reviews

  • “Ferus”

    Gagosian Gallery

    The art of what used to be called (proudly by its fans, derisively by its detractors) the Ferus “boys club” is back. And it looks pretty damned good after the museum-quality exhibition of key work from Los Angeles’s breakthrough Ferus Gallery (1957–66) at Gagosian’s Chelsea branch. The show was curated by the former Ferus majordomo, kettledrum-voiced Cary Grant stunt double Irving Blum. The first thing you encountered, by way of introduction, was a spate of black-and-white photographs of young, raffish, ’60s-suave Ed Ruscha, Craig Kauffman, and Larry Bell, all looking as smart-ass elegant as

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  • Jack Goldstein

    Whitney Museum of American Art

    In a 1972 film by Jack Goldstein, a blurred image slowly comes into focus, ultimately sharpening to reveal a man staring straight into the camera’s lens. Although not conceived as such, the piece serves as an apt metaphor for the current state of Goldstein’s oeuvre, which has lately emerged from the fog of the not so distant past. A seminal figure of the New York art scene in the 1970s and early ’80s, Goldstein famously faded from prominence over the course of the years that followed, eventually moving to California in 1991 and ceasing to show new work. Recently, several exhibitions have brought

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  • Jeff Wall

    Marian Goodman Gallery | New York

    There have been times (and particular pictures) in the past when it seemed that Jeff Wall was determined to take the technical image from classicism to mannerism in one digital swoop. But in his recent works, the style (or stylelessness) of the pictures definitely acts as a vehicle for meaning.

    Even though the six images displayed in the front gallery (three large black-andwhite photographs and three color light boxes) were not made as a series, the correspondences among them lead inexorably to linked narratives. Four images depict social scenes in the “near-documentary” mode, wherein the apparently

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  • John Morris

    D’Amelio Terras

    John Morris practices what critic Alan Weiss calls a “poetics of the ad infinitum,” an ecstatic but precise doodling in which handmade marks stand for unrepresentable holism. Morris’s drawings are roughly the size of lined binder paper and are often made on just this unassuming support, as if he had been studying Kabbalistic tomes and taking copious notes in hieroglyphics of his own devising. In his recent work, fragile spirals, scrolls, and webs are traced in ink and white or clear acrylic, punctuated by passages of graphite or ballpoint pen and, occasionally, pinkish pencil. This

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  • Doug Aitken

    303 Gallery

    Much has been made, in recent criticism, of the significance of placing photographic images on sculptural objects. But what sort of potential exists for artists making images as sculptural objects? Doug Aitken’s installation on, 2002, seems to do something along those lines, establishing a situation in which projections border on assuming physical presence in three dimensions. Four circular screens are mounted along a central axis in a darkened mirrored room: Two are placed on opposite ends of the gallery while two others sandwich a column in the middle of the space. The same moving image appears

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  • Jim Shaw

    Swiss Institute / CONTEMPORARY ART

    Since first exhibiting his Thrift Store Paintings more than a decade ago, Jim Shaw has routinely tapped the abundant resources of Sunday painters in order to undermine the prerogatives of taste and connoisseurship. Continuing his investigation into forgotten or overlooked American culture, Shaw has now invented his own religion, O-ism, and dated its origin to the mid–nineteenth century, around the time of the Mormon westward migration. In The Goodman Image File and Study, 2002, Shaw locates the birth of this denomination in the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York, keeping it within striking

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  • John Hejduk

    Whitney Museum of American Art

    There was something jarring about “Sanctuaries.” The exhibition consisted of models and drawings that were among the last works of architect John Hejduk, who constructed few buildings but was an influential presence during his twenty-five years at the Cooper Union school of architecture, where he was dean until his death, in 2000. There his star students included Daniel Libeskind, Elizabeth Diller, Stan Allen, and Toshiko Mori. Today, Hejduk’s work remains as enigmatic as it was during his life. Fearless in its personalized poetics, figuration, and overt spirituality, it’s the type of stuff that

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  • Russell Crotty

    CRG Gallery

    Living in a city shrouded by the squalid yellow haze of light pollution, one easily forgets how confoundingly beautiful a clear night sky can be. Russell Crotty, a documentarian for the Association of Lunar and Planetary Observers (a body of amateur astronomers who assist the pros), experiences no such dilemma. Couched in the Solstice Peak Observatory, which he built himself, high in the Santa Monica mountains, he spends hours gazing into space through a ten-inch f/8 Newtonian reflector telescope and sketching what he sees. Yet while he is obviously transported by the transcendent grandeur of

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  • Diana Cooper

    Postmasters

    Diana Cooper is known for humble-looking yet labor-intensive works in which bits of acetate and felt, Post-Its, tiny pom-poms, and tacks accumulate and sprawl viruslike across walls and onto the floor. In that respect, the most noteworthy work in her fourth New York solo exhibition is Speedway, 2000–2002, a piece that moves away from the wall entirely. Balanced on thin legs, the octagonal block of foamcore is covered on one side by shapes reminiscent of auto parts and concentric lines underscoring the title’s association with the controlled chaos of a NASCAR track. The other side features

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  • Avigdor Arikha

    Marlborough | Midtown

    In Avigdor Arikha’s ink drawing View from the Méridien, 1998, the unmarked texture of paper conveys the open space of the sky. Delicate, atmospheric ink adds to the presence of the surface. In fact, the image seems embedded in the surface—being part of the paper rather than sitting atop it. In a sense, the drawing discloses the ground’s primacy the way shadows in life show the primacy of matter. Virtually all of the more than thirty drawings here displayed a connoisseur’s minimalist touch, whether in line or shading, so that surface never lost its autonomy.

    Just as Arikha puts us in intimate,

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  • Edwin Dickinson

    Tibor De Nagy Gallery

    It’s a pity Edwin Dickinson (1891–1978) isn’t more widely recognized as a master of painting and drawing. The reputation is deserved not only because his canvases exhibit relentless, focused experimental drive and a command of expressive techniques belonging to more familiar European predecessors and contemporaries; or because the artist anticipated by decades the dynamism of Abstract Expressionism; or because his landscapes capture the aura of oceans and beaches with a fidelity that seems to defy account. More directly, all these aspects contribute to a breadth of feeling and a capacious

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  • Rowena Dring

    Elizabeth Dee Gallery

    The painting craze of the past five years or so has found many young artists juxtaposing modes of representation previously considered incompatible. Using high-end enamel or acrylic paints to erase the expressive mark of the painter, artists like Ingrid Calame, Inka Essenhigh, Monique Prieto, and Jay Davis merge abstraction and representation, using Pop art—specifically, its technique of mining the media for photographic imagery—as a template for banishing the restrictions that used to keep the two segregated.

    At first glance—and almost always when reproduced in photographs—British

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  • Thomas Scheibitz

    Tanya Bonakdar Gallery

    For visitors pining for another encounter with Thomas Scheibitz’s exuberant, chalky pastel canvases, this show must have been disappointing. In place of the wide, quasiabstract suburban landscapes and quirky still lifes that hung here in two previous exhibitions were a few framed works on paper, one tiny painting, and a roomful of odd sculptures arranged on an ad hoc platform. Whereas Scheibitz’s paintings reliably offer thrilling hues, jostling forms, and tensed, matte surfaces, these new sculptures looked uneven, almost unfinished. Pale beneath the gallery’s large skylight, they seemed shy

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  • “Gloria: Another Look at Feminist Art in the 1970s”

    White Columns

    Any pop icon worth her salt is known by a single name: Jackie, Marilyn, Madonna. Back around 1970, there were plenty of Glorias around: Ms. magazine founder and activist Gloria Steinem; Archie Bunker’s liberal daughter; Gena Rowlands’s unforgettable character in the eponymous film; and the Van Morrison song that spelled it all out—g–l–o–r–i–a. The name Gloria captures woman as activist, sex symbol, girl next-door, and destabilizing emotional force. This multivalent signification in a single name prompted Ingrid Schaffner and Catherine Morris to choose it as the title of their important

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