania, and he portrays this quotidian reality with cool, masterly restraint. This focus draws on a range of precedents, from Bruegel to Millet—whom he has directly and indirectly invoked. But I always think of Edward Hopper. Like Hopper’s nighthawks and lonely women, Savu’s brick-factory workers and roadside bathers are kept at a strange distance, their bodies frozen in a melancholic