New York

Ugo Rondinone

Matthew Marks Gallery

Ugo Rondinone’s solo New York debut looked like a group show, and I suspect that’s just how he likes it. There was nothing here to suggest that the Swiss artist wants to define a single identity for himself or a common thread through his multifarious endeavors—not that he needs to. But every group show is liable to betray notable imbalances of quality from work to work, and that’s true even when the “group” happens to be one artist.

Of the five distinct Rondinones in this exhibition, one contributed three very large tondo paintings (all works 1999–2000 or 2000): concentric bands of color à la Kenneth Noland but executed with a spray gun so that the circles look blurred, out of focus. From a certain distance the works are intense and punchy and quite flat. As you get closer, they become less graspable and at the same time begin to generate the illusion of being convex. Everyone who writes

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