William J. Simmons

  • View of “James Casebere: Scales and Dimensions,” 2014. Installation view, John Hartell Gallery, Sibley Hall, Olive Tjaden Gallery, Tjaden Hall, College of Architecture, Art, and Planning, Cornell University.
    picks September 03, 2014

    James Casebere

    The urge to see the artist’s tools is as old as art itself; it reflects a fundamental though perhaps antiquated yearning to catch a glimpse of the magic of creation, the process by which an artist turns everyday materials into a masterpiece. In James Casebere’s exhibition “Scales and Dimensions,” we are afforded that opportunity by the inclusion of Casebere’s rarely shown scale models that serve as the basis for his photography. But rather than excitement, there is an overwhelming feeling of disappointment. Gone is the disturbing patina of the photographs, whose magnificent and haunting glamour

  • Jasper Johns, Pinion, 1963–66, color lithograph printed from two stones, shaped aluminum photographic plate, 40 1/4 x 28".
    picks August 24, 2014

    Jasper Johns

    “Jasper Johns: Picture Puzzles” presents a focused look at the artist’s output from between 1960 and 2010, pointing to a sense of inwardness not generally associated with his practice. It is immediately clear that something more complex is occurring in this group of prints. Johns harkens back to the ethos of “A Name for All,” a poem by his frequent inspiration Hart Crane: “Moonmoth and grasshopper that flee our page / and still wing on untarnished of the name / we pinion to your bodies to assuage / our envy of your freedom.” The lithograph Pinion, 1963–66, exhibits a similar urge to come up for

  • View of “Barbara Kruger,” 2014.
    picks July 23, 2014

    Barbara Kruger

    With her characteristic font splashed across Modern Art Oxford, Barbara Kruger asks “IS THAT ALL THERE IS?” in her latest exhibition, which consists of a new installation, two video projects, and highlights of her early photocollages. This quandary is as pertinent to the level of critical discourse surrounding her career as it is to the fiber of that individual work. Despite her complicated output, Kruger’s practice often becomes buried under truisms of the Pictures generation—the male gaze, consumer culture, and appropriation. This exhibition of Kruger’s work adroitly proves that her output

  • View of “Travis Jeppesen: 16 Sculptures,” 2014.
    picks July 16, 2014

    Travis Jeppesen

    Combining modernism’s obsession with ritual and a bitingly humorous, but nevertheless intensely critical, cast of art-historical characters, Travis Jeppesen’s “16 Sculptures” exhibits a freshness that is largely absent in hyper-conceptual contemporary installation shows.

    Each of the sixteen works on display consists of a chair, a vinyl record, headphones to listen to an mp3 recording, and blackout glasses, which together turn the gallery into a Blues Brothers convention. Artists as diverse as James Turrell, Isa Genzken, and Auguste Rodin have had their works transformed by Jeppesen into incantatory