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Maika Pollack

On View

Amy Sillman: Art Meets Intimacy at Hessel Museum of Art, Bard College

Installation view from Amy Sillman: ‘one lump or two.’ Shade (2010), Purple/Pipesmoker (2009). (Courtesy Chris Kendall Photo)

A show of 25 years of Amy Sillman’s work on view at the Hessel Museum, Bard, begins with an uncharacteristically small painting. Most of Ms. Sillman’s painting is abstract and moderately vast, but Lemon Yellow Painting (2001) is a tiny, luminously colorful take on two coupled bodies. In its abstracted forms you can make out the flash of a tit, a mouth, an ass, a supine spine: it’s painting as a meditation on flesh, half-obscured (lesbian?) sex, and closeness, a fitting kick-off to a show that makes the case that there’s really no separating abstraction from figuration, or art from intimacy. Read More

On View

‘Christopher Williams: The Production Line of Happiness’ at Museum of Modern Art

Cutaway model Nikon EM. Shutter (2007).

The first time I saw a Christopher Williams photograph, what struck me was how much it showed—it managed to be at once a photograph and to pull back and show a number of usually invisible things about a photograph being made. Call it a super wide-lens effect. Take, for example, one of his pictures of a camera lens bisected, like Cutaway Model Zeiss Distagon T* 2.8/15 ZM, 2013. The title, which has been shortened here, goes on to describe the specs of the lens—its focal range, and its weight and serial number. The c-print is rich with the detail of the mechanics of a camera: concatenate ground-glass chambers pinned in place with precision steel and copper. The image speaks not just to the object on display but to the origins of photography—the portable camera obscura, the camera lucida and those earliest cameras by Louis Daguerre. Read More

On View

Garry Winogrand at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and ‘The Photographic Object, 1970’ at Hauser & Wirth

'New York' (1950) by Winogrand. (© The Estate of Garry Winogrand, courtesy Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco)

It’s been 25 years since the last Garry Winogrand retrospective, and now is a great time to reflect on his polarizing photography. Through Winogrand’s prints, the current divide between what might be called “abstract” and “street” photography can be brought into clearer focus. This posthumous display of new work presents Winogrand as the father of the photography taught in many MFA programs across the country—a practice in which taking a picture means capturing what happens in front of a lens. Read More

Koons Kountdown 2014

Not a Koons Person

Jeff Koons, 'Aqui Bacardi,' 1986. (©Jeff  Koons)

This summer, we can divide ourselves into two camps: the Koons people and those who do not care for Koons. I’m not a Koons person. Walking through his retrospective at the Whitney, which spans four decades of his career in New York and occupies the entire museum, the work did not raise my pulse. The show is handsomely curated, to be sure. The lower floor is thick with the early appropriation and readymade works. One level up are Mr. Koons’ mid-career sculptures, while the top floor is a vast temple of gigantic kitsch toys and gleaming sculpture. This stuff is, you may have heard, expensive. Yet I walked through the vast monographic show without getting that tug of acquisitiveness that sometimes plucks me in front of, say, a Goya, or a Schwitters. Read More

On View

‘A Dialogue With Nature: Romantic Landscapes From Britain and Germany’ at the Morgan Library & Museum

'Lucerne From the Lake' () by Turner. (Courtesy the Morgan Library & Museum)

Summer may bring you stretches in the Swiss Alps, weeks on Nantucket, or just a day at Rockaway beach, but for while you are in town, this exhibit—organized by Matthew Hargraves of the Yale Center for British Art, Rachel Sloan from the Courtauld, and Jennifer Tonkovich, now the Morgan Library & Museum’s newly endowed Eugene and Clare Thaw Curator of Drawings and Prints—emphasizes the almost spiritual effects of getting out into nature through some 30 landscapes by 18th- and 19th-century British and German artists.  Lapidary works on paper by familiar romantic artists like J.M.W. Turner, Caspar David Friedrich and Thomas Gainsborough depict the natural world with giddy verve. Read More

On View

‘Under the Same Sun: Art From Latin America Today’ at the Guggenheim

'A ∩ B ∩ C' (2013) by Amalia Pica. (Photo by Daniela Uribe, courtesy the artist, Marc Foxx Gallery and Museo Tamayo Arte Contemporáneo)

The Guggenheim’s exhibition of works recently acquired from Latin American artists is of great interest, not solely because of the art it puts on view, but also because of the various ways in which that art’s politics rub up against the ambitions of global art museums like the Guggenheim and large corporations like the show’s sponsor.

On display are works by 40 artists from some 15 countries in Latin America, including Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela. A similar show at the Guggenheim last year covered acquisitions of art from South and South-East Asia; the next installation, in 2015, will encompass art from the Middle East and North Africa. Read More

On View

‘When the Stars Begin to Fall: Imagination and the American South’ at the Studio Museum in Harlem

Video still of 'Billy Sings Amazing Grace' (2013–14) by Theaser Gates. (Courtesy the artist/Studio Museum)

This powerful group show features the work of several generations of African-American artists on the theme of the American South and visionary experience. Curated by Studio Museum assistant curator Thomas J. Lax, it provides viewers with precisely what the recently closed Whitney Biennial failed to deliver: a strong sense that something of interest is going on in American art. Read More