reviews

  • “Mexico City: An Exhibition about the Exchange Rates of Bodies and Values”

    MoMA PS1

    With the art-world radar now trained on the slightest aesthetic stirrings in every corner of the globe, it’s only a matter of time before a local scene is written up, mated, and dispensed to a wider audience. Given the buzz around Mexico as a hot cultural exporter, “Mexico City: An Exhibition about the Exchange Rates of Bodies and Values” might have been another attempt by American and European art institutions to capitalize on foreign trends. But the show’s weighty conceptual title signaled that this grouping of some twenty like-minded artists was a serious endeavor. As presented by P.S. 1

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  • “Out of Site: Fictional Architectural Spaces”

    New Museum

    Recent exhibitions like “Out of Place” at MCA Chicago, “Artists Imagine Architecture” at ICA Boston, “BitStreams” at New York’s Whitney Museum, and “010101” at San Francisco MoMA have confirmed two preoccupations among a new generation of artists: with architecture as well as with digital technology.

    In “Out of Site,” associate curator Anne Ellegood gathers works by fifteen artists, most of them emerging, who bring the themes together. Evaluated individually, the works of this motley crew are uneven. But in narrowing her focus to include solely those that depict “fictional sites.” the curator

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  • Justine Kurland

    Gorney Bravin & Lee

    Art-world cliques are mixed blessings. On the ascendant, a group of artists closely linked by medium, style, and subject, as well as by the institutions where they study and exhibit, can quickly gain an aesthetic cohesiveness harder for mavericks to establish. Once the clique has peaked, however, such identifications stale, propping up work that fails on its own terms and hampering new assessments even when the work succeeds. Justine Kurland's recent exhibition vaulted into the freshly intriguing category. So how to parse this project that owes much to, yet substantially transforms, its template?

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  • Toland Grinnell

    Mary Boone Gallery | Uptown

    Toland Grinnell is unapologetically aspiring to the condition of fashion. The young artist has gone from using Samsonite suitcases as quirky unfolding Duchampian constructions to designing and fabricating his own “line” of traveling trunks worthy of Louis Vuitton. For his first New York show in two years, Grinnell presented a thirty-four-piece set of these cases, collectively titled Pied-à-terre, 2001-2002—aligning himself with the creation and advertising of exquisite and pricey commodities and the desires of a consumer population. He even “branded” himself, adorning each of his objects

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  • Ed Ruscha

    Gagosian Gallery (21)

    Several gallery shows during the past year have testified to the late foundering of many of the original Pop artists, but Ed Ruscha's most recent appearance in New York proved a significant exception.The artist's show included work that was smart and pertinent, a vintage distilled over forty years. Rather than recycle the ideas or motifs of '60s Pop art, Ruscha has pressed forward, experimenting with methods for making Pop a cognitive or perceptual game.

    Ten large canvases hanging in the main gallery adhered to a generally consistent model: The image of a mountain was doubled, like a Rorschach

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  • Anneè Olofsson

    Marianne Boesky Gallery

    Many of the new narrative dimensions in contemporary art unfold from the endless melodrama of domestic life. The early-twenty-first-century idea of domesticity has turned inward from extroverted, upbeat notions of the everyday, now favoring darker reflections on who we are at home in the semiprivate space of family life-with artworks appearing that aren't nearly as lite as the “lifestyle” art that proliferated in the '90s. Rather than merely point in the direction of home with decor-ready objects or focus on the ambience of ultrafashionable people living and working together in style, themes of

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  • Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen

    Whitney Museum of American Art

    The Whitney owns ninety-two of Claes Oldenburg's drawings (the largest such collection anywhere) and all were on exhibition this summer at the museum, displayed in two groups—those from 1959 to 1977, and those the artist made with his second wife, Coosje van Bruggen, from 1992 to 1998. One is tempted to ask what the difference is between these two periods and an answer is suggested by Oldenburg's definition of drawing as “the accidental ability to coordinate your fantasy with your hand.” The later work seems less fantastic and accidental and looks predetermined, as if the drawings were

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  • Paul Shambroom

    Julie Saul Gallery

    Paul Shambroom's “Nuclear Weapons” photographs—images of soldiers climbing on and around nuclear warheads—introduced the Minneapolis-based artist to a national audience at the 1997 Whitney Biennial. The series, which was impressive for Shambroom's ingenuity in gaining access to these classified spaces as much as for its formal rigor, toed the line between reportage and art, engaging a kind of watchdog politicism that characterizes much contemporary photography. In his second New York solo show, Shambroom showed a new series, “Meetings,” begun in 1992, that continues his “documentary”

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  • Lara Schnitger

    Anton Kern Gallery

    Across a wide spectrum of artistic practice, craft materials are in vogue, with Sarah Sze, Tom Friedman, and Jim Lambie among the many prominent artists using handworked odds and ends such as drinking straws, sugar cubes, and Q-tips in their sculptures. Lara Schnitger seems to take a similarly obsessive pleasure in manipulating objects in her chosen sphere, the musty world of cheap textiles. Filling up the gallery, the artist installed a forest of awkward forms that jutted out in all directions and had to be carefully navigated, suggesting the abundance and eclecticism of a flea market.

    Schnitger's

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  • Charles Matton

    Forum Gallery

    Charles Matton makes architecture and puts it in boxes. Ranging, in this show, from under two feet to nearly three feet high and seen through the boxes' glass fronts, the meticulously detailed sets are sometimes based on real places, such as the Vienna office of Sigmund Freud, and other times are imagined and somewhat fantastic. The artist's studio is a recurring theme; whatever the case, the scenes are antique in mood. According to Barbara Krulik, author of the exhibition's catalogue essay, Matton has been “profoundly influenced” by Rembrandt, and there is little in these works to suggest the

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  • Yoshitaka Amano

    Leo Koenig Inc. | 541 West 23rd

    Battle of the Planets, the sci-fi anime that Yoshitaka Amano created at Tokyo’s Tatsunako Productions, was a staple of my after-school TV-watching schedule in late-’70s England. With costumes that placed them somewhere between trapeze artists and prog rockers, the cartoon’s five young heroes, collectively known as G-Force, regularly saved the galaxy with an acrobatic grace that made their American counterparts look sluggish. A couple of these stars returned in Ammo’s first New York gallery exhibition, but their presence added up to more than unreconstructed nostalgia. Amano originally developed

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  • Leah Gilliam

    New Museum

    The Pathfinder mission to Mars five years ago produced only some soil samples and a week’s worth of grainy stills showing a broad red desert that looked like the inner reaches of Nevada. Yet NASA’s scientists, eager to establish the history of Mars’s formation and the potential for further exploration there, were thrilled. And the rest of the world fell in love, crowding around TV screens and jamming Web pages in record numbers to ogle the planet’s never before seen contours as recorded by the vessel’s little roving camera, Sojourner.

    It is this moment of fascination and longing that Leah Gilliam

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  • “Perfect Acts of Architecture”

    Axa Gallery

    “Perfect Acts of Architecture” brought together six series of early and seminal drawings that established the careers and ideologies of five of today’s preeminent architects: Peter Eisenman, Daniel Libeskind, Rem Koolhaas, Thom Mayne, and Bernard Tschumi. All but one of these projects, Eisenman’s “House VT,” ca. 1976, are not constructed or are impossible to build. And that’s what makes them “perfect.” The drawings provide critical and theoretical platforms by negating the architectural realities of commerce—of client, function, material, building code, site, and budget. The architects even

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  • “Ironic/Iconic”

    The Studio Museum in Harlem

    Likening an artist’s work to Chagall’s is hardly most people’s idea of a compliment. Yet it’s hard to ignore a positive connection when looking at Easter Realness, 2002, a painting by Kehinde Wiley, one of three artists in residence at the Studio Museum in Harlem featured in the exhibition “Ironic/Iconic.” The majestic canvas is turned forty-five degrees so that its corners touch the floor and ceiling. Two men, one wearing a pink and the other a yellow suit, seemingly drift across a decorative green-and-red ground strewn with roses. Both men float upside down while looking directly at the viewer,

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  • Left: Jack Pierson, Silver Jackie, 1991, Mylar, painted wood, and Christmas lights. Installation view. Right: Jack Pierson, Untitled (male nude), 1993, color photograph, 40 x 30".

    “Jack Pierson, Regrets”

    New Museum

    “Jonathan Pierson may have been born in Plymouth, Massachusetts, in 1960, but Jack Pierson was invented in Miami Beach in 1983.” So begins curator Bonnie Clearwater’s pamphlet text for “Regrets,” the midcareer retrospective she organized at the Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami. Not a bad entrée to the artist’s oeuvre, especially taken with the title. Legends, factually grounded or heavily airbrushed, figure prominently in chronicles of artistic self-invention or reinvention—Ed Ruscha in Los Angeles, Gauguin in Tahiti, Poussin in Rome, tout le monde à Paris. And personal legend vibrates

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