reviews

  • Taryn Simon, Memorandum of Understanding Between the Royal Government of Cambodia and the Government of Australia Relating to the Settlement of Refugees in Cambodia. Ministry of Interior, Phnom Penh, Cambodia, September 26, 2014, 2015, ink-jet print and text on paper in mahogany frame, 85 × 73 1/4 × 2 3/4". From the series “Paperwork and the Will of Capital,” 2015.

    Taryn Simon

    Gagosian | 522 West 21st Street

    Taryn Simon’s work deals in disorientation. Culled from intense research, her perfectly ordered photographs walk the data line between bureaucracy and conspiracy. Though intellectual, her work isn’t insular. It engages with other images and esoterica; it suggests that archives are all we have to figure out what the hell is happening on this spinning planet, while acknowledging that photography has at times been complicit in its worst injustices. Whether in “The Innocents,” 2002, her incredible first series for which she photographed wrongfully convicted men at the sites of their alleged crimes,

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  • Sherrie Levine, Orange SMEG Refrigerator and Renoir Nudes, 2016, three oil-on-mahogany paintings and one SMEG FAB28UBLR1 ’50s retro-style refrigerator, 70 × 111 × 27 1/2".

    Sherrie Levine

    David Zwirner | 519 West 19th Street

    It’s difficult sometimes to know how to engage with new work by an artist like Sherrie Levine, whose very name has come to stand as a kind of marker in the history of art. When one thinks of Levine, one thinks of “appropriation”—I have an image in my mind of a portrait of the tight-lipped woman that Walker Evans shot for the Farm Security Administration or Duchamp’s Fountain done over in bronze. I think of doubling, copying, postmodernism, the death of the author, the birth of the text. I think, in other words, and while I think I often pass over the material reality of her work, and how

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  • View of Tim Hawkinson, 2016. From left: Koruru, 2009; Laocoon, 2004. Photo: Tom Barratt.

    Tim Hawkinson

    Pace Gallery

    Arguably the most talented bricoleur of his generation—resourceful and inventive, a maestro of the giddily improbable—Tim Hawkinson has produced a deeply peculiar, genially sprawling body of work across his more than three-decade-long career. Marked by a garage-tinkerer’s ingenuity and a wicked obsessive streak, his working methods and their off-kilter products suggest an artist constitutionally allergic to restraint. No gesture is seemingly too big (or too small), no material or form off-limits. His recent show at Pace—a mini-survey mounted to coincide with the debut of a third

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  • Andrea Bowers, Trans Liberation: Building a Movement (CeCe McDonald), 2016, ink-jet print, 95 × 57 1/4".

    Andrea Bowers

    Andrew Kreps Gallery

    When Hillary Clinton recently described the barriers to racial equality as “intersectional,” the leftist journal Jacobin tweeted a wry salute to whichever Ph.D. student had joined her campaign as a speechwriter. The editors were calling out Clinton’s nod to legal theorist Kimberlé Crenshaw’s influential argument that discriminatory practices structured by differences in race, gender, or class “intersect” and compound one another. More subtly, the tweet posited an intersection of a different sort: an imagined Ph.D.-politico coupling academic jargon with campaign rhetoric. These two valences of

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  • Thomas Bayrle, Gummibaum, 1993/1994, video, black-and-white, sound, 6 minutes.

    Thomas Bayrle

    Gavin Brown's enterprise | 620 Greenwich Street

    Thomas Bayrle is part of a generation of German artists who in the 1960s explored the inherent dissonance of postwar culture in a divided nation, fashioning a particular brand of Pop that cast a darker, more ambivalent glance toward the language of mass production and consumption than that of their American peers. Drawing in part on his experience with Jacquard looms while working in a textile factory in the late ’50s, Bayrle took the serial principle to an extreme, developing his signature “superforms,” mosaiclike compositions collaged from a single, miniaturized motif endlessly repeated.

    Though

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  • Eberhard Havekost, Transformers, B14, 2014, oil on canvas, 47 1/4 × 70 7/8".

    Eberhard Havekost

    Anton Kern Gallery

    The slick, sinister paintings of Eberhard Havekost have begun to show their age, which is a wonderful thing, since they now help put the present in sharper relief. Born in Germany and based between Düsseldorf and Berlin, Havekost has shown regularly in New York and in Europe since the late 1990s. The twenty-five works in this exhibition, his first in New York since 2012, took us on a languid tour of the postindustrial world. The thematic constellation was compelling but also familiar: rusted factory ruins, muted signification; objects coming into focus, noise resolving as information; bar codes

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  • Carrie Moyer, The Green Lantern, 2015, acrylic and glitter on canvas, 72 × 60".

    Carrie Moyer

    DC Moore Gallery

    The Hall of Minerals at the American Museum of Natural History in New York is a kind of subterranean romper room: Frayed carpet covers the steps, platforms, and walls of the darkened spaces; geodes and samples of petrified wood are spotlit in circular hollows, open to touch by roaming toddlers; and the minerals are displayed in dusty backlit glass cases. In several vitrines, the specimens have started to crumble under the halogen spots, and a trail of powder has left its trace against the back of the display. The exhibition is mysterious, absorbing, and intimate. Standing before the fourteen

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  • Monique Mouton, More Near (VII), 2015, watercolor, charcoal, chalk pastel, and pencil on paper, 69 1/2 × 63 1/4". From the series “More Near,” 2015.

    Monique Mouton

    Bridget Donahue

    Although she’s exhibited regularly over the past decade on the West Coast (most often in Vancouver, where she studied at the Emily Carr University of Art and Design), Monique Mouton only recently received her first solo show in New York, her home now for several years. The slight awkwardness of the exhibition’s title, “More Near”—you shouldn’t need Strunk and White to tell you that standard usage would be “Nearer”—sat well with the works themselves: eight large, framed paintings on paper and six small, eccentrically shaped panels, three of them installed on the floor. The ostensible

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  • View of “Cheryl Donegan,” 2016.

    Cheryl Donegan

    New Museum

    “Cheryl Donegan: Scenes and Commercials,” a condensed retrospective of works spanning twenty-three years, curated by Johanna Burton, was festively immersive, as if a multimedia flowchart and a neo–New Wave lookbook had exploded into an array of chic party decorations on the New Museum’s fifth floor. The visual hubbub of video works on monitors and screens, paintings strung between or clustered around them, had a high-concept/low-budget vibe. Donegan’s entertaining, goofy-yet-aloof videos are mostly performance-based (starring herself) and simply edited, while her paintings exploit the stylishly

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  • Dove Bradshaw, Spent Bullet (Aluminum I), 2015–16, ABS resin, aluminum paint, 9 1/2 × 20 × 16 1/2".

    Dove Bradshaw

    DANESE/COREY

    “Poetry is everywhere evident,” Dove Bradshaw once said, which leads one to wonder what was poetic about the works in “Unintended Consequences”—a presentation of eight abstract sculptures, all from 2015–16, and eleven linen canvases, all covered with silver and liver of sulfur, and most from 2015. The works on view had an Abstract Expressionist look: They seemed intensely, even wildly, expressive, fraught with energy, beside themselves with excitement, dramatically restless. Yet this effect was deceptive—the sculptures are in fact assisted readymades. To create these works, Bradshaw

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  • Maryam Jafri, Generic Corner (Canned Beans), 2015, ink-jet print, 16 1/2 × 20 1/2". From the series “Generic Corner,” 2015.

    Maryam Jafri

    P!

    Precious few artists, even in the wake of modernism’s varying efforts to demystify and deconstruct originality, would wish to see their work labeled “generic.” Maryam Jafri is a notable exception. Of course, it is not Jafri’s project itself that bears this dour tag, but rather the curious subgenre of consumer good that she depicts and reproduces. In a flawlessly realized installation of small photographs and objects (most purchased, some reconstructed using photographs adhered to boxes), Jafri explored the phenomenon of the unbranded product, prompting a rereading of these minimally packaged

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  • Lisa Holzer, Inducement (2), 2016, ink-jet print on cotton paper, polyurethane on glass, 36 × 28". From the series “Inducement,” 2016.

    Lisa Holzer

    Hester

    “To be a funny mom was what I wanted above all to be when I became a mom a few years ago. And ‘Be a funny mom’ seemed to be an ideally inept title for this show, my first one in New York. Hey there!” The cheerily self-conscious tone of Lisa Holzer’s statement about her recent exhibition at this small space, squirreled away in a maze of small offices, hews courageously near to the embarrassing; one can imagine her offspring finding it all mortifying in a scant few years, and they wouldn’t be entirely in the wrong. Yet on the evidence of this tight grouping of photographs (with textual and other

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  • Lauren Seiden, Reflections in a Void, 2016, marble, plastic, water, graphite, 6 × 52 × 52".

    Lauren Seiden

    Denny Dimin Gallery

    In the Western tradition, drawing, or the use of line as the primary vehicle for shaping form on a two-dimensional surface, has long been the scaffold on which the more rarified practices of painting, sculpture, and architecture are built. It enjoys the paradoxical privilege of being at the root of all art—and, as Michelangelo pointed out, at the root of all sciences, too—but not necessarily an end in itself. Especially since the 1960s, artists have valorized drawing by reinventing it: Projects as diverse as Sol LeWitt’s wall pieces, Richard Long’s walks, Kara Walker’s cut silhouettes,

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