Marek Bartelik

  • Wojtek Ulrich

    Polish-born Wojtek Ulrich is less a pioneer than a skillful explorer of familiar artistic paths. In his recent show, elaborate sculptural installations with deliberately antiquated materials evoked Miroslaw Balka’s rusted steel-plate sculptures while large color photographs with images derived from classical mythology called to mind the Starn twins’ collaged photographic works (with their references to Roman antiquity) and the aberrant physiognomy often found in the art of the Chapman brothers. Ulrich’s Name, 1996, a set of metal boxes containing images of bound naked people, recalled the almost

  • Alina Szapocznikow

    The art and lie of Polish sculptor Alina Szapocznikow (1926–73) were largely determined by World War II and the Cold War. A survivor of three concentration camps, the artist led a nomadic life after the war, moving from Prague to Paris, where she studied art, to Warsaw, then back to France, in 1963, where she would live an “unsettled” existence for ten years, until her slow death from breast cancer. Szapocznikow’s work conjures both the enduring and transient character of a life affected by a tragic historic moment and an equally tragic personal story.

    Presented in more or less chronological

  • Brad Lochore

    In his recent “Still Life” series, Brad Lochore painted images of shadow projections seemingly set in motion. Unlike the Dutch Baroque approach to vanitas still life, in which solemn arrangements of benign objects suggest the fragility of human life by revealing their decaying physicality, Lochore’s hallucinatory paintings of shadows are almost weightless; they seem to locate the transitory in the image itself rather than in the passage of time.

    Five large oils on canvas (each titled Shadow and designated by number) were based on an arrangement of an indistinct branch with dried-out leaves fastened

  • Leonid Lamm

    “Birth of an Image” recorded Leonid Lamm’s mid-’70s incarceration in a labor camp near Rostov-on-Don in the former Soviet Union. The sketches and watercolor studies of prison life, a monumental painting, and the elaborate installation Lamm created for this exhibition together raised concerns about Erinnerungs politik, the politics of memory, at both the personal and collective levels. In his foreword to the catalogue, Michael P. Mezzatesta, director of the Duke University Museum of Art, notes that despite a rich literature on the gulags, few visual accounts of the camps by inmates have been

  • Ilya and Emilia Kabakov

    Ilya Kabakov is a contemporary phenomenon not just because of his originality or the way he, in Chekhovian fashion, constructs a story out of subtle allusions and seemingly insignificant details. Another part of his success is how he manages to reinvent himself and his art with each project. One has come to expect Kabakov to probe the Soviet condition or its legacy—which he willingly does—but with each new installation it is practically impossible to predict how he will transform past experience into art that feels timeless.

    The Palace of Projects, 1995–98, a monumental installation

  • Giles Lyon

    Giles Lyon’s new paintings combine high seriousness of purpose with a playfully cryptic use of material. They absorb a profusion of sources—from Pollock’s allover drips, Warhol’s “found” abstractions modeled on Rorschach inkblots, and Taaffe’s decorative motifs to Japanese animation and Dr. Seuss illustrations—into an intensely nervous stylistic mélange reminiscent of Texas Funk. Another realm of influences derives from Lyon’s interest in the sciences, particularly epidemiology and cell pathology; he once imagined a career as an illustrator for biology books. But no earnest clinicality precludes

  • Jan Voss

    For over thirty years the German-born, Paris-based artist Jan Voss has been producing a remarkably even body of work with an uncompromising yet unassuming presence. The originality of Voss’ approach to artmaking can be traced to his disciplined organization of automatic gestures and intelligent, self-assured refinement of collage techniques. In trying to achieve spatial integrity, Voss has mastered a bravura technique of accumulating forms—the wooden pieces in his sculptures and reliefs or the patches of color and hieroglyphic scribbles in his paintings and drawings—in decentralized compositions.

  • Boris Lurie

    This modest exhibition, Boris Lurie’s first in New York since 1964, provided a unique opportunity to reintroduce and appraise the work of this now-little-known cofounder of the “NO!art” movement, colorful member of the New Left, and cultural anarchist. It comprised a single work, Bleed, 1969: forty photocopies (still an innovative technique of mechanical reproduction at the time) of the artist’s black-and-white photograph of a woman’s cleavage, bulging out of a low-cut dress, with the word “BLEED” pasted over it, and altered with acrylic paint, duct tape, shreds of fabrics, string, and other

  • Humphrey Spender

    Humphrey Spender, born in 1910, emerged in the ’30s as an unpretentious scrutinizer of great intellect and humor, equipped with an alert eye and a profound understanding of his medium, photography, and of the genre of photojournalism. Like many artists and writers of his generation and elevated social class, Spender underwent a kind of intellectual confrontation with the rest of the world, a sudden and dramatic recognition of the narrowness of his own milieu. (Christopher Isherwood’s own such confrontation resulted in his 1939 novel Goodbye to Berlin, the first edition of which reproduced a

  • Komar and Melamid

    Masters of the telling displacement, Komar and Melamid recontextualize Soviet experience in other cultures, particularly in that of their adopted country, the United States. Their works often express the “unthinkable”: that despite their differences in economic conditions and their diametrically opposed state ideologies, the Soviet Union and the United States shared far more than they were willing to admit.

    In their exhibition “American Dreams,” Komar and Melamid examined the cult of personality around George Washington—whom the artists, progeny of Lenin and Stalin, refer to as “Stepfather George.”

  • Wlodzimierz Ksiazek

    While he strives to combine the physical and the psychological in his art, the Polish-born artist Wlodzimierz Ksiazek is reluctant to associate his work with an East or Central European temperament, or a specific “human condition.” The influences that critics often cite when discussing his art are literary rather than pictorial—such as Franz Kafka’s paranoid, claustrophobic depictions of existence in a totalitarian state. Ksiazek neutralizes these associations by making no visible references to his Polish upbringing, and by celebrating the power and pleasure of painting in itself.

    In the eleven

  • Guram Tsibakh

    After falling down the rabbit-hole at the beginning of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, the heroine’s initial, bemused comment is “Dear, dear! How queer everything is today! And yesterday things went on just as usual.” Georgian artist Guram Tsibakh (Tsibakhashvili) twice quoted these words in his series of black and white photographs titled after Lewis Carroll’s classic tale. The first time they accompanied a work that juxtaposes a close-up shot of a dilapidated wall, half in shadow with a patch of fresh paint in the middle and a portrait of a fellow Georgian artist Gia Edzgveradze posed against