reviews

  • Peter Campus

    Paula Cooper Gallery | 529 West 21st Street

    The careful thoughtfulness that characterizes Peter Campus’s work lies at the very base of the innate possibilities of his medium. Each successive Campus exhibitions can be seen as another step in the process of adjusting and refining the elements of his electronic projections. Although each element is a richly laden term in itself, Campus’s technologically complex participatory/figurative installations become a highly interdependent system. For example, sharpening the projected video picture means constricting the size of the image, which in turn changes the scale of the spatial scheme, which

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  • Frank Young

    Hal Bromm Gallery

    The episode in the movie Close Encounters of the Third Kind, in which Richard Dreyfus, on an uncontrollable impulse, shapes and molds his plate of mashed potatoes into a maquette of the alien landing site, contains an element of jovial satire on the art world. The scene was an immaculate middle-American family dinner till Dad, through playing with his food, was instantly transformed into an outcast and a metaphor for the artist. Under the spell of an internal, unexplainable image, his need actually to visualize it became so obsessive that his table manners—a sign of his social conventionality—were

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  • Robert Heinecken

    Light Gallery

    Robert Heinecken’s show consists of innumerable Polaroids grouped on cardboard with pencil-written texts. Right inside the door he has posted a quasi-advertisement, a predominantly textual piece leaning heavily on words like “interesting,” “increase your pleasure,” “you will achieve,” and of course, “new, improved”—advertising hype about how to draw with a Polaroid. This kind of post-modernist littering with ideas is really dated: the cheerful entrepreneur with a chip on his shoulder. But the work describes Heinecken’s Polaroid adventure—he manipulates the Polaroids by squeezing the emulsion à

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  • Dale Henry

    John Weber Gallery

    My psyche involuntarily lit up when I read the titles of Dale Henry’s works, words like Cadmium Vermilion (Barium) Red. Color names have a strange charisma, and some of that sensation carried over to the pieces themselves. “How very curious it is, how very bizarre,” I mumbled, after Ionesco’s Bald Soprano, as I sized up one of his interior arrangements: a stretched canvas, a table and chair, all drenched in pure red monochrome against the black floor and white wall. It had a curious, bizarre and bald aspect to it, at first impression. The rest is that very Dale Henry tour de force of fragmented,

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  • Cynthia Carlson

    Pam Adler Gallery

    When paint gets so thick it becomes almost an object in itself the next logical step is to remove it from the confines of painting and let it become three-dimensional. Self-sustaining forms carefully scattered along painted walls comprise Cynthia Carlson’s latest show, a result of just such thinking. The squiggles and crosses and dots of paint that built up on her previous canvases have become detached, self-standing objects. They line up across the bottom of a wall in Willie’s Weep, pattern across an expanse of wall space in Ceremony, or cluster together in random arrangements.

    The configurations

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  • Donald Lipski

    MoMA - The Museum of Modern Art

    “Gathering Dust” consists of 2,000 small pieces of nervous energy, pinned to the wall and brightly lit. The nervous energy is contained in various common objects distorted and reworked by the hands of the artist in fits of ordinary nervous tension. At least that’s how Donald Lipski explains the origins of these items. For years, says Lipski, he’s been collecting these remnants of unconscious modeling and storing them in shoe boxes, keeping a record of what ordinarily would be thrown out with the trash. Almost everyone makes objects like these, in the same category as random doodles and scribbles

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  • Meredith Monk

    Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) | Peter Jay Sharp Building

    This performance revives a 1973 piece by Meredith Monk; little has been done to enhance the work since its initial conception. Given the amount of pioneering work that Monk has done since then the results were necessarily disappointing, for the richness of Quarry (her last performance at the B.A.M.) is sadly lacking in this piece. Education of the Girlchild focuses, as does Quarry, on events in the life of a single female child and her decisions and involvement in life-shattering events. The rich and cataclysmic occurrences in Quarry are presented on much simpler terms here, but the same vague

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  • Suzan Pitt

    Whitney Museum And Holly Solomon Gallery

    “I want the audience to always know the illusions are being made by successive drawings through time—that I’m not trying to make an illusion they can ‘believe’ in,” says Suzan Pitt on the making of Asparagus. Animated film is not often reviewed in an art context, which is a shame; animation at its best is a highly personal and classical art encompassing all the elements of formal painting and sculpture with the extra added attraction of time thrown in. Pitt’s statement captures the essence of the art itself, its play with illusion and magic, creating things in the reality of real time, composed

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  • Robert Adams

    Castelli Graphics

    In 1974 Robert Adams came out with a book of photographs called The New West: Landscapes Along the Colorado Front Range, and then in 1977 a book called Denver: A Photographic Survey of the Metropolitan Area. The New West is a rubric of sorts for all the photography, for it documents just that phenomenon, a West that no longer abides with misconceptions of it, a West that is neither the Old West of frontier nor the Free West of natural life. Rather the New West is, in part, a spotty sprawl of social forms, alienated from both human life and natural context.

    In effect, the photography documents an

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  • Michael Goldberg

    Sonnabend Gallery

    It is a simple grammar of form, in the work of Michael Goldberg, that allows for its complex statement, and it is the necessity of material and process that allows for its strong freedom.

    Goldberg works with bare stretched canvas on the floor—a simple method but with complex results, for, directly, the disposition of the work is problematic. We are unsure whether we look down upon a surface of forms, like a table, or at a (more conventional) vertical image of figure and ground. It seems to be both a collagelike abstraction and a landscape or architectural image.

    Goldberg masks out areas of canvas

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  • Kimber Smith

    Robert Elkon Gallery

    It is reassuring to see a painter like Kimber Smith, who has painted now for three decades, continuing to paint well, free of the anxiety of anachronism. Such anxiety is debilitating; it may provoke an undue obeisance to superficial trends or a cranky irony in regard to painters more “of the day”; it may provoke a surreptitious revision of one’s work with an eye to art history or a frivolity that would pass as gayness but is in fact self-parody; or it may just be manifest in a tiredness with an edgy compulsion to go on. Smith treads past these hazards with an apparent nonchalance. The manner

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  • Elke Solomon

    Droll/Kolbert Gallery

    Using an artist’s previous work as a standard to gauge the success of present work is a common critical misstep. The dialectic of new work vis-à-vis earlier pieces is better the province of a monograph. The product of a vigorous coupling between dominant culture and personal expression, art is properly criticized when it is seen, at the same time, as a cultural artifact and an object for delectation. This month’s shows included new work by several artists who’ve been around.

    Although performance art generally is given a birthdate roughly coincident with that of Dada, many overlook that performance

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  • Andy Warhol

    Heiner Friedrich Gallery

    What’s the difference between a conundrum and an enigma? If you want a concrete example, it’s the difference between Elke Solomon’s riddle, which she answers with a joke, and Andy Warhol’s “Shadows,” a brooding, riddling exhibition to which there are no answers, just mystery.

    Sixty-six large (76 by 52 inches) canvases are abutted—filling up the entire gallery. Bright acrylic colors thicken the surfaces, and the accumulations of paint seem to take on one of two configurations. Warhol’s press release assures that each of the canvases bears the same image, so if I detect two, could this mean there’s

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  • Miriam Schapiro

    Lerner-Heller and Gladstone/Villani Galleries

    Donald Judd might be horrified to hear his work called decorative, but Miriam Schapiro would delight in the adjective. There seems to be a Schapiro exhibition everywhere you look these days, and for good reason. Her work is frankly decorative, texturally rich and formally complex. But it’s the content that’s most powerful.

    Her exhibition of paintings at Lerner/Heller concentrates on two themes from japanoiserie: the kimono and the fan. These collages of paint and fabric have the appropriate format for each subject: the kimonos are silhouetted on the surface of boldly colored canvases, the fans

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