Suzanne Hudson

  • 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

  • “Unpainted Paintings”

    Writing in Art News in 1958, Allan Kaprow eulogized Jackson Pollock, arguing that his “near destruction” of customary painting obliged its reevaluation, less as a medium than as a framework for conveying a multiplicity of sensory experiences. In a rightly famous passage near the text’s conclusion, Kaprow insisted that Pollock “left us at the point where we must become preoccupied with and even dazzled by the space and objects of our everyday life. . . . Not satisfied with the suggestion through paint of our other senses, we shall utilize the specific substances of light, sound, movements, people,


    THE WAY MIKA TAJIMA AND CHARLES ATLAS DESCRIBE IT, their collaboration was less kismet than strategy, shared sympathies occasioning projects in which the two could work independently, together. With curator and artist Howie Chen, Tajima founded New Humans in 2003 to produce minimal music—among other interventions that suggest a tendency toward the Gesamtkunstwerk—alongside her own shifting multimedia practice. Atlas has, since the 1970s, created film and video work in partnership with notable choreographers, dancers, and performers, including Yvonne Rainer, Marina Abramović, and Leigh

  • “Radcliffe Bailey: Memory as Medicine”

    For the most comprehensive Radcliffe Bailey survey to date, the High Museum will fete its local son with a dense exhibition organized into three sections: “Water,” “Blues,” and “Blood.”

    For the most comprehensive Radcliffe Bailey survey to date, the High Museum will fete its local son with a dense exhibition organized into three sections: “Water,” “Blues,” and “Blood.” The show will comprise more than thirty works made between the early 1990s and the present, along with a selection of African sculptures underscoring the artist’s investigation of his own ancestral history. (Several years ago, Bailey traced his DNA to its Mende origins.) Central to the installation will be Bailey’s medicine-cabinet sculptures, which encase cultural

  • Pat Steir

    Since 1989, Pat Steir has remained committed to producing her signature “Waterfall Paintings,” for which she pours thinned, almost aqueous oil paint in multiple layers onto a dry, primed ground so that it cascades down the canvas. Reminiscent of their namesake cataracts, these works effect—through Steir’s incorporation of drips and frank homage to modernist geometries—what Matthew Guy Nichols aptly described in 2008 as a “rain shower through a Newman ‘zip’ painting.” Others have written paeans to Steir’s gravity-abetted rivulets and torrents, and most cannot help but note her engagement

  • Ellen Gallagher

    Greasy. The word less sits on the page than penetrates it, threatening slickness or seepage, and, more to the point, an unruly mess. That it reads as inescapably classed is apposite, too, as is the implication of unmanageable hair and one of its oft-advertised solutions, pomade, given Ellen Gallagher’s previous employment of the stuff. Indeed, for “Greasy,” the artist’s first solo show in New York in five years, she invoked several protagonists, narratives, and strategies from her past work, such as the lined penmanship paper and disembodied minstrel lips found in the pieces that first brought

  • Martin Barré

    Given that he has achieved a near cultish following, and that his influence resonates so decisively across contemporary abstract painting (from the work of Cheyney Thompson and Blake Rayne to that of Wade Guyton and Rebecca Quaytman, among others), it comes as a surprise to learn that Martin Barré had only one US solo exhibition in his lifetime. In fact, it was not until roughly a decade after his death, in 1993, that his work began regularly appearing in group shows in the States, a shift accompanied, more broadly, by a groundswell of interest in his singular experiment with anticompositional

  • Elise Adibi

    For the first solo presentation of her paintings in New York, Elise Adibi steered clear of the kind of baroque installation gimmicks and exogenous conceptual frames—in ready supply elsewhere lately—through which her medium becomes an empty sign conveying postcriticality. Instead, in a tightly focused hang, she presented nine abstractions nakedly shorn of appropriative conceit, and let them stand for themselves. All are square; most sit resolutely between small and medium size at twenty by twenty inches; many reveal an unprim-ed canvas to which Adibi has applied a putty-colored oil that

  • Anselm Reyle

    For his first solo museum exhibition in the US, Berlin-based artist Anselm Reyle will show a dozen works from the past few years, continuing his characteristic subversion (not to say kitschification) of the tropes and materials of modernist formalism.

    For his first solo museum exhibition in the US, Berlin-based artist Anselm Reyle will show a dozen works from the past few years, continuing his characteristic subversion (not to say kitschification) of the tropes and materials of modernist formalism. Typically big, shiny, bright, and lavishly produced, Reyle’s work— which Roberta Smith once dubbed “exceptional high-end lobby art”—here finds a provisional home in the museum. Comprising abstract stripe paintings, aluminum cast works, bronze sculptures, a site-specific neon installation, an LED wall piece, and a

  • Matt Connors

    YOU DON'T KNOW: As the eponym for Matt Connors’s sophomore show at Canada and the subject of a large-scale photograph therein, this plaintive slogan reverberated through the process-conscious abstractions on view. It was culled from a protest placard spied in a British documentary about 1970s progressive rock and—like so much of prog rock’s esoteric subject matter and often fantastic lyrics—bespeaks an antiauthoritarian sentiment lodged in the chasm between ’60s utopianism and what came after (the “hangover we exist in today, in our post heroic state,” according to the press materials).

  • Guillermo Kuitca

    Guillermo Kuitca is a fitting choice to inaugurate Sperone Westwater’s new Foster + Partners building on the Bowery, what with the artist’s long-standing representation by the gallery—this marks his eighth solo show—and even longer-standing interest in design. (The show also coincides with the national tour of Kuitca’s retrospective, organized by Douglas Dreishpoon, chief curator at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo.) In the present context, Kuitca’s signature architectural iconography served not only to indicate the persistent nature of his practice, but also, and more unfortunately, to

  • Ben Gocker

    There really is no single poem. These six words—taken from poet Jack Spicer—serve Ben Gocker well as the title and governing premise of his first solo show. As befits a Brooklyn librarian (with an MFA in poetry from the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop), Gocker produces installations, drawings, and wall-mounted sculptures that are heavy on text. Following Spicer, Gocker willfully—and often playfully—circumvents autonomy; mutability, adjacency, and contingency suggest themselves instead, with works relating self-evidently to those around them. The tondo format of the plaster Untitled (color

  • Molly Smith

    For her third New York solo show—and her first at Kate Werble—Molly Smith grouped diminutive sculptures in casual table-bound cliques, with other, larger assemblages hugging the surrounding walls. Surprisingly evocative installation devices, these bases offered up their wares in a manner that highlighted the delicate formal specificity of each of Smith’s structures, while simultaneously rendering the pieces all the more affective for their staged interrelations. For instance, the triangular, sail-like zenith of Sink, 2009, repeated the apex of the adjacent Stand, 2010; the former’s cracked mirror

  • “The Storyteller”

    In 1936, Walter Benjamin famously worried that the art of storytelling had been superseded by journalism and mass media. Working under the sign of Benjamin, “Storyteller” curators Claire Gilman and Margaret

    Sundell grouped together fourteen artists who employ the story form as a documentary mode, setting aside Benjamin’s distinction between the subjectivity of oral communication and the assumed veracity of mechanical broadcast in order to investigate the use of narrative across a swath of contemporary art. The show (which opens this month at the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto) includes

  • Terry Smith’s What Is Contemporary Art?

    Terry Smith, What is Contemporary Art? (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2009), 344 pages.

    TO THE TITULAR QUESTION “What is contemporary art?,” Terry Smith’s answer is appropriately elusive. A professor of contemporary art history and theory at the University of Pittsburgh, Smith writes with an assured and fair hand, even as he withholds any snap definition in favor of a series of hypotheses. In its most basic and banal formulation, contemporary art is simply “art that is being made now”—but this is a truism that, Smith contends, fails to account for contemporary art’s relation to modernism

  • Mark Bradford: You're Nobody (Til Somebody Kills You)

    An incisive archaeologist of the street, Mark Bradford is best known for his wall-size, often cartographic paintings incorporating the collage and décollage of scavenged urban detritus.

    An incisive archaeologist of the street, Mark Bradford is best known for his wall-size, often cartographic paintings incorporating the collage and décollage of scavenged urban detritus. This ten-year survey will foreground those works while highlighting significant new pieces in sculpture, film, and other media. The rough-hewn installation Pinocchio Is on Fire, 2010, for example, employs sound and mock interviews to unearth historical events and cultural phenomena that have affected the African-American community in Los Angeles. The accompanying catalogue includes