Critics’ Picks

Marilyn Minter, Mom in Negligee, 1969/95.

New York

“Black & White”

Van Doren Waxter | 23 East 73rd Street
23 East 73rd Street Second Floor
July 28–September 18

As Truman Capote proved at his socially heterogeneous Black and White Ball, even wildly divergent elements can be made to go together if you stick to the most fundamental of palettes. Using this tactic, “Black & White” rounds up thirty achromatic works by artists as disparate as Jessica Craig-Martin and Richard Diebenkorn, Malerie Marder and Benjamin Edwards. Robert Rauschenberg’s pared-down early photograph Ceiling & Light Bulb, 1950, and Paul Graham’s giant bleached-out C-prints of parking lots lie cheek by jowl with the shady, ornate portraiture of Katy Grannan and Marilyn Minter. Dorothea Rockburne’s rigorously Euclidean pencil drawings share space with Ruilova’s scribbly little renderings of vampires. Somehow, nothing clashes. But even into this rarefied atmosphere a dash of the political has intruded, in the form of a collage by Alexis Smith built up around the famous image of Nixon and Elvis shaking hands. The president and the King are both wearing stars-and-stripes lapel pins, which provide the only jolt of color in the show.