Harp & Altar
POETRY
Donald Breckenridge

Oisín Curran

Heinrich Heine
translated by Peter Wortsman

Zachary Mason
from The Lost Books of the Odyssey

Derek White
from Marsupial

Leni Zumas

The Galleries
Michael Newton

New York, May, 2008

 

David Altmejd @ Andrea Rosen

Massive sculptures of stoic, naked men being blissfully overrun with crystals, plaster-cast limbs, mirrors, detritus and blobs—as if these nice-enough looking fellows were being literally torn apart by transcendence and epiphany. Some of the most satisfying things about this show are also the most archaic, as far as art is concerned: monumental imposition and implied religious profundity. But of course, it wouldn’t be much without Altmejd’s labyrinthine accumulations of mystic materials (a bit trendy, maybe, but Altmejd was there at the beginning).

 

Amerika: Back to the Future @ Postmasters

A smartly assembled quartet of artists reflect on the U.S.’s potentially disastrous post-consumer future. Like, Jennifer and Kevin McCoy’s engrossing video-sculptures of strip-malls turned to rotten bio-domes, or Anthony Goicolea’s lavishly Photoshopped prints of icy, dismantled factories. The show is set, in an incongruous-but-fun way, to a pair of songs on a loop: by Rammstein (we’re all living in Amerika) and Kimya Dawson (fuck Bush and fuck this war).

 

Troy Brauntuch @ Friedrich Petzel

Brauntuch got his start showing with concept-y picture-makers like Jack Goldstein and Sherrie Levine. Yet his work is really very traditional, in a good way: mysterious spaces rendered in white conté crayon become studies in pure luminescence, referencing ages-old traditions of painted light in iconic space. Though I would also like to note that it’s really not my favorite thing in the world, this show.

 

Delia Brown @ D’Amelio Terras

Lush paintings with a delightful tinge of insanity and threat, showing extra-privileged mommies, babies and teenage girls—visions as American as anything you’ll see. By ascribing uncomfortable qualities of predation and control to classically guiltless subjects—mothers and daughters, young women—Brown’s project is both damning and humanizing: people in a dark age.

 

Lee Bul @ Lehmann Maupin

Bul is a highly accomplished craftsperson (or at least, her work is well-crafted; she might have lots of assistants), known for a refined material sensibility and for elaborate sculptures, relating to bodies, cyborgs, the future, and the past. There’s a lot of research informing this suite of work: references to Korean history, German architects, scientific theory, all of which I was blissfully ignorant of. Well, not blissfully—I felt like I was missing something, and that actually was a damper on the whole thing. Still good to see, though.

 

Saint Clair Cemin @ Sikkema Jenkins & Co.

Called “Witness,” this show aims to give insight into universal, philosophical themes. I think it may be using too universal a language. The forms—bodies, chairs—and the requisite distortions—stretching, burnishing: what does Cemin think about all of this? Anyway, isn’t “Saint Clair Cemin” a great name?

 

Brian Dettmer @ Kinz, Tillou + Feigen

Last time I reviewed Dettmer’s art, I wrote that his altered-book sculptures were his strongest work. Apparently he thinks so, too—this new show is made up entirely of altered books, and they’re even more dense and elaborate than before. These sculptures won’t change your life, but they’re lots of fun—and I mean, aren’t books great? Yes, they are.

 

Mark di Suvero @ Paula Cooper

My, what big sculptures you have!

 

Eugenio Dittborn @ Alexander and Bonin

In part, Dittborn originated his “airmail paintings”—associative collages of borrowed imagery, screenprinted on fabric sheets, folded into airmail envelopes, sent to individuals and art galleries—as a way for him to keep being an artist in Pinochet’s Chile. In these more enlightened (right?) times, the method persists as a rumination on distance, borders and economies. Somewhere in there, there’s also some romance for the kind of heroism that can only be birthed in oppressive societies, but it means something different, coming from someone who’s actually been there.

 

Olafur Eliasson @ Tonya Bonakdar

Eliasson’s big museum survey casts him in three semi-distinct modes: as an architect of pristine installation experiences; as a steadfast landscape photographer; and as a mad scientist filling his workshops with tricky, math-y maquettes. This concurrent gallery show is about that third mode: Spirographs, mirrors, flickering laser beams. In much the same way that the good vs. evil grandeur of a blockbuster movie misses out on the little truths of human experience, there are aspects of communication and intimacy that you’ll probably never find in Eliasson’s takes on the natural world; but of course, there’s a lot of beauty there—a beauty that’s probably better served by his big installations than his small sculptures, unfortunately.

 

Rachel Feinstein @ Marianne Boesky

With some remove from this show, I don’t remember the particular, history-minded iconography so much as the flatness of the sculpted forms. History being reduced in contemporary perspective—maybe that’s a bigger deal than the sculptures let on.

 

Fire Walkers: Contemporary Artists from India, Pakistan and the Middle East @ Stux

A compelling show of artists dealing with the perpetually relevant (for awhile now, anyway) theme of conflicting eastern and western cultural identities, though it maybe draws too much on capitalist campiness: consumable trinkets, shiny baubles, foxy babes. I especially liked the gem-studded cameras by Jaishri Abichandani. This show also includes Mona Hatoum’s 1988 video “Measures of Distance”—a remarkable piece, but I’m not sure why it’s being shown here (also, it’s viewable online, so you know).

 

Kim Fisher @ John Connelly Presents

I don’t know how it would feel to see just one of these paintings, since the point seems to be the multitude—that such a similar form repeats itself. We, the viewers, must trust that this form has a heavy sort of significance with the artist, even if we don’t find much significance in the form ourselves. I mean, I didn’t.

 

For Reasons of State @ The Kitchen

I’ll admit it right now that I’m an absolute sucker for old-fashioned archival materials and machinery. This show totally indulged me: sixteen-millimeter films, microfilm readers (microfilm readers!), old library books . . . . Keep in mind, however, that as archaic as some of these technologies feel to our privileged digital mindset, they’re still the tools in use; so much information has yet to be digitized, and likely never will be. Anyway, this show is all about methods of corporate and governmental secrecy and control, and includes one of Mark Lombardi’s famous charts, a project by Lin + Lam on U.S. national archives of Vietnam-era propaganda films, and an installation by Ben Rubin showing what is, purportedly, pages of source code for Diebold voting machines, with almost all of the information blacked out. The pages of blacked, blocked information take on a lovely cast as forbidden fruit—the specter of inaccessible truths, holy knowledge. That’s the thing about this work: it’s beautiful, and the beauty is deeply problematic. Beauty and politics don’t always love each other so well; some day we’ll understand better the ways that they inhabit each other, live each other’s lives.

 

Katharina Fritsch @ Matthew Marks

For her first New York solo show in a few years, Fritsch places her famous, deathly perfect black and white sculptures (the Madonna, a caveman, a snake) against monochrome postcard backdrops. The effect is a sort of non-retributive afterlife; after millennia of visual culture, a place where you’re not judged or punished for being dead, but don’t worry—you’re still dead.

 

From Fluxus to Media Art @ Maya Stendhal

“The sixties. They keep coming back. Again and again and again.” So says a flatscreen monitor at one point in a Jonas Mekas video installation about Warhol and The Factory and Fluxus—it’s the centerpiece of this show, which doesn’t quite live up to its museum-like title. Still, there’s some great work, like an utterly beautiful Nam June Paik TV-sculpture, or the poetic “scores” for potential events—on the Cage/Weiner/Ono axis—by Cage student and Fluxus member George Brecht. As someone who didn’t live through it, I wonder about New York in the sixties—was the art world as exciting as it’s made out to be? How many people were privy to this energy? Were there reactions? Refutations? Counter-revolutions?

 

Geometry as Image @ Robert Miller

Tricky, multifaceted (get it?) art and solid curating turn a potentially snooze-worthy theme—geometry—into a strong show. In recently created work, Mel Bochner, Andrew Spence and John Duff do surprising, complex things with basic rectangular forms, and speak effortlessly to the older work here, by folks like Keith Sonnier and Al Held.

 

Liam Gillick @ Casey Kaplan

While going through this show—boxed sculptures made of tinted acrylic set against vaguely political black wall-text, I had a thought—something like, “wow, this is just so damn artsy.” Anyway, I happen to like over-artsiness (or at least I prefer it to under-artsiness), and I like how heady Gillick’s work can be, though for this particular iteration, I feel, we lose a lot for not being the ones actually in his head.

 

Rodney Graham @ 303

Artists today see it as both a stale, backward trope and as a Shangri-La of the soul: the individualistic, highly gendered legend of the Abstract Expressionists—all bloodless virility and in-studio heroics, changing the whole goddamned world with your brush and canvas and glass of Scotch. For this show, Graham has made a Jeff Wall-ish lightbox photo of himself as the 20th-century AbEx archetype, as well as some paintings to go with it. I guess I see it more as a one-off joke than anything; a more cogent examination of how these legacies have filtered into the present would be welcome  here, but you’d sort of have to provide it yourself.

 

Anne Hardy @ Bellwether

The maze-like and singularly cluttered spaces shown here seem too detailed to have been built simply for tableau photographs: they look like rooms in the weirdest European disco you’ve never been to or sets from some enlightened sci-fi movie. Even knowing that they are, in fact, staged—they still couldn’t have been entirely made up, right? Where did they come from?

 

Hilary Harkness @ Mary Boone

Harkness’s paintings are always swooning studies in minutiae—the details get so tiny sometimes. But the overall point seems to be a feminized (feminist?) re-evolution of covert war and espionage: women fight, kill, and fuck each other, while ships sink, buildings burn, and giant babies grow in big, mechanized wombs.

 

Alona Harpaz @ Nicole Klagsbrun

There’s a lot to be said, maybe too much, about how images of pretty young women, constantly manufactured and circulated, produce reserves and conduits of power and control, sometimes in unexpected places. And then, about the women themselves, and the power they gain or lose by choosing whether or not to take part in the manufacturing. Harpaz presents some aloof painted picturizations, which don’t add much to the conversation—too bad. In a weird way, though, the abstract paintings speak more to these concerns than the figurative ones.

 

Stuart Hawkins @ Zach Feuer

Hawkins continues her informed satires of tourism and globalization. In one purportedly un-Photoshopped image, some charming natives polish a giant place setting for an onlooking white tourist couple. Meanwhile, a video shows an Indian hotel staffer performing birdcalls for the resort’s guests. There are lingering questions as to the ways these dynamics are employed—by the artist, by the viewers—to actually make the work. But I think Hawkins gets credit for raising the questions at all.

 

Todd Hebert @ Jack Shainman

A photorealist painter who has, of late, devoted himself to making detailed pictures of snowmen and soap bubbles. God, artists are so weird.

 

Barkley L. Hendricks @ The Project

A sort of mini (very mini) retrospective of an artist with decades of work as a painter and photographer, allowing for some startling views of black American life. In one room, for example, a photo of a man nearly passed-out outside a liquor store (holding a lobster, for unknown reasons) appears next to a seventies-era painting of an urban sophisticate. Then, in another room, what seems to be a close-up shot of Ray Charles appears alongside an image of Michael Jordan, flickering on a TV in some scuzzy bar somewhere.

 

Zhang Huan @ Pace Wildenstein

Huan has a glorious backstory which goes part and parcel with his art: he began his career with intimate performance-art projects—utilizing his naked body, in part because he was (supposedly) too poor to afford much else. Fifteen years later, he has a thriving international studio practice, with legions of assistants producing massive paintings and sculptures, including, for this show, a huge image of Chinese peasants, rendered in ash, and a would-be life-size sculpture of a fuzzy, two-headed giant. Does it go without saying that the performance projects were more interesting? Huan gained prominence as a small soul intersecting with huge histories—something that his monumental work can’t seem to sustain. But it would be silly to deny the pleasures afforded by the bigness of his vision: you don’t get to see giants every day, after all.

 

Charise Isis @ Peer

Photographs of strippers: Isis would have done well to highlight some of the issues of subjectivity and identity that affect strippers. But these images don’t quite do that, I don’t think. Not that they’re bad photographs, but there could be more going on here. Anyway, here’s a question: how does the fact that Isis herself is a stripper affect our viewing of the work? What if she weren’t? What if these were landscapes and still lives—would Isis’s day job still affect our sense of the images? And are these stupid questions?

 

Donald Judd @ Paula Cooper

A show of woodcut prints by the legendary sculptor. The images of straight lines and rectangles will come as no surprise to those familiar with Judd’s famously refined, boxy oeuvre, but then there are a few images which are, you know, curvy. Not even Judd could stick with the same thing all the time.

 

Anton Kannemeyer @ Jack Shainman

Call them political cartoons: Kannemeyer presents sarcastic, cathartic comic-book drawings that don’t even try to conceal their rage at the history of imperialism and exploitation in Africa. One drawing shows a middle-aged, balding Tintin driving a car loaded with boxes marked “GM Foods,” “Halliburton,” “Texaco,” etc., to a group of bleeding, mutilated black tribesmen.

 

Anish Kapoor @ Gladstone

I don’t see myself ever forging a real emotional connection with this work, but still—it’s fun to see yourself reflected in an eight-foot tall, mirrored, dripping cone thing.

 

Elad Lassry @ John Connelly Presents

I’m really glad that this simple film of ballet dancers is in fact a film, not a video—the physicality of the film speaks kindly with the physicality of the performers. And there are other subtleties going on, too: with the choreography and the staging and such. I guess it’s not so simple.

 

Louise Lawler @ Metro Pictures

Lawler makes particular use of photography as a form of social critique. She photographs works of art in their physical milieu: the mansions and boardrooms and auction houses where art really resides. This was relevant to the macho blue-chippery of the eighties (when Lawler started getting known for this project) and it’s relevant to the art fairs and online auctions of the here and now (I hear it’s all starting to die down a bit—but that’s another story). When does it get old, though? When do Lawler’s photos start becoming brand-name products, recognizable images with a marketable, predictably “subversive” gimmick? That’s an issue for a show like this, which offers no surprises for already-confirmed Lawler fans like myself.

 

Sze Tsung Leong @ Yossi Milo

This show includes photographs taken all over the world and with a shared, central horizon; strung together on the wall, they become a sort of globalized panorama. Though it’s an enviable globe-trotting travel diary, it’s also a pretty simple trick. But the simplicity makes it accessible, which is a nice thing—I saw lots of kids at this gallery, digging the show.

 

McDermott & McGough @ Nicholas Robinson

Lush color photos of middle-American, mid-century car culture, brimming with astute period detail right down to the outmoded (but lovely) process used to make the prints. Beyond that, it’s not clear why these artists are choosing to revisit such an oft-visited era. The press release talks about adding queer subtext to 1950s heteronormativity, but that doesn’t really come through. Maybe the subtext should have been less sub.

 

Roy McMakin @ Matthew Marks

In which lovely wooden furniture pieces are locked in conflict with their more recent, ikeaformica counterparts; or maybe they’re lovers, you know how that goes. McMakin covers a surprising amount of distance with these symbols—I wonder how far he possibly could have gone?

 

Josephine Meckseper @ Elizabeth Dee

The methodical bluntness of this show betrays a current of rage—as if Meckseper is so frustrated at the entwined American specters of consumerism and militarism that she can’t even think straight in her studio. Still, I wonder what else could have happened. For example: an American-flag necktie pinned up next to an ad for a Hummer—is that really the best she could do?

 

Todd Norsten @ Cohan and Leslie

It takes a lot of effort to turn jaded, overeducated hipness into successful artwork—I don’t know where artists get the idea that it justifies itself (maybe the work sells?).

 

Yoko Ono @ Galerie Lelong

Interactive artwork is such a noble dream, but so much of it falls somewhat flat—at least, in the context of a gallery space. I mean, all artwork is “interactive” if you want to be new-age-y about it. The best piece here is not “interactive:” an installation of photos and text, on memory and the men in Ono’s life (not so much him, I know what you’re thinking). The interactive work is interesting, though—it includes a wall of Polaroids taken by visitors; perhaps the last time this piece can be installed before Polaroid film becomes unavailable (expect much more mourning from the art world soon).

 

Gabriel Orozco @ Marian Goodman

New drawings/collages consisting of obituary headlines from the New York Times. It’s a bit goofy, but still: how will people summarize your life—your whole life—when you’re dead? Will they say you were kind? Will they say you did all you could? Will they say you were a “Prodigious Collector of Light Bulbs?” An “Eccentric Master of Fish Flies?”

 

Julia Oschatz @ Leslie Tonkonow

In two videos, a masked everyperson/avatar is put through the paces in an unfunny cosmic void. Poor thing. They’ll be okay, though. This will sound silly, but maybe Oschatz could have given more form to the void.

 

Jenny Perlin @ Mireille Mosler, Ltd.

I’m a big fan of Perlin’s art—of her use of filmic animation to transform research and found text into sublimely artsy meditations. But this show was a bit disappointing: animated airport shop receipts seem to aim at ideas of globalized capital and postmodern space, but end up (bad pun ahead) not getting off the ground.

 

Cornelius Quabeck @ Friedrich Petzel

Painted celebrity portraits augmented with New York street detritus: I couldn’t make sense of it. I trust that for Quabeck there’s an important connection between Malcolm McDowell in A Clockwork Orange, used scratch-off games, and sexy nightclub flyers; for me, there isn’t.

 

Neo Rauch @ David Zwirner

Well, what do you say about someone who’s already had a solo show at the Met? I’ll say this: Rauch has the odd gift (and he’s not the only one, but it’s pretty rare) for making images that are all at once dense, affecting, and elusive—there’s so much there, but unless you’re careful, the images dissipate into nothing once you turn your head. That he’s doing this with a social-realist symbolic lexicon, designed for its quick accessibility, adds an element of wonder along with some valuable ideological wrinkles to the whole thing.

 

Scott Reeder & Tyson Reeder @ Daniel Reich

There are some lovely formal explorations here—the press release touts it as “an excellent painting show”—but why must the artists settle for zany tongue-in-cheek imagery? Pandas at a protest, armored knights making-out on a couch, etc. There’s a bigger problem for me, and it’s not the Reeders’ fault, but still: when, exactly, did young artists stop taking themselves seriously?

 

Clifford Ross @ Sonnabend

Called “Mountain Redux,” this show involves photographs of a particular mountain, subjected to various color shifts and block-y digital extrapolations. The images seem to be saying something about the presumed eternity of nature at odds with the temporality of human intervention, but once I figured that out I sort of stopped being interested, honestly.

 

Mika Rottenberg @ Nicole Klagsbrun

In addition to her ambitious, complicated, Rube Goldberg-esque video installations, Rottenberg does these cute, playful drawings that include, if I’m not mistaken, prints of her butt. I could see her doing these after a long day spent building sets or editing in Final Cut or whatever—some butt prints to help the video go down.

 

Dennis Rudolph @ Perry Rubenstein

Darkly painted portraits of World War 2 soldiers, which hit most of the notes you’d expect. Rudolph may be honestly trying to deal with the cultural legacies of war, but he seems to be reaching for a sort of gravitas that he hasn’t earned yet. Unless it’s all a big joke; that would be a lot worse, actually.

 

Tom Sachs @ Sperone Westwater

Sachs continues to do what he’s good at (very good, really): fanciful post-apocalyptic machinery, as filtered through a particular craftiness and a knowing, provocative sense of humor. The self-conscious hipness gets a bit overbearing at points, but with some of his work—the combination kitty-jungle-gym/guard tower/McDonald’s, for example—there’s a fine sort of balance, of gallows humor and end-times dread, which is actually pretty hard to come by.

 

Victoria Sambunaris @ Yancey Richardson

Inspired by John McPhee, Sambunaris’s state-hopping landscape photos seek to find some kind of truth in the heart of America and the physical space it inhabits. Some of the photos are Edward Burtynsky-like portrayals of industrial excess, and they bring up similar issues as Burtynsky: what will they say about us in the future? Yeah, they totally ravaged the world in the interest of short-term profit, but they certainly took some nice pictures of it while it was going on. And then they, you know, wrote art reviews about the pictures.

 

Peter Schumann @ Honey Space

Paintings and text tell the story of a Palestinian youth going through “university”—apparently, that’s Palestinian slang for being imprisoned by Israelis. The juxtaposition of battered human forms, colorful flowers, and heavy black text isn’t the most subtle thing ever, but subtlety obviously isn’t the point.

 

Selections from the Collection of Helga and Walther Lauffs @ David Zwirner

For better or worse (better for me), this is a 20th-century survey show intended for insiders, for people who have already heard the greatest hits from the biggest artists and would like a nice little surprise. It includes fine fragments from large, famous projects (a single On Kawara date painting), small work by artists known for bigness (a pleasing Cy Twombly abstraction), and other treats: exquisite conceptual-sculpture-documentation from Jan Dibbets and a Joseph Kosuth piece called “Lamp (one and five),” a parallel to his much more famous “One and Three Chairs.”

 

Yinka Shonibare, MBE @ James Cohan

Shonibare’s ongoing project utilizes textiles and mannequins to connect histories of colonialism and empire, which in turn relate to present-day concerns of, um, colonialism and empire. (“MBE” means "Member of the British Empire," by the way.)  His primary motif is Victorian-style clothing fashioned out of bright, “African” fabrics—“African” because the fabrics were actually imported to Africa from the Netherlands. Here, accompanying five sculptures of Enlightenment philosophers (Kant, Smith, et. al.) are little plaques, briefly describing the thinker’s major contributions to intellectual history. I liked these plaques, and I think they underscore a weakness in Shonibare’s work: it actually could be a lot more didactic. It has things to teach, doesn’t it?

 

David Shrigley @ Anton Kern

Of all the people in the world making darkly comic cartoon-y things, I’m not sure why Shrigley has been singled-out for so much art world attention. It’s not that I don’t like him, mind you—I like him quite a bit—it’s just that I don’t get it one-hundred percent. I suppose part of it is that Shrigley’s sense of death-obsessed black humor jibes well with fine art’s longtime struggles with mortality, and that, like the best gag cartoonists, his jokes are reliably spot-on.

 

Gedi Sibony @ Greene Naftali

Barely modified garbage-like detritus, both refreshing in its no-frills formalism and frustrating for its implied lack of labor. It’s conflicting—I mean, carpet samples, Plexiglas remnants, cardboard: it’s not like these things aren’t beautiful.

 

Jeanne Silverthorne @ McKee

First there’s the machinery: the old-fashioned pleasures of a room strewn with industrial junk. Then there’s the material detachment: the forms have been re-rendered in fleshy rubber and pigment. Then there’s the realization that many of these machines still function—they still whir and blink and glow like any cheap machine. Then Silverthorne references the human genome project and organic life-cycles, and things really get crazy.

 

Keith Sonnier @ Mary Boone

This is a show of Sonnier’s 1980s sculptures, which utilized tubes of tinted fluorescent light at a time when such a thing was in vogue. So, does it look dated? Boy, does it ever! That’s not a bad thing, though: it can be really good for art to be of its own time, and I can see these sculptures as both absorbing and upending the aesthetic tropes of their day.

 

Sotto Voce @ Yvon Lambert

A show devoted to monochromatism as a space for quiet communion—make of it what you will. Includes some Yves Klein paintings—guess what color those are.

 

Neal Tait @ Tonya Bonakdar

Tait’s progressive, process-y, lightly surreal approach to painting yields images similar to fairy tales, dreams, and hallucinations—three things that can potentially be very boring if you’re not a child, not asleep, or not a casual hallucinator.

 

Jude Tallichet @ Sara Meltzer

Starts with a great theme: comic-book heroics and political histories manifesting in the Freudian subconscious. But, like a young analyst-in-training, it doesn’t go deep enough; I mean, the image of the therapist’s couch is still a cliché, even if here it’s meant as a reference to the history of clichés, which may end up itself a cliché. Cliché!

 

Lisa Tan @ D’Amelio Terras

This project, “Moving a Mountain,” began when Tan took a trip to Mexico City and found herself studying the serene, blue, mountainous landscape painting in her hotel room. Months later, she returned to replace the painting with one she had painted (I think), of a mountain she had grown up with (whether an image or an actual mountain, it’s not clear). There are some wonderful things going on here, with issues of migration, desire, eternity, and petty theft. Part of me feels, though, like the chintzy hotel painting is too easy a target on which to score a bull’s-eye, if that makes sense.

 

Robert Therrien @ Gagosian

Household objects enlarged to massive scale and thus turning the viewer into something like an intelligent housecat. It’s all more likely to engender a playful, funhouse experience than a sublime art-viewing excursion; people will probably remember walking around the giant folding chairs much more than they will who made them or why, and maybe that’s just how Therrien wants it. One of the most interesting tricks about this show is that it turns drab industrial production methods, and the faithful recreations thereof, into items of wonder.

 

Piotr Uklański @ Gagosian

For this show, Uklański has taken symbols of his native Poland—both cultural and political—and fashioned them into monumental (or perhaps ‘monumentish’) art objects. I can’t speak to how these things feel to someone who’s actually Polish—to me, they link back to Jeff Koonsian strategies of amplified kitsch. In summation: Oh, Communism.

 

Edwina White @ Kinz, Tillou + Feigen

By not locating a specific point in the past and instead staying in a more generalized flush of lost history, you don’t have to contend with specific moments of tragedy, the events that reluctantly give history its form—and I’m not saying that’s bad.

 

Paul Winstanley @ Mitchell-Innes & Nash

I’ve talked about this before, but a really frustrating thing about photorealist painting is that so much of it can be described as, at best, competent. Winstanley, though, has smartly chosen subjects—a luminescent white curtain, a glass-walled industrial hallway—that allow themselves fundamental, elemental transformations through the painted surface. And yes, they’re competent, too.

 

Christopher Wool @ Luhring Augustine

I like Christopher Wool’s abstract paintings. I like his use of blurs, smears, and loping lines to connect with digital manipulation, graffiti, and mistakes; I like his reliably delimited gray-black palette; I like how he does things to help make Abstract Expressionist painting—that overworn high-art beast—feel vital and current. That isn’t to say that I love these paintings—I don’t—but I certainly like them.