Nuit Banai

  • View of “Regional Painting,” 2010.
    picks December 18, 2010

    Christopher K. Ho

    Christopher K. Ho’s second solo exhibition, “Regional Painting,” emerges from the productive friction between the year the artist spent in a southwestern Colorado town and the fictional trajectory of “Hirsch E. P. Rothko,” an embittered Conceptual artist turned born-again painter. The show consists of twelve abstract paintings and Hirsch’s acerbic memoir (supposedly ghostwritten by one Inez Kruckev). Overall, it underscores an earnest attempt to carve out an alternative model of criticality by contending with the contemporary meaning of regionalism.

    After dutifully ingesting all the “correct”

  • Ann Toebbe

    Though each of the nine works in Ann Toebbe’s “Housekeeping" exhibition resonates with the discourse of authenticity often assigned to the craft-based, naive/folk style that characterizes her aesthetic, one would be hard-pressed to identify a specific emotional tenor or affective viewpoint in the mundane trappings of the interiors that her paintings depict. The china gracing the dining room shelves, the handmade baubles keeping company with technological devices in the living room, the cookware splayed across the kitchen counter—rather than alluding to some kind of conjugal psychodrama, Toebbe’s

  • Yves Klein

    IN 1958, YVES KLEIN scandalized the Parisian public by presenting nothing but a whitewashed room with a lone, empty vitrine at Galerie Iris Clert. The exhibition, known as “Le Vide” (The Void), was marked by the momentousness of its opening. Among the guests was Albert Camus, who presented Klein with a piece of paper bearing the phrase “Avec le vide les pleins pouvoirs” (With the void, full powers). The room, Klein asserted, contained an “invisible pictorial state,” one that is “direct” and requires no “intermediaries.” Yet these claims of pure presence had to be reinforced: Klein limited the

  • Absalon, Cell nº 5, 1991, wood, cardboard, paint, neon, Perspex, 11' 6“ x  7' 1” x 1' 7".


    When the Israeli artist Meir Eshel moved to Paris in the late 1980s, he adopted the pseudonym Absalon.

    When the Israeli artist Meir Eshel moved to Paris in the late 1980s, he adopted the pseudonym Absalon. There, in the short time before his sudden death at the age of twenty-nine, he made groups of work with generic titles such as “Proposals for Everyday Objects” and “Proposals for Habitats,” including a set of extremely restrictive nomadic living units based on the dimensions of his own body. He termed these structures Cellules—“bastions of resistance to a society that stops me from becoming what I must become.” This exhibition, the first comprehensive consideration of

  • Suzannah Sinclair

    Suzannah Sinclair’s wistful watercolor-and-pencil renderings of the female nude are positioned within a discourse on the construction of desire in a culture organized around the power of the male gaze. Her source material insists on this particular framework: She uses images taken from men’s magazines and advertisements dating from the early 1970s, the very era in which feminist critiques of the regime of masculine visual pleasure began to take hold. Seductively sprawled on beds, sofas, and rugs or suggestively propped in lush natural landscapes, Sinclair’s sirens assume the familiar poses,

  • Gina Dawson, Consider Other Ways, 2009, paper, fabric, thread, 6 x 4".
    picks March 29, 2010

    Gina Dawson

    There is something heart-wrenching about Gina Dawson’s intricately crafted paper and fabric monuments to rejection. The two bodies of work—taken from negative responses Dawson received via letter or e-mail, from a host of art institutions, to submissions she made over the years—form a meticulously fabricated archive of psychic wounds.

    For one series, the artist sewed six rebuffs verbatim in black thread on a coarse white fabric. Each piece is an exact rendering of the communiqué’s format and font and includes the name of the official delivering the bad news. In the second, eight miniature paper

  • Mette Tronvoll, Isortoq Unartoq 1, 1999, color photograph, 29 x 35".
    picks February 18, 2010

    Mette Tronvoll

    Mette Tronvoll’s spare Boston debut, comprising a total of six photographs from two different series, perhaps fits her restrained aesthetic approach. The Norwegian artist has spent two decades honing a documentary language that tries to mesh objective distancing and typological categorization with the construction and communication of intimacy.

    For the “Isortoq Unartoq” series, 1998–99, Tronvoll visited Greenland during two consecutive summers, camping on the sparsely populated southeastern island of Isortoq and the hot-spring-rich southern island of Uunartoq. In the midst of this harsh, glacial

  • Liz Glynn, California Surrogates for the Getty, 2009, California yard waste, trash, plaster, Victory wax, 72 x 132 x 48".
    picks January 20, 2010

    Liz Glynn

    Following The 24 Hour Roman Reconstruction Project, her contribution to the New Museum’s first triennial in 2009, Liz Glynn continues to explore the fraught relationship between institutions and art objects. For her latest venture, California Surrogates for the Getty, 2009, she trawled the Dumpsters of the venerable Los Angeles institute to dig up common materials (the exhibition checklist cites “California yard waste, trash, plaster, and Victory wax”) that she repurposed to make copies of the disputed antiquities returned by the museum to Italy in 2007.

    Displayed on austere steel shelves and

  • Rebecca Chamberlain

    Rebecca Chamberlain’s intensely labored, monochromatic ballpoint and litho ink drawings of modernist interiors may seem to fixate on the heroic staging of the relationship between form and function, but they are primarily engaged with capturing the residue of the lives that once animated the structures they depict. Though people are entirely absent, their affective traces permeate the artist’s elegant renderings of domestic, administrative, and factory spaces; the effect is that of a missed encounter, as if the spectator has arrived a few moments too late and must reconstruct the departed

  • David X. Levine, James Brown, 2008, colored pencil and collage on paper, 23 x 20".
    picks November 12, 2009

    David X. Levine

    Despite the fact that both his relationship to his idols and their rapport with him is completely projected, David X. Levine’s exhibition of drawings, “Brian Wilson Loves You,” is a confession of the musical devotee’s intense closeness to his subjects. In fact, while the viewer of Levine’s homage to musicians like Chuck Berry, Janis Joplin, and Amy Winehouse may imagine that the “You” in the title is directed at them, it seems more likely that it is the artist’s wishful desire for a reciprocal affinity with the performers.

    Yet much like that of Andy Warhol, the ultimate fan, Levine’s work

  • Kader Attia

    The implications of Kader Attia’s installation Kasbah, 2009, extended well beyond the gallery’s bare concrete walls and low, unfinished ceilings. Occupying almost every inch of available floor space and requiring nimble footwork to traverse, this oppressive universe of rusty scrap-metal rooftops, which was dotted with makeshift antennae and strewn with vagrant tires, shoes, and bricks, rendered obsolete any picturesque connotations still elicited by the work’s title, the exotic-sounding name for a North African walled citadel. Instead, Attia, a son of Algerian immigrants who grew up in the

  • Su-Mei Tse

    Well before audiences entered the dimly lit room housing Su-Mei Tse’s installation Floating Memories, 2009, they heard the soft crackling of a stylus tripping along the groove of a vinyl record. This subtle auditory encounter evoked a time and place far removed from the environs of the museum—perhaps a setting, at once intimate and domestic, in the predigital era—and paved a conceptual path for the many disjunctions that animate Tse’s work.

    While the physical armature of Floating Memories is rather spare, the work is rife with suggestive layers that engage not just personal recollection, as the