Critics’ Picks

Rebecca Bird, Untitled (Parrot), 2004.

New York

“Works on Paper”

Southfirst
60 N. 6th Street
January 23 - March 7

“Works on Paper” brings together drawings by more than two dozen artists, many of them so fresh to the scene that they make recent Cooper Union grad Nick Mauss—who contributes a suite of his marbleized neopsychedelic montages—look like an elder statesman. Joshua W.F. Thomson’s tiny pictures of neurotic humanoid apes, Rebecca Bird's lapidary rendering of a parrot and a hummingbird, and Beth Brideau’s oversize abstract watercolor are standouts among the lesser-knowns; more familiar names include Matt Saunders (with delicate portraits of obscure screen stars), and Sterling Ruby (with a blotchy maroon-on-pink “map” done in Jordache nail polish). The political wing is represented by Mark Lombardi, while Lemi Ghariokwu—recently seen in “Black President” at the New Museum—offers a mordant, cartoonish parody of a safe-sex advertisement. Rather than championing particular tendencies among today's up-and-coming mark makers, the show lets the work speak for itself, in all its cacophonous diversity.