• Wendy Knox-Leet

    P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center

    Wendy Knox-Leet is a young Canadian artist who has been living and working in New York for the last year. Her recent sculptures are an engaging expression of the on-the-wall fare currently popular in New York. Additive in structure, the sculptures consist of various layers of wire mesh and other materials—aluminum, coal, acrylic, enamel, gels, aquarium sand and glitter among them. They vary a great deal in size and shape, materials, textures and colors. What the works share, however, is an attitude of “aggressive organicity,” the result of making both formal elements (flat and folded planes,

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  • Robert Grosvenor

    Paula Cooper Gallery | 529 West 21st Street

    Modern art proceeds by breaks: its history is a series of new premises rather than a long line of conclusions. Certainly earthworks signaled a new sculptural practice: so too did minimalist work by Donald Judd, Carl Andre and Robert Grosvenor. In a self-critical period (the ’60s, say) new premises develop and pass quickly; in a tolerant one (the ’70s) they rarely even come into focus. So it is unusual when an artist like Grosvenor is able to do important contemporary work based on an “old” mode.

    The piece under review is neither a Judd-type of “specific object” nor a Robert Morris “gestalt.” An

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  • Susan Rothenberg

    Willard Gallery

    New Image painting—is it subversive, reaching a “new dialectical high” that renders the representational and the abstract “indeterminate” and turns historical styles into “seductive signs” (Donald Kuspit)? Or is it regressive, willfully naive (as is so much other art today), painting whose “indeterminacy” is Pop-ish irony, whose new images are old ready-mades? This is one question (that is, if you want to look beyond the fashion of a new style), and Susan Rothenberg is one painter to ask. And yet with her such a question misses the point; her concerns, even with the horse paintings, cut under

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  • Sandro Chia

    Sperone Westwater Fischer

    Sandro Chia presents himself as a conjuror, but in fact he is only a confectioner. He puts on a virtuoso display, wielding his brushes with élan, hoping to create an illusion of authenticity. But there is too much virtuosity, not enough substance, and as a result we are left with some rather gorgeous icing but nothing to sink our teeth into.

    Over the past couple of years Chia has demonstrated considerable bravado in his appropriation and manipulation of images and styles loaded with cultural meanings. He re-presents these in odd combinations, and on a greatly inflated scale, thus denaturing them.

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  • April Gornik

    Edward Thorp Gallery

    April Gornik’s work displays a very different sort of primitivism, perhaps as schooled as Chia’s but not so knowing. It is primitivism adopted not as a strategy, but as a necessity. It is more about simply doing something as directly as possible.

    Gornik paints landscapes. They are quite large pictures of wide open space, yet they are strangely claustrophobic. None of the paintings has much in the way of detail, but what detail there is is rendered with obsessive clarity—a fork of lightning, a few wispy clouds. Other areas, like the peculiar scrubby bushes that appear in several of the paintings,

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  • Marjorie Keller

    Collective For Living Cinema And Millennium Film Workshop

    Marjorie Keller has been making films for over a decade; Daughters of Chaos is her most recent work. With it, she is established as a major filmmaker, perhaps the only major filmmaker the American independent film has produced since the end of the ’60s.

    At this critical moment, a part of the feminist movement feels the need to avoid the solidification of a stable or cohesive position. Instead it favors strategies of negation, contradiction, opposition, disjunction; of making visible the invisible, the barely visible, the repressed, suppressed, overlooked. In this these feminists neither claim

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  • Robert Rauschenberg

    Sonnabend Gallery

    Like Jackson Pollock’s drips and splatters, Robert Rauschenberg’s art has been a kind of cultural graffiti, a gesture of defiance in which traditional ways of looking at the world are defaced. At the center of that art is a reproduction of the Old Masters which Rauschenberg has pasted onto his canvas and smeared over with paint. The campaign against figurative imagery begun there is continued in Rauschenberg’s latest project, which is a series of configurations of his own photographs placed edge to edge. There is in these new works no layering over or veiling of the photograph as there has been

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  • Henry Wessel, Jr.

    Charles Cowles Gallery

    Whatever qualms I might have about Rauschenberg’s photo pieces, as tours de force they would be hard to top. Two floors above the gallery in which they were shown, an exhibition of the photography of Henry Wessel, Jr. was being held at the same time. Wessel’s photographs are everything Rauschenberg’s aren’t. Like Rauschenberg, Wessel simply walks around making pictures of whatever catches his eye. But one reason Rauschenberg’s configurations so easily transcend the individual photographs in them is that each photograph is, in and of itself, very prosaic. Each is just a document of a found image.

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  • Timothy Greenfield-Sanders

    Marcuse Pfeifer Gallery

    The subjects of Timothy Greenfield-Sanders’ portraits are all avant-garde artists of the ’50s. More specifically, they’re the New York artists who came together in an informal group called “The Club” in the late ’40s or who exhibited work at the Ninth Street Show organized by The Club in 1951. A more lean and hungry crowd of rebels has seldom been seen in the art world. How remarkable it is to see many of them together now, in Greenfield-Sanders’ portraits, looking fat, prosperous, and self-important, like a cartel of 19th-century bourgeois.

    Part of the reason they look this way is that

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  • Miriam Schapiro

    Vassar College Art Gallery, Taylor Hall

    Although this Vassar retrospective spans almost 30 years of Miriam Schaoiro’s work, it is the work of the past ten years that must be seen as historically significant. To view her career retrospectively is to witness Schapiro’s personal struggle with history. In the oft-noted tension between the formal and the florid in her “femmages,” Schapiro ceases to be at the mercy of stylistic fashions by forging her own: her Abstract Expressionist canvases of the ’50s, ravishingly painted but corning too late to be her own invention, mate with her hard-edge canvases of the ’60s (also expert, but again

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  • Mary Fish

    Touchstone Gallery

    During the past few months I’ve seen a steady stream of vital, spiritual art in the galleries. The latest addition to this list is Mary Fish’s “Morphological/Mythological: A Meditation on Plant Systems and the Tarot.”

    The works—all but one of which were drawings on gessoed paper with silver-point, ink, and egg tempera—grew from two ongoing rituals in Fish’s daily life. The first, which she calls the “Ritual of Watching,” involves the observation and documentation of the cyclical growth patterns of flowers in her garden; the second, the “Ritual of Knowing,” consists of regular readings of the

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  • “We’ll Think Of A Title After We Meet: L.A./London Lab”

    Franklin Furnace

    In the window of Franklin Furnace, Nina Sobel’s video installation catches and projects multiple views of New York City. Inside the gallery, London and Los Angeles women artists have covered the walls and floors with objects, statements and images: English and American potatoes bestrewn with small lights (Rose Finn-Kelcey), an offer of Art-Life Counseling (Linda Montano), messages written in invisible ink (Sonia Knox) and a wall of blooming sprouts (Leslie Labowitz). Performances, video and film showings are presented day after day to the public while in private we talk, argue and theorize about

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  • Rose English

    Just Above Midtown Gallery

    A folding chair on a podium less than a queen-size bed, flanked by a pair of projectors, close but off-podium, one on either side like potted trees. The performer, in a fancy historical courtlike costume, with this wide striped bag for trousers that ends in snug elastics high on her thighs, turns on the projectors, then steps onto the platform and installs herself on the throne. Rose English makes herself comfortable and puts on a long black beard; the projector casts a magnificent shadow of her profile on the wall. Down on the floor in front is a huge trunk with the lid ajar. A traveling king,

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  • Carlyle Reedy

    Franklin Furnace

    A paper screen faces the audience, about 12 or 15 feet long with a section of reflective Mylar at the far right, and taller than a person standing. On it are a few notes with large-lettered words like “Waitress” or “Laundry.” Along the screen a whole lot of things are piled up; knee-high, hidden under paper, it all looks like a soft bench. Clattering housekeeping noises from a tape continue throughout the performance.

    A woman steps out. She calls herself Odette and says she has been doing her yoga behind the screen. She is a homemaker, most likely. Every now and then she gets carried off the

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  • Sally Potter

    Just Above Midtown Gallery

    Among the events promoted on Franklin Furnace’s press release for its “Women Performance Artists from London and Los Angeles” series, Sally Potter’s film Thriller was billed as “the first feminist murder mystery.” As an imaginative attempt to uncover the antifeminist, antisocialist foundations of the conventional operatic narrative form, Thriller is deliberately ill-suited to that genre. Its aim is to expose, not impose, the artifices of dramatic construction.

    Thriller focuses on two juxtaposed narratives: footage of an exemplary opera, Giacomo Puccini’s La Bohème, being performed onstage,

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