Mara Hoberman

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • picks December 05, 2009

    Gego and Chiharu Shiota

    This exhibition is thoughtfully conceived as a discourse between two women from different generations who hail from diverse backgrounds and artistic perspectives and who never met. The artists, Gego (Gertrude Goldschmidt, 1912–1994) and Chiharu Shiota, are ostensibly brought together because of affinities in their work, notably their use of three-dimensional linear elements (wire and string, respectively) to create latticed sculptural formations. However, it is the distinctions in the juxtaposition, rather than the broad similarities, that make for the true dynamism of the pairing.

    Titled “Drawn

  • picks September 24, 2009

    Nicolai Howalt

    Nicolai Howalt’s 2009 photographic series “Car Crash Studies” is shockingly vivid and startlingly poetic. His images of cars wrecked in severe accidents, many presumably fatal, examine the horror of high-speed collision from a variety of perspectives. Close-ups of dented and scratched sheet metal are initially disorienting—the photographs’ large formats and tight crops make it impossible to identify which part of the car is on display. Jagged scratches, shiny reflections, and crude crumples rhythmically punctuate saturated metallic hues in these unnervingly aestheticized abstractions.

    Other works

  • picks September 11, 2009

    Dan Shaw-Town

    “Drawings” is a deceptive, if challenging, title for Dan Shaw-Town’s first solo exhibition in New York. The five untitled works on view (all 2009) feature pieces of paper copiously coated with a lustrous layer of graphite and incorporating additional media such as spray paint, enamel, and found objects. Only one piece is hung flush against the wall; the rest are displayed as sculpture—shimmering dark gray folded sheets resting either directly on the floor or on unorthodox wall mounts such as clothes hangers or a simple cardboard shelf.

    Shaw-Town’s graphite burnishing technique transforms plain

  • picks August 20, 2009

    Annick Ligtermoet

    Questions about authenticity undoubtedly come to mind when considering contemporary photography. In the case of Dutch photographer Annick Ligtermoet’s New York solo debut, “De Verontrustende Wereld” (The Uncanny World), such speculation is complicated not only by the vintage aura of her black-and-white and muted color photographs but also by their presentation alongside aged private objects.

    The installation suggests a dissected scrapbook or keepsake box transposed onto gallery walls. Nostalgic items such as a diary, hairpins, and a vanity mirror are displayed in several wall-mounted vitrines