• Luigi Ontani

    P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center

    LUIGI ONTANI IS THAT RARE BIRD OF ART: an unforgettable face, a world-class dandy, and a redoubtable if lovably eccentric presence on the international art-world circuit. In this first US retrospective of his multifaceted output—painting, sculpture, photography, film, video, ceramics, and fabric pieces—we saw the filmed and photographic image of the artist nude and partially draped, alone and accompanied by younger genii figures (usually boys or men of color), many, many times. Yet something more than narcissism emerges from all this Body Art. Ontani's work makes his own

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  • “Workspheres”

    MoMA - The Museum of Modern Art

    OUR HABITAT IS BEING RESTRUCTURED on an order of magnitude beyond ken. What began as a technological revolution is already re-forming our every implement and reorganizing our every social arrangement. The new economy, the super-bull market, global connectivity, cyberlife, and our galaxy of digi-gadgets are just the pretty sparks before the firestorm. And by now, the flux of product extinctions and emergences is so brisk that we no longer even notice the turnovers. Remember life before the computer, the remote, even before the cell? (Cell phone, that is.) How long until we can no longer remember

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  • Ray Johnson

    Richard L. Feigen & Co

    THE MONIKER HAS STUCK since Grace Glueck coined it in 1965, but Ray Johnson's days as “New York's most famous unknown artist” are numbered. In the six years since his death, the reclusive collagist has been the subject of a traveling retrospective and featured in two exhibitions devoted to postwar experimentalism, “Beat Culture and the New America” at the Whitney and “Hall of Mirrors: Art and Film Since 1945” at LA MoCA. This recent show at Feigen presented eighty-eight pieces from Johnson's estate, many never before seen by the public.

    The sheer volume of good work is noteworthy. But even more

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  • Ellen Gallagher

    Gagosian Gallery (21)

    SLYLY LOVELY AND PERVERSELY INDIRECT, Ellen Gallagher's work concerns inscription and sign systems and addresses the fragmentations and provocations of racialized identity. She belongs to a generation of young artists who infuse Minimalist form with corporeal, social, and emotive content: The apparent serenity of her large, airy paintings exists in tension with the marginalia yielded by a closer look—snippets of nasty minstrelsy, secret doodles, and ragged grids of grade-school penmanship paper. In these nine canvases, comprising the artist's third exhibition in New York all this and more

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  • Glen Baxter

    Lombard-Fried Projects

    GLEN BAXTER'S WORK hasn't changed much, happily, since he last showed it in New York, fifteen years ago; he remains one of the few artists who will make you burst out laughing, or at least who will do so on purpose. And his devices to manage this trick haven't changed much either. What I had forgotten, though, after years of seeing his images only in reproduction, was how pretty they are in the flesh.

    Baxter grew up in Yorkshire in the '40s and '50s, and his work is suffused with the England of way back when. It is as deeply English as the work of Robert Crumb is deeply American—Crumb being

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  • Barbara Hepworth

    Pace Wildenstein

    BARBARA HEPWORTH WAS A MASTER OF SUBTLE FORM. Though her abstract works often contain figurative allusions, the sculptures are better understood on a purely formal level: In Two Faces, 1969, for instance, it is the different placement of the holes letting space and light into the dense stones (Hepworth's longtime friend Henry Moore seems an influence) and the polished awkwardness of the asymmetrical pieces, as well as their at-odds position next to each other, that lend the piece its aesthetic credibility.

    My favorite work in this miniretrospective of mostly late sculpture was a relatively early

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  • Rachel Harrison

    Greene Naftali Gallery

    YOU MIGHT HAVE HESITATED at the gallery door, thinking the installation was still in progress, what with all the big folded sheets of brown corrugated cardboard standing there as if they'd just been removed from some large rectangular objects. A few steps in yielded a different impression: These simple configurations were the show, a piece that formed a kind of open labyrinth. But not the whole show: Further progress into the room revealed several framed color photographs on the wall and at least one object, resting on a mirrored pedestal (all works 2001). In fact, there turned out to be numerous

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  • Jim Shaw

    Metro Pictures

    HAPPILY FOR HORROR VACUISTS, Jim Shaw's recycling of cultural detritus continues unabated. For six years his increasingly less nocturnal “Dream Project” has functioned as a reservoir of flotsam and jetsam drawn from surrealist installation, comic books, photorealist painting, commercial illustration, and everything in between, as filtered through his unconscious mind. He's not offering an archaeology of trash culture; viewers are meant not to classify but merely to ponder the existence of these images—the tweaked cliché, the stylized art object, the dispossessed icon, the reconstituted

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  • Martin Kersels

    Deitch Projects

    THOSE CRASHING, RHYTHMIC thuds you heard on entering Martin Kersels's latest show were the sounds of a little world being turned upside down. Literally. This world was the nascently putrescent, nascently pubescent milieu of a middle-class American miss—a room full of stuffed animals, boy-band posters, pink things of all sorts—methodically spinning around and around on a circular track like a giant automatic dryer, letting gravity slam its ersatz, picket-fenced-in contents down to earth, again and again, until they were ground to smithereens. Welcome to Tumble Room, 2001.

    Kersels is a

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  • Katy Schimert

    David Zwirner | 519 West 19th Street

    CASTS OF ANTIQUE STATUARY have formed the backbone of artists' education since the late Renaissance. Gathered in laboratory-like settings of ateliers and arts academies across Europe and the Americas, such figurative models demonstrate the standards of excellence according to which generations of artists learn the classical idioms of beauty and perfection. Katy Schimert takes this paradigm as a starting point for her investigations of the classical tradition's pervasive influence on our cultural psyche. For her recent exhibition she sculpted various body parts in clay, cast them in ceramic,

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  • Aaron Cobbett

    Debs & Co.

    LIKE WARHOL AND JOHNS, Aaron Cobbett started out in the trenches of fashion, dressing windows for Henri Bendel and Bergdorf Goodman. He moved into photography in the late '80s, taking pictures of drag queens and boys downtown and publishing them in magazines like Empire and H/X In the mid-'90s he started exhibiting his work in galleries. For this show he decided to do “something different”—photograph women. But the artist's claim of branching out is a little misleading: Cobbett has turned “ordinary” women into caricatures of glamorized womanhood, who resemble, more than anything else, female

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  • Rainer Ganahl

    Baumgartner Gallery

    FOR THE PAST SEVERAL YEARS, Rainer Ganahl has been lurking in the corridors of higher learning, monitoring the often unglamorous sites where knowledge is acquired and transmitted. He's produced long-term projects on the instruction of foreign languages and documented academic conferences and lectures by photographing speakers at the podium. His most recent efforts shed more light on the social spaces in which intellectual discourse is formulated, reworked, and introduced into everyday life.

    In 1998, Ganahl formed the first in a series of reading groups focused on the writings of Karl Marx, the

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  • Top Changtrakul

    Lance Fung Gallery

    NOT LONG AGO, uniformed Thai policemen raided Top Changtrakul's tiny studio in the countryside outside Bangkok, confiscated most of his equipment, and hauled him off to jail. Or did they? A video included as part of this show documents the arrest, but the footage was gleefully melodramatic, and the monitor was displayed sideways, hinting that the incident was something the artist might have dreamed up while lying down. Moreover, it was all too easy to recognize Changtrakul's “studio” as another sort of facility: an outhouse.

    The spectacle of heavily armed cops staking out a privy may not be

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