Robert Pincus-Witten

  • Ghada Amer

    “Rainbow Girls,” this recent exhibition of Ghada Amer’s new work, tethered a porn-suffused AbEx “allover” to a sculpture of transparent form. Though the influential Egyptian-born artist’s signature nudes still remain as complex linear outline (recalling Tom Wesselmann–like wraiths), gone are the vulvae that added a certain piquancy to Amer’s earlier work. The sculpture Blue Bra Girl, 2012, for example, is a vast ovoid with a prominently displayed face, while in The Heart, 2012, the Rainbow Girls are perhaps a bit more difficult to discern, owing to the somewhat punched-in shape of the heart

  • Germaine Richier

    Recently, Dominique Lévy and Emmanuel Perrotin gave over their joint gallery spaces to a challenging, taste-transforming exhibition of more than forty sculptures by Germaine Richier (1902–1959), many of them textbook familiar, others complete revelations. It was the first New York exhibition of the French-born artist’s work in more than a half a century.

    In the 1920s, Richier had been a student of Antoine Bourdelle, then the reigning counter-Rodinist, an artist widely admired for a type of “heroic,” quasi-geometric realism that paralleled the monumental platitudes of Aristide Maillol. Richier

  • Fortunato Depero

    CIMA, the Center for Italian Modern Art, is a research resource that opened this past February in New York City. Its inaugural exhibition, which remains open until June 28, focuses on Fortunato Depero (1892–1960), a second-tier figure within Futurism, a first-tier art movement. Depero is a particularly apt opening choice, since his career is punctuated by two American sojourns, the first between 1928 and 1930, when his stylish fusion of Futurist motifs and Art Deco design seemed to predict a certain success here in skyscraper New York. The stock-market crash dashed those hopes. Following World

  • Ilya and Emilia Kabakov

    Born in 1933 to a scarcely tolerated minority, the Russian-Jewish artist Ilya Kabakov was nevertheless accepted as a student at the prestigious Leningrad Institute of Art. Ironically, he has become one of its greatest attendees, if one still regarded askance by official taste.

    It is unlikely that those of us who saw Kabakov’s “Ten Characters,” a suite of dioramas installed at New York’s Ronald Feldman Gallery in 1988 (the artist having immigrated here in 1987), will forget the drab repressions embodied in those inspired installations: the smell of unwashed congestion, of families thrown together

  • “The Armory Show at 100”

    A PHOTO OF BOXY AUTOMOBILES parked on Lexington Avenue in front of the 69th Regiment Armory in New York reveals the excitement that greeted the beyond-famous, dramatically transformative Armory Show. The day of the exhibition’s opening, February 17, 1913, some four thousand visitors turned out for an overview of international developments in contemporary art; by show’s end, some eighty thousand visitors had seen it. Though intended to promote American art, the Armory Show also embraced the radical avant-garde in Europe—at the time, still largely unseen in the United States—and ultimately

  • Peter Voulkos

    This concise exhibition of ten ceramic pieces formed a rare survey of the work of Peter Voulkos, an artist whose production merits far broader examination. This signal potter/sculptor drastically ruptured the tropes that assign craftworks to a lesser status than art. There are, of course, many preconceptions that play into this conventional demotion—mostly, the association of clay-based crafts with utilitarian vessels and the belief that clay itself is of lesser status than paint (or wood or marble or bronze). Of course, other notables aspired to break this prejudice, but few did so as

  • Constantin Brancusi

    In the wake of the excitement generated by the Armory Show centennial comes an exhibition of five polished bronzes by Constantin Brancusi that were cast between 1992 and 2006. This show, tasteful to a fault, both reminds and distracts. It reminds us anew of the Armory brouhaha in 1913; of a fracas occasioned by the 1926 arrival on these shores of several Brancusi sculptures (the works were seen by American customs officials as industrial products, hence subject to the import duties from which artworks were exempt); of Brancusi’s connection to the Arensberg circle and the New York beau monde of

  • Walter Dahn

    Walter Dahn is a founding member of Mülheimer Freiheit, aka the Junge Wilde, a group of young German artists who took their moniker from the Cologne street on which they once worked. The artists in question were part of a generation of talented painters whose work was seriously informed by the “capitalist realism” of Sigmar Polke and by the shamanism of Joseph Beuys. “We were . . . like a band. We went to every concert we could see. . . . It was a kind of mixture of an insane asylum, kindergarten, and art school,” says Dahn in an interview with Richard Prince that appears in the exhibition’s

  • William Scott

    To celebrate the centennial of William Scott’s birth, McCaffrey Fine Art mounted a survey of twenty simply delineated, rather poignant later still lifes dating from between 1976 and 1986. The disarming expressiveness of these oddly meek works—showing an outlined pear, a flat white cup, most measuring roughly twenty by twenty inches, some even smaller—stands in vivid contrast to the imposing role in British painting that Scott played in the 1950s. Indeed, by the time these pieces were made, interest in his work had markedly declined, largely because of the era’s tidal drift away from

  • Martial Raysse

    Well remembered as one of the nine signers of the 1960 Nouveau Réalisme manifesto, Martial Raysse spent a good portion of the 1960s in New York City during the salad days of Pop art. His familiarity with the movement is echoed in A propos de New York en peinturama, 1965, a piece conflating painting and Super 8 projection. Such hybridity typifies the thirty-five early works by Raysse in this show, the first American overview of this somewhat neglected artist in forty years. Indeed, his signature works are hodgepodges, combining film, photography, collage, found objects, neon tubing, art-historical

  • Shirley Goldfarb

    My first memory of Shirley Goldfarb is as a model at the Art Students League summer school in Woodstock, New York. It was 1951 and I was sixteen. She had Louise Brooks–like black bangs and an exophthalmic gaze (a source of great unhappiness, as recorded in her journals), which she kept hidden beneath her signature huge round-lensed sunglasses. “Shirlay” (as the French called her) and I would occasionally run into one another at the turn of the 1960s, when—each from our different corners—we were part of a miscellany of Americans in Paris. I eventually left, but Goldfarb stayed on for

  • Ted Stamm

    In the late 1970s and early ’80s, Arts Magazine, now gone, published my journal entries, which, I hope, showed that criticism was not solely the articulation of issues lurking out there in some theoretical ether but also an activity sharply inflected by the social situation in which it was met. Among those blog posts avant la lettre was one devoted to Ted Stamm’s then all but unknown paintings. In that entry, published in May 1979, I observed his “lean, mean” racer build—one that belied the congenital heart defect that led to his death from a heart attack just five years later, at the age