Margaret Sundell

  • Fernanda Gomes

    On entering Fernanda Gomes’s second New York solo show, the viewer was immediately confronted by a large metal scaffold on which the artist had placed various found objects. By far the most physically imposing work on display, this structure (all works untitled, 2001) nonetheless epitomizes Gomes’s concerns—the most obvious and important of these being the way works of art engage with their surroundings. Standing under a skylight whose rectangular shape it reiterated, the scaffold rhymed perfectly with the beams of the gallery’s exposed wooden ceiling. Moreover, situated as it was directly

  • Rebecca Quaytman

    The Sun is Rebecca Quaytman’s latest work: a group of forty uniformly sized plywood panels, which can be arranged in multiple configurations. In this solo exhibition, they were hung in a grid. (A slightly different version of the piece was presented simultaneously in a single long row at the Queens Museum, as part of the group show “Crossing the Line.”) Quaytman’s title refers to the now defunct newspaper that reported the deaths of her paternal grandfather and great-grandfather in a freak train accident just over sixty years ago. The word “sun” also evokes the metaphoric and literal capacity

  • Edward Weston, Surf, Point Lobos, 1938, black-and-white photograph, 192/5 x 242/5".

    Edward Weston: The Last Years in Carmel

    Edward Weston is best known for the clinical precision with which he crystallized the sensuous stuff of the natural world into quintessentially modernist form. But in his later years—marked by a failing marriage, the departure of his sons for military service, and the onset of Parkinson’s disease—Weston abandoned a strictly formalist approach. His photographs from the late ’30s and ’40s eschew objectifying distance in what Art Institute curator David Travis considers a quest for deeper psychological engagement. “The Last Years in Carmel” brings together seventy-six of these rarely seen late

  • Liz Deschenes

    First developed in the late ’20s, the compositing technique known as “blue screen” still forms the basis of most cinematic special effects. This is how it works: A subject is filmed against a pure blue, green, or red backdrop. A second film, known as the background plate, is shot at a different location. The two negatives are then sandwiched in an elaborate optical printing process. Thanks to the magic of the blue screen, actors can leap off tall buildings or scale rocky cliffs without ever leaving the soundstage. Rendered more accessible by digital technology, the blue screen has become

  • David Deutsch

    David Deutsch made his mark in the early ’80s as a painter of contemporary pastorals. In these delicately rendered arcadias, he included objects like radio towers and satellite dishes—signs of modern telecommunications that served as subtle reminders of our post-Edenic state. About a decade later, he began to base his landscapes on photographs taken from airplanes. The addition of aerial perspective introduced a new level of complexity into Deutsch’s nature/culture debate: The intrusion of technology was no longer just the subject of his art but had become one of its structuring principles.

    In

  • Slater Bradley

    The centerpiece of Slater Bradley’s second solo show in New York was a trio of short videos simultaneously projected on three walls of Team’s front room. The Laurel Tree (Beach), 2000, features actress Chloë Sevigny standing on an empty stretch of sand solemnly intoning a passage from Thomas Mann’s Tonio Kröger. The text—a lofty meditation on the sanctity of art and the sins of dilettantism—recounts a professional writer’s profound embarrassment during a lieutenant’s impromptu poetry recital at a dinner party. In Female Gargoyle, 2000, Mann’s army officer—the average man who rises

  • Meyer Vaisman

    READING THE ART CRITICISM that accompanied Meyer Vaisman's late-'80s rise from East Village scenester to neo-geo celebrity, you can't help but notice how certain adjectives keep cropping up: cynical, calculated, and above all, slick. I'd happily wager that not one of these words occurs to viewers of Barbara Fischer/Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy, 2000. Pathetic, maybe, or perhaps even grotesque—but definitely not slick.

    The star of Barbara Fischer/Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy is Barbara Fischer herself, or rather a life-size fiberglass cast of her naked body. Fischer, who happens to

  • Louise Lawler

    With Something About Time and Space But I’m Not Sure What It Is, 1998, Conceptual photographer Louise Lawler deftly resolves the dilemma that confronts every artist at midcareer: how to build on past successes without simply repeating them. This oddly titled installation, the centerpiece of her latest solo show, both rhymes perfectly with her earlier work and takes off in a new direction.

    Since the early ’80s, Lawler has focused her camera on well-known works of modern and contemporary art. But unlike the photographers employed by auction houses and museums to document their holdings, Lawler

  • Andreas Gursky

    The discourse around Andreas Gursky tends to get trapped in an outdated modernist impulse to define a medium by its physical properties. Because his monumental color photographs are digitally manipulated, they must be not photographs but “photographic paintings.” But it might be more useful to consider Gursky’s work in terms of effect rather than category.

    Gursky’s latest offering featured his signature panoramic vistas of the weirdly spectacular yet antiseptic public spaces of late capitalism: discount superstores, cavernous hotel lobbies, stock-market trading floors. Also on display were three

  • Uta Barth

    Walter Benjamin described aura–that intangible quality that distinguishes an object from its photographic reproduction–as the effect of a thing’s “unique existence.” According to Benjamin, not only do photographs lack their own aura, they destroy the ones objects possess by supplanting a singular presence with a potentially infinite number of copies. But ironically, because what it captures is less the object per se than the unrepeatable instant when the object stood in front of the camera’s lens, photography heightens our awareness of the very uniqueness it simultaneously undermines. The medium

  • James Angus

    Given the thorough interrogation of sculpture already achieved by post-Minimalism and Conceptual art, choosing to dismantle this particular artistic category might seem a bit like beating a long-dead horse. While James Angus’s second one-man show indeed restages the medium’s unraveling, it does so however from a new direction—by intersecting sculpture with a related (although ultimately distinct) form of object production, the architectural model.

    Two pieces in the show, Neuschwansteins, 1998, and Falkensteins, 1999—miniature wooden replicas of castles designed for Prince Ludwig II of Bavaria—are

  • Patty Chang

    Since graduating from the University of California at San Diego in 1994, Patty Chang has been a regular on New York’s performance circuit, plying her distinctive brand of ’60s-style body art meets ’90s riot-grrrl feminism in such venues as P.S. 122 and the Clit Club and garnering particular praise for Alter Ergo, first seen in Exit Art’s 1997 showcase of emerging performance artists, “Terra Bomba.”

    Chang revived Alter Ergo in this debut solo show, which, along with videotapes and large-scale color photographs, included a series of live performances held in the gallery’s back room. Recalling Chris