reviews

  • Sherrie Levine And Joost Van Oss

    Paula Cooper Gallery | 534 West 21st Street

    For all its theoretical sophistication and high-wire cerebral balancing acts, Sherrie Levine’s art has often fused a sense of mourning with a sense of humor. Duplicating classic works of “heroic” modernism, sometimes more or less exactly (as in her 1981 photographic series “After Walker Evans”), sometimes shifting them into another medium or turning the elements of a two-dimensional image into sculpture, she can leave you with the sense that doors are closing, options are narrowing, and the only way left to be original is to carve tombstones for the past. On a different day, though, or perhaps

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  • Daido Moriyama

    The Metropolitan Museum of Art

    “Less art and more truth.” I remember that motto scrawled across a wall in the Robert Frank retrospective at the Whitney Museum in 1995–96. The idea that anyone would use photography to try to tell the truth seems preposterous these days, but Frank has been doing so for over fifty years—very often with success. It is now clear that the one artist who most resembles Frank in this quixotic quest is the Japanese photographer Daido Moriyama, whose work has finally been made available to an American audience in a spate of recent exhibitions: “Stray Dog,” at the Japan Society; “Hunter,” at the

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  • Richmond Burton

    Cheim & Read

    Painting hasn’t come naturally to Richmond Burton. Though he’s had an impressive following from the beginning (his second catalogue essay, in 1990, was written by Robert Rosenblum), his progress has not been without impediments. His reliance on existing models (Frank Stella for his “Thought Plane Assembly” paintings of 1990–91, Lee Krasner for his works of a couple of years ago) seems, in retrospect, to have had little to do with the canny, mannerist revisionism of more facile painters like Philip Taaffe or, in a different way, George Condo. Likewise, the partial mechanization of the painting

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  • Steve Doughton

    Marianne Boesky Gallery

    Maybe film is finally in a position to fulfill its destiny of becoming art. With the advent of video and digital media, amateurs have a cheaper, more readily accessible technology at their disposal; the same is increasingly true of professionals as well. As a result, the medium is moving further and further away from its origin in popular culture. How shocked the Bressons and Tarkovskys, the purists of yesteryear, would be to see their dream realized in such a fashion. Now only the most dedicated hobbyist or the most obsessed artist will ever handle celluloid—balky, fragile stuff that it is.

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  • Sarah Morris

    Petzel Gallery | West 18th Street

    Sarah Morris’s recent paintings of midtown Manhattan buildings are very New York indeed: stylish, hip, loud, reflexive, and assured. Isolating fragments of the glass-curtain facades, the works are rendered in forceful colors—citron, ocher, electric blue, fuchsia—representing the blazing neon light reflected by neighboring buildings and adjacent advertising signage. The structures Morris focuses on are among the more recognizable in the area, including the Seagram Building, mother ship of International Style, and two Skidmore, Owings & Merrill projects (9 West 57th Street and the Grace Building),

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  • Anna Gaskell

    Casey Kaplan

    We’re postmillennial and allegedly postfeminist, but as a culture we remain ardently interested in that phenomenon of twentieth-century gender studies, the gaze. Anna Gaskell’s photographs effect a realm of scopophilia—we look, and are uncomfortably caught looking. If her work is both seductive and alienating, unique and derivative, it is because she wants to analyze voyeuristic desire while reveling in it, to participate in its omnivorous processes of objectification while commenting on them.

    Gaskell has received so much attention that it’s hard to believe her recent outing was only her second

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  • Tim Gardner

    303 Gallery

    Young men at leisure in one another’s company has been a subject of art since the Greeks—and some constants tend to hold across divides of time, taste, and medium. The boy-men will be handsome, perhaps bare-chested, and will display an easy physical camaraderie, a homoerotic innocence. They will be shown accomplishing feats of physical prowess and enjoying the relaxation that follows. They will appear entirely at home in their world, unconscious masters of their environments pausing to taste luxurious youth before, presumably, entering serious masculine enfranchisement. There will usually be a

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  • Andreas Gursky

    Matthew Marks Gallery

    The discourse around Andreas Gursky tends to get trapped in an outdated modernist impulse to define a medium by its physical properties. Because his monumental color photographs are digitally manipulated, they must be not photographs but “photographic paintings.” But it might be more useful to consider Gursky’s work in terms of effect rather than category.

    Gursky’s latest offering featured his signature panoramic vistas of the weirdly spectacular yet antiseptic public spaces of late capitalism: discount superstores, cavernous hotel lobbies, stock-market trading floors. Also on display were three

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  • Lawrence Gipe

    Joseph Helman

    The panels on view from Lawrence Gipe’s series “The Last Picture Show,” 1999, are tours de force of irony, both conceptually and visually. Lifting images from Nazi-era German source material (magazine reproductions of “politically correct” paintings, pictures out of photography manuals), Gipe repaints them, often in glaring, artificial-looking colors. The result is often oddly beautiful: His simulacra glow with aesthetic virility, subliminally in Panel No. 12, where the light has a tenebrist density and intensity, and in Panel No. 5, where the female figure takes on a visually exciting, elusive

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  • L.C. Armstrong

    Postmasters

    L.C. Armstrong has recently turned from conceptually based abstraction to large, aggressively breathtaking floral panoramas, most of which bear signs, subtle and otherwise, of eco-trouble in paradise. Her signature, in addition to the shield of resin in which she encases her canvases, is the thorny index left by a spent bomb fuse. Here it is reborn as barbed mossy stems bearing up the many flowers, botanically exact and imaginary, spilling giddily across the picture plane. Although the fuse traces lose their purely gestural aspect, as well as a certain isolate nastiness they had in the abstractions,

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  • Paul Graham

    Scalo

    Paul Graham’s latest series, “End of an Age,” 1999, consists of forty-nine large color photographs of twenty-somethings hanging out in clubs somewhere in Western Europe or the US (Edinburgh? Munich? Helsinki? New York? Graham refuses to specify). Most of these images are portraits that catch the singular subject unaware and unposed, usually in profile, often leaning against a wall. No one looks directly into the lens. One turns three quarters away, like Betty in Gerhard Richter’s eponymous 1988 painting, into a sea of red and gold. Harsh, stark, sharply defined flash pictures alternate with

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