Wallace Ludel

  • 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

  • picks April 13, 2018

    Bogosi Sekhukhuni

    Bogosi Sekhukhuni’s inaugural US show is steeped in longing, invoking, again and again, the cruelty and greed of the good-for-nothing fourth dimension, time. The exhibition’s most moving piece is a two-channel video, Consciousness Engine 2: absentblackfatherbot, 2014. Two screens stand on tripods several feet apart, facing one another. Each displays a disembodied face at its center, looking straight ahead while floating before a gilded background. One avatar represents Sekhukhuni and the other, his estranged father. They converse through digitally manipulated voices, reciting real, heartbreakingly