Nuit Banai

  • Ori Gersht, Far Off Mountains and Rivers, 2009, color photograph, 57 7/8“ x 90 1/2”.

    “Ori Gersht: History Repeating”

    Since the early 1990s, in photographs and films, Ori Gersht has been exploring the traumatic chasm between images and their referents.

    Since the early 1990s, in photographs and films, Ori Gersht has been exploring the traumatic chasm between images and their referents. Whether documenting symbolically charged landscapes in Israel, Poland, and Japan or violently animating staged Dutch still lifes, Gersht burrows into the techniques of representation to suggest that pictures cannot fulfill the profound task of historical testimony. Despite the poignant cultural references that Gersht explores, his reliance on freeze-frame photography, extended exposure, and compositing procedures produces an almost self-enclosed

  • Andrew Masullo, 5264, 2010–11, oil on canvas, 16 x 20".

    Andrew Masullo

    Andrew Masullo’s abstract paintings pose formal dilemmas, linguistic slippages, and categorical paradoxes that turn formal analysis into a game—and perhaps that’s the point. To attempt to describe these pieces is to willingly abandon the possibility of fixity, as his work has an uncanny way of being perpetually in advance of its pursuer. Stated another way, Masullo’s work, which grew out of the 1980s East Village scene in New York, performs a set of operations that unmoor the term “abstract painting,” leading viewers in unexpected directions—obliging us to begin the game again.

    This

  • Jesús Rafael Soto, Sans titre (La ficelle-matière transformée) (Untitled [The String-Transformed Material]), 1961 paint on wire and wood, 35 3/4 x 35 3/4 x 7".

    “Soto: Paris And Beyond, 1950–1970”

    If what set postwar France’s most ambitious artists apart was their grappling with painting’s potential as a generative site for aesthetic forms, perceptual models, and social experiences, then it is high time to reassess the “kinetic” contributions of the Venezuelan artist Jesús Rafael Soto.

    If what set postwar France’s most ambitious artists apart was their grappling with painting’s potential as a generative site for aesthetic forms, perceptual models, and social experiences, then it is high time to reassess the “kinetic” contributions of the Venezuelan artist Jesús Rafael Soto. At the Grey Art Gallery, approximately fifty works made in the twenty years after he moved to Paris in 1950, including a dozen of his “Vibrations,” will evidence Soto’s experiments with painting’s hybrid condition as a material surface provoking immaterial effects, as a static

  • Maya Bloch, untitled, 2010, acrylic and oil on canvas, 59 x 47".
    picks December 01, 2011

    Maya Bloch, Stan VanDerBeek, “Art and the Côte d’Azur”

    My secret, if I have one, is that I’ve always loved painting and its ability to reinvent its own stakes as a medium. Maya Bloch, an emerging artist from Tel Aviv, seductively accomplished this task in “Hello Stranger” at Thierry Goldberg Projects by probing the relationship between realism and abstraction. In Bloch’s portraits, the dissolution of faces and bodies into so many spills and discharges of fluid enacts a material and conceptual slippage between form and formlessness and suggests that the morphological alterity that long haunted modernist painting has become the operational matrix

  • Mike Mandel and Chantal Zakari, Postcards on a Rack (detail), 2011, ninety-six 4 x 6“ found postcards, metal rack, 72 x 24 x 24”.

    Mike Mandel and Chantal Zakari

    Between 1997 and 2010, the collaborative duo Mike Mandel and Chantal Zakari crisscrossed their way through Turkey in search of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the writer, revolutionary statesman, military officer, and founder of the Republic of Turkey, who died in 1938. Or rather, the artists (who identify themselves as American and Turkish-Levantine, respectively) sought to capture the symbolic power of his image, which continues to resonate for divergent sectors of the country. With a provocative title suggesting the multiplicity that haunts every proper name, “7 Turkish Artists: Mike Mandel and Chantal

  • François Morellet, Sphère-frames, 1962, aluminum. Installation view, Musée d’art moderne de la ville de Paris, 1963. From La Troisième Biennale de Paris.

    François Morellet

    IT IS IRONIC that François Morellet remains most recognized for his affiliation with GRAV (Groupe de Recherche d’Art Visuel), since the Paris-based collective aimed precisely to do away with the artist as author. Between 1960 and 1968, Horacio García Rossi, Julio Le Parc, Morellet, Francisco Sobrino, Joël Stein, and Yvaral produced objects, events, and environments that challenged spectators to take on a participatory role as makers of meaning. The group complicated not only the phenomenological singularity of artist and spectator but also the contemporaneous definition of “visual art” through

  • Leslie Hewitt, Riffs on Real Time (7 of 10), 2006–2009, color photograph, 30 x 24".

    Leslie Hewitt

    There was something disquieting about Leslie Hewitt’s recent exhibition, titled “Riffs on Real Time,” which featured a sequence of ten highly stylized photographs by the same name, and a sleek installation, Untitled, 2011. Each of the photographs (all 2006–2009), while offering unique pictorial content, had been made using a single compositional template. A primary image (culled from sources such as the monumental archives of American history or the minor registers of personal histories) is centrally placed on a larger book, photo, or other document so that the image appears framed; in turn,

  • View of “Michal Rovner,” 2011. From left: Makom IV, 2011; Makom II, 2011.

    Michal Rovner

    In a corner of the Cour Napoléon, the Louvre’s central courtyard, Michal Rovner and a team of Israeli and Palestinian masons added two temporary monuments to the celebrated axe historique of Paris. Makom II and Makom IV, both 2011—the word means place in Hebrew—were aptly framed by the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel, a Neoclassical homage to Napoleon’s military conquests, and I. M. Pei’s Pyramid, a spectacular punctuation mark to postmodernism. In activating these composite spaces and layers of signification, Rovner delved into the conundrum of how to find common ground between Israelis

  • 		Carlos Cruz-Diez, Chromosaturation (detail), 1965/2011, three chromo-cubicles (fluorescent light with blue, red, and green filters), dimensions variable.

    Carlos Cruz-Diez

    Though long a paramount presence in his native Venezuela and the Parisian milieu he entered more than fifty years ago, the eighty-eight-year-old maestro Carlos Cruz-Diez has enjoyed a surge of interest in the past decade, and this traveling exhibition, attentively curated by Mari Carmen Ramírez, constitutes his first comprehensive survey on North American soil. Foregrounding Cruz-Diez’s lifelong desire to activate chroma as an autonomous force distinct from other aesthetic elements such as line, form, and composition and from such historical contingencies as race, class, ethnicity, and gender—an

  • Pep Agut, Synapse, 2011, black-and-white photograph, light box, 47 x 59”.
    picks July 12, 2011

    Pep Agut

    Emerging from a trajectory of Conceptual art that decenters the aesthetic object, disaggregating it into contingent elements, Pep Agut’s latest exhibition, “Horizon Problems,” suggests that architecture, photography, and language function as disciplinary and creative modes of capturing and constructing phenomenological experience. In the sculptural installation Dislocation, 2011, Agut lowers the gallery’s ceiling to his own height and turns critique into a participatory encounter that initiates the public into his aesthetic and physical horizon. In the accompanying sound piece, Agut calmly

  • Claire Beckett, American civilians playing the role of Iraqi village women drinking tea: Karen Davis as “Salihah Asad Hatim,” Verna Pouesi as “Amira Rough,” Randa Matgyo as “Kawthar Amid,” and Faye Ugapo as “Rim Duqaq Barakah,” Medina Wasl Village, National Training Center, Fort Irwin, CA, 2009, archival ink-jet print, 40 x 30".

    Claire Beckett

    Claire Beckett’s crisp, large-format photographs of US soldiers preparing to deploy to Iraq and Afghanistan capture the complexity of the nation’s post-9/11 military operations in their intertwinement with imaging systems—photography and film/video—that are premised on a false sense of proximity. Granted security clearance to the National Training Center in Fort Irwin, California, Beckett spent more than three years documenting army personnel and civilian workers engaging in role-play exercises aimed at readying new soldiers for the populations and perils they would likely encounter

  • Avigdor Arikha, Self-Portrait in the Studio, 2001, oil on canvas, 18 x 15".

    Avigdor Arikha

    Avigdor Arikha passed away on April 29, 2010, at the age of eighty-one. Born in Romania, he survived the Holocaust and was brought to Palestine by the Red Cross in 1944. After three years of study at the Bezalel School of Arts and Crafts in Jerusalem and a near-fatal stint in the War of Independence of 1948, he won a scholarship to the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris. Though he spent most of his artistic life in France, he is lauded as a titan of twentieth-century Israeli art.

    This two-part exhibition, “Homage to Avigdor Arikha: Self-Portraits/ Illustrations to ‘A Stray Dog’