Nicole Rudick

  • Dominique Goblet’s Pretending Is Lying

    Pretending Is Lying, by Dominique Goblet; translated by Sophie Yanow. New York: New York Review Comics, 2017. 149 pages.

    THE RAW EMOTION of Pretending Is Lying, a memoir by the Belgian cartoonist Dominique Goblet, is already hinted at in the book’s introductory story. A child—the author as a young girl—is injured in a tumble on the sidewalk and tended to in a moment of parental magic: Goblet’s mother instantly repairs the torn knees of her daughter’s stockings by having Goblet simply put them on backward. The winsome anecdote ends brightly, but the strip is rendered in sharp red lines

  • Brian Chippendale’s Puke Force

    Puke Force, by Brian Chippendale. Montreal: Drawn & Quarterly, 2015. 120 pages.

    NOISE IS IN THE EAR OF THE BEHOLDER—a “catchall phrase for overwhelming stuff with abstract elements or ‘energy,’ elements involving harsher tendencies,” as Brian Chippendale said in a 2012 interview with The Believer. Noise, as a category and a descriptor, is frequently used to characterize Chippendale’s music: the pummeling drum lines and incoherent vocals of the two-man band Lightning Bolt. But it’s in the eye of the beholder, too: The term is often deployed as a shorthand description of the style of his

  • interviews March 08, 2013

    James Romberger and Marguerite Van Cook

    James Romberger and Marguerite Van Cook are New York–based artists who, in 1984, opened the East Village gallery Ground Zero, which showed pioneering installation, performance, and multimedia work. One of their earliest artists was David Wojnarowicz, the painter, photographer, performance artist, and filmmaker whose provocative work helped define the downtown scene and the rising tide of AIDS activism.

    In the mid-1980s, the trio began collaborating on 7 Miles a Second, a comic book based on Wojnarowicz’s autobiographical writings. Drawn and edited by Romberger and colored by Van Cook, it is a

  • picks October 28, 2011

    Gary Panter

    Gary Panter’s first solo show at Fredericks & Freiser is an odd affair. It is presented much like a debut exhibition, with introductory remarks about his general style, yet it offers a quarter century of work. What's more, the show’s twenty paintings on canvas and paper draw from the entire length of his production to date, with a focus on his recent works, but the selection does not aptly represent his breadth. Still, one is given a sense of Panter’s versatility and omnivorous art-historical and pop-cultural consumption. His newest canvases, of which there are several here, pit Op art’s illusory

  • picks July 15, 2011

    Rachell Sumpter

    The seven paintings in Rachell Sumpter’s latest exhibition—bright, delicate evocations of tribal existence in forests thick with plant life—measure just under one square foot each. Populated by impossibly small human figures and vines the width of a thread, these tiny tableaux articulate the intimate aspect of communal living while also setting it awash in the vastness of the natural world. They are akin in this regard to Justine Kurland’s photographs of families set amid the idylls of nature, as in her 2007 series “Of Woman Born.” Family (all works 2011), whose blue-green palette and upward-trailing

  • film December 21, 2009

    Comic Strip

    CINEMATIC IS OFTEN A FRAUGHT TERM when used to describe comics. On the one hand, it can aptly express a story’s visual syntax (close-ups, jump cuts, dissolves); applied a different way, however, it derogatorily suggests that a series of panels are ready-made storyboards. But for a cartoonist like Dash Shaw, who revels in drawing’s fluidity and expressive imperfections, the transition between comics and animation is a natural one. His splendid four-part animated web series for, The Unclothed Man in the 35th Century A.D., underscores what’s best about all of his work—its eclecticism and

  • picks October 27, 2009

    Mariah Robertson

    While most young photographers plunge into theory, politics, or portraiture to develop their themes, Mariah Robertson can’t get out of the darkroom. Her aim is to explore the process of making pictures, rather than making meaning, and she uses all the technological tools at her disposal—color separation, oversaturated hues, photograms, chemical drips, and so on—to disrupt the form’s conventions.

    Cut haphazardly from large rolls of photographic paper and allowed to curl and buckle within their frames (making them sculptures as much as photographs), the seventeen images in this show mix the aesthetics

  • interviews August 10, 2009

    Andrei Molotiu

    Andrei Molotiu is an artist and art historian who teaches at Indiana University, Bloomington, and who recently edited Abstract Comics: The Anthology, the first collection devoted to the genre. Offering experiments by established cartoonists as well as new pieces by emerging artists, the book is available from Fantagraphics and will serve as the exhibition catalogue for “Silent Pictures,” which opens on September 1 at the CUNY Graduate Center’s James Gallery. Nautilus, a collection of Molotiu’s own abstract comics, has just been published by Fahrenheit Editions.


  • picks June 30, 2009

    Basil Wolverton

    What do Miss Bedney Flunt, Miss Fludney Bent, Miss Flentney Bunt, and Miss Blentney Funt have in common? Unreasonably odd proboscises and the hilarious misfortune of being drawn by Basil Wolverton. An artist and writer of sci-fi and humor comics from the 1930s through the ’70s and an alum of Mad magazine in subsequent decades, Wolverton showed a consistent partiality for screwball portraiture, and the nearly 150 works in this exhibition constitute “a ghastly gang of goops” (to borrow a phrase from the artist himself). His mid-’60s sketches of illogically deformed heads for Topps chewing-gum

  • “Jaromír Funke and the Amateur Avant-Garde”

    The first extensive show of Funke’s photographs outside Europe displays his lyric imagery alongside that of twenty-two of his compatriots. Some seventy works will contextualize this lesser known movement of self-taught photographers within the interwar explosion of avant-garde art.

    A leading member of the Czech avant-garde in the 1920s and ’30s, cofounder of the Czech Photographic Society, and an influential teacher, Jaromír Funke (1896–1945) produced abstract still lifes and images of modern and classical architecture whose provocative play of shadows and forms invites comparisons to the work of Atget, Man Ray, Morandi, and Sheeler. Rather than highlighting these affinities, however, the first extensive show of Funke’s photographs outside Europe displays his lyric imagery alongside that of twenty-two of his compatriots, including Josef Sudek

  • “Silent Pictures”

    The show combines selections from Art Spiegelman’s collection of rare early-twentieth-century wordless comics with materials gathered in the course of cartoonist Andrei Molotiu’s research into contemporary abstract comics.

    Thankfully overcoming the curatorial urges to which comics have lately been subjected—the high-low quibble and the drive to canonize—“Silent Pictures” instead undertakes an oblique investigation of the medium’s essential qualities, examining formal structure and syntax through wordless and nonnarrative sequences. The show combines selections from Art Spiegelman’s collection of rare early-twentieth-century wordless comics with materials gathered in the course of cartoonist Andrei Molotiu’s research into contemporary abstract comics. The latter group includes work by an

  • Ben Jones

    In Ben Jones’s New Painting and Drawing, a slim book of images published last year by PictureBox, song lyrics by the noise rock band Polvo serve as an epigraph (and the volume’s only text): “Show me something round and I’ll analyze the form / Teaching us the code that makes us crack.” It’s hard to think of a more apt description of Jones’s practice. In his second New York solo show, a smart, energetic installation of drawings, paintings, light boxes, sculptures, and digital videos, Jones makes form—specifically, fundamental geometric shapes—his primary medium; his aim is to reveal the elements

  • Aleksandr Rodchenko and Liubov Popova

    This show cuts across categories by presenting diverse works by two of the Constructivist movement’s most influential practitioners, revealing the aesthetic currents that shaped their various projects from 1917 to 1929.

    Though the Russian avant-garde’s commitment to interdisciplinarity arguably exceeded contemporary notions of multimedia practice, exhibitions of Constructivist art today tend to examine the period by way of gender, medium, or a single artist’s output. This show cuts across categories by presenting diverse works by two of the movement’s most influential practitioners, revealing the aesthetic currents that shaped their various projects from 1917 to 1929. The approximately 350 objects on view will include Liubov Popova’s textile designs and canvases from her early

  • film October 21, 2008

    Fear Factor

    IN FEAR(S) OF THE DARK (2008), an international cast of graphic artists gives life to dread, fright, panic, terror, and just plain high anxiety. But these spine-tingling delights, rendered in bare-bones black-and-white, aren’t simply about things that go bump in the night. Rather, the six interwoven tales—by Blutch (aka Christian Hincker), Charles Burns, Pierre di Sciullo, Marie Caillou, Lorenzo Mattotti, and Richard McGuire—offer a distinct whiff of how varied horror can be.

    Di Sciullo presents the most humane treatment of the night’s dark dreams. His pairing of morphing abstractions with a

  • Sarah Pickering

    Preparedness seems to be a watchword of the era of “global terrorism” and global warming. The expectation of calamity keeps us stockpiling food, water, and moist towelettes, even as the distance between preparing for an unknown catastrophe and actually experiencing it encompasses a vast speculative terrain. In her third series on disaster preparedness, British artist Sarah Pickering again investigates that divide, plotting her most incisive course yet into the weird realms of simulated reality in which first responders practice their trades.

    Pickering’s earlier series “Public Order,” 2002–2005,

  • Miranda Lichtenstein

    While several of the photographs in Miranda Lichtenstein’s recent show build on the artist’s interest in painterly still life and the frozen moment, a handful break with this pattern to introduce not just a sense of movement but a system of temporal flux. In the photographic diptych Dream Machine, 2007, the artist sits behind a stroboscope device that in the first image is still and in the second is blurred by motion. And in another diptych, Two Trees, 2007, the image of a tree trunk appears to continue upward from one shot to another hung directly above it, over the gap between frames. Though

  • picks April 03, 2007

    Olga Chernysheva

    The highlight of Olga Chernysheva’s New York solo debut is The Train, 2003, a seven-minute video that records a seemingly single-take voyage (à la Russian Ark) through the cars of an intercity Moscow train. Though the camera’s progression toward the back of the train follows the linear path of the railway, Chernysheva’s meandering passage through crowds, empty coaches, dining cars, and sleeping berths—set to the contemplative strains of Mozart’s Piano Concerto no. 21—instead proposes a circuitous spatiality. In this and much of the work on view (a sampling of her oeuvre from the past seven

  • picks September 18, 2006

    Lola Alvarez Bravo

    While the fifty-five photographs on view in this show, the first major exhibition of Lola Alvarez Bravo’s work in more than a decade, seem an abbreviated selection, they nevertheless offer an occasion to appreciate the stunning range and tender character of her oeuvre. As Mexico’s first woman photographer, Alvarez Bravo developed a taste for photography during Mexico’s cultural renaissance in the 1930s—among such luminaries as Manuel Alvarez Bravo (her husband until 1949), Frida Kahlo, José Clemente Orozco, Rufino Tamaya, and Julio Castellanos. Her aesthetic, however, was very much her own

  • picks January 19, 2006

    Sarah Pickering

    “Explosions,” Sarah Pickering's debut solo show, is both as understated and as boisterous as its title implies. The British artist's eight large-scale photographs capture the pyrotechnics of various types of bombs and explosives, suspending the fiery or smoky bursts at the moment of simulated impact. The quality of each blast—land mine, smoke burst, electric thunderflash, and so on—is distinct not only in appearance but also in tone. Napalm produces a low-slung, compact gray cloud that menaces the flat, sullen British countryside; the ground burst, by contrast, emits a brilliant flash

  • Valery Koshlyakov

    In 1984, Alexander Brodsky and Ilya Utkin imagined a museum that would house disappearing urban buildings, important and otherwise, as a way of salvaging the past and, thus, collective memory. Each building, reduced to a scale model, would hold equal status in the exhibit. “After all,” the duo explained, “each is suffused with the soul of its architect, builders, inhabitants, and even the passersby who happened to cast an absentminded glance its way.” Their project, notable for its inevitable juxtaposition of all forms of architecture and its muddling of high and low, prevailing ideologies, and