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.

  • picks April 08, 2013

    Joe Zucker

    Joe Zucker has an interesting way of melding subject matter and the objective qualities of materials in his paintings. After all, from 1975 to 1976, Zucker executed an intensive series about the ignominious history of US cotton production using his signature “painting” material—the cotton ball. His latest works on display, together titled “Empire Descending a Staircase” (all works 2012), offer connections between their physical attributes and their historical references, which are intertwined as tightly as ever.

    Zucker’s work has always bred a unique affinity with textile-based art, a product of

  • picks March 11, 2013

    “Your Content Will Return Shortly”

    What has become of television, that ugly box that once sat in our living rooms, satiating our appetites for information and inanities with its one-way stream of content? This group show, including ten artists—Christopher DeLaurenti, Eric Gottesman, Jonathan Horowitz, Sophy Naess, Jeff Ostergren, Lucy Raven, Martha Rosler, Catherine Ross, Carmelle Safdie, Siebren Versteeg, and Emily Roz—asks us to reconsider the broadcast medium that was once almost entirely privatized and thoroughly centralized and yet pervades the American cultural landscape, a landscape now going through a period of

  • picks March 04, 2013

    “How I Wrote Elastic Man”

    One of the more compelling aspects of “How I Wrote Elastic Man,” a group show featuring six artists—Anne Doran, Franklin Evans, Daniel Newman, Deb Sokolow, Philip von Zweck, and Ishmael Randall Weeks—is the way their works employ subterfuge as a means of enhancing their effects, whatever those may be. This is particularly clear in the two text-heavy drawings on view from Chicago-based Sokolow, which are excerpted from her narrative suite “Notes on Denver International Airport and the New World Order,” 2011. Here, she provides an account of a vast and shadowy global conspiracy that may or may

  • picks February 10, 2013

    Anna Plesset

    A summer residency in Giverny, France, sparked “A Still Life,” Anna Plesset’s New York solo debut, which includes a trove of drawings, painted objects, and paintings of objects. Much of this exhibition can be seen as investigation into the history of the studio she occupied during her time here, which belonged to one of Claude Monet’s somewhat forgotten protégés, American artist Lilla Cabot Perry.

    Plesset challenges viewers to uncover her two predecessors’ interconnected legacies through a gradual assessment of her works, with each shedding light on the otherwise cryptic significance of the

  • picks December 27, 2012

    Keltie Ferris

    The most noticeable, and therefore notable, features of Keltie Ferris’s well-lavished paintings are their two most immediate strata: Ferris finishes off her large-scale abstractions with arrays of spray-painted dots and dashes and then returns with a brush loaded with a higher-intensity, contrasting color to lay down short, chunky strokes tightly packed in vertical, parallel arrangements around the previous layer. It is a winning combination that has made the artist something of a standout in a scene of young painters searching for novel ways to think about abstraction.

    Ferris is beginning to

  • picks November 28, 2012

    Eberhard Havekost

    Those familiar with Eberhard Havekost’s previous output might deem the three large, colorful canvases near the entrance to his latest exhibition a radical departure from the photo-based paintings the German artist has been making for over a decade. Together the three canvases actually form two discrete pieces—Schöner Wohnen B12 (Better Living B12) and a diptych, Copy + Property B12 (all works 2012)—both inspired by test patterns once broadcast as calibration aids for television screens. These canvases also signal a circuitous return to Havekost’s long-standing preoccupation with the visible

  • picks October 18, 2012

    Al Taylor

    The titles of the pieces in Al Taylor’s “Pass the Peas” series, 1991–92—like Pea Passing Device, or many that simply bear the name of the series in some augmented form—allude to a kineticism implied in the static objects and drawings themselves, now on display in David Zwirner’s third solo exhibition of the late artist’s work. The “peas” in question are both the small plastic rings, found under soda-bottle caps, which the artist placed along lengths of cable or hula hoops, and the small, wiry Os and daubs of ink in drawings created concomitantly with these objects, which served as

  • picks September 24, 2012

    Guido van der Werve

    Guido van der Werve’s latest film, Nummer veertien, home, 2012, opens with a somber text recounting the events surrounding composer Frédéric Chopin’s troubled life and untimely death. Taking the some 1,058 miles between Warsaw and Paris that now separate Chopin’s heart and body as his subject, van der Werve has composed a film-cum-requiem—made up of lush, HD video and the artist’s own dramatic musical compositions—which follows him on a one-man triathlon, with the artist swimming, cycling, and running the entire distance. The film takes a few detours as van der Werve introduces scenery