reviews

  • David Goldblatt, Speculative development by a property developer in supposedly “authentic Cape Dutch” style, Agatha, Tzaneen, Transvaal, 10 April 1989, black-and-white photograph.

    David Goldblatt, Speculative development by a property developer in supposedly “authentic Cape Dutch” style, Agatha, Tzaneen, Transvaal, 10 April 1989, black-and-white photograph.

    David Goldblatt

    Axa Gallery

    There is a photograph in this retrospective of a spacious white house on a hilltop overlooking a vast terrain of forcefully rolling country, dotted with tree and bush and climbing to mountains along the distant horizon. The upper half of the picture is clouds and sky. Below the house are traces of hedgerows and fields, but all else is extravagant emptiness; except for the building and its plot, there is no obvious human sign in the entire wide land—no home, no road, no railway, no smoke of fire, no smudge of town. But for the unfarniliar, bell-shaped profile of the house’s architecture, the

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  • Louise Bourgeois

    Cheim & Read

    What can one say about Louise Bourgeois but that she is master of her form and mistress of her passions? Now ninety, Bourgeois has been making art for nearly three-quarters of a century, executing drawings in her parents' tapestry-restoration atelier in Paris in the '20s and studying with Léger in the '30s. This was her first New York solo show in almost a decade, though last summer's exhibition with Yayoi Kusama at Peter Blum was one of the year's highlights. The new work is large, comedic, disturbing, beautiful. The intimately psychoanalytic content of her sculpture has often been remarked—yet

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  • Julie Mehretu

    The Project

    A map of Julie Mehretu's career thus far would have the scattered, centripetal look of her paintings. Imagine a wide swath of markings and arrows, emblems of an itinerary that has taken the artist from Addis Ababa and Dakar to Kalamazoo, Providence, Houston, and Harlem. Near the center of the map, clusters of color-coded symbols would represent a six-year run of exhibitions and reviews, quickly growing denser and soon interspersed with little plumes of flame and smoke—combustion! By the time the Whitney released its very long list of artists for the 2002 Biennial last November, her absence,

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  • Jörg Sasse

    Lehmann Maupin | New York, W 24 Street

    Jörg Sasse has refined the role of artist as technician. He scans photographs of architectural forms and prosaic landscapes taken by himself and others—friends and strangers—into his computer and manipulates them by reducing and enlarging scale, shifting focus, and playing with tones and hues. In the process, the found photograph is drained of all sentimental, souvenir, in some cases even deictic value, and the final product, a glossy print bluntly titled with a random four-digit number followed by the year of completion, yields only a trace of its ancestor. Yet some formerly muted or

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  • Ghada Amer

    Deitch Projects

    One thing I'm tired of—just so you know—is people setting up some dreary idea of feminism in order to justify the pretense that they themselves have done better. “I started with the proposition that feminism had failed,” Ghada Amer told Art News last fall “but it was a positive failure, meaning there were still things to work on.” Amer may claim to be reclothing the bones of feminism, but perhaps she's just gnawing them for whatever substance her work has. By giving her shows titles like “Pleasure,” she hopes to distance herself from the so-called didactic art of her elders—but

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  • Christian Jankowski

    Swiss Institute / CONTEMPORARY ART

    Robert Frost famously remarked that poetry is what gets lost in translation. Berlin-based artist Christian Jankowski seems to have taken the bard to heart, albeit turning his dictum on its head. By fashioning art out of the strange, often wonderful juxtapositions that arise in witty linguistic and visual transformations,

    Jankowski has arguably made translation itself his medium. For a 1997 piece, Let's Get Physical/Digital (recently shown at Apex Art in New York), Jankowski and his girlfriend, he in Stockholm, she in Milan, restricted their communication for a week to instant-message conversations

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  • Petah Coyne

    Galerie Lelong / Julie Saul Gallery

    There is something exquisitely tacky about Petah Coyne's latest work. Made with beads, ribbons and bows, flowers, diminutive yard-trash statuettes, and fake and stuffed birds, all covered with gallons of melted wax, her sculpture runs distinctly counter to the sensibilities of viewers who may have grown accustomed to the slickness of Miesian modernism, post-Minimalism, and photoconceptualism.

    Coyne's frame of reference is decidedly Victorian: decorative, excessive, and funereal. Her last major body of sculpture employed miles of hair, both human and animal, twisting up and down the gallery wall.

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  • Rico Gatson

    Ronald Feldman Gallery

    In the heyday of modernism, numerous theorists of art and architecture considered pattern and ornamentation to be synonymous with an archaic mind-set. For example, the architect Adolf Loos notoriously labeled ornament a crime against the purity of white walls, while the art historian Wilhelm Worringer argued that geometric abstraction helped “primitive” cultures live in denial of the corporeal world's frightening realities. Though not commenting directly on these early-twentieth-century biases, Rico Gatson's recent work seems geared to revive the debate. He turns well-known American films into

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  • Darren Waterson

    Charles Cowles Gallery

    Whatever else it may be, postmodern painting tends to be art-historically self-conscious, saturated with double entendres, and executed in an astute, “crafty” way: tightly controlled no matter how impulsive and free-spirited it may look, no matter how uncanny the associations it engenders might seem. In such work it becomes impossible to separate the cognitive from the aesthetic. Darren Waterston's exquisite canvases fit the postmodern bill. They use biological imagery—not an overdone, semi-subjective biomorphism but a freshly objective sense of microscopic reality—to create what could

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  • Peter Liversidge

    Rare Gallery

    In his first one-person show in New York, British artist Peter Liversidge reproduces internationally known signifiers like the logos of Lufthansa and BMW with a childlike clumsiness that strips all slickness from the corporate icons. He makes no bones about his limited skill as a draftsman: In a 1999 catalogue for a show at A22 Gallery in London, the artist complained, “I really am trying. . . but I just can't paint these products the way the manufacturers would like too see them.”

    Yet perfection is scarcely the objective. Unlike, say, Warhol's uncanny realistic appropriations, which glorified

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  • James Hegge

    Paul Rodgers / 9W

    James Hegge's first solo show in New York comprised three sculptures, two series of drawings, and a video, all related to real or imagined performative actions. Megaphone for Speaking to the Wall, 1999 is a forty-inch-long fiberglass-and-resin cone with an opening at its vertex, a foam gasket around its base, and two rough handles halfway between. The object at first seems absurdly whimsical, then turns darkly cartoonish when one imagines it in use, since the wall fancier's words would only be trapped in the vacuum and thrown back into his or her face. Similarly, Conversation Tool, 2000, which

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  • “Mir2”

    Smack Mellon

    Harking back to elaborate tree forts hosting gangs of neighborhood kids, “Mir2,” a group project organized by artists Ward Shelley, Peter Soriano, and Jesse Bercowetz, brought together dozens of collaborators to build a complex of seven modules suspended from the ceiling of this Brooklyn gallery's two-story main space. Linked to one another by scaffolding, extension cords, and a profusion of thin steel ropes, the modules were connected to the gallery only by the cables anchoring them to the ceiling and by a flimsy Styrofoam footbridge held aloft by Mylar balloons, which led to a mezzanine. Such

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