Critics’ Picks

Lisa Oppenheim, The Sun Is Always Setting Somewhere Else (detail), 2006, looped slide projection, dimensions variable.

Lisa Oppenheim, The Sun Is Always Setting Somewhere Else (detail), 2006, looped slide projection, dimensions variable.

New York

“Gut of the Quantifier”

Lisa Cooley
107 Norfolk Street
March 9–April 20, 2008

Lisa Cooley’s dashing inaugural exhibition paired an artist, Andy Coolquitt, whose sculptures place formalism in the service of utility with another, Frank Haines, whose formal exploits edge into mystical realms. Now the young dealer has filled her long, narrow Lower East Side storefront with a group exhibition that features a mix of work by other young artists, as well as a few 1960s-era predecessors. Named after a song by the Fall with lyrics that turn on minute variations, “Gut of the Quantifier” encourages viewers to look twice: Glance once at works on paper by the late artists Fred Sandback and Brion Gysin, and you’ll encounter stark abstract compositions; circle back, and their marks seems to push and pull into the third dimension, delineating space with economy. (Something similar happens with Paul Sharits’s 27A Continues: White Light of Tunisia/27B Souk of Tunis, an undated marker drawing that opens out onto an entirely different kind of space.) Several of the younger artists nod to classic Conceptualist exercises. Barb Choit’s five sequential color photographs, examples of a larger series, use only the light given off by the collection of lamps they depict to expose the film. The prints range from a moody scene lit only by a fluorescent tube resting on the floor to a bright image in which each bulb is surrounded by a corona of white. Matt Sheridan Smith’s According to speculative logic (five portraits), 2008, comprises five colorful, vaguely familiar portraits taken from various paper currencies; the images are partially visible through irregular windows carved into the silvery scratch-off ink that he has laid over them. Lisa Oppenheim’s slide projection, The Sun Is Always Setting Somewhere Else, 2006, consists of sixteen images of the artist’s hand—positioned in front of a New York sunset—holding up printouts of sunset photographs taken by soldiers in Iraq. The exhibition’s title takes on new meanings as each picture-within-a-picture glides by, collapsing Conceptual and arch-Romantic art-historical precedents.