reviews

  • Sarah Sze

    New Museum

    If a work of art sits still, you look at it; if it moves, you’d better watch it. Sarah Sze’s Many a Slip, 1999, differs from most sculpture in that it bears watching as much as being looked at. It doesn’t just occupy a certain space, however elegantly or inventively. Rather, despite the fact that it has almost no moving parts—only, for instance, a fan, the kind of thing that moves but stays put—the work seems to make its way through space, to ramble, meander, or extravagate: to start at Point A under certain conditions and then somehow, by the time it’s inched its way gingerly over to Point B,

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  • Tracey Emin

    Lehmann Maupin | Chelsea

    “Girl talk” never much enjoyed the prime-time exposure it has long deserved until last year, when the House Judiciary Committee chose to post transcripts of Monica Lewinsky’s intimate phone conversations with Linda Tripp on the Internet for all to read. I particularly liked the part where Tripp tells Lewinsky she’s starting to “think like him” and then muses over how she would like to kick him in the balls until they were flat like little pancakes. It’s a perfect example of the “discourse”: direct, uncensored, unfettered by gentility or reserve, and, when appropriate, graphically violent. Of

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  • “Fame After Photography”

    MoMA - The Museum of Modern Art

    Blame it on Di. In the wake of the princess’s death by paparazzi, curator of photography Peter Galassi gave Marvin Heiferman and Carol Kismaric—founders of the old-guard, avant-garde New York cultural programming and publishing firm Lookout—free rein to assemble a survey of celebrity photography from the second half of the nineteenth century through the end of the twentieth—from Nadar to nadir. There are no gorgeous prints here, decorously arrayed in the usual Stieglitz/Szarkowski modernist chorus line; instead, the curators give us a riot of reproduction on cheap paper—magazines, newspapers,

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  • Antoine Pevsner

    xxx

    This stunning exhibition of almost a half century of drawings (1912–56) by Antoine Pevsner was accompanied by one of the few surviving copies of the “Realistic Manifesto,” which Pevsner wrote with his brother Naum Gabo on the occasion of their open-air Tverskoy Boulevard exhibition in Moscow in 1920. Among other things, the manifesto proclaimed the necessity of a “new Great Style” to go along with the “new civilization” that modernity and the Russian Revolution had made possible. Repudiating Cubism and Futurism as well as Naturalism and Symbolism, the brothers proposed a kind of abstract

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  • Jörg Sasse

    Lehmann Maupin | Chelsea

    The first thing one notices about Jörg Sasse’s new images is that they’re gorgeous, then that they resemble everyday snapshots. Only somewhere down the line does one recognize—in the strange tonalities and heightened formal rhythms—that they have been digitally tweaked. Sasse collects casual photographs made by others, studies them, and then teases out their latent formal and conceptual properties. That he uses digital imaging to effect his changes is almost beside the point, since the resultant works are manifestly about photography—“practicing photography by other means,” as Richter has

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  • Eric Fischl

    Mary Boone Gallery | Uptown

    Why, fancy that, there’s Steve Martin, alone on the beach, hiding behind black shades and a wide grin. And over here is Mike Nichols, looking quite dapper in black suit and shirt, but with that casual open collar to show he’s a regular guy after all. His interlocked hands and intense stare seem to relay something private, but who knows whether his look isn’t as studied and calculated as his clothing? And there’s Eric Fischl’s dealer, Mary Boone, looking like a petulant odalisque as she leans against the window sill. These, along with paintings of curator Bruce Ferguson, April Gornik (Fischl’s

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  • Günter Brus

    Gasser Grunert

    Although he was one of the central figures of Vienna Actionism, Günter Brus is hardly known here; this is only his second solo exhibition in the States, and the first in New York. Initially it’s surprising that the work has taken so long to arrive—the heyday of Aktionismus was, after all, more than thirty years ago. But how receptive would New York have been to so visceral, violent, and overwrought an art as that of Brus and fellow practitioners Otto Muehl, Hermann Nitsch, and Rudolf Schwarzkogler? We like an art that reflects skepticism and sobriety; Clement Greenberg was not alone in his

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  • Rirkrit Tiravanija

    Gavin Brown's enterprise | 620 Greenwich Street

    There’s no place like home. Well, maybe that’s not quite true. Rirkrit Tiravanija has built a replica of his East Village apartment, right down to the working toilet, inside Gavin Brown’s gallery. He presents us with a bedroom, a bathroom, a music room, and, of course, a kitchen, all built with plywood walls and filled with ragtag furniture. As always, Tiravanija invites us to hang out—not with the artist himself this time, but with a series of art students he’s installed there for the summer.

    Ben, the resident on duty when I went to see the show, studies at the Art Institute of Chicago, where

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  • Munro Galloway

    De Chiara/Stewart

    Did you grow up before or after the VCR? With or without computers? Pre or post the World Wide Web? Even Luddites have to admit it makes things interesting, not knowing where we’ll be next—but knowing we’ll be there soon. Where does painting fit in? we wonder. There’s been a lot of speculation lately about who the next generation of young painters will be, what attitudes might motivate painting in the future, and, perhaps most important, what it will look like. Keep an eye on Munro Galloway. In his first solo exhibition of impressively stylish and savvy paintings, he uses visual allure as a

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  • Daisy Youngblood

    McKee Gallery

    Among the different streams of American art in the ’80s—the glamorous resurgence of painting, the media- and society-related photo work, the post-Pop, the post-Concept, the neo-geo, the Parisian or Frankfurtian or Benjaminian theorizing—Daisy Youngblood’s sculpture filled a peculiarly quiet niche. Made of low-fired clay, sometimes combined with found objects— sticks, teeth, hair—these small heads and torsos of people and animals worked their obvious fragility and hollowness to strong effect: The clay was all too clearly a brittle skin around a void. That empty interior was blackly visible in

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  • Andrew Ehrenworth

    Taylor | Graham

    Continuing a trajectory from his earlier portraits of dogs whose faces appeared to be melting, Andrew Ehrenworth’s eleven new paintings are based on standard-issue photographs of grade-school children, although these faces are more Carrie than Marcia Brady. Enlarging what might have been wallet-size images to five-by-five or two-by-two-foot canvases, Ehrenworth intends to convey a generalized idea of childhood: Benjamin, Mary, Kate, Bill, Andrea, and Beth evoke kids he knew growing up in a New Jersey suburb. But the canvases look as if they’ve been rained on: Paint is applied in a very fluid

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  • Donald Sultan

    Knoedler & Company

    With such unlikely materials as tar, vinyl, Spackle, and Masonite, Donald Sultan builds up his thoroughly elegant paintings, which monumentalize such ephemera as the swirling of smoke rings or a glimpse of two birds landing. Other subjects are only somewhat less transitory, such as the close-up still lifes featuring elephantine black eggs placed amid ripening apples or within checkerboard patterns of yellow roses or half-ripened tomatoes. In these, Sultan seems concerned with the impressions made by organic surfaces, whose contours and colors he often renders with a delicate-looking, waxy opacity.

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  • Merry Alpern

    Bonni Benrubi Gallery

    In 1995, with the unexpected help of an NEA rejection, Merry Alpern became notorious for her photo series “Dirty Windows.” Even if they couldn’t resist looking, viewers were made uneasy by these voyeuristic images, secretly taken through the bathroom window of a low-rent sex club near Wall Street. For the series, Alpern hid out in a building across an air shaft, capturing blow jobs, strip teases, coke-snorting, and a host of other activities with a telephoto lens. Now she’s come out in the open, sort of, to document another form of commerce: women rifling through clothing racks, trying on bathing

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  • Cecilia Vicuña

    Art in General

    The exhibition began before one reached the gallery, in the creaky old elevator that took a long time to rise. Passive and expectant, the viewer, who had yet to see anything, heard something instead—an ethereal trilling, a woman’s voice singing what could have been a lullaby in an unidentifiable language or an improvised melody. Spatially acute, emotionally direct, but physically elusive, Cecilia Vicuña’s Canto (all works 1999) is typical of this Chilean artist—a poet, performer, and sculptor whose work has been little seen in New York outside the 1997 Whitney Biennial. Produced by Art in General,

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  • Jean Cocteau

    Wessel + O'Connor Fine Art

    “The muses must be represented in attitudes of waiting,” wrote Jean Cocteau, whose compulsion to continue producing even in the absence of inspiration perhaps helps explain how the artistry of his writing and films coexisted with the repetitive, facile elegance of much of his work on paper. An example of one of his kitschier drawings might be a depiction of a fluidly limned classical head, embellished by stars and flourishes or accompanied by lines of poetry. Such works are utterly lacking in formal rigor, but as with the statue played by Lee Miller in Cocteau’s first film, Le Sang d’un Poète

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