Naomi Fry

  • Lauren Greenfield’s “Generation Wealth”

    THE CATALOGUE PUBLISHED on the occasion of the photographer and documentary filmmaker Lauren Greenfield’s show “Generation Wealth,” which opened this past month at New York’s International Center of Photography, is a hefty doorstop of a thing, running to 504 pages and about seven pounds. With its cover a dull gold, as if to simulate burnished bullion, this brick-like book’s arm-straining audacity feels like both a come-on and an encumbrance: Its dazzlingly tactile materiality attracts while its sheer weight burdens. This duality also lies at the heart of the show the catalogue accompanies. The

  • the GALA Committee

    IN A SWIFT, BRUTAL DEVELOPMENT, America has suddenly become the greatest reality show on earth, its inhabitants in peril of being thumped as if they were nothing more than a prop conference table on the Apprentice set. There is something both comforting and invigorating about revisiting an earlier era when television was television and real life was real life, and when in the space between the two—at least in one singular case—art blossomed.

    In 1995, the curators Julie Lazar and Tom Finkelpearl asked the artist Mel Chin to take part in “Uncommon Sense,” a group show at the Museum of

  • film April 30, 2013

    Family Guy

    MARIA DEMOPOULOS AND JODI WILLE’S The Source Family opens with an extended close-up of Jim Baker (aka Father Yod, aka YaHoWha), founder of the early-1970s Los Angeles–based cult the Source Family. Baker’s piercing eyes, craggily handsome face, and abundant gray beard peg him as a cross between a Maharishi-like sage and a rugged, post-Aquarian cocksman à la Kris Kristofferson. This impression is only strengthened when the movie segues into footage of Baker, or “Father”—as many of his former devotees interviewed in the film still call him—as he steps out of a white Rolls Royce, resplendent in

  • film June 29, 2012

    Sexual Healing

    OK, PEOPLE, YOU CAN BREATHE EASY: Your guilty summer pleasure is finally here. The new Channing Tatum vehicle, endlessly referred to in recent weeks as “Steven Soderbergh’s highly anticipated male-stripper movie,” arrives in theaters today in a whirl of smooth, muscled torsos, hooded bedroom eyes, and thrusting and grinding pelvises. Loosely based on Tatum’s real-life, pre-breakout days as a member of an all-male revue, Magic Mike centers on the titular Mike, the thirty-year-old lady-killing centerpiece of a Tampa-based male stripping crew run by the drawling, genially Machiavellian former

  • interviews June 14, 2012

    Susan Morgan

    Susan Morgan is a Los Angeles–based writer and contributing editor at Aperture. With Kimberli Meyer, she cocurated the 2011 exhibition “Sympathetic Seeing: Esther McCoy and the Heart of American Modernist Architecture and Design” at the MAK Center/Schindler House in LA. Morgan recently edited Piecing Together Los Angeles: An Esther McCoy Reader, the first gathering of the diverse writings of Esther McCoy (1904–1989), a critic who significantly impacted cultural understandings of midcentury modern California design. The collection is the debut title from East of Borneo Books.

    I MOVED TO LOS ANGELES

  • interviews May 09, 2012

    Daniel Clowes

    Daniel Clowes is an Oakland-based cartoonist and Academy Award–nominated screenwriter, known for seminal graphic novels such as Ghost World (1997), David Boring (2000), Ice Haven (2005), and Wilson (2010), which have redefined the language of contemporary comics. The retrospective “Modern Cartoonist: The Art of Daniel Clowes” is currently on view through August 12 at the Oakland Museum of California and is accompanied by a catalogue edited by Alvin Buenaventura and published by Abrams.

    THE BAY AREA CURATOR SUSAN MILLER approached me about five years ago and wanted to organize a retrospective of

  • interviews March 28, 2011

    Sigrid Nunez

    Sigrid Nunez, a New York–based writer, has published six novels. Here, she talks about her latest book, Sempre Susan: A Memoir of Susan Sontag, in which she looks back on her years living with Sontag and her son, David Rieff, in the 1970s. On April 14, Nunez will discuss the book with Phillip Lopate at the powerHouse Arena in Brooklyn, and on April 28, a reading will be held at the Upper East Side Barnes & Noble. Sempre Susan is published by Atlas & Co.

    THIS BOOK ISN’T A BIOGRAPHY or a critical study. It’s a memoir about a person who had a great influence on me at a particular time in my life

  • picks January 31, 2011

    “A Room, In Three Movements”

    This exhibition is pleasing not just for the freshness of the individual works on view but for the rare cogency of its aims and ambience as well. Over the course of the show’s run, the sculptures in the gallery––made by Katy Heinlein, Sheila Pepe, and Halsey Rodman––will be moved three times by the artists, changing their places and spatial relationships to one another. Even before any relocation has taken place, however, the fluidity, playfulness, and interdependence of seemingly discrete objects that the projected plan emphasizes can already be found in the works themselves.

    Pepe’s woven

  • picks April 27, 2010

    Jackie Gendel

    Man Leaving the Picture, 2010, the first painting one encounters on entering Jackie Gendel’s second solo show at this gallery, sets the tone for this gem of an exhibition. In it, a rotund man, wearing a greenish, hazmat suit–like outfit, is depicted (literally) leaving the picture plane, some sort of package tucked snugly under his arm. As he forges ahead, a ghoulish apparition of a woman emerges from the left, raising an arm as if to stop him. It seems appropriate to end this description with the word “curtain”; and indeed, what one notices initially is the work’s attachment to a scene-making

  • picks January 16, 2010

    Marlo Pascual

    The line that lies between sculpture and photography has been explored to the point of near erasure in some recent art. In Marlo Pascual’s first solo exhibition at this gallery, she joins the conversation, exhibiting work that incorporates sourced images and found objects to smart, self-assured effect. The sculptural plays a role in the work here even before concrete objects come into (or, rather, into contact with) the picture. At the entrance to the show hangs a black-and-white print of a vintage photograph, depicting the back of a young woman’s head. Her hair is elaborately curled and plaited,

  • picks September 02, 2008

    Yitzhak Livneh

    For those familiar with Yitzhak Livneh’s prolific career, it might come as a mild surprise to realize that this exhibition is, in fact, only the artist’s first solo museum outing. After all, over the past quarter century, Livneh has become one of Israel’s most influential painters, and in an art scene that is usually much swifter to grant institutional recognition to its major actors, such tardiness might read as odd. A visit to this remarkable show, though, renders this long omission a bit clearer. In works from 1985 through 2008, Livneh emerges as an artist who almost stubbornly refuses the

  • picks April 02, 2008

    Peter Hujar

    Interest in this show, which arrives just over twenty years after photographer Peter Hujar’s untimely death from AIDS, could at first glance be chalked up to something like sociological curiosity. Shot between 1969 and 1985, nearly all in the artist’s East Village studio, these thirty-one photographs make up a fascinating study of a highly specific, highly mythologized era in New York City’s cultural history. The exhibit includes intimate portraits of downtown figures such as Hujar’s lover, the artist and writer David Wojnarowicz; the stunning, wistful Cookie Mueller; and an impossibly young,

  • picks December 10, 2007

    Sigrid Sandström

    John Ruskin’s homage to the “craggy foregrounds and purple distances” of nineteenth-century landscape painting comes to mind on viewing artist Sigrid Sandström’s New York solo debut. Following the romantic impulse to capture the dusky, murky mystery of northern-European scenery, these lovely acrylic paintings employ a palette of grays, whites, and blues (with abrupt, gorgeous flashes of maroon, yellow, red, and orange) and depict fantastical scenes of misty glaciers, foggy mountain peaks, and bleak white ice floes with all the grandeur of a present-day Caspar David Friedrich. But Sandström also

  • picks October 02, 2007

    “Makers and Modelers”

    Lately, work in ceramic has been having its Chelsea moment. Whether it be Charles Long’s small, fleshy objects exhibited in 2006 at Tanya Bonakdar, the striking metalized pots in Rosemarie Trockel’s recent solo at Gladstone, or Ken Price’s sleek sci-fi blobs at Matthew Marks, New York’s blue-chip galleries have bestowed increasing attention on a medium more often associated in the popular imagination with lopsided after-school crafts or the cheesy erotic abandon of Ghost-era Demi Moore. In this lively and comprehensive group show, Gladstone has upped the ante, presenting ceramics as a stand-alone

  • picks August 03, 2007

    “Making the Scene: The Midtown Y Photography Gallery, 1972–1996”

    While the market for photography grows more fevered and bullish by the minute, this comprehensive survey serves as a modest reminder of a looser, less clamorous, no less interesting moment in the medium’s recent history. Displaying work exhibited by dozens of (then mostly emerging) artists at the Midtown Y Photography Gallery—a nonprofit that operated between 1972 and 1996 and for much of that time was one of the only New York City spaces dedicated to the exclusive display of photography—this show traces photography less as a vehicle for the production of precious, spectacular fetish objects

  • picks May 08, 2007

    Peter Fischli and David Weiss

    In their sixth exhibition at this gallery, the Swiss mavericks Peter Fischli and David Weiss revisit the period remembered best for their seminal film The Way Things Go, 1987, by way of a series of photographs (“Equilibres,” 1984–86) and a newly edited film (Making Things Go, 1984/2006). With its spectacular chain-reaction aesthetics, the 1987 work conveyed a sense of sculpture as a living thing—an energetic, Rube Goldbergian contraption that is always on the verge of veering off course and yet manages, in its own weirdly anthropomorphic fashion, to keep on. The delicately beautiful photographs

  • picks April 03, 2007

    Delia Brown

    Delia Brown is best known for a very particular brand of genre painting, one that depicts a commodity-filled good life lived flashily and strenuously. Her vivid renderings of the young, sexy, and indolent making the most of their fleeting moment in the sun has often made her work seem like the painterly equivalent of a Bret Easton Ellis novel. The series of ten drawings on display in this small and engaging exhibition, by comparison, is decidedly less showy, its intent more obscure. Using white gouache, graphite, and colored pencils on paper in a selection of muted colors—mustardy beige,

  • picks March 15, 2007

    Anna Conway

    The realist aesthetic is often marked by a desire to render wholly readable both the surface of the object and the psychological specificity of the human subject. In her first solo show, Anna Conway presents six beautifully composed oil paintings that trouble these dual ambitions, depicting carefully rendered scenes of resolute opacity. In A Vision, 2006, a scrubby teenager stands in blank-eyed, openmouthed reverie within an anonymous-looking mauve room, his hands held aloft in a curious gesture of spatial evaluation. This weird moment of mall-rat sublime is echoed in the dark-hued Alejandro,

  • picks January 21, 2007

    Carrie Moyer

    Working in acrylic and, occasionally, in glitter, Carrie Moyer treats the flat surface of her paintings as a site for playful excavation. In the abstract Coulee (all works 2006), the artist slyly equates the storied mysteries of geology and the female form, layering opaque swathes of brown and beige to engulf a bright, sinuous aperture, while in Fur Below, a vaselike object with protruding nipples, both flatly surrealist and weighted with ostensible history, reads like a still-life repurposing of an Eva Hesse piece—its blunt two-dimensional rendering emphasizing its odd beauty. Indeed, Moyer’s

  • picks December 11, 2006

    Enrique Metinides

    In their focus on traumatic events, sensationalist images amplify the mimetic quality of photography, depicting the pain of others with a shock-inducing, exploitative specificity. Sensation manages to shed its usual association with the brash and unseemly, however, in the work of the Mexican newspaper photographer Enrique Metinides, whose five-decade career is presented here in a selection of carefully composed images of crisis and destruction. Focusing on train wrecks, car accidents, and high-rise suicides, Metinides’s photographs represent the muted moments of postcatastrophe rather than the