reviews

  • R. Crumb

    Paul Morris Gallery

    “This bunch of drawings,” writes Robert Crumb, “were made while waiting for food in various restaurants, or after eating, while people sat around drinking wine and talking.” The image is pleasant: the artist doodling, basically, in the company of friends and family, eating out. Before leaving home for supper he has pocketed a pen, but little else: The grounds of the drawings are the paper place mats supplied as table settings by the restaurants, often the same three establishments that he must regularly visit, in the small French town where he now lives. He seems to care so little for these

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  • Olafur Ellasson

    Bonakdar Jancou Gallery

    Natural elements and industrial materials meld in the work of Icelandic installation artist Olafur Eliasson. Arctic moss and strobe lights, running water and steel are not so much juxtaposed as placed on a continuum, where the organic and the man-made present equally receptive and eloquent surfaces for sensory perception.

    Eliasson’s constructions are mysteriously resonant yet disarmingly direct. The titles of his installations often include the possessive pronoun “your,” a detail that helps explain the works’ impact: Eliasson engineers the environments, but their effect derives from your impressions,

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  • Allan McCollum

    Petzel Gallery | West 18th Street

    How does an art object encapsulate meaning? What is unique, and what is a copy? These questions have driven Allan McCollum’s work since the ’70s. His recent show—the result of a three-year project sponsored by the University of South Florida and undertaken with the help of a geologist and an electrical engineer from the school’s International Lightning Research Facility at Camp Blanding—continued such investigations. The art object in this case was not a painting or sculpture but a fulgurite, a tubular specimen of petrified lightning. McCollum has appropriated the phenomenon of natural

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  • Matthew Ritchie

    Andrea Rosen Gallery

    Don’t think of Matthew Ritchie’s work as painting, exactly. It’s more a collection of grandiose narrative schemata and possibly crackpot notions involving science, theology, information theory, and who knows what else. Sure, painted canvases play a conspicuous role, and these are both striking and intricate, with their puzzlelike aggregations of colored shapes, nervous draftsmanship, and annotations in black marker. They are mostly nonrepresentational, it would seem, though there is a bit of recognizable imagery, too: For instance, one of several works titled (like the show as a whole) Parents

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  • Suzanne McClelland

    Kasmin Gallery | 515 27th Street

    There’s no way to synthesize Florine Stettheimer’s florid fancies with the turbulent energy of Jackson Pollock, and why would anyone want to anyway? Doing just that, Suzanne McClelland’s new paintings put the impossible at the service of the unreasonable. Stettheimer and Pollock do come to terms in McClelland’s Cynthia and Angela (all works 2000): The Abstract Expressionist’s flung and poured paint morphs into something resembling the arabesque festoons of Stettheimer’s twee ornamentalism, as well as lettering that spells out a series of broken phrases: “i came to you,” “you always said,” “my

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  • Sarah Sze

    Marianne Boesky Gallery

    As if painting in space with everyday objects, Sarah Sze endows her elaborately theatrical installations with a delicately humorous poignancy that counteracts all the gee-whiz grandiosity. In their logic of clutter and accumulation, the artist’s earlier Venice-Carnegie-Whitney projects earned comparisons to the everything-but-the-kitchen-sink installations of Judy Pfaff, Jessica Stockholder, and Jason Rhoades. In this show, her first solo gallery exhibition, the work was more reminiscent of the sculpture of Cornelia Parker or Tom Friedman, if one could imagine their obsessive Minimalism maximalized;

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  • Joseph Kosuth

    Sean Kelly Gallery

    In an interview a couple of years ago, Joseph Kosuth lamented that although his work is “in the collections of all the major museums,” he has “never had the support of collectors.” Instead, he said, his art had become “dissertation fodder,” more frequently studied than bought. Despite his concern about this “predicament” (a situation many artists would envy), Kosuth’s new work somehow manages to be more pedantic than ever. The Conceptualist recently presented his “Essays” series, 2000, large color photographs of his own earlier works, to which he had added snippets of text by some of the more

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  • Arturo Herrera

    Sikkema Jenkins & Co.

    Arturo Herrera’s cryptic work coaxes us deep into psychologial woods, where, like the children in the fairy tales that inspire him, we’re forced to rely on instinct and imagination to find our way. In the wall painting, photographs, works on paper, sculpture, and reliefs recently on view, what was concealed or absent bore as much weight as what was visible, leaving the viewer to complete the picture with his or her own resources.

    Many of the twenty-three collages on view (all works 2000) demonstrated Herrera’s penchant for cartoons, coloring books, and other childhood sources; one piece included

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  • Yoko Ono

    Japan Society

    Yoko Ono entered mainstream consciousness in the late ’60s and was quickly branded an interloper. Never mind that by the time she met John Lennon in 1966 (at the opening of her solo show at the India Gallery in London), she had already caught the attention of John Cage and Ornette Coleman with her music; performed at Fluxus concerts and loft events organized with La Monte Young; and created a significant body of sculpture, mail art, and performance works, some of which had been staged at Carnegie Hall. For masses of pop-music fans mourning the demise of the Beatles, Ono was simply a troublemaker,

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  • Henri Michaux

    The Drawing Center / Michael Werner / Zabriskie Galery

    Looking at Henri Michaux’s drawings, I can’t help but think of D.W. Winnicott’s squiggle games. The pediatrician-psychoanalyst would draw a line on a piece of paper, his young patient would draw one in response, and so on, until some image or other appeared. The point was to break the ice of the child’s unconscious, to let the slush pour forth in vivid associations and waking dreams. So it is with Michaux: One mark leads to another in drawings that are best understood as reflexive attempts to find a self that is not always there, that sometimes surfaces as if distorted in a dark mirror.

    Michaux’s

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  • Lordy Rodriguez

    Clementine

    Imagine Texas situated on the eastern seaboard, New Mexico boasting the charms of Eau Claire, Little Rock, and New Haven, Oklahoma forming the southern border of Canada, and Kansas with many ports. This is the United States of America according to twenty-four-year-old artist Lordy Rodriguez, who for three years has been involved in an ongoing project to reconfigure the nation according to his own imagination. Submitting geography to a process of declassification, Rodriguez recently completed the overall map of his new country, whose outline no longer conforms to the nation’s real contours: Not

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  • Merce Cunningham

    Margarete Roeder Gallery

    It should come as no surprise that Merce Cunningham’s drawings demonstrate an extraordinary talent for catching the tiniest ripple of a muscle, or that his hand so deftly manipulates the shapes of moving objects on a plain white surface. Yet his collection of pencil and pen drawings, more than twenty of which were exhibited here alongside his better-known dance notations, does manage to surprise. Confident with his tools, Cunningham builds full-blown three-dimensional forms as fully with colored-pencil cross-hatching as with a single continuous he in ballpoint pen. When he colors white paper

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