Suzanne Hudson

  • OPENINGS: KATJA STRUNZ

    MAYBE THIS IS APOCRYPHAL and maybe it’s not: On first seeing Robert Smithson’s crystalline Untitled, 1964–65, as a student in Karlsruhe, Germany, artist Katja Strunz put away her paintbrushes and began to make her own prismlike wall sculptures with multiple vanishing points. However, she abolished his mirrored panels to deny reflection and the infinite regress of their facings, and thus made what she called a Smithson “with its eyes poked out.” Like most origin stories and oedipal fables, this one is credible in its particulars and freighted with the genealogical implications of its performative

  • Bertien van Manen

    In On Photography (1977), Susan Sontag characterizes photographs as melancholy objects that “state the innocence, the vulnerability of lives heading toward their own destruction.” Implying Sigmund Freud’s idea of melancholia as unresolved mourning, photography here enacts an analogous drive toward death. But in partaking of nostalgia, even if peremptorily, the fascination with death that photographs exercise is, as Sontag cautions, “also an invitation to sentimentality.” No one knew this better than Roland Barthes, who found the premonitory suggestion of an open wound in every indexical mechanical

  • Nicola Tyson

    Nicola Tyson’s most recent show came with an epigraph, declaimed by the press release: “IMAGINATION I hold to be the living Power and prime Agent of all human Perception. . . . A repetition in the finite mind of the eternal act of creation in the infinite I AM.” Thus Tyson’s twelve new paintings, which purport to plumb the depths of “the imagination and the unconscious,” were brought under the Romantic sign of the lines’ author, Samuel Taylor Coleridge. This reference deftly marks out Tyson’s ambitions here, but it’s only the beginning of the hunt for her sources and stylistic influences.

  • Mark Dion

    If Charles Willson Peale hadn’t existed, Mark Dion would have had to invent him. Peale—a onetime clocksmith, silversmith, saddler, revolutionary, portraitist, natural historian, inventor, agricultural reformer, and museologist—was a living archetype of the Jeffersonian polymath, embodying the impulse toward conquest through knowledge, categorization, and ratiocination that Dion explores and critiques in his own work. Peale comes to us as a figure in his famous self-portrait of 1822, where he stands before his Wunderkammer (portions of which would later be sold off to P. T. Barnum), raising a

  • Cézanne in Provence

    Organized by Philip Conisbee of the National Gallery and Denis Coutagne of the Musée Granet, this exhibition comprises 118 oil paintings, watercolors, and lithographs made by the artist in his native Provence, including depictions of the Mediterranean coast at L'Estaque, Mont Sainte-Victoire, and the Chateâu Noir.

    In 1990 Giselda Pollock asked, “What can we say about Cézanne these days?” Now, on the centenary of the canonical artist's death, “Cézanne in Provence” should give us plenty to talk about. Organized by Philip Conisbee of the National Gallery and Denis Coutagne of the Musée Granet, this exhibition comprises 118 oil paintings, watercolors, and lithographs made by the artist in his native Provence, including depictions of the Mediterranean coast at L'Estaque, Mont Sainte-Victoire, and the Chateâu Noir. The show is a major component of the French region's

  • “Infinite Painting: Contemporary Painting and Global Realism”

    This exhibition traces the “pictorial” not only through abstract and figurative painting but also through sculpture, video, and photography, engaging the question of medium from a perspective of collective expansion.

    Despite well-rehearsed claims for its autoextinction, painting remains as ubiquitous as the shows and discourses attending to it. This exhibition traces the “pictorial” not only through abstract and figurative painting but also through sculpture, video, and photography, engaging the question of medium from a perspective of collective expansion. The roughly eighty works on view span the past two decades, which the curators have dubbed the age of “Global Realism” to describe how the “real” is influenced by globalization. Less about essentialist

  • Tam Van Tran

    Vanitas images are rarely subtle—it’s hard to ignore the implacable presence of a human skull or a solemn timepiece, or to disavow the implications of a decomposing piece of fruit—but neither are they merely symbolic. Efficient vehicles for the display of technical mastery, paintings like Chardin’s Soap Bubble, ca. 1734, or Manet’s Boy Blowing Bubbles, 1867, also use that illusionism to facilitate aphoristic moralizing. Still, soap bubbles on the verge of rupture can only mean one thing.

    Tam Van Tran’s third show at Cohan and Leslie betrayed a connection, albeit an oblique one, to such historical

  • Sue Williams

    In 2000, the New Yorker congratulated Sue Williams on her metamorphosis from “the angriest woman in the art world” to a “sort of blissed-out innocent,” a feminist turned formalist (as if these terms were mutually exclusive) who nonetheless was still resigned to playing “Ginger Rogers” to Willem de Kooning’s “Fred Astaire.” Now, five years later, such insidiously sycophantic gender politics are all but displaced, even if it is hard to see Williams’s recent work apart from her earlier agitprop exercises in aggressive desublimation. But perhaps that’s the point. Here as elsewhere, Williams’s work

  • Sol LeWitt

    Sol LeWitt’s practice might be perpetually fecund, but this summer still saw him achieve such an unprecedented level of visibility in New York City that one paper was prompted to unceremoniously declare it “The Summer of Sol.” LeWitts were encamped across the city, from the safe haven of PaceWildenstein to the tourist-packed roof of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the leafy refuge of Madison Square Park. This ubiquity continued unabated through mid-October with Paula Cooper Gallery’s presentation of the artist’s gouache series “Horizontal Lines, Black on Color” (2005). Yet summer’s glut alone

  • Liu Zheng

    When Swiss émigré Robert Frank set out to document America for his laconic if pathos-laden photographic series “The Americans” in 1955, he encountered a society in the grip of postwar consumption, vitiated by racial inequalities and rampant class division. About as subtle as Tocqueville, Frank rendered ideological his documentation of an American odyssey through bus depots and Woolworth stores, presenting the sad reality of the everyday as a parade of typologies and archetypes. Stripped of pretense and drained of affect, his photographs offered the perfect antidote to Family of Man–style

  • Sophie von Hellermann

    For a show that took its cues from Albert Einstein, German painter Sophie von Hellermann’s first solo exhibition in New York wore its mantle lightly. Staged on the occasion of the hundred-year anniversary of the watershed formulation of E=mc2, “Goddess in the Doorway” exuded a gravity that, for all its pretense to science, was really more about waking dreams and kinesthetic apparitions than postulated equations. In von Hellermann’s large-scale, candy-color acrylics, figures hover unmoored against unprimed canvas, the paint alternately seeping into the weave of the support and threatening to

  • Eleanor Antin

    “That summer, in the first year of the reign of Titus, there appeared a small band of players who met with some success until they disappeared without trace, leaving behind one of their number.” Such are the words of Pliny the Younger that Eleanor Antin reproduced on the wall at the entrance to her latest show, “Roman Allegories.” In twelve large, exquisitely staged, and sumptuously shot tableaux, a motley cast of performers—characters include Columbine, the Lover, the Trickster, an ex-gladiator Strong Man, the Poet, and a little girl—moves through dilapidated tennis courts and nouveau-riche

  • “Pioneering Modern Painting: Cézanne and Pissarro, 1865–1885”

    Displacing the monographic privileging of the solitary genius in favor of fraternal pairings, MoMA is following the success of “Matisse Picasso” with a show devoted to the twenty-year artistic relationship between Cézanne and Pissarro. The exhibition (organized by the latter’s great-grandson, now a MoMA curator) offers as evidence of dialogic contact and mutual response some eighty-five paintings and eight drawings—portraits, self-portraits, still lifes, and landscapes, some of which were made when the artists worked side by side in the regions of Pontoise and Auvers.

  • Joan Snyder

    For the last three and a half decades, Joan Snyder has fused process (whether desultory or earnest) with politics, and the resulting works, nearly thirty of which are on view for this survey at the Jewish Museum, have made Snyder a doyenne of feminist painting and an increasingly likely subject for art-historical canonization. Betraying the marks of their making, Snyder’s best works play the materiality of language against its signifying possibilities in gestures that are by turns surprisingly intimate and barbarously significant. Her graphic utterances—most recently

  • Richard Tuttle

    In his great antifoundational, pragmatist essay “How to Make Our Ideas Clear” (1878), C. S. Peirce sought to differentiate clarity from veracity. His point in so doing was to show that a workable comprehension of reality was best arrived at through careful attentiveness rather than via any “royal road to logic,” which would at best occlude real thought and at worst offer up hypotheses in the form of false—if ornamental—truths. For Peirce, being in the world and engaging with its material realities was, in fact, the only way to be. And for a conception of an external object to similarly become

  • Susan Rothenberg

    Modernism was riddled by searches for origins, but it was also marked by near-fatal fixations with real or imagined ends. Pace Hegel, T. J. Clark has suggested that “every modernism has to have its own proximate Black Square.” But Susan Rothenberg would probably substitute Lascaux for Malevich, a nod to a beginning that was already terminal, marked by a conflicting admixture of prolepsis and hindsight that also finds form in the exhibition structure of the retrospective.

    Still, “Susan Rothenberg: Drawings 1974–2004” aimed to chart the progress of the artist’s career through more than seventy

  • Kim Fisher

    Writing in 1967, at the height of Minimalism, Clement Greenberg worried that the aesthetic field had devolved into a diffuse and unmotivated panorama of “non-art” and design, a pernicious development that the then-embattled critic understood as an unmitigated and unilateral abjuration of tradition. Commensurate with a descent of advanced art into the popular, Minimalism for Greenberg precipitated a situation in which anything could become readable as art, if not necessarily (or likely) good art. The name he gave this phenomenon was “novelty,” an ironic if elegiac reference to style, ephemeral

  • Jackson Pollock

    With this tightly focused show that brings together over forty “paintings on paper” for the first time since 1980, we have Pollock as consummate draftsman. Experimenting with watercolor, gouache, India ink, and crayon, the graphic Pollock examined in this exhibition is well worth another look.

    First there was Jackson Pollock, brooding and libidinal existential action painter, all grimace and sad cigarettes. Then came Clement Greenberg and Michael Fried's preternaturally modernist Pollock, who rubbed up against the performative Pollock of Allan Kaprow. This incarnation ceded, in turn, to the desublimated Pollock of Rosalind Krauss. Now, with this tightly focused show that brings together over forty “paintings on paper” for the first time since 1980, we'll have Pollock as consummate draftsman. Experimenting with watercolor, gouache, India ink, and crayon, the

  • Spencer Finch

    Henry David Thoreau famously admonished that we too often lead lives of “quiet desperation.” His remedy was to live deeply and reflexively, sucking life’s “marrow,” and, if need be, communing with the Walden woods in the relative seclusion of meditative if quixotic faux isolation (he was literally a stone’s throw from his nearest neighbors). For Emily Dickinson, another archetypal American recluse, a purposeful and startlingly conscious life was to be found within the walls of her Amherst, Massachusetts, birthplace. In fifty-five years she rarely ventured out, communicating chiefly by means of

  • Chris Burden

    Of all the art clamoring for attention in New York this fall, the most incisively current was a thing of the past. Chris Burden’s early work has a purchase on the contemporary in ways that are both revealing and overdetermined, making unmistakably clear that the history we thought we had transcended is still the long present in which we are mired. Conceived against a backdrop of inept and insidious foreign policy in Vietnam and the ceaseless televisual spectacle its insurrections set in motion, Burden’s work finds an eerie analogue in the sectarian violence of our own era of equivocation bereft