Nicholas Chittenden Morgan

  • picks November 17, 2016

    Whitney Claflin

    Whitney Claflin’s storefront feels more like an eye exam than a department-store display. Where artists such as Andy Warhol interwove art and commerce by putting their paintings in shop windows, Claflin renders the small, collaged objects she places behind glass almost inscrutable. Instead of jettisoning spectacle, though, she suggests it with bright lights that turn the window into a luminous frame, lit 24/7 and visible to passersby. That bright glow stands in tension with the artworks within, where three silver trays hang in a row, each adorned with cut-up typewritten text evoking zine

  • picks September 08, 2016

    Yves Scherer and Ophelia Finke

    Hot-pink theatrical lights, a cocaine-colored motorcycle, and sexy-sweet cuddling—this show wants to knock you out with its bold arrangements. Ophelia Finke contributes the bike (Balthazar, all works cited, 2016) and Yves Scherer the cuddling, in the form of a figurative wall sculpture titled Johnny & Kate (indeed, Depp and Moss, respectively). The vibe is of smart, restless young things trashing their parent’s house. Or in this case, Our Lord and Father’s house: The central collaborative work anchoring the presentation is a deranged manger inside a hut, Crib—a nightclubby yet weirdly Arte

  • picks August 12, 2016

    “Daydream from 2013”

    2013: too recent to be nostalgic about, but long enough ago to feel like another lifetime. The Surrealists thought they could harness the latent energies of outmoded objects to revolutionize society. In contrast, the artists in this group exhibition, curated by Matthew Flaherty, find potential in the barely obsolete. The key to the show is, perhaps, in its title: “Daydream from 2013.” These makers prefer dreaming while awake, as that diaphanous membrane guarding the unconscious becomes looser, closer, and probably looks a lot like the fabrics and shiny resins of Olivia Erlanger’s wall sculptures,

  • picks July 08, 2016

    Joseph Geagan

    Joseph Geagan documents his scene in a delicate analog mode, with pastel and paper instead of an iPhone. The artist’s exhibition here, “Toast for Old Chum,” consists of sixteen large drawings depicting Geagan’s glamorously louche friends in an electric, expressionistic style. At first glance you think you’re looking at East Village denizens, circa 1980-something. But Geagan’s not a dyed-in-the-wool nostalgist. Though the artist’s pictures are deliberately handmade, they are, paradoxically, suited to Instagram (on the gallery’s feed, some of Geagan’s subjects pose in front of their representations).

  • picks March 25, 2016

    Greg Parma Smith

    The word apocalypse means revelation: a kind of unveiling to expose some higher power’s purpose (through mass destruction, of course). In Greg Parma Smith’s epically scaled six-panel painting titled Last Judgment (Selfless, Deathless, No World), 2015–16, the end of days is visualized through layers of canvas that literally peel off the picture plane, revealing a number of stylistically disjunctive images beneath. In the center is a deceptively kitschy, postcard-perfect sunset. Split in half across two panels, this dark star suggests that it increasingly takes away more than it gives—a vital

  • picks November 06, 2015

    Tom Burr

    Tom Burr’s new sculptures inject autobiography and eroticism into their rigid, industrial supports. Every work is composed of one or two metallic planes. They are lined up serially along the walls of the gallery, each a slight variation on the one previous. These gray forms are called “grips,” 2015, evoking bodily touch. Some are made reflective by the addition of glass sheets or polished slabs visibly bolted to the steel ground. Hovering a foot above the floor on a specially built shelf, this subtle architectural intervention alters the viewing experience just enough to call attention to the

  • picks September 18, 2015

    Matthew Brannon

    In Matthew Brannon’s latest output, candy-colored arrangements of objects and text—a wedding cake, a pack of Lucky Strikes, a bottle of vanilla extract—address the Vietnam War with a decorative aestheticism. This strategy may feel absurd, but Brannon deliberately avoids picturing scenes of violence, instead focusing on commodities, from a shuttlecock to a bottle of Heinz ketchup. These assemblages suppress violence almost to the point of invisibility, evoking a wartime America proceeding as if in an unaltered peacetime. In First Base (all works 2015), what initially seems a straightforward still