reviews

  • Tracey Emin, Missbelief, 2013, gouache on paper, 12 1/2 x 16".

    Tracey Emin

    Lehmann Maupin

    Anyone interested in a quick synopsis of the strangely conflicted position occupied by Tracey Emin these days need look no further than the artist’s biography on the website of London’s Royal Academy of Arts. Now nearly a quarter century down the line from her late-Thatcherite efflorescence, theYBA turned CBE was named a Royal Academician in 2007 and is today a professor at that august institution. Yet unlike those of her colleagues, her bio—which she presumably provided, or at least approved—opens not with a nod to her artistic achievements but with this revelatory, classically

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  • Robert Zakanitch, Hanging Gardens Series (Fireglow), 2011–12, gouache and colored pencil on paper, 96 x 60".

    Robert Zakanitch

    Nancy Hoffman Gallery

    A founding member of the P&D (Pattern and Decoration) movement of the 1970s, Robert Zakanitch made a series called “Hanging Gardens,” 2011–, for this exhibition, producing ten paintings in gouache on paper in the same large size, eight by five feet, as well as a handful of smaller pieces. In each work, a curtain of flowers—wisteria, honeysuckle, apricot—runs from top to bottom of the paper. At the top there is always some kind of architectural structure—a frieze, a scroll, an ironwork grid—that hides the flowers a little, sometimes blotting them out, sometimes just making

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  • Shirley Goldfarb, Yellow painting #7, 1968, oil on canvas, 77 x 77".

    Shirley Goldfarb

    Loretta Howard Gallery

    My first memory of Shirley Goldfarb is as a model at the Art Students League summer school in Woodstock, New York. It was 1951 and I was sixteen. She had Louise Brooks–like black bangs and an exophthalmic gaze (a source of great unhappiness, as recorded in her journals), which she kept hidden beneath her signature huge round-lensed sunglasses. “Shirlay” (as the French called her) and I would occasionally run into one another at the turn of the 1960s, when—each from our different corners—we were part of a miscellany of Americans in Paris. I eventually left, but Goldfarb stayed on for

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  • Jannis Kounellis, Untitled, 2013, steel, glass, 78 3/4 x 70 7/8 x 10 3/4".

    Jannis Kounellis

    Cheim & Read

    This past spring, Jannis Kounellis presented twenty-two new works in New York. The exhibition was a hymn to the epic of immigration. It was a hymn to the journey as an experience of modernity. It was a hymn to the discovery of self—a process Kounellis conceives of as an initiation. Such themes resonate with the artist’s own history: His paternal grandfather left Greece and became an American; Kounellis himself moved from Athens to Rome and became Italian. Like a fifteenth-century painter, Kounellis constructs his art as a measure of man and space, and although he makes mostly sculpture—he

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  • Beauford Delaney, Untitled, 1963, oil on canvas, 23 1/2 x 19 1/2".

    Beauford Delaney

    Levis Fine Art

    This was the first exhibition of Beauford Delaney’s work in New York since a solo presentation at the Studio Museum in Harlem in 2002, and it couldn’t have been more timely. In his lifetime (1901–1979), Delaney’s uneasy oscillation between abstract and figurative modes of painting was probably pretty hard for viewers to wrap their heads around; these days it’s almost par for the course. He was passionately championed by literary lions such as James Baldwin (for whom he was something of a father figure) and Henry Miller, but his place in the history of art still seems uncertain. Yet as time goes

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  • Giosetta Fioroni, Ragazza TV (TV Girl), 1964–65, pencil and white and aluminum enamel on canvas, 44 7/8 x 57 1/2".

    Giosetta Fioroni

    Drawing Center

    In 1964, American Pop art arrived in Italy with a bang. Claes Oldenburg,Jasper Johns, and Jim Dine showed at the Venice Biennale, and Robert Rauschenberg won the exhibition’s Grand Prize, the first American ever to do so. That award process, accompanied by jury dissension and partisan maneuvering, set astir the art press, which saw in the laurel nothing less than a blow to European cultural hegemony administered by American imperialism. For its part, Italy’s homegrown strain of Pop was sidelined, and has remained so in the decades since, by the dominance of Arte Povera in 1960s narratives. But

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  • Frank Gehry, Miss Brooklyn Tower Study, 2004, basswood, paper, Gatorfoam, pushpins, 18 x 7 x 8".

    Frank Gehry

    Leslie Feely Fine Art

    The term sculptural has haunted Frank Gehry for much of his spectacularly successful career. While his supporters may use it in effusive descriptions of his building’s formal expressiveness, in the hands of his critics, it has become a potent means of implying that his designs lack the formal rigor that one should expect from architecture—another way of saying that the wild shapes that have made him famous are arbitrary, unmotivated, even willful. It is surprising, then, that his work appears most deliberate—and most grounded in deeply architectural processes and problems—in

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  • Arne Svenson, The Neighbors #1, 2012, pigment print, 26 x 63".

    Arne Svenson

    Julie Saul Gallery

    Arne Svenson’s photographic series “The Neighbors,” 2012–13, offers glimpses of people going about their lives at home. Among the dozen large-scale images that were on view here, arranged singly and in pairs, are domestic scenes both quotidian and strange: of a woman holding a pair of red-handled scissors; a couple eating breakfast and reading; a man stretched out to sleep on a sofa, a large toy giraffe lurking in the shadows. A sense of calm, almost a sweetness, pervades the photos. The furnishings look upscale, the apartments clean and well-appointed. We are kept, however, at a distance: The

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  • View of “Zak Kitnick,” 2013. From left:
    Wealth and Prosperity, Xun (Wind), Purple, Prosperity, 2013; (Fire) and Reputation, Li (Fire), Red (Fire), Fame/ Reputation, 2013; Fame, Future, Reputation, Increase Recognition, Establish Reputation, Become Well Known, Fire, Red, Orange, 2013.

    Zak Kitnick

    Clifton Benevento

    Those for whom the term feng shui connotes a Chinese technique seized upon by Western interior designers in the 1990s and quickly bastardized and rebranded under the New Age aegis may have suffered some alarm at the prospect of Zak Kitnick’s second solo exhibition at this gallery, laid out as it was according to the principles of something called a “bagua grid.” Outwardly a taciturn display of abstract sculpture, the Brooklyn-based artist’s arrangement of quasi-industrial objects had apparently been designed with different ends in mind than the “merely” aesthetic. Kitnick ends a sheet of notes

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  • Howard Hodgkin, For Bernard Jacobson, 1977–79, lithograph on paper, two sheets, overall 41 5/8 x 59".

    Howard Hodgkin

    Bernard Jacobson Gallery | New York

    The fifteen prints in Howard Hodgkin’s “Views”—as this exhibition was titled—invite comparison with the work of Matisse, an influence the artist has acknowledged. (The ten lithographs, two screenprints, and three etchings with aquatint traveled from the gallery’s London location, where the show debuted this past March.) In Lotus, 1980, and other works, Hodgkin uses an interior frame, suggestively a window frame, as Matisse did in The Open Window, 1905, and View of Notre Dame, 1914. Yet Matisse depicted readily recognizable objects, figures, and scenes; Hodgkin, by contrast, produces

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  • Maria Petschnig, Petschsniggle, 2013, HD video, color, sound, 7 minutes.

    Maria Petschnig

    On Stellar Rays

    Is voyeurism ever nostalgic? Do Peeping Toms yearn for simpler times?Vasistas (all works 2013), the first of two videos in Maria Petschnig’s solo exhibition “Petschnigs’,” certainly raises the possibility. Not so long ago, the privileged text for pop-Lacanian analysis of voyeurism was Hitchcock’s Rear Window (1954). Recall Jimmy Stewart, his leg in a cast, dodging the “proper” sexual advances of Grace Kelly by spying on his neighbors, consumed with the suspicion—or the fantasy—that a husband has killed his wife. There, voyeurism’s instruments are no more sophisticated than binoculars.

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  • Constance DeJong, SpeakChamber, 2013. Performance view, May 24, 2013. Constance DeJong.

    Constance DeJong

    Bureau

    This past May, Contstance DeJong delivered twelve performances of SpeakChamber, 2013, a nearly hour-long narrative recited from memory. The gallery’s intimate space was swathed in dark gray soundproofing foam, with a spotlight illuminating a chair where DeJong sat adjacent to a table supporting an iMac and a few books. Five simple wooden benches could accommodate a maximum of eighteen people per show. Unsurprisingly, all spots were claimed quickly by RSVP—DeJong, a beacon of video and new-media art, known for her collaborations (notably with Philip Glass for the 1979 opera Satyagraha), had

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  • Peter Roehr, Film-Montagen I–III, 1965, 16 mm, black-and-white, sound, 22 minutes 53 seconds.

    Peter Roehr

    OSMOS Address

    TURN WASTE GASOLINE INTO EXTRA MILEAGE. Fitting somewhere between a World War II pro-rationing slogan and ad copy for a fuel-efficient car, this saying appears over and over in Peter Roehr’s Film-Montagen I–III, 1965, a series of twenty-two short, looped film clips. It is first shown superimposed atop footage shot from the interior of a vehicle as it glides under an overpass, and is later voiced by a narrator to shots of glittering headlights over a sound track of upbeat jazz. Applying structuralist filmmaking tactics to found footage, Roehr composed this work mostly from television advertisements

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