• Martin Puryear

    Chicago Cultural Center

    This exhibition was a ten-year retrospective of Martin Puryear’s sculpture both “public and personal,” as the show’s subtitle put it. The public commissions that grace a station of the Chicago rapid-transit system and a sculpture park could only be represented in models, photographs, and drawings, so it was the personal pieces that dominated the show. This was not only because they were actually there, but because Puryear’s studio work—done for museums or for sale, or just for himself—seems to engage his imagination more fully. In explaining the difference in the approaches he takes to the two

    Read more
  • Jenny Holzer

    Rhona Hoffman Gallery

    One of the key terms from the ’60s has a renewed significance in the art world of the ’80s. The term is “co-optation,” the ability of mainstream, capitalist culture to appropriate any idea, no matter how avant-garde or radical, for its own pleasure and profit. When Jenny Holzer pasted on building walls or hung in bank windows the dictionary of clichés she called “Truisms,” she turned the tables on the co-opters. Holzer’s unique form of corporate raiding peaked with her appropriation of a whole new mass medium, electronic signs, on which she has displayed her word art from Times Square to the

    Read more
  • Michiko Itatani

    Marianne Deson Gallery

    The contorted figures, skewed perspective, and dramatic scale that have characterized Michiko Itatani’s work of the past few years were seen again in this exhibition of four enormous paintings. What is new—and problematic—here is an expanded palette whose chromatic richness, though engaging in its own terms, vitiates the tension between methods and expression that has long been a conceptual strength of Itatani’s art.

    During the ’70s, Itatani’s interests in process and site-specific works were developed through installations of painted canvas panels combined with wall drawing and painting. In

    Read more