Wallace Ludel

  • picks February 28, 2020

    Shannon Cartier Lucy

    In “Home is a crossword puzzle I can’t solve,” Shannon Cartier Lucy’s first New York solo show in roughly ten years, the artist offers up several oil-on-canvas tableaux in which reality feels porous and unburdened by logic. The work, sharp and subtly verist, is suffused with warm, muted tones; the space Lucy creates is one of deep loneliness—but one that is expansive enough to let us all in.

    During her hiatus from exhibiting, Lucy became a licensed psychoanalyst, which may explain the well-wrought sense of unease the artist brings to her troubled human subjects and their uncanny settings. In 

  • picks December 02, 2019

    “Baptized by Beefcake: The Golden Age of Hand-Painted Movie Posters from Ghana”

    In the thick of Ghana’s economic unrest during the 1980s and ’90s, illicit screenings toured the country, powered by black-market videotapes and VCRs hooked up to gas-run generators. To advertise these events, local artists were commissioned to paint posters for each film. The brilliantly titled exhibition here, “Baptized by Beefcake,” includes forty such works, made by twenty-two Ghanaian artists. Often as big as six feet tall, and predominately created for action and monster movies, these exquisite paintings typically allude to the tapes’ cover art, though they diverge substantially, valuing

  • picks September 25, 2019

    Josiah McElheny

    Let’s talk about infinity. For the inaugural exhibition at this gallery’s new TriBeCa space, Josiah McElheny approaches the depths of the eternal with pure curiosity. A triptych of his signature sculptures—immaculately formed glass vessels that the artist, an honest-to-god master of the material, makes himself—are sandwiched between mirrors and built into the wall, and look like displays housing a seemingly endless array of perfume bottles. The mirror facing the viewer is one-way, which creates a tromp l’oeil effect and leads the spectator into the well-wrought abyss.

    The show’s centerpiece, Moon

  • picks June 05, 2019

    Claudette Schreuders

    In this gallery’s back room, several smaller-than-life-size figurative sculptures by South African artist Claudette Schreuders stand or lie in various states of intimate repose. The show’s title, “In the Bedroom,” refers to the air of domesticity surrounding the body of work. Her subjects—carved from wood or cast in bronze—are mostly engaged in private acts, be it brushing their hair, lying in bed, or having spectacularly dull sex.

    The brilliantly titled Little Table, 2018, shows a straight couple mid-coitus; the woman is leaning forward, bent over the titular item of furniture, while the man

  • picks April 05, 2019

    Nikki Maloof

    Nikki Maloof’s drawings and oil paintings reward on multiple levels. At first blush, the connective tissue between them seems to be the reoccurrence of domestic animals and sumptuous, colorful patterns. But upon closer investigation, one sees that her anthropomorphized creatures—a dog, a cat, birds, and lots of dead fish—feel as terror-stricken as the rest of us.

    In the painting Fresh Cuts, 2018, a skeptical feline gazes up from a Navajo-style rug, its body warped by a clear vase resting beside a pair of cartoonish scissors, open and limp, implying some oafish narrative. The bottom of a birdcage

  • picks March 29, 2019

    Brad Phillips

    Seeing Brad Phillips’s new paintings here feels like stepping into a dream—though I couldn’t tell you whose. The pieces were made throughout long stretches of isolation, during which the artist would watch grim videos about unsolved murders and ghostly hauntings on YouTube. Everything in these canvases feels familiar—but they vibrate with purpose.

    Some of Phillips’s images bear titles that articulate their roles in this new realm: In Horror Part of Exhibition, 2019, we look up at Halloween’s Michael Myers, canted angle and all, wielding a chef’s knife. The Actual Truth, 2019, is a painting of a

  • picks January 25, 2019

    Cal Siegel

    History is violent. The work in Cal Siegel’s current show, “I am the box no roof can cover,” reaches into the sordid depths of American antiquity and the artist’s personal mythology. Hailing from small-town Massachusetts, Siegel is haunted by the architecture and iconography of his childhood environs. Witch house drive by, 2017, is a suite of a dozen silver gelatin prints of images Siegel captured while driving past the home of Jonathan Corwin, one of the judges who presided over the Salem witch trials. The Corwin residence is a rare example of a seventeenth-century, First Period Colonial American

  • picks November 29, 2018

    Cynthia Talmadge

    Who could ever blame someone for falling in love with death? After a string of immediate family members died, artist Cynthia Talmadge began a series of paintings depicting the Frank E. Campbell Funeral Chapel on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. The parlor became famous in 1926 when its namesake alerted the paparazzi—and even hired mourners—to a public viewing of silent-film star Rudolph Valentino’s body, without the knowledge or consent of Valentino’s family. This turned the chapel into a spectacular mainstay of bereavement, hosting services for all manner of celebrity and notable, including

  • picks November 08, 2018

    Shane Darwent

    One thing I love about Shane Darwent’s show here, his first at the gallery, is that it feels uniquely American—imbued with a plainspoken sentimentality for this country’s rural and suburban spaces. A quartered safety post, Bollard, 2018, is wedged perfectly into one corner, facing the wall like a class dunce, painted the same crappy semi-gloss yellow I remember from childhood. A pigment print mounted onto Dibond depicting white stucco brick—the same dangerous schoolyard material I scraped myself against too many times growing up (Splitface, 2017)—is shaped like a gravestone or an arched doorway,

  • picks October 03, 2018

    Alex Dodge

    On the last hot day of summer, in the little yard I share with my neighbor, a stray cat crawled under a blue tarp to get some shade. I watched how the bright blue plastic, rising and falling with the cat’s slight breath, enveloped and articulated its body. All but two of the paintings in Alex Dodge’s show here depict textiles that shroud and define nondescript forms in a similar manner. The patterned textiles delineate the bulky objects they cover by way of their undulating contours and foreshortened patterns.

    The paint handling is hard-edged but as sumptuously thick as fondant icing. Dodge

  • picks June 18, 2018

    Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller

    The first thing one encounters in Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller’s exhibition “Two Works” is Experiment in F# Minor, 2013. On a table sits an array of speakers set off by light sensors that are triggered by viewers’ shadows. When the room is full, loud dissonant melodies overtake it. When it’s empty, it settles into silence.

    In the second installation, Opera for a Small Room, 2005, a wooden hovel-like structure stands in the center of a dark expanse. There are some crevices in the wood and a hole resembling a window. Take a look. Within the small construction are thousands of vinyl

  • picks May 04, 2018

    Christopher Chiappa

    Defamiliarization is the engine that drives Christopher Chiappa’s art. Most of the sculptures here feel like coffee tables and nightstands, but from a realm a bit more fucked up and magical. Wooden legs, slinking up and around in myriad directions, feel poured rather than carved. His pieces are direct descendants of De Stijl, Constructivism, or Suprematism, but funnier—serious angles and reverential lines get tweaked into preposterous, quasi-utilitarian objects with a color palette straight out of a Skittles factory.

    In the second room of the gallery, the notion of furniture falls away as the