reviews

  • Maria Lassnig, Selbstporträt als Tier (Self-Portrait as Animal), 1963, oil on canvas, 39 1⁄4 × 28 3⁄4".

    Maria Lassnig, Selbstporträt als Tier (Self-Portrait as Animal), 1963, oil on canvas, 39 1⁄4 × 28 3⁄4".

    Maria Lassnig

    Petzel Gallery | West 18th Street

    The great Austrian artist Maria Lassnig (1919–2014) lived in Paris from 1960 to 1968, having moved there from Vienna in search of possibility: to find a place where a woman’s art would be given the same thought and attention as that of her male peers, and to steep herself in the ongoing exploits of an electrifying avant-garde. Whatever she encountered in the City of Light—and whether despite or because of what and who surrounded her there—those years heralded a hefty shift in her practice. Lassnig expanded the playing field of her paintings beyond the reactive, rebellious surfaces of art informel

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  • Jonathan Lasker, Lives of Perpetual Wonder, 1997, oil on linen, 90 × 120".

    Jonathan Lasker, Lives of Perpetual Wonder, 1997, oil on linen, 90 × 120".

    Jonathan Lasker

    Greene Naftali Gallery

    This past fall, Jonathan Lasker’s “Born Yesterday: Drawing into Painting, 1987–2020” marked the artist’s first solo exhibition in New York in more than five years. It was also his largest in the city, a career survey that included a selection of fifteen paintings, most of them large-scale and all of them rendered in the artist’s signature format of garish artificial color and “frozen” line.

    Despite a range of effects achieved in the work, Lasker’s process has remained consistent from the beginning. He starts each canvas by making random scribbles in a four-by-six-inch notebook; he then creates

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  • Jitish Kallat, Epicycle, 2021, double-sided multilayer print on 20 LPI lenticular lens, teakwood, 89 × 52 × 24". From the series “Epicycles,” 2020–.

    Jitish Kallat, Epicycle, 2021, double-sided multilayer print on 20 LPI lenticular lens, teakwood, 89 × 52 × 24". From the series “Epicycles,” 2020–.

    Jitish Kallat

    Sperone Westwater

    Mumbai-based artist Jitish Kallat toys with scale, often collapsing the infinitesimal and the infinite, the commonplace and the cosmic, into a single object. In the past, he presented the phases of the moon as pieces of roti, a whole-wheat flatbread that is a staple across much of the Indian subcontinent, and transformed close-ups of fruit into celestial fields with lenticular lenses. Yet regardless of perspective, the human, as image and/or condition, remains a central concern, as the three distinct but interrelated series that constituted Kallat’s exhibition here demonstrated.

    The scale, format,

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  • Genieve Figgis, Queens, 2021, acrylic on canvas, 61 × 76 1⁄4".

    Genieve Figgis, Queens, 2021, acrylic on canvas, 61 × 76 1⁄4".

    Genieve Figgis

    Almine Rech | New York

    Flanked by attendants bearing platters of grapes in a grand tepidarium, a naked baigneuse voluptuates on a velvet ottoman, proffering for our delectation her stippled pubes, spiraling breasts, and tight sphincter of a mouth. The setting—Matisse’s Morocco by way of Caesar’s Palace—is superintended by two porcine, friezelike visages placed into decorative roundels. In Roman lady with two servants (all works cited, 2021), Genieve Figgis serves up the Caligulan extravagance of the ancient baths with her signature painterly finesse and deflationary humor, right on time for our own age of imperial

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  • Dorothea Rockburne, Trefoil 7, 2021, enamel paint and copper wire on layered boards, 40 × 40 × 2". From the series “Trefoil,” 2019–.

    Dorothea Rockburne, Trefoil 7, 2021, enamel paint and copper wire on layered boards, 40 × 40 × 2". From the series “Trefoil,” 2019–.

    Dorothea Rockburne

    David Nolan Gallery

    Interrogating those intersections where the body, the object, and the space that contains them meet, Dorothea Rockburne has long sought to assert the singularity of her art. Early on, her fascination with mathematical theory, topological models, and systems of proportion became a springboard for thought and form. For decades, the artist has tested and torqued her materials with an alchemist’s zeal while also incorporating movement as an important expressive element of her production process. She contributed significantly to the flow of Minimal and post-Minimal art—and she was able to hold her

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  • Matthew Brandt, Lance’s Study, 2021, photographs on glass chandelier pieces, painted metal armature, 55 1⁄2 × 21 × 21". From the series “Rooms,” 2020–.

    Matthew Brandt, Lance’s Study, 2021, photographs on glass chandelier pieces, painted metal armature, 55 1⁄2 × 21 × 21". From the series “Rooms,” 2020–.

    Matthew Brandt

    Yossi Milo Gallery

    One might say that Matthew Brandt’s work is about the appropriation of nature by art, where it survives as an aesthetic trophy in a museum, gallery, or wealthy patron’s home, not unlike the stuffed head of an exotic animal. Brandt’s solo exhibition here offered up four different series of works, including “Birch,” 2019–, and “Rooms,” 2020–. The former is made up of portraits of birch trees the artist photographed around Saint Petersburg; the trees’ likenesses have been burned onto actual birch panels and treated with gold leaf. (A related series here, “Silver,” also 2017–21, features gelatin

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  • View of “Arthur Simms,” 2021–22. Photo: Charles Benton.

    View of “Arthur Simms,” 2021–22. Photo: Charles Benton.

    Arthur Simms

    Martos Gallery | New York

    Fresh Kills, a mountain of noxious garbage off the western coast of Staten Island and once the largest dump in the country, was finally shut down in March 2001; about ten years ago, the area was slowly being resurrected into a scenic wetlands park. I found my thoughts drifting to the infamous landfill when looking at Arthur Simms’s art: A resident of the borough, the sculptor transforms cast-off material, much of it trash, into unstable sites of memory and improbable splendor. He scours the junkyard of art history, too, devising from its rusted vanguards—Surrealist automatism, the ready-made,

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  • Alan Sonfist, American Earth Landscape, 2019–21, earth on canvas, 10 × 15'.

    Alan Sonfist, American Earth Landscape, 2019–21, earth on canvas, 10 × 15'.

    Alan Sonfist

    SHIN GALLERY

    A pioneer of the Land art movement, Alan Sonfist has never received the degree of critical attention awarded some of his contemporaries, such as Michael Heizer and Richard Long. This despite the fact that Sonfist’s Time Landscape, a nine-hundred-square-foot plot of land fenced in at the corner of West Houston Street and LaGuardia Place, has been staking its claim as the largest and most important example of Land art in New York City since its creation in 1978. Originally proposed by the artist in 1965 as one of fifty such pockets of reclaimed urban territory that would re-create—and thus

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  • Chris Oh, Sky, 2021, acrylic on chalkware statue, 14 3⁄4 × 9 1⁄2 × 8".

    Chris Oh, Sky, 2021, acrylic on chalkware statue, 14 3⁄4 × 9 1⁄2 × 8".

    Chris Oh

    Fortnight Institute

    There’s an infrathin line between appropriation and theft. The former occasions huge reserve prices, the latter lawsuits. The most successful modern practitioners of appropriation, such as Jeff Koons and Richard Prince—who delight in agitating the limits of good taste and copyright—typically achieve both outcomes, often at the same time. But Chris Oh, who scrupulously paints old-master imagery onto almost hysterically difficult-to-negotiate objects, is after something else.

    Some of Oh’s previous subjects of intense focus have included the paintings of Hans Memling and Rogier van der Weyden; Oh

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  • Peter Berlin, Double Self-Portrait with Glowing Pink Background, ca. 1970s, acrylic and masking medium on gelatin silver print, 24 × 20".

    Peter Berlin, Double Self-Portrait with Glowing Pink Background, ca. 1970s, acrylic and masking medium on gelatin silver print, 24 × 20".

    Peter Berlin

    ClampArt

    One thing you have to admit about the recent photo exhibition of self-portraits by gay-porn icon Peter Berlin at ClampArt: It was well-hung. Ba-da-bump!

    For those not steeped in horny homo history, Berlin was an underground legend in San Francisco during the hedonistic 1970s pre-AIDS era. Born in Poland and raised in Germany, he was an Aryan fantasy, almost cartoonish in his appearance, with a Popeye silhouette and a blond Dutch-boy haircut, who cruised the streets and bars in skintight sailor uniforms and motorcycle gear. His fame grew as he starred in X-rated films (his most famous is Nights

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