On View

‘Stay in Love’ at Laurel Gitlen and Lisa Cooley

Installation view of works by Sebastian Black (painting in hallway), B. Wurtz (painting and sculpture at center) and Kyle Thurman (painting at right) at Gitlen. (Courtesy Laurel Gitlen  and Lisa Cooley)

“Stay in Love,” curated by Chris Sharp into a brief series of Lower East Side galleries (both on Norfolk Street and with trochaic female names), revolves around the late André Cadere’s untitled 1977 “barre de bois rond,” a 32-inch-high stack of what look like wooden marshmallows painted rose, white, yellow or blue—Mondrian meets Willy Wonka. It exemplifies serial art from both directions: The piece’s broader formal parameters are taken up as a means of expression—Cadere stuck to these walking-stick-like pieces for his whole career—but the more particular program is only a jumping-off point, a way of tricking the mind into disgorging its substance. (The colors rotate, in this case, in groups of four, but Cadere introduces an error to make the pattern less immediately intelligible.) Read More

On View

‘Allyson Vieira: Cortège’ at Laurel Gitlen

Installation view. (Courtesy Laurel Gitlen)

To make Weight Bearing II, the first of her four post-and-lintel arches currently dominating Laurel Gitlen’s beautiful new space on Norfolk Street, Allyson Vieira began with two stacks of 16-inch drywall squares, a ready-made material in a standard dimension. Four three-inch screws driven through each square transform the stacks into columns 128 levels high, or about as tall as the artist. A nude model holding a weight above her head, elegant figure studies painted with squid ink, reddish chalk guidelines marked at angles across the columns’ mostly white sides and violent notches cut from the corners—exposing dusty mountainscapes, pastry-like layers and motionless dependent screws like fossils in sediment—make the columns into geometric caryatids, ready to collaborate in bearing a single steel I-beam placed atop both their heads. Read More


Underworlds: Jan Müller at Lori Bookstein and Elizabeth McAlpine at Laurel Gitlen

6 Photos

Jan Müller, Untitled (Temptation of St Anthony), c. 1957

We all live in the constant presence of death, and if we’re lucky we can draw from it a kind of existential clarity. But for most of us, this presence is rather more hypothetical than it was for Jan Müller. After an artistic childhood in Hamburg, the removal of his socialist father to a concentration camp for several years, a long, slow flight through Europe, a rheumatic fever that gravely weakened his heart, study in New York at the Art Students League and then with Hans Hofmann, and a number of mosaic-like not-quite-abstract paintings—paintings intriguingly suggestive of where Mondrian might have ended up if he’d lived longer (and been German)—Müller underwent surgery, in 1954, to implant a plastic pacemaker with an audible tick. And an audible tick, to judge from the evidence assembled in Faust and Other Tales at Lori Bookstein Gallery, calls forth a more visceral response than existential clarity—it calls forth a manic, narrative, compulsive fascination in which it is impossible to disentangle fear from desire. Read More