Martha Schwendener

  • Drudge, 2005.
    picks April 19, 2005

    Anthony Goicolea

    PhotoShop wizard Anthony Goicolea appears to have drunk the KoolAid and joined the masses of young artists making some version of Fairy Tale Art. Several works in this media-spanning show even resemble the folksy-craftsy drawings of Amy Cutler. Goicolea, who made a name for himself with his large photographs featuring digitally cloned portraits of himself, works well within this métier. Swimming pools and schoolboy outfits have given way to a more chaotic Lord of the Flies sensibility: The drawings and photos feature ramshackle tree houses, boys in matching red sweatshirts, ritual nocturnal

  • The Swordsman, 2004. Installation view.
    picks April 19, 2005

    Mungo Thomson

    The primary work in this show is New York, New York, New York, New York, 2004, a video installation, projected on four walls, of mundane city street scenes. However, a more compelling work is down the hall in Connelly’s tiny former gallery (now an annex). The Swordsman, 2004, is a simple, one channel video of Bob Anderson, retired Hollywood “sword master,” throwing a sword to a person off screen. Anderson, who threw sharp objects to actors in such movies as Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, and Pirates of the Caribbean, becomes the star, for once (in the movies, he was always off-screen). But his

  • Still from The Boy from Mars, 2005.
    picks April 19, 2005

    Philippe Parreno

    The transition from daylight to a darkened gallery space is a comic ritual all its own: the disorientation and fumbling in the dark, bumping into strangers, etc. People enter like stunned acolytes, until their eyes adjust and they become part of the community in the darkness. Philippe Parreno has capitalized on this process by installing a bookcase, painted white to blend in with the walls, across the doorway leading to the gallery’s main space. After turning the bookcase and entering, viewers find that the gallery seems darker than usual and that the small, flickering video is dwarfed by the

  • Untitled (OH 04)X, 2004.
    picks April 07, 2005

    Amir Zaki

    Amir Zaki’s photographs of Los Angeles domestic architecture could easily be mistaken for documents of an earthwork or performative intervention, circa 1975. But, though they mimic the kind of documentary photography through which most of us have come to know the works of artists like Robert Smithson, Walter De Maria, and Gordon Matta-Clark, Zaki’s photos actually center on one of the most fetishized forms in the modernist lexicon: the Richard Neutra house—specifically, those that were “disowned” by the firm after being refitted in the ‘60s and ‘70s to weather earthquakes, mudslides, and other

  • Dark Condo, 2005.
    picks April 07, 2005

    Wayne Gonzales

    Seurat’s pointillisme is updated in these paintings of resorts, condos, and restaurants. Though Gonzales is generally known for citing specific, historically freighted events, figures, and locations, here he references the anonymous but recognizable landscape of real estate developers and the governments that love them. “Corpocracy,” the term David Mitchell coined in his novel Cloud Atlas to describe a futuristic world ruled by big business, resounds in these paintings. Uniform circular dots of color create faux pixilated images; step close and pictorial logic disintegrates, with figure and

  • Bruce Conner

    One doesn’t have much occasion to refer to Dick Hebdige’s Subculture: The Meaning of Style these days, but Bruce Conner’s recent show “Punk Photographs” rendered that cultural-studies classic a touchstone once more. And the fact that Subculture was published in 1979 and Conner’s photographs from the Mabuhay Gardens, a Filipino nightclub in the North Beach area of San Francisco, were taken in 1978, is only one reason for its renewed relevance.

    Conner’s photos take in the entire culture of the club, from the bands who performed there (most notably Devo, DOA, and Negative Trend) and fans and scenesters

  • The People Who Play and the People Who Pay, 2004.
    picks March 17, 2005

    Jules de Balincourt

    Slacker survivalism might be one way to describe the sensibility of artist (and current “Greater New York 2005” participant) Jules de Balincourt. Even the titles of his paintings—from Poor Planning, 2005, to Head for the Hills, 2004, or Another Natural Disaster, 2005, to Beginning to See the Light, 2005—send a strong message that something is sorely amiss in the world. U.S. World Studies III, 2005, tracks donations of corporations like Walmart, Home Depot, and Target to the G.O.P. on a map of the United States, while The Watchtower, 2005, goes inside an unnamed command center, and The People

  • Dana Schutz

    The meteoric rise of Dana Schutz, a twenty-eight-year-old painter fresh from the MFA program at Columbia University, serves for many as a reiteration of the way in which the art world mirrors the entertainment industry, with its privileging of youth over experience and its perpetual quest for fresh talent. More interesting, perhaps, is the way in which Schutz’s work has polarized viewers, separating those who applaud her vigorous neo-neo-expressionist canvases from those who are more skeptical, like a visitor overheard leaving the gallery muttering, “This is the new genius?”

    The issues Schutz

  • Exhibition view.
    picks February 24, 2005

    Sarah Anne Johnson

    Further proof that our northern neighbors hold the keys to saving the planet appears in Sarah Johnson’s photographs of young people planting trees, a rite of passage in Manitoba. Actually, the tree planting itself is less evident in these photos than the drama of social bonding in the dirt and mud of the quasi-wilderness. Johnson extends the idea with photos of little carved wooden lumberjacks and couples kissing interspersed among the casual, Ryan McGinley-in-the-woods-style images of sexy, rugged youth. There is no single entry point into the show. Rather, the photos—arranged unframed on

  • Installation View I, 2005.
    picks February 24, 2005

    Rudolf Stingel

    Stingel’s new show is a perverse homage both to painting and to his New York dealer, Paula Cooper. The floor throughout the gallery is covered with particleboard painted white, reminiscent of his recent project in Grand Central’s Vanderbilt Hall in which wall-to-wall carpet married tropes of painterly horizontality dating back to Pollock with Pop’s deadpan appropriation of mass-produced objects. Hanging on the rear wall of the gallery, like an altarpiece in the white-cube cathedral of contemporary art, is a black-and-white photorealist painting of a young Paula wearing a coy, come-hither

  • Columbia Service Station, 1976.
    picks February 06, 2005

    Peter Hujar

    Peter Hujar’s New York was a nocturnal one, as evidenced by “Night,” his series of black and white photographs taken between 1974 and 1985. (The artist died of AIDS in 1987.) The series serves as a counterpoint to his better-known portraits of downtown denizens, which appeared in Portraits of Life and Death, 1976, the only book of his work published during his lifetime. The “Night” photos also serve as a time capsule of the city, scabby and deserted during the bankruptcy years—a place that took considerably more gumption to live in than the bloated post-Giuliani metropolis of today. Many of the

  • Jamie Isenstein, Will Return, 2005.
    picks February 06, 2005

    “We Disagree”

    The title of this small, eclectic show of international artists sounds vaguely political—an answer, perhaps, to the mandates laid down by the recently inaugurated Republican regime. The dissent is more aesthetic than political, however, and the hegemony they’re resisting—if there is one—might be the art world at large. Robert Kusmirowski’s Untitled, 2003, a handmade copy of a 1926 Polish certificate of apprenticeship (for tiling), for instance, turns professional licensing (fake Yale M.F.A. diploma, anyone?) into an absurdist exercise, as does Monika Sosnowska’s tabletop model for an exhibition