reviews

  • Mierle Laderman Ukeles, Maintenance Art Tasks 1973 (detail), album with gelatin silver prints, chain, and rags, 13 × 12 1/2 × 1 3/4". Photographs by Joshua Siderowitz, 1973.

    Mierle Laderman Ukeles

    Queens Museum

    “MAINTENANCE ART,” Mierle Laderman Ukeles’s dense and radiant Queens Museum retrospective, is not only about maintenance but about commitment: a groundbreaking practice of labor and care that the artist invented and to which she has remained devoted for decades. The blessing/crisis of motherhood precipitated her bold conceptual move. In 1969, as a young artist burdened by the demands of housekeeping and childcare, she had little time to devote to her “real” work, so she hit upon a Duchampian-feminist method of designation to transform her crucial yet unrecognized labor—and eventually that

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  • Matthew Barney, REPRESSIA (decline), 1991, wrestling mat, Pyrex, cast petroleum-wax and petroleum-jelly Olympic curl bar, cotton socks, sternal retractors, skeets, large-pearl tapioca, petroleum jelly, video. Installation view. Photo: David Regen.

    Matthew Barney

    Gladstone Gallery | West 21st St

    In 1967, the critic Brian O’Doherty described “the ideology of the gallery space” as “idealized,” “sealed off,” “untouched by time.” If this were true when O’Doherty penned these words, by 1991 the white cube was neurotic, with the airs of a padded cell, or so Matthew Barney suggested in “Facility of DECLINE,” his solo exhibition at Gladstone Gallery that year. To mark that show’s twenty-fifth anniversary, the artist has reformatted the exhibition, with a number of the original works on display.

    Upon first entering the gallery, there didn’t appear to be much to see (especially for a Matthew Barney

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  • View of “Karin Schneider,” 2016. Photo: John Berens.

    Karin Schneider

    Lévy Gorvy | New York

    When will we exhaust the black square? When will it cease to be a beacon of the radical avant-garde or a buoy of perceptual purity or a veiled wink at what came before or the face that launched a thousand quips? In Karin Schneider’s elegant and misleading show—elegant in its sparseness; misleading in that despite this sparseness it was full of material, including paintings, wall diagrams and drawings, film, sculpture, and writing extending over the two floors of Dominique Lévy, the pages of this magazine, a series of related performances, and a dense catalogue—the black square was a

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  • View of “Jessica Stockholder,” 2016. Photo: Adam Reich.

    Jessica Stockholder

    Mitchell-Innes & Nash | Chelsea

    In a talk on the painter Elizabeth Murray in 2005, Jessica Stockholder remarked that Murray’s pictures, in doing away with flat rectangular canvases while retaining naturalistic representation and illusion, embody “a duality between aggressive challenge to convention and a conservative love of tradition.” As so often when artists discuss artists they admire, Stockholder might almost have been describing herself, responding to something in Murray that she recognized in her own practice. Or so it seems to me, looking at her work’s combination of formal sculptural concerns and found-object spectacle.

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  • View of “Slavs and Tatars,” 2016. Photo: Jean Vong.

    Slavs and Tatars

    Tanya Bonakdar Gallery

    In 1865, Édouard Manet exhibited Olympia at the Paris Salon, and Louis Pasteur patented a process for preventing spoilage in wine. It’s no stretch to claim a connection between these two events. Both modernist painting and pasteurization are techniques of purification, the one an expulsion of extraneous elements through progressive refinement, the other an elimination of pathogens through calibrated heating. Pasteurization, however, isn’t sterilization. Purge all the bacteria from wine or beer and you ruin the taste. Perhaps this explains why Clement Greenberg revised his theory of medium

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  • View of “Sara VanDerBeek,” 2016. Photo: Genevieve Hanson.

    Sara VanDerBeek

    Metro Pictures

    “Pieced Quilts, Wrapped Forms” may have marked the first exhibition Sara VanDerBeek has explicitly devoted to her research on textiles, but the metaphor of weaving has shaped her practice for the past decade. The seductive C-prints that were on view in the show, most often images of objects built specifically for the camera, deftly interlace image and object, analogue and digital technologies, historical precedents and contemporary production, and easily consumed beauty and labored research. Even as the sense of transgression that may have once motivated such combinations has waned—we are,

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  • Roy McMakin, Untitled (a table that looks like a sculpture), 2016, enamel on aluminum, eastern maple, plywood, 44 × 31 3/4 × 21 3/4".

    Roy McMakin

    Garth Greenan Gallery

    The dozen or so objects—call them sculpture, furniture, or something poised indeterminately in between—included in Roy McMakin’s recent exhibition at Garth Greenan Gallery for the most part proceeded from a superficially simple line of inquiry: What happens to a conventionally functional artifact when that artifact has its conventional function tampered with? It’s a question with which McMakin—a Wyoming-born artist and craftsman who studied at the University of California, San Diego, in the late 1970s and early ’80s with teachers such as Allan Kaprow and Manny Farber and who today

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  • Nahum Tevet, Untitled #5, 1972, paper, binder clips, twine, staples, plastic tape, masking tape, transparent tape, and wax pencil on glass, 17 1/4 × 19 3/4 × 1/2".

    Nahum Tevet

    Bertha and Karl Leubsdorf Art Gallery, Hunter College

    Born on a kibbutz in 1946, Nahum Tevet was by his midtwenties an ascendant figure in Israeli art. This exhibition surveyed twenty-six of his works on glass—virtually the entirety of this subtle body of work—produced between 1972 and 1975. The informative catalogue by Thierry de Duve, the exhibition’s curator, explains that, in the forty years since their creation, a few of these works have been lost, a few repaired, while others are not on glass at all but rather are on Plexiglas.

    To create the works, Tevet taped, pinned, clipped, or otherwise adhered translucent papers, cardboard

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  • Elizabeth McIntosh, Black Dress, 2016, oil on canvas, 85 × 75".

    Elizabeth McIntosh

    CANADA

    It’s been fourteen years since Elizabeth McIntosh has had a one-person show in New York. Her work has changed since then, not surprisingly, and twice over. The Canadian painter’s work of the early 2000s was strictly abstract—in fact, as I remember, it was strict altogether: rather tight and orderly. A break from the studio following the birth of her daughter shortly after that 2002 show was followed by the first shift: Her paintings started looking looser, faster, more playful. This tendency has only intensified as time has gone on. Her use of flatness, pattern, and geometry remained

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  • Peter Shire, Mexican Bauhaus Bridge, 2006, clay with underglazes, stainless steel, 14 1/2 × 15 × 12 1/2".

    Peter Shire

    Derek Eller Gallery

    In 1974, Peter Shire set out to accomplish a seemingly nonsensical goal: that of creating a three-dimensional teapot. Having recently graduated from art school with a degree in ceramics, he was of course aware of the longstanding tradition of teapots having not only height and width but depth as well; an enclosed volume is, after all, a necessary precondition for containing the hot liquid from which these vessels take their name. But Shire was referring not so much to the form of the container, per se, as to the processes through which it was conceived and produced.

    Most ceramic teapots are thrown

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  • Talia Chetrit, Cable Release, 2016, ink-jet print, 14 × 10".

    Talia Chetrit

    kaufmann repetto | New York

    At first glance, the thirteen photographs in Talia Chetrit’s show seemed to be “about” genitalia. The artist’s vulva, memorably depicted in Untitled (Bottomless #4), 2015, was again the unambiguous subject of her work, alternately pictured in a full-frontal view, facing the audience from behind a gutted pair of pants in Jeans (all works 2016), or via not-so-subtle allusion, as in Legs, a portrait of a tripod-mounted camera pointing downward, coolly aimed at the artist’s crotch.

    Chetrit’s practice has always been marked by an acutely referential display of photographic apparatuses, and for these

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  • Jaya Howey, AR141 Introduction, 2016, oil on canvas, 45 1/4 × 35 3/8".

    Jaya Howey

    Bureau

    Like many (I’d wager most) “professional” artists, Jaya Howey is also a teacher. But while the tendency among his contemporaries is to compartmentalize their paired roles out of an unstated concern that the prosaic realities of the latter will tarnish the mystic aura of the former, Howey used this exhibition to dissolve the barrier between them. Although the past ten years have seen the emergence of art-as-pedagogy as a fully fledged subgenre—think, to pick one historically aware example, of the Bruce High Quality Foundation’s riffs on Beuys’s chalkboards—it hasn’t consistently focused

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  • Susan Te Kahurangi King, Untitled, ca. 1975–79, graphite, colored pencil, and crayon on paper, 17 × 11 1/2".

    Susan Te Kahurangi King

    Andrew Edlin Gallery

    Susan Te Kahurangi King’s rich, strange drawings at Andrew Edlin Gallery fell into two groups: works from the 1970s and those from the ’80s. The works in the earlier group are kinetic: They evoke waves that surge and loom and fall from one side of a sheet to another, and that seem to have taken up—and then been taken over by—a mass of cartoonlike objects and shapes in their paths: spoonbills, Mickey Mouse hands, a pinwheel of legs, a curvy calf, and a foot in a Mary Jane–style shoe. Difficult, at times, to discern, these items appear and reappear in fields of soft pencil marks that

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  • Andy Piedilato, Scroll Waves, 2011, alkyd and acrylic on canvas, 108 × 120".

    Andy Piedilato

    DANESE/COREY

    There’s something all too calculated, hyperarticulate, and luminously cold about Brooklyn-based artist Andy Piedilato’s paintings. The seven canvases that were on view in this exhibition were inspired by a friend’s new hobby: boatbuilding. But rather than honor this activity with something inspiring or warm—images of boats triumphantly setting out to sea, for example—Piedilato took a darker route, painting quasi-abstract scenes of seafaring disaster.

    Scroll Waves, 2011, was the earliest painting in the exhibition; Endurance and Pinched Red Sail, both 2016, the most recent; Sea Snail,

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  • View of “Ant Farm and LST,” 2016. Center: LST, Ant Farm Media Van v.08 [Time Capsule], 2008–. Inflatable enclosure: LST, ICE⎽9, 2016. Photo: Andrew Romer.

    Ant Farm and LST

    Pioneer Works

    One way to think of Ant Farm, the subject of a recent exhibition at Pioneer Works in Brooklyn, is as the art-world equivalent of an underground music act. They were founded in San Francisco in 1968, against the backdrop of psychedelic counterculture. Despite their impressive back catalogue, they are remembered mainly for two smash hits—Cadillac Ranch, 1974, and Media Burn, 1975. And like so many bands, they have recently reunited, with a slightly different lineup. Back in the day, the group had three core members—Chip Lord, Doug Michels, and Curtis Schreier. In 2003, Michels, who had

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