reviews

  • Angelo Filomeno

    Galerie Lelong & Co., New York

    Whether it’s a sign of inspiration or of exhaustion, the past decade has witnessed the annexing of various cottage industries by a number of contemporary artists, spawning craft-based practices that are now cottage industries in their own right. Two prominent strains, glassblowing and work that incorporates some kind of sewing, can justifiably lay claim to Angelo Filomeno, and, judging from the group exhibitions listed on his CV, have. But while the Italian-born, New York–based artist comes by these pedigrees more honestly (his mother was a dressmaker, his father a blacksmith, and he began

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  • “Between Here and There”

    The Metropolitan Museum of Art

    If there is any twentieth-century artist whose work has been so thoroughly carved up through such a wild range of readings that you would think no raw meat was left, it is Marcel Duchamp. But a few years back T. J. Demos, in his book The Exiles of Marcel Duchamp, found a theme that made the reader want to reexamine the artist’s entire corpus for signs of what Duchamp himself called a “spirit of expatriation,” a sense of nomadic homelessness that snapped him suddenly into a broader history of the twentieth century’s countless flights, migrations, and resettlements. “Between Here and There: Passages

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  • Pipilotti Rist

    Luhring Augustine | Chelsea

    That the opening of Pipilotti Rist’s “Heroes of Birth”—the artist’s third solo exhibition at Luhring Augustine—coincided with both fashion week and the ninth anniversary of the events of September 11 is perhaps no more than that: coincidence. But given Rist’s attention to the twin towers in her 2004 outing for the gallery (at the time, she described the show, titled “Herbstzeitlose,” as embodying a kind of offering to a New York that still felt to her on its knees), it’s hard not to think of the events of 2001 as forming a kind of backdrop here as well. In fact, the connection verges on being

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  • Lee Bontecou

    MoMA - The Museum of Modern Art

    Lee Bontecou’s story is an art-world fairy tale: sudden celebrity followed by withdrawal, even reclusion; then, rediscovery and newfound status. This show retells that narrative with sixteen works owned by the Museum of Modern Art and one loan (all but three are works on paper), while skipping a midcareer chapter and mounting the whole affair in what seems little more than a landing off the elevator. True, the museum presented a robust Bontecou survey some six years ago. That said, this account tends to validate a widespread indifference to Bontecou’s later output, a disinterest that the

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  • Nathaniel Robinson

    Feature Inc.

    Taking its cue (and deriving its name) from l’heure bleue, that fleeting moment of atmospheric ambivalence at dawn and dusk when daylight has not yet begun (or has just finished) drawing a world of legibility and clear distinction, Nathaniel Robinson’s New York solo debut, “Civil Twilight,” operated within a territory of formal, conceptual, and material indeterminacy. The suite of restrained sculptural scenarios—most consisting of some object or set of objects cast from pigmented polyurethane resin, occasionally augmented with found materials—was engaging if clearly transitional, finding the

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  • Jill Magid

    Whitney Museum of American Art

    In a 2007 work, Lincoln Ocean Victor Eddy, Jill Magid enacted a performative infiltration into a remote world by cultivating an ambiguous, clandestine relationship based on her fascination with a New York police officer: She persuaded him to train her as a cop, shadowing him on the night shift. Magid’s 2010 Reasonable Man in a Box—a project developed for the Anne and Joel Ehrenkranz Gallery on the Whitney Museum of American Art’s first floor—composed of a large-scale video projection featuring the shadow of a scorpion and a wall text with manipulated excerpts from the now infamous Bybee memo (

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  • Eric Fertman

    Susan Inglett Gallery

    Suggesting a joint venture between Philip Guston and R. Crumb (or, to choose a name less feted in the art world, MAD magazine’s Don Martin), Eric Fertman’s clubfooted sculptures combine craft with comedy in a style that, while aesthetically endearing, so far lacks the bite of his influences. Wielding slender brass and steel rods, Fertman joins together smoothly rounded bulbs of stained wood into anthropomorphic abstractions that, in his second show at Susan Inglett Gallery, filled a compact room to bursting. On display were also a number of other works—some sculptural, others graphic—that in

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  • Mark di Suvero

    The Morgan Library & Museum

    Mark di Suvero is one of the great masters of abstract sculpture, and on the basis of the three works recently on display in the Gilbert Court of the Morgan Library and Museum, arguably the greatest. All fashioned from steel, Heraldic Bourgogne, 1995, Homebody, 2004, and Sandwich I, 2007, evince an intricate dynamic, expressive power and inherent grandeur. They immediately invite comparison with David Smith’s constructions—also made from steel—which, though laboriously handmade, maintain a sort of industrial look. Di Suvero’s works, too, have an industrial appearance—the rusted steel accords

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  • Nathan Carter

    Casey Kaplan

    This was a restrained exhibition. Of course, when speaking of Nathan Carter’s willfully eccentric, vibrant sculptures, restrained is a relative term. The flags, legible icons, and letterforms for which he is known, as well as the overt references he has made to maps, racetracks, soccer teams, and communications systems, have been mostly purged from his newest works. The unwieldy ham-radio-chatter titles have likewise been trimmed. In fact, having spent the past decade as a ventriloquist who made the modernist visual language of Alexander Calder, Jean Arp, and Joan Miró speak to contemporary

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  • Melvin Edwards

    Alexander Gray Associates

    In early September, an op-ed feature in the New York Times described 9/11 as the moment that “saw the innocence of a nation crumble to the ground.” Melvin Edwards’s sculptures seem to rejoin the flawed irony of that account in mute form, to issue it a retort at once silent and searing. That the sculpture Iraq, 2003, marks but one chapter in the inexorable procession of Edwards’s “Lynch Fragments”—a series of small welded works begun in 1963, now comprising more than two hundred pieces (nine of which were on display here)—gives the lie to a myth of innocence crumbling suddenly. The intermittent

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  • David Lieske

    Alex Zachary

    Past a dried-up bouquet of flowers at the entrance to the gallery, the first piece to be seen in David Lieske’s exhibition “Imperium in Imperio” was a child mannequin standing on a pedestal covered in fabric. If it weren’t for his delicate eyelashes, the plastic boy would look aggressive, as if he’s about to throw the black velvet shoe placed on his hand. The shoe has an emblem on it—a sea horse surmounted by a crown—which turns out to be an ersatz family crest, concocted by Lieske’s uncle to serve as a logo for his advertising business. On the sole of the shoe is the name of its London maker:

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  • John Fahey

    Audio Visual Arts (AVA)

    The influential output of the self-made, self-taught, and self-mythologizing guitarist and American iconoclast John Fahey has been the subject of fervent interest since his death in 2001. Thanks in part to Thurston Moore (who identified the wayward musician as a “secret influence”), the rise of the freak-folk musical genre in the mid-2000s, and several recent tribute albums, Fahey’s revered American primitive–style fingerpicking and hymnlike blues albums are today more recognized (and fortunately more accessible) than they were when he was alive. There are some other positive and important

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