Critics’ Picks

“Andreï Molodkin.” Installation view.

“Andreï Molodkin.” Installation view.


Andreï Molodkin

Kashya Hildebrand
22 Eastcastle Street
July 17, 2013–September 13, 2003

In his first New York solo show, Russian artist Andreï Molodkin puts blue ballpoint Bics to linen, bringing his humble instrument of choice to bear on the iconic pictogram that appears, most famously, in the “I [HEART] NY” design: In this and other phrases, he replaces the symbol of love with a skull and crossbones. Wielding his pen alternately as a drawing tool and as a brush, Molodkin creates layered fields of blue edged with looped markings and swarms of scribbles. His capital letters, formed out of white negative space and with proportional markings lightly diagrammed inside, have the stately architectural presence of Doric columns inscribed on a blueprint. While the canvases and studies that comprise the bulk of this exhibition would be a bit thin on their own, the inclusion of several canvases from Molodkin’s 2001 show at Hildebrand’s Geneva gallery—works that slyly consider Soviet military strength through a conjoining of Socialist Realist imagery, grand architecture, and Neoclassical styling—confirms the artist's aim and deepens his critique.