reviews

  • William Kentridge, Shadow Procession, 1999, still from a black-and-white 35 mm film, 7 minutes.

    William Kentridge, Shadow Procession, 1999, still from a black-and-white 35 mm film, 7 minutes.

    William Kentridge

    New Museum

    William Kentridge’s first American retrospective opened with a recent film, Shadow Procession, that seemed to ironize the South African artist’s meteoric critical rise in the last decade. The 1999 work records a succession of jerry-built figures in silhouette, which are projected on a wall at the entrance to the show like the fleeting animals conjured by moonlight on the walls of our childhood bedrooms. To enter the exhibition was to allow one’s own shadow to fall in with the phantom procession, and the film’s sound track at times made this entrance like joining some kind of popular festival,

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  • Benjamin Edwards

    Artemis Greenberg van Doren

    Benjamin Edwards's first solo exhibition showcased his adventuresome approaches to portraying the architecture of suburbia, mapping physical and digital territories, and providing fresh views on concepts like “visual overload.” The paintings on view comprise an almost overwhelmingly complex array of signs, symbols, logos, colors, textures, and shapes, all of which are digitally distilled from snapshots of suburban sprawlscapes (Edwards has gathered more than 1000 images on various road trips). The compositions are also digitally worked out to an extent, but the artist creates the final rendition

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  • Frances Stark

    CRG Gallery

    Frances Stark's aesthetic might be thought of as eponymous. Her drawings are evocatively austere: white paper, areas of hand-lettered text, the occasional collage. A writer as well as a visual artist, Stark has also taught critical theory and played in lo-fi bands, and if these details are relevant to a discussion of her art, it's not because they compose a scruffily glamorous picture (though they do) but because they suggest the scope and subtlety of her interest in language and the visual patterning of communication. This show—the LA-based artist's third in New York—comprised twelve

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  • Jim Lambie

    Anton Kern Gallery

    Jim Lambie's work is governed by a kind of Pop alchemy, covering, wrapping, and adorning the ordinary with the ordinary, he creates contemporary totems, like Psychedelic Soul Stick (all works 2001), a bamboo cane thickly wrapped in thread and wire, and Phuture, a single glove covered with multicolored buttons. Such vaguely shamanistic, ephemeral transformations are often infused with a sentimental romanticism: The sweetly titled installation Frankie Teardrop comprised lengths of colored plastic beads stretching from floor to ceiling; Puma is a track jacket decorated with pearly beads hooked

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  • Kara Walker

    Brent Sikkema

    “Dear Cruel and malevolent Master.” read one of the index cards punctuating Kara Walker's recent installation. “What irks me, you know this, is that I am and forever shall be a slave to that which brought (said: 'brung') me here.” In an apparent afterthought, the “brought” and the “said” had been hastily crossed out with a red pen, the logic of the phrase rerouted through an act of self-editing. Both the note and its partial effacement are emblematic of Walker's ongoing project: She records, in her distinctly incendiary way, the trauma attendant on “surviving” the master-slave dialectic and the

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  • “Overnight to Many Cities”

    303 Gallery

    Some of the people seen in this show of photographs, subtitled “Travel and Tourism at Home and Away,” must be on vacation—the girls on the beach on Cape Cod, say, in pictures from the early ‘80s by Joel Meyerowitz. In others the journey is both less explicit and more alarming: Posing with wives or girlfriends, the soldiers photographed by the heartland portraitist Disfarmer don't seem particularly destined for travel, until you look at the images’ dates and realize they come from around World War II. Elsewhere it is the photographer, not the subject, who is on the move, as in the pictures

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  • Kathleen Gilje

    Gorney Bravin + Lee

    Kathleen Gilje's line of inquiry is anything but unfamiliar. The unmasking of the male gaze has been a mainstay of critical theory and contemporary art since before Cindy Sherman staged her first photograph. But Gilje's complex, often surprising project questions the terms of the feminist reading previously advanced by her colleagues: A degree of considered complicity with the object of her critique is undeniable.

    Gilje, a New York-based artist, trained as a restorer of fine art and has worked with master paintings from private and museum collections. Her recent show included portraits of women

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  • Burgoyne Diller

    Paula Cooper Gallery | 529 West 21st Street

    Burgoyne Diller's drawings and collages are quirky little things. Made a few years before his death in 1965, they represent his last fling with geometric abstraction. Diller, a student of Hans Hofmann at the Art Students League in New York, was the first American to take Mondrian as his model. Already in the '30s he was producing works with a geometric sophistication similar to that of the Dutch artist. But Diller never quite got Mondrian's metaphysical point, nor did his work have Mondrian's restraint, his determination to make less count for more, expressively and cognitively. Diller's

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  • Karin F. Giusti

    Nikolai Fine Art

    The White House has always been the focus of memorable scenes emblematic of American political administrations, from Jackie Kennedy's Camelot-era interior design schemes to the Clintons' grab for presidential housewares earlier this year ($190,000 worth of china, flatware, rugs, televisions, and sofas they'd interpreted as personal gifts) and the Bushes' proposed renovations, which shed new light on Republican criticism of Democratic excess ($430,000 to fix up the pool; $75,000 for a kitchen floor that won't “leak grease” into offices below). The building is simultaneously a private and a public

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  • John Newsom

    Bruce Silverstein Gallery

    In the first chapter of his 1977 text Noise: The Political Economy of Music, French economic theorist (and Mitterrand adviser) Jacques Attali approaches music—the human organization of sound—through nature, or more specifically birds. While we might innocently mistake the sounds they make for songs, Attali strips us of our romantic notion, pointing out that their racket is really a “tool for marking territorial boundaries.” What we read as pastoral cheeps of enjoyment or idle chatter is actually noise “inscribed from the start within the panoply of power.”

    You get the sense from looking

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  • “New York ca. 1975”

    David Zwirner | 519 West 19th Street

    All bad art, Oscar Wilde once observed, is sincere. Yet it's hard to imagine a more sincere or necessary statement than Wilde's own De Profundis. When it comes to art's directly addressing life's dire exigencies—war, social inequity, prejudice, human misery in general—sincerity, like that others word, happens. How long such art can be of anything more than historical interest is another question. Judging from this show of work made in New York in the '70s, it's got at least another fifteen minutes.

    Dan Graham's tentatively expressive Performance Audience Mirror, 1977, encapsulates one's

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