Rachel Churner

  • Tauba Auerbach, Grain: Sierpiński Ghost I, 2015, acrylic on Masonite, 90 × 48".

    Tauba Auerbach

    When considering Tauba Auerbach’s work of the past few years, I am often sent down a rabbit’s hole of unfamiliar mathematical and scientific terms: entheogen, the Sierpiński curve, metamaterial, oscillator fret. I order books like The New Ambidextrous Universe and The Shape of Space and print out early-twentieth-century treatises like Projective Ornament. It is with great pleasure that I dive into her world, but also with a bit of trepidation: not only because—just between us—I don’t really understand the fourth dimension, a theme that has fascinated Auerbach for several years now, but, more

  • H. C. Westermann, Untitled (Walnut Death Ship in a Chestnut Box), 1974, chestnut, walnut, zebrawood, galvanized sheet metal, copper, ebony, 17 7/8 × 24 7/8 × 8 1/2".

    H. C. Westermann

    Lined three deep on a massive table, the H. C. Westermann sculptures in this exhibition were stunning in their craftsmanship, blistering in their satire, and sometimes, as in the case of Walnut Box, 1964—a walnut box filled with walnuts—just plain funny. These small-scale constructions, some of the best that Westermann made, were accompanied here by forty-seven prints and drawings, two paintings, and eleven life-size assemblages.

    Colored by his time as a marine on the USS Enterprise (called the “Grey Ghost” because of Japan’s multiple claims to have sunk it) in World War II, and later

  • Brigid Berlin, Untitled (Self-Portrait with Wig II), ca. 1971–73, Polaroid, 3 3/8 × 4 1/4".

    Brigid Berlin

    “Everyone, absolutely everyone, was tape-recording everyone else,” Andy Warhol noted about the Factory days. Everyone, perhaps, but no one as avidly as Brigid Berlin. From the 1960s through the ’70s, Berlin made thousands of tapes, recording everything from her morning calls with Warhol to the late-night local news. The droning audio of these tapes formed the backdrop to Berlin’s remarkable exhibition “It’s All About Me,” a collection of twenty-three Polaroids, more than forty “Tit Prints,” 1966–96, and a selection of journals and albums. The barely audible snippets of banal conversation seemed

  • Silvia Bächli, Untitled (Nr. 6), 2015, gouache on paper, 40 1/8 × 57 1/8".

    Silvia Bächli

    Silvia Bächli has invoked the words of the late Danish poet Inger Christensen several times throughout the past decade, taking inspiration and installation titles from the renowned writer, and even dedicating her presentation for the Swiss Pavilion at the Venice Biennale in 2009 to her. This exhibition, Bächli’s first in New York in four years, continued the Swiss-born artist’s deliberate, durable engagement with the poet: Its title, “further. evolves,” comes from Christensen’s 1969 masterwork it. Because most of Bächli’s works—like all those that were shown here—are untitled, language

  • View of “Ulrich Rückriem,” 2015.

    Ulrich Rückriem

    For his first solo exhibition in New York in almost twenty years, Ulrich Rückriem quietly confounded the expectations of those familiar with his monumental sculptures. After all, it would not have been unreasonable to expect a spectacle like the one Michael Heizer presented at Gagosian earlier this year, that of an aging artist (now in his late seventies, Rückriem has been working consistently since the early 1960s) going bigger and brasher than ever before. But though Rückriem, like Heizer, is known for massive stone blocks, permutative methods, and an uncompromising, even contrarian personality

  • Harry Dodge, Love Streams, 2015, video, color, sound, 14 minutes 8 seconds.

    Harry Dodge

    When Harry Dodge speaks, he does so profusely: Why, his artworks suggest, let one example serve when six will make the point more vibrantly? Thus the superlative video Love Streams, 2015, a four-part, fourteen-minute riff on quantum physics, object relations, automatons, and “an extra-long extender-thing for the tray that holds your keyboard,” a device that spreads as fancifully as its prolix description. Dodge’s staggering, stuttering descriptions are accumulative rather than taxonomic; examples are amassed and oppositions, images, and narratives are stacked atop one another rather than used

  • Jutta Koether, Caterham Kobayashi Crash Balthus St. Firmin, 2015, oil on canvas, 87 × 67".

    Jutta Koether

    The paintings in “Fortune,” Jutta Koether’s cogent show at Bortolami, were hung flush against the gallery walls and lit from above. For audiences familiar with the German artist’s practice, such an arrangement is enough to warrant an exclamation point, or at least a parenthetical gasp. That’s how strongly this relatively conventional hang runs counter to Koether’s installations of the past several years, in which paintings were suspended from the ceiling, placed against glass panels, positioned on angled partitions and columns, and illuminated by whatever natural light the gallery could muster.

  • View of “Claudia Comte,” 2015.

    Claudia Comte

    On a frigid day in March, Claudia Comte’s exhibition “NO MELON NO LEMON” provided a welcome respite from the gray of overcast skies and concrete construction. The yellow-and-white-striped paintings hanging on yellow-and-white-striped walls made the room feel sun blasted, the burnout effect pleasingly tempered by charred plywood panels banded by vertical cuts. Lustrous wood totems à la Jean Arp and Brancusi stood on plinths that seemed to have folded out from the panels, revealing the white wall beneath. These plinths, the strongest component of the exhibition, reinforced the tactility of both

  • Jan Schoonhoven, Relief, 1964, wood, cardboard, paper, emulsion paint, 20 1/4 × 10 7/8 × 1 3/4".

    Jan Schoonhoven

    Writing in 1965 about his friend and fellow cofounder of the Dutch Group Nul (Zero), Henk Peeters recalled the words of Jan Schoonhoven’s supervisor at the Dutch postal service, where Schoonhoven was employed from 1946 until his retirement in 1979: “There are no better bureaucrats than Schoonhoven, who pursues his work with such scrupulous precision.” For an artist committed to removing both content and intent from his work, such praise was high indeed. As the selection of handmade reliefs and drawings at David Zwirner made clear, Schoonhoven, who died in 1994, never strove for an aesthetics of

  • 55th Carnegie International

    THE CARNEGIE INTERNATIONAL is the oldest contemporary art exhibition in North America—second in age worldwide only to the Venice Biennale—so it seems apt that its fifty-fifth incarnation is ambitious in scope and duration. Not only does this year’s installment, “Life on Mars,” take over almost the entire square footage of Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Museum of Art, but it also has an unusually long run of eight months, through January 2009. Scope and duration are not virtues in themselves, however, and here they may in fact accentuate many of the problems critics regularly find with such large-scale

  • Scott and Tyson Reeder

    Brothers Scott and Tyson Reeder are musicians, filmmakers (Scott’s feature-length Moon Dust is currently in postproduction), and curators (most notably, they helped organize the Dark Fair at the Swiss Institute last March and co-organized “Drunk vs. Stoned” at Gavin Brown’s Enterprise a few years back) and are among the owners of the Milwaukee gallery General Store. They are also painters. Although they have been shown together before, the Reeders’ paintings are decidedly one-man affairs, each brother’s work maintaining its independence in style, medium, and attitude. Besides their penchant for

  • Letters from the last list (January 24, 2007), 2008, trash. Installation view.
    picks July 01, 2008

    Danica Phelps

    Danica Phelps has been charting her activities and expenditures for over ten years. But now, she says in her open letter–cum–press release, she’s done with the meticulous lists and color-coded financial system; she’s done, in effect, with accounting for the past. “Material Recovery” is the result: a transitional exhibition that bids farewell to cataloguing and even, with her creation of a stripe-painting factory that allows buyers to purchase paintings created by a team of assistants at fifteen cents a stripe (minimum order: fifty thousand stripes), releases control of production. As an exhibition,