reviews

  • Marko Lulić, Jasenovac, 2010, still from a color video, 5 minutes 30 seconds

    “Serbia: Frequently Asked Questions”

    Austrian Cultural Forum New York

    Yugoslavia’s disintegration commenced in 1991 with the secession of various republics, triggering an ethnoreligious civil war among Orthodox Serbs, Catholic Croats, and Muslim Bosnians. Much of the conflict centered on Bosnia-Herzegovina, and, for many in the West, the genocidal campaign against Bosnian Muslims, orchestrated by the Milošević-led Bosnian Serb ultranationalist army and paramilitary, came to typify the egregious violence of the war. Aware of this legacy, the curators of “Serbia: Frequently Asked Questions”—organized by the Austrian Cultural Forum New York and the Museum of

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  • Roxy Paine, Distillation, 2010, stainless steel, glass, paint, pigment. Installation view. From the series “Dendroid,” 1998–.

    Roxy Paine

    James Cohan Gallery | Chelsea

    Distillation, 2010, the centerpiece of this show, belonged to Roxy Paine’s “Dendroid” series, begun in 1998, which New Yorkers may best remember for Maelstrom, the elaborate work with which he filled the rooftop sculpture garden of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2009. In tune with its site above Central Park, that work was entirely arboreal, referring in all but its stainless steel substance to the forms and growth patterns of trees. Distillation, by contrast, began in James Cohan Gallery’s entrance hall with a regular cylinder, a shape clearly coded as artificial. Moreover, this cylinder

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  • Anselm Kiefer, Merkaba, 2010, airplane fuselage, photographs, lead, inscribed glass, steel vitrine; oil, emulsion, acrylic, shellac, and clay on canvas, 10' 6 1/2“ x 18' 4 1/2” x 7' 6 5/8".

    Anselm Kiefer

    Gagosian | 522 West 21st Street

    In “Next Year in Jerusalem,” Anselm Kiefer’s recent show at Gagosian, the artist presented twenty-five steel-framed vitrines of varying dimensions. The cases were filled with all manner of detritus: mounds of rubble, capsized warships, fleets of U-boats, burned-out airplane hulls, Kabbalistic arcana, dangling wedding gowns and shroudlike garments, dried sunflowers, burned books, ashen rolls of film, bramble, tree stump and root, plaster, clay, lead, smashed glass—in short, they represented Kiefer’s Wotan-like self-immolation within an arcane symbolism toward which he has ever been drawn.

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  • Mark Leckey, GreenScreenRefrigerator, 2010, still from a color video, 17 minutes 5 seconds.

    Mark Leckey

    Gavin Brown's enterprise | 620 Greenwich Street

    In the annals of inhalation, we’d have to count Miley Cyrus’s recent hallucinogenic hit and Bill Clinton’s pot dabble (and denial) among the more infamous entries. But Mark Leckey’s might be the most, well, intoxicating. During a brief performance inaugurating his latest work, GreenScreenRefrigeratorAction, 2010, the artist draped himself in a sheet and apparently took a lungful of coolant. He drew in deeply. Why? Perhaps to better unite with the thing standing next to him: a humming, immaculate black Samsung refrigerator—part obdurate Tony Smith cube, part Kubrickian monolith, part ’00s

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  • Brian Wills, Untitled (Five Flavors), 2010, enamel, rayon thread, linear polyurethane on wood, 36 x 48".

    Brian Wills

    NYEHAUS

    For Brian Wills, a Los Angeles artist, modernist abstraction—its East and West Coast modes alike—is still fertile territory. Fourteen of his exactingly crafted geometric paintings, wood panels layered with rows or grids of colored rayon thread and pigmented varnishes and enamels, made up his New York solo debut. Most are modestly sized, but a few extend to eight feet wide; some feature vibrant strands on pastel or neutral fields, though a number of supports are covered in electric hues; several have allover patterns, while the lines in still others cluster irregularly or mass toward

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  • Ilene Segalove, Ilene and Barbie: Close but No Cigar, 1976, archival ink jet on paper, 16 x 11".

    Ilene Segalove

    Andrea Rosen Gallery

    A small, framed still from a black-and-white film shows a scene from the 1957 drama The Violators: A haggard, brooding man sits at the kitchen table, cigarette in hand, while his dutiful wife—robe-clad yet still vaguely glamorous—leans over him to fill his coffee cup. Hung adjacent to the still are four larger images, silver gelatin prints on Masonite. The first merely magnifies the shot from the film, thereby freeing it somewhat from its recognizable status as film still. The second repeats the image a third time but renders it with obvious difference. Here, though the overall schema

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  • View of “Gedi Sibony,” 2010. Foreground: The Cutters, 2007/2010. Background: From Center, 2010.

    Gedi Sibony

    Greene Naftali Gallery

    Scraps of carpet, cardboard, plywood, and the occasional swath of fabric: We’ve come to associate such materials with Gedi Sibony’s art. For nearly a decade, run-of-the-mill cast-offs have played prominent roles in his parsimonious, barely there sculptures. Sibony’s meticulous engagement with the scavenged object, his reverence for the mundane, has developed into a highly identifiable aesthetic and has seemingly been an influence on a host of emerging artists worldwide. In recent years, we’ve seen a proliferation of Sibonyesque works, with at-hand materials deployed in ways that appear overwrought

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  • Elise Adibi, Abiogenesis, 2009, oil on canvas, 72 x 72".

    Elise Adibi

    Southfirst

    For the first solo presentation of her paintings in New York, Elise Adibi steered clear of the kind of baroque installation gimmicks and exogenous conceptual frames—in ready supply elsewhere lately—through which her medium becomes an empty sign conveying postcriticality. Instead, in a tightly focused hang, she presented nine abstractions nakedly shorn of appropriative conceit, and let them stand for themselves. All are square; most sit resolutely between small and medium size at twenty by twenty inches; many reveal an unprim-ed canvas to which Adibi has applied a putty-colored oil that

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  • David Rabinowitch, Birth of Romanticism Drawings: Monumental Quatrefoil Diffraction (Quartet for Carrie Lynn and Joseph Haydn), 2010, oil pastel, acrylic, pencil, paper, and collage on Belgian linen, 7' 1/2" x 12'.

    David Rabinowitch

    Peter Blum SoHo

    The colorful “drawings” in David Rabinowitch’s series “Birth of Romanticism,” 2008–10, are somewhat of a surprise, especially considering that Rabinowitch is known for sober Minimalist sculpture. Indeed, he last made works on paper seriously in 1962—the year he “ceased painting”—and those works, wood-block monotypes, were geometric and Minimalist, if eccentrically so. The pieces here are largely mixed-media compounds of collage, oil paint, pencil, and beeswax, among other materials, and they are even more eccentric. But what is most striking about them is their dynamics, turbulent yet

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  • Adrian Piper, Decide Who You Are #22: Field Work, 1992, triptych, photo-text collage, overall 11' 1/2“ x 6' 7”.

    Adrian Piper

    Elizabeth Dee Gallery

    Adrian Piper’s exhibition “Past Time: Selected Works 1973–1995” was a compact survey comprising photo-text panels, installations, and a loop of wall-projected videos collectively given the fiercely immodest title The 20th Century Video Set, 1973–90. Grids and human figures, mostly in photographic grayscale and often flecked with red headlines, typified the look of hard-edged 1980s and early-’90s Conceptualism; documentation was on hand, too, of Piper’s wilder though still highly conceptual performances—such as The Mythic Being, 1973, in which she cruised public places sporting “threatening”

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  • Rebecca Morris, Untitled (#01–10), 2010, oil and spray paint on canvas, 84 x 72".

    Rebecca Morris

    Harris Lieberman

    “Abstraction never left, motherfuckers.” Los Angeles painter Rebecca Morris adopts a confrontational tone in her 2006 text Manifesto (For Abstractionists and Friends of the Non-Objective), but viewers less intimately invested in the rise and fall and rise of her chosen mode may wonder at the necessity of such combative sloganeering. It may be true that when Morris graduated from art school back in the mid-1990s, other practices were in the spotlight, but is there still a need to bolster work of this kind with a pose of such clubbish toughness? Perhaps I’m taking her apparent indignation the

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  • Betye Saar, Globe Trotter, 2007, mixed media, 32 1/2 x 18 1/4 x 14 1/8".

    Betye Saar

    Michael Rosenfeld Gallery

    On certain antebellum plantations in the American South, behind the magnolias and the majestic colonnaded verandas, is a covered walkway connecting the kitchen (kept far from other buildings for fear of fire) and the Big House. It is called the “whistle walk,” not for any leisurely strolls or romantic serenades that took place there, but for the prosaic reason that slaves were required to whistle as they carried platters of food to the tables of their masters, to assure they were not eating anything along the way.

    This and other perversities of human bondage may explain why the metaphor of the

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  • Julie Evans and Ajay Sharma, GreenMisstep, 2010, acrylic, gouache, colored pencil, mineral, and lac pigments on paper, 14 x 11".

    Julie Evans and Ajay Sharma

    Julie Saul Gallery

    The title of this exhibition, “Cowdust,” comes from the Hindi word godhu¯li, or “cowdust hour,” a term for the indistinct twilight hour between day and night when the herds return from pasture and a fine dust rises up from the road. This liminal time, characterized by flickering landscapes and blurring views, epitomizes the cross-cultural exchange central to the collaboration between Julie Evans and Ajay Sharma. It also describes the paintings themselves, resting as they do on the boundary between dreaming and wakefulness. The images blend the traditional and the contemporary, straddling eras

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  • John Gerrard, Cuban School (Community 5th of October) 2010, still from real-time computer simulation.

    John Gerrard

    Simon Preston

    John Gerrard’s Cuban School (Community 5th of October) 2010 is a projection of a slow pan around a very large building that is whitish, filthy, and decaying, with two long parallel rectangular structures and a shorter one in between, all joined by a breezeway. The view of the building along one side is close enough to allow audiences to see the patterns in the window screens and the busted-out shutters; at the short side of the building and then all the rest of the way around, the view becomes more expansive, with yards and yards of lush grass, a rickety fence punctuated with skimpy trees, and

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  • Antek Walczak, New York, c t ju gl wh d ams f, 2010, acrylic on canvas, 6 x 11'. From the series “Empire State of Machine Mind,” 2010.

    Antek Walczak

    Real Fine Arts

    For his first New York solo show this past fall, artist, writer, and Bernadette Corporation member Antek Walczak made four paintings. Like Wheel of Fortune boards in midplay, the works comprise lines of incomplete text, the missing letters and words denoted by graphic blanks. Linking the characters and spaces, networks of Picabian lines and arrows explain how the already present letters could be recycled to reconstitute the unfinished words—as if such decoding were even necessary. Few would require help parsing what these paintings say: When taken together, they spell out the refrain of

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