Nathaniel Lee

  • picks March 31, 2017

    Hope Gangloff

    Hope Gangloff’s latest solo show approaches painting with the medium’s history close at hand. The works sit comfortably within genre—portraiture, still life—but we instantly recognize her subjects as familiar and utterly contemporary. Consider the men that appear in works such as Ebon in Studio Light and Ryan Hart (all works 2017). Gangloff renders their scruffy beards, plain clothes, and casual hairstyles with a rare talent—not too unlike Alice Neel or Sylvia Sleigh—firmly planting them within the now and simultaneously well beyond. Her subjects, like Neel and Sleigh’s, are often friends, drawn

  • picks November 06, 2016

    Chris Larson

    When the legendary Minneapolis hardcore punk trio Hüsker Dü titled their 1981 self-released debut LP Land Speed Record, it was the perfect heading for the raucous single-take live recording, a seventeen-song masterwork. Chris Larson has fixated on the album’s twenty-six-minute, thirty-five-second duration in his own multipart film installation of the same name. The fixation stems from Larson’s longstanding friendship with Hüsker drummer and co-songwriter Grant Hart. In 2011, a fire partially destroyed Hart’s childhood home in St. Paul, and Larson quickly offered his nearby studio space to serve

  • picks October 21, 2016

    Oto Gillen

    The five photographs that make up Oto Gillen’s solo show here—Kentucky Coffee 1 and Honey Locust 1–4, all 2016—are tough to crack. These large, richly colored images of seedpods, printed on Corning’s state-of-the-art Gorilla Glass, are extremely durable—it’s the same material used for the iPhone’s screen (the inexpensive honeycomb cardboard to which Gillen has affixed them, however, is not). The pods are shot in close-up, which gives you very little sense of their surroundings or context.

    Just as Karl Blossfeldt, nearly a century ago, made nature utterly alien by focusing his lens on singular

  • picks June 03, 2016

    Trudy Benson

    Trudy Benson’s paintings owe a debt to the more baroque proponents of Abstract Illusionism. Think of painters such as Jack Lembeck or Michael Gallagher, artists who ignored the irony of Roy Lichtenstein’s flat renderings of AbEx brushstrokes and went on to depict them as trompe l’oeil forms floating in space, with drop shadows—perverse art-historical gestures that attempted to resuscitate midcentury grandiosity in a jazzy new guise but instead managed only to influence 1980s commercial design and early forms of computerized image craft.

    It’s within this matrix—let’s call it “The Forever Now,”

  • picks April 15, 2016

    Lionel Maunz

    Lionel Maunz’s fourth solo show with this gallery, “Fealty,” pushes creepiness outside of a general, and easily commodified, aesthetic experience. The title refers to, among other things, the bonds of family, and all the torturous shit that comes with it. Blood relationships—poisonous, petty, and horrifying—come to dramatic life with Maunz’s realistic graphite drawings of early twentieth-century incubators designed to keep newborns free of germs from filthy mommies in Obligation 1–3 (all works 2016). Vertical Chamber gives us an image from Harry Harlow’s “pit of despair,” one of the notorious

  • picks October 27, 2015

    Jason Rhoades

    Jason Rhoades spent the entirety of his career—cut short by his death in 2006—blending sculpture, installation, and performance into a densely packed continuum of artistic production. Rhoades’s sculptures are massive orgies of stuff, yet his love of objects followed distinct patterns. Occasionally, discrete, often smaller pieces were taken from his larger bodies of work as officially sanctioned multiples.

    Re-creating many of his sprawling, sculptural installations is a daunting and resource-consuming undertaking for any museum. Led by curator Christopher Bedford, though, the Rose Museum has taken

  • picks July 02, 2014

    Emily Mae Smith

    In “Novelty Court,” Emily Mae Smith presents paintings that employ a personalized iconography as a means toward unabashed self-assertion and its liberatory effects. For the most part, the motifs in these canvases are proprietary, culled from sources ranging from the Art Nouveau trade bulletin The Studio to Disney’s Fantasia, and they are fed by the artist’s robust interest in the history of design. Ghost Writer (all works 2014) is an extreme case, a painting which repeats the letter E five times in black paint on a white background; the middle bar of the letter, which would complete the character,

  • performance November 30, 2013

    Valhalla, I Am Coming

    WITH TEMPERATURES in the mid-twenties and a forecasted high of 32 degrees Fahrenheit, not to mention a “wind advisory” in effect until 6 PM, the last Sunday before Thanksgiving in New York City began as either the first real day of winter or the absolute last day of fall, depending on your personal calculus of late-November cold. It was on this morning, around 10 AM, that a dozen or so spandex-clad runners began to assemble in the foyer of an otherwise shuttered Luhring Augustine gallery in Chelsea. Their objective: to run, as a group, from the gallery, thirty miles north to Kensico Cemetery in

  • picks October 30, 2013

    Joshua Abelow

    Repetition is integral to the practice of Joshua Abelow, an artist who has succeeded in parlaying a individual iconography and persona into an emergent artistic presence in New York. The work in “Abelow on Delancey”—graphite drawings; small, medium, and large oils; and even a printed publication—conglomerate into a metaimage reflecting Abelow himself and a topography of the conditions subtending his practice. His stick figure man, often drawn donning a crude top hat and sometimes sporting an erection, appears over and over in the paintings on view. Never quite upright, the stick man is usually

  • film October 09, 2013

    Pick Your King

    “OK, LISTEN!” a hearty midwestern voice declares. Then: “This next song is about people trying to tell you what to do…” After a juvenile inventory of ways in which society circumscribes the individual, the vocalist, our soon-to-be-hero TJ (Rob Bakker), lets out one prolonged vowel, sending Sacrificial Youth, his three-piece band, into action and Sacrificial Youth—the first self-described “hardcore punk musical”—into its first act.

    It’s fitting that a musical about a devout hardcore punk and his struggling posse should begin with the kind of diatribe that has become one of hardcore’s (and conservative

  • picks August 06, 2013

    Anne-Lise Coste

    Anne-Lise Coste reiterates the humanistic thrust of Picasso’s Guernica in a series of twelve large airbrushed canvases. Coste carries the stylization of Picasso’s figures directly over to her own paintings, retaining an unequivocal anguish while incorporating a delicate, yet ultimately mechanical and manic, touch.

    Les Grands Pieds (The Big Feet), and Le Cri III (The Cry), both 2012, employ a conceptual logic found in Coste’s previous work where letters and words fluctuate between graphic and textual legibility within the same visual field; in these works, she often draws on the French first person

  • picks July 08, 2013

    Eamon Ore-Giron

    Eamon Ore-Giron’s paintings evoke that exciting moment at the advent of abstraction when static, retinal perspective no longer seemed capable of representing modern life and visual artists began looking to other art forms such as music and new technologies, including automobiles, airplanes, and moving pictures, for novel ways to arrange form. The ten small-scale paintings the Los Angeles–based artist presents in “Smuggling the Sun,” his first solo exhibition in New York, borrow elements from several painters who were instrumental in the early formation of nonrepresentational, geometric art.