reviews

  • Robert Whitman

    Dia:Chelsea

    Flash back to the early ’60s, when Lower Manhattan was a brand-new breeding ground for experimental art’s myriad crossovers with performance, theater, dance, sound, film, and new technology and Robert Whitman was all over the map of what would come to be known as “downtown art.” Fresh out of Rutgers, where he studied with Allan Kaprow alongside George Segal, Lucas Samaras, George Brecht, and Robert Watts, Whitman found his way to the forefronts of vanguard art with “theater works,” his preferred term for scripted and unscripted events staged with performers, audience participation, light and

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  • Rineke Dijkstra

    Marian Goodman Gallery | New York

    In the photographs that make up her second New York solo gallery exhibition, Rineke Dijkstra keeps her eye trained on innocence as it gives way to experience. She brings us into proximity with two youthful subjects whom she has photographed periodically: Shany, a teenager newly drafted into the Israeli military (who would later desert); and Olivier, who signed up with the French foreign legion several years ago, as soon as he was old enough to do so.

    Dijkstra first shot Shany, as she did many other young women, at the induction center in Tel Hashomer, Israel—not the sort of location, the photographer

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  • Jeff Perrone

    Cheim & Read

    Stripe paintings are something like guineas and crowns, coins once of genuine value now interesting mainly to specialists and students of the literature. To mint them today is to risk bankruptcy. Given the historical impact of stripe works like Stella’s of the late ’50s and ’60s, that may seem harsh; but the genre’s stock was devalued by the low historical standing of some of its manifestations in Op art and elsewhere, and by formalists’ difficulty in distinguishing stripes from decoration—a class they thought it crucial to escape. Yet Jeff Perrone’s works return this old cash to currency.

    The

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  • Ian Kiaer

    Tanya Bonakdar Gallery

    Art that springs from an immersion in historical research tends to reward the viewer in inverse proportion to the depth and reliability of the findings themselves. It is as if, in championing some highly specialized or unjustly neglected cultural figure, the artist forgets his or her own responsibility to pose questions and becomes instead an amateur biographer who digs for the truth but is unable to communicate it in a form that is also art. On paper, British sculptor Ian Kiaer threatens to fall into this category, so it is a pleasant surprise when he emerges from the library with his own

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  • Barnaby Furnas

    Marianne Boesky Gallery

    In his second New York solo show in as many years, painter Barnaby Furnas continues to operate in a productive zone between figuration and abstraction, surface and spatiality, narrative and structural modes of imagemaking. The seemingly limitless fodder for formal discourse produced by his practice seems likely to make Furnas something of poster boy for the next installment of the “Whither painting?” debate. Yet for all its theoretical availability, the proof of the artist’s work is decidedly in the viewing: His skillful and occasionally flat-out dazzling paintings reward extended engagement.

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  • Lyle Ashton Harris

    CRG Gallery

    Over the course of his career, Lyle Ashton Harris has moved among installation, video, and photography, often combining the three. His most recent show found him focusing on a single medium, however, and his favorite subject: himself. The twelve large-format Polaroid photographs on view (all works 2002) were all titled “Memoirs of Hadrian,” after a novel by Marguerite Yourcenar that takes the form of a letter from Emperor Hadrian to Marcus Aurelius. In eight of the photographs, Harris poses as a pugilist, bruised and bloodied, wearing boxing gloves and a white jockstrap. (Signifiers of imperial

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  • Dan Flavin

    Paula Cooper Gallery | 529 West 21st Street

    In this exhibition of white fluorescent light works by Dan Flavin, placement was everything. However singular some of the arrangements appeared, the fluorescent tubes’ relationships to one another and to the spaces in which they were installed gave the impression that there were no individual pieces on view. One of the galleries is enormous, with a pitched roof of wooden beams; the other is smaller (if not exactly intimate), with a high glass door whose opaque square panes form a grid. Flavin’s works punctuated these spaces, disturbing neither the grandeur of the one nor the concentration of

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  • Helmut Federle

    Peter Blum Gallery

    Two hundred of Helmut Federle’s works on paper—working drawings and autonomous improvisations, the earliest from 1969—made for a stunning record of the artist’s development from a painter of landscapes, however abstract, to a painter of abstractions oddly evocative of landscapes. Federle acknowledges the influence of Agnes Martin, whose abstractions also have a landscape implication (she has recognized the effect of her native Saskatchewan prairie on her works). But Federle’s are much more dynamic and unsettled than Martin’s, no doubt because his point of departure is the mountain terrrain of

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  • Carol Rama

    Esso Gallery

    “Nobody in the world has ever been more pissed off than me,” Carol Rama said in an interview six years before she won the Golden Lion for lifetime achievement at the 2003 Venice Biennale. Indeed, fury plays a role in nearly every image and object the eighty-five-year-old artist has produced over the past six decades. A vibrant, nasty, eccentric, erotic, corporeal, and irrefutably feminine (one might say feminist) wrath is everywhere visible in Rama’s oeuvre, yet hers is hardly piss without pleasure. She probably couldn’t fathom a life without heavy doses of both, preferably delivered simultaneously.

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  • Senga Nengudi

    Thomas Erben Gallery

    In the ’70s and ’80s Senga Nengudi was at the forefront of the African-American avant-garde in Los Angeles and New York. Along with artists like David Hammons and Suzanne Jackson, she exhibited at Linda Goode Bryant’s Just Above Midtown, or JAM, Gallery, which was the first African American–run space in the Fifty-seventh Street area. (Before closing in the mid-’80s, Bryant also introduced Lorraine O’Grady, Howardena Pindell, Lorna Simpson, and Fred Wilson to a New York audience.) Nengudi caused quite a buzz with her JAM solo debut: a group of nylon-stocking works called “Répondez S’il Vous Plait

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  • Danica Phelps

    LFL Gallery

    Danica Phelps is not the first artist to make life’s private activities fodder for art’s public display. From performance to the more recent “relational aesthetics” and particularly throughout the history of feminist art practice, reportage of daily experience emerges as a canonical strategy—what Virginia Woolf called “telling the truth about . . . [one’s] existence as a body.” Since 1995, Phelps has applied this art/life mandate to a meticulous recording of her finances. Using an invented system of notational marks and pencil drawings, she catalogues all purchases and services rendered, including

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  • “Strangers”

    International Center of Photography Museum (ICP)

    In the face of an identity crisis brought on by constitutive shifts in the art/photography relation, the International Center of Photography has lately made one bold move after another: relocating from its original home in a chilly Upper East Side mansion to the hot crush of Midtown; launching a graduate program in photography (in cooperation with Bard College) directed by artist Nayland Blake; and assembling a curatorial dream team—Brian Wallis, Carol Squiers, Christopher Phillips—to chart a new course in exhibitions. Now it’s unveiled its most ambitious project to date: the first ICP Triennial

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  • “The American Effect”

    Whitney Museum of American Art

    Taking a brief holiday from the Whitney’s declared mission to survey and promote American-made art, curator Lawrence Rinder offered up a gallery last summer to recent international artworks that explore the image of the post–cold war United States—a timely and quite brave gesture in a moment of “wars on terror,” “coalitions of the willing,” and pervasive self-censorship. To the extent that the United States now regards itself variously as beacon of freedom, misunderstood victim, and/or indispensable global policeman, the exhibition promised to provide a corrective; the fact that the US is regarded

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