Zoë Lescaze

  • Photograph of Raymond Roussel with Charlotte Dufrène sitting, n.d., altered photograph, 7 x 4 7/8".
    picks July 24, 2015

    Raymond Roussel

    In “Mon Ame,” 1897, an early poem celebrating his own genius, Raymond Roussel declares: “My soul is a strange machine.” It certainly produced some of the twentieth century’s most peculiar novels and plays: word-game phantasmagorias that prized fantasy over reality. Much to Roussel’s surprise, they were critical and commercial flops (he felt destined to outshine Victor Hugo). But the eccentric writer became a cult hero to the Surrealists and Dadaists, who even brawled defending his works. This sophisticated and transporting exhibition assembles a wealth of rare and previously unseen archival

  • View of “Peter Regli: One Sun - One Moon,” 2015.
    picks July 03, 2015

    Peter Regli

    The marble Buddha laughs benevolently, luxuriating, on one side. His follower, a worried-looking marble snowman, stares back. He seems to be realizing that he’s got a snowball’s chance in hell at this whole enlightenment thing. Artist Peter Regli cleverly comments on metamorphosis through more than fifty small groups of these knee-high characters. Watching the deities serenely teach their lumpy, half-melted little acolytes is highly amusing—they make such unlikely pairs. Yet, the snowmen become relatable stand-ins for us humans, desperately seeking wisdom and meaning before it’s too late. To

  • Zoe Barcza, Animorphs.S01E17.Not.My.Problem, 2015, acrylic and flashe on linen, 39 1/2 x 36 1/4".
    picks June 12, 2015

    Zoe Barcza

    For her New York solo debut, Toronto-born, Stockholm-based artist Zoe Barcza has turned the gallery into a cryptic crime scene. Nine stretched linen canvases painted with trompe l’oeil rips and tears line the walls in a continuous band. It looks as though a claustrophobic tiger tried to claw its way out of the room. While Barcza’s painted gashes play on the actual slashes Lucio Fontana famously made in his monochromes, cheekily codifying them, they’re more than art-historical one-liners. Flat yellow stripes—visible through some of the “tears”—suggest stretcher bars supporting the linen. By

  • View of “Nina Beier,” 2015.
    picks April 24, 2015

    Nina Beier

    Squashed under glass like butterflies, a pink down jacket, five Hermès ties, and a human-hair wig lie inside a frame. Peanuts & Turtles & Hunters & Chains & Potted Plants, 2015—named for the items cheerfully printed on the ties—encapsulates the keen wit pervading Nina Beier’s first solo show in New York. The materials are whimsical, but their humor is undercut with horror. The flattened jackets and sleeping bags in this series suggest crushed bodies; the sinuous ties swirling around them become viscera spilled on impact. Flattening the ties allows us to examine them as though they were drops of

  • Thomas Eakins, William Rush Carving His Allegorical Figure of the Schuylkill River, 1876–77, oil on canvas, 20 1/8 x 26 1/8".
    picks April 03, 2015

    “In The Studio: Paintings”

    Studio paintings are seductive. They invite us to enter the sites of creation, extending the tantalizing hope that doing so will demystify the process. Then they thwart our expectations. From Brueghel to Brancusi, Daumier to de Kooning, curator John Elderfield has mined the centuries for artists’ paintings of their ateliers, plucking fifty-odd works from far-flung museums, foundations, and private collections and setting them in the gallery like precious stones. The variety is mesmerizing. When models appear, they range from relaxed and sexy (Henri Matisse) to anguished (Lucian Freud). The rooms

  • Xylor Jane, Untitled, 2015, oil on panel, 47 x 53".
    picks March 20, 2015

    “The Painter of Modern Life”

    A forceful, magnetic tension fuels the infectious energy of this show, conjured by curator Bob Nickas. The diverse works by twenty-one artists gravitate toward opposing poles, the obsessive and the spontaneous. You can feel them attract and repel one another from across the room.

    Intricate, labor-intensive pieces by Xylor Jane, Richard Tinkler, and Chip Hughes buzz with complex grids and patterns. Thousands of small dashes densely scratched into wet purple paint form Hughes’s labyrinthine I tried to hide the heart from the head, 2014. Currents of James Siena, his Op art forebears and trippy twangs

  • Marsha Cottrell, Aperture series (5), 2014, laser toner on paper (unique), 11 3/4 x 18 1/8".
    picks March 06, 2015

    Marsha Cottrell

    Ten diverse black-and-white drawings created with an electrostatic printer make up Marsha Cottrell’s Index 1 (Presence of Nature), 1998–2013. A spare, crisply gridded work on typewriter paper hangs near another made on cloudy Mylar. Manipulated while damp, the smudged streaks waft upward like wisps of smoke. The busiest drawing whirls with scattered ovals and staccato dashes, a musical score blown to smithereens. These flurries of stray marks contrast with more solid, linear forms, and it feels as though an indecipherable architectural diagram is disintegrating into the maelstrom. Still others

  • Alice Neel, Self-Portrait Skull, 1958, ink on paper, 11 3/4 x 8 3/4".
    picks February 27, 2015

    Alice Neel

    The moods of this elegant exhibition, which includes loose pastels and watercolors, precise pencil sketches, and frenetic ink drawings, fluctuate like the spikes on an EKG. There are moments of warmth here—a mother and child on the beach—but many of Alice Neel’s subjects are solitary: an old woman with no purse riding a train, a brooding child, a lost-looking man with an empty coffee cup. Even when several figures share a space, they can appear isolated. In Alienation, 1935, Neel lies naked on a bed, lips and eyes firmly shut. A nude lover stands above her, turning away, limbs crossed defensively.

  • Tal R, Altsadt Girl, 2014, oil on canvas, 30 3/4 x 48".
    picks January 30, 2015

    Tal R

    Mingling homage with sabotage, Tal R frequently adopts the styles of other painters to produce anachronistic works. For his seductive new show, “Altstadt Girl,” the Copenhagen-based artist nimbly channels Modigliani and Matisse, creating clever modernist chimeras with contemporary bite. Abstracted female nudes with masklike faces shower, smoke, and lounge like odalisques in richly patterned, jewel-toned interiors. One standing woman, her body rendered in the shades of a particularly spectacular sunset, holds up an actual mask, a puckish, art-historical in-joke on primitivism. The figure in ET,