Art Review

Inside The Snowglobe

vilinski-diasporaContemporary Souvenirs
The Gallery of Contemporary Art
Sacred Heart University, Fairfield, CT
January 23 - March 3, 2011

Outside, adopting the form of mountaintops, pyramidal mounds of snow in the parking lot and courtyard masked views and uncovered new perspectives. Inhaling, the sub-zero air crystalized inside my body; exhaling and imagining white sandy beaches, my breath left a trail of fog that looked like an aerial message advertising an Iceland getaway. Read more »

Hazy Shade of Winter

Seth Michael Forman: Snow
Frosch&Portmann Gallery, NYC
Through March 6, 2011
The timing of Seth Michael Forman's exhibition at Frosch&Portman could not have been more fortuitous, coming as it does in the middle of a seemingly endless winter. In contrast to our daily encounters with urban snow -- that blackened, dirty, slushy stuff -- Forman’s pristine crystals seem a relief.
Through Forman's paintings we are transported to an eerie, isolated landscape of the Northern Exposure variety. A strange cast of woodland kings and Twin Peaks Log Ladies might be illustrations of what Paul Celan, addressing the work of Georg Buchner, wrote:
"Going beyond what is human, stepping into a reality which is turned toward the heaven, but [is] uncanny -- the realm where the monkey, the automatons, and with them…[all] seem at home."

God Save The Queen

George Condo: Mental States
New Museum, NYC
Through May 8, 2011

As might be expected from the hyper-prolific Condo, his retrospective Mental States at the New Museum is a bawdy, sprawling affair. Since the early 80s Condo has continued to develop a body of work which both appropriated and expanded on artists as diverse as Picasso and Velasquez, Guston and Gorky, while striving for a hybrid sort of Pop Surrealism, peppered with subject matter like Crucifixions and Shakespearean dramas. Condo has more often than not hit his mark by accidently landing in a zone of comical, dark, whimsy. This fine exhibition backs him on this gambit by studiously trying to elevate his work to Old Master status. Read more »

Tainted Love

R. Luke DuBois: A More Perfect
Bitforms Gallery, NYC
Through February 19, 2011

Feo Belcari of Florence wrote in 1449: "The Eye is called the first of all the gates/Through which the Intellect may learn and taste/The Ear is second, with the attentive Word/That arms and nourishes the Mind." The basic premise of these lines is underscored in A More Perfect Union R. Luke DuBois exhibition at Bitforms. We are taught, early on, that the eye, the window to the soul, is also the first portal through which desire enters -- bringing with it, and upon us, the seed of The Deadly Sins. Read more »

Ornamental Despair


Abstract Expressionist New York
Museum of Modern Art, NYC
Through April 25, 2011

Almost since the term was coined, Abstract Expressionism and The Museum of Modern Art have been synonymous. Thanks to many factors, (including economic and political, as well as cheap New York real estate), the generation of artists who became known by that sobriquet would find their places in Art History held by Alfred Barr, the Salaambo of all things Modern. Unfortunately, over time, the definition "modern" became elastic, and new art was acquired, pushing aside some artists, making room for new ones. Fortunately for us Abstract Expressionist New York takes us back in time, exhuming works from the permanent collection which are ordinarily not always on view. Read more »

Magic and Loss


Houdini: Art and Magic
The Jewish Museum, NYC
Through March 27, 2011

My father, talented engineer, and aficionado of Blackstone and Houdini, and my longtime friend Julie Sloane, artist and creator who could see the magic in ordinary things were both shuffled off this mortal coil this year. I miss that they were not here to see this poignant Jewish Museum exhibition, Houdini: Art and Magic, as they would have had such diametrically opposed responses. Read more »

Tiny Little Pieces


Charles LeDray: workworkworkworkwork
Whitney Museum of Art, NYC
Through February 13, 2011

Even in the metric age we still measure animals and things in hands and feet. So acute is our need for a haptic experience of our surroundings that the measure of the man, so to speak, is the measure of the universe. In the beautiful retrospective of the sculptures of Charles LeDray, currently on view at the Whitney Museum of American Art, we find this basic tenant upturned as we enter a Lilliputian world of very tiny things.

LeDray has spent the better part of two decades crafting a world of everyday objects, faithfully replicated in miniature. Entering the galleries of these minute versions of pottery, men’s clothes and uniforms, teddy bears and furniture one finds oneself suddenly Gulliverized, made aware of one’s clumsy corporeal bigness. The 14th century Saint Augustine wrote: "Look and see; feel and see…see with your eyes…see with all your senses. Because [Christ] was seeking the inner sense of faith, he apprehended also the outer senses." Read more »

Girls, Girls, Girls!


Vivid: Female Currents in Painting
Curated by Janet Phelps
Schroeder Romero & Shredder, NYC
Through January 22, 2011
Gender equity in art has always been a tender subject, particularly in New York; largely due to the economics of the art world here, as opposed to other, more remote parts of the country. After several decades of activist/feminist artists efforts at parity, we have finally reached a point where there might be considered a second generation of feminist artists. Vivid: Female Currents in Painting, provides a wonderful snapshot of recent works by contemporary painters, who, reproductive organs aside, are good at what they do.

The Dog's a Vapour


Michael Zansky: The Reincarnation of Michael Vick (As a Dog)
Ice Box, Philadelphia
Through December 28, 2010

The duality of human nature is that we exist between two poles of existence; the need for redemption and the desire for retribution. In Michael Zansky' exhibition The Reincarnation of Michael Vick (As a Dog), at Ice Box, in Philadelphia, we are shown the Eagle's dog-murdering quarterback in a state of reincarnation; in the process of, if not quite achieving, redemption. Read more »

What Remains when All Insignificant Things Must Disappear?

Yarringon_More_Money_Than _GodOutside Trinity Church, perched on the empty flagstone courtyard facing Wall Street, lightly rests Steve Tobin's bronze sculpture, Roots. Recovered from the suffocating rubble of collapsed concrete and shattered glass from the 9/11 attacks, this massive root structure from a seventy-year old sycamore tree fell into St. Paul's churchyard in downtown Manhattan, missing the church itself and surrounding tombstones. The roots remained. Transplanted as a symbol of hope and memorial of struggle, to me the sculpture looks like an anatomically correct heart with chambers, veins, aorta, exposed for the world to see it survived, still pumping life. Decorated for Christmas, I notice a glittery star suspended in the center of the skeletal root canopy, blowing in the wind. Interior light from the church's stained glass gothic window mottles the bronze surface in a slight spectrum of color. A permanent fixture, Tobin's sculpture is not part of the Phenomena Project's exhibition, All Insignificant Things Must Disappear, but it is. Read more »


Kim Foster Gallery, NYC
December 2-24, 2010

When Lucifer fell from Grace, we are told, it was because, as God's once most favored creation, he had lost His countenance, and thus, his status. To remove, in other words, the sight of the face, whether God's, or the beloved who turns their back, is to ameliorate our existence. In Anonymous at Kim Foster Gallery, we see this theme woven into the works of artists working in a variety of mediums. Alejandra Villasmil paints, draws and collages over found images of people. Unlike a grafitti artist who attacks first the eyes (usually) then the mouth (adding words) of a subway ad, Vilasmil obscures the faces, e.g. identity, while leaving the eyes, those "windows to the soul," intact. Read more »

All of This and Nothing

what-is-left-showWhat is Left
Curated by Rachel Gugelberger
Nina Lola Bachhuber, Elissa Levy and Nick Herman
Winkelman Gallery/CRLab, NYC
Through December 23, 2010

There was a time in the late 60s and early 70s where the collision of failed economy and the booming production of art objects eerily resembled our current situation. Curators, those unsung entities of the artworld suddenly gained in importance and became names as they sought to fill empty museum and gallery space with a variety of inexpensively made (or, in some cases, faxed-in) art objects and ideas. Read more »

Achtung, Baby

anslem-kiefer-jerusalemAnselm Kiefer: Next Year in Jerusalem
Gagosian Gallery, NYC
Through December 18, 2010

The brilliance of Mel Brook's film The Producers is that the plot turns on the creation of a musical so horrifyingly bad that no one will see it -- whose very appallingness is, of course, exactly what the audience was hungering for. Thus, "Springtime for Hitler" is born. We might be tempted to feel thinking along those lines went into the production of Anselm Kiefer's recent exhibit Next Year in Jerusalem, a crowed, operatic, and at times jaw-droppingly distasteful spectacle. Read more »

Lipstick Traces

liz-markus-punkLiz Markus: Are You Punk or New Wave?
Zieher Smith Gallery
Through December 18, 2010

Punk was about color. Puce, fuschia, chartreuse. The colors of spray paint; the colors of cheap nail varnish and hair color. Colors abhorrent to Nature. Color represented individual choices, perhaps the last individual choice that the disempowered could actually make. The legions of those that came after missed the boat, and black became standard issue, no doubt due to the misguided apotheosis of the gormless retard Sid Vicious as the poster-boy for the movement. Liz Markus, as witnessed by her solo exhibition "Are You Punk or New Wave?" at Zieher Smith hasn't forgotten the primary role that color played in those years.

In the past Markus has used thin washes of subtle hues to pay homage to a wide variety of her artistic peers and heroes. Television idols, Color Field Abstractionists, and 80s artworld "superstars" like Julian Schnabel and Jean Michel Basquiat. Read more »

Confusion is Next

raymond_pettibon_paintRaymond Pettibon: Hard in the Paint
David Zwirner Gallery
Through December 21, 2010

Satire, that first cousin of Irony, has long held a high place in both literature and the visual arts. Voltaire, Boswell and Dr. Johnson, Daumier and Hogarth paved a road for the free critique of politics, social interactions, and the breaking down and understanding of class, race, and economic structures. Raymond Pettibon, who three decades ago began his career creating cover art for Post-Punk bands like The Minutemen and Sonic Youth, continues this tradition in the recent exhibition at David Zwirner. Read more »

Syndicate content