Paul Galvez

  • “Courbet and the Modern Landscape”

    We should applaud the Getty for its less-is-more approach: About forty landscapes centered around the crucial decade of the 1860s—many rarely seen together and a handful never before exhibited in the US—should focus attention on Courbet's disturbing and at times erotic brand of naturalism.

    Major museum exhibitions of Courbet are rare in the US (the last one was at the Brooklyn Museum almost twenty years ago). And when they do occur, they tend to be large and unwieldy, as if to make up for their infrequency. We should therefore applaud the Getty for its less-is-more approach: About forty landscapes centered around the crucial decade of the 1860s—many rarely seen together and a handful never before exhibited in the US—should focus attention on Courbet's disturbing and at times erotic brand of naturalism, the kind of work that so

  • Cerith Wyn Evans

    Eight years after his solo debut at White Cube in London, the work of Cerith Wyn Evans—a fixture in European galleries and museums—finally arrived in the United States at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. It was worth the wait, as I discovered as soon as I came face-to-face with the five-foot-wide concave mirror (Inverse, Reverse, Perverse, 1996) that is the show’s curtain-raiser. The title refers to the three reflections one encounters when approaching the work: from a distance of about four feet, an upside-down, warped view of the visual field; a step closer, a blown-up image of one’s torso,

  • “Non-Standard Architectures”

    On the TV series Star Trek, whenever people are hungry, they walk to a terminal and say the word “cake,” and within seconds the object of desire materializes out of thin air. “Non-Standard Architectures” would be a Trekkie’s wet dream: Order a house or chair, and a design will go straight from a hard drive into the automated controls of a factory, where the desired object will then be pumped out according to the infallible laws of the algorithm. No more clumsy maquettes, no more stockpiles of prefab components, no more standardization (since all will be made-to-order)—but also no more architects.

  • Thomas Hirschhorn

    The ancient Egyptians entombed their pharaohs in rooms filled with the worldly possessions of the deceased. Thomas Hirschhorn’s Chalet Lost History, 2003, is also brimming with objects, including a massive sarcophagus. But who is buried there and why? Obviously someone with a keen, if somewhat perverse, taste for all things from the land of the Nile. You couldn’t walk through the two floors of the gallery without bumping into some display of Egyptiana: a table of miniatures and figurines laid out as if in a vitrine at the Louvre; a section of floor covered with fragments of kitschy ceramic decor