Max Lakin

  • Sarah Slappey, Blue Gingham, 2021, acrylic and oil on canvas, 80 × 100".

    Sarah Slappey

    It’s an accepted idea that unrealistic standards of feminine beauty pushed by fashion magazines and beauty conglomerates have a deleterious effect on society. Most of us enter the prison willingly. Self-care, which emerged as a loosely defined concept of coping with the pressures of modern life (of which looking good is a big one) presents itself as a saner alternative, but has by now been revealed as another trapdoor— a ten-billion-dollar industry that folds beauty into woozy affirmation and pseudo-psychology while reinforcing a kind of solipsism that foists a parallel set of things to buy and

  • Tau Lewis’s Opus (The Ovule), 2021, presented by Los Angeles’s Night Gallery at the Armory Show’s Platform section. Photo: Celsey Kelbaugh.
    diary September 15, 2021

    Moveable Feasts

    INDEPENDENT’S ABILITY TO CHOOSE locations that have private members clubs is unmatched. This year it had left Spring Studios, where someone told me it was outbid by Fashion Week, for the Battery Maritime Building, where a Cipriani recently moved in and bolted a gaudy nameplate to the facade, insisting it be called Casa Cipriani, which no one did. It’s an absurd place, but also a fitting expression of New Yorkers’ recent yen for dining in traffic and pretending they’re in the Veneto. People enjoyed six dollar Diet Cokes and plastic bowls of pasta on the terrace, which has spectacular views

  • Dominique Fung, The Largest and Most Formal Meal of the Day, 2021, oil on linen, 78 × 94".

    Dominique Fung

    Eugène Delacroix’s Orientalist tableaux once thrilled European viewers with their veiled courtesans and dusky harems; today, those paintings are understood as, among other things, imperialist propaganda. As in most arenas of modern life, the forces of hegemony and their attendant gazes—male, white, Western—that shaped the canon have come in for reckoning yet again, with various results.

    Dominique Fung’s imagery tweaks historical painting in a number of sensuous, seditious ways. Her visually knotty and pleasantly perception-scrambling canvases antagonize both colonialist conceptions of Asian art

  • Max Levai at The Ranch in Montauk.
    diary July 01, 2021

    Montauk Cowboy

    “I WAS LAYING STONE this morning with the guys, so it’s been a dogfight,” Max Levai said on Saturday afternoon in Montauk at the debut of The Ranch, his next act following some ugly business and back-and-forth litigiousness that saw him and Levai père Pierre part ways with Marlborough Gallery. Anyway, all that seemed to be in the past, or under gag order. The oysters were on ice and the mignonette was glistening. Levai picked up the property last summer and had been renovating until about an hour before guests arrived. Save for some exposed wiring, it was mostly ready. “It was, as you know, a

  • José Parlá, Writers’ Bench: Grand Concourse and 149th Street, The Bronx, 2020, acrylic, ink, collage, enamel, plaster, and oil on canvas, 60 × 96".

    José Parlá

    “It’s Yours,” José Parlá’s solo exhibition of recent paintings here, took its name from Bronx rapper T La Rock’s 1984 formative hip-hop single, a self-reflexive anthem that sets out the genre’s parameters and its promise of democratic permissiveness. It was a good analogue for Parlá’s practice, a style of Abstract Expressionism informed by both the energy of street life and the built environment of the street itself. Parlá, a tagger at heart (a selection of his early blackbooks are featured), works in what is sometimes called a postgraffiti mode but is probably better understood as gestural