Art Review

This Wreckage I Call Me

Martin Kippenberger: The Raft of the Medusa
Carolina Nitsch Project Room
Through June 23, 2012

Call me Ishmael. Martin Kippenberger completed The Raft of the Medusa portfolio in 1996, one year before his untimely death at the age of 44. Martin Kippenberger: The Raft of the Medusa at Carolina Nitsch Project Room comprises the complete portfolio of fourteen lithographs, as well as a selection of drawings and collages related to the portfolio.

There is something inherently message-in-a-bottle-like about the printmaking process. Making serial imagery in multiples speaks to the frailty of art: it is the hope of the collector of a print edition that attrition in the series will result in one's ultimately owning that last one of its kind, turning the multiple into a unique work of art. Printmaking, more than any other artistic discipline, recognizes the impermanence of objects and the transitory nature of making art.

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The Van Gogh Boat

Keith Haring: 1978–1982
Brooklyn Museum
Through July 8, 2012

Not since Andy Warhol has an artist been as driven to achieve both popular and critical success simultaneously as Keith Haring. Although his trademark images of radiant babies, anthropomorphized televisions, barking dogs, and UFOs caught the attention of the N.Y.C. subway-riding masses, and his Pop Shop products rivaled Warhol’s Factory output, Haring received little museum attention during his lifetime. Read more »

Little Q&A: Julie Tersigni + Bradley Rubenstein

Julie Tersigni: Paintings and Drawings
Lolita Bar, 266 Broome Street, NYC
May 1 through July 7, 2012

Bradley Rubenstein: You are showing paintings and drawings in your exhibit. Can you give us a little backstory -- where you are from, things like that? 

Julie Tersigni: I was born in Akron, Ohio. But I’ve been in N.Y.C. since 1982. It was possible to survive in Manhattan on very little money then! I worked as a model for many artists: Eric Fischl, Audrey Flack, Alex Katz, Robert Kushner, David Salle, Raphael Soyer, to name a few. I was able to see how professional artists work. It made me want to use my own figure as the "ground" of the large collages I was making at the time. My photographer boyfriend took photos of me in poses I thought I could work with. Then I would adhere photocopies of them to the canvas, and paint and draw over them. And, these many years later, I used those photos as the source for three of the drawings in this show. Read more »

What We Do Is Secret

Emma Bee Bernstein: Exquisite Fucking Boredom
Curated by Phong Bui
Microscope Gallery
Through June 25, 2012

Attend, please. Attend carefully. F. Scott Fitzgerald said that there are no second acts in American lives. If the works of Emma Bee Bernstein -- Polaroids, videos, poetry -- have anything to tell us, it is that we probably didn't really need a second act anyway. The first one was quite enough. These pieces, loosely woven together in Polaroids, a smash-cut, homemade DVD movie, and texts, tell a story that probably needs no tying up of loose ends because it is probably your story, and mine, and everyone else's, and whoever grew up America, and you know how these things end. Ms. Bernstein committed suicide at age 23 in Venice, Italy, in 2008. Read more »

Nothing Like I Planned: The Art of John Mellencamp

Nothing Like I Planned: The Art of John Mellencamp
Tennessee State Museum

John Mellencamp doesn't see himself as an activist, which I suspect is his humility speaking. There is no escaping the fact that Mellencamp is political artist. And I say this with the utmost respect, as his views are heartfelt, witnessed first-hand and lifelong. With work ranging from the alarming "Strange Fruit" (2006), which points to past, horrific atrocities; to the straightforward "Coast to Coast" (2005), which reveals the continuing problems and degradation more and more are facing across our once-great nation, we see the thoughts and concerns of a passionate creator. And like one of his greatest influences, Max Beckmann, Mellencamp paints powerful, impassioned, difficult, and haunting imagery that will find its way deep into the mind of the viewer as it picks and prods memories, moods, and impressions most would like to overlook. Read more »

Karma Chameleon

Francesco Clemente: Nostalgia/Utopia
Mary Boone Gallery
Through June 30, 2012

In both his work and his life, Francesco Clemente has made a career of breaking down boundaries. His multimedia approach to art -- through painting, sculpture, photography, and bookmaking -- and his peripatetic, nomad-like lifestyle share a common theme of restlessness and ambiguity. In his recent exhibition at Mary Boone, he has created a suite of paintings that reinforce our impression of him, painting works that run through Colonial Baroque, Afro-Brazilian, Indian, and Modernist iconographies. The strategies employed here, drawing on a variety of sources and influences, seek to present some commonality of experience, of shared ideas. Read more »

Blister in the Sun

Dana Schutz: Piano in the Rain
Friedrich Petzel Gallery
Through June 16, 2012

The sitcom, or situation comedy, is a television show format that usually features a family scenario (for example, a husband and wife, like in The Honeymooners), or a larger, extended family (The Cosby Show), or some kind of surrogate family (Barney Miller, Cheers). In this weekly formula a mini-crisis or drama ensues, threatening to unravel the delicate fabric of the familial tranquility. Historically, theatrical comedies have often dealt with the concerns of human activities and conditions in ways that drama can't, cloaking tragedy with humor. Shakespeare, for example, often used his comedies to deal with subject matter that might have been problematic to present as drama; the entirety of Restoration theatre was based on the use of satire as a form of social and political critique. Read more »

Cuts You Up

Robert Yoder: DILF!
Platform Gallery
Through June 16, 2012

Van Gogh wrote, "Ah, portraiture, portraiture with the thought, the soul of the model in it, that is what I think must come.... It is one's duty to paint the rich and magnificent aspects of nature.... Do I make myself understood? I am just trying to make you see this simple great truth: one can paint all of humanity by the simple means of portraiture." Rober Yoder, in his current show at Platform Gallery, seems to exemplify van Gogh's credo. Unlike van Gogh, however, Yoder uses the portrait not to paint all of humanity but, rather, to get inside the subject, using painting to examine each individual, well, individually. Read more »

The Heart of Darkness

Eugene Lemay: Navigator
Mike Weiss Gallery

The way I entered Eugene Lemay's exhibit was not the way I left it. At first glance I was baffled by what initially seemed like enormous black rectangles lining the gallery space. The size of the work left me feeling alienated and lost, aimlessly meandering through the gallery, not quite sure where it starts and ends, my eyes shifting from one enormous black abyss to the other. Read more »

Black and Blue

Ron Gorchov
Cheim & Read
Through April 28, 2012

Endurance is a character trait often overlooked in an artist. Ron Gorchov, who is exhibiting new paintings at Cheim & Read, is definitely a marathoner in the art world, and one to whom more attention should be given. Born in 1930, Gorchov has lived and worked in New York since the early '50s, where he had his first solo show in 1960, was included in the Whitney's Thirty American Painters Under Thirty-Six, and was friends with Willem de Kooning and Mark Rothko. His most recent museum exhibition, in 2006 at PS1, garnered the attention and support of Vito Schnabel and The Brooklyn Rail publisher Phong Bui, who curated this current exhibit.  Read more »

Night Dark Night

Mira Schor: Voice and Speech
Marvelli Gallery
Through April 28, 2012

From the Muses of Helicon, let us begin our singing, that haunt Helicon's great and lofty mountain, and dance on soft feet around the altar of the mighty son of Kronos. This from Hesiod's Theogony. "Night bore hateful Doom and dark Fate and Death, She bore Sleep, and she bore the Tribe of Dreams...."

"We live as we dream," wrote Joseph Conrad, "alone." Mira Schor's recent exhibition at Marvelli, Voice and Speech, makes a compelling argument against Conrad's existentialist notions with paintings that are interrogations of thinking, speaking, writing and, of course, the act of painting. Read more »

The Architecture of Noise: Joseph Nechvatal & Taney Roniger with Bradley Rubenstein

On the occasion of Joseph Nechvatal's upcoming exhibition at Galerie Richard in New York (April 12 through May 26), the recent publication of his new book Immersion into Noise, and a concert of his remastered viral symphOny in surround sound. Taney Roniger is an artist and writer who lives and works in Brooklyn.

Bradley Rubenstein: We really want to get into the new book, as well as the upcoming show, but can you take a minute and give us a little backstory? You have always slipped in and out of categories: actions, painting, sound art, writing.... Read more »

Girl Gone Wild

Cindy Sherman
Museum of Modern Art
Through June 11, 2012

We are walking through a deserted town almost 500 miles from The City. We had been riding for days. Chancellor Nirenberg ordered all the major ports closed, walled off The Capital, and retreated to an undisclosed bunker, leaving us to deal with the Zombies. What he didn’t tell the survivors was that it was the Vampires we really had to worry about. “This set is amazing. It even smells like a street,” says Justine, who is 17 and who I picked up along the highway. She was camping, after having run away with her sister, Juliet, who used to work for some asshole Hollywood screenwriter (who once brought a roadkill squirrel to a party at Mario Batali’s house, who drunkenly cooked it and served it to Gwyneth Paltrow, who ate it, thinking it was tofu) before the Terror. What was left of Juliet had been roasting on a campfire and I was starving.  Read more »

When Darkness Doubles

Tilton Gallery, New York
Through April 14, 2012

Let's begin with this, from Les fleurs du mal: "Everything, even the color black/Seemed refurbished, bright, iridescent/The liquid encased in its glory/In the crystallized ray..."

Although better known as a filmmaker, David Lynch, who is exhibiting his paintings, collages and photographs at Tilton Gallery, has for years walked the fine line between art and entertainment. Like Julian Schnabel, though, Lynch's paintings occupy a separate terrain, and offer a rare opportunity to see into the psyche of a very private artist who also happens to be a very public figure. Read more »

Talk Talk Talk

Vicki Sher: Yes/No
frosh&portmann
Through April 15, 2012

Vicki Sher has been using a reduced visual vocabulary in her drawings for many years, combining simple line and color drawings with text to create oblique narratives. In her recent exhibition, Yes/No, she elaborates on this strategy, weaving a story, both personal and symbolic, of her Grandmother Pearl's post-stroke search for a descriptive language, based on her diminished capacity for speech. Sher integrates Pearl's story with one of the great modernist tropes in both painting and literature: the ability to describe and illustrate complex thinking through limited means. Read more »

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