• Tom Friedman, Untitled, 1991–94, acrylic, press type, and ink on paper, 17 x 23 1/2".

    Tom Friedman, Untitled, 1991–94, acrylic, press type, and ink on paper, 17 x 23 1/2".

    Tom Friedman

    New Museum

    I couldn’t find precious amid the blizzard of words that composed the floor sculpture Everything, 1992–95, a piece of paper on which Tom Friedman has supposedly scrawled every word in the dictionary. But that’s the adjective—with its connotations of adorability and slightly excessive fussiness—that sprang to mind as I took in the works at his first museum survey exhibition, organized by Ron Platt of the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Friedman belongs to a generation of American artists drawn to the phenomenology of Minimalism who infuse their work with

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  • “Brazil: Body and Soul.” Installation view.

    “Brazil: Body and Soul.” Installation view.

    “Brazil: Body and Soul”

    Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum | New York

    “Brazil: Body and Soul” is among the most expensive and polemical museum exhibitions in recent memory, and its genesis is worth considering. The extravaganza is a refinement of “Mostra do redescobrimento” (Rediscovery exhibition), which in 2000 celebrated the five-hundredth anniversary of the arrival of the Portuguese in Brazil. Installed in three sprawling Oscar Niemeyer buildings at Ibirapuera Park in São Paulo and accompanied by thirteen exhibition catalogues, this encyclopedic overview gathered half a millennium of Brazilian culture—from archaeological finds to contemporary art—and drew

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  • Frank Stella

    Paul Kasmin Gallery (511)

    Frank Stella’s recent exhibition consisted of sixteen new works in various, purposely indistinct media. There were some paintings—we know they are paintings because they are flat surfaces covered with paint. There was one rickety collage—pieces of paper covered in colored forms and rudely stapled together. There were sculptures. This remains the trickiest category, because (1) as we know, Stella became famous in the early ’60s for his use of shaped canvases, initially attracting the approval of the Greenbergian establishment and its successive avatars as well as that of Donald “Specific Objects”

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  • John Currin

    Andrea Rosen Gallery

    John Currin seems to be cleaning up his act, at least a little: no more extravagantly chesty women, the cartooniness of some paintings balanced by a certain sedateness in others. Of course, if you found misogyny in Currin’s earlier work, you won’t be won over by, say, The Lobster (all works 2001), in which a woman’s head and shoulders extend horizontally into the frame to become the stand for a traditional still life—fish, bread, fruit, carafe, even a violin, as well as the eponymous crustacean. You may also notice that if Currin’s lubricious eye manhandles younger women rather less blatantly

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  • Carl Ostendarp

    Dee / Glasoe

    More than a decade ago, Carl Ostendarp emerged as a deadpan formalist, with bulging foam reliefs and sculptures that read as mockeries—of the monochrome tradition, of Jules Olitski, of Expressionism. In the mid-’90s, just as he was shifting to a new, cartoony idiom, his career got sidetracked, partly because of a few prominent negative reviews. As his former Yale classmates and drinking buddies (Sean Landers, John Currin, Richard Phillips, Lisa Yuskavage) became marquee names, Ostendarp virtually dropped out of sight.

    So this, his first major New York show in seven years, had the feeling of a

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  • Tacita Dean

    Peter Blum Gallery

    Flea markets are famously fecund places. Treasure troves of detritus, they offer a rich archaeology of abandoned objects, each with its own mute, often melancholy history. For Tacita Dean, an artist deeply engaged with time’s ravages and lost or imagined narratives, the flea market has become a hunting ground for source material of all kinds. Here, in her debut as a printmaker, Dean showed three portfolios from 2001, two of which consist exclusively of images she found in flea-market photo bins.

    An artist’s book is the main work of a two-part piece titled Floh (German for “flea”; Dean, a Briton,

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  • Zhang Huan

    Luhring Augustine | Chelsea

    While Zhang Huan was an art student in Beijing in the early ’90s, his art history professor taught him about “Rubens’s red,” “the most powerful red in the history of art.” Later, when Zhang himself was teaching, he passed along his teacher's formulation, adding that Rubens’s red is, in fact, multilayered. By contrast, he explained, “Chinese red is flat.” Zhang’s sensitivity to the nuances of painting may be surprising, given that he is known for performances that he documents in photographs. But the story indicates his acute awareness of the different approaches to representation in the history

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  • Maciej Wisniewski


    In 1999, Maciej Wisniewski launched his digital-art career with Netomat, a browser that rewires our access to—and hence our perception of—the Internet by circumventing the structures currently used to organize online information. We typically navigate the Net as if it were a series of self-contained sites connected by hypertext links. With Netomat we encounter its contents as an endless, uninterrupted flow, existing in a single virtual space. First presented at Postmasters and featured in the Whitney Museum’s 2001 exhibition “Data Dynamics,” Netomat is also the basis of Wisniewski’s two new

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  • Per Kirkeby

    Michael Werner | New York

    Per Kirkeby’s recent paintings, simultaneously refined and raw, are about memory: the memory of the northern landscape in which he grew up and of the abstract terrain of art that is also his heritage. A Dane trained in geology, Kirkeby arranges his pictures in strata, often disrupted by outbursts of the aurora borealis, sometimes infiltrated by grainy shadow, always set against the black of the Arctic night. Indeed, this landscape is not just Scandinavia but the icy, exhilarating no-man’s-land of the far North. Kirkeby carries Sturm und Drang to a mystical new extreme in which an intimate merger

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  • Rhona Bitner

    CRG Gallery

    There’s not much clowning around in Rhona Bitner’s recent Big Top photographs, even if her circus people are not lugubrious like Picasso's or tortured like Bruce Nauman’s. Aside from a few large-scale formal portraits, somewhat reminiscent of those painted by Walt Kuhn, the images here were small action shots taken from the audience’s perspective. In these, single figures (or occasionally small groups) captured in midmovement or at the climax of a pose appear isolated and luminous, spotlighted in pitch-dark surroundings: A man spins the wheels of a bicycle as it seems to climb an invisible

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  • “Heavenly Visions”

    Drawing Center

    This exhibition, the first major presentation of Shaker “gift” drawings and song manuscripts since 1979, shattered a number of common misconceptions about this centuries-old culture. The pared-down aesthetic one might associate with the Shakers through familiarity with their furniture is nowhere to be found in these bright, minutely detailed works in pen and watercolor on paper. And the widely held notion that making these works constituted a benign pastime for women was countered by the curatorial affirmation of the drawings’ powerful social, theological, and aesthetic significance in Shaker

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  • Richard Caldicott

    Ariel Meyerowitz Gallery

    Richard Caldicott photographs Tupperware. This might sound like an interesting new form of social deviance, but what’s more intriguing, at least initially, is that the photographs look very much like Color Field paintings. Their rectangles, concentric circles, and squares hovering inside large rectilinear frames have been compared to the fields of saturated color in the canvases of Rothko and Newman (in the latter’s case separated by vertical “zips”).

    Questions arise immediately: What is it to make a photographic version of a Color Field painting? And what does it mean to employ Tupperware to

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  • Lynne Yamamoto


    Lynne Yamamoto’s recent exhibition, “Resplendent,” immersed viewers in a pastoral tableau of cherry blossoms by the hundreds (all works 2001). At first glance the outstretched petals resembled wings, making the flowers look like butterflies—an illusion encouraged by the fact that they were pinned to the wall like insects splayed out in a natural history museum vitrine. (The allusion to methods for collecting and preserving natural specimens was strengthened by the nine large blown-glass bell jars lined up on the floor in the middle of the space, each with the stylized outline of a cherry blossom

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  • Christoph Büchel

    Maccarone | 630 Greenwich Street

    For his New York solo debut, Christoph Büchel created the kind of project that few artists could pull off, and few would want to take on. His large-scale architectural installation was born as much of circumstance as of his energetic imagination: The mischievous Swiss artist was invited to do whatever he wanted for this unrenovated two-story gallery’s inaugural show. He created a new set of spaces by hacking through floors and walls, hauling in bundles of newspaper and street detritus, desks, TVs, record players, and the most cigarette butts I’ve seen since Damien Hirst came to town. Büchel was

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