reviews

  • Paul Pfeiffer

    Gagosian Gallery/The Project

    In its ambition and substance one of most significant gallery shows of last fall in New York, Paul Pfeiffer’s “Pirate Jenny,” a sprawling exhibition divided between Gagosian Gallery in Chelsea and The Project uptown, confirmed the artist’s continuing fascination with time and perception, as well as his ability to manipulate both to resonant effect. If the scale of the far-flung show—which included nineteen pieces in video, film, photography, and sculpture—threatened to diffuse the overall effect of the work, it also seemed to bring certain essential aspects of Pfeiffer’s sophisticated practice

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  • Keith Edmier

    Petzel Gallery | West 18th Street

    From Farrah Fawcett to molten lava, sub-Freudian jokes about the progress of Keith Edmier’s fascinations come too easily to be funny. Still, the fact remains that his best-known work, from 2000–2002, is a marble nude of the actress and ’70s poster girl, and that the centerpiece of his recent show developed out of a three-year try at casting in molten rock. He actually went to Hawaii to study the stuff in its natural state, then figured out a process to produce and work it in a foundry. You wonder about the technology, not to mention the expense, involved in this artistic first, for a first I

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  • Susan Rothenberg

    Sperone Westwater

    Modernism was riddled by searches for origins, but it was also marked by near-fatal fixations with real or imagined ends. Pace Hegel, T. J. Clark has suggested that “every modernism has to have its own proximate Black Square.” But Susan Rothenberg would probably substitute Lascaux for Malevich, a nod to a beginning that was already terminal, marked by a conflicting admixture of prolepsis and hindsight that also finds form in the exhibition structure of the retrospective.

    Still, “Susan Rothenberg: Drawings 1974–2004” aimed to chart the progress of the artist’s career through more than seventy

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  • Christian Marclay

    Paula Cooper Gallery | 529 West 21st Street

    Midwifed by the entrepreneurial George Maciunas in New York in the early ’60s, the eclectic, electrifying din of Fluxus performance continues in somewhat subdued form to this day but is most often confined to a staid world of reverential museum surveys. The antimovement’s alteration and destruction of musical instruments and ritual reenactments of daily activities like cutting hair and cooking exist now in the form of documentary photographs and Super-8 film, while the found objects used in the process have achieved the status of holy relics, preserved in institutional archives around the world.

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  • Adolph Gottlieb

    Pace Wildenstein

    A pictograph is a kind of visual morpheme (like a hieroglyph), at once diagrammatic, imagistic, and “graphic.” In the paintings of Adolph Gottlieb, pictographs range from geometric squiggles to letters to schematic body parts, each a sort of two- dimensional “poetic object” that he lines up like an object in a cabinet of curiosities. There is a sense of controlled clutter, as the structure of the grid is used to impose a semblance of order on a chaos of emotions. The works are small, which adds to their intimate feel, and the forms are invariably symbolic, although they also stand on their own

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  • Jesper Just

    Perry Rubenstein Gallery

    It begins with a ringing phone. A middle-aged man picks up the receiver and begins, not the expected conversation, but a delicately sung duet with a much younger man on the other end of the line. Their facial expressions are difficult to read and their performances are highly mannered, but the exchange is obviously charged with emotion. The strangeness of the episode is amplified by its details: The protagonists are not only seated within earshot of each other in the same dimly lit club lounge but also surrounded by other men, each sitting by his own phone and apparently awaiting a similar call.

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  • Gilbert & George

    Lehmann Maupin/Sonnabend Gallery

    The reigning queer couple of the art world, Gilbert & George have flaunted their X-rated passions in enormously celebratory and occasionally shocking photographic tableaux for three decades, since long before “identity politics” coalesced as a movement or homoeroticism in contemporary art achieved critical mass and garnered scholarly attention. The shameless British pair—incongruously conservative-looking middle-aged white guys—take much inspiration from the vitality of ethnic street culture in East London, the grounded comings and goings of day-to-day life in their Whitechapel neighborhood,

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  • Peter Campus

    Leslie Tonkonow Artworks + Projects

    Strictly speaking, one needed just eighteen minutes to see all of Peter Campus’s recent exhibition at Leslie Tonkonow Artworks + Projects, which contained six looped digital videos lasting less than three minutes each. Yet such a straightforward approach was both irrelevant and impossible, since the single events that each video depicts have no obvious beginnings or ends. As the title of the show, “time’s friction,” suggested, Campus was less interested in tracking durational time than in revealing and elaborating on the poetic pushes and pulls within it.

    This is not to say that Campus hasn’t

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  • Dana Schutz

    LFL Gallery

    The meteoric rise of Dana Schutz, a twenty-eight-year-old painter fresh from the MFA program at Columbia University, serves for many as a reiteration of the way in which the art world mirrors the entertainment industry, with its privileging of youth over experience and its perpetual quest for fresh talent. More interesting, perhaps, is the way in which Schutz’s work has polarized viewers, separating those who applaud her vigorous neo-neo-expressionist canvases from those who are more skeptical, like a visitor overheard leaving the gallery muttering, “This is the new genius?”

    The issues Schutz

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  • Sean Dack

    Daniel Reich Gallery

    Snatching stills from anonymous weblogs and surveillance feeds, projecting them onto large sheets of photo paper, and developing the results using standard color photography techniques, Sean Dack creates lush, mysterious glimpses of a twenty-first-century collective unconscious. At once intimate and impersonal, prosaic and fantastic, blogs explode the dialectics of the photograph, presenting fleeting moments not as fixed in the past but as constantly “refreshed” and endlessly negated. The particular sources of the footage that Dack mines here are never revealed and are, indeed, irrelevant to

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  • Lisa Sigal

    Frederieke Taylor Gallery

    Lisa Sigal’s installations lean left. They also lean right, forward, and backward, and extend out from freestanding painted sheets of wood, Masonite, drywall, insulation board, cardboard, vellum, and paper onto gallery walls, at times jutting into and out of those walls as though in homage to Gordon Matta-Clark’s cutouts. Unlike any number of recent artists who deploy color primarily in order to highlight three-dimensional form, Sigal seems equally invested in painting and sculpture. Her works combine the delicacy and skill of Monique Prieto’s canvases with the elemental architectural impulse

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  • Kathe Burkhart

    Mitchell Algus Gallery/Schroeder Romero

    Every cultural movement spawns its own lingo, some of which inevitably becomes vestigial and embarrassing, and feminist art is certainly no exception. About “femmage,” the less said the better, but the term “bad girls” bears examination. Title of several mid-’90s shows and irritant to many critics, the expression is often associated with Kathe Burkhart, who is credited with launching it into wide circulation in a 1990 Flash Art interview. Referring to the subject of her “Liz Taylor Series” (1982–), Burkhart said, “She is a representative of the ‘bad dark-girl’ rather than the ‘blond good girl.’

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  • “None of the Above”

    Swiss Institute / CONTEMPORARY ART

    There were two ways to approach “None of the Above” at the Swiss Institute: You could study the checklist of the forty-nine works and diligently hunt for them all, or you could wander around the initially empty-looking gallery and find what you could find. Such was the nature of this exhibition—curated by John Armleder, founder of the Fluxus-inspired Geneva gallery Ecart—that you might emerge from it thinking that some ordinary objects in the space were art and overlooking some of the listed projects altogether. I was pretty sure, for example, that a regiment of out-of-commission poles linked

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