new-york

Jutta Koether, Caterham Kobayashi Crash Balthus St. Firmin, 2015, oil on canvas, 87 × 67".

Jutta Koether

Bortolami Gallery

Jutta Koether, Caterham Kobayashi Crash Balthus St. Firmin, 2015, oil on canvas, 87 × 67".

The paintings in “Fortune,” Jutta Koether’s cogent show at Bortolami, were hung flush against the gallery walls and lit from above. For audiences familiar with the German artist’s practice, such an arrangement is enough to warrant an exclamation point, or at least a parenthetical gasp. That’s how strongly this relatively conventional hang runs counter to Koether’s installations of the past several years, in which paintings were suspended from the ceiling, placed against glass panels, positioned on angled partitions and columns, and illuminated by whatever natural light the gallery could muster. Staid though it may have been, the straightforward presentation at Bortolami shifted the focus from how we look to what we see, and it released Koether’s paintings from their common status as props for performances and placeholders for ideas. That she didn’t completely forgo past

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