• Mike Nelson

    Matt's Gallery

    Freud, in a much-cited passage from The Uncanny (1919), describes getting lost in a maze of unfamiliar city streets and returning time and again to the same place—the red-light district. The Coral Reef repeats on visitors in like fashion. Painstakingly assembled over three months by Mike Nelson, this “reef” is a claustrophobic, metaphorically (and literally) pungent warren of simulated rooms: a nightmare array of dingy paneling, broken light fixtures, lurid shades of wall paint, disintegrating carpet, and flammable-looking furniture in ripped vinyl or grimy velour. Whirring electric fans lend

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  • D.J. Simpson

    Entwistle Gallery

    The main gallery at Entwistle is your typical art space—boxy and white, with a stonelike tile floor and a big window onto the street. A false wall runs across part of this window, but enough of it remains clear to allow the space to be flooded with natural light. With its uncomplicated openness and even illumination, the gallery tries hard to be a blank receptacle. D.J. Simpson’s exhibition of three works messes all of this up considerably, breaking the symmetry of the room and diverting the viewer’s path through the space. It also contrives to shift the light source, using the polished aluminum

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  • Cecily Brown

    Gagosian Gallery

    I sense a backlash building after Cecily Brown’s numerous recent appearances in the popular press as an avatar of a sort of painting that is stylistically familiar yet modishly edgy in subject. What’s unfortunate is that she’s been taken up in this manner just as her paintings have been getting more difficult. The eye-catching pornographic imagery on view in her 1998 show at Deitch Projects has receded. In four of the eight works here I don’t see it at all—it’s either banished or buried so deeply that it might as well not be there. So the paintings lack the hook they used to have, but most of

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