Sarah K. Rich

  • Phyllida Barlow, TIP, 2013, timber, steel, spray paint, paint, steel mesh, scrim, cement, fabric, varnish. Installation view.

    the 2013 Carnegie International

    PHYLLIDA BARLOW’S MASSIVE SCULPTURE TIP, 2013, looks like a cortege of festooned tank barriers trudging in a Carnival parade. At once celebratory and grim, Barlow’s colorful Maginot Line squeezes up to the front entrance of the Carnegie Museum of Art and its International as if queuing for admission. But Barlow’s bright wrapping and muscular buildup almost overwhelm the foyer on the other side of the threshold: Here, emptiness echoes. To the left sits Paulina Olowska’s melancholy display of borrowed antique puppets, accompanied by a wrought-iron epigram reading PUPPETRY IN AMERICA IS TRULY A

  • Lee Bontecou, Untitled, 2011, graphite on paper, 23 x 30 1/8".

    “Lee Bontecou: Drawn Worlds”

    “The little pencil is a magic box,” Lee Bontecou has said. For proof, just consult the Menil Collection’s retrospective of more than seventy of the artist’s works on paper from the past five and a half decades. Bontecou’s drawings (made not just with pencil but with soot and pastel, too) conjure all manner of super- and subnatural forms. Some are preparatory, detailing the fine seams, eerie contours, or affecting shadows with which her sculptures in metal and muslin cast their spells; other works stand on their own as pure vehicles of imagination, through which the artist

  • Jo Baer, Untitled, 1960, collage and gouache on paper, 6 x 6".

    Jo Baer

    In the 1960s, Jo Baer brought painting to the edge. With perimeters of black paint around white squares, she framed painting’s repressed material support, and with stripes wrapping around stretcher bars, she lured viewers away from painting’s ceremonial frontality. The Museum Ludwig survey will feature roughly a dozen such works but also some 150 lesser-known pieces in which Baer developed and exceeded her earlier concerns: richly colored gouaches of provocative symmetries and patterns, small rectangular studies (with creased edges and notched corners that allowed her

  • View of “Artist’s Choice: Trisha Donnelly,” 2012–13, Museum of Modern Art, New York. Foreground: Alessandro Becchi, Anfibio Convertible Couch, 1971. Background, from left: Joe Goode, Shoes, Shoes, Shoes, 1966; Michael Lax, Modulion 10 Ionizer, 1980. Wall, top left: František Kupka, The First Step, ca. 1910, oil on canvas, 32 3/4 x 51". Photo: Thomas Griesel.

    Trisha Donnelly at MoMA

    TAKE ALFRED H. BARR JR.’S famous flowchart of Cubist and abstract art, ca. 1936, and bend it back so that it makes a long cylinder. Make sure the edges overlap a bit so Redon (that hermetic sensualist whom Barr shoved over to the sinister side of his graph, and whose influence he reduced to a dotted line) and Rousseau (the outsider whose hard edges somehow qualified him for positioning on the right-hand side, above the hyperrational Constructivists) lie one atop the other. Take a long pin (ideally an Art Nouveau hatpin from 1900 that was made of a new metal alloy later essential for the production

  • Giosetta Fioroni, Liberty, 1965, pencil, white, and red enamel on canvas, 57 1/2 x 44 13/16”.

    “Giosetta Fioroni: L'Argento”

    One would think that with the recent upswing of interest in Pop art made by women, Giosetta Fioroni’s delicate distillations of visual culture would have become familiar to American audiences, yet somehow her glimmering quotations of movie-star glamour shots and wistful reiterations of family photos remain obscure. Perhaps Fioroni’s broad range is to blame: Her early drawings—playful investigations of the “graphic”—as well as her paintings, book projects, and films defy easy categorization. Luckily, this first solo exhibition of the artist’s work in North America

  • El Anatsui, Broken Bridge, 2012, mixed media. Installation view, Galliéra, Musée de la Mode de la Ville de Paris. Photo: André Morin.

    La Triennale: “Intense Proximities”

    “INTENSE PROXIMITY” is a sexy name for an exhibition showcasing art produced for a postcolonial era. It intimates a situation in which distinct cultures, thanks to new technologies and economies, are brought within kissing distance of one another, even if they ultimately end up coming to blows. And by privileging proximity over, say, mixture, an exhibition can explore the differences that persist despite the homogenization that rhetorics of Western globalism often favor. Such was the accomplished goal of La Triennale 2012, which opened at the newly renovated and expanded (though still tastefully

  • Per Kirkeby, Untitled, 2009, tempera on canvas, 118 x 177 1/4".

    “Per Kirkeby: Paintings and Sculpture”

    In the past forty-five years Per Kirkeby has moved from lush and brooding oil landscapes to fragile chalk-on-blackboard drawings, from chunky bronzes that recall mined ore to short films.

    Though he is a superstar in his homeland of Denmark, Per Kirkeby is still a relative unknown in the United States. The Phillips Collection will attempt to remedy this situation, challenging though the task may be with an artist as prolific and adventurous as Kirkeby, who in the past forty-five years has moved from lush and brooding oil landscapes to fragile chalk-on-blackboard drawings, from chunky bronzes that recall mined ore to short films. But curators Dorothy Kosinski and Klaus Ottmann have selected nearly forty key works dating from 1967 to 2009

  • Tom Wesselmann, Bedroom Painting No. 38, 1978, oil on canvas, 84 x 97".

    “Beyond Pop: Tom Wesselmann”

    When Pop artist Tom Wesselmann ghostwrote his own monograph in 1980 (his nom de plume: Slim Stealingworth), it wasn’t so much a postmodernist gesture of institutional masquerade as it was an attempt to slip himself into the canon; until that point, scholars simply hadn’t given him the attention he felt he deserved.

    When Pop artist Tom Wesselmann ghostwrote his own monograph in 1980 (his nom de plume: Slim Stealingworth), it wasn’t so much a postmodernist gesture of institutional masquerade as it was an attempt to slip himself into the canon; until that point, scholars simply hadn’t given him the attention he felt he deserved. The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts will argue for Wesselmann’s canonization by more conventional means, hosting his first North American retrospective, including 150 paintings, drawings, collages, and models (plus archival material) dating

  • View of “De Kooning: A Retrospective,” 2011–12. From left: Untitled XI, 1975; Seated Woman on a Bench, 1972; . . . Whose Name Was Writ in Water, 1975; Untitled I, 1977; Screams of Children Come from Seagulls (Untitled XX), 1975; Untitled, 1977.

    Willem de Kooning

    THE LAST TIME a major American museum attempted a retrospective of Willem de Kooning’s work, it did not, by most accounts, go well. Critics were fatigued by the Whitney Museum of American Art’s 1983 behemoth, which brought together more than 250 works by the Abstract Expressionist, with the paintings crammed next to one another in small rooms, and the drawings and sculpture inexplicably quarantined in separate spaces. The show was top-heavy with recent paintings, many complained (with work from the 1960s to the early ’80s in mind), and major examples of the artist’s earlier and more influential

  • View of “Cathy Wilkes,” 2011. Photo: Tom Little.

    Cathy Wilkes

    ON JULY 1, 1916, British and French soldiers charged the German front lines near the River Somme, expecting to hasten their victory in the Great War. Instead, the disastrous Battle of the Somme would become one of the bloodiest engagements in European military history, resulting in over a million dead soldiers. Though the losses were massive in scale, the burden was often borne by small communities whose entire populations of young men had been transplanted to the front (more than five thousand of those wounded on the first day of battle, for example, came from a single area in the province of

  • Jules Olitski, Prince Patutszky Pleasures, 1962, acrylic on canvas, 89 3/4 x 88". © Estate of Jules Olitski/Licensed by VAGA, New York.

    “Revelation: Major Paintings by Jules Olitski”

    Should you visit this retrospective of Jules Olitski’s paintings, forget the formalist criticism that tried to normalize them.

    Should you visit this retrospective of Jules Olitski’s paintings, forget the formalist criticism that tried to normalize them. Instead, see the canvases as the artist often did—as gorgeous, sexy things that tested the rules of decorum. With some canvases in luscious pink, some as shiny as lip gloss, and some with titles like Prince Patutszky Pleasures, 1962, the works in this exhibition are far too sensuous to fit snugly within the bloodless category of “opticality.” “Revelation” will boast strong examples representing

  • Michael Goldberg, Bowery Days 30, 1993, oil, pastel, and collage on linen, 38 x 37".

    Michael Goldberg

    Coming of artistic age in the 1950s, after Abstract Expressionism had already fought its toughest battles, Michael Goldberg charged into gestural abstraction with the ardor of a new recruit in a winning war.

    Coming of artistic age in the 1950s, after Abstract Expressionism had already fought its toughest battles, Michael Goldberg charged into gestural abstraction with the ardor of a new recruit in a winning war. Yet Goldberg’s campy sense of humor, quickened by his friendship with Frank O’Hara, imparted to his canvases a wry wit uncommon among the Abstract Expressionists. Note his Madame Recamier, which Goldberg commenced in 1956 by copying Jacques-Louis David’s elegant portrait only to obliterate the copy with turbulent marks; or his Greasy Spoon