• Larry Clark

    Luhring Augustine | Chelsea

    In Larry Clark’s moral universe, subtlety is generally confined to the outer reaches of a minor nebula. In the final pages of his photo book Tulsa (1971), for instance, an image of a young pregnant woman shooting amphetamine is notoriously succeeded by one of a dolled-up infant in a tiny casket; rarely does one see action and (dreadful) consequence presented in such audacious proximity. Given this lineage, it was a bit unnerving that Clark’s latest exhibition of photographs, titled simply “Los Angeles 2003–2006,” opened with a snapshot of a baby in a pink tub, naked, wet, and very much alive.

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  • Aleksandra Mir

    Mary Boone Gallery/Printed Matter

    In her essay “No time like the present,” literary critic Deborah Esch quotes another critic, Werner Hamacher, discussing a kind of thought trial: “Many years ago . . . Max Horkheimer recommended a little experiment during a television interview. He suggested reading newspapers a few weeks or months after their publication. . . . The reader of these old papers will notice that the imperatives, attractions and threats heralded in them reveal themselves as such only to the degree that they no longer directly affect him.” In making Newsroom 1986–2000, 2007, Aleksandra Mir makes good on Horkheimer’s

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  • Ugo Rondinone

    Matthew Marks Gallery | 502 W. 22nd Street

    Much of Ugo Rondinone’s work occupies the indeterminate space between standardized pop culture and high art (the latter category ever more difficult to locate). The Swiss artist is as well known for his Gesamkunstwerk-like engagements with cinematic spectacle and semiotic codes (for example, Roundelay, 2004, an immersive, multichannel video installation that intermixes tropes of Hollywood and of avant-garde and structuralist film in its portrayal of a man and a woman separately walking the streets of Paris as if heading for some star-crossed rendezvous) as he is for meticulous landscape drawings

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  • Collier Schorr

    303 Gallery

    Camouflaged in the trappings of the Vietnam era—well-worn fatigues, muscle cars, transistor radios, Jane Fonda—Collier Schorr’s recent exhibition spoke directly to contemporary conditions with one of the most powerful political statements to appear this fall. “There I Was” focused on Charlie “Astoria Chas” Snyder, a nineteen-year-old drag racer photographed by Schorr’s father in 1967 just before leaving for ’Nam. Snyder and his “Ko-Motion” Sting Ray Corvette were featured in CARS magazine, but Astoria Chas was killed in combat even before the issue hit newsstands. In this new body of

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  • Peter Schuyff

    Nicole Klagsbrun

    In “Go easy around the eyes,” an essay published in the booklet accompanying Peter Schuyff’s recent exhibition at Nicole Klagsbrun Gallery (his first there, and his first New York solo show in six years), Terry R. Myers situates the Dutch painter’s oeuvre in a framework defined by post-endgame geometric abstraction on the one hand—he cites Mary Heilmann and Philip Taaffe as co-conspirators—and East Village “Neo-Surrealism” (another mini-movement of the late 1980s) on the other. Schuyff combines the two strands in his recent work by painting rings, grids, stylized clouds, and other

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  • Hannah Wilke

    Ronald Feldman Gallery

    Fifteen years after Hannah Wilke’s death, her oeuvre still confounds the desire to find in it a purely critical impulse. Though now firmly installed in the feminist canon (however oxymoronic such a concept may be), Wilke doesn’t rest easily there. Some still argue that she developed a practice whose bedrock—though veined with resistant acumen—consisted primarily of whatever was necessary to sustain its own gaze-baiting operations. But it is less Wilke’s detractors than her advocates who, in some ways, continue to register the clearest anxiety about her work. Indeed, those that most

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  • Ryan Trecartin

    Elizabeth Dee Gallery

    In Mary Jordan’s documentary on the movie director Jack Smith, Jack Smith and the Destruction of Atlantis, 2006, the filmmaker and musician Tony Conrad has a wonderful memory of seeing Flaming Creatures (1963) for the first time: “The screen lit up with this lam- bent, wonderful, surging, frolicking, exquisitely happy moment.” I recalled that line while watching I-Be Area, the 1-hour-48-minute video work that was the heart of Ryan Trecartin’s recent show. I’m not sure I-Be Area is exquisitely happy; its content is too elusive to be sure. But Trecartin follows on from Smith in a number of

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  • Huma Bhabha

    Salon 94/Salon 94 Freemans/ATM Gallery

    If figurative painting seems to have recovered from the long siege laid to it by the popularity of minimalist, conceptual, and new-media practices, the same cannot yet be said of figurative sculpture. Despite the continued prominence of senior artists like Stephan Balkenhol and Thomas Schütte, and that of a coterie of emergent practitioners including Thomas Houseago, Rebecca Warren, and Matthew Monahan, it remains unusual for a young sculptor to commit to modeling the human form. Huma Bhabha’s remarkable third New York solo exhibition, spread across three venues, proved by the impressive breadth

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  • Merlin Carpenter

    Reena Spaulings Fine Art | New York

    Merlin Carpenter is a tactician, skilled in exploiting the critical leverage points of artistic production—fabrication, exhibition, publication, administration, reception, exchange. However, his is not a historical critique of institutions. Rather, presuming no institutional resistance and citing the lack of commonly held criteria for understanding a work of art, Carpenter fabricates exhibition structures in order to operate. Traditional sites of display such as galleries and kunsthalles are treated as sites of primary production—theatrical stages with players, props, and gestures

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  • Dara Friedman

    Midtown Manhattan

    Beyond the notion that an art activity may be consummated through social exchange, subsequent to the historical institutionalization of “dematerialized” conceptual practices, have we reached a threshold of art as rumor? The art-as-life/life-as-art dynamic has always been a beautiful contradiction, yet as certain art activities become increasingly phantomlike, it is incumbent upon us to tease out new critical criteria to evaluate these dispersed processes and situations. In a sense, we are invited to become “actors” in the construction of a conceptual framework, even if we don’t necessarily

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  • Oliver Payne and Nick Relph

    Gavin Brown's enterprise | 620 Greenwich Street

    Those accustomed to Oliver Payne and Nick Relph’s early, collagelike films, in which images of life in and around London are set against documentary-style narration or music by (among others) the Sex Pistols and Terry Riley, may have been surprised to find that the artists’ most recent exhibition was slick, sculptural, and eerily quiet. The show did include four videos, but these are silent, and depict action that hovers in a perverse equilibrium imposed by corporate culture. Swoon Soon, 2006, for example, portrays a slinky, modish woman strutting through a primarily black-and-white realm of

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  • Sadie Benning


    Sadie Benning has garnered widespread acclaim since she was a teenager for her do-it-yourself approach to artmaking, especially among those of her postpunk peers who favor collaboration over individuality. Her career arc, though fairly well known, bears repeating: In 1989, as a teenager, Benning began to make candid, diaristic videos in her bedroom with a Fisher-Price PixelVision toy camera. Ten years later, she co-founded the feminist indie band Le Tigre. After years of incorporating politics, queer sexuality, and personal history into her work, that Benning has taken an increasing interest in

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  • Cheryl Donegan

    Oliver Kamm/5BE Gallery

    Corporeal black comedies, Cheryl Donegan’s videos of the early 1990s took aim at mythical heroics of male artistic creativity: She dipped her ass in green paint to make shamrock-shaped, Yves Klein–like butt prints in Kiss My Royal Irish Ass (K.M.R.I.A.), 1993, and erotically mouthed a banana stuck into a plastic bottle dangling from a wire in the Naumanesque video Graceful Phatsheba, 1993. Donegan’s recent work remains acidic, but has turned abstract. Lee Lozano’s “Wave” paintings of the late 1960s represented an attempt to undermine the contemporaneous dominance of nonrepresentational and

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  • Wijnanda Deroo

    Robert Mann Gallery

    Between 1988 and 1992, Dutch photographer Wijnanda Deroo trawled New York City’s Lower East Side for fragments of the not yet gentrified neighborhood’s Jewish history, photographing its obscured and crumbling synagogues. In 2004, she was commissioned to document the Rijksmuseum’s prerestoration state, arriving at a sequence of desolate interiors that reflect a century of wear and tear. Considering these two projects, made more than a decade apart, simultaneously is to be struck by how unerringly Deroo has managed to invest empty spaces with emotional authority. The artist’s recent exhibition

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  • Judi Werthein

    Art in General

    If two landmarks in the brief history of the carpet in contemporary art include Lawrence Weiner’s A SQUARE REMOVAL FROM A RUG IN USE, 1969, and Rudolph Stingel’s Plan B, 2004, the centerpiece of Judi Werthein’s “Corporate Logo” exhibition aims to combine the critical gravity of the former with the visual punch of the latter. The artist blanketed the floor of Art in General’s gallery with a custom-made wall-to-wall black rug patterned in a white, step-and-repeat motif with a logo she devised (with the help of a graphic designer) for the organization. And that was it: an expanse of carpet and bare

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