• Gerhard Richter

    Luhring Augustine | Chelsea

    There is a peculiar emptiness—a feelingless inscrutability—at the core of a Gerhard Richter picture. It is as though painting and photography, which Richter famously employs as a source for his painterly images, have neutralized each other, leaving the viewer with a groundless image. Or, from another perspective, it is as though there is some basic picture—any old image—that represents a kind of rough-and-ready cinderblock consciousness of something; it is covered over by contradictory yet complementary veneers, but nothing has been substantially altered in the process. The result is thus all

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  • Agnes Denes

    Joyce Goldstein Gallery

    Like D’Arcy Thompson, Agnes Denes is obsessed with mathematical consistency and universality in nature, adding to that a humanistic concern for its survival. The redemption of nature may in fact be her ultimate goal. As presented in this show, a documentation of numerous environmental “performances” and constructions, Tree Mountain, conceived in 1983 and currently being realized in an abandoned gravel pit in Finland, is a “living time capsule” of 10,000 trees planted by 10,000 people, a kind of poultice applied to one of the earth’s many wounds. The project follows a complicated mathematical

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  • Hans Bellmer

    Ubu Gallery

    Though 63 years have passed since Hans Bellmer created the first of his two disarticulated dolls, or poupées, they remain difficult to describe. “The body,” he wrote, “resembles a sentence which seems to invite us to dismember it into its component letters, so that it will reveal in an endless row of anagrams the reality that it contains.” Photographed in dizzying recombinations and occasionally tinted to heighten an already tense eroticism, the poupées are frozen at a point of intense desire and profound damage—at once fluid and immobile, female and male, suggestive of both disintegration and

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  • Sophie Tottie

    Patrick Callery

    To judge from her work, Sophie Tottie, a Swede in her early 30s, might be a woman schooled by the idea- and process-obsessed artists of the ’60s and ’70s but who goes home at night to worry about life in the computer age. Cool, muted, obscurely troubled and troubling, Tottie’s images suggest a curiosity about the orders innate to visual technologies and systems, particularly electronic ones. Yet she is as much as anything a painter, if one who also makes photographs and videos, and whose paintings arrive at their quite distinct mood through means less expressive than analytic.

    When Tottie executes

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  • Carlo Mollino

    Robert Miller Gallery

    The celebrated architect and furniture designer Carlo Mollino coupled erotic imagery and an obsession with the machine in all his work, including his photography. He began taking Man Ray–inspired pictures of women in the ’30s, and by the ’60s, Polaroids of prostitutes had become the primary means through which the middle-aged Mollino bluntly fetishized the female form.

    The earlier, larger photographs seem almost innocent, if clichéd: an image of a woman’s head, gently balanced alongside a glass box, or a streamlined profile, a nose stretched forward like the prow of a plane with a plunging Alpine

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  • Prudencio Irazabal

    Jack Shainman Gallery

    How unexpected to find a painter who not only transcribes the earnest intellectual/formal issues of the art of the 1960s with a flash and seductiveness reminiscent of the late ’80s, but actually pulls it off. With his first New York solo exhibition, Prudencio Irazabal presented the fruit of this unlikely synthesis, demonstrating that it is still possible to open up the seemingly narrow esthetics of monochrome painting.

    Of course, the designation “monochrome” is usually a misnomer. Your typical monochrome painter will point to an all-green painting and proudly announce, “You know, there’s no green

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  • Catherine Howe

    Casey Kaplan

    Like some of the most interesting new figurative painters—notably John Currin, Lisa Yuskavage, and Brenda Zlamany—Catherine Howe begins with an essentially formal conceit that soon lurches into discomfiting psychological or social territory. In Howe’s case, the inaugural trope is a simple goof on the notorious figure/ground dichotomy: each canvas presents a “portrait” of a young woman, usually nude, as often black as white, done in a rather dashing, painterly style reminiscent of the Ashcan School, against a ground that cites Abstract Expressionism or its immediate derivatives.

    In her last

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  • Victoria Civera

    Victoria Civera first exhibited Gallinero (Chicken coop, 1994–95), the main piece in her recent New York solo show, last spring in Dan Cameron’s survey of contemporary art from the Americas Cocido y crudo (The raw and the cooked) at the Reina Sofia. Though the change in the work’s title from “Sketch (Para el Soñador de Islas)” [Sketch (from the dreamer of islands)] to the more concrete “Gallinero” was accompanied by some minor adjustments to the work itself, on the whole the piece retained its makeshift appearance and the oneiric quality suggested by its original name. This “coop”—a two-tiered

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  • Tim Hawkinson

    Ace Gallery

    Los Angeles–based Tim Hawkinson may well be on his way to becoming a true crowd pleaser. A jack-of-all-trades populist who carries a torch for the dovetailing of Surrealism, AbEx assemblage, and proto-Conceptualism that characterizes the work of such artists as Jonathan Borofsky and West Coast precursors Bruce Conner, Ed Kienholz, and the early Bruce Nauman, Hawkinson’s presentation is a retrospective-like selection of 64 works from 1991 to the present that may gain him a reputation as one of the hardest-working artists around. A veritable art salad—a swap meet where esthetic pluralism is the

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  • John O'Reilly

    Julie Saul Gallery

    In John O’Reilly’s “Occupied Territory,” 1995, a series of 16 small black and white Polaroid photomontages, the helmeted heads of young World War II German soldiers are transplanted onto innocently suggestive male nude bodies from ’50s gay porn mags and stationed within or against portions of Camille Corot’s silvery poetic landscapes. These meticulously mediated and faceted collages are placed against variously toned gray backgrounds and set up on blocks of wood, concrete, or brick, in miniature stage sets. Subtle tonalities of light and shadow combine with shifts in depth and perspective to

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  • Robin Kahn

    Susan Inglett Gallery

    Robin Kahn’s work as an editor and an artist has entailed a close monitoring of the legacy of creative endeavors undertaken by women; at the same time she has continued to develop her own host of political themes. In Time Capsule: A Concise Encyclopedia by Women Artists, a hefty anthology she conceived and edited in 1995, writings and drawings submitted by women from around the world were arranged according to a charged lexicon, from “abstract porno” to “veils.” In this show of six paintings and a sculpture addressing female stereotypes in realms of fashion, the body, and labor, Kahn carried

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  • Duncan Hannah

    Tibor De Nagy Gallery

    Using old photos, magazine illustrations, and details from other paintings (including his own), Duncan Hannah puts a personal spin on stock scenarios of love, betrayal, and isolation in his paintings—mixing and matching locations, adding and subtracting characters, altering compositions and moods. In these wistful, Edward Hopper–esque scenes, figures dressed in the styles of the 1940s float through seemingly haunted spaces as if lost in reverie.

    Though the use of appropriated images from magazines, advertising, and the history of art characterizes the work of a number of artists who came to the

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  • Dennis Masback

    K&E Gallery

    Dennis Masback, now in his late forties, has been exhibiting his work in New York for nearly two decades, a period punctuated by a moment of near-celebrity in the late ’70s during which his work was compared to that of Jasper Johns and Brice Marden. Characterized by beautifully reflective surfaces and the use of printing techniques, the seductively luminescent paintings of that decade revealed the material reality beneath the painterly illusion, accentuating the weave of the canvas and the lines of the support with the use of such devices as the painted “window frames” that characterized one

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  • William Daley

    American Craft Museum

    For nearly forty years William Daley has pushed the boundaries of the ceramic tradition. Daley’s recent retrospective reflected his sustained exploration of the vessel form, focusing on the dynamic relationship between his drawings and works in clay. Comprising 45 pieces, dating from the mid ’50s to the early ’90s, this collection of both studies and finished works enabled the viewer to trace Daley’s ongoing effort to place the ceramic tradition in an expanded context—to explore its origins in the ancient ritual forms of diverse cultures, as well as to forge a relationship with architectural

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  • Salome

    BAM | Fisher Building

    Like an Aubrey Beardsley sketch come to life, Steven Berkoff’s staging of Oscar Wilde’s Salome unfolds with unabashed decadence. An unholy cadre of sycophantic courtiers rehearse a repertory of hyperstylized gestures, tempo molto lento, to Roger Doyle’s ghostly sonata (played on an upstage piano to sound like Scriabin just before the thunder). While previous stagings (including the overly sincere production starring Al Pacino at Circle in the Square in 1992) have tried too hard to capture the Wilde within, Berkoff follows Wilde’s own delicious maxim that “nothing succeeds like excess.” Like

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