reviews

  • View of “Lucy McKenzie,” 2016. From left: Breche Abstract, 2015; Quodlibet LXI (Cerfontaine Coiffeuse), 2015; Map of the Dutch East Indies, 2015; Quodlibet LX (Violet Breche Desk), 2015. Photo: Thomas Müller.

    Lucy McKenzie

    Galerie Buchholz | New York

    Lucy McKenzie enters the lofty or demoted discourse of oil painting through a little-used side entrance—trompe l’oeil effects. In 2007–2008 she attended a school for decorative painting in Brussels. The educational detour was an unusual one for an already exhibiting artist, and it served her well: The skills she gained brought the allure of vocational virtuosity to her conceptual practice, an air of expert make-believe. But that’s not to say her work is lighthearted. “Inspired by Inspired by,” her show at Galerie Buchholz this past spring, felt like the almost-real scene of a chilling

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  • Allen Jones, Interval, 2007, triptych, oil on canvas, overall 6' × 13' 10 1/4".

    Allen Jones

    Michael Werner | New York

    A half century and more has passed since the Swinging ’60s, Carnaby Street, teddy boys, even the Stones, all potent reminders of a British cultural liberation that was, admittedly, often perceived negatively—particularly in the stellar example of Allen Jones. His hyperstylized robotic woman–as–idol remains a constant iconographic feature of his work, as this fifty-year survey, organized by Sir Norman Rosenthal, former longtime exhibitions secretary at the Royal Academy of Arts in London, amply documents. The show affirms anew the familiar trajectory of an artist first met as outcast who in

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  • Larry Bell, The Aquarium, 1962–63, mirror, glass, paint, silver leaf, 24 × 24 × 8".

    Larry Bell

    Hauser & Wirth | West 18th Street

    To hear Larry Bell tell it, it was all so simple: In the early 1960s, he stopped painting geometric forms on shaped canvases, what he calls “illustrations of volume,” and began to “make the volumes themselves.” This move from painting to scultpure—which is to say, the move from the representation of three dimensions on a two-dimensional surface to the production of those three-dimensional objects—was, he claims, the obvious next step. “From the ’60s,” Bell’s first exhibition at Hauser & Wirth, succinctly presented this transition with three monumental paintings (the stacked squares of

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  • Luigi Ghirri, Modena, 1972, C-print, 5 1/8 × 7 1/8". From the series “Kodachrome,” 1970–78.

    Luigi Ghirri

    Matthew Marks Gallery

    Luigi Ghirri’s photographs of Italy feel like they’ve been developed by the sun. Beautiful women peel off stone walls; the Coca-Cola tomato red that seems to embody an era shows up in signs on a beach and in a shopwindow; a deeply tan man lies on the sand next to a pair of loafers the same color; a bleached-out olive tree grows amid crumbling walls. The sun adds a languid filter; these scenes linger in what Ghirri called photography’s “slowness of vision”—not because they are static (even his still lifes feel transient, part of a road trip), but because they are themselves in the process

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  • Marcia Hafif, 43., (Far), 1964, acrylic on canvas, 66 7/8 × 78 3/4".

    Marcia Hafif

    Fergus McCaffrey

    American abstract women painters were out in full force in New York this spring, from the bold engagement with Minimalism by the young artist Nathlie Provosty in a knockout show at Nathalie Karg Gallery to the impressive five-decade mini-survey of Lee Krasner at Robert Miller Gallery. Patient amid this bounty is a painter’s painter, Marcia Hafif, in an exhibition dedicated to a group of works she made during an eight-year sabbatical in Rome in the 1960s, where she lived off a monthly stipend of $150 from her recent divorce and created a distinctive brand of “Pop Minimal” abstraction. Her art

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  • Karen Kilimnik, the perfumed countryside with perfumed sheep, 2015, collage on paper, 4 1/4 × 5 1/8".

    Karen Kilimnik

    303 Gallery

    Damien Hirst, a man, claims to make art for “people who haven’t been born yet.” Karen Kilimnik hasn’t bothered to defend herself, probably because she makes art for the true public. Born-again types. The pleasure we derive from her art is that we don’t have to be productive versions of ourselves, but romantics, bovarystes enragées, pleasure seekers, those whom Joan Didion accused in her essay on the women’s movement of having an “astral discontent with actual lives.” Adults who want “eternal love, romance, fun,” but know better than to look in real life. They—I?—love Kilimnik, and were

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  • View of “Becky Howland,” 2016. 247365. Photo: MacGregor Harp.

    Becky Howland

    247365/Moiety

    In 1982, in the backyard of the ABC No Rio artists’ space and community center on Manhattan’s Lower East Side—an area for which dilapidated would at the time have been a euphemism—Becky Howland built a sculpture called Brainwash that won neighborhood cachet. Finely described by Richard Flood in Artforum as both “endearingly jerry-built and menacingly apocalyptic,” it was up for a couple of years, and people would stop by to see it every now and then: a blunt-spoken, twenty-foot-long, three-dimensional diagram of the ravages of capital, pollution, the fossil-fuel economy, and more, all

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  • Ryan Trecartin, Mark Trade, 2016, HD video, color, sound, 73 minutes 30 seconds. Mark Trade (Murphy Maxwell).

    Lizzie Fitch and Ryan Trecartin

    Andrea Rosen Gallery

    From his undergraduate days onward, Ryan Trecartin has displayed the sort of raw talent that inspires recourse to German: Wunderkind, Gesamtkunstwerk, Zeitgeist. In this respect, and several others, the most salient point of comparison to Trecartin’s career is Matthew Barney’s ascension in the 1990s. Call it the Clark Kent Effect: The art world keeps coronating fresh-faced male phenoms from the heartland. Like Barney, Trecartin combines cinematic video suites with baroque sculptural installations, maintains from project to project the same close-knit cadre of collaborators (chief among them

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  • Haris Epaminonda, Untitled #3 a/v, 2016, framed book page, lacquered Japanese wooden bowl, lacquered wooden pedestal, metal, dimensions variable.

    Haris Epaminonda

    Casey Kaplan

    Offering in lieu of an expository statement a meandering anecdote about one Mr. Morimoto—an elderly Japanese painter who purportedly graced a 2015 exhibition of hers at intervals “based on a timetable according to a graph depicting a fictional mountain”—Haris Epaminonda prefers to present viewers with the kind of narrative that, like Morimoto’s, “continues in the margins.” Using pedestals, tables, architectural modifications, and other devices to frame her works’ components, Epaminonda engineers displays with an almost pathologically neat-and-tidy look, rescuing them from airlessness

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  • Ross Knight, Peg (Skin Replacement) Stem, 2015, urethane, silicone, 12 × 5 1/2 × 12".

    Ross Knight

    Team Gallery | Grand Street

    One of my favorite Instagram feeds, going by the handle @techappeal, sifts for pictorial gold among athletic, medical, and technological product photography. Featuring such psychoactive eye candy as space-age sneaker soles set against ethereal gradients, flawless limbs sporting latex prophylaxes in antiseptic-blue environments, and spotless anatomical teaching aids shot against pastel infinity screens, its imagery is routinely airless and otherworldly yet grounded in an ineluctable mortality. The feed catalogues a nascent zone of our collective digital imagination, a creepy realm of artificial

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  • Philip Hanson, I’m nobody! Who are you? (Dickinson), 2014, oil on canvas, 60 1/8 × 48 1/8".

    Philip Hanson

    James Cohan Gallery | Chelsea

    For “It is too difficult a Grace,” his first New York solo show since 1997, Philip Hanson exhibited a dozen paintings made between 2014 and the present, along one with one dated 2010. In these works, the Chicago-based painter takes as his subject matter words—to be specific, lines from the poetry of Blake, Dickinson, and (in the earlier painting) Gerard Manley Hopkins. Those are, needless to say, formidable names to conjure with. Is it really wise to insert oneself into such exalted company?

    To a great extent, these engaging works manage to assuage such qualms—mainly by determinedly

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  • Ei Arakawa, How to DISappear in America, 2016. Performance view, April 17, 2016. Ben (Ben Morgan-Cleveland). Photo: Paula Court.

    Ei Arakawa

    Reena Spaulings Fine Art | New York

    In 2008, Leopard Press published a slim black volume by artist Seth Price titled How to Disappear in America. Written in the paranoiac and antiestablishment tone of a 1970s anarchist manual or a ’90s how-to Internet text file, the work was a sort of instruction manual for shedding your identity and way of life. It gave a scattershot collection of advice on liquidating assets, severing social and professional ties, and going off the grid. The work was born of its stylistic references: Price appropriated much of it from a single semianonymous online guide to disappearance that has been available

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  • Yorgo Alexopoulos, Act of Nature: In Eight Chapters, 2015–16, digital animation on eight synchronized monitors, 10 minutes. Installation view.

    Yorgo Alexopoulos

    Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery

    Talking to Yorgo Alexopoulos, it is clear that he regards himself as a painter, although his pictures are always on the move; they transform dynamically like cinema, which they are—high-tech cinema. He has traveled the earth to make the works in this show, shooting every place he’s been, among them the sand dunes of the United Arab Emirates, the savannas of Namibia, and the mountains and forests of western Canada. He’s interested in conflicted states of natural being, which he reconciles in his art. Act of Nature: In Eight Chapters, 2015–16—the grandest and key work in this exhibition

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  • Anri Sala, Ravel Ravel (detail), 2013, two-channel HD video (color, sound, 20 minutes 45 seconds), sixteen-channel sound installation, dimensions variable.

    Anri Sala

    New Museum

    Occupying three floors of the New Museum, and fully energizing exhibition spaces that can ordinarily feel disproportionate, “Anri Sala: Answer Me” traced the reorientations within the Albanian-born video artist’s practice. The survey, which was organized by Massimiliano Gioni, Margot Norton, and Natalie Bell, was dominated by work from the past decade, when Sala’s ongoing ruminations on past versus present—initially expressed in a more-or-less straightforward documentary form—moved toward more elliptical studies of sited music renditions.

    The large-scale installations reorganized

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