New York

Anni Albers, Robert Beck, Cady Noland, Joan Semmel, Nancy Shaver

Mitchell Algus Gallery

How to deal with the art of the past—especially the recent past? As we fumble around for alternatives to the old do-away-with-dad modernist model (passive-aggressive postmodernism—i.e., replicate, don’t wrestle—was a nice try), three current shows take the lead, serving up yesterday three different ways.

As ever, context is everything. Joan Semmel looks like two different artists in the group show (“Anni Albers, Robert Beck, Cady Noland, Joan Semmel and Nancy Shaver: Black and White Photographs 1975–77”) curated by Robert Gober at Matthew Marks and in her jewel of a solo (“Joan Semmel: Self-Images”) at Mitchell Algus. Algus has earned a certain cachet mounting gently revisionist shows of left-out artists like Paul Feeley, Nicholas Krushenick, and Robert Stanley; here you see Semmel’s paintings the way you might have seen them back in ’78, in an intimate space on the fringes of SoHo. At

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