Martin Herbert

  • Sophie Reinhold

    The title of one of Sophie Reinhold’s paintings here, Gewöhne dich nicht daran, 2019—referencing an anti-drug addiction slogan of the German Democratic Republic and translating as “Don’t get used to it”—might also apply to her purposely elliptical practice. The Berlin-based artist frequently works up pale paintings on a ground of jute and marble dust, with pieces of canvas cut out and stitched onto their surfaces to create ghostly figurations, like shallow reliefs on a facade. In this show, “Das kann das Leben kosten” (That Could Cost You Your Life), the chimerical expanse of the opening painting,

  • Maria Loboda

    There are exhibitions for which an accompanying text is helpful, and then there was Maria Loboda’s “Woman observing the Alpha Persei Cluster,” which would have been impenetrable without one. Unless, that is, the viewer happened to be equally versed in French modernist interiors, English Bronze Age antiquities, Swiss utopian movements, Egyptian royalty, old science-fiction comics, astronomy, and more. Heavily researched and encoded art is nothing new, of course, but the Polish artist’s installation, a mix of wall drawing and sculpture, was among the most multilayered examples I’ve seen, and

  • Ryan Mosley

    It makes sense that Ryan Mosley shares a gallery with Neo Rauch, since both the British painter and his older German colleague use deliberate narrative lacunae and patched-together compositions to suggest the collapse of former certainties. In Rauch’s case, the world he limned was, at least initially, the post-Communist one. Mosley, over the dozen-odd years since he left London’s Royal College of Art, has fashioned colorful, instinctive-feeling, uneasy carnivalesques full of Picassian harlequin patterning, James Ensor–ish skulls, cacti, animals, and, often, men in stovepipe or bowler hats and

  • Roman Ondak

    Many of Roman Ondak’s artworks over the past two decades have relied, explicitly or implicitly, on the help of his audience. Think of Measuring the Universe, 2007, in which visitors mark their height on a gallery wall, or Good Feelings in Good Times, 2003, a performative, volunteer-filled queue. But the Slovak artist has also alternated such ephemeral proposals with sculptures, installations, photographs, and films, and his first show with Esther Schipper—a commercial powerhouse on the Berlin art scene—was on the face of it a full pivot to objecthood, as well as a reminder that the heyday of

  • Heike Kabisch

    To manifest real disquiet in a gallery is not easy, but Heike Kabisch’s “frothing, you and I” got close. The main room in Berlin gallery ChertLüdde’s modest Kreuzberg space, half-lit by murky pink strip lights above a wall-size image of guileless rhododendrons, grew darker in every sense as you looked down. On the floor were blackened ceramic sculptures of desperately scrawny legs poking out from various kinds of covering, numbered as a series of “poses,” 2019–, and collectively titled I told you to be more passionate . . . (all works 2019). Left of the door, a coital scene was unfolding, heads

  • “LUBAINA HIMID: WORK FROM UNDERNEATH”

    Curated by Natalie Bell

    The title of Lubaina Himid’s first solo museum show in the US—taken from the directive language of health-and-safety manuals—has a double resonance. The Tanzania-born artist, primarily a painter, has long given high-chroma form to occluded histories of black Britons and the ugly reverbs of colonialism and the slave trade; for this she won the Turner Prize in 2017, at the age of sixty-three. Unfreedom is also countered in formal terms: Himid’s codified groupings of black figures, arranged formally as in eighteenth-century English paintings (think William Hogarth), manifest

  • Steve Bishop

    Steve Bishop’s installation Deliquescing, 2018, greeted viewers who entered from the left staircase with a cloud of mist, both literal and metaphorical. The real haze was rising from a pair of ultrasonic humidifiers, which, like the rest of this five-part excursion, registered as part of a nebulous clinical environment constructed from false walls—wooden frames shrouded in semiopaque polyethylene tarp—and divided up by PVC crash doors. The drifting vapor’s import was hinted at straightaway by a scrolling text, in all caps, on a wall-mounted monitor. The text recounted its narrator’s difficulties

  • PROJECT: JESSE DARLING

    EASILY TORN, ephemeral, evocative—the magazine page is an appropriate second home for Jesse Darling’s work. In recent years, the artist has honed a spindly, pragmatic mode of assemblage, hospitable to bent metal tubing, hoodies, medical gear, fluttering plastic bags. When combined, these unassuming materials tend to sketchily conjure bodies. In this way, Darling’s approach to representation gravitates toward deliberate weakness, manifest damage, and evocations of mutual aid, as if to anticipate and then repudiate a context of toxic masculinity and wrathful white heteronormativity. In their

  • RODNEY GRAHAM

    Rodney Graham has long repudiated endings in favor of reverie-like ingresses to the past; this midcareer sampling of his work, dating from 1993 to 2017, will be a dream, almost. In the video Halcion Sleep, 1994, while drugged in the back of a car, the artist revisits both childhood memories of somnolent travel and Warhol’s Sleep. In Rheinmetall/Victoria 8, 2003, a 1961 Italian projector screens artificial snow falling on a pristine 1930s German typewriter—defunct technologies pairing to fabricate ethereality. Since 2007, in scrupulously mocked-up, hugely appealing light-box

  • George Condo

    “George Condo. Confrontation” nestled 129 works—paintings, drawings, and sculpture—made by the American painter over the past thirty-eight years amid the Museum Berggruen’s rich modernist holdings: Picasso, Klee, Matisse, and Giacometti, inter alia. At the entrance of all this was The Great Schizoid, 1984. The artist’s surname is blazoned across its mottled gray background, the o’s formed by twin globes: Condo containing multitudes. “Schizoid” makes sense. While himself pivotal to latter-day figurative art, Condo has long presented himself as a jigsaw of apparent influences, from

  • CARDIAC UNREST: THE ART OF HEATHER PHILLIPSON

    THE MINIMALIST ATRIUM of Frankfurt’s Schirn Kunsthalle has perhaps never looked more maximalist than it did a little more than a year ago, when Heather Phillipson’s installation EAT HERE, 2015, was on view. Suspended and strung about the glass-sided cylindrical space were clusters of popped-open red umbrellas, corpuscular crimson trash bags and hot-water bottles, tennis rackets and tennis balls, and deflated killer-whale inflatables. Dangling amidships were black-edged cartoon cutouts of spermatozoa-like splashes, jagged lightning bolts, giant eyes with spidery lashes. Down on the concourse,

  • Paweł Althamer

    In 1993, to complete his master’s degree at Warsaw’s Academy of Fine Arts, Paweł Althamer dodged his oral examination, instead presenting his professors with a realist sculptural self-portrait fashioned from grass, straw, and animal skin and intestines, and a video of himself stripping nude and running into the woods. Twenty-three years later, in MAMA I, 2016, we saw the Polish artist sitting naked, grizzled, and mud-caked, in nature—or, rather, we gazed upon a plaster simulacrum of Althamer, positioned cross-legged within an indoor wilderness. Clusters of real trees, albeit dead and smeared