Robert Slifkin

  • Album art for the 2018 reissue of Merry Christmas to you from Joseph.
    music December 22, 2022

    Footsteps in the Snow

    A FEW YEARS AGO, while flipping through the new arrivals crate at Nice Price Records in Raleigh, North Carolina, where I was visiting family over the holidays, I became transfixed by what I heard playing on the store’s stereo system. It was immediately recognizable as Christmas music: A jubilant, resonant male baritone implored the listener to “let me hang my mistletoe over your head / and let me love you.” But the voice, landing somewhere between the velvet burliness of Teddy Pendergrass and the genteel phrasing of Lou Rawls, like the lustrous production and extravagant, modern R&B arrangement,

  • Alan Sonfist, American Earth Landscape, 2019–21, earth on canvas, 10 × 15'.

    Alan Sonfist

    A pioneer of the Land art movement, Alan Sonfist has never received the degree of critical attention awarded some of his contemporaries, such as Michael Heizer and Richard Long. This despite the fact that Sonfist’s Time Landscape, a nine-hundred-square-foot plot of land fenced in at the corner of West Houston Street and LaGuardia Place, has been staking its claim as the largest and most important example of Land art in New York City since its creation in 1978. Originally proposed by the artist in 1965 as one of fifty such pockets of reclaimed urban territory that would re-create—and thus

  • Ugly Feelings

    WHAT DOES THE WORK OF PHILIP GUSTON have to tell us about racism in the United States? And, for that matter, who is the us the work is speaking to? These questions are, of course, inspired by the postponement of a major retrospective of the artist’s work because of concerns that a group of paintings depicting members of the Ku Klux Klan might be misperceived in the current political climate, one marked by the conspicuousness of white-supremacist ideology and an art world highly attuned to the spectacularization of Black suffering. These questions have remained largely unexamined by scholars and

  • James Rosenquist, Hey! Let’s Go for a Ride, 1961, oil on canvas, 34 1/8 × 35 7/8". © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn.


    Like many Pop artists, James Rosenquist drew on the teeming image world of postwar consumer society. But unlike many of his peers, he appropriated the representational techniques and even the massive scale of one of commercial advertising’s chief forms: the billboard. Juxtaposing body parts, commodities, and sly allusions to art history within his panoramically scaled and surreal canvases, Rosenquist bridged the gap between the epic gestures of Abstract Expressionism and the cool monumentality of Minimalism. This exhibition will highlight the

  • Frank Heath, The Hollow Coin, 2016, HD video, color, sound,12 minutes 25 seconds.

    Frank Heath

    IT IS ONE OF THE GREAT PARADOXES of our current era of mediated interconnectivity: We adopt the very same technologies used by intelligence agencies and corporations to covertly track our behavior as our primary means to communicate, to consume, and even to preserve our most intimate memories. This uneasy affinity between surveillant and surveilled provided the central theme of Frank Heath’s recent show at the Swiss Institute in New York. The duality was in fact already signaled in the show’s title, “Blue Room,” which refers to two quite different spaces: areas in prisons reserved for projecting

  • James Welling, Brussels, 1996, ink-jet print, 27 1/2 × 39 3/8". From the series “Light Sources,” 1992–2001.

    “James Welling: Metamorphosis”

    Unlike many other Pictures-affiliated artists who use photography, James Welling established a deep and remarkably sincere commitment to his primary medium even as he undertook an extensive investigation of its long-standing intermediary role in other artistic practices: Abstract and representational painting and sculpture along with film, architecture, and, more recently, dance have all crucially informed the artist’s oeuvre. The twenty-plus bodies of work spanning more than forty years featured in this show will provide an unrivaled opportunity to consider Welling’s

  • James Welling, 4910, 2015, ink-jet print, 63 × 42".

    James Welling

    The title of James Welling’s show—“Choreograph”—suggests an affinity between the artist’s principal medium, photography, and dance. If the former’s etymology is meant to convey the act of drawing with light (the “pencil of nature,” as William Henry Fox Talbot memorably put it in 1844), choreography, understood as the design of bodily movements, implies a sort of corporeal inscription of space. Welling’s new works, presenting nearly life-size photographs of expressively posed dancers, staged within what appear to be multiple exposures of unnaturally colored wintry landscapes and the