reviews

  • Dorothea Tanning, Pour Gustave l’adoré (For the Adored Gustave), 1974, oil on canvas, 45 5⁄8 × 35".

    Dorothea Tanning, Pour Gustave l’adoré (For the Adored Gustave), 1974, oil on canvas, 45 5⁄8 × 35".

    Dorothea Tanning

    Kasmin | 297 Tenth Avenue

    The show here by Dorothea Tanning (1910–2012), “Doesn’t the Paint Say It All?,” was being billed by Kasmin as “the most comprehensive solo presentation of her work for US audiences in decades.” It was, however, by no means a retrospective. Absent were the romantic costume and set designs Tanning confected for George Balanchine’s ballets between 1945 and 1953; her underknown, fantastically perverse biomorphic soft sculptures from the mid- to late 1960s; and, perhaps most conspicuously, her tightly worked mythopoeic paintings of the 1940s, the most famous examples of which—including the preternatural

    Read more
  • Michelle Stuart, Area-Sayreville, New Jersey 40-30 Latitude 74-30 Longitude Specimen Fragment Sample of Earth Showing Impression of Rock Forms, Location-Views of Northwest Section of Quarry Site, Date-July 26th, 1976, 1 PM, earth on muslin-mounted rag paper, color-coupler photographs, pencil on mounted rag paper, 22 × 30".

    Michelle Stuart, Area-Sayreville, New Jersey 40-30 Latitude 74-30 Longitude Specimen Fragment Sample of Earth Showing Impression of Rock Forms, Location-Views of Northwest Section of Quarry Site, Date-July 26th, 1976, 1 PM, earth on muslin-mounted rag paper, color-coupler photographs, pencil on mounted rag paper, 22 × 30".

    Michelle Stuart

    Galerie Lelong & Co.

    When Michelle Stuart inaugurated her studio practice in the late 1960s, feminism and art had barely discovered one another. An expanding interest in ecosystems was just beginning to take root in Conceptualism, and the nascent Land art movement was being served up with extra helpings of machismo. Many artists engaged in forms of “field work.” Among them was Stuart, who never fully identified as a maker of feminist art, reluctantly staked her claim as an environmental artist, and avoided presenting her work as being solely systems oriented—indeed, she consistently operated somewhere in between.

    Read more
  • View of “Rashaad Newsome,” 2022. Photo: Stephanie Berger.

    View of “Rashaad Newsome,” 2022. Photo: Stephanie Berger.

    Rashaad Newsome

    Park Avenue Armory

    For “Assembly,” Rashaad Newsome boldly transformed the Park Avenue Armory into a multisensory video game-cum-twenty-first-century reboot of Paris Is Burning. With the show’s title nodding toward a collective politics of radical reimagination, the cavernous Wade Thompson Drill Hall became the stage set for a pair of videos that immersed the viewer. Screened simultaneously across the walls of the 55,000-square-foot space, these works cascaded and pulsed, creating a fluid and hypnotic procession of brash shapes and bodies in motion.

    In Cornrow, 2022, a dancer—his bright yellow hair matching his

    Read more
  • Esther Kläs, Random Beauty, 2021, wood, fabric, glue, bronze, 40 × 53 × 25".

    Esther Kläs, Random Beauty, 2021, wood, fabric, glue, bronze, 40 × 53 × 25".

    Esther Kläs

    Peter Blum Gallery

    Sublimely spare, the six sculptures and three drawings in Esther Kläs’s exhibition here transformed the gallery into a zone of tranquility, imbued with a simplicity and quietude that were a soothing balm for the relentless onslaught of information and experience that defines life in New York City. The airy, sensitively balanced configuration of elements highlighted the artist’s obsessions with space and surface while making evident her clear delight in materials. The installation of the objects—created from various metals, wood, concrete, and paper—seemed site-specific, the quality giving the

    Read more
  • Anne Ryan, Untitled (no. 284), ca. 1948–54, collage, 7 × 5 1⁄4".

    Anne Ryan, Untitled (no. 284), ca. 1948–54, collage, 7 × 5 1⁄4".

    Anne Ryan

    Washburn Gallery

    Anne Ryan (1889–1954) was a novelist, a poet, a painter, and, perhaps most importantly, a collagist, although her collages are also poems, composed not of words but of exquisitely articulated shapes and colors. Ryan had her “breakthrough” in 1948, when she saw a presentation of Kurt Schwitters’s collages at New York’s Rose Fried Gallery. She saw this show the same month the German artist died—one wonders if he was reincarnated in Ryan, who was so inspired by his work that she began making collages on the same day she saw the exhibition, as we know from her daughter Elizabeth McFadden’s wonderful

    Read more
  • View of “Joaquín Torres-García: Toys,” 2022. Photo: Timothy Doyon.

    View of “Joaquín Torres-García: Toys,” 2022. Photo: Timothy Doyon.

    Joaquín Torres-García

    Ortuzar Projects

    Joaquín Torres-García (1874–1949) was a roving messiah simultaneously ahead of and behind the curve—a didactic, derivative pioneer who sought nothing less than to beget a common language that could transcend time and culture. He was also great with kids. Combining these qualities, the Uruguayan-born artist established a toy-making business during the interwar years, a pursuit explored earlier this year in an outstanding survey at Ortuzar Projects. Spurs to children’s imaginations on both sides of the Atlantic, his fanciful playthings were, the show argued, key to Torres-García’s quixotic program

    Read more
  • H. R. Giger, Gebärmaschine (Birth Machine), 1969, silk screen on aluminum, 51 1⁄8 × 37 1⁄8.

    H. R. Giger, Gebärmaschine (Birth Machine), 1969, silk screen on aluminum, 51 1⁄8 × 37 1⁄8.

    H. R. Giger

    LOMEX

    The sci-fi hellscapes of H. R. Giger (1940–2014) are curiously placid, as contemplative as they are ominous in their ashen airbrushed desolation. The Swiss artist, perhaps most famous for his creation of the ambushing parasite predator in Ridley Scott’s 1979 film Alien, did not—in his own work—favor fast action. The subjects of his portraiture often appear embalmed or asleep. Other compositions represent his bleak futurism via cropped views of sinister circuitry and coital hydraulics—the lubricated machinery of a sexed-up totalitarian posthuman world, either on pause or running with grim

    Read more
  • Alina Tenser, Container for Utterance, яю (detail), 2022, vinyl, zipper, steel rods, concrete, dimensions variable.

    Alina Tenser, Container for Utterance, яю (detail), 2022, vinyl, zipper, steel rods, concrete, dimensions variable.

    Alina Tenser

    HESSE FLATOW

    The work of Alina Tenser inhabits a notional space at the juncture of a Montessori school and the Container Store. Her sculptures, performances, and videos suggest playtime scenarios of experiential learning while evoking a distinctly grown-up predilection for organizing. Though children may view the “useful pot to put things in” that Winnie the Pooh presents to Eeyore as a lackluster birthday gift, the right storage device can excite the passions of adults (or at least “adulting” millennials) in ways that Marx’s theory of the commodity fails to fully comprehend. Tenser seeks to activate the

    Read more
  • Emily Oliveira, The Goddess Is Transfixed by the Blood Moon Reflected in the Water at High Tide, 2021, found and hand-dyed fabric, cotton batting, cotton thread, 52 × 45".

    Emily Oliveira, The Goddess Is Transfixed by the Blood Moon Reflected in the Water at High Tide, 2021, found and hand-dyed fabric, cotton batting, cotton thread, 52 × 45".

    Emily Oliveira

    Geary

    How thin is the veil between our world and the next? Emily Oliveira’s exhibition “Red Velvet, Orange Crush” examined this numinous terrain for felicitous cracks, where a quick glance between astral planes can potentially offer up moments of satori. Oliveira positions herself between these realms as a kind of mystical gatekeeper, providing safe passage into unknown dimensions. A lustrous array of tapestries and sculptures were housed in this gallery turned devotional space, inviting us into the artist’s search for an existence free of earthly chaos and mortal inhibitions.

    Oliveira draws inspiration

    Read more
  • Cristine Brache, Film Stills from Bermuda Triangle 1–12 (2), 2022, digital C-print, 9 × 6".

    Cristine Brache, Film Stills from Bermuda Triangle 1–12 (2), 2022, digital C-print, 9 × 6".

    Cristine Brache

    anonymous gallery | New York

    At the bottom of a long flight of stairs, a floor below Baxter Street on the edge of Manhattan’s Chinatown, Cristine Brache’s quietly elegiac presentation “Bermuda Triangle” bathed Anonymous Gallery’s space in an uncanny aquatic ambience. The show’s dreamily natant mood was due in part to its artifactual centerpiece: a blue inflatable pool set in the middle of the gallery. The object functioned as a double aide-mémoire—a physicalized symbol of the recollection at the heart of the project, as well as a site for the transmission of its phantasmal traces in beautifully grainy Super 8 footage

    Read more
  • Alix Vernet, Lady, Saint Marks, November, 2021, cheesecloth, latex, spray paint, 54 × 13".

    Alix Vernet, Lady, Saint Marks, November, 2021, cheesecloth, latex, spray paint, 54 × 13".

    Alix Vernet

    Helena Anrather

    Throughout Manhattan’s East Side neighborhoods, a certain type of building, constructed as the nineteenth century met the twentieth, still stands in all of its bygone grandeur. Architecture historian Zachary J. Violette calls these structures “decorated tenements” for the elaborate ornamentation marking their exteriors—scenes rendered in high relief in stone or formed on soaring sheet-metal cornices featuring gilded characters, now obscured by decades of smog and grime, declaring the builder’s name. So ingrained are these designs within the visual chaos of the city’s streetscape that, despite

    Read more
  • Carlos Motta and Tiamat Legion Medusa, When I Leave This World, 2022, 4K video, color, sound, 10 minutes.

    Carlos Motta and Tiamat Legion Medusa, When I Leave This World, 2022, 4K video, color, sound, 10 minutes.

    Carlos Motta and Tiamat Legion Medusa

    OCDChinatown

    Fixing a set of emerald-green and darkly mesmerizing eyes on the camera for a 2022 video in this exhibition, Tiamat Legion Medusa, the titular subject of the piece, asserts, “I don’t want to die looking like a human.” During the past two decades, the Bruni, Texas–based performer has achieved legendary status in the body-modification community for undertaking a simultaneous transition in gender (male to female) and species (human to reptile). Medusa—who prefers it/its pronouns—positions its reptilian metamorphosis as a protest gesture, refusing identification with the onerous breed of mammal that

    Read more