Mara Hoberman

  • Emma McMillan

    Emma McMillan’s first show in Paris comprised six moody nocturnes completed during the Bronx, New York–based painter’s recent three-month residency in the City of Light. Rendered almost entirely in shades of blue, the artist’s murky imagery slowly revealed itself to include interiors, cityscapes, and a portrait. Semiabstract compositions ultimately turned out to depict windowed rooms, a staircase, a skyscraper, a bridge, and a face.

    The title of the show, “Bleu de Prusse” (Prussian Blue), singled out just one of the many azure hues in McMillan’s palette. Fittingly, this vibrant synthetic pigment,

  • David LaChapelle

    A flight of stairs pointedly separated two dramatically different visions in David LaChapelle’s recent exhibition “Letter to the World.” On the gallery’s ground floor, verdant landscapes and colorful nymphs (all drawn from the artist’s experimental roots and noncommercial work) evoked a paradise lost, while a much darker scene unfolded in the basement (composed of more noncommercial work, in addition to LaChapelle’s better-known, iconic portraits of David Bowie, Miley Cyrus, and Lil’ Kim, among others). Among the twenty-nine pieces in the enchanted ground-floor hanging, seven were from the 1980s,

  • Alain Bublex

    The unexpected inspiration for Alain Bublex’s recent homage to American landscape painting is First Blood (1982), the original John Rambo movie, a film cowritten by, and famously starring, Sylvester Stallone. For the French artist—whose interest in Americana previously inspired works such as the Ryder Project, 1999, a caravan of moving trucks that crossed the United States, and “Buy Steel,” 2006–, a series of photographs documenting depressed industrial landscapes in the Ohio Valley—the movie’s provincial setting of Hope, Washington (though the film was actually shot in Canada), recalled the

  • Ouattara Watts

    Ouattara Watts left the Ivory Coast in 1977 to study painting at Paris’s École des Beaux-Arts before settling in New York in 1988. He has since shown regularly in Europe and the US, but until two recent concurrent exhibitions in Abidjan—“Before Looking at this Work, Listen to It,” at Galerie Cécile Fakhoury, and “Get Ready,” a survey of works dating from 2009 to 2018 at the Rotonde des Arts Contemporains—Watts had never had a solo show in his native country. Galerie Fakhoury showcased the artist’s latest work, presenting fourteen paintings from 2018—expressionistic compositions rife with references

  • Jean-Michel Basquiat

    This exhibition, curated by Dieter Buchhart in collaboration with the Brant Foundation, gathers an impressive 120 of Jean-Michel Basquiat’s paintings, sculptures, and drawings, the majority of which have never before been exhibited in Europe. The inclusion of so many unfamiliar works (more than a few masterpieces among them) gives the retrospective a rare freshness and underscores the contemporary resonance of Basquiat’s oeuvre. Thirty years after the artist’s death, his heroic portraits of African American musicians and athletes, countered by disturbing evocations of racism, poverty, and police

  • Amélie Bertrand

    “Naked Light,” Amélie Bertrand’s recent exhibition of oil paintings and digital prints, depicted Miami Deco-style architectures in ersatz tropical settings. Works in both mediums featured colorful compositions of stone fountains and porticos, palm trees, ferns, and fruit bowls lit by pink and yellow florescent bulbs. Given the blunt artificiality of these particular scenes, it’s no surprise that Bertrand conceives them on a computer using Photoshop and images sourced from the internet. What was unexpected, however, is how well her paintings—even more than the digital prints—evoke the

  • picks October 16, 2018

    Isabelle Cornaro

    At first glance, the works in Isabelle Cornaro’s current exhibition could be mistaken for Minimalist paintings and sculptures. Pairing large wooden rectangles redolent of Robert Morris’s cubes and beams with paintings whose rusty tones evoke Richard Serra’s signature slabs of oxidized steel, Cornaro flirts with notions of objectivity and monumentality. Ultimately, however, the artist is less concerned with these Minimalist tropes than with subverting conventional modes of display and studio practice.  

    Of the five gray or mauve spray-painted plinths here, one is left bare while the rest are

  • Caroline Achaintre

    “Duo Infernal,”the first solo show in France for the French-born, London-based artist Caroline Achaintre, included woolen wall hangings, glazed ceramic sculptures, and psychedelic watercolors set against pink-accented walls. Borrowed from a 1982 song by the German punk band Extrabreit and Marianne Rosenberg, the exhibition’s title served as a reminder of the essential role that duality plays in Achaintre’s oeuvre. The artist’s consistently contradictory works appear at once functional and decorative, earthly and otherworldly, abstract and figurative. Like a Rubin’s vase illustration where the

  • Elsa Sahal

    Though the title “Elsa Sahal des origins à nos jours” (Elsa Sahal from the Origins to Today) suggests a historical survey, the fifteen large-scale ceramic sculptures on view in Sahal’s recent exhibition were all made this year. Featuring an installation of primordial-looking sculptures arranged on a dark, sand-dusted platform, the show evoked origins of a different sort. In addition to providing a telluric mise-en-scène, the curvaceous room——filling stage represented the artist’s latest experiment with how to display sculpture. Having previously skewered headless humanoid forms on

  • picks May 21, 2018

    Daniel Turner

    Working with salvaged materials, Daniel Turner has transformed psychiatric-hospital sinks, restaurant-kitchen appliances, and other old machinery and fixtures into sleek geometric cast-metal sculptures. Belying their minimalist aesthetic, Turner’s soulful reincarnations are rife with historical, political, and personal connotations. The suite of works presented here was made using I-beams removed from the exhibition venue during a recent renovation project. Turner’s sculptures are accompanied by a selection of archival materials that trace the evolution of the site, which was originally built

  • Laurent Montaron

    Shining a spotlight on rampant post-truth discourses, French artist Laurent Montaron demonstrates how various media effectively blur the line between fact and fiction. His videos and photographs on view at the Center for Contemporary Art Tel Aviv range from 2016 to a new commission, and are poignant, pertinent reminders that a camera is not necessarily an objective witness; rather, Montaron’s works illustrate what Gilles Deleuze described as “camera consciousness.” The artist also makes use of a flock of kites designed by French World War I army general Jacques-Théodore

  • “Daphné Le Sergent:  Geopolitics of Oblivion”

    Born in Seoul and raised in Paris, Daphné Le Sergent has spent the past decade investigating how borders—geographical, political, and psychological—impact identity. Coproduced by Paris’s Jeu de Paume, Bordeaux’s Musée d’Art Contemporain, and Puebla, Mexico’s Museo Amparo, the artist’s first major institutional exhibition incorporates her videos and photographs—as well as her writing in a catalogue—all focusing on how language shapes us. The four works on view (all 2018) describe two fictional retro-futuristic societies striving to create a common mode