Piper Marshall

  • picks December 18, 2015


    Julie Ault’s mutable exhibition as archive, “afterlife,” 2014–15, first shown at the 2014 Whitney Biennial, continues loosening—or “queering”—the straightened seams of narrative by bringing together objects, homages, and conversations from cult protagonists: Liberace, Martin Wong, Ted Kaczynski, and David Wojnarowicz, among others. These personalities linger in the space of the gallery while inhabiting another, active moment of historicization: the 1980s. Rather than showing only artwork, Ault presents ephemera, such as agendas, sketches, memory boxes, and transcripts, bits of lives that occupy

  • picks October 16, 2015

    Luther Price

    In the 1980s, he traveled to Nicaragua to make work with a group of artists. The accident happened so quickly, the bullet piercing the skin in advance of reflex. One photograph foregrounds this accident in his latest exhibition: We see Luther Price in a hospital bed. We see the wound. This image inscribes itself in light on the surface. We see the lesion travelling from subject to object, one formally opening onto the other through the now-thirty-year-old puncture in the photograph.

    The wound appears on 16-mm film, on 35-mm slides. With each press of the celluloid, each splice of the film, and

  • picks September 25, 2015

    Mike Kelley

    Let’s begin with the allegory of Superman and the way the cultural icon pushes the conventions of heroics (alien on Earth and alienated from Kandor), all expressed within the concision of a comic strip. Beyond the habit of metaphor, the story of Superman, his displacement between here and elsewhere, haunts the exhibition—where the artist is definitively not present.

    In his absence, models of the vigilante’s home planet—an assembly of many sculptures—litter the floor, while a series of lenticular light boxes limn their presence. The skylines of these cities mutate from elongated twisting spires

  • picks July 24, 2015

    Ebecho Muslimova

    A particular smell clings to New York City’s Chinatown in the summer. The aroma makes its way to Orchard Street. It inflects the eight drawings hanging at Room East. These direct cartoons depict FATEBE. FATEBE is artist Ebecho Muslimova’s alter ego. We may not know Muslimova, but FATEBE is a black line on white ground. And Fatebe is doing things (think Garbage Pail Kids). FATEBE is playing with herself; she is playing with her fat body. She stares at her face in a stream of shit. She twists her form into a mess on the potter’s wheel. She folds her flab over a wire. She flatulates out into the

  • picks April 10, 2015

    Barbara Kasten

    Barbara Kasten did not study with Josef Albers, but the Bauhaus ghosts her work. The photographs on view in her latest exhibition are constructions, geometric props positioned to throw colored light and shadows across the page. The plastic forms in these images delineate space but neither rise into the foreground nor fall into the background.

    A spatial visual exchange registers on the photographic paper. Where De Stijl jockeys color and line in two dimensions, Kasten’s “Transpositions,” 2014, opt for a manipulation of volume and air. This respiration of form into space appears as an intentional

  • picks June 29, 2014

    “Guyton, Price, Smith, Walker”

    They sling readymade fabric over stretchers and call it painting (Thomas Sauter), download open-source software to build digital utopias (Emanuel Rossetti), splice samples of Ciara and R. Kelly with disregard for copyright (Hannah Weinberger), and scan the holograms of CDs with the choreography of a graffiti tagger (Tobias Madison). With a studious charm, the ten artists in “Guyton, Price, Smith, Walker” detourne the artistic strategies solidified by the predecessors referenced in the show’s title. A direct nod to Beatrix Ruf’s seminal exhibition of Wade Guyton, Seth Price, Josh Smith, and Kelley

  • picks March 30, 2014

    Jordan Wolfson

    Jordan Wolfson is a filmmaker in the traditional sense, drawing more from the history of cinema than from art. The specific strategy of his celluloid, digital, and animated beauties involves layering, where one film exists within or on top of another. Success is derived from a calculated dissonance. See his 2006 short of a tuxedoed figure signing Charlie Chaplin’s parody of Hitler: “I’m sorry but I don’t want to be an Emperor . . . that’s not my business.” Or the footage of milk inserted into marching Diet Coke bottles in Con Leche, 2009, or his recent effort Raspberry Poser, 2012, where CGI

  • film August 27, 2012

    Reality Bites

    OH MY GOD, I’m having a quarter-life crisis. Should I quit my job to join the rank of interns at SoHo’s infamous Eli Klein Fine Art? Sigh.

    It might be a recession, but a girl can dream and drain her trust fund.

    Who doesn’t have a plan? A business plan? A life plan? A night plan? Or, God forbid, a day plan? The only decisive statement in the first two episodes of Gallery Girls comes from Chantal, co-owner of End of Century, a boutique/gallery on the Lower East Side. She knows that she’ll go to yoga in the morning, and then maybe show up to her “job” two hours late. Live free or die trying.


  • film April 03, 2012

    Girls Girls Girls

    THE CHRISTMAS after I moved to New York, my mom gave me the complete DVD set of Seinfeld. “Piper,” she said, “your real life is like Carrie Bradshaw, why not try some Kramer?” If only we all lived in a rent-controlled, West Village apartment with a boatload of disposable Manolo Blahniks (remember when those were “in”?) monetizing whinings-on about boys and the dramas of imaginary people. Instead I, like my friends, lived with college coeds in a shabby unchic Morningside Heights eighth-floor walkup. The freshest fashion was sported by advanced elderly moonlighting in nightgowns on Riverside Drive,

  • picks February 17, 2012

    John Miller

    John Miller’s revered output finds inspiration in the writings of Henri Lefebvre and Walter Benjamin, the drawings of Douglas Huebler, and the indisputable hospitality of the Midwest. His latest site-specific installation, Suburban Past Time, 2012, a work in three “sites,” seems to expand the scenes depicted by Miller’s ongoing series “Middle of the Day,” 1994–, in three-dimensional space and scale by presenting familiar landscapes whose jarring mundanity disarms viewers.

    A behemoth concrete and foam board rock, a synthetic sugar maple tree, and decorative wallpaper depicting an apartment block

  • diary January 24, 2012

    Finish Fetish

    WHO DOESN’T SHOW UP to their own funeral? And who, in god’s name, sends friends and strangers as surrogates? Maurizio Cattelan, that’s who. The ostensible occasion for The Last Word, Saturday’s seven-hour-long endurance “symposium”/roast at the Guggenheim, was the end to Cattelan’s much-ballyhooed retrospective and the beginning of his early retirement from artmaking. Too bad the artist wasn’t present. (He and many of the advertised speakers were probably at a better party).

    You want to die. Me too. Especially when the incentive of the main event is a cash bar, and I’m on antibiotics. By the way,

  • diary September 02, 2011

    Hash the Planet


    The temperament of our generation can be summed up by the hashmark. If the ’90s were full of “quotation marks” indicating irony, a decisive sarcasm and a distance from the opinion of norms, our current climate is dominated by pithy punch lines that summarize the solipsist’s always already uploaded narrative. The hashtag is the redemption of Internet statements—written to be read by everyone you know, obviously. Until they are recycled via a chaotic circuit of retweets, reposts, and reblogs, eventually rendered as vapid as that ubiquitous Facebook prompt: “What’s

  • picks June 02, 2011

    Sean Landers

    Hallmark work can catapult artists’ careers so far forward that their names eventually eclipse their subsequent art before it is even seen—Lawrence Weiner is perhaps the most notable case, though Richard Berry, Ed Ruscha, and even Cy Twombly come to mind. What happens when the art expected of a renowned artist becomes a caricature of the exhibited work itself? This question is posed in Sean Landers’s current exhibition, which seems a decided break with his trademark stream-of-consciousness paintings. While the artist’s dogged union of self-aggrandizement and effacement have not been cast aside

  • picks May 09, 2011

    Sonia Delaunay

    On view in this vast exhibition are Sonia Delaunay’s textiles and preparative studies, as well as poems, paintings, and photographic documentation of her patterns applied to window displays and even automobiles. The multifarious artist’s colorful geometry, rendered in a range of techniques, was applied to so many surfaces and objects that it irritated the distinction made between art and design in the 1920s and ’30s—and continues to provoke thoughts about such distinctions here, featured in an art exhibition at an institution devoted to design. Yet, for all Delaunay’s efforts to demonstrate the

  • picks March 03, 2011

    Josh Smith

    In his third solo exhibition at this gallery, the indefatigable Josh Smith employs a form of morbid humor through a study of memento mori that treads the line between irony and sincerity. A macabre sensibility lurks in his recent paintings, which might elicit a shudder or a smirk. Scrawled depictions of skeletons, insects, and decaying leaves are a few of the subjects here, all made manifest in an elaborate production that involves an infinite amount of permutations. One room presents several collaged panels made with scans of Smith’s previous paintings, their colors warped and modulated, along

  • picks October 02, 2010

    Gene Beery

    This exhibition, the first at Algus Greenspon, presents a five-decade sampling of the little-known Conceptualist Gene Beery’s paintings, several of which forgo dithering aphorisms for some knotty wordplay. The artist’s sharp, direct wit is manifest in works such as Artists Paint Themselves, 1966, and What Is Beyond So What??, 1960, which portray their title phrases. Inviting viewers to approach each canvas as blend of found signs and instruction manuals, Beery’s word prompts certainly efface the capacity of text to anchor the permutations that an image incites. These frank statements, sometimes

  • picks September 13, 2010

    “Avenue of the Americas”

    More often than not, people dislike public art, as it can convey social and political programming. These foreign placeholders of policy surreptitiously insert themselves into the prosaic cityscape by government mandate. An obvious anomaly is New York City’s ambitiously named Avenue of the Americas, the remains of a 1940s campaign by city civic planners and traders who aimed to boost business with the Southern Hemisphere. This exhibition brings together four site-specific artworks that examine the relationship celebrated by the thoroughfare (which also forms the eastern border of the sculpture

  • interviews June 19, 2010

    Stefan Kalmár

    Stefan Kalmár is the director and curator of Artists Space. Below, he discusses Charlotte Posenenske’s withdrawal from the art world in 1968 as well as her importance to Minimalism and relational aesthetics. The first institutional exhibition in the United States devoted to Posenenske’s work opens at Artists Space on June 19.

    CHARLOTTE POSENENSKE reminds me of Marc Camille Chaimowicz, whose first US exhibition, held at Artists Space last September, marked the beginning of my tenure in New York. Artists Space will always try to highlight artists who have been historically marginalized––not emerging

  • picks June 01, 2010

    Tamar Halpern

    Pinned to the wall like street posters, the five large-scale works on paper in Tamar Halpern’s solo exhibition look like impossible monoprints. Halpern deftly employs a range of digital and physical effects here that leave a melee of marks. Due to these manipulations, figure, ground, and image are indiscernible from one another. Her process obfuscates the viewer from reading her works as a unified whole––indeed, these pieces insist on the fragmentary and in-between. Segments surprisingly arise, as in Broken English (all works 2010), wherein white streaks, text, and psychedelic discoloration

  • picks May 06, 2010

    Maria Lassnig

    For nearly sixty years the Austrian artist Maria Lassnig has explored the concept of “body awareness” in paint, concentrating on minute corporeal stirrings and rendering the sensations with quick and long brushstrokes on canvas. This technique manifests a range of forms: Bulbous cartoon shapes resemble the Futurism of Roberto Matta, while violent strokes of fleshy color recall Willem de Kooning. This exhibition comprises nearly forty large-scale paintings made in the past ten years, all of them portraits––some of couples and others of the artist. A distorted economy of information confronts the