Suzanne Hudson

  • “Ellen Gallagher: Don’t Axe Me”

    The first major American presentation of Ellen Gallagher’s work—opening a month after her concurrent survey at Tate Modern—spans the past twenty years, ranging from the panels pocked with abject signifiers of race that put Gallagher on the map in the 1990s to a new series of paintings. Drawings, prints, and film installations, including Osedax, 2009–11 (a room of 16-mm film and painted slide projections referencing whale-carcass-eating worms), made with her partner, Edgar Cleijne, will round out the selection. The show promises to traverse the artist’s

  • “Painting”

    Kudos to the director of the Box, Mara McCarthy, who, with this timely group show, wrested the discipline from cliché. Featuring the work of eleven artists from the early 1950s to the present, “Painting” considered its titular subject not just as material but also as designation and as act, sometimes all at once. This held no less true of the earliest work in the show, Wally Hedrick’s folksy-seditious pre-Johns representation of the American flag with the antiwar message peace scrawled across its stripes (Peace, 1953), than of the most recent, Paul McCarthy’s Foam Pallet, 2012, a shit-colored,

  • OPENINGS: DAVID OSTROWSKI

    THE DESKILLING OF ARTISTIC PRODUCTION is a century-old story. But the “smell of turpentine” that Duchamp so detested has not proved all that easy to leave behind, nor have the qualities—composition, pictoriality, Romantic creativity, the aesthetic—that traditionally come with it. Deskilling painting is a Sisyphean task, one enacted continually and never completed, not even with the advent of digital technology. Eliminating subjective choice, it turns out, is hard. Efforts to undo composition may only deliver it anew, with exigencies produced by external constraints recuperated as

  • Nikolas Gambaroff

    Last September, Ei Arakawa commenced his first solo exhibition in Los Angeles, “I am an employee of UNITED, Vol. 2,” at Overduin and Kite (Volume One preceded at Galerie Neu in Berlin), with a performance skewering the model of the peregrine, contemporary artist, who racks up frequent-flier miles en route to the far-flung venues where he carries out cultural services. The opening event involved a host of actions, including Arakawa alongside fellow New York artist and collaborator Nikolas Gambaroff and others hoisting and manipulating mannequins while slotting Gambaroff’s painting panels into

  • Sarah Cain

    The main event of “Freedom Is a Prime Number,” Sarah Cain’s first solo exhibition in Los Angeles, was a room-scale installation titled so there, it’s air (all works 2012). While the piece involved an enveloping spread of paint and canvases (not necessarily conjoined) that spilled onto the floor, a twosome of dollar bills ($ thirty five and $ forty three) flanking the gallery’s entryway offered viewers a key for reading what lay beyond. Cain’s riotous additions of color and shimmering planes covered the cash so totally that only the minutest sections were left bare. These details matter. The

  • Mickalene Thomas

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    Courbet’s L’Origine du monde (The Origin of the World), 1866, was staged to great effect in the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s 2008 retrospective, where a protective wall, rather than secreting it away, none too subtly called attention to the infamous painting of a crotch splayed open. Mickalene Thomas’s rejoinder—the crux of her first solo museum exhibition, “Origin of the Universe,” which opened at the Santa Monica Museum of Art and is currently on view at the Brooklyn Museum—is rooted in this retrospective, and the physical fact of confronting the panel seems key to what she

  • “Fore”

    As the Studio Museum’s legendary “F” series has been a veritable launchpad for numerous artists to date, “Fore” is sure to get the art world’s attention.

    The latest installment of the Studio Museum’s legendary “F” series (which brought us “Freestyle” [2001], “Frequency” [2005–2006], and “Flow” [2008]) promises a wildly heterogeneous installation of works made during the past five years, highlighting twenty-nine emerging artists of African descent including Sadie Barnette, Jamal Cyrus, Noah Davis, Taisha Paggett, and Nate Young. As this exhibition series has been a veritable launchpad for numerous artists to date, “Fore”—taking as its title the heads-up alert to those in the path of

  • “Jay DeFeo: A Retrospective”

    In 1958, Beat ingénue Jay DeFeo began work on a silvery mixed-media painting known as The Rose; it would consume her for the better part of eight years and eventually stand eleven feet tall, weighing nearly a ton.

    In 1958, Beat ingénue Jay DeFeo began work on a silvery mixed-media painting known as The Rose; it would consume her for the better part of eight years and eventually stand eleven feet tall, weighing nearly a ton. First made public by Bruce Conner—who filmed the object’s defenestration from DeFeo’s Fillmore Street studio in 1965—The Rose has long afforded a romantic mythologizing of DeFeo’s biography, to the extent that her other paintings, drawings, wire sculptures, photographs, jewelry, and collages are still virtually unknown. This retrospective, organized by

  • Albert Oehlen

    In the 1980s, Albert Oehlen began exploiting hackneyed figuration to exquisitely perverse effect, thereby rendering “bad painting” an unassailable good object. By the end of that decade, he had mounted a reaction-formation-like foray into pure abstraction that was equally, if oppositely, estranging. These approaches are two sides of the same coin, yet the artist nevertheless took some time to hold them in tension, together. In his work of the past few years—including the seventeen canvases in this show, his first at Gagosian—they finally intermingle, a critical collusion that, no doubt,

  • Zak Prekop

    The works in Zak Prekop’s second show at Harris Lieberman—sixteen canvases limited to a range of white, black, cobalt, tan, and yellow—may at first register as positively anodyne, yet they instantiate surprisingly nuanced optical and material effects. Operating within parameters he sets for himself (and through which, by extension, he seems to allegorize the notion of possibility as manifested therein), Prekop works with limited implements and strategies. Many of the paintings employ collage: namely, brown paper bags, dismembered and splayed across a support, or heavy paper, affixed

  • Jason Fox

    It sounds like the setup to a misbegotten revolutionary—or, even worse, adolescent—joke: What do you get if you cross Bob Marley and Barack Obama? But in Jason Fox’s most recent show, the seamless transposition of these quite literal figureheads—carefully rendered atop one another, with the latter’s tidy hairline positioned at the base of the former’s trademark mane—had a surprisingly profound effect, by turns pictorial and social. Appearing at the outset of “Eating Symbols”and recurring in various pieces throughout, this emblematic mash-up managed a slow burn. Like Jasper

  • Günther Förg

    A fixture of the storied Cologne scene of the 1980s, Günther Förg is still recognized in this country for what he produced during that formative decade: Blinky Palermo–inspired paintings on lead, whose puckered surfaces register raw materiality, even as the monochrome bands applied to the supports provide a sensuousness that all but negates the lead’s astringent qualities. Given the rough-hewn sophistication of these works, it is perhaps unsurprising that they are the output for which Förg is chiefly known. Yet they may also loom so large because Förg has not had a solo show in New York in over

  • Byron Kim

    Best known for Synecdoche, 1991—a project comprising a grid of hundreds of monochrome “self-portraits,” the color of each faithfully corresponding to its sitter’s skin tone—Byron Kim has long been associated with contemporary art’s so-called multicultural turn. But of course, the very medium for which his work first gained traction (in the famously polemical 1993 Whitney Biennial, no less) sets him apart from artists such as Janine Antoni, Lorna Simpson, and Gary Simmons, with whom he is often grouped. Instead of shunning abstract painting—once widely deemed inadequate for conveying

  • Jeremy Deller

    Jeremy Deller’s first midcareer survey foregrounds the artist’s collaborative tendencies as much as it does the wrenching social critique for which his work is known.

    Assigned the deadpan title “Joy in People,” Jeremy Deller’s first midcareer survey foregrounds the Turner Prize–winning artist’s collaborative tendencies (as artist, publisher, filmmaker, archivist, and even parade organizer for Manifesta 5) as much as it does the wrenching social critique for which his work is known. In this comprehensive show, the breadth of Deller’s still-developing career will be relayed via some fifty projects—from his first exhibition (Open Bedroom), staged in his parents’ house in 1993, to his famed An Injury to One Is an Injury to All, 2001,

  • Josephine Halvorson

    Josephine Halvorson’s small oils of archaic machines and overlooked domestic and industrial surfaces channel the lost tradition of American still life—a genre ghettoized, even in its late-nineteenth-century heyday, as “novelty art.” Like her precursors John Peto and William Harnett, whose trompe l’oeil confections depicted pistols and hanging game, old books and musical instruments, Halvorson creates tightly cropped registrations of the world at literal arm’s length, mining a tangible, profoundly sensate landscape of material things. An ode to Americana—or better, Americanana, as Katy

  • Alex Katz

    In considering Alex Katz’s exhibition at Gavin Brown’s enterprise, one might almost be forgiven for ignoring the paintings actually on view; it’s hard to concentrate on the work, strong as it is, amid the chatter about its new location and the details of the artist’s decampment from Pace. In Katz’s very public retellings, Brown emerges as a well-intentioned enthusiast: To the artist’s approval, Brown claims that Katz’s art lies in picturing “the immediacy of light,” which plays against figures and landscapes that, in this reading, serve as pretexts for the articulation of form. Indeed, the

  • Merlin James

    Easel-size paintings in historical genres (still lifes, portraits, interiors, and landscapes) that frequently picture domestic architecture (facades, empty rooms, or entire houses), Merlin James’s canvases cannot help but read as passé. Yet soliciting such an interpretation—or even relishing a contrarian stance—does not implicate James any more than the rest of us, for whom his practice serves a perennially heuristic function: Viewers question his motivations. In his writing and artmaking alike, James works through the positions of contemporary discourse, even as his production refuses

  • Kimber Smith

    Kimber Smith might not be a household name, but his paintings from the 1960s and ’70s are knockouts, some of the most formidable to be on view in our moment of near-ubiquitous abstraction. A second-generation Abstract Expressionist better known for his friendships with Helen Frankenthaler and Joan Mitchell than for his own work, Smith spent more than a decade in Paris, where he encountered Annette Michelson in 1964, who called him the “most serious and consequential” of his community of expats. Smith returned to the United States the following year. A few years earlier he had switched from oil

  • “Dance/Draw”

    With approximately one hundred works by fifty artists, in media spanning video, photography, drawing, sculpture, and live performance, the Boston ICA’s seventy-fifth-anniversary show, “Dance/Draw,” promises a substantial reconsideration of the relationship between the visual arts and dance over the past half century. Arranging the work into thematic sections (“More Than Just the Hand,” “The Line in Space,” “Dancing,” “Drawing”), the show will analogize the liberation of the line from the page (think Eva Hesse or Fred Sandback) to the eschewal of traditional ballet en

  • Mark Grotjahn

    Anyone walking into Anton Kern Gallery and expecting to see a suite of Mark Grotjahn’s ubiquitous Butterfly paintings would have been taken aback. Myself included. For instead of the those well-known abstractions, in which monochromatic spokes in various hues radiate from a vertical midline, there were riotous paint fields manipulated by a palette knife, coalescing into eyes and entire heads. Yet the panels in Grotjahn’s “Nine Faces” follow from his preceding efforts, both in structure and, perhaps, in their development via an additive process, meaning that although the show represents a