reviews

  • Focus: Gregory J. Markopoulos

    Whitney Museum of American Art

    For those familiar with the peculiar history of Gregory Markopoulos’ cinema, to view one of his shimmering, complex films, with their elusive themes of memory, desire, and creativity, is to grapple with the knowledge that the work itself may be on the verge of slipping from their grasp. Rarely seen and nearly forgotten, Markopoulos’ films were once compared to the works of Joyce, Proust, and Eisenstein. In certain circles they have assumed the weight of legend: Stan Brakhage, in a lecture held in conjunction with the Whitney’s recent retrospective, spoke for many in the audience when he remarked

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  • Alice Aycock

    John Weber Gallery

    Best known for such outdoor projects as Maze, 1972, and A Simple Network of Underground Wells and Tunnels, 1975, Alice Aycock is also a committed draftsman who has produced an extensive corpus of drawings. More than simply plans for projects, Aycock’s drawings are works in their own right, fantasies on paper that echo the history of visionary design, stretching back to Piranesi and Boullée. At the same time, they exemplify their own moment, announcing the shift from the phenomenological environment of Minimalism to a metaphorized architecture or earthwork. The development of land art and built

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  • Krzysztof Wodiczko

    Galerie Lelong & Co., New York

    Krzysztof Wodiczko’s Xenology: Immigrant Instruments, 1992– , is an ongoing project that powerfully combines the high-tech and the political. Over the last four years, Wodiczko has designed two “instruments” that enable users, immigrants from various countries, to tell their stories: an “Alien Staff”—a high-tech “biblical shepherd’s rod . . . equipped with a mini video monitor and a small loudspeaker”—that shows various sequences from prerecorded interviews with the bearer recounting his or her experiences; and a “Mouthpiece,” an object that encircles the jaw with a small video monitor placed

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  • Kcho

    Gladstone Gallery | West 21st St

    In the three sculptures on view in his first New York solo show, the young Cuban artist Kcho used, or cited, the boat as both a basic structure and an overarching metaphor. The two larger and more recent pieces, La Columna Infinita I (Endless column) and La Columna Infinita II, both 1996, were formed of slender slats of blond wood, held together with numerous C-clamps, and creating skeletal images of piled-up boats. Monuments to their own antimonumentality, these works certainly reminded at least those viewers who knew that Kcho resides in Cuba less of their ostensible Brancusian model than of

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  • Leon Golub

    Ronald Feldman Gallery

    Leon Golub’s new “Snake Eyes” series, 1995–96, is in some ways more delicate than his well-known paintings of mercenary soldiers, of assassins and tyrants, of tortures and interrogations, but it is just as fierce. The difference lies in the surfaces, which are elegantly thin compared to the scraped and battered canvases that used to serve as the visual correlatives of the scenes depicted on them. It is also in the imagery: rather than precise, exactly described brutality (Golub has sometimes lifted his figures from documentary photographs), we get what the artist calls a “pseudo-metaphysical”

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  • Loren Madsen

    McKee Gallery

    In Loren Madsen’s For Next, a piece he showed in this gallery back in 1986–87, 2,000 thin five-inch-square copper tiles hung from the ceiling by a thread tied at each corner to form a continuous carpet at, as I remember, a little under shoulder height. Below, where sculpture usually finds the floor, was empty air; above, where there’s usually empty air, was a transparent thicket of supporting threads, both present and bodiless, like steady rain. Near one end of the carpet the tiles swelled into a low mound, an effect achieved simply by strategic shortening of the threads. All at once, the piece

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  • Larry Clark

    Luhring Augustine | Chelsea

    Anyone who thought Larry Clark’s Kids was a movie concerned with verité or réalité needs to brush up on his French. The film may have employed aspects of documentary in trying to capture the look of now, but, as with Clark’s photographic work, assemblages, books, and videos, no one thinking clearly could possibly mistake the film’s style for anything but his hysterical, complicated esthetic. One of Clark’s gifts is that his eye is so daring, rapacious, and thoroughly fixated that the boytown he continually contemplates seems to belong to him alone. Like any time period, now has a look and a

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  • “Screen”

    Petzel Gallery | East 67th Street

    Supposedly testing where the “abstract or representational ‘space’ of painting” and the “abstract or representational ‘space’ of television” begin and end (and converge), “Screen,” curated by Joshua Decter, had the equipment for a keen viewing experience, but the show was never plugged in. The accompanying video catalogue inter-cut shots of parts of paintings in the show or groups of parts of paintings with text about the rather flimsy conceptual and theoretical basis of “Screen” as well as stills—no noise or action—from television programs (Julia Roberts and one of the Friends guys; spacemen;

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  • Portia Munson

    Yoshii Gallery

    It was on the one-year anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing that I returned to Portia Munson’s recent installation—a re-creation of a child’s bedroom that colonized every inch of the gallery’s exhibition space. That day it resonated eerily with the barrage of television images showing the aftermath of the terrorist act that destroyed a day-care center: parents and grandparents stood in bedrooms that seemed caught in a time warp, furniture and stuffed animals arranged as if their occupants would return at any moment. Munson’s installation echoed these chilling rooms: around a child’s bed were

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  • Forrest Myers

    Art et Industrie

    For decades, Forrest Myers has been exploring the territory that comprises the no-man’s-land between design and sculpture, consistently forsaking a purist dedication to either in favor of a stubborn hybridity that has ensured his excommunication from both. His work invites us to indulge in the understandable impulse to buttonhole his output as “artsy chairs,” “functional sculpture,” or any other thumbnail epithets connoting a fall from disciplinary grace. But to accept this invitation is to miss the richness of Myers’ sense of play, a materially embedded, deconstructive wit that seriously

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  • Moyra Davey

    American Fine Arts

    It’s just, you know, everywhere. Clutter. Piling up with no particular order or end in sight. At least that’s the way it is in Moyra Davey’s elegantly disarrayed photocollages: she constructs her work from a wide variety of photographic papers (standard color paper, photo transfers onto lined yellow writing paper), and a variety of formats (Super-8 stills, enlarged 35 mm. shots), arranging the results on white paper within slim frames. Inside these confines, the order of things is less apparent. There are photos of stacks of books packed, perched, and leaning precariously on old gray-painted

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  • Paul Ramirez Jonas

    Postmasters

    Paul Ramirez Jonas really loves history’s losers. He loves them so much, in fact, that he’s devoted himself to resurrecting them, to re-creating on a small scale all the stuff that didn’t quite work out. In his most recent show, he focuses on two objects that met with limited success (whirligigs and radiometers), and one extravagant failure (the battleship Maine). The whirligigs will look familiar to whoever’s spent time in the Land of American Country Colonial (read: the suburbs) or in Antique Shoppes. Reminiscent of weathervanes, they’re metal cutouts in various shapes mounted on posts, usually

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  • Taro Chiezo

    Sandra Gering Gallery

    Using high-tech colors and materials (including transparent Day-Glo plastic and laserdisks), Taro Chiezo created an installation that resembled a space-age playroom in which the futuristic machines and materials are synthesized into deceptively adorable art. Chiezo’s brilliance lies in describing in visual terms the immediate excitement surrounding the prepackaged technologies of television, video, the computer, and the Internet, a visual analogy for the instant (and ultimately unsatisfying) gratification available through electronic media.

    The four large-scale paintings in the show featured

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  • Janine Gordon

    John Gibson Gallery

    In these slight, flawed but promising pictures the subjects are young Hispanic men from Greenpoint, Brooklyn. That they are also gang members is of little importance, for the iconography does not immediately mark them as such the way wings do angels.

    Gordon depicts them at home, among themselves, often bare-chested, laughing, wrestling on beds, striking poses; the major notes are patience, tenderness, tolerance, gaiety, and sweetness. True, glazed eyes and dreamy smiles suggest drugs, as does a picture of two men, their parted lips almost touching, sharing a puff of smoke. But drug use is not

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  • Peggy Cyphers

    E. M. Donahue Gallery

    The 70-by-50 inch canvases that comprised Peggy Cyphers’ most recent show were not only the largest but the most impressive of the works she has exhibited in recent years. Her intense exploration of the language of expressionism over the last decade has reached a new height in these works. Her most recent paintings combine abstraction and figuration to lyrical effect, and many of her titles suggest an allegorical dimension.

    Onto a ground of gesso tinted a pale yellow, Cyphers silk-screened owls, birds, lizards, and images of women from the ’60s against a central grid, then partially painted over

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