reviews

  • Annika von Hausswolff

    Casey Kaplan

    I Am the Runway of Your Thoughts (all works 2008), the installation that gave Annika von Hausswolff’s recent show its title, is made up of multiple photographs of a woman pointing a model airplane toward her open mouth. Produced in either color or black-and-white, and displayed either singly or in sets of two, three, or five, the photographs are cinematically and dramatically lit, and together have the effect of a slow-motion advance toward a terrible moment.

    The gesture in the images is obviously sexual, and obviously violent; the echoes of 9/11 are impossible to ignore, there (still) being no

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  • Pablo Picasso

    Acquavella Galleries

    “Picasso’s Marie-Thérèse” is a dream show, and not only because its key work is The Dream, an iconic portrait of Marie-Thérèse Walter. The sitter, depicted in what is widely overinterpreted as a masturbatory reverie, enjoys a prominent place in Picasso’s long succession of muses. Even if not every i has been dotted and not every t crossed regarding that fateful meeting on January 8, 1927, between the forty-five-year-old cruising titan and the seventeen-year-old girl he picked up in front of the Galeries Lafayette, we do know that, on crossing paths with Picasso, she had no idea of his sensational

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  • Lorna Simpson

    Salon 94 | Freemans

    One intriguing aspect of midcareer retrospectives is that they typically herald a new phase in an artist’s practice, a reinvention. Take for example Lorna Simpson, who recently, a year and a half after her mid-career survey at the Whitney Museum of American Art, had a two-part exhibition at Salon 94. Marking a significant shift from her large-scale photographs juxtaposing figure and text, her new work, including two series of drawings, imparts an intimacy and directness underpinned by the seminal themes of her practice: race and gender. While her latest offerings continue to blend formal and

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  • Donald Moffett

    Marianne Boesky Gallery

    Queer variations on a theme, the fourteen coquettish canvases in “Easy Clean,” Donald Moffett’s most recent exhibition at Marianne Boesky, all service the same end. In the front gallery, Moffett showed three monochromes, bristly sculptural paintings resembling patches of Astroturf or dense clusters of flagella (each a sliver of oil paint squeezed directly from the tube). Cut with holes, the canvases reveal the walls in simple shapes—an exclamation mark, a matrix of dots, and an array of overlapping circles.

    The main gallery featured work no less corporeal for being less hirsute: eleven canvases,

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  • Jonathan Horowitz

    Gavin Brown's enterprise | 620 Greenwich Street

    On November 4, 2008, Barack Obama won the presidency. That night, an election returns party was held within Jonathan Horowitz’s opportunistically timed and oddly entertaining “Obama ’08” exhibition. Horowitz irreverently and wittily appropriates items from American lowbrow and middlebrow culture, converting an already-reified pop vernacular into a pastiche of itself, and reveling in the tragicomic dimensions of postmodern life. His practice is cynical, hopeful, soulful, empty, celebratory, critical, complicit, engaged, fatalistic, satirical, stupid, and thoughtful.

    “Obama ’08” might be understood

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  • Elizabeth Neel

    Deitch Projects

    Elizabeth Neel is an accomplished painter, though it’s not clear what, specifically, her accomplishment is. Her paintings are fourth-, fifth-, sixth- (I’ve lost count) generation samples of Abstract Expressionist painting. She is struggling hard to renew the meaningfulness of passionate gesture, but her gestures, while passionate, do not themselves seem to have much meaning. If, as Harold Rosenberg wrote, “the test of [the] seriousness [of action painting] is the degree to which the act on the canvas is an extension of the artist’s effort to make over his [or her] experience,” then Neel doesn’t

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  • Babette Mangolte

    BROADWAY 1602 | Uptown

    For “Collision,” her second solo show at Broadway 1602, avant-garde filmmaker and documentary photographer Babette Mangolte opted, as the title suggests, to bring together the many materials, methods, and periods of her production. Mangolte is, of course, known by now—the woman behind the lens, producing images of so many of the most germinal performances of the 1970s and beyond; without her, we would have much less of the still scant “proof” of events by Trisha Brown, Yvonne Rainer, Robert Whitman, and Richard Foreman, to name just a few. But although Mangolte’s complicated position as “

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  • Stan VanDerBeek

    Guild & Greyshkul

    When Stan VanDerBeek (1927–1984) wrote in a 1961 manifesto (“The Cinema Delimina—Films from the Underground”) that artists were increasingly “abandoning the logics of aesthetics, springing full-blown into a juxtaposed and simultaneous world that ignores the one-point-perspective mind, the one-point-perspective lens,” he could well have been describing the vertiginous presentation of this retrospective of his own work. In the main space, three film loops, six 35-mm slide projections (three looped and three still), and an image of a collage were projected on screens clustered in front of one wall,

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  • Jason Middlebrook

    Sara Meltzer Gallery

    “Shoulds” are dangerous, especially in art. So it’s risky to stipulate that a project concerned with human habits of exploiting and degrading flora and fauna should hit its viewers viscerally with exploitation and degradation, or that an exhibition worried about seductive consumerism should avoid seducing its consumers. Beauty, after all, is one of the great persuasive powers on earth. Sensually pleasing materials and precise compositions bespeak care and attention. Isn’t it ugly carelessness that causes landfills, shantytowns, deforestation, extinction, and mile after mile of freeway traffic

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  • Rodney McMillian

    The Kitchen

    “The challenge of the next half century,” said Lyndon B. Johnson at the University of Michigan in 1964, “is whether we have the wisdom to use [our] wealth to enrich and elevate our national life, and to advance the quality of our American civilization.” Los Angeles–based artist Rodney McMillian, who in recent years has delivered Johnson’s famous “Great Society” speech at numerous art venues, might argue that the past fifty years have not lived up to the former president’s hopeful vision. McMillian’s art has, without seeming merely didactic, patiently explored the social fissures—in particular,

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  • Jean-Baptiste Huynh

    Sonnabend Gallery

    For ten years, French photographer Jean-Baptiste Huynh primarily made portraits, reading, with a 6 x 6 cm Hasselblad camera, his subjects’ facial expressions, their skin colors, and their suggestions of intimacy in order to bring the other in close. Now, in “Twilights,” “Mirrors,” and “Meteorites,” the three series he debuted in his first solo show in the United States, he focuses instead on panoramas and objects, investigating the distance between the individual and the universe, and offering a serene meditation on death.

    In “Twilights,” 2008, the dispersion of sunlight across horizons suggests

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  • Paula Wilson

    Bellwether

    The painted, printed, and collaged pictorial extravaganzas that Paula Wilson presented in her first solo show in New York just won’t stop moving. They give the impression, rightly or wrongly, of having been produced in a kind of controlled frenzy. And since the exhibition itself, “The Stained Glass Ceiling,” was jam-packed with twenty-one works of diverse kinds and scale, most of them brilliantly and copiously colored as well as materially complex and dense with sensations, one’s first impression might have been that it could only be seen in a frenzy, by bouncing around from one striking detail

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  • Joe Bradley

    CANADA

    There has never been much evidence of work in Joe Bradley’s art, and therein resides much of its signification. The individual units of Bradley’s paintings have always been literally blank and, more significantly, militantly haphazard. With his works’ scabrous, cheap surfaces; his “casualness” concerning proper leveling and hanging; and his ambivalent (if not antagonistic) attitude toward the conventionally stretched canvas, Bradley falls somewhere between a heroic practitioner of “grunge art” and a loafer.

    His breakout body of work consisted of pieces he has called “guys”: several rectangular

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  • Henrik Oleson

    MINI/Goethe-Institut Curatorial Residencies Ludlow 38

    Although he has spent the past few years generating an Aby Warburg–type atlas of “faggy gestures” found throughout art history, Berlin-based, Danish artist Henrik Olesen took, for his first solo show in the United States, only one man as muse: mathematician Alan Turing (1912–1954). A cult figure to many, Turing is credited with both breaking Germany’s World War II Enigma code and developing the first modern computer. He was also gay; charged as such under British law, he chose to accept state-administered “corrective” hormone therapy over incarceration. A few years after his trial, Turing, biting

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  • Logan Grider

    Thierry Goldberg Gallery

    In his first solo exhibition, Logan Grider showed fifteen intimately sized abstractions, works he intends, according to the press release, to be “representations of sounds, emotional states, conversations, and actions.” That’s a big charge for little paintings, and, to the young artist’s credit, one that many of his canvases fulfill handily. But this achievement is a secondary one. The formal antics of these paintings are so involved (and involving) that synesthesia, allusion, and even depiction as such are superfluous points of reference.

    Each composition, oil on canvas over panel, contains a

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  • Edith Dekyndt

    Parker's Box

    Like a gothic remake of the mysterious globular security drones that were the bane of Patrick McGoohan’s existence in the 1960s TV classic The Prisoner, Edith Dekyndt’s Ground Control (all works 2008) hovers a little too close and a little too large for comfort. An inky black, helium-filled polypropylene balloon, this ominous airborne sculpture laid claim, in distinctly intimidating fashion, to the front of Parker’s Box’s Brooklyn space during the Belgian artist’s recent New York solo debut, easily the most assertive work in an otherwise gentle exhibition.

    While Ground Control might recall Fiona

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