reviews

  • David Reed

    Max Protetch

    No beds, no videos. Here we got David Reed without any of his recent quasi installations. Instead, the six big new abstract paintings served up basics—Reed's slithering painterly gesturalism, complemented by deft variations of format and palette, and the occasional comic grace note. Appearing in the lower right-hand corner of #483, 2001-2002, for instance, is a luscious vermilion brushstroke that bears a distinct resemblance to the old tongue-lapping Rolling Stones logo. The effect: a teasing, impudent sign-off.

    Moments like these felt ingratiating, but the show as a whole highlighted what I take

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  • Tracey Rose

    The Project

    History is constantly scoured for anything sufficiently passé to import to the present as currency of contemporary cool. A likely candidate would be early feminist art, for a more neglected genre you're not likely to find—but things have definitely begun to change. A new generation is producing a feminist art that is expansive in its attention to fractious subject positions occurring under social regimes that impose essentialist views of gender and race. At the forefront is Tracey Rose, a young South African artist who grew up under apartheid classified as “colored” and whose personal experiences

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  • Alex Bag

    American Fine Arts at P.H.A.G.

    Alex Bag's turf in the New York art world is comparable to Ann Magnuson's in the '80s and William Wegman's in the '70s: She is the artist who makes artists laugh, clueing in to their culture while sending it up, in Bag's case quite ruthlessly. Wegman's much loved videos starring his weimaraner Man Ray fed off the studio chat of the day; to pose the dog on a box was to poke fond fun at uncountable discussions of the role of the pedestal in sculpture. Similarly, the lounge act Magnuson once staged in the elevator at the Whitney Museum of American Art seemed to index what happened to art in the

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  • Nina Katchadourian

    SculptureCenter

    Nina Katchadourian was hiking last year in Trinidad when she heard a naggingly familiar sound. It was, she knew, a birdcall, shrill and intermittent, patterned by the deep urges of instinct. But it sounded just like a car alarm. Thus was born her Natural Car Alarms, 2002, sponsored by SculptureCenter and migrating through the streets of Long Island City until the center opens its new building there in November.

    Katchadourian approached ornithologists from the Macaulay Library of Natural Sounds at Cornell University, who were intrigued by her idea of matching the timbre and sequencing of urban

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  • “Penetration”

    Marianne Boesky Gallery / Friedrich Petzel Gallery

    How to revitalize the summer group show? What would guarantee notice? Hmm, gee—what about “Penetration”? As guest curator Mark Fletcher noted drolly in his gallery statement, his concept was “conceived” to link two galleries that “lie one on top of the other.” He interpreted the motif in a functional, as opposed to metaphysical or philosophical, sense; nevertheless, the insinuations were architectural, psychological, and corporeal. Upstairs, at Boesky, and downstairs, at Petzel, an A-list of artists engaged the formal and associative properties born from one thing entering another; and, on the

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  • Martin Puryear

    McKee Gallery

    For his latest exhibition Martin Puryear made four extraordinary sculptures. Sometimes painted black and sometimes tarred, these wooden vessels all had subliminal power, seeming like props from a mystery play while making uncanny allusions to the sacred and the profane.

    Confessional, 1996–2000, for example, is composed partly of wire mesh, with the piece's billowing empty shape suggesting a place for a father figure within its structure, and a wooden platform providing a place upon which a confessor—implicitly, the viewer—may kneel. Holes in a wooden divider between the platform and the sculpture's

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  • Roe Ethridge

    Andrew Kreps Gallery

    The first sign of trouble (or complexity) in Roe Ethridge's exhibition “The Bow” comes from its very title. Read the word bow and you assume a meaning (and pronunciation), despite the fact that Ethridge provides no conclusive visual or textual information to support any particular reading, and despite the fact that bow is a wildly versatile word: a verb, a noun, a gesture, part of a musical instrument, an archer's weapon, the front of a ship, a knot formed by two or more loops. Photographs are the same way, of course. We see and assume. For decades, artists have explored the visual-cognitive

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  • Sven Påhlsson

    Spencer Brownstone Gallery

    In the more than forty years since the publication of Jane Jacobs's Death and Life of Great American Cities, her groundbreaking critique of postwar urban development, a wide array of voices have joined the writer in lamenting the negative effects of urban sprawl. Thus it comes as no great revelation when Norwegian artist Sven Påhlsson Sprawlville or Life at Highway Exit Ramp, 2002, a digitally animated riff on mass-produced tract housing and strip malls, once again draws our attention to the soulless properties of these land-hungry environments. Yet Påhlsson has utilized the most appropriate

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  • Lee Bul

    New Museum

    Lee Bul gained prominence in the late '90s with a series of “Cyborg” sculptures. These hybrid forms, composed of seamlessly fused organic and mechanical motifs, spoke to the increasingly tenuous boundary between body and machine. At once referencing prosthesis and cosmetic surgery, Lee's silicone cyborgs addressed, among other things, the age-old fantasy of eternal youth. Her recent exhibition “Live Forever” built on many of these themes in an installation of biomorphic karaoke chambers and projected videos. Although it was engineered for fun, the show sought to elicit a critical response from

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  • Tom Burckhardt

    Caren Golden Fine Art

    Things, identifiable and otherwise, run amok in Tom Burckhardt's work, all on pretty much equal footing. By the artist's standards, a Greek amphora is as neat as a wheelbarrow is as cool as a quivering mass of dots is as super-duper as faux-historical furniture and bamboo, plaid, and swirling patterns. The painter creates gloriously nonsensical, lushly colored and composed fantasias that, aptly enough in a post-“ism” era, defy categorization and resist interpretation.

    The twenty paintings in the artist's latest solo show came in four basic sizes: small, medium, large, and a new, tall and skinny

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  • “Infotecture”

    Artists Space Exhibitions

    A loosely conceived exhibition of projects by architects and designers, “Infotecture” surveyed design methodologies that represent and organize information at a time when we are constantly communicating, shopping, watching, and working via high-speed technologies. On display were books, computer programs, clothing, videos, architectural drawings, and sculpture by nine participants, the best-known of whom were Diller + Scofidio, 2x4, and Rem Koolhaas/OMA.

    For the digitally minded architects in this exhibition, information has replaced space as the new universal. As Richard Powers states eloquently

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