Critics’ Picks

View of “Isa Genzken: New Work,” 2007.

New York

Isa Genzken

David Zwirner | 525 & 533 West 19th Street
525 & 533 West 19th Street
February 15–March 17

Isa Genzken’s relentlessly brutal exhibition, comprising conglomerations of commercial debris, is a postapocalyptic tableau of a world left to the autonomous forces of global capitalism. In the first gallery, nine vertical aluminum panels (all works Untitled, 2006) form an abstracted urban skyline clothed in collages of photographs, holographic foil, mirrored tiles, and neon tape, all bound together with splashes of white lacquer. In the second gallery, nineteen works unfold in a spread of lighting fixtures shaped like soldiers and readymade wheelchairs and walkers, all flanked by a row of spray-paint-vandalized baby-doll dictators basking under lawn umbrellas. The hollow soldier figures—apparently, the perpetrators of a murderous attack involving infants drowned in helmets of white lacquer and propped like trophies on display—are mere skeletons with phalluses, equipped with plastic guns. In a less populated corner of the gallery sits an empty armchair splashed with red, white, and blue paint, featuring knives driven into its arms like joysticks and goatskin laid over its seat—a symbolically dense construction in which the violent delivery of paint mirrors the tone of the entire show, obliquely alluding to a pure lack of control within this darkly comic disaster.