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Will Heinrich

On View

Lothar Baumgarten at Marian Goodman

Detail of 'Los Aristócratas de la Selva y la Reina de Castilla' (2011–12) by Baumgarten. (Courtesy Marian Goodman Gallery)

Lothar Baumgarten lived among the fascinating, famously warlike and much written about Yãnomãmi people in Venezuela and Brazil for 18 months between 1978 and 1980, building up enough trust or good will to record 74 hours of sound and shoot nine transfixing hours of 16mm film, most of it black-and-white, of his hosts wrestling, fighting, weeping, drinking and building canoes. Read More

On View

‘Dinh Q. Lê: Warp, Woof, Zero, One’ at P.P.O.W.

'Witness II,' 2014. (Courtesy the artist and P.P.O.W.)

Any image as famous, and as shocking, as Malcolm Browne’s Pulitzer Prize-winning photo of the first Buddhist monk to immolate himself in Saigon begins as a transparent window to the event pictured, a way for people all over the world to share a terrible momentary experience. But its very fame almost instantly turns it opaque. So Dinh Q. Lê, who lives and works in Vietnam, used Photoshop to stretch this image vertically and then printed it, in color, on a roll of glossy photo paper 150 feet long, as The Scroll of Thich Quang Duc. It hangs down the wall and billows in rolls halfway across the floor, with a rippling path of orange running through the middle of a background of blackish gray. Read More

On View

‘Sarah Charlesworth: Objects of Desire: 1983-1988’ at Maccarone

'Goat,' 1985. (Courtesy the artist and Maccarone)

In the mid-1980s, the late Sarah Charlesworth scoured found print sources for images of statuary, clothing, amulets, bowls, tigers, columns, giant bronze Buddhas, and other slippery bundles of half-conscious mental urges; cut them out; rephotographed them against rich monochrome backgrounds; and printed them as a series called Objects of Desire. Despite the typological organization, these icons are resolutely non-systematic—like pagan gods in smoky niches dense with double meanings and contradictions. Each one is obscured by the cloud of its formal epithets and ambiguous variant names. Read More

On View

‘Sara Cwynar: Flat Death’ at Foxy Production

'Contemporary Floral Arrangement 5 (A Compact Mass),' 2014. (Courtesy the artist and Foxy Production)

Sara Cwynar attacks photographic flatness, the digital manipulation of images, appropriation, accretion, our present-day cargo-cult apocalypse of worthless tchotchkes, and all the other instruments she’s young enough to take for granted instead of belaboring with a virtuosic ad-hoc analog gusto. Contemporary Floral Arrangement 5 (A Compact Mass), for example, began with a card deaccessioned from the New York Public Library Picture Collection that showed a flower arrangement in an alabaster urn. Ms. Cwynar scanned, enlarged and reprinted this image in sections on 30 new cards, which she then taped together on the floor. Then, before reshooting this reconstituted picture from above, she doubled the flowers with an adroitly colorful arrangement of hotel keys and soaps; matchbooks from the Ritz-Carlton, Betty and Harry’s wedding and a restaurant that’s been serving lunch and dinner since 1936; Scrabble tiles, pencils, a camera flash, dice, birthday candles, padlocks, yardsticks, power cords, shoelaces, price stickers, knitting needles, paperbacks, Pantone cards, a snapshot, a baseball card and a bilingual Canadian pillbox—every object casting its own centripetal shadow. Read More

On View

‘Rochelle Feinstein: Love Vibe’ at On Stellar Rays

Installation view. (Photo by Adam Reich/On Stellar Rays)

A small piece of fresco on panel hangs between the door and a projected rectangle of light. The projection is clean and pale, but the horizontal brushstrokes of the fresco are the kind of dense, marine color that might have been used to symbolize a green screen in the Renaissance. A comic-strip-style speech balloon extends across the bottom with a chipper, black-and-white phrase: “Love Your Work.” Inside the gallery is Love Vibe, a single installation of six oil paintings, each just over six feet square, showing the same speech balloon in reverse against notional panels of a similar dark green, on white walls, over a floor the color of spoiled butter. It’s a painting of looking at painting as a social performance, with “love your work,” thanks to the legions of jaw-clenching schmucks who try to achieve some petty glamour by dropping their pronouns, operating both as the empty tribute of insincere well-wishers and the mean-spirited advice, from society at large, to anyone lucky enough to be making art instead of driving a truck or stealing on Wall Street. At least, that’s how the phrase sounds by itself; but captured in Ms. Feinstein’s sweetly goofy balloons and reiterated in six earnestly unflattering angles, it’s almost tamed. Read More

On View

‘Mel Leipzig: Everything Is Paintable’ at Gallery Henoch

'Joshua and His Children' (2011) by Leipzig. (Courtesy the artist and Gallery Henoch)

Mel Leipzig has his eye on the ball. He paints with four acrylic colors (not counting black), no drawing, the edge-to-edge punctiliousness of a Nikomat and the fluent pragmatism of a courtroom illustrator, but he never loses his grip on the central distinguishing fact of a person or scene. In the 6-by-4-foot College Basketball Coaches, a tall man in black T-shirt and shorts stands holding the worldly orb of an orange basketball in the outstretched fingers of both hands. Read More

On View

‘Matthew Porter: High Difference’ at Invisible-Exports

'Field' (2013) by Porter. (Courtesy the artist and Invisible-Exports)

The most fully transparent of all the multiply exposed, deceptively transparent photographs in Matthew Porter’s show “High Difference”—a WWI-era style of camouflage that aimed to dissemble and disorient rather than conceal, “High Difference” would also be a good name for the kind of easy-spirited conceptual double cross that seems to be the fairest flower of our world-weary age—is Field, a color print nearly 5 feet high. Read More

On View

Klara Kristalova at Galerie Perrotin and Lehmann Maupin

Installation view at Perrotin. (Courtesy Galerie Perrotin)

At the center of Klara Kristalova’s exhibition “Underworld,” at Galerie Perrotin, sits a lumpy, brown, trained bear. All the other figures in the Czech-born, Swedish ceramicist ’s psychic circus have a dewy wet glaze that makes them look, despite their waist-high size and evident weight, as provisional as soap bubbles. But the only thing shining on the bear, as she lolls on the edge of a low, gray pedestal next to a bearded but womanly ringmaster, demurely tilting her mousy head, are the 20 white claws that she makes a point of extending. It’s clearly the bear that tolerates the trainer, not otherwise. Together they comprise a single insightful piece called Le Mariage. Read More

On View

‘Eugene von Bruenchenhein: Bits from First World’ at Maccarone

'Untitled, November 18, 1978' (1978) by  von Bruenchenhein. (Courtesy  the Estate of Eugene Von Bruenchenhein, Fleisher/Ollman and Maccarone)

Eugene von Bruenchenhein sparkles like the light of natural reason. This gorgeously punctuated and interwoven show includes the late Milwaukee obsessive’s psychedelically messianic oil paintings of glass towers and aquatic jungle flora; his black-and-white photos of his wife, Marie, as muse, maid, pinup, friend and model, and St. Sebastian; and the devastating vases, built up in extraordinary, barbarous precision from handpinched leafy petals of clay he dug up himself that he fired in his stove at home. Five slender red steeples, in Steel-Imperial City, June 1978, flick up into a cloudy blue sky like Chinese yo-yos or astral Empire States out of a mound of snaky lower structures in yellow, green and blue. The windowless peaks, which the artist shaped and marked directly with his fingers, shimmer with scaly surfaces that are alternately transparent and opaque. Sitting on dark fabric against a white wall in Untitled (Marie seated on floor, ruffled stockings, pearls, wonderful shadow), with straight bangs, wavy hair framing her face and the pearls draped across her shoulders like a pagan breastplate, von Bruenchenhein’s muse looks up and to the right, innocent, strange and hopeful. In Untitled (Marie with lace top and black bow tie, one arm awkward on lap, hair up), boxed in tightly but with her candidly perfect composition hard to make out against a bold floral-print background, she looks directly into the camera. But in the former, because she averts her eyes, we can feel as if we’re participating in the playful exchange; in the latter, her loving gaze pushes the viewer out of the marital intimacy even as it reveals it. The vases, gourd-shaped, with pinched necks and flaring mouths, occasionally closed but more often a kind of patched open work (they could only hold dried flowers), and usually left a natural brown but sometimes painted coppery green or a flaky, fragile gold, create a tantalizing sense of fuzzy exactitude, like a delicate grid being implied, not shown. Read More