Zoë Lescaze

  • Hannah Levy, Untitled, 2021, nickel-plated steel, silicone, 25 1⁄4 × 30 1⁄4 × 25". From “Where the threads are worn.”

    “Where the threads are worn”

    When Odysseus set sail for Ithaca, “home” became more than a set of four familiar walls in the popular imagination. It was a psychic state of comfort, safety, and belonging, a mythic destination at journey’s end. During the pandemic, home was just that for some people—a refuge and a fortress where the masks came off. But lockdown measures made it a prison for others trapped in bad situations, while many more lost their living spaces altogether. “Where the threads are worn,” a timely twenty-five artist exhibition at Casey Kaplan devoted to multifarious concepts of home, presented themes of

  • Arthur Simms, Ego Sum, Portrait of Arthur Simms as a Junk Collector, 1994, mixed media, 115 × 56 × 50". From “Lost & Found.”

    “Lost & Found”

    Imagine a room in which all the things you’ve ever left behind—lovers, friends, cheap thrills, expensive sunglasses, and even parts of yourself—were languishing together. What would it look like? Or, more important, how would it feel to wander the aisles of this personal lost and found? Reliably shrewd curator Bob Nickas took up these questions of absence, ownership, and the voids that shape us in this five-artist exhibition at Martos Gallery. Some of the disparate works—a prescient wall drawing by Jessica Diamond, abstract canvases by Arnold J. Kemp, characteristically chilling sculptures by

  • Melchior Grossek, Grossek’s Dance of Death, IV. Die Feldherren (The Commanders), 1923, paper, 8 3⁄4 × 7 3⁄4". From “Everybody Dies!”

    “Everybody Dies!”

    Last May, when the Covid-19 death toll in the United States was about to clear 100,000, the New York Times filled its front page with the names of victims and telling excerpts from their obituaries. “Rocket engineer in the early days of supersonic flight.” “Brooklyn cabbie who found a home in Buddhism.” “Enjoyed trying her luck in the casino.” In lieu of maps or infographics, the editors opted to convey the scope of the disaster through the details—the habits, talents, and quirks—that made these lives unique. The project was a tacit acknowledgment of the news cycle’s tendency to reduce human

  • Carmen Winant, Togethering 9, 2020, oil pastel, found images on paper, sumi ink, aluminum frame, 41 × 27".

    Carmen Winant

    Touch is our first teacher. Long before language takes hold, we absorb lessons in pleasure, pain, comfort, love, and fear through our skin. Despite its primacy in our early lives, however, touch remains one of our least appreciated senses—a function, perhaps, of its Western reputation as a “primitive” or “feminine” means of perception, a second-class citizen to the supposedly more rational faculties of sight and hearing. The vital but marginalized nature of touch provided a rich subject for Carmen Winant, an artist whose work often concerns bodies, particularly those of women, and their portrayal.

  • Lois Dodd, Forsythia, April, 1976, oil on Masonite, 16 × 17 3/4".

    Lois Dodd and Shara Hughes

    As anyone who has ever been to a cocktail party knows, sharing an interest with someone does not necessarily mean you’re in for a great conversation. Lois Dodd, who is ninety-three, and Shara Hughes, who is thirty-nine, both paint landscapes. They take markedly different approaches to the genre, however, and, as this two-person show revealed, have little to say to one another about their common ground. The exhibition materials noted that both women create “portals” and that their pictures share “a sense of query about transition and a kind of pause that is alluded to when one space is delineated

  • Hernan Bas, The Revelation in the Rambles, 2020, acrylic on linen, 72 × 60". From “The Circus Has Been Cancelled.”

    “The Circus Has Been Cancelled”

    The circus has been cancelled, but no one seems to have told the jaunty group of weirdos posing at the center of the Genieve Figgis painting from which this exhibition takes its name. The giddy performers—a natty bug-eyed Kabuki demon wearing a top hat and toting a fuchsia parasol, a tiny woman in a ball gown, a lion, a yeti, and a topless green-skinned go-go dancer among them—look ready to put on a show. Aside from this small cohort, the cavernous big-top tent they occupy is empty, and the windows appear to have bars. Figgis has a knack for making the ghoulish, soupy goblins and half-melted

  • Ernst Yohji Jaeger, Untitled 11, 2020, oil on canvas, 39 3⁄8 × 31 1⁄4".

    Ernst Yohji Jaeger

    The recent oil paintings of Ernst Yohji Jaeger—dreamlike, sensual, and restrained—convey a powerful sense of solitude. Even in the rare works depicting multiple figures, his characters seem cocooned within their own internal worlds. In Untitled 5, 2019, a head swathed in velvet shadows watches an apricot sailboat drift across a surreal expanse of jade. In Untitled 6, 2019, a young man with feline features looks down at his hand, stretching what might be a dew-strung spiderweb, or pearlescent strands of semen, between his thumb and forefinger. Darkness suffuses the hazy landscape behind him:

  • Jana Euler, Unform 2, 2019, acrylic on linen, 78 3⁄4 × 63".

    Jana Euler

    Slugs are conspicuously absent from the Western canon. Although their flashier cousins, snails, make occasional art-historical appearances—creeping around the margins of medieval manuscripts and below the tulips in Dutch still lifes—slugs rarely get to play even these supporting roles. It’s surprising, in a way, given how utterly bizarre and inadvertently beautiful their behavior can be. Certain species of slug, for instance, mate in midair, dangling from strands of mucus like slimy Cirque du Soleil acrobats. Twirling gently, entwined in an armless embrace, these hermaphroditic paramours extrude

  • Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Woman in a Green Jacket, 1913, oil on canvas, 31 5⁄8 × 27 5⁄8".

    Ernst Ludwig Kirchner

    The women traipsing through the painted worlds of Ernst Ludwig Kirchner are as kaleidoscopic as his colors. Some are birds of paradise—chartreuse-skinned acrobats, strumpets in black stockings, begonia-pink ballerinas—who seem to exist for our delectation alone. Others are portrayed as individuals as stormy and complex as the artist himself. Take the subject of Woman in a Green Jacket, 1913: She appears wary, even resentful, with tight-set lips and narrow, apprehensive eyes. The angle from which we view her suggests that we are straddling her thighs as she lies back, squinting up at us as though

  • Andra Ursuţa, Succubustin’ Loose (detail), 2019, lead crystal, 46 × 18 × 13".

    Andra Ursuta

    Victims of pleasure, vehicles for pain: Human bodies tend to be at the mercy of violent desires—their own and those of others—in the work of Andra Ursuta. The artist has created X-ray-esque images of bound figures being sodomized by carrots, and once exhibited a blackened cast of her naked self, gaunt and collapsed like a peat-bog mummy, and splattered with suggestive white silicone. Sometimes her targets are implied: Stoner, 2013, involves a batting-cage pitching machine hurling rocks at a tiled wall with long hair emerging from the cracks. But if Ursuta has been dredging dark streams of

  • Jason Rhoades, Tijuanatanjier­chandelier, 2006, mixed media. Installation view.

    Jason Rhoades

    Monet had his lilies, Degas his dancers. If one leitmotif defines the madcap oeuvre of Jason Rhoades, it’s pussy. By the time he died, in 2006 at the age of forty-one, Rhoades had collected more than seven thousand euphemisms for female genitalia in several languages. He was on a quest, he said, for “the ultimate pussy word.” This dubious grail—a satirical ode to testosterone-addled idolatry and locker-room patois—gave rise to brashly festive sculptures and performances, as well as delirious, room-size installations. His series “Pussy Trilogy,” 2003–2006, for instance, addressed the crossroads

  • View of “Perla Krauze,” 2019.

    Perla Krauze

    Human beings move mountains, or pieces of them, every day. The impulse to carry stones, large and small, over great distances is one of the more curious ones that bind us to each other across time and space. The Egyptian pharaohs ordered thousands of tons of granite to be ferried hundreds of miles up the Nile to Giza. The builders of Stonehenge sneezed at local sources and quarried their megaliths in modern-day Wales. Today, architects order Italian travertine for corporate plazas in New York, and even children pocket souvenir pebbles on the beach.

    In her exhibition at the Chimney, Perla Krauze