• Robert Therrien

    Gagosian Gallery

    The difference between the colossal and the merely big is more than just a matter of size. Take Robert Therrien’s recent show at Gagosian: Like much of the Los Angeles–based artist’s sculptural work over the past decade and a half, the bulk of the objects installed in the cavernous space (here reconfigured to roughly half its regular dimensions) painstakingly reimagine a selection of quotidian objects at outlandishly exaggerated scales. Yet the fact that most everything shown here is large does not necessarily mean that everything is larger than life, and the reasons for this disparity suggest

    Read more
  • Katharina Fritsch

    Matthew Marks Gallery

    That there is something patently ugly about much—if not all—of Katharina Fritsch’s work is too little remarked upon. Perhaps this has to do with the way it is ugly: not at all in the conventional sense of wandering afield from some aesthetic “ideal,” or even in presenting for abject delectation the long-hidden, seamy underbelly of something we thought we knew. Indeed, Fritsch’s objects court another kind of ugliness; they take their forms as perfect, smoothly contoured icons that rebuff the eye through a kind of affectlessness or, perhaps better said, through a kind of aloofness.

    This particular

    Read more
  • Gregory Crewdson

    Luhring Augustine | Chelsea

    The art of photography resides not in the ever-evolving camera but in the imaginative record of what lies before its lens. (Such was the case, at least, before the advent of digital photography and Photoshop). Two modes of photographic transcription now prevail. One is journalistic, the candid record of the “factual.” The other is “artistic,” bound to the photographer’s arranging of the subject matter itself. Such arrangements may vary widely, say, from Man Ray’s cheeky pornography to the awesome stage sets of Gregory Crewdson’s vastly admirable tableaux vivants—large, staged, and eerily static.

    Read more
  • Ernst Ludwig Kirchner

    Michael Werner | New York

    This survey of twenty late paintings by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner is an important if ambiguous event. Even when taking into account the historic achievements of both Der Blaue Reiter (Kandinsky and Company) and Die Brücke (founded by Kirchner, Karl Schmidt-Rotluff, and Erich Heckel), it seems fair to say that the greater glory of that moment was captured by the French: by Matisse and the Fauvists, by Picasso and the Cubists. Certainly Kirchner’s own adaptation of Cubist tropes, the parallelizing and fanning stroke typical of his famous urban scenes of streetwalkers, for example, had, by World War

    Read more
  • Tomma Abts

    New Museum

    If the compact, boxlike galleries of the new New Museum did no favors for the raggedy lo-fi sculptures in “Unmonumental,” the museum’s inaugural show, the ensuing exhibition—German painter Tomma Abt’s first solo outing in the United States—made clear the potential of the building’s small spaces. Hung low, the fourteen paintings on view worked with the architecture to draw the viewer into an emotional and intellectual engagement with a complex and enveloping space. For those who have previously seen Abts’s works only in reproduction, where they appear rather flat, encountering them in person

    Read more
  • Jeanne Silverthorne

    McKee Gallery

    The most obviously, even cornily beautiful set of works in Jeanne Silverthorne’s show also neatly summed up some of the artist’s longstanding concerns. This was a group of floral still lifes from 2008, hung in ornate frames on the wall like any in the great tradition of flower paintings from Jan Breughel on down. But Silverthorne’s blossoms, in blue, white, and pink, have an overblown, sugar-candy kind of ripeness that makes them seem to overflow their frames—in fact they literally bulge outward, being three-dimensional, cast in rubber several inches thick. In this material the petals seem weird

    Read more
  • “Who’s Afraid of Jasper Johns?”

    Tony Shafrazi Gallery

    The peculiar show “Who’s Afraid of Jasper Johns?” which was “conceived by Urs Fischer and Gavin Brown,” as the press materials inform us, and was recently on view at Tony Shafrazi Gallery, was an art-world gambit requiring more backstory than any in recent memory. It starts in February 1974, when Shafrazi, then a thirty-year-old artist, defaced Picasso’s Guernica at the Museum of Modern Art, tagging the phrase KILL LIES ALL across the painting’s convulsing surface. (The subsequent arrest is further immortalized on the show’s announcement, which shows a stony Shafrazi in handcuffs flanked by

    Read more
  • Matthew Brannon

    Petzel Gallery | West 18th Street

    Spike-heeled, peep-toed, platform-soled, or sling-backed, the gaily colored silhouettes of footwear in Matthew Brannon’s recent letterpress prints summon Andy Warhol’s late-1950s shoe drawings in dash and whimsy, if not function. Warhol’s shoes, used in ads, were among his earliest successes; Brannon’s illustrate failure. The paragraphs that appear below them voice the plaints of various urban subjects who are unlucky in love or unhappy at work, facing middle age in the middle distance, and dithering in stews of regret, jealousy, and alcohol. In Role Playing, 2008, lace boots are paired with

    Read more
  • Gedi Sibony

    Greene Naftali Gallery

    Neo-psychedelia had a fleeting moment a few years back, but for the better part of this decade Western contemporary art has lacked “movements.” Have critics become too skittish to proclaim a movement when they see one? Has the teeming art world simply achieved total heterogeneity? Both may be true, but, as the New Museum’s recent “Unmonumental” exhibition suggested, some of today’s sculptural work does have a somewhat unified sensibility (if not yet an umbrella term): anti-epic, reverent of the scavenged item, and concerned more with object arrangement than with object creation. Gedi Sibony may

    Read more
  • Hans Hofmann

    Ameringer Yohe Fine Art

    Hans Hofmann’s paintings on paper have a freshness, an energy, a presence that belies their age. They’re sixty years old, but they have a timeless immediacy. “Time flows like water does back in the ocean back into Eternity,” he wrote in the poem on paper that hung as an introduction to the paintings, which themselves flow like the water of eternal life—water with a strong, relentless current, a deep expressive undertow, a painterly Heraclitean water that is never the same but nonetheless flows with sure-footed fastness over the paper.

    Clement Greenberg, critiquing the artist’s exclusion from the

    Read more
  • Tomory Dodge

    CRG Gallery

    When I think of the Los Angeles–based artist Tomory Dodge, a specific painting comes to mind: Weekend, 2005. Titled after Jean-Luc Godard’s 1967 film, the canvas depicts a red drum kit amid a thicket of loose yet perfectly restrained gestural marks suggestive of a chaotic, trash-strewn forest. Weekend was featured in Dodge’s first solo show in New York at CRG in 2006 and encapsulates the narrative themes he developed between 2002 and 2007 in works that portrayed haphazard disasters, debris, and the type of destitute terrain found just off the highway. In the six new paintings that made up his

    Read more
  • Scott and Tyson Reeder

    Daniel Reich Gallery

    Brothers Scott and Tyson Reeder are musicians, filmmakers (Scott’s feature-length Moon Dust is currently in postproduction), and curators (most notably, they helped organize the Dark Fair at the Swiss Institute last March and co-organized “Drunk vs. Stoned” at Gavin Brown’s Enterprise a few years back) and are among the owners of the Milwaukee gallery General Store. They are also painters. Although they have been shown together before, the Reeders’ paintings are decidedly one-man affairs, each brother’s work maintaining its independence in style, medium, and attitude. Besides their penchant for

    Read more
  • Leigh Ledare

    Andrew Roth

    A typewritten note describing the artist’s mother air-drying naked on a bed, postshower; a napkin on which his mother has scribbled things she would like to be (“a writer like Marguerite Duras and Anaïs Nin”); a grid of thirty-six photos of his mother playing with her labia; a page from a 1966 Seventeen magazine profile of his mother as a young ballerina; classified ads his mother placed in the Seattle Weekly seeking “a generous wealthy husband (not someone else’s) who wants his own private dancer.” In all, twenty-three works (images, texts, ephemera) made up “Pretend You’re Actually Alive,”

    Read more
  • Seth Cluett


    Diapason is relatively obscure, owing to its location on the tenth floor of a large, nondescript building on the wrong side of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, its being open strictly on Saturday afternoons, and its particular focus: contemporary sound art. Despite a history stretching back to the cacophonous experiments of Futurism and Dada, and periodic peaks of recognition—sometimes, as with video, attendant on technological developments—sound art remains a niche concern. The reasons for this are legion: To many, sound art remains profoundly confusing in its consistently ill-defined intersection

    Read more
  • Christopher Orr


    Christopher Orr’s dark, diminutive oil paintings seem at first glance to have been salvaged from some alternate past. Employing an earthy palette of browns, reds, and ochers, and building surfaces on which areas of dry, scraped-back pigment are juxtaposed with richer, fresher-looking passages, the Scottish artist conjures a dramatic lost world in which characters, scenes, and objects culled from popular midcentury print media seem to have strayed into the sublime landscape visions of a nineteenth-century Romantic. But though united on the same canvases, these incongruous pairings tend to remain

    Read more