Phyllis Tuchman

  • Mary Heilmann, Long Line, 2020, acrylic on panel, 24 × 96".

    Mary Heilmann

    Mary Heilmann’s solo exhibition “Highway, Oceans, Daydreams” featured paintings the eighty-one-year-old artist executed last spring and summer in her studio on Long Island’s East End during the Covid-19 lockdown, along with some earlier pieces for good measure. For five decades, Heilmann’s treatment of light, form, and space, frequently via a restricted palette, has been impressive. She tends to work within the easel tradition, and her surfaces—wood panels or stretched canvases—are modestly scaled. Thankfully, Heilmann has never received the memo that art has to be supersize and gratuitously

  • View of “Hiroshi Sugimoto,” 2019. From left: Past Presence 029: Blond Negress, II, Constantin Brancusi, 2014; Past Presence 022: Maiastra, Constantin Brancusi, 2013; Past Presence 021: The Cock, Constantin Brancusi, 2013.

    Hiroshi Sugimoto

    Hiroshi Sugimoto’s solo exhibition at Marian Goodman Gallery featured twenty-two hazy black-and-white photographs of artworks by modernist masters such as Alberto Giacometti, Pablo Picasso, and Henri Matisse. Other prints highlighted (or, perhaps more accurately, gently obfuscated) paintings from the more recent past by Jasper Johns, Andy Warhol, and Joseph Kosuth. All of the pieces here were from a series titled “Past Presence,” 2013–, which was generated by an invitation from New York’s Museum of Modern Art to commemorate its sculpture garden. (One image from this project is currently on view

  • View of “Ed Ruscha,” 2018–19. From left: Honk [#2], 1964; Securing the Last Letter (Boss), 1964. Photo: Dan Bradica.

    Ed Ruscha

    Ed Ruscha has been using words as the subjects of his paintings, drawings, and prints since the early 1960s. Remarkably, none of his succinct verbalizations have been identified with the artist the way Ma jolie, 1911–12; L.H.O.O.Q., 1919; and The Treachery of Images, 1928–29, are associated, respectively, with Pablo Picasso, Marcel Duchamp, and René Magritte. Focused on the years 1961 to 1964 and particularly on the artist’s use of the words ace, radio, honk, and boss, the exhibition at Craig F. Starr Gallery brought New Yorkers back to the Los Angeles–based artist’s origin story. That’s when

  • interviews December 17, 2018

    Mark Grotjahn

    Mark Grotjahn’s latest exhibition, “New Capri, Capri, and Free Capri,” imbues abstraction with complexity and contradiction. For the paintings in the show, the Los Angeles–based painter executed monochromatic grounds with vivid yellows, pinks, and greens, as well as black and white oil paints. Then, he added impasto-rich lines formed from equally compelling hues and extended the somewhat loopy marks from side to side and sometimes from top to bottom across the cardboard surfaces. Meanwhile, vertically arrayed, gridded segments that suggest a cross between slugs and caterpillars project a rhythmic

  • Jean Dubuffet,  Le strabique, 1953, butterfly wings and gouache on paperboard, 9 3⁄4 × 7". From “Intimate Infinite: Imagine a Journey.”

    “Intimate Infinite: Imagine a Journey”

    Featuring scores of small works spread across three floors, “Intimate Infinite: Imagine a Journey” wasn’t your typical survey of exquisite works by historically significant makers and thinkers. Lévy Gorvy mounted a museum-quality exhibition that few art institutions would have had the courage or means to organize. It was packed with idiosyncratic and rarely seen paintings, constructions, and works on paper. As the title suggests, the exhibition was utterly transporting, designed to submerge the viewer in “the work of artists who collapse the vastness of infinity into tangible dimensions.” You

  • Manuel Neri, Bull Jumper III, 1989, plaster, pigment, steel, Styrofoam, burlap, 30 1⁄4 x 42 x 21 1⁄2".

    Manuel Neri

    Most of the works in Manuel Neri’s exhibition “The Human Figure in Plaster and on Paper” feel as if they were made yesterday. This is partly because outgoing Yale University Art Gallery director Jock Reynolds—who has known the accomplished Bay Area octogenarian since his own student days in the art department at the University of California, Santa Cruz—has displayed sculptures executed in plaster rather than marble or bronze as well as works on paper made in sketch sessions involving a model. Reynolds’s decision to rest the faceless figures, replete with gouged surfaces, directly on

  • Robert Smithson’s map of Passaic, Wallington, and Woodridge, New Jersey, ca. 1967, showing his amended path. From the Robert Smithson and Nancy Holt Papers, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

    Robert Smithson’s “Monuments of Passaic”

    ROBERT SMITHSON knew the route of the No. 30 intercity bus by heart. When the twenty-nine-year-old artist boarded the No. 30 on September 30, 1967, to make the short trip between New York’s Port Authority Bus Terminal and the Union Avenue Bridge in Rutherford, New Jersey, little seemed to have changed. He still could have been the teenager with a scholarship to the Art Students League riding the bus between old Clifton High School and the seedy neighborhood in Manhattan where he always disembarked.

    Ever since “The Monuments of Passaic” was published in these pages fifty years ago, the bus ride

  • Arshile Gorky, Pastoral, 1947, oil and pencil on canvas, 44 1/8 x 56". © The Arshile Gorky Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

    Arshile Gorky

    Arshile Gorky’s paintings and drawings are generally associated with the earliest days of Abstract Expressionism. Despite this connection, Gorky exhibitions in New York are few and far between. There haven’t been many since 1981, when the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum mounted a retrospective of work by this Armenian émigré, who came to America in 1920. As each new generation has molded its interpretation of his art in their own work, his achievements have been repeatedly revised. When I studied his “tidy” paintings and drawings in graduate school when Minimalism and Pop art reigned, William S.

  • Tom Wesselmann, Still Life #48, 1964, acrylic, collage, and assemblage on board, 48 x 60 x 8". From “Deadeye Dick: Richard Bellamy and His Circle.” © The Estate of Tom Wesselmann/Licensed by VAGA, New York.

    “Deadeye Dick: Richard Bellamy and His Circle”

    Richard Bellamy (1927–1998), aka Deadeye Dick, was among the significant figures of his generation, credited with identifying and exhibiting both Pop artists and Minimalists early on. Anyone who’s old enough to have visited galleries Bellamy directed, be it the Green Gallery or Oil & Steel, remembers his perspicacity, catholic taste, youthful exuberance, and gift for installing art to maximum effect. After his death almost twenty years ago at the age of seventy, his reputation dropped off the radar of a younger generation.

    With the publication last year of Eye of the Sixties: Richard Bellamy and

  • Andy Warhol, Marilyn Monroe’s Lips, 1962, synthetic polymer, silk-screen ink, and pencil on canvas, 6' 10 3/4“ x 13' 7”.

    Andy Warhol

    Although “Andy Warhol: Dark Star” included a range of works from 1951 through 1978 installed on every floor of the museum, its great success was in shedding new light on the best-known phase of the Pop artist’s career, between 1961 and 1972. Instead of assuming Warhol’s paintings of that time to be interchangeable and of equal value, as others have done, curator Douglas Fogle stressed the variety of distinguishing decisions—aesthetic as well as thematic—that the artist made.

    For example, Fogle opted to juxtapose Large Campbell’s Soup Can, 1964, a painting of a single pristine, solitary

  • Richard Deacon, Distance No Object, 1988, painted steel, copper, 8' 7“ × 12' 3” × 20'.

    Richard Deacon

    At long last, a retrospective of the British artist Richard Deacon’s inventively shaped, often buoyant sculptures and geometrically themed works on paper has been mounted by an American museum. At sixty-seven, Deacon, a 1987 Turner Prize recipient, has an extensive exhibition history—commencing in London during the mid-1970s and including, a decade later, his solo debut in the United States in 1985. This engrossing look at his career was certainly overdue.

    Presenting more than forty works spanning five decades, “What You See Is What You Get,” as this exhibition is called, impresses with its

  • Thomas Struth, Figure, Charité, Berlin, 2012, ink-jet print, 54 5/8 × 74 5/8". From the series “Nature & Politics,” 2007–.

    Thomas Struth

    For his fifth and latest ongoing series, photographer Thomas Struth has been transforming science into art. Over the past ten years, the Berlin-based artist has been traveling to nuclear facilities, biomedical research centers, physics institutes, and robotics laboratories across several continents, photographing them with large-format as well as smaller cameras. Struth is currently making pictures of machines that see things not discernible to the naked eye. From the body of work he has titled “Nature & Politics,” 2007–, two dozen or so riveting prints of varying dimensions inaugurate the