Tom Breidenbach

  • Robin Rhode, The Stripper, 2004, still from a digital animation, 2 minutes 22 seconds.

    Robin Rhode

    Featuring some twenty works from the past decade, this will be Robin Rhode’s largest solo exhibition in the US to date.

    Featuring some twenty works from the past decade, this will be Robin Rhode’s largest solo exhibition in the US to date. A striking new installation will fill the museum’s lobby, but the show’s focus is the young South African artist’s distinguished work in photography, film, and animation. These pieces, tinged with a sly, lyric humor that recalls silent-film classics, portray individuals, often Rhode himself, interacting with drawings crudely rendered on streets and buildings. Two hands in the photographic suite Snake Eyes, 2004, for example, mime rolling a pair of

  • Robin Rhode, Juggla, 2007.

    Robin Rhode

    The Chaplinesque persona of South African artist Robin Rhode appears in a number of his works, many of which document his enchanting performances, using basic materials such as charcoal and chalk.

    The Chaplinesque persona of South African artist Robin Rhode appears in a number of his works, many of which document his enchanting performances, using basic materials such as charcoal and chalk. His oeuvre—which includes site-specific wall drawings and, more recently, sculptures—touches on themes of race, class, and geopolitics, as in Empties (Green), 2007, a crate of wavy, elongated bottles of Carling Black Label, a beer associated with the native African solidarity movement during apartheid. For Rhode’s first major UK exhibition, curator Stephanie Rosenthal will

  • Michele O’Marah and Henry Taylor

    In their recent exhibition, “Repeat after me: I AM a Revolutionary,” Michele O’Marah and Henry Taylor considered the civil rights struggle from distinct yet complementary perspectives. The show was a chance to reflect on a political era more charged than our own with the hope of achieving social justice, and with the expectation that individual struggle might lead to meaningful participation in the fate of community and nation. Though in terms of cultural integration certain of the advances envisioned by the civil rights movement have come to pass, “Repeat after me…” spoke to the racism that

  • Robin Rhode

    Though much of his work depends on performance, South African artist Robin Rhode’s recent exhibition at Perry Rubenstein Gallery comprised elegant sculpture, photography, and film that functions independently of the action that gave birth to it. Spade, 2007, for example, is a small cast of a shovel in gold-plated bronze. A succinct fusion of the rarefied and the quotidian, it mutely avers that value lies in the doing as much as in what gets done. Empties, 2007, comprises a Carling beer crate filled with hand-blown dark green bottles whose fragile stems are gracefully elongated to human height

  • Richard Jackson

    Venerable California artist Richard Jackson might be thought of as a missing link between the Viennese actionists and contemporaries such as Paul McCarthy, Bruce Nauman, or even the late Jason Rhoades. His recent exhibition at Yvon Lambert’s Twenty-fifth Street location (the final show in that space) featured previously seen drawings and an installation, as well as a new eight-panel wall painting reprising what has generally been regarded as Jackson’s signature style. These older (and older-style) works form a kind of historical backdrop to the subsequent inaugural exhibition at Yvon Lambert’s

  • Henry Darger

    Henry Darger might seem the epitome of the outsider artist, a loner-next-door type who spent endless hours in his dilapidated house, creating a strange and brilliant masterwork that would only be discovered after his death in 1973: hundreds of illustrations and more than fifteen thousand densely typed pages of narration depicting the sagas of the “Realms of the Unreal,” in which brave and beautiful prepubescent girls are enslaved by a band of craven elders, the Glandelinians, led by the evil Glandelinian general, John Manley.

    Yet Darger’s work itself points up the limits of his ostensible

  • Trevor Paglen

    Trevor Paglen’s “Black World” broaches the deadly extremities of our neoauthoritarian state, which since the inception of perpetual war half a decade ago has been pursuing its announced goal of “global military supremacy.” Paglen employs techniques borrowed from astronomy to photograph, at times from miles away, some of the military industrial complex’s most secret installations. These include a CIA torture prison in Afghanistan (shown in Salt Pit, Shomali Plains Northeast of Kabul . . . , 2006) and the infamous Area 51 of conspiracy lore: a Connecticut-size covert research facility in the south

  • Scott Treleaven

    Scott Treleaven’s first New York solo exhibition, “The Best Kind of Friends Are Like Iron Sharpening Iron,” was a charged romantic vision of young bohemian gay male life. In the small mixed-media photo-montage Grotto, 2005, for example, a half-nude man squats, blue jeans unbuttoned, in the center of a pentagram inscribed in a circle, gently holding the handle of a knife stuck in the ground. It’s an allegory of the artist as lover and mystic, summoning from the sacred confines of his magical arena the elemental forces necessary to understand a precarious existence.

    In Desire Armed, 2005, a nude

  • McDermott & McGough

    In their recent exhibition, “A True Story Based on Lies,” McDermott & McGough presented a series of crisply painted, brightly colored canvases that rework lurid comic book and commercial illustrations. Chump into a Champ, 1964, 2005, for example, shows the iconic Charles Atlas bodybuilding ad in which a skinny loser gets shoved in the face by a fairground muscle man, only to buff up and avenge himself, thereby winning the adoration of a girlfriend who had earlier joined in mocking him.

    The background of the Pop-style montage Don’t Be Half a Man, 1964, 2005, depicts the other famous Atlas ad aimed

  • Christopher Deeton

    It’s not immediately clear how Christopher Deeton achieves the elementary symmetry evident in the three large paintings from his new series that were shown recently at ATM Gallery’s Twenty-seventh Street space. Revealing no brushwork, the ominous black shapes that inhabit these works hover like darkly numinous apparitions against their raw-canvas backgrounds. Formed by the pull of gravity, they are the result of the artist’s manipulation of support as opposed to medium. This method of moving the panels in order to direct the flow of pigment across their surfaces—at the constant risk of indelible

  • Lisa Kereszi

    The photographs in Lisa Kereszi’s series “New York Stories” (2000–2004) present a captivating vision of the city’s grand if sordid mystique. Focusing on abandoned and nostalgic settings in Coney Island, Governors Island, and Times Square, they illustrate fantastical, haunted, and fragile aspects of our culture. In Girls, Show World Center, Times Square, NYC, 2000, the seamy glow of strip-joint neon is reflected in the small mirrored tiles that form a concentric-square motif on the club’s dropped ceiling. In this acrid close-up, the chintzy decor is interrupted by electrical wiring and a sprinkler

  • John Duff

    The works in New York–based artist John Duff’s recent exhibition “Designed with You in Mind: Various Sculptures, Variously Entailed” are constructed according to the basic principles of geometry. Inclined Form, 2001, is a plaster tetrahedron whose four triangular sides are each paired with a rectangle of steel rods, which together create a sort of cage for the inner structure (the shape of the sculpture was “entailed,” or determined, by this basic formula). Formally, the procedure could not be simpler, but the visual mystery occasioned within such transparency is captivating. As the viewer moves