Prudence Peiffer

  • View of “Ken Price Sculpture: A Retrospective,” 2013, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Foreground, from left: Little D, 2011; Ordell, 2011–12;Venus, 2000.

    Ken Price

    AN ICONIC KEN PRICE SCULPTURE finds its way into a pool in his 1968 collage Floating Turtle Cup; sketched onto a found photograph of a naked woman wearing a tiara, it seems to be swimming by her, trailing in its wake a scribbled note: SEE IF TURTLE CUPS WILL FLOAT? SHOTS IN POOL—. A kindred ceramic vessel makes an appearance in the drawing Sea Turtle Cup from the following year, wherePrice’s experiment in animating his sculptures deepens: See if cups will become turtles? Oblivious to us, and to the enormous cup with handle protruding out of its shell, a turtle glides orthogonally by in a

  • View of “Mary Beth Edelson,” 2013. Foreground: Fire Altar, 1973. Background, from left: Passage  Series: Two Clouds, 1972–73; Passage Series: Dawning, 1972–73; Passage Series: Night Passage, 1972–73.

    Mary Beth Edelson

    “We are only lightly covered with buttoned cloth; and beneath these pavements are shells, bones and silence,” Virginia Woolf writes in The Waves, 1931, her famously elusive novel in which multiple narrative voices intertwine to form a collective consciousness. It’s an apt description of Mary Beth Edelson’s exploration of the collective unconscious in the terrific “22 Others, 1973”: What do we make of images that keep coming to us, and how do we make ourselves continue to see new things, even forty years on?

    “22 Others, 1973” re-presents most of the art from a 1973 show held at the Washington,

  • “Jennifer Bartlett: History of the Universe—Works 1970–2011”

    When the Museum of Modern Art in New York exhibited Jennifer Bartlett’s epic Rhapsody, 1975–76, in its atrium in 2011, the piece’s 153 feet of 987 baked enamel steel plates more than held the space. Rhapsody is a joyful declaration of painterly concerns that cites almost every movement and method under MoMA’s roof. It’s also a diary of one year of work. A shared sense of monumental history and daily life pervades this four-decade survey (organized by the Parrish Art Museum), as well as its catalogue, which features an essay by Ottmann, an interview with the artist by

  • Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus elephants performing a ballet choreographed by George Balanchine, Madison Square Garden, New York, 1942.

    Ellen Levy’s Criminal Ingenuity

    Criminal Ingenuity: Moore, Cornell, Ashbery, and the Struggle Between the Arts, by Ellen Levy. New York: Oxford University Press, 2011. 260 pages.

    POETS CAN’T STAY OUT OF MUSEUMS, where their metaphors reign as things. Rainer Maria Rilke’s letters on Paul Cézanne give us some of the best images of the painter’s subjects, whose “apples are all cooking apples” and whose “wine bottles belong in the roundly bulging pockets of an old coat.” In his constant return to Cézanne’s 1907 memorial exhibition at Paris’s Salon d’Automne, where several paintings held him in thrall, the poet rehearsed a central

  • Ad Reinhardt, How to Look at Low (Surrealist) Art, 1946, page from PM 3 (March 24, 1946).


    IT'S EASY, following his own strategies of reduction, to think of Ad Reinhardt as a painter, more specifically as an abstract painter, and most specifically as an abstract painter of black squares. Reinhardt’s life is in fact bracketed by abstraction: Born as it burgeoned in 1913, he died just as it was undergoing a reinvention through Minimalism in 1967. He famously “only” painted black cruciform canvases for the last fourteen years of his life. Scattered across institutional and private collections, these squares (despite their insistent elimination of expressive brushstroke or signature)

  • Untitled 696-05, 2005, color photograph, 70 x 95 1/8".
    picks July 16, 2008

    Richard Misrach

    It’s difficult to imagine a better exhibition than this one to enter after the blazing summertime heat of Washington, DC’s mall. Nineteen large-scale chromogenic prints of swimmers and sunbathers in Hawaii immerse viewers in crystalline turquoise water and twilight rippling over horizonless seas. Richard Misrach seems at first to provide six-foot-wide windows from the heavens into the vacation sublime below. Yet this laconic exhibition underscores the artist’s long preoccupation with Edenic landscapes: beautiful but ripe with premonition of the fall. (In this sense, Misrach’s September 11