Nick Stillman

  • Ashley Bickerton

    Ashley Bickerton’s art has always operated within a dialectic of moralism and depravity. His paintings of open-shirted, liquor-swilling Caucasian tourists partying with voluptuous hula girls read as explicit—even dogmatic—condemnations of excess, and this was the case well before Bickerton’s relocation in 1993 from New York to the Indonesian island of Bali. More of a proselytizer than his contemporary Jeff Koons, Bickerton broke out in the mid-1980s with “self-portraits” that took the form of amalgams of corporate logos. What followed was a series of brilliant, exquisitely fabricated, utterly

  • Ohad Meromi

    Ease of retrospection has become a defining quality of our era. The Internet facilitates the unearthing of impossibly obscure curiosities, enabling equally obscure referencing. For current artists, the reference points of modernism cast especially long shadows; artists like Carol Bove and Mai-Thu Perret have constructed their practices on a dialogue with modernist design, dance, architecture, and art-historical movements, and on the strains of utopian thought embedded in all of them. Ohad Meromi is another artist preoccupied with modernism’s persistent influence. In an interview published to

  • Judith Bernstein

    Those familiar with Judith Bernstein’s work tend to know it for only one reason—its role in a fiasco. Horizontal, 1973, her charcoal drawing of a screwlike penis (or a penile screw?), was infamously withheld from a Museum of the Philadelphia Civic Center exhibition titled “Women’s Work: American Art 1974,” sparking protests from fellow artists and reducing Bernstein to the status of a lightning rod. Whether because of this incident or not, she has skirted the art world’s fringes ever since, showing mostly in group exhibitions. Her last solo effort in New York was in 1984 at women’s collective

  • Kori Newkirk

    “No one can make a better Kori Newkirk about Kori Newkirk than Kori Newkirk.” So the artist says in an interview with Thelma Golden published in the catalogue of the Studio Museum Harlem’s current survey of the artist’s work since 1997. Following his participation in the 2001 Studio Museum exhibition “Freestyle,” Newkirk was hailed as a key “post-black” artist. The term, while vaguely defined, was coined by Golden in reference to a stylistically diffuse grouping of artists who shared a desire to avoid alignment with stereotypical presumptions about black subjectivity.

    In Newkirk’s case, this

  • Duane Hanson

    Duane Hanson could be considered a victim of his own virtuosity. The deceased American sculptor’s uncannily naturalistic figures are so lifelike that their verisimilitude often subsumes their content. A Hanson sculpture is like a mirage; it’s hard not to marvel at how a simulation can be so like the real thing. In part because of this effect, Hanson provokes art-historical confusion: Is he a Pop artist or a Photorealist? While the American-ness and sheer realism of Hanson’s sculptures make both potential designations reasonable, to experience them in the “flesh” exposes the labels’ insufficiency.

  • Jay Heikes

    Richard Prince’s “Joke” paintings remain the gold standard for the use of dark verbal humor in contemporary art, but in the last few years a younger set of artists has expanded on Prince’s turn to the debased language and iconography of comedy. Its themes appear in Sarah Greenberger-Rafferty’s sculptures of splattered pies, in Sanford Biggers’s theatrical resuscitations of “Negro variety shows,” in Kalup Linzy’s tragicomic soap operas, and in Jay Heikes’s bronze casts of canes—essential props for whisking foundering comedians from onstage misery.

    At the 2006 Whitney Biennial, Heikes showed

  • Cheryl Donegan

    Corporeal black comedies, Cheryl Donegan’s videos of the early 1990s took aim at mythical heroics of male artistic creativity: She dipped her ass in green paint to make shamrock-shaped, Yves Klein–like butt prints in Kiss My Royal Irish Ass (K.M.R.I.A.), 1993, and erotically mouthed a banana stuck into a plastic bottle dangling from a wire in the Naumanesque video Graceful Phatsheba, 1993. Donegan’s recent work remains acidic, but has turned abstract. Lee Lozano’s “Wave” paintings of the late 1960s represented an attempt to undermine the contemporaneous dominance of nonrepresentational and

  • Jonathan Pylypchuk

    Jonathan Pylypchuk’s fourth solo exhibition at Friedrich Petzel Gallery was arguably his most far-reaching to date. Pylypchuk’s previous gallery outings have concentrated on diminutive, puppetlike characters fabricated from old clothes, bits of wood, and other items ticketed for the junk pile. And while these remained prominent at Petzel, the Canadian artist and former Royal Art Lodge member here provided his creatures with a gallery-spanning habitat of rickety wood. Once free-floating entities, Pylypchuk’s characters thereby became actors in a quasi-narrative diorama.

    But despite its expansion

  • Neo Rauch

    “His art is uniquely his own because it springs from his dreams.” So claims the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s introductory wall text for German painter Neo Rauch’s recent exhibition “Neo Rauch at the Met: para,” a show installed in the gallery where the museum has lately begun exhibiting contemporary artists (Rauch’s is the third installment, following Tony Oursler and Kara Walker). Thus Rauch, the most prominent of the Leipzig painters, is implicitly aligned by the Met with the Surrealists whose work hangs just a few rooms away (their imagery was also, notoriously, determined by the subconscious).

  • Charles Steffen

    For today’s bumper crop of degree-toting, ready-made “insider” artists, the outsider artist remains an alluring exotic; his or her apparent distance from the commercial and social responsibilities that are the machinery of the art industry are viewed by many as a badge of credibility. Paul Chan regularly references the art of Henry Darger, the posthumously reigning kingpin of outsider art, while Marcel Dzama’s quietly deranged tableaux would blend seamlessly into New York’s Outsider Art Fair, sharing a sensibility with a host of practitioners who are self-taught, mentally disturbed, or just

  • Valie Export

    Given Valie Export’s undeniable achievement in directing attention toward the status of women within a “culture of male values” since the late 1960s, it is hard to credit her lack of recognition in this country. In 1967, the Austrian artist traded her given name (Waltraud Hollinger) for her current alias, signaling her intent to “export” ideas to the global marketplace. A year later, she performed the iconic Touch Cinema, inviting pedestrians to handle her breasts through a box resembling a primitive television set covering her torso. In the 1969 performance Action Pants: Genital Panic, she

  • Marc Handelman

    Revisiting the aesthetics of American “propaganda painting” since, say, the Hudson River School, it’s striking how little has changed in 150 years. From Thomas Cole and fellow painters of nature, who celebrated America’s virtues via rugged, heroic landscapes bedecked with war-torn American flags, has evolved the synthetic and machine-generated luminescence of the current age—LED screens and TV graphics. Dazzling light plus sparkling vista evidently sells, irrespective of whether it’s an ideology or a product that’s on the block. It’s this disparate lineage of sources reliant on the glitzy treatment