Mara Hoberman

  • Golnaz Payani Pâlir sur couleur (Fade on Color), 2019, fabric, yarn, and wood, 25 1/2 x 17 1/2".
    picks December 10, 2019

    Golnaz Payani

    In her first solo show at this gallery, Golnaz Payani deftly—in some cases, defiantly—uses embroidery techniques and tools to alternately conceal, reveal, and subvert traditional Persian motifs. Working on paper, canvas, linen, or soft mesh, the Iranian-French artist adds or subtracts threads to evoke floral and geometric patterns. For L’Ombre en lin (The Linen Shade) (all works 2019), Payani painstakingly removed vertical strands from linen canvas to create a frayed Gol-O-Morgh (flowers and birds) design at the center of the composition. Whereas this paradisal Persian motif is typically rendered

  • Sylvie Auvray, Untitled, 2019, ceramic, plaster, fabric, 52 × 20 7⁄8 × 9 7⁄8".

    Sylvie Auvray

    Sylvie Auvray, who divides her time between Los Angeles and Paris, adds hints of Finish Fetish gloss to what can otherwise be described as raw and rugged, art informel–inspired paintings and sculptures, managing to channel the likes of Jean Fautrier and Kenneth Price at once. Her recent show “Les Cambuses” (The Shacks) featured lowly misshapen ceramic animals, convex graffiti-style paintings on plaster overlaid with resin, and ordinary brooms transformed into mystical scepters thanks to elaborate ceramic handles. The peculiar dichotomy of Auvray’s simultaneously crude and finessed oeuvre is

  • Bernard Frize, Nami, 2019, acrylic and resin on canvas, 39 3⁄8 × 31 7⁄8".

    Bernard Frize

    Rules can set you free. This credo has defined Bernard Frize’s practice for more than forty years, leading him to design various systems, protocols, and restraints intended to rid his paintings of self-expression. To this end, Frize has, for previous bodies of work, engaged assistants in an intimate choreography whereby six hands worked together, used multiple brushes to map out all the possible moves for a knight on a chessboard, and stretched up dried “skin” harvested from a large basin filled with gallons of house paint. The results of such techniques—mostly large, colorful abstractions—were

  • View of “Sleeping Songs,” 2017–19.
    picks June 28, 2019

    Annette Messager

    Soft, colorful, and haunting, Annette Messager’s latest sculptures are made from sleeping bags, puffer jackets, and quilts. Collectively titled “Sleeping Songs,” 2017–19, these mostly wall-mounted works have been folded, pinned, draped, and sewn in ways that suggest various anatomical forms—including many whose central droopy cowled openings are undeniably vaginal. In addition to playing with existing elements like hoods, sleeves, and zippers in order to reinforce her materials’ human scale and functionality, Messager incorporates one or more pairs of black acrylic hands into each sculpture.

  • Emma McMillan, Room 3, 2019, oil on linen, 71 5⁄8 × 47 1⁄2".

    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, Love Understood, 1989, Cibachrome, 40 × 31 1⁄2".

    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, An American Landscape—May Be Icy, 2018, ink-jet print, 20 1⁄2 × 37 3⁄4".

    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, OTÉ-FÊ, 2018, mixed media, 9' 1“ × 10' 5 1⁄4”.

    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, Untitled, 1981, acrylic and oil stick on canvas, 81 × 69 1⁄4".

    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, Daisy Temple, 2018, oil on canvas, 86 5⁄8 × 70 3⁄4".

    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

  • View of “Isabelle Cornaro,” 2018.
    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, Hocus Locus, 2018, hand-tufted wool, 92 1⁄2 × 107 1⁄2".

    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