• “The Museum as Muse: Artists Reflect”

    MoMA - The Museum of Modern Art

    “The Museum as Muse: Artists Reflect” has, by all accounts, been some years from first proposal within the Museum of Modern Art to final realization. It is nonetheless difficult not to view senior curator Kynaston McShine’s exhibition in relation to the museum’s recent agreement to assimilate P.S. 1 across the East River in Long Island City. Like an old-line company absorbing a brash start-up for its innovative capacities and ability to scout the peripheries (read Disney absorbing Miramax), MoMA may in a stroke have shored up one of its most conspicuous weak spots, that is, the combined awkwardness

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  • Robert Mangold

    Pace Wildenstein

    A fellow writer once advised me that a short essay could contain many ideas but a long piece ought to have a single big one. Likewise, a small painting will often be composed of a multitude of little touches, each of which separately gives no idea of the whole, while a very large work may be better realized by restricting the composition to no more than a few big open areas. By that criterion, it might be said that Robert Mangold has found the ideal scale in his mural-size “Zone Paintings,” with the three on view in his recent show ranging from just under fourteen to all of twenty-seven and a

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  • Rosa Almeida

    John Weber Gallery

    In general, verbal art—that is, literature—admits the graphic image only to attain the effect of a simpler, more direct presentation than would be possible in words; symmetrically enough, the visual arts sometimes resort to writing in order to seem more direct than depiction might allow. Each mode might occur within the other as a form of simplification. In Rosa Almeida’s work, however, where the verbal and the visual are, for once, on exactly even terms, nothing ever seems to simplify anything.

    The work’s components are simple enough, it’s true—bits of trivial though sometimes emotional conversation

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  • Nabil Nahas

    Sperone Westwater

    It must be hard to give painterliness a new twist these days, but Nabil Nahas’s recent abstract works manage to do so. Literally building up the painterly surface, shaping a mixture of ground pumice and acrylic into what look like organic forms, which he then repaints, the artist gives gesture fresh resonance. His richly textured surfaces, teeming with life and often even extending beyond the limits of the support, resemble lush coral reefs. Other works appear as though strewn with luridly colored dried petals. The title of the work adorning the invitation card advises “Don’t Get Me Wrong,” but

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  • Patrick Faigenbaum

    Gladstone Gallery | West 21st St

    In recent years, Patrick Faigenbaum’s photographs have begun to undergo subtle if perceptible changes. Their severity has softened, as the imposing architectural settings of his dour portraits of the Italian aristocracy have yielded to the real world and its inhabitants, to the outdoors and to light. In this exhibition of recent photographs, taken mostly in St. Raphaël, a seaside town in the south of France, and in Bremen, Germany, over the last two years, Faigenbaum continues his work as a portraitist, but focuses instead on less formal subjects.

    If the artist has eschewed the world of an

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  • Elaine Reichak

    MoMA – The Museum of Modern Art / Nicole Klagsbrun Gallery

    When is the ideological subtext of the modernist white cube most clearly revealed? According to When This You See. . . ,1996–99, Elaine Reichek’s installation in the Museum of Modern Art project room, when it is carpeted and painted green, trimmed with molding and picture rails, and filled with the samplers the artist has been sewing since 1996.

    In such humorous juxtapositions as a needleworked version of Jasper Johns’s 1958 White Numbers and a replica of a nineteenth-century sampler used to teach multiplication tables, Reichek jokingly alludes to the formal affinities between modernist painting

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  • Marina Abramović and Ana Mendieta

    Sean Kelly Gallery / Gallery Lelong

    Though they never met, Marina Abramović and Ana Mendieta are two artists who suddenly seem to have everything to do with each other. Born two years apart, both lived nomadically (Mendieta was displaced from Castro’s Cuba to Iowa at thirteen; Abramović is a longtime expatriate of Yugoslavia). Both came of age artistically in the ’70s, through Conceptualism and performance. As “rest/energy: Marina Abramović and Ana Mendieta,” concurrent exhibitions curated by Cecile Panzieri and Mary Sabbatino, revealed, the two share a vision of the female body as a contained area and (im)permeable boundary, and

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  • Charlie White

    All photography aspires to the condition of film. Just kidding—but a lot of recent photography does nod to the look and convention of its more glamorous cousin. Why not just make a movie? Ask Robert Longo or David Salle. Someday Charlie White might end up with a deal at Paramount, but for now he’s content to reference a fictitious movie with nine large-format, color photographs that project the stagy aura of film stills.

    Like many young writers and artists, White (a recent graduate of LA’s Art Center College of Design) prefers the genres of mass culture to those of the avant-garde. Two

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  • Jeremy Blake

    Richard L. Feigen & Co

    Jeremy Blake’s first solo exhibition in New York was a meditation on modernism as both a group of formal conventions and a set of lifestyle choice configured through a phantasmagoric depiction of Los Angeles. The show was held together by a loose narrative centering around Bungalow 8 at the Beverly Hills Hotel, the mythic site where high-powered deals are brokered while starlets and hunks lounge around the hot tub. But Blake’s version bears almost no morphological resemblance to the famously baroque “Pink Palace” on Sunset. In his series (which takes “Bungalow 8” as its title), the facades,

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  • “The Clubs of Bamako”

    “The Clubs of Bamako” bore witness to the euphoria and optimism that accompanied the emergence of postcolonial Africa, with thirty black-and-white photographs by Malick Sidibé running along all four walls of the main gallery. In the center of the room were fourteen sculptures—inspired by the photographs and commissioned by Jeffrey Deitch—created by African artists Emile Guebehi, Nicolas Damas, Koffi Kouakou, and Coulibaly Siaka Paul. Between 1962 and 1976, Sidibé took as his subject the nightclubs and dance parties in Bamako, capital of Mali, the West African republic that won independence

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  • Jeff Elrod / Lisa Ruyter

    Pat Hearn Gallery

    Viewing the work of Jeff Elrod and Lisa Ruyter side by side was akin to overhearing a dialogue, if not quite a duel, over painting’s flatness: Who can achieve the freshest results in this regard? One senses a fair amount of ambition on the part of these artists to carve out a space for themselves in what has become a cluttered constellation of young painters, and they often achieved admirable results in their recent show.

    Elrod is a Houston-based artist known for his large acrylic paintings of scratches, lines, and loops that originate as drawings made with an outmoded computer graphics program.

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  • Nina Katchadourian

    DEBS & Co.

    Nina Katchadourian’s recent work, documented in photographs and videotapes, consists of trivial or inept “repairs” to flora and fauna, suggesting the efforts of a clueless (if well-intentioned) field biologist. In Renovated Mushroom (Tip-Top Tire Rubber Patch Kit) (all works 1998), the naturally occurring cracks on mushroom surfaces have been fixed with multicolored tire patches, converting the caps into ridiculous-looking polka-dotted tuffets; in Transplant, a plant’s missing leaves have been replaced with membranous insect wings, restoring its symmetry but turning it into a part-animal,

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  • Joyce Scott

    Richard Anderson Fine Arts

    The Baltimore artist Joyce Scott has had shows all over the country, but she exhibits relatively rarely in New York, which is a considerable pity. Working with beads, glass, and other lucent and tactile materials, Scott seems to operate at a psychological distance, as well as a geographical one, from younger black artists like Lorna Simpson and Glenn Ligon, who have used cool, minimal, conceptually derived methods to discuss African-American identities. Among the logics I believe have motivated those artists is the ambition to produce images that deal with their chosen subjects without accommodating

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