• “1900: Art at the Crossroads”

    Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum | New York

    THINK ART IN THE YEAR 1900: the young Picasso, the aging Cézanne, Gauguin in the South Seas. Add technology and urbanism: early cinema, electric lighting, motorized subways, the automobile—all brilliant illumination and accelerated movement. Then ask yourself the inevitable question: Was modern art challenging sensory habits analogously, perhaps even as technology's rival?

    One hundred years ago, you might have attempted to answer that question by visiting the Exposition Universelle in Paris, where the most modern of achievements in creative engineering and fine arts went on exhibit for a

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  • Anni Albers

    The Jewish Museum

    POOR ANNELISE ELSE FRIEDA FLEISCHMANN. Born a century ago into a mercantile German-Jewish home, she, like so many before and after, thought she could detour from the well-trodden path of mother and homemaker and become an artist. So the gaunt Berlin teenager took a portrait of her mother to Oskar Kokoschka, who asked dismissively: “Why do you paint?” Undaunted, she responded to a leaflet for a new art school, was rejected, and then applied again, successfully, to Weimar's socially idealistic Bauhaus.

    But ideals rarely free themselves entirely from the pervasive ignorance of their moment, and so

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  • Andy Goldsworthy

    Storm King Art Center

    ANDY GOLDSWORTHY'S OUTDOOR ART has prehistory in the American Earthworks of artists like Michael Heizer and Robert Smithson and in the more delicate strain of land art made by Goldsworthy's British compatriots, notably Richard Long and Hamish Fulton. Responding to the circumscribed landscape of England rather than to the boundless one of the Americas, Long and Fulton have acted with tactful diplomacy, marking the countryside unobtrusively or not at all—both have simply documented walks they have taken. Similarly, Goldsworthy often makes art that will vanish with the rain. Even his relatively

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  • Tibor Kalman

    New Museum

    UNLIKE WALT DISNEY'S corporate-sponsored global pavilions at Epcot Center, “Tiborocity,” a theme park cleverly disguised as a museum retrospective, is based on a single mythical “village” that could be anywhere in the nonindustrial universe. In a playful yet political twist on the small-world-after-all theme, local sites within this village—public square, classroom, storefront, etc.—showcased two decades of far-flung work that Tibor Kalman and his design firm, M&Co., created for an equally disparate roster of clients. The ingenious installation (co-organized by Aaron Betsky of SF MoMA,

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  • Erica Baum

    D'Amelio Terras

    IN HER LATEST SHOW, Erica Baum's approach is almost absurdly simple: She photographs printed words. But the pictures she makes of/with them are enlivened by a sense of linguistic play subtler and more sophisticated than that demonstrated by most entries in the broad category of “text-based art.” Baum's contemplations of verbal signification and the visual conditions of reading tease moments of poetry from sober systems of knowledge classification. Similar concerns informed her earlier photographs of card catalogues; the new work constitutes a second chapter, or completes a diptych, with these

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  • Laylah Ali

    303 Gallery

    LAYLAH ALI'S LATEST “Greenhead” paintings, on view recently in the young Boston-based artist's first solo show in New York, look spare and cool with their blue backgrounds and cartoony figures in gouache on paper. The almost identical Greenheads, each with bulging white eyes, a thin brown body, and an oversize, round, dark-green head, make mechanical gestures: They wave their thin arms, run in a row, or offer objects to one another. Like superheroes, they wear simple uniforms, yet their actions are anything but heroic or simple. Throughout the small-scale scenarios appear tiny, pointed

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  • “The Magic City”

    Brent Sikkema

    CURATOR TREVOR SCHOONMAKER titled his six-artist show “The Magic City” after jazz pioneer Sun Ra's 1965 album, which in turn was named for the sobriquet that Ra's hometown, Birmingham, Alabama, has seen fit to bestow on itself. While the work assembled here is on the whole too refined to bear comparison with the eccentric visionary force of Sun Ra's Afrofuturist aesthetic, it does have a Ra-like affinity for fantasy, eclecticism, and humor—unusual qualities in work that addresses the fraught issues of race and power in America.

    Barkley L. Hendricks's life-size portraits argue eloquently for

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  • James White/Tim Sheward

    Casey Kaplan

    BRITISH DUO James White and Tim Sheward “embrace the delusion perpetuated by the worship of false icons.” In their ongoing project of simultaneously critiquing and reveling in manufactured pleasure, White and Sheward have poked fun at brand-name consumerism—the “worship” of products like the Nike and Adidas sneakers and workout clothes worn by the almost life-size bendable figures in the 1997 installation Plastic Picnic. Recently the artists have turned to the “false icons” of the tourism industry: In an exhibition in London last winter, they showed Untitled 7, 1999, a small palm tree

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  • Rina Banerjee

    Admit One Gallery / Debs & Co.

    RINA BANERJEE WAS ONE OF THOSE new faces that got lost in the crowd at this year's Whitney Biennial. Her sculpture went unmentioned in most reviews, and where her presence was noted, she must have regretted it: Jerry Saltz, for instance, discussed her work in terms of “generic installation art” in his review for the Village Voice. But a recent full-scale solo show and a simultaneous project-room installation have brought her work into focus for those of us who gave her short shrift earlier in the year, and it turns out to be a compelling mix of visual pungency and literary guile, a subtle blend

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  • Yeardley Leonard

    Dee / Glasoe

    EACH OF YEARDLEY LEONARD'S CANVASES consists of about ten to twenty horizontal stripes of color, plainly hand painted (no taped edges) in semitranslucent coats. The colors—consistently intense, even fulsome, with lots of purples and oranges, like a layered cocktail of wine, sherbet, and nail polish—tend to lighten and aerate at the top of each work, suggesting sky over land. But Leonard's horizontals resist being read as horizon lines, and each stripe—even the softer ones at the top, which are nonetheless insistently present—functions equally as both “figure” and “ground,”

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  • Paul Georges

    Center for Figurative Painting

    PAUL GEORGES WANTS TO PAINT “The Big Idea,” as the title of his miniretrospective indicates, and the big idea (as in “What's the big idea?”) turns out to be Georges himself. Tall, slightly overweight Georges cuts a big, full figure, and he appears in work after work, sometimes glowering confrontationally in an eccentric space (Self-Portrait in Studio, 1959), sometimes sitting comfortably in a familiar space (Cedar Tavern, 1973–74), undisturbed by the curious spectator. So the big idea is Me, but Georges takes his own narcissism with a grain of salt as large as his own outsize ego. There is a

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  • William Edmondson

    American Folk Art Museum

    FOR MORE THAN SIXTY YEARS, the limestone sculptures of William Edmondson (1874–1951) have stood patiently at the border of art's mainstream and its margins. When his minimal, reductive work came to the attention of Alfred Barr, the self-taught carver became the first African American to be granted a solo exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art, in 1937. Yet despite this early crossover, Edmondson's work has been consistently ignored by a museum-market machine that privileges a baroque outsider sensibility. Now “The Art of William Edmondson,” a traveling retrospective organized by the Cheekwood

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