Richard Flood

  • Laurie Anderson

    My one complaint about Laurie Anderson’s new record, O Superman/ Walk the Dog, is its length: at only 15 minutes, it’s way too short. I’m ready for a double album. O Superman and Walk the Dog are two selections from her projected, four-part concert cycle, United States. As the cycle has yet to be completed, the double album will have to wait; but, in the meantime, Anderson’s current release is a lot more than teaser excerpts. Each piece is a compelling, self-contained musical narrative.

    O Superman begins as a domestic mantra sweetly invoking “Mom and Dad.” Then, answering-machine voices are

  • Skied and Grounded in Queens: “New York/New Wave” at P.S. 1

    A Parable

    You’ve got to climb to the top of Mount Everest

    to reach the Valley of the Dolls.

    It’s a brutal climb to reach that peak,

    which so few have seen.

    You never knew what was really up there,

    but the last thing you expected to find

    was the Valley of the Dolls.

    You stand there, waiting for

    the rush of exhilaration you thought you’d feel—but

    it doesn’t come.

    You’re too far away to hear the applause

    and take your bows.

    And there’s no place left to climb.

    You’re alone, and

    the feeling of loneliness is overpowering.

    The air is so thin you can scarcely breathe.

    You’ve made it—and the world says

  • Enzo Cucchi

    The rather extraordinary packaging of Italy’s “three Cs”—Chia, Clemente, Cucchi—seems to have worked. Rarely have contemporary European artists been accorded such instant éclat in the American art market. The push that started in Basel, and accelerated in Venice, has now made it to New York. The triumvirate was introduced as a group in the fall; now the solo shows have commenced.

    Not surprisingly, the major bond uniting the three artists is alphabetical. (Could Carlson, Close and Clough be marketed in Italy as an American movement?) Beyond that, allusive figuration and a shared penchant for

  • “Lighting”

    “Lighting” was the misnomer for Brooks Adams’ modest presentation of what might have been better titled “Contemporary Domestic Light Fixtures by New York Artists.” Despite its grandly general handle, “Lighting” was one of those tight little shows that suggest untapped resources for a more ambitious survey. The lighting fixture is a commodity with modernist sculptural origins that can be cleanly traced to Moholy-Nagy’s metal workshop at the Weimar Bauhaus, where students like Marianne Brandt and Wilhelm Wagenfeld innovatively explored the design possibilities of the light fittings industry.

  • Louisa Chase

    The formulary repetitiveness of Louisa Chase’s paintings can get a little trying. Landscape elements (trees, lakes, mountains) are thickly brushed with bright, funky colors out of a Betsey Johnson fashion show. Background is contrastingly smoothly waxy, a thick coat of polyurethane on random parquetry floors. The only suggestion of depth comes from blunt, rudimentary shadows. Decorative motifs—a flowering bramble and a neutered, effluvial torso—recur as out-of-scale heraldic devices. The ostensible subject matter (Pool, Waterfall, Clearing, Riverbed, to cite but a few) is rendered in the clunky

  • Timothy Woodman

    “Cute” is the operative adjective for Timothy Woodman’s painted aluminum reliefs, which depict great moments from the Old Testament and American history. Cute relief work is a medium which has been pretty much done to death by Red Grooms, who at least knows how to push the idea to the rowdy, sleazy edge where boyish enthusiasm turns into art historical satire. More recently, Kim MacConnel has shown that there is still some room for grit in the medium. His paper cutout reliefs, with their vivid process colors and slick illustrations of athletic events, suggest a tough, sophisticated alternative

  • Jennifer Bartlett

    Rarely do contemporary artists provide as detailed evidence of their gestural processes as Jennifer Bartlett does in her recent work. As an added bonus, she cares deeply about the creative tradition that has influenced her work. “In the Garden,” an installation of 187 drawings, is very much about the landscape tradition; it is also about the history of 20th-century art—about breaking down the imitative powers of the line and imbuing them with something more abstract, more nervously emotional.

    Bartlett frees her hand to respond to such masters of the personalized line as Van Gogh, Matisse, Feininger

  • Cindy Sherman

    Do you remember Diane McBain? No? Well, I’ll give you some hints. In the early ’60s, she was Warner Brothers’ answer to Grace Kelly. She had a featured part in the television series, Surf-side Six. Her best movie, Parrish (1961), was set in the tobacco fields of Connecticut where she and Connie Stevens were rivals for the hand of Troy Donahue. She was tall, slim, blue-eyed and blonde; but her features were more pointy than chiseled and she had a flat, unaccented voice utterly lacking in nuance. When her career went down the tubes, it was as though she had never been there. Compared to Diane

  • Jack Goldstein

    Jack Goldstein’s paintings don’t have much to do with the act of painting. They do, however, have quite a bit to do with composition and subject matter. Most of the canvases are combined in diptychs and triptychs that are deployed like story boards. The relationships established between the coupled canvases are graphically sophisticated and pictorially direct. Working with simple, visual declaratives similar to comic book panels, Goldstein never leaves room for any doubt about what’s going on. It is as if there was a big exclamation point tacked onto every painting.

    A tiny, white missile launched

  • Ping Chong

    Phase One: In Manhattan, a foreigner with a withered right arm makes a plea for financial aid to his country. The man’s garb is contemporary; his speech is anachronistic.

    Phase Two: In South America, in the 1800s, a plantation owner gives his young daughter a miniature tea set and a knife. He also shows her a series of pictures of animals preying on each other. Years later, the plantation owner’s daughter rejects a South Carolinian suitor’s proposal of marriage. Ultimately, there is a revolution. The daughter’s slave, Berinthia, has been present in each of these scenes. In the final scene,

  • Michael Tracy

    The shrine: a facsimile of an adobe arch, studded with rusty nails, frames a mound of metallic excrescence which has been punctured with cleavers, cutlasses, and daggers. The relic: a bulky gold cross, mounted like a palanquin, is adorned with tin charms, girdled with a wreath of thorns, and pierced at the crossbeam by a cluster of swords. Both sculptures are sinister avatars which suggest the moribundity of El Dorado after the gold ran out and the empires unraveled. Through them, Michael Tracy fancifully conjures up the myths of the conquistadors and the fetishistic marriage of paganism and

  • Ed Paschke

    Ed Paschke is an extremely urban painter. His jazzy, electric sensibility is perfectly suited to city tempos. His hot, dayglow colors have been informed by the Strip’s competitive commercial neons. In his portraits, the sharpies, chippies and hustlers who make up the underside of the metropolitan hustle are surrounded by a psychedelic aura which suggests a space-age halo.

    Paschke’s recent paintings forsake the street for the upholstered sewers of nighttown. His cacophonous colors coalesce into horizontal bands resembling the jagged tracings of an electroencephalogram. His eccentric lowlifes have