Naomi Fry

  • Untitled, 2007, acrylic on board, 60 x 84".
    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

  • View of “Makers and Modelers.”
    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

  • Peter Hujar, Untitled, 1974, gelatin silver print, 13 3/4 x 13 5/8".
    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

  • As Far as It Goes, 1986, C-print, 9 1/4 x 13".
    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

  • Caprice Apprehending Felicity, 2006–2007, graphic pencil on colored paper, 19 3/4 x 27 1/2".
    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,

  • Leonardo, 2006, oil on panel, 20 x 30".
    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,

  • Old Flame, 2006, acrylic on canvas, 24 x 18".
    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

  • Untitled, Empleado de Telefonos de Mexico electrocutado en el km, 13 de la carretera Mexico-Toluca (Untitled, An Employee of Telefonos de Mexico Electrocuted at the 13-km mark on the Mexico-Toluca Highway), 1971, silver gelatin print, 20 x 24".
    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

  • Disappearer, 2005.
    picks November 07, 2006

    Laura Riboli

    In this intriguing show, which easily could have been titled “What Modernist Sculpture Does When No One's Looking,” Laura Riboli presents a three-dimensional world whose deliberate autism is oddly compelling. Over five single-channel videos, the artist conjures both the amateurish aesthetic of mid-twentieth-century sci-fi movies and the rigor of Minimalist sculpture, employing primitive visual effects to portray geometric objects in mechanical ballets—twirling, changing form, and interacting with eerie intentionality. In Ziggurat (Believer), 2006, for instance, five foil monoliths crumple and

  • Installation view, 2006.
    picks September 21, 2006

    Sarah Morris

    To some, midtown Manhattan may appear a counterintuitive location in which to ponder the imbrication of the aesthetic and the political, if only because the district’s “the-business-of-America-is-business” ambience tends to occlude the ideological stakes that lie beneath its visual cues. In this new piece, however, Sarah Morris manages to provide just such a rare moment of reflection for the lunch-hour wayfarer. Throughout her career, Morris has been known for her colorful abstract canvases—half high-art Mondrian, half Op-art Panton—as well as for several films in which she's deftly

  • Zak Smith, Mandy Morbid, 2006.
    picks August 01, 2006

    “Sweets & Beauties”

    It is a well-known axiom that the supposedly innocent pleasures of the aesthetic gaze are always already linked to the sinister perils of objectification. This modest yet engaging group show takes this trope as its starting point and turns it on its head, presenting a range of works that treat the objectification of the human subject less as a lamentable fact and more as a theme ripe for a sly reassessment. Some fairly traditional depictions of the nude female form by the likes of Martin Eder and Zak Smith are happily supplemented by drawings and paintings that focus attention on a wider and

  • Simone Nieweg, Larche am Ackerrand, Willich, 1991.
    picks July 05, 2006

    “A Rabbit as King of the Ghosts”

    In this elegant group show, photographers-cum-curators Justine Kurland and Dan Torop subtly challenge the conceit that a concentration on the human figure and a faithful adherence to the real are the sole means to render a photographic image intelligible. Kurland and Torop have selected images from the nineteenth, twentieth, and twenty-first centuries, a pleasingly large proportion of which are gems. Among them is the small but beautiful tintype Women with long hair, from the 1860s or '70s, taken by an unidentified photographer, in which a group of girls turn their back on the camera, their