• Larry Poons

    Salander-O'Reilly Galleries

    Once among the stars of “postpainterly abstraction,” Larry Poons has been going his own unpredictable way, pictorially speaking, for some time now. Not that he cultivates the signifiers of solitary genius; his new paintings suggest a studio, like the one in Courbet’s “real allegory,” so packed with the figures of his imagination that he can barely stop to notice his isolation. Which is fine for him, but it does make it rather difficult for us to follow along. Perhaps that’s why his last show here, in 1995—extraordinary paintings that in retrospect seem like a culmination of Poons’ last twenty-five

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  • Giovanni Anselmo

    Marian Goodman Gallery | New York

    New York convention has it that an artist of any ambition does not exhibit without having an impressive number of works on hand, or else a spectacular, room-filling installation. All the more so, as in Giovanni Anselmo’s case, if it’s been seven years since the last show and viewers may need to be reminded of the artist’s stature. Yet what Anselmo presented was nothing more than five tall slabs of dark granite, fixed to the wall with iron braces that looked rather like columns or pilasters.

    It was the title, L’Aura della pittura (The aura of painting), that served to indicate that what counted

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  • Dale Chihuly

    Charles Cowles Gallery

    Dale Chihuly’s glassworks have met with a popularity most artists barely dream of. Among the causes for this are the dramas of their color, simultaneously intense and quasi-transparent; of their liquid shapes, the frozen traces of glass’ fluidity in its molten state; and of their peculiar, tense feeling of suspense, a product of the argument between their deceptively lush, sensual voluptuousness and their actual inelasticity and shatterable fragility. Most of all there is Chihuly’s formal inventiveness, the constant variations he is able to spin on both natural objects (shells, say, or flowers,

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  • Jene Highstein

    Ace Gallery

    Jene Highstein exhibited eight large sculptures in this show, most made on site in the gallery and destined to be destroyed after the exhibition, as they were too large to be moved in or out of even this commodious space. While not a retrospective per se, the exhibition did include 1996 versions of pieces originally executed in 1972, 1974, and 1975 along with more recent work (as well as drawings based loosely on both the older and newer sculpture).

    Halves—two half-cylinders of Cor-Ten steel, 85 inches tall by 42 inches wide, facing each other—was first built in 1972 and initially exhibited, at

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  • Pepón Osorio

    Ronald Feldman Gallery

    It is difficult to deny the initial power of Pepón Osorio’s installation Badge of Honor, 1995, and it’s not much easier to disentangle the various elements that produce that impact on later reflection. Much of this difficulty has to do with the lingering effects of finding that one had walked in on an intimate conversation between a Latino father and his son, which Osorio staged by building a bleak prison cell and a teenager’s pop icon–encrusted bedroom on either side of a wall. Against the far wall of the cell was a large black and white video projection of the father, while on the facing wall

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  • Julio Galán

    Annina Nosei Gallery

    Julio Galán’s paintings, no matter what their subject matter, inevitably conjure female medieval mystics—their copious tears, their silence, and their mouths, tasting of honey at the moment of union with the longed-for body of Christ. Although his work has often been compared to that of Frida Kahlo, with which it does share compelling affinities, Kahlo’s work is essentially secular, rooted in the agony of daily existence. Galan’s, however, is driven by a profound and transfiguring sensual disturbance.

    The dark undercurrent in Galán’s work—in the past he has specifically referenced the

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  • West 8

    Storefront for Art and Architecture

    The analogy might go something like this: Dutch landscape firm West 8 is to the Office for Metropolitan Architecture what Swedish bubblegum band Ace of Bass is to ABBA. Both West 8 and Ace of Bass are clearly derivative of iconic figures from their native lands who had made critical splashes (in architectural theory and ultra-white disco, respectively) in the United States in the mid ’70s. In both cases, the figures that the younger artists choose to emulate confirm their good taste, or at least their pop savvy, which is arguably more important.

    “Fuck the park,” the catchiest single to date from

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  • Amy Adler

    Casey Kaplan

    One might answer the title of Amy Adler’s recent exhibition “What Happened to Amy?” with another question, “How did Amy manage to look so pretty during her awkward teenage years in the unfashionable ’70s?” Such concerns may seem trite, but to anyone who struggled with puberty, long hair, and peasant smocks, the breezy composure of the barefoot girl in these self-portraits is remarkable. This unflappable self-confidence is only the most obvious of the myriad ways in which the five pictures that constituted this exhibition seemed to present a false picture. The more complicated deceptions arose

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  • Richard Phillips

    Edward Thorp Gallery

    In his recent series of confidently worked oil paintings, Richard Phillips enlarges images of women found in ’70s fashion glossies to enormous scale, some more than six feet tall. While Phillips occasionally flirts with the issues of the “male gaze” and the sexual hard sell with these giant headshots, his treatment of them is more haunted than voyeuristic. In fact, the fashion archetypes of twentysome years ago—the cropped-top ingenue who might or might not be Twiggy, the stringy-haired flower child, the Charlie’s Angels wannabe in aviator shades—become strangely creepy in Phillips’ paintings:

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  • Andrew Topolski

    Elga Wimmer PCC

    Andrew Topolski’s late-spring exhibition “North, South, East, West” charted his interest in scientific, musical, and architectural systems. The works assembled here resembled precise scientific instruments and graphs, but were actually more like props for a philosophical debate than precision tools. Self-referential and nonutilitarian, they drew on eclectic sources, ranging from mathematical diagrams and musical scores to old master works and the writings of Herman Melville. Topolski seemed less preoccupied with the functions to which these objects allude than with their aesthetic or didactic

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  • “Counterculture”

    Exit Art

    “Counterculture,” a survey of the last thirty years of “Alternative Information from the Underground Press to the Internet,” displayed some 1,000-plus items organized around such general themes as “Students, Youth, and the Rise of the Underground Press,” “Black Panthers and Third World Struggles,” “Feminism and Gay Liberation,” and “Punk Subculture and Zines.” Walking through this exhibition, fresh and full of discoveries, was at times like browsing through the drawers of a Wünderkammer. Those new to the material could familiarize themselves with “alternative information,” while those more

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  • “Image and Memory: Latin American Photography 1880–1992”

    El Museo del Barrio

    While the clichéd title “Image and Memory” could be (and has been) applied to photography shows from virtually anywhere, the subtitle “Latin American Photography, 1880–1992,” for an exhibition of 141 photographs from nine countries, was clearly a misnomer. The idea that anyone could do justice in a show of this size to the whole field of Latin American photography from the dawn of the medium to the present is unrealistic at best, and arrogantly condescending at worst. In her introduction to the exhibition brochure, curator Wendy Watriss attempts to take herself off the hook with the extraordinary

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  • “Bare Witness”

    The Metropolitan Museum of Art

    In Pleasure of the Text, Roland Barthes asks, “Is not the most erotic portion of a body where the garment gapes? In perversion (which is the realm of textual pleasure) there are no ‘erogenous zones’ (a foolish expression, besides); it is intermittence, as psychoanalysis has so rightly stated, which is erotic: the intermittence of skin flashing between two articles of clothing (trousers and sweater), between two edges (the open-necked shirt, the glove and the sleeve); it is this flash itself that seduces, or rather the staging of an appearance-as-disappearance.” Since it is a kind of textuality,

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  • Gary Hill

    Galerie des Archives

    What does it mean to be transfixed by your own body? Gary Hill may not have the answer, but Hand Heard, 1995–96, his startling recent installation comprising five large-scale projections in an octagonal room, suggested he’s been exploring the question. Each projected image depicted a person engaged in the rather mundane activity of scrutinizing his or her own palm. Hill’s construction was at once banal and poetic, even disturbing, and the longer you watched these figures stare endlessly into their hands, the more unnerved you became. What exactly were these people doing? And why were Hill’s

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