Thad Ziolkowski

  • Miguel Calderón

    After Damien Hirst, Sean Landers, the Chapmans, et al., do we really need another bad boy, more swagger for swagger’s sake? Miguel Calderón seems to think so—rather, in the true spirit of bad boys, doesn’t give a damn. In any case, Calderón’s show of paintings, videos, and sculpture is the latest testimony to a now all-too-familiar sneer at earnest artmaking.

    That Calderón is Mexican does however make an initial difference. Unlike Landers and company, his provocations at least seem to have some justification: thumbing their noses at stereotypes of Latin American art as either leaning toward

  • Ken Weaver

    In “Knotts’ Landing,” Ken Weaver’s first one-person show, the artist’s suite of ten paintings staged a confrontation between two icons of popular culture: Don Knotts, the buffoonish, ectoplasmic sidekick of the television series The Andy Griffith Show, and UFOs. Part of what prevented this pairing from being merely smirky nod to The X-Files was an allegorical element (one that was revealed in the press release): to Weaver, the abducting UFO represents art-world spaces like the gallery and the museum, while Knotts is a stand-in for the artist-as-abductee. This iconology lends the images a comic

  • Amy Sillman

    Amy Sillman’s most recent paintings, like her earlier work, are awhirl with loopy, lambent imagery. At the same time, they have confidently opened up into Color Field–like expanses, and the result is a disarmingly playful reinvention of the sublime. Though often linked, by the artist herself and by critics, to Surrealism, Sillman’s work is too painterly, too often motivated by nuances of pentimenti and washes for that connection to be very meaningful, especially given the rhapsodic sweep of the new paintings.

    As in the case of Francesco Clemente, who is clearly an influence on Sillman, the uncanny

  • Andreas Gursky

    Looking at the best of Andreas Gursky’s large-format photographs is like turning back just after the moment of death to gaze at the earth as you float away from it: the landscape you inhabited is as drab as ever, but now it’s possessed by a compositional magic, a serenity and geometry, a tension between animate and inanimate that had gone unnoticed.

    In his recent show, a work entitled Singapore, 1997, best exemplifies this experience. A gray, manmade harbor was shot from on high, as from an ascending hot-air balloon, so that the earth’s curve is perceptible. With nothing to distinguish the scene

  • Lucky DeBellevue

    Lucky DeBellevue’s sculpture is a kind of cheery yet vaguely troubling arte povera kudzu plant, whose bright webs look as though they might overrun the gallery during the course of a night. DeBellevue’s witty use of cheap, readily available materials—pipe cleaners, tinfoil, cable ties, vinyl weatherstripping—recalls that of any number of other artists, including Donald Lipski, Tom Friedman, and David Hammons. The basic unit of DeBellevue’s floor and wall pieces (all works 1997) is an onion-ring–like link, which has the overall effect of erasing traces of fracture and gives them a kind of

  • Laura Sue Phillips

    With contemporary abstraction ranging from the sneering insincerity of Damien Hirst’s spin paintings and the earnest circuitry of Peter Halley’s Day-Glo cybernetics to David Reed’s virtuosic lyricisms, it was initially hard to know how to read the hushed, serene work in Laura Sue Phillips’ first one-person show in New York. With titles like “Willow,” “Climbing Vine,” and “Angelic Blue” and a press release that emphasized “color, light, and surface,” it required time and quiet attentiveness to get beyond the suggestion that this work, a group of thirteen relatively small, unprepossessing stripe

  • Michael Madore

    Until now, Michael Madore’s work has appeared mainly in group shows held under the dubious rubric of Outsider art, with which it seems to share merely a tendency to a totemic use of animals, such as snakes and marsupials, as well as to “manic,” jittery, doodle-like lines that swarm over the picture plane and onto a drawn frame. Shot through with allusions to cult films, art history, and coterie fiction, the seventeen ink drawings in his first one-person show, “Secret Sender 6000,” are, if anything, “insider art”—that is, art plain and simple. The title, an allusion to beepers used mainly by

  • Steve Keister

    “Interstitial Archaeology,” Steve Keister’s first solo show in New York since 1988, consisted of five exceptionally thoughtful sculptures, all of which sprang from either positive or negative casts of Styrofoam packaging. They also alluded in some way to Meso-American architecture of the pre-Colombian periods, and were installed, in a nod to the bas-reliefs and temple icons of those civilizations, so as to interact with the physical structure of the gallery.

    A positive cast in green polyester resin of the packaging for a camcorder, Xochipilli, 1996, was affixed to the gallery wall with wooden

  • Stephen Ellis

    Stephen Ellis’ recent abstractions recall the work of several other painters of his generation, most strikingly that of David Reed, whose vaguely futuristic color fields are also composed of alkyd and oil, and, like Ellis’, stage lavish quotations of AbEx gestural moves in the form of serpentine swaths of color.

    Beyond these similarities, though, the distinctions between the two may be more revealing. Ellis’ palette is often warm, even hot, while Reed’s is for the most part cool. And where Reed’s serpents of color are given large panels in which to move, Ellis’ are crosshatched and scored by

  • Bill Schwarz

    Unlike Haim Steinbach or Jeff Koons, near contemporaries whose work can be seen as part of a tradition of readymades, Bill Schwarz focuses his critical attention not so much on the commodity’s newness but on its obsolescence. In this show, he distributed 12 farm-implement readymades—large-scale machines on the verge of disappearing from the scene of production—throughout the gallery. Although little has a deeper place in the American imagination than farming, the muteness peculiar to the readymade object made it difficult at first to gauge the critical force behind Schwarz’s collection of

  • Win Knowlton

    Since his second solo show featuring witty, Giacometti-esque floor pieces and fetishes (part of MoMA’s “Projects” series), Win Knowlton has played off the work of disparate artists—including Isamu Noguchi, David Smith, Eva Hesse, and Richard Serra—almost as if he were betting against the odds that he could keep up something distinctively “Knowlton” in his work. What can’t be shaken off turns out to be a quiet sense of humor: upending and fudging homages, Knowlton’s work seems to chuckle as much at its self-imposed game of catch-up as at the bad joke that the numbingly wide range of esthetic

  • Kazumi Tanaka

    As if to allay doubts concerning its status as art, kinetic sculpture tends, rather too predictably, either to eschew functionality entirely or to produce some “quirky” effect. Jean Tinguely’s Homage to New York, bouncing and shaking itself to pieces on a stage at MoMA in 1960, is the Modernist patriarch of a whimsically Luddite line of sculptures—Rebecca Horn’s allegorical contraptions and the war machine that mangled the right hand of its creator, Marc Pauline, number among its many direct descendants.

    The work of Kazumi Tanaka, a young Japanese sculptor, is on the whole no exception. However,