reviews

  • Cecily Brown, Madrepora (Shipwreck), 2016, oil on linen, 8' 1“ x 12' 7 1/8”.

    Cecily Brown

    Paula Cooper Gallery | 529 West 21st Street

    In her marvelous writing on the art of Joan Mitchell in Women, the New York School, and Other True Abstractions (2007), Maggie Nelson wrestles with several of the reasons why Mitchell’s paintings have proven so difficult to place in the established art-historical accounts of postwar American painting. Mitchell pushed her work too far into the wild realms of nature and human consciousness to fit the rigid formalist theories of Clement Greenberg. She labored too long on every canvas to count as the kind of action painter held up by Harold Rosenberg. She was unapologetically committed to the depths

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  • Sam Moyer, Cherry blossoms fall on half eaten bun, 2017, marble, stone, acrylic on canvas mounted on MDF panel, 11' 1“ x 18' 6 1/8”.

    Sam Moyer

    Sean Kelly Gallery

    Sam Moyer’s first solo show in New York, “Night Moves,” took place in 2008 at Cleopatra’s, the independent storefront space in Greenpoint founded that year by Bridget Donahue, Bridget Finn, Kate McNamara, and Erin Somerville. There, Moyer presented five “paintings” made of stretcher bars wrapped in moving blankets. Appropriately enough, Moyer had first become interested in the formal qualities of moving blankets—their off-kilter color combinations, the patterns of their stitching—while assisting the artist Mika Tajima, who at the time had taken to displaying paintings in the kind of

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  • Omer Fast, August, 2016, 3-D digital video, color, sound, 15 minutes 30 seconds.

    Omer Fast

    James Cohan Gallery | Lower East Side

    In the autumn of 2016, Omer Fast had a solo exhibition in his adopted hometown of Berlin. Mounted by the Martin-Gropius-Bau, the show included a number of the elegantly perplexing, serious-minded video and film works the artist has made across his fifteen-year practice, including his newest, August, 2016, an impressionistic elegy for the early-twentieth-century German portrait photographer August Sander. In something of a departure for Fast, the show also featured a series of spatial interventions, with three of the show’s seven works set in installation environments meant to simulate transitional

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  • Arshile Gorky, Pastoral, 1947, oil and pencil on canvas, 44 1/8 x 56". © The Arshile Gorky Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

    Arshile Gorky

    Galerie Hauser & Wirth

    Arshile Gorky’s paintings and drawings are generally associated with the earliest days of Abstract Expressionism. Despite this connection, Gorky exhibitions in New York are few and far between. There haven’t been many since 1981, when the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum mounted a retrospective of work by this Armenian émigré, who came to America in 1920. As each new generation has molded its interpretation of his art in their own work, his achievements have been repeatedly revised. When I studied his “tidy” paintings and drawings in graduate school when Minimalism and Pop art reigned, William S.

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  • Cathy Wilkes, Untitled, 2012, mixed media, dimensions variable.

    Cathy Wilkes

    MoMA PS1

    Replete with sticky materials summoning childcare and motherhood, a selection of Cathy Wilkes’s most potent works from the past twenty years is installed in her first major survey, awarded to the artist as the inaugural winner of the Maria Lassnig Prize. Incorporating found objects from the Glasgow area (where the artist is based) into assemblage, painting, and sculpture, Wilkes’s work elicits a deep form of attention that defies the tyranny of forgetting, overlooking, not noticing. In a vitrine near the start of the exhibition, lying next to a carved, wooden bird ornament flipped supine so that

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  • Mark Sink, Untitled, 2017, Polaroids, C-prints, dimensions variable.

    “Love Among the Ruins: 56 Bleecker Gallery and Late 80s New York”

    HOWL ARTS

    Look up “NoHo” on Airbnb and you will find a neighborhood tagged “trendy” and “touristy,” a place “filled with eclectic cafés, spacious studios, and sublime shopping.” Gentrification works fast: Such a description of this part of downtown Manhattan would not long ago have been unimaginable, as “Love Among the Ruins: 56 Bleecker Gallery and Late 80s New York” virtually made a fetish of establishing. Dedicated to the 56 Bleecker Gallery, which flourished from 1986 to 1989, the show documented an art space that at that early date had fled a previous location, a derelict theater on Second Avenue

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  • Robert Moskowitz, Flatiron, 2016, oil on canvas, 76 x 23".

    Robert Moskowitz

    Kerry Schuss

    Having been included in William C. Seitz’s Museum of Modern Art exhibition “The Art of Assemblage” in 1961, and with a solo debut at the Leo Castelli Gallery the following year, Robert Moskowitz has maintained a quiet but persistent presence on the New York scene for more than half a century. Quiet persistence has been a characteristic quality of his art as much as of his career. That tenacity pays off was demonstrated by his recent exhibition of six paintings, some of which were probably among his best, and, for that matter, are among the best anyone is making today.

    Observers have always

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  • Barbara Hammer, Double Strength, 1978, 16 mm transferred to digital video, color, sound, 14 minutes 38 seconds.

    Barbara Hammer

    Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art

    “How are you feeling?” asks the clear, sweet voice, almost certainly from behind a broad smile. I heard the question from across the room just as I was about to touch a silicone model of a breast, my fingers searching for a node that would activate a video on the monitor before me. Barbara Hammer’s question was, of course, not directed at me but at the character in Double Strength, her 1978 film tracing the arc of a relationship. It was nonetheless apposite, seeming to evoke a doctor/patient relationship as I began my figurative search for a cancerous lump. This iteration of 8 in 8, a modified

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  • Emma Amos, All I Know of Wonder, 2008, oil on linen, African fabric, 70 1/2 x 55 1/2". © Emma Amos/VAGA, New York.

    Emma Amos

    RYAN LEE

    In Tightrope, 1994, Emma Amos paints herself as a circus performer. In star-spangled underwear and a black duster, she tiptoes on a high wire over a woozy crowd of blurred faces and headless eyeballs. In her left hand are two paintbrushes; in her right, she holds a T-shirt emblazoned with a pair of pendant breasts over a platter of red mango blossoms. This fragment of a body belongs to one of the subjects of Paul Gauguin’s Two Tahitian Women, painted during the disaffected Frenchman’s Pacific sojourn in 1899. Amos’s vicious brushstrokes and high-key colors burlesque Gauguin’s colonial primitivism

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  • Tom Hammick, Sky Atlas, 2017, reduction woodcut, 80 3/4 x 47 3/4".

    Tom Hammick

    Flowers Gallery

    In a series of seventeen exquisitely crafted, visionary woodcuts (all works 2017), Tom Hammick took us on a “Lunar Voyage”—that is, on an artistic adventure to the moon. As French scholars Jean Chevalier and Alain Gheerbrant wrote in their 1969 Dictionary of Symbols, the moon is “a cosmic symbol throughout every age, from time immemorial to the present, and common to every culture,” as well as an emblem of “dreams and the Unconscious as properties of darkness.” Darkness abounds in Hammick’s dreamscapes, most prominently in Blackout, with its sweeping night sky and solitary figure, whose

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  • View of “Meriem Bennani,” 2017.

    Meriem Bennani

    The Kitchen

    Hafida, presumably a baby boomer, wears a hijab and is leathery and principled. Siham, unquestionably a millennial, totes a Yves Saint Laurent bag and has perfected her selfie angle. Both are chikhas—female singers of the Moroccan aita musical tradition—and each sits on one side of a generational rift as wide as neoliberalism’s reach. For her thirty-minute video Siham & Hafida, 2017, Meriem Bennani arranged for the performers to meet at a café in Morocco. The resulting document weds a Bravo-bitchy feud with an empathetic account of the intergenerational complexities of a country

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  • GaHee Park, Family Jewels, 2017, oil on canvas, 48 × 60".

    GaHee Park

    Motel

    There are three people in the room. The mustachioed man on the right shades his eyes beneath an ocher hat. A cigar sits assertively between his middle and index fingers, emitting a plume of smoke that seeps across the scene like the beam of a flashlight, its haze illuminating the nude woman reclining in the pool outside. A second man occupies the left side of the space, his legs crossed and his gaze turned toward the window. A glass of pink champagne rests in his right hand, pinkie erect in a gesture at once vaguely pretentious and potentially perverse. Someone has placed a hand on his shoulder,

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