reviews

  • View of “ART CLUB2000: Selected Works 1992–1999,” 2020–21, Artists Space, New York. Reinstallation of “Commingle,” 1993. Photo: Filip Wolak.

    View of “ART CLUB2000: Selected Works 1992–1999,” 2020–21, Artists Space, New York. Reinstallation of “Commingle,” 1993. Photo: Filip Wolak.

    ART CLUB2000

    Artists Space

    THE YEAR: 1993. The Roaring Nineties had kicked off, Royal Trux and Mystery Science Theater 3000 ruled the airwaves, the taps ran clear with Crystal Pepsi. And in New York, a collective of undergraduates called ART CLUB2000 achieved a peculiar brand of low-key renown with a series of photographs of themselves sporting outfits from the Gap and posed in various locales around the city. The group slouched all over the tony furniture in a home-decor emporium, noshed in a doughnut shop, perused the library at the offices of Art in America,

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  • Suzan Frecon, stone cathedral, 2019, diptych, oil on linen, overall 108 1⁄2 × 87 3⁄4".

    Suzan Frecon, stone cathedral, 2019, diptych, oil on linen, overall 108 1⁄2 × 87 3⁄4".

    Suzan Frecon

    David Zwirner | 537 West 20th Street

    The constraints levied against female abstract painters in New York during the postwar decades resulted in their near-total marginalization. Nevertheless, they persisted. The situation seems unfathomable, but such was the depth of this historical amnesia that by the 1960s and ’70s women were disparaged for “painting like men,” which was idiotic given how prominently they figured as producers and innovators in vanguard abstraction. Special reverence is due the female artists who, continuing on their paths of invention, set up studios in Lower Manhattan—a boys’ club—despite the blatant sexism they

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  • Andrew LaMar Hopkins, Self Portrait of the Artist as Désirée, 2019, acrylic on canvas, 12 × 12".

    Andrew LaMar Hopkins, Self Portrait of the Artist as Désirée, 2019, acrylic on canvas, 12 × 12".

    Andrew LaMar Hopkins

    Venus Over Manhattan

    Maximalist splendor was in full effect across the thirty-two paintings in Andrew LaMar Hopkins’s solo exhibition here, “Créolité,” which was organized by art historian and curator Alison M. Gingeras. Hopkins, who lives in Alabama, creates fictionalized tableaux of America’s antebellum years that “[celebrate] the cultural mixing of European, African, and mixed-race peoples’ lives and material cultures . . . based on the histories of Creoles living in the South,” per the show’s press release. His works, set primarily in New Orleans, do not deny the reality of white supremacy or chattel slavery,

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  • Tania Pérez Córdova, Portrait of an Unknown Woman Passing By, 2019, glazed ceramic, occasionally a woman wearing a dress, 35 3⁄8 × 19 3⁄4 × 19 3⁄4".

    Tania Pérez Córdova, Portrait of an Unknown Woman Passing By, 2019, glazed ceramic, occasionally a woman wearing a dress, 35 3⁄8 × 19 3⁄4 × 19 3⁄4".

    Tania Pérez Córdova

    Tina Kim Gallery

    “Woman’s head wearing jewellry, preserved as excavated . . .” So begins the description of item No. 122294—a grouping of skull fragments and precious objects, including a comb made of silver and a coronet with gold leaves, taken from the Royal Cemetery at Ur in southern Iraq and dated 2600 BCE—which sits in the permanent collection of London’s British Museum. Tania Pérez Córdova, who referenced that object in a 2017 interview, makes sculpture that could be described with a similar rhetorical touch. In exhibitions she has had in Mexico City, Chicago, and Vienna, among other places, the artist

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  • Joan Brown, Model with Reflection in Window, 1972, acrylic, ink, and graphite on paper, 36 × 24".

    Joan Brown, Model with Reflection in Window, 1972, acrylic, ink, and graphite on paper, 36 × 24".

    Joan Brown

    George Adams Gallery

    “Drawn from Life: Works on Paper, 1970–1976” was a modest but illuminating survey of drawings by the late Bay Area painter Joan Brown (1938–1990). The eighteen works featured at George Adams Gallery—done primarily in ink, acrylic, and graphite—highlighted a major turning point in the artist’s career: namely, the transition Brown made from creating heavily impastoed and expressionistic figurative paintings to producing flatter and more stylized depictions of women—images that are implicitly self-referential and, for the most part, nude. Many are conspicuously linear, not to say deftly Minimal,

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  • Charles Henri Ford, Self-Portrait with Mirror, 1937, gelatin silver print, 12 × 12".

    Charles Henri Ford, Self-Portrait with Mirror, 1937, gelatin silver print, 12 × 12".

    Charles Henri Ford

    Mitchell Algus Gallery

    “Love and Jump Back” at Mitchell Algus Gallery, curated by photographer and writer Allen Frame, is an exhibition of photographs by poet, editor, and bricoleur Charles Henri Ford (1908–2002). The show takes its name from the working title of Ford’s 1933 novel, The Young and the Evil, which he coauthored with critic Parker Tyler. This banned chronicle of “mucilage [and] malaise”—to use writer Claude McKay’s memorable phrasing—at the queer fringes of New York’s Greenwich Village between the world wars is today recognized by many as the first gay novel in American letters. Ford, however, was better

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  • Archie Rand, Therefore, God exists., 2017, acrylic on canvas, 24 × 18". From “The Cherry-Blossom Proof” series, 2017.

    Archie Rand, Therefore, God exists., 2017, acrylic on canvas, 24 × 18". From “The Cherry-Blossom Proof” series, 2017.

    Archie Rand

    BravinLee Programs

    Although Archie Rand’s long career as a painter has shown many—and sometimes seemingly incompatible—aspects, he has become best known (or perhaps, best underknown) for presenting Jewish themes on a sometimes extravagant scale and in his own highly idiosyncratic way. Among his noteworthy projects is “The 613,” 2008, a series of, yes, 613 paintings (that’s 1,700 feet of wall space to you!), each of which is meant to correspond to one of the mitzvoth, the commandments or rules for behavior scripturally required of all Jews. Other ensembles are more manageable, e.g., the ten paintings of “Had Gadya

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  • Leilah Babirye, Nantege O’we Ngabi from the Kuchu Civet Cat Clan, 2020, wood, wax, aluminum, nails, found objects, 51 × 15 × 3".

    Leilah Babirye, Nantege O’we Ngabi from the Kuchu Civet Cat Clan, 2020, wood, wax, aluminum, nails, found objects, 51 × 15 × 3".

    Leilah Babirye

    Gordon Robichaux

    Ebika Bya ba Kuchu mu Buganda” (Kuchu Clans of Buganda), Leilah Babirye’s muscular second solo outing at Gordon Robichaux, exemplified her fiercely intelligent approach to materials through a body of work that radiates dignity, spirituality, and prudence. The quickly growing oeuvre of the Brooklyn-based artist not only looks back to the disastrous legacies of British colonialism in Uganda and to twentieth-century European cultural appropriations (Picasso’s Les demoiselles d’Avignon, 1907, for example), but also encompasses progressive ideas regarding alternative forms of kinship, community

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  • Henry Darger, At Jennie Richee. Part one of 216. Little girl between Blengins / . . . Protect a little skittery child from Glandelinians, ca. 1950–60, double-sided watercolor, graphite and carbon tracing on collaged paper, 24 × 107".

    Henry Darger, At Jennie Richee. Part one of 216. Little girl between Blengins / . . . Protect a little skittery child from Glandelinians, ca. 1950–60, double-sided watercolor, graphite and carbon tracing on collaged paper, 24 × 107".

    Henry Darger

    Andrew Edlin Gallery

    How would the notoriously reclusive, misanthropic Henry Darger (1892–1973) have reckoned with his posthumous success? Today Darger is virtually a household name, thanks to the musicians, librettists, dancers, filmmakers, and authors who have kept his spirit alive in popular culture, creating an entire brand through a froth of Darger-inspired output. (The adjective Dargeresque has become common enough to need no explanation.) He is so familiar that the succinct recent exhibition of the artist’s work at Andrew Edlin Gallery, “The Double-Sided Dominions of Henry Darger,” could be described using

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  • Rick Lowe, Untitled, 2018, paint marker on collaged paper, 6 × 12'. From “Storage_.”

    Rick Lowe, Untitled, 2018, paint marker on collaged paper, 6 × 12'. From “Storage_.”

    “Storage_”

    Storage

    When the social-practice conference Open Engagement came to New York in 2014, I remember being struck by how much vital work in reimagining art’s capacity for community involvement was happening elsewhere in the United States, and by how comparatively little of it was reflected in the city’s vaunted museums, venerable nonprofits, or myriad commercial galleries. That may now be changing. Two of the most influential figures in the field of social practice, Theaster Gates and Rick Lowe—the founders of the Rebuild Foundation in Chicago and Project Row Houses in Houston’s Third Ward, respectively—both

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  • Justin Sterling, Broken Windows, 2016–19, found windows, glass, caulk, expandable foam, live plants, soil, gravel, spray paint, plastic, dimensions variable.

    Justin Sterling, Broken Windows, 2016–19, found windows, glass, caulk, expandable foam, live plants, soil, gravel, spray paint, plastic, dimensions variable.

    Justin Sterling

    Cathouse Proper @ 524 Projects

    The multivalent figure of the broken window—emblem of both thoughtless neglect and mindful disobedience, of a certain species of policing and righteous resistance to it—presided over “Orange Chapel,” Justin Sterling’s stirring solo show at Cathouse Proper in Brooklyn. Provocative and contemplative in equal measure, and shot through with rough melancholic beauty, the artist’s intervention into the Court Street space consisted of three sculptural scenarios placed around the gallery, whose six large windows had been replaced by his signature injured ones. Sterling first shatters and then reassembles

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  • Carmen Winant, Togethering 9, 2020, oil pastel, found images on paper, sumi ink, aluminum frame, 41 × 27".

    Carmen Winant, Togethering 9, 2020, oil pastel, found images on paper, sumi ink, aluminum frame, 41 × 27".

    Carmen Winant

    Fortnight Institute

    Touch is our first teacher. Long before language takes hold, we absorb lessons in pleasure, pain, comfort, love, and fear through our skin. Despite its primacy in our early lives, however, touch remains one of our least appreciated senses—a function, perhaps, of its Western reputation as a “primitive” or “feminine” means of perception, a second-class citizen to the supposedly more rational faculties of sight and hearing. The vital but marginalized nature of touch provided a rich subject for Carmen Winant, an artist whose work often concerns bodies, particularly those of women, and their portrayal.

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  • Patricia Treib, Pieces, 2020, oil on canvas, 74 × 56".

    Patricia Treib, Pieces, 2020, oil on canvas, 74 × 56".

    Patricia Treib

    Bureau

    Kindred but differentiated glyphs, flat and of varying sizes, repeat over time and across space in Patricia Treib’s recent paintings. Her quasi-alphabetic forms are abstract even as they resemble sundry objects: a pitcher, a cornice, a stylus, a bone, and a ribbon. But these figures have other referents, too, known only to Treib and to those familiar with her eccentric lexicon. And in some instances, the artist references the negative spaces between objects that she sets up in her studio. Treib’s paintings bespeak a private asemic language, rendered in a manner reminiscent of illuminated

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