• Right: Joan Jonas, Revolted by the thought of known 
places . . . , 1992. Performance view, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, 1994.

    Right: Joan Jonas, Revolted by the thought of known
    places . . . ,
    1992. Performance view, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, 1994.

    Joan Jonas

    Queens Museum

    In her widely influential 1974 Speculum of the Other Woman, the French feminist philosopher Luce Irigaray condensed a number of badly behaved and highly contested ideologies into one neologism: la mystérique. The term exposed mysticism, hysteria, mystery, and femininity to be deeply entwined bedfellows in numerous representations of “woman” appearing in canonical texts from Plato to Lacan. Yet rather than conjuring the figure of the mystérique in order to dispute or exorcise her, Irigaray took her as figure par excellence of potentially subversive feminine productivity. If, Irigaray argued,

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  • Olaf Breuning

    Metro Pictures

    “He’s a culture hopper, he’s a different kinda guy . . . ” So sings a campfire strummer from a theme-park Wild West town about the chameleonic protagonist of Swiss artist Olaf Breuning’s appallingly entertaining new video Home, 2004. A thirty-two-minute, double-screen mini-epic filmed in settings ranging from Machu Picchu to the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas, Home is a relentless parade of absurdist scenarios that veer from situation to situation and mood to mood with alarming unpredictability.

    Secreted behind a tall wooden fence, Breuning’s most ambitious production so far lies in wait like some

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  • Peter Moore

    Sonnabend Gallery

    The photographer Peter Moore was the visual historian of a thickly busy period in New York art that began in the early ’60s, when he grew fascinated by the blossoming of what his archive calls “Fluxus, happenings, performance art, experimental music, and dance.” With his wife, Barbara Moore, he was a part of this community as well as its observer and documentarian. Performance is ephemeral: “If I don’t record these,” Moore said of the works he photographed, “they’ll be lost.” So he did, shooting several hundred thousand pictures that treat this art with an artistry of their own and collectively

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  • Eija-Liisa Ahtila

    Tanja Grunert Gallery

    Featured at Documenta 11, Eija-Liisa Ahtila’s video installation The House, 2002, made its New York debut alongside four architectural models of houses (all 2004). In their clean lines and elegant mix of materials—including wood, stainless steel, asphalt sheeting, and plaster—the rigorously spare constructions propose the idea of a house as a machine for living and point in the direction of the good life. Efficient, open, tactile, and featuring an optimum of distraction-free space, they give a bare-bones preview of intelligent domestic structures (like states of mind) that have yet to be realized,

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  • Liz Craft

    Marianne Boesky Gallery | 509 West 24th Street

    A macho female magickal childe whose parents, siblings, babysitters, and alter egos smoke too much pot; a coolly uncool troller in the junkyards, souvenir shops, dens, and bedrooms of an ur-’70s California of the mind; a savvy navigator of the lineage of hyperreal figurative sculpture that plays oedipal anxiety against consumerist ennui: The sensibility animating Liz Craft’s busy roomful of cast bronze objects was all these. Now participating in the 2004 Whitney Biennial, the young Angeleno was groomed for art stardom before she finished UCLA, and she has no qualms about asserting an abject

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  • Joel Sternfeld

    Luhring Augustine | Chelsea

    In the ’70s and ’80s, when Joel Sternfeld traversed the US on a series of cross-country trips, he toted not a Leica or a Rolleiflex but an old-fashioned 8 x 10 view camera Sternfeld was following in the footsteps of a generation of American photographers for whom the automobile had been almost as integral to the project as the camera itself; like his fellow “New Color” road-trippers Stephen Shore and William Eggleston, he modified the itinerant documentary tradition as he went along, jettisoning its chromophobia and rethinking the snapshot ethos as well. But if, say, Eggleston’s street shots

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  • Marlene McCarty

    Brent Sikkema

    If it’s possible for an artist to synthesize muse and doppelgänger, Marlene McCarty seems to have found her girl. Some ten years ago, McCarty—who originally garnered interest for her in-your-face text paintings (like Bend Over I’ll Drive, 1990)—received a copy of Bad Blood: A Family Murder in Marin as a gift from a friend. A true-crime tale written in 1982 by Richard M. Levine and regarded by connoisseurs as one of the genre’s meatiest and most disquieting (if titillatingly so) titles, the volume traces the otherwise standard adolescent rebellion (sex, drugs, and angst-driven interest in the

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  • Ilya and Emilia Kabakov

    Sculpturecenter / Sean Kelly Gallery

    Installation artists may be the last social optimists, for their work depends entirely on the willing participation of viewers they haven’t met and will never meet. When installations work, it is as a dialogue between artist and viewer that remakes the social.

    Long misperceived in the West as a Conceptualist, Ilya Kabakov is, rather, an imagist and a fantasist who constructs situations in which the work’s most active site is the viewer’s imagination. Kabakov has often said that installation is a young art. Indeed, he has done more than any other living artist to foster its growth. When The Empty

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  • Robert Beck

    CRG Gallery

    “In a world of confusion and complications, contemporary men need to know it all.” So says the publisher’s blurb for the book invoked by Robert Beck in the subtitle of “Glove Skinning” (Bruised) (“The Modern Man’s Guide to Life” by Denise Boyles, Alan Rose, and Alan Wellikoff), 2003, a central work in the artist’s mordant and affecting recent show. The vaguely ironic bathroombook wisdom offered by such DIY guides (collections of advice on, say, building a shelter or landing an airplane in an emergency) pushes a kind of prepackaged gentlemanly confidence while plugging neatly into doubts over

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  • Trevor Winkfield

    Tibor De Nagy Gallery

    If there’s something impersonal about the blocky but borderline-hallucinatory realm of a Trevor Winkfield painting, this quality can also be seen as a kind of childlike insouciance, finally piercing in its intimacy. Austere and playful, wicked and sacred, antic and serene in equal measure, Winkfield’s meticulously delineated culinary, musical, mythic, and domestic motifs come together into odd and gracious apparitions on the canvas.

    Winkfield, a master of proportion, hints at motion as would the maker of an ancient hieroglyphic frieze: via a slight, studied torquing of the work’s overall symmetries.

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  • Patrick Faulhaber


    The postcard-size oils on wood blocks that make up Patrick Faulhaber’s “Texas Paintings” seem to know their limits as images, but they still intrude into space, demanding attention. What I like about these works is their arrogant modesty: Physical objects inscribed with deceptively pretty scenes, they resonate with an odd intimacy because of their size, even as their “sculptural” character ironically gives them a sense of monumentality. All are “handy,” if hard to hold because of their bulk.

    At first glance, these works look like American Scene pictures, neoregionalist images of small-town America.

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  • Chivas Clem

    Maccarone | 630 Greenwich Street

    By referencing the Mallarméan metaphysics of Yves Klein’s high-modernist “void” of 1960 in the title of his first solo show, Chivas Clem might be posing the possibility that a poetic revolution still lurks in the pornographic banality of today’s globalized, high-speed Spectacle. Or he might also be asking, skeptically: Is art even possible after Microsoft, after CNN? For “Leap into the Void,” Clem’s “material” of choice is the digital image—outputted onto glossy sheets of unframed photo paper and ink-jetted onto bare canvas. The content of these images is 95 percent the flimsy, flashy stuff of

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  • Sol’Sax

    Kenny Schachter Contemporary

    What scares white America? Ghosts? Decrepit mansions? Or a hulking figure in a hoodie and gold chains peeling back a section of fence? In a show dedicated to the quintessential inner-city motif of chain link, Brooklyn-based artist Sol’Sax presented a video projection starring such a character, transformed into something truly ghastly by a zombie-gray ceramic mask. His midnight exploits—loitering on a street corner, creeping through a gap in a fence, cooking out in a vacant lot—layer fear of the occult over white paranoia to expose the absurdity of the latter. But Sol’Sax also lampoons his macho

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  • Ward Shelley


    For his recent project here, Ward Shelley took the mouse as metaphor, built a gallery inside the gallery, and took up residence in the gap between the two. But while most rodents do their best to remain out of sight, Shelley had rigged a complex of cameras, peepholes, and monitors—eight of which were mounted on a wooden post in the center of the inner gallery—so that viewers could witness him scurrying, sleeping, or making art in his new habitat, and he in turn could watch them watching him.

    Shelley had made a series of pencil drawings on canvas that scrolled through a hole cut in the inner wall

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