• Susan Rothenberg

    Sperone Westwater

    What is most intriguing about Susan Rothenberg’s new paintings is the tension between gesture and object, as if an ironic reciprocity existed between them. The accidents involving horses that she depicts in her paintings are emblematic of the almost random quality of her brushstrokes. Peculiarly inhibited—on the verge of a spontaneous discharge stifled by reluctant control—her gestures denote a struggle with instinctive aggression rather than with Eros. In a 1994 painting, the skull, rocks, and bones float on a poisonous yellow background with which they seem on the verge of melding, epitomizing

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  • Fausto Melotti

    Paolo Baldacci

    Fausto Melotti makes two kinds of sculpture: delicate, ironic works that are variations on a few elementary formal themes, and ghostly white, mannequinlike figures. The former seem to extend the sculpture of empty space that Pablo Picasso’s “cage” sculptures outlined and that Alberto Giacometti surrealized in his The Palace at 4 A.M., 1932–33.

    Meloni’s structures are ingeniously self-contradictory, pushing opposites to an extreme and then fusing them. Explicitly geometrical—more decisively abstract than those of Picasso and Giacometti—these sculptures also make subliminal allusion to the figure.

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  • Gary Hume

    Matthew Marks Gallery

    Gary Hume’s early work took the form of a series of abstractions based on a type of double door familiar to those who have worked in restaurants or walked the corridors of Britain’s dysfunctional public service buildings—the kind that swing open from either side and from either direction. Featuring little more than a rectangular push plate and a round window, the doors, like the paintings, suggest the possibility of passage through an institutionalized—and increasingly bankrupt—space.

    Breaking with the formal constraints of the door series, Hume’s recent work nonetheless retains that high-gloss

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  • Sue Williams

    303 Gallery

    The abrasive, quasi-agitprop style usually associated with Sue Williams’ work seems to have been left behind in her latest paintings. This development will doubtless disappoint some supporters, just as it will likely mollify some detractors. All of which only goes to prove that Williams’ work has a strange propensity for making a good part of its viewership lose its critical faculties altogether; they either flee in horror or slavishly applaud without ever looking the monster in the face.

    In fact, Williams has never been content to follow a straight line; not only has she experimented with

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  • Andres Serrano

    Paula Cooper Gallery | 529 West 21st Street

    Andres Serrano returned from the land of the dead and apparently decided to go East—to Budapest, “a city that attracted his attention in 1993 during a brief detour from Vienna,” as the press release for his latest exhibition so picturesquely put it. Serrano is the artistic equivalent of a band that puts out concept albums, and for this new show the theme is not the morgue, the KKK, or body fluids, but the city. While being plunged into the rhythms of a new metropolis tends to produce a discombobulating sense of contingency in most of us, Serrano appears to have emerged from Budapest with an

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  • Jeanne Dunning

    Feature Inc.

    Jeanne Dunning tends to take two kinds of photographs: at first glance, you might characterize them as pictures that either defamiliarize the familiar or vice versa. The former present a thing in a way that suggests something else, as in Dunning’s well-known pictures of anuslike fruits, or in a recent photograph called Hand Hole (all works 1994), a tight close-up of a cupped hand that takes on the appearance of some sort of sexual orifice; the latter clearly and unambiguously focus on an obviously manufactured bodily “deformity,” as in The Extra Nipple, a photograph that could easily be your

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  • Luis Cruz Azaceta

    Alternative Museum

    Born in Cuba in 1942, Luis Cruz Azaceta emigrated to the U.S. in 1960, where he enrolled at New York’s School for the Visual Arts and developed a hard-edged approach to abstraction that he would abandon a decade later. After a trip to Europe, he shifted to a looser, more expressionistic figuration that characterizes the 22 brightly colored and dynamic paintings included in this exhibition. Drawn from the last 15 years of his oeuvre, some of the pictures can be read as allegories of life in New York City, indicated iconically by the presence of the Empire State Building, though it is clear that

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  • Rirkrit Tiravanija

    Gavin Brown's enterprise | 620 Greenwich Street

    Though I wasn’t there, at the opening of this show all the “art” was removed, and, in its place, for the moment, people milled about chatting, dazzling, listening to live music, behind a small white divider onto which Andy Warhol’s Sleep, 1963, was projected. All of this was meant to pose the question, Which is more worthy of the label “art,” the excellent tight white space purring with Sleep and people and music or the quiet before and later with Rirkrit Tiravanija’s objects next to Warhol’s works?

    Tiravanija’s projects propose that the when and where of art may be as interesting, as integral,

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  • Billy Sullivan

    Fishbach Gallery

    Sunshine—darling!—splashes on the pool’s surface, glints in your hair, which I want to tousle for some electric charge, flowers the garden. Drink it down like iced tea with mint, sip it like Veuve Clicquot La Grande Dame 1985, cut swags of it for the crystal vase—peonies, dahlias, hollyhocks. “In times of crisis, we must all decide again and again/whom we love.” And what we love, too. Frank O’Hara decided to list all the stars, heartthrobs, and walk-ons in his life, and those who had moved him, and his love of their glamour was a love of light and shadow, flickering, glowing, a way of saying,

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  • Rita McBride

    Michael Klein Gallery

    Le Corbusier conceived of his Villa Savoye as a house “in the air,” as “no more than a series of views choreographed by the visitor, the way a filmmaker effects the montage of the film.” With her recent installation, Backsliding, sideslipping, one Great Leap and the ‘forbidden’, 1994, Rita McBride took him at his word, creating her own, almost literal, version of this Modernist vision of architectural utopia.

    McBride’s scale model of the Villa’s ground floor—wood covered with vinyl tile—presented an open, schematic plan, topped by truncated pilotis (those skinny columns Le Corbusier adored) that

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  • Stephen Prina

    American Fine Arts

    As Stephen Prina’s newest project, Dom-Hotel, Zimmer 101, Köln, 1994, suggests, analyzing the institutional context of art and artmaking can be fun. Earlier works such as Exquisite Corpse: The Complete Oeuvre of Manet, 1988, and Monochrome Painting, 1988–89, addressed the way in which our insatiable appetite for constructing elaborate architectures of classification inevitably leads to a perverse privileging of the naming/coding system over the objects themselves, thereby reducing cultural artifacts to the status of pitiable signs to be exchanged like commodities.

    Like Sherrie Levine, Prina

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  • Catherine McCarthy

    David Beitzel Gallery

    A post-Modern painter with a penchant for the art-historical canon, Catherine McCarthy borrows freely from pictorial sources as disparate as Piero della Francesca, David Salle, Albrecht Dürer, and her own family scrapbook. An excavation of memories of a Catholic girlhood punctuated by dreamy flights into the history of painting, these works are mildly nostalgic, always polished, and overarchingly poetic.

    In glazed, multilayered canvases filled with details of landscapes, calligraphic notation, and pentimenti, she quotes liberally from both art and literature, creating a narrative out of disjunctive

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  • Robert Younger

    Interart Center

    Reflecting an idiosyncratic approach to sculpture developed over two decades, Robert Younger’s most recent installation took the form of a walk-in rebus. It looked like a playroom dreamed up by a somewhat troubled kindergartner during nap time.

    Sprawling through two, relatively large rooms, Younger’s ensemble of odd constructions—made of cast-off objects and rough, unfinished materials—formed an allegorical universe, with its own obliquely demarcated earth, sky, habitats, and modes of transportation and communication. A snapshot of Younger wearing a metal dish cover on his head, and a roughly

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  • Lonnie Holley

    Luise Ross Gallery

    Lonnie Holley works in an environment-cum-studio situated on the outskirts of Birmingham, Alabama—a dense jungle comprised of lyrical, twisted wire shapes, colorful acrylic paintings, industrial sandstone carvings, and weathered assemblages constructed from found objects and materials. A young, self-taught innovator within what Robert Farris Thompson has identified as the vernacular African-American traditions of cemetery decoration, the yard show, and the bottle tree, Holley has forged a sophisticated visual vocabulary that works to bridge the arbitrary divide between the mainstream and the

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  • Michael Sorkin

    Storefront for Art and Architecture

    Widely known for his wry, sharp-shooting criticism, Michael Sorkin put writing aside in order to develop an architectural practice. Thankfully he did not stop writing altogether, though it is more often as a theorist than as a critic that he chooses to commit his thoughts to paper.

    Neither wildly implausible nor easily realizable, Sorkin’s models for living occupy the inadequately mapped region between theory and practice. Even to those who pretend to embrace a variegated architectural practice, Sorkin’s unruly, unfamiliar work is frequently mystifying. Though his ungainly amalgamations might

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  • Maly Drama Theatre of St. Petersburg

    brooklyn academy of music

    Toward the end of the Maly Drama Theatre’s production of Gaudeamus, 1992, the entire company—14 male performers (heads shaven) and four women (locks flowing)—takes a break from a two-hour rampage across a raked stage made slippery by a thick layering of fake snow, to execute an elegant series of pliés, tendues, and rendejambes. Following this interlude, the company resumes the slapstick gestures and flat-footed stomping that gives this production its high-jinks theatricality.

    The sheer physicality of the production reflects the training methods of Russian theater directors from Meyerhold onwards

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