reviews

  • T.J. Wilcox

    Metro Pictures

    The films in T. J. Wilcox’s recent show proposed an unlikely trio of heroines: Elisabeth, Empress of Austria, assassinated in 1898; Jackie O, widow of both John F. Kennedy and Aristotle Onassis; and Jerry Hall, supermodel and ex of Mick Jagger. The three may meet in glamour, but their respective sorts of glamour vary wildly, and my shorthand ID’s above—“assassinated,” “widow,” “ex of Mick Jagger”—suggest the women suffered differently too. Yet Wilcox manages to find in the biography of each of them some sympathetic strain that makes them parallel. A man who loves women, he has invented a cinematic

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  • Adam Helms

    Marianne Boesky Gallery

    Despite the increasing visibility of young artists engaged with the deleterious side of contemporary American culture—whether parsing subcultural responses to it or directly expressing political grievances with it—relatively few of them engage deeply with specific moments in this country’s history. Contemporary artistic accounts can make it seem as if the upheavals of the 1960s were a Big Bang, before which nothing here existed: no hardscrabble Puritanism, no founding-father solidarity, no Transcendentalism, no “patriotic gore,” no international projection of power through the first half of the

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  • Karl Haendel

    Harris Lieberman

    Private thoughts and public images are rendered starkly in black and white in Karl Haendel’s first New York solo appearance. Three photographs and forty-six labor-intensive, mostly large-scale drawings, depicting everything from Kenneth Noland–esque concentric circles to headlines clipped from the New York Times to iconic photojournalistic images, were arrayed around the gallery walls in a way that verged at times on the ludic (as with one work consisting of the repeated phrase BUSH, PLEASE BUY RUBBERS) and at times on the melancholy (as with elegiac renderings of moments from Haendel’s ’70s

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  • “Project for a Revolution in New York”

    Matthew Marks Gallery

    Many galleries have upped the group show ante of late (particularly during the summer months) and, freed from the workaday routine of solo exhibitions, now offer group shows that aspire to the level of museum fare. Take “Project for a Revolution in New York,” which was on view in Matthew Marks’s West Twenty-fourth Street space. Curated by Mitchell Algus, a dealer known for his taste in and privileging of the overlooked and the eccentric, “Project for a Revolution in New York” was named for Alain Robbe-Grillet’s eponymous 1970 novel, and its object was to whet our taste for what Algus calls in

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  • Jonathan Pylypchuk

    Petzel Gallery | West 18th Street

    Jonathan Pylypchuk’s fourth solo exhibition at Friedrich Petzel Gallery was arguably his most far-reaching to date. Pylypchuk’s previous gallery outings have concentrated on diminutive, puppetlike characters fabricated from old clothes, bits of wood, and other items ticketed for the junk pile. And while these remained prominent at Petzel, the Canadian artist and former Royal Art Lodge member here provided his creatures with a gallery-spanning habitat of rickety wood. Once free-floating entities, Pylypchuk’s characters thereby became actors in a quasi-narrative diorama.

    But despite its expansion

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  • Susanne M. Winterling

    Daniel Reich Gallery

    Lap dissolves have lost much of the appeal they had back when Citizen Kane (1941) introduced the Xanadu manse through an ominous series of overlapping images, each fading out as the subsequent one faded in, or when La Jetée (1962) utilized the transition for a more subjective sequence in which, according to the narrator, “images begin to ooze like confessions.” By now, our eyes have become so conditioned by the more jarring interruptions of jump cuts and channel hops that multiple fade-outs and fade-ins seem rather hokey, relegated to “lesser” forms like screen savers and club visuals.

    What,

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  • John Torreano

    Feature, Inc.

    If one was to fully appreciate John Torreano’s recent exhibition “Scapes,” it helped to be familiar with the ancient Greek myth of Orion, the hunter, who was immortalized as a constellation by Artemis (sister of Apollo and the object of Orion’s love) after she killed him accidentally. The tragic story informs Orion’s Curtain (all works 2007), the show’s keynote work. A spray painting made directly on the gallery’s foyer wall, Orion’s Curtain was a swirling field of marks inset with wooden balls of various sizes marking the imagined positions of stars, and darkened by touches of charcoal signaling

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  • Mike Nelson

    Essex Street

    The title of A Psychic Vacuum, 2007, British artist Mike Nelson’s first large-scale project in the US, echoes that of Stanislaw Lem’s A Perfect Vacuum (1971). Lem’s text is a collection of reviews of nonexistent books; Nelson’s work might be described as resembling the set of an imaginary film. Revisiting the labyrinthine structure of his installation The Coral Reef, 2000, the Turner Prize–shortlisted artist here filled the interior of a long-disused building on Manhattan’s Lower East Side with a suite of interconnected rooms containing various arrangements of locally sourced found objects. The

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  • Jeff Shore and John Fisher

    Clementine

    We open on the view through a window, watching as the moon rises above a lake and is reflected in its dark, still surface. Dense foliage surrounds the water; the night sky is clear and empty. The image, a video projection, is in black-and-white, but this does not detract from its lush feel. Expansive music accompanies the scene; appropriate to a grand open space, it is also shadowed by a vague portentousness, a slight queasiness that hints that there is more here than meets the eye. Slowly, as if moved by an unseen hand, the window closes and we find ourselves observing the landscape through a

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  • Dana Frankfort

    Bellwether

    “DF,” Dana Frankfort’s second solo exhibition in New York, presented ten thickly layered, restlessly gestural paintings, each featuring a word or phrase scrawled messily across its surface. Grappling with the history of abstraction, Frankfort’s canvases are marked by an engagement with text; by vibrant, lustrous colors; and by energetic brushwork. The artist’s work appeared in more than one group show this summer. GUTS (yellow/gold) (all works 2007), for example, her contribution to “Late Liberties” at John Connelly Presents, is a vivid and uncompromising canvas that confronted viewers with a

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  • Marco Breuer

    Von Lintel Gallery

    Marco Breuer has never published a “Verb List” as Richard Serra has, but you get the feeling he has one secreted somewhere. His recent exhibition at Von Lintel Gallery, which presented fifteen years’ worth of his manipulations and mutilations of photographic materials, is a litany of infinitives: to cut, to sand, to scratch, to prick, to burn, to slice. Each action—frequently unnamed but hinted at in the exhibition checklist with phrases like “gelatin-silver paper, burned” or “chromogenic paper, scratched”—determines a work.

    For Untitled (Cloth II/100% Cotton), 1998, Breuer placed cotton gauze

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  • “Stubborn Materials”

    Peter Blum Gallery

    “After innovation—the critical deluge; after the deluge—fashion; after fashion—the group show; after the group show (and its coverage by mass media)—criticism of criticism. These episodes replace each other rapidly on the art scene today, crowding good and bad art alike off the stage in preparation for the next act.” The words, Lucy Lippard’s, are from 1966, but they couldn’t feel less dated. The banality of most group shows, compounded with their inevitably short shelf lives, makes a good one—summer or otherwise—that much more arresting. “Stubborn Materials,” curated by gallery director Simone

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  • “Midnight’s Daydream: Titus Kaphar, Wardell Milan II, Demetrius Oliver”

    The Studio Museum in Harlem

    The Studio Museum Harlem hosts three artists in residence every year, and gives them a summer show at the completion of their tenure. Alums of the program include David Hammons, Kerry James Marshall, and Wangechi Mutu. This year’s residents were Titus Kaphar, Wardell Milan II, and Demetrius Oliver, and each presented works in “Midnight’s Daydream,” a day-for-night fantasia investigating familial, political, and art-historical inheritance; the challenges of representing African-American desire; and compositional strategies of assemblage, deconstruction, and the juxtaposition of opposites.

    Youth

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