reviews

  • Al Taylor

    David Zwirner | 525 & 533 West 19th Street

    It is hard to know where to begin describing Al Taylor’s imagination. His practice was a somewhat hermetic, hybrid one, a private marriage of drawing and object making. Taylor (who moved to New York from Kansas City, Missouri, in 1970 and died of cancer in 1999 at the age of fifty-one) spent seven years working for Robert Rauschenberg, so his scavenger’s devotion to cast-off objects comes with a pedigree. But to say that Rauschenberg’s example somehow accounts for Taylor is about as useful as saying that Frank O’Hara read a lot of Arthur Rimbaud. Marcel Duchamp was clearly important to him,

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  • Rob Pruitt

    Gavin Brown's enterprise | 620 Greenwich Street

    If The Book of the Courtier, the etiquette guide penned by the sixteenth-century Italian diplomat Baldassare Castiglione, is known at all today, it’s probably for its coinage of sprezzatura, a word it uses to describe a very particular, and very practiced, mode of nonchalance. One classic translation renders the term an approach that “shall conceal design and show that what is done and said is done without effort and almost without thought.” According to Castiglione, then, “true art” will be that “which does not appear to be art” at all.

    All the ripest paradoxes of the courtier’s Renaissance koan

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  • Sue Williams

    303 Gallery

    “I just figure all women are feminists unless they really hate themselves.” This statement issues from Sue Williams, in a recent interview with fellow artist Nate Lowman, as she accounts for shifts over the past twenty years in both her practice and its context. If Williams—who has all too easily and often been roped into simplified narratives around identity politics and, more specifically, traumatic power dynamics and violent corporeality as played out in sexualized representation—states with ease her belief that feminism can be aligned with self-respect, the real gravity of such a view is

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  • Matthew Day Jackson

    Peter Blum SoHo

    Matthew Day Jackson aims high: life, death, presence, absence, the A-bomb. Like Damien Hirst or Jeff Koons, he’s a go-for-the-glory kind of artist, less interested in gray subtleties than in absolutes, extremes, and what literary critics used to call “the great tradition,” the canon-building heights of art’s capacities. Where his contemporaries, in dealing with history, might lean toward Foucauldian deconstruction or the view from below, Jackson tends to opt for big events: Hiroshima, the moon landing, the death of Philippe Pot (a pretty big event, apparently, in Renaissance France). In dealing

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  • Guillermo Kuitca

    Sperone Westwater

    Guillermo Kuitca is a fitting choice to inaugurate Sperone Westwater’s new Foster + Partners building on the Bowery, what with the artist’s long-standing representation by the gallery—this marks his eighth solo show—and even longer-standing interest in design. (The show also coincides with the national tour of Kuitca’s retrospective, organized by Douglas Dreishpoon, chief curator at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo.) In the present context, Kuitca’s signature architectural iconography served not only to indicate the persistent nature of his practice, but also, and more unfortunately, to

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  • “Today I Made Nothing”

    Elizabeth Dee Gallery

    For the past decade and a half, increasing numbers of artists have devoted themselves to considering the radically altered relationship between work and leisure in contemporary society, which makes a great deal of sense, given that art occupies a uniquely privileged, paradoxical position precisely at the point of overlap between these two spheres. Even so, too often people resort to an old, clichéd trope: The very possibility of art (as an object of contemplation, as a thing produced and circulated) exists only by virtue of leisure time. And yet such leisure time spent in making and looking at

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  • Marc Newson

    Gagosian Gallery (21)

    In the machine age, designers turned to the most advanced technologies of travel as sources of inspiration. Le Corbusier wrote odes to ocean liners and airplanes. Charlotte Perriand fell into raptures over automobiles. Marcel Breuer fashioned his tubular steel chairs after the handlebars of an Adler bicycle. Today, the current of influence may flow both ways: Design might influence transportation technology, too. Or so Australia-born, London-based designer Marc Newson’s second solo show at Gagosian seems to suggest. “Transport” presents Newson’s designs and prototypes for, primarily, private

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  • Adam Fuss

    Cheim & Read

    “Home and the World,” Adam Fuss’s third solo exhibition at Cheim & Read, showed his most austere work yet. The artist whose photograms have previously incorporated rabbit entrails, ejaculate, and cow livers hasn’t forsworn corporeality altogether, however: One encountered, on the floor of a small side gallery, a giant daguerreotype of an upclose vulva. Fuss disavows any provocation, erotic or otherwise, averring that his interest in the image had to do with “the architecture of the entrance.” This surprisingly sound plea for formalism aside—the frontal splay of tissue is desensualized to the

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  • Craig Kauffman

    DANESE/COREY

    Bemused condescension is a nuanced mind-set. Yet it is familiar enough to the New York art world, as when, some forty-plus years ago, the cognoscenti encountered the team of young Light and Space artists who were then emerging in Los Angeles. It is not that ethereality, evanescence, and the dematerialization of color were necessarily foreign to the aspirations of East Coast painters in the 1960s—they weren’t (think Color Field, for example)—but that such refined digressions, as we spun them, were embodied as pigment on canvas, including even the paintings of a nascent Minimalist persuasion. For

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  • Sarah Sze

    Tanya Bonakdar Gallery

    Five years have passed since Sarah Sze’s last New York gallery show, and she took her most recent exhibition as an opportunity to fill Tanya Bonakdar’s bilevel space, including the stairwell, office, and foyer. Her nine installations (all works 2010) were titled separately but fit together to create the laboratory-playhouse-boutique-archive of commodity that we expect from her, incorporating, among other items, a bottle of Windex, plastic fans, live plants, C-clamps, balsa wood, white gift boxes, water bottles, clip lights, paint chips, plastic buckets, twigs, yarn, blue painter’s tape, a pair

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  • Laurent Grasso

    Sean Kelly Gallery

    With their 1991 novel The Difference Engine, which imagines the social repercussions on Victorian Britain had Charles Babbage successfully invented the mechanical computer in the 1820s, William Gibson and Bruce Sterling created the definitive novel of the now-popular sci-fi subgenre known as steam-punk. Driven by nostalgia for a vision of a future that never came to pass, and by an attendant obsession with obscure and obsolete technology, steampunk has since become a widespread trope in literature, music, and popular culture at large. Laurent Grasso’s work—though not a pure representation of

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  • Patrick Jackson

    Nicole Klagsbrun

    Patrick Jackson’s “Tchotchke Stacks,” 2010, comprise just that: stacks of trinkets separated by sheets of glass in five, six, and seven layers. Each layer holds just four trinkets, some on little mirrored pedestals that equalize their varying heights, and this generous spacing, plus the invisible glass and mirrored boxes, makes them appear to float.

    These figurines, models, souvenirs, and statuettes, which the artist buys at thrift stores, seem to be arranged with studied randomness, as if to express the very variety of the medium: Michelangelo’s David appears multiple times, as a bust and in

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  • Alison Rossiter

    Yossi Milo Gallery

    Alison Rossiter’s photographs—made without a camera, using expired, vintage photo paper—are a lot like paintings. She applies developer as a painter might, dipping the edge of a paper into a bath to create a slender, Barnett Newman–esque zip or letting the liquid pool into a lopsided shape that, when paired with a similar print in a diptych, yields a semisymmetrical blot. (When the developer is applied, these expired papers turn black.) Rossiter made one group, a series of tornado-like forms that fade into penumbral regions rippling with sepia and gray, by pouring the developer—an action that

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  • Adeela Suleman

    Aicon Gallery New York

    Most of the seven sculptures by Adeela Suleman recently on view at Aicon Gallery (all works 2010) may be called reliefs. Crafted from hammered steel, the works rise slightly from the gallery walls, appearing abstract as they glisten with intricate detail. They are, in fact, elaborately figurative: Birds, often flanking large plants, ornamentally proliferate, as do vases, drapery, and crowns. And despite their extravagance, the reliefs retain a sparse, self-contained, and precious look, partly because they are spread across the gallery walls with a good deal of space between them, but all the

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  • Do-Ho Suh

    Storefront for Art and Architecture

    If R. Buckminster Fuller were around today, he would likely be entranced by the idiosyncratically utopian vision and technical ingeniousness of Do-Ho Suh’s “Perfect Home: The Bridge Project.” Suh, working with a team of collaborators—architects, engineers, computer programmers, and animators, among others—has developed prototypes for four bridges that connect the artist’s home in Seoul with his home in New York. More allegorical than practical, the bridges represent imaginary links between disparate geographies and urbanisms, thereby emblematizing the artist’s long-standing concern with identity

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  • Nancy Holt

    Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Art Gallery, Columbia University

    Standing tall in black aluminum at twenty feet, Nancy Holt’s monumental outdoor sculpture Solar Rotary, 1995, comprises a swirling design that casts tribal tattoo–like shadows on a plaza’s grounds at the University of South Florida, Tampa. Beneath the work (which I remember fondly from when I was a teen) and the typically oppressive midday sun is a bench, cradling one of the most interesting objects to be found in the area––a 4.5-billion-year-old meteorite, discovered in Miami-Dade County. Holt’s long-standing interest in astronomical themes, so overt in this example, seemed to loom large in an

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  • An-My Lê

    Murray Guy

    For the past decade, public attention paid to the United States armed forces has understandably focused on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Yet our country currently has more than 1.4 million actively deployed troops, and an overwhelming number of enlistees are not at this moment patrolling Baghdad streets or stalking the mountains of Bamyan Province. Where are they? What do they do? An-My Lê’s new body of photographs begins to answer these questions. Set in locales ranging from Indonesia and Vietnam to Ghana and the North Arabian Gulf, the works here testify to the geographic spread of American

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  • Jérôme Bel

    Joyce Theater

    Jérôme Bel’s Cédric Andrieux, 2009, begins promisingly enough, with the handsome, virtuosic, eponymous French dancer walking casually onstage and plainly announcing: “My name is Cédric Andrieux. . . .” In the iteration performed in September at the Joyce Theater in New York, as part of the French Institute Alliance Française’s Crossing the Line festival, Andrieux charmingly narrated aspects of his life, his discovery of dance, his early ineptitude, his mother’s belief in the form’s “egalitarian” principles, his flagging faith in said principles, his eventual stardom, his move to New York and

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