Mara Hoberman

  • Sarah Sze, Checks and Balances (detail), 2011, stone, string, and ink on archival paper, 75 x 18 x 2".
    picks February 02, 2012

    Sarah Sze

    Occupying adjacent galleries on the Asia Society’s second floor, eight new installations by Sarah Sze, all from 2011, meet with a selection of her works on paper from the past fifteen years. The juxtaposition of Sze’s installations with her prints, drawings, paper cuttings, and collages flaunts the artist’s fluidity working in both two and three dimensions and highlights the consistency of her peculiar aesthetic despite significant shifts in scale and means of production. In the installations and on paper, Sze’s spiraling vertical landscapes swarm with imagery (representational and invented)

  • David Brooks, Desert Rooftops (detail), 2011, mixed media, dimensions variable.
    picks January 09, 2012

    David Brooks

    There’s a housing crisis in New York City. On a touristy theater district block behind a chain-link fence, an assembly of asphalt-shingled rooftops pokes up from the ground. No windows, doors, or signs of inhabitants are visible at street level, but the distinctive peaks summon up the negative associations of suburban sprawl. At first glance, the odd perspective—confronting roofs head-on instead of from below—is pleasantly disorienting, offering Midtown pedestrians a Jack and the Beanstalk moment.

    David Brooks’s Desert Rooftops, 2011, is the first installation to grace the Last Lot, an otherwise

  • View of “Signed, Sealed, Delivered,” 2011.
    picks December 18, 2011

    “Signed, Sealed, Delivered”

    This lively show features nine artists whose work references or engages directly with various systems of correspondence, such as telegram, FedEx, and e-mail. The pieces range from illustrated and collaged envelopes to handmade postcards to an abstract interpretation of a Twitter feed. The selection, which spans the past six decades, reveals the impact of technology on written communication and also demonstrates the influence of mail art, the genre Ray Johnson is credited with fathering in the 1960s, on artists who wrestle with issues of temporality, intentionality, and authorship.

    The earliest

  • Harry Callahan, Detroit, 1943, black-and-white photograph, 3 1/4 x 4 5/16".
    picks December 14, 2011

    Harry Callahan

    Harry Callahan began making photographs in 1938, at the age of twenty-six, teaching himself to use a camera while working as an accounting clerk for General Motors in Detroit. The one hundred–some photographs brought together in honor of the upcoming centenary of his birth (in 1912) represent six decades of informal, yet iconic, portraits of America. Despite the unavoidably nostalgic imagery of Callahan’s early streetscapes and quotidian scenes (ladies in gloves, men in hats, classic cars), his photographs are remarkably timeless. Their freshness owes to Callahan’s consistent experimentation,

  • Alexandra Bircken and Thomas Brinkmann, Twitter, 2011, tape machine, tape, microphone, knitting needle, 
26 1/4 x 12 x 10”.
    picks October 13, 2011

    Alexandra Bircken

    Twigs, steel, rope, mortar, and leather are Alexandra Bircken’s materials of choice for her second solo show in New York. The limited earth-toned palette represents a stark departure from her recent colorful knit installations—a new direction that draws due attention to her sculptures’ organic forms and haptic qualities.

    Bircken’s interest in the activity and texture of knitting is unremitting. The most interesting piece on view is Twitter (all works 2011), the result of a collaboratiion with Thomas Brinkmann. The work began with a performance on the opening night of the show, in which Bircken

  • Marc Swanson, Psychic Studies III, 2008, wood and mirrored acrylic, 95 1/4 x 49 x 49”.
    picks July 22, 2011

    Marc Swanson

    This small but impactful exhibition offers a seductive sampling of Marc Swanson’s work from the past four years. The well-edited selection manages to show off Swanson’s fluid range of materials and to introduce several visual and conceptual motifs, which transcend his greater body of work. Using diverse media including mirrors, wooden beams, lightbulbs, and collage, Swanson references his own personal history as well as more universal themes including fractured self-image, masculine stereotypes, and voyeurism/exhibitionism.

    Networks of overlapping and intersecting lines (one of Swanson’s most

  • Eva Rothschild, Empire, 2011, painted steel, 18 3/4 x 32 3/4 x 25 1/4'.
    picks May 04, 2011

    Eva Rothschild

    Eva Rothschild’s debut US public art commission, Empire, 2011, is a twenty-foot-tall multidirectional archway perched at the threshold of bustling Midtown Manhattan and the city’s largest green expanse. Until late summer, the structure’s ten welded steel tentacles—painted in alternating bands of red, green, and black—will straddle Doris C. Freedman Plaza (named for New York City’s first director of cultural affairs, founder of the Public Art Fund) at the southeast entrance to Central Park.

    Empire provides a graceful physical and psychological gateway between two very different, but equally iconic,

  • Left: Cover of Jonathan Lippincott’s Large Scale: Fabricating Sculpture in the 1960s and 1970s (2011). Right: Louise Nevelson’s Sky Covenant, 1973, in progress at Lippincott.
    interviews April 27, 2011

    Jonathan Lippincott

    Jonathan Lippincott is the author of Large Scale: Fabricating Sculpture in the 1960s and 1970s, a book published by Princeton Architectural Press that chronicles the formative years of Lippincott, the first industrial-style fabrication plant to collaborate exclusively with artists. Illustrated with photographs from the Lippincott archive—many of which have never before been published—the book gives a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the creation of some of the most iconic public artworks in the US. He will discuss the book at the School of Visual Arts on Thursday, April 28.

    SCULPTURE IS SO MUCH

  • Hiraki Sawa, O, 2009, multichannel video and sound installation, dimensions variable.
    picks March 08, 2011

    Hiraki Sawa

    Hiraki Sawa’s second solo show at this gallery is a multimedia meditation on temporality and texture. Sawa introduces these motifs in “Wax,” 2010–11, a series of twenty-four drawings in the gallery’s front room. These delicate pencil renderings of intricately mottled orbs, precise sections of which have been copiously erased, represent the waning and waxing phases of the lunar cycle. A composite portrait of time and a study of form and texture, this series sets the tone for the exhibition’s title piece: a complex and dreamy video-sound installation in the next room.

    O, 2009, is an immersive

  • Cornelius Völker, Meerschweinchen #91 (Guinea Pig #91), 2003, oil on linen, 15 3/4 x 19". From the series “Meerschweinchen,” 2003.
    picks December 16, 2010

    “EINFLUSS: 8 from Düsseldorf”

    “Introducing the Next Wave from Germany” is an ambitious, but deserved, subtitle for the eight-artist show Todd Hosfelt has assembled out of Düsseldorf’s ever-fertile Kunstakademie. The exhibition (consisting only of paintings save for two installations by Luka Fineisen) juxtaposes a range of styles, subjects, and perspectives. Ultimately, it is the artists’ shared technical talent and palpable appreciation for painting’s storied history that unify them as a “wave.” Their skill and conceptual sophistication with regard to painting owe, in no small part, to the tutelage of masters including

  • View of  “Four Rooms, One Artist,” 2010. From left: Shirt, 2010; Two Umbrellas, Iceland, 2009.
    picks October 07, 2010

    Roman Signer

    Fans of Roman Signer’s “experiments” will not be disappointed by his new antics in “Four Rooms, One Artist,” his latest exhibition, wherein inanimate objects are subjected to unpredictable natural forces. Presented as a three-channel video projection, Shirt, 2010; Two Umbrellas, Iceland, 2009; and Office Chair, 2010, are set in a forest, a meadow, and a stream, respectively. The results—a ghostlike collared shirt fluttering through tall trees; a pair of conjoined umbrellas dancing in gale-force winds; and a swivel chair spinning haplessly in a gentle current—are droll and poignant portraits of

  • Tromarama, Serigala Militia (detail), 2005, 402 woodcuts, video projection, woodcuts 10 x 8" each.
    picks February 18, 2010

    “The Graphic Unconscious”

    This ambitious five-venue exhibition brings together thirty-five artists who incorporate prints or printmaking into a wide array of styles and practices. The highlight of the exhibition (itself part of Philadelphia’s citywide festival “Philagrafika 2010”) is at Morris and Fisher Brooks Galleries at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and features Christiane Baumgartner, Mark Bradford, Orit Hofshi, Pepón Osorio, Kiki Smith, Qiu Zhijie, and the artist collective Tromarama. The show encourages a broadened definition of printmaking, one that takes into account digital reproduction technology