reviews

  • Doug Wheeler, LC 71 NY DZ 13 DW, 2013, reinforced fiberglass, flat white titanium dioxide latex, LED light, DMX control, 64' 3“ x 67' 7 3/8” x 18' 3".

    Doug Wheeler

    David Zwirner | 519 West 19th Street

    Fortunately, my early-morning reservation to see Doug Wheeler’s recent installation at David Zwirner—a welcome return for the exacting, reticent artist just two years after his solo debut at the gallery in 2012, and only his second-ever one-man show in New York during the five decades of his career—was scheduled at the height of one of the more aggressive of the blizzards that socked the city in a seemingly ceaseless parade this year. Fortunate, first and foremost, because I managed to snag an appointment at all: A strict limit placed on the number of viewers allowed at any one time

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  • Sue Williams, Philip Zelikow, Historian, 2013, oil and acrylic on canvas, 6' 2“ x 11' 2”.

    Sue Williams

    303 Gallery

    Although the title of Sue Williams’s most recent show, “WTC, WWIII, Couch Size,” suggested a two-to-one ratio of global horror to interior decoration, what came to the fore was pure painting of such boisterous energy that it holds the blandness of bourgeois home furnishing at bay even as it sublimates sociopolitical anxiety. It does so by dint of the sheer nerve with which that anxiety is apotropaically invoked—not so much whistling past the graveyard as striking up a whole brass band against death. In a way, this is not terribly different from what Williams was doing in the work with which

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  • View of “William King,” 2014. From left: Infant, 1973; Waif, 2010; Citrus, 1998; Early Settler, 2010.

    William King

    Greenspon

    Sixty years after William King’s first New York gallery show, his art looks as fresh as ever. The twenty-seven sculptures and six drawings that were on view in this survey ranged in date from 1946 to 2010, and showed a surprising consistency of attitude given the variety of materials (wood, various fabrics, ceramic, vinyl), sizes, and art-historical referents employed, not to mention the various artistic trends and movements King has seen come and go, from Abstract Expressionism through postmodernism to whatever we call what we think is going on at the moment. As for those trends and movements,

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  • Moira Dryer, The Signature Painting, 1987, casein on wood; top: 48 x 63“, bottom: 10 x 60”.

    Moira Dryer

    Eleven Rivington

    When a cherished artist dies young—and Moira Dryer died at the age of thirty-four, in 1992, after a five-year struggle with cancer—it is unsurprising if the writing on her verges on hagiography. Everyone who met Dryer seems to have admired both her painting and the artist herself, and if there was anyone who didn’t, he apparently kept his opinions to himself. This recent exhibition, then—the first New York show of Dryer’s art in nearly twenty years—seemed to me something to be approached both eagerly and a little warily. The sadness of her early death could not but add its

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  • Joel Shapiro, Untitled, 2012–14, wood, casein, cord, dimensions variable. © Joel Shapiro/Artists Rights Society (ARS).

    Joel Shapiro

    Paula Cooper Gallery | 529 West 21st Street

    Dispersed throughout a vast space, the ten beams of Joel Shapiro’s installation Untitled, 2012–14, took over the large back room of Paula Cooper Gallery. These lengths of wood, each painted a different color, hung in midair, suspended from the ceiling and anchored to the floor with industrial cord. They are mismatched—some are flat planes, some are more boxlike—such that the work, taken as a whole, seemed unstable and incoherent, if not discombobulated and absurd. The sculpture was certainly at odds with gallery’s stately grandeur and order, especially the harmonious, serial regularity

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  • View of “Sarah Crowner,” 2014. Wall: The Wave (Flame), 2014. Floor: Platform, Hot Blue Terracotta, 2014.

    Sarah Crowner

    Nicelle Beauchene Gallery

    For her first exhibition at Nicelle Beauchene, held in 2009, Sarah Crowner juxtaposed two bodies of work: a series of unglazed ceramic vessels and a group of “paintings” sewn together from remnants of discarded fabric. Both revealed a distinctive handmade quality. The former featured mottled surfaces, gently misshapen necks, and generally uneven forms, while the latter betray imperfections of alignment that open up pockets of space, holes amid the just-mismatched seams. Those paintings, with their insistent tactility and crisp, high-keyed geometric designs—they broadly referenced the fabric

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  • Simon Evans, Notes, 2014, mixed media on paper, 88 1/4 x 64".

    Simon Evans

    James Cohan Gallery | Chelsea

    THE AIM OF DRINKING IS PHILIP GUSTON, reads a tiny handwritten line in Simon Evans’s The Hell of Addiction,2013, BUT THE RESULT IS DENNIS QUAID. This strange, regret-filled assertion is but one among hundreds in a work that is at once a drawing, a collage, and a map, crowded with text imparting self-help advice (THE CENTER OF ADDICTION IS SELF-DECEPTION), messages of despair (OBSESSIVE NEUROTIC ACTIVITY KEEPS TRAUMA AT BAY. THIS IS NOT TRUE), and what occasionally feels like absolute truth (I FUCKING LOVE DRUGS, GIVE ME DRUGS). These wry statements flood the imaginary neighborhood that Evans

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  • Simon Evans, Notes, 2014, mixed media on paper, 88 1/4 x 64".

    Josephine Halvorson

    Sikkema Jenkins & Co.

    In this show—her second solo exhibition at the gallery—Josephine Halvorson presented ten formidable paintings portraying artful decay. All created freehand and most in plein air, the canvases depict flattish or relief-like surfaces found in the vicinity of her studio and home in rural western Massachusetts: a boarded-up window frame, a panel used as a mold to pour a cement foundation, a shallow fireplace, a woodshed door. As in Halvorson’s earlier work, the application of paint reveals keen powers of observation married to an impressive facility with her medium. A person could spend

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  • Kazuko Miyamoto, Untitled String Construction, n.d., hand-dyed cotton, nails, 116 x 27 x 85".

    Kazuko Miyamoto

    INVISIBLE-EXPORTS

    In 1969, Kazuko Miyamoto was working in her live-in studio at 117 Hester Street when the fire alarm went off. Congregating on the street below with other artists from the building, she met her neighbor Sol LeWitt, and soon after became his assistant. For several decades, she executed his wall drawings and oversaw the production of his modular cube sculptures. Today, the Japanese-American artist is best known for her signature post-Minimalist work, as well as for establishing Gallery Onetwentyeight, a Lower East Side storefront space, in 1986. Fourteen years earlier she had cofounded the feminist

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  • Los Angeles Poverty Department, State of Incarceration, 2010–. Performance view, January 31, 2014.

    Los Angeles Poverty Department

    Queens Museum

    In 1984, performance artist John Malpede relocated from New York to Los Angeles and took a job as an outreach paralegal at Inner City Law Center. Out of the ICLC’s offices on Skid Row, Malpede held theater workshops for the area’s homeless population, assembling a core of performers now known as the Los Angeles Poverty Department. For nearly thirty years, LAPD has remained a neighborhood fixture while also conducting residencies across the country. The collective has now received its first museum retrospective, “Do you want the cosmetic version, or do you want the real deal? Los Angeles Poverty

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  • Boris Charmatz, Flip Book Part of Musée de la Danse: Three Collective Gestures, 2008/2013. Performance view, Museum of Modern Art, New York, November 1, 2013.

    Performa 13

    Various Venues

    In her groundbreaking book Performance Art: From Futurism to the Present, first published in 1979, RoseLee Goldberg traced the history of her subject within the context of the art world. This world turned out to be broadly defined, allowing the author to discuss many events that others might label dance, music, or theater. Performa, which Goldberg launched in New York in 2005 as the first biennial dedicated to “visual art performance,” is similarly catholic in its offerings. While featuring numerous artists’ virgin efforts in live performance, Performa has frequently presented choreographers,

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  • Dale Henry, Red Clouds, 1966, oil on linen, 14 3/8 x 9 1/4".

    Dale Henry

    Pioneer Works

    There’s a fine line between enigma and aggrandizement. A piece of wood placed on the wall can become an object of fascination or a facile object—it’s all in the position of the thing. In poetry, meter makes the difference. Similarly, in the oeuvre of the artist Dale Henry, it’s where emphasis is placed while handling material. If anyone knew what to make of fine lines, it was Henry.

    “Dale Henry: The Artist Who Left New York,” curated by Alanna Heiss, Richard Nonas, and Dustin Yellin, was a remarkable exhibition. (First realized downtown at the Clocktower Gallery last fall, the show moved to

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