• Rivane Neuenschwander

    Tanya Bonakdar Gallery

    Reviewing “Tropicália: A Revolution in Brazilian Culture” at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, in these pages earlier this year, Irene Small asked what it suggests for this short-lived movement, comprising visual arts, music, theater, and cinema—inaugurated by an installation of Hélio Oiticica’s, and fully extant only from 1967 to 1969—to have enjoyed such a long (and long since institutionalized) afterlife. “If Tropicália’s decentering power rests on a permanently shifting periphery,” she asked, “what does it mean that history ended up on its side?” Like so many momentarily

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  • Karen Kilimnik

    303 Gallery

    Karen Kilimnik has, since the mid-1980s, been hailed by some for her ability to channel decadence of various degrees—from generic goth to coked-up waifdom à la Kate Moss—with the unabashed, if slightly off-kilter, delight of a true enthusiast. Others locate their love for her work at what would seem the opposite pole, positing that the artist’s Romantic obsessions are served up with a deft critical turn, and that the pleasure principle behind them lies precisely in their maker’s techniques of deflation. Personally, I tend to think of Kilimnik’s subject matter the way I do the tortoise

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  • Joseph Kosuth

    Sean Kelly Gallery

    Given the increasing number of “constituencies” that art institutions must serve, and their concomitant transformation into entertainment emporia, it is perhaps not surprising that the notoriously sober Conceptual artist Joseph Kosuth has yet to be the subject of a US museum retrospective. Sean Kelly Gallery’s recent forty-year survey, whose contents were selected by the artist, reminded viewers why: Simply put, a concentrated dose of ascetic, language-based art makes for a visually numbing experience. What the exhibition offered instead—the elusive trail of an intermittently fascinating

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  • Jesper Just

    Perry Rubenstein Gallery

    It Will All End in Tears, 2006, Jesper Just’s splendidly moody threepart film, weaves an oblique melodrama that involves two protagonists—a beautiful, aloof young man and a somber old man who yearns for him. Their episodic encounters are charted against three distinctly different settings—a garden in morning light, where we glimpse moments of arousal and joy; a courtroom in which an interrogation is under way; and an industrial rooftop at night, where danger seems palpable. Given their contradictory behavior, what the characters mean to each other is unclear—the young man entices

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  • Norbert Schwontkowski

    Mitchell-Innes & Nash | Chelsea

    Most artists, on the occasion of their first New York exhibition, might be expected to jealously hoard all the available wall space for themselves, but Norbert Schwontkowski, in a gesture that seems to typify the unassuming spirit of his practice, chose to incorporate works by fellow painters into his recent show at Mitchell-Innes & Nash. Thus the exhibition was an unusual amalgam of solo debut and artist-curated group exhibition: Ten of Schwontkowski’s easel-size canvases were interspersed among a smattering of works by Forrest Bess, Philip Guston, Alex Katz, and Pablo Picasso—artists who

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  • Joe Coleman

    Tilton Gallery

    Western art’s cozy relationship with Catholicism ended somewhere in the eighteenth century, but a vestige of it persists in the work of Joe Coleman. The first item in the brief biography on the artist’s website reads, “1953: Jacqueline Hoban marries Joseph Coleman Sr., and is excommunicated” (his mother remarried without the church’s blessing). Subsequent entries include “1963: Draws first pictures of bleeding saints, death by fire and stabbing” and “1967: ‘Confesses’ to committing several murders, to a priest at St. Mary’s Catholic Church, Norwalk, CT.”

    Religious allusions were abundant in

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  • Fernanda Gomes

    Baumgartner Gallery

    In 1907, Russian Symbolist-cum-Constructivist director Vsevolod Meyerhold called for a new kind of revolutionary audience of “vigilant observers,” hoping that concentrated effort on the part of theatergoers would foster a newly focused political subject. Brazilian artist Fernanda Gomes, in her third solo show in New York, demanded a comparably active viewership. The art on display included filaments of string casting barely perceptible shadows, a tiny gold thread looping out about an inch from the wall near the floor, and pieces of clear tape applied to the wall. One does not see much of Gomes’s

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  • Jane South

    Spencer Brownstone Gallery

    My initial impulse on seeing the nine sculptural assemblages in Jane South’s recent exhibition at Spencer Brownstone Gallery was a juvenile one: I wanted to touch them. The checklist described the objects on view as made of cut paper and mixed media, and, with the exception of one floor-bound structure, each contained elements that cantilevered out from the wall on dainty paper hooks anchored by straight pins. But the constructions’ size (up to fourteen feet wide), color (mainly industrial grays and deep, metallic reds), and iconography (nonspecific, but undeniably machinelike) lend them a

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  • Jordan Kantor

    Artists Space Exhibitions

    Jordan Kantor’s outwardly unassuming canvases walk a line between the relaxed and the restrained, between pop-cultural immediacy and coded academic reference. In flat, affectless strokes, the San Francisco– based painter plots a highly selective and carefully edited course through the visual landscape of contemporary reportage, ranging across a thematically vast but tonally claustrophobic space. Leaning heavily but intelligently on the methodologies of Gerhard Richter and Luc Tuymans (“The Tuymans Effect,” Kantor’s detailed examination of the Belgian painter’s prevailing influence, appeared in

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  • Hankang Huang


    There’s a delicacy of handling in Chinese artist Hankang Huang’s watercolors that is clearly derived from his traditional training at the Art College of Suzhou University. In A Problem of Self, 2005, for example, the black strokes that form the stripes of tigers, the faint outlines that mark the limits of their bodies, and the way that they stand on the open expanse of white paper are all consistent with pictorial conventions that date back many centuries. But the image is witty as well as formally refined, the title suggesting the conceptual character of the work: The tigers move in opposite

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  • Walead Beshty


    Walead Beshty has no shortage of ideas. Hot on the heels of a solo exhibition at the UCLA Hammer Museum, the Los Angeles–based artist’s second solo show at Wallspace, “The Maker and the Model,” was an eclectic collection of homages and footnotes to the work of (among others) Le Corbusier and Man Ray. Cutting across several media, including photograms, sculptures, and an ink-jet print (the last in the form of a limited edition on sale for forty bucks a square foot), it was also a demonstration of the artist’s conceptual promiscuity.

    By far the most striking piece in the show was New York, New York

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  • Aaron Young

    Harris Lieberman

    Acknowledging the inflated percentage of America’s income banked by its economic elite, Aaron Young’s recent show was titled “1%.” Young’s choice of materials and his penchant for hiring craftspeople and conspiratorial performers further signal his interest in class struggle. This concern was apparent at the 2006 Whitney Biennial, where he showed LOCALS ONLY! (Bayonne, New Jersey) (all works 2006), a boulder cast in bronze and painted by hired hands to closely resemble its source, then finally tagged by Young in spray paint with the eponymous territorial slogan. A couple of years before, he had

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  • Valerie Hegarty

    Guild & Greyshkul

    The centerpiece of Valerie Hegarty’s recent exhibition at Guild & Greyshkul was a Federalist-era fireplace, but not one exactly redolent of comfort and home. This hearth, like the gallery as a whole, was stuck full of harpoons and spattered with all kinds of muck: tar, slime, mold, and seagull droppings, all of which appeared to emanate from the spot where a harpoon had pierced a grand seascape painting (a loose reworking of Frederic Edwin Church’s The Icebergs, 1861) hanging over the mantel. Hegarty’s show offered a retort to generations of artists who have sought to frame nature as something

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