reviews

  • James Turrell

    PaceWildenstein 22

    Since 1966, when he transformed his Santa Monica studio into an artwork by meticulously arranging natural and artificial light sources, James Turrell has made works composed almost exclusively of light cast on, around, and into architectural spaces: open-air rooms for viewing the changing sky, darkened spaces into which light emanates through windowlike apertures, and large-scale walk-in environments. Descriptions of these works generally oscillate between metaphysical references, in which Turrell’s use of light is seen in terms of Platonic, supranatural illumination of eternal truths, and a

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  • Raoul de Keyser

    David Zwirner | 519 West 19th Street

    Unearthing fragments of a ten-year-old linocut in his studio, septuagenarian Belgian artist Raoul De Keyser decided to use them as a jumping-off point for a series of modest paintings in which he calmly but with insistence reassesses the lingering potential of modernist abstraction. Having employed similar chance beginnings before—basing compositions on scraps of torn-up drawings in the manner of Hans Arp, for example, or veiling them in single colors to create pseudo-monochromes comparable to those of American painter John Zurier—De Keyser displays a quiet but well-founded confidence that his

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  • Gregor Schneider

    Gladstone Gallery | West 21st St

    “517 W. 24th,” Gregor Schneider’s first solo show in New York, was noteworthy not least because self-contained installations are unusual in his oeuvre. The German artist’s lifework is the Haus u r (ur-house), 1985–, an outwardly unassuming building in his hometown of Rheydt. For over fifteen years, he has been reconfiguring the interior of what was once his family’s home on Unterheydener Strasse, creating a morbidly unstable fun house of false walls and sealed chambers. He also makes videos and photographs in the house and duplicates its rooms in other locales—in 2001 his re-creation of sections

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  • Nancy Spero

    Galerie Lelong & Co., New York

    The timely resurrection of Nancy Spero’s passionate antiwar imagery—produced nearly four decades ago against the backdrop of the conflict in Vietnam—seemed a thinly veiled reminder that history repeats itself. To view Spero’s “War Series 1966–70” without simultaneously considering the current political climate simply wasn’t possible; and the remarkable fact that these vibrant, scatological gouache-and-ink paintings on paper had never been shown in the United States raised larger questions about artistic production and censorship during political crises past and present.

    These works were designed

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  • Howard Hodgkin

    Gagosian Gallery

    Do Howard Hodgkin’s new paintings reprise what physiologist Max Verworn in 1908 called “ideoplastic style”—pure painterly expression or representation of interiority—or do they extend and develop the aesthetic perception at the core of this style? Do they deepen our sense of what Alexander Baumgarten called “sensateobjectivity” and show that the expressive possibilities of “aesthetic painting” were not exhausted by its last great surge in postpainterly abstraction? There is no question that Hodgkin is a vitalist and that aesthetic painting is alive and well in his work, but one has to consider

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  • Ingrid Calame

    James Cohan Gallery | Chelsea

    Everyone who follows contemporary painting knows the peculiar method by which Ingrid Calame makes her work—for others, let it be said that it has to do with transcribing stains found on city streets and sidewalks, then overlapping the resulting forms—but does anyone really care? What seems to matter is this: The paintings incorporate the random and arbitrary (and possibly also what used to be called “the abject”) within a practice that nonetheless requires finical accuracy; there is a degree of almost mindless repetition and filling in involved, but the resulting forms are unpredictable and

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  • Jack Pierson

    Cheim & Read

    Jack Pierson’s latest exhibition comprised three installation spaces, each captioned with a new signage work. Mismatched gold letters (with a white neon T to start) spell out TO YOUTH (all works 2003), both homage and indicator of loss. This hung adjacent to A Vignette Contrived of Various Objects Depicting the Artist in His Fortieth Year, a tableau of an artful life that announces its affinity with window display. Within a sleek, freestanding metal frame, a selection of furnishings and curios—a David Hockney etching of young male lovers, a bust of Apollo (the original “Greek god”) garlanded

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  • Anne Chu

    303 Gallery

    Amid the sea of slick objects in West Chelsea, Anne Chu’s larger-than-life puppet sculptures come across as shockingly raw and old-fashioned. But craftsmen of the past would never have constructed objects in this way, leaving things slightly unfinished and full of clues as to their making. Pure anachronism, you might think—but their fluidity of reference implies a global and chronological breadth that’s very contemporary. These figures function like fissures between historical epochs and aesthetic categories, a mechanism fundamental to the way they work.

    In the eight sculptures on view, Chu

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  • Graham Gillmore

    Kenny Schachter Contemporary

    Graham Gillmore’s current work seems to come in two visually distinct types. First, there are those paintings made up of casually modeled words and phrases linked by an intestine-like labyrinth of thought bubbles; these red and blue lines elaborate the innuendo and potential that create each work’s particular sense of drama. In I will you won’t, You do I don’t (all works 2003), variations on the phrases “I won’t I will” and “you won’t you will” vie for our attention in a sort of distillation of erotic gamesmanship. By the time the viewer reaches the lower righthand corner of the work, the

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  • Dan Fischer

    Derek Eller Gallery

    Dan Fischer’s art of homage and appropriation reveals its maker as both passionate fan and savvy practitioner. Well-known photographs of artists and artworks are the originals for Fischer’s detailed graphite-on-paper copies; his recent show included dozens of variations on twentieth-century portraiture, including Cindy Sherman in an untitled film still; Piero Manzoni grinning and holding a can of Artist’s Shit; Robert Gober nearly unrecognizable in a wedding gown; Piet Mondrian in his tidy smock calmly regarding a grid painting; and Jean-Michel Basquiat sitting on one of his crate constructions.

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  • Thomas Kiesewetter

    Jack Tilton Gallery

    Blech: In English, an expression of disgust; in German, a term for high-gauge sheet metal. On view recently in his first solo show in the United States, Thomas Kiesewetter’s untitled blech sculptures are all the more appealing for the baseness of their material. Formed from what look like found fragments of discarded machinery—chutes, tubes, quadrilateral panels—they come across as both high-rise urban and barnyard rural. Each is painted carelessly in a single color: dirty white, faded lavender, safety orange. Attached to rude wooden plinths, these screwed-together constructions are at once

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  • Aleksandra Mir

    Swiss Institute / CONTEMPORARY ART

    Naming Tokyo, 2003–, the most recent product of Aleksandra Mir’s ever-growing conceptual cottage industry, demonstrates both the artist’s numerous strengths and her particular limitations. The piece seen here is the second part of a project originally commissioned by the Palais de Tokyo in Paris; like all the prolific New Yorker’s best work, it’s informed by a generative interest in social systems and a fondness for offbeat forms of dissemination. Combining the enduring appeal of maps as sites for theoretical play and a cheerfully wayward brand of activist zeal, the project was inspired, in

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