What You See Is What You Get: ‘Tauba Auerbach: Float,’ at Paula Cooper Gallery and ‘Screw You,’ at Susan Inglett Gallery

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Installation view of Tauba Auerbach, "Float," at Paula Cooper Gallery

Hanging on the walls of Paula Cooper’s sky-lit gallery on 21st Street, as if projected by the two small prism sculptures made of lead crystal cast inside urethane resin that stand on white pedestals in the middle of the floor, are 12 evanescently unstable new disruptions of the idea of disrupting the picture plane.

Seven of Tauba Auerbach’s new paintings use no paint at all. Slice I, Bend I, Slice II, Ray I, Ray II, Glass I and Shift Wave are instead woven from strips of raw canvas—about a centimeter to an inch wide, depending on the piece—into complicated patterns and calculated, gestural divergences from pattern, directly over wooden stretchers. Whether you can see the patterns depends on the angle of light coming through the skylight and how far away you stand. From an ordinary distance in the early afternoon, Shift Wave looks like nothing. But over time, and from top to bottom, there emerges a complex of overlapping right angles that create rows of triangles in alternating directions, which themselves form descending sine curves with their peaks and troughs flattened out, like a Marimekko shower curtain or sea serpents in an early video game. Stand closer, and you notice that the canvas itself is made with a kind of houndstooth weave that catches the light differently on either side, so that each strip is a subtle, two-toned off-yellow and gray; stand right by the wall, to the side, and the depth of the overlapping strips may bring to mind Wayne Kusy’s matchstick Lusitania in the American Visionary Art Museum. Read More


His Name Is Legion: Robyn O’Neil at Susan Inglett and Dominic McGill at Derek Eller

"Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds" (2011) by Dominic McGill. (Courtesy the artist and Derek Eller Gallery)

Making a painting requires faith. Think of a balloon: you don’t have to believe that it expresses truth or will improve the world, but the simple act of blowing it up implies, at least, the hope that it won’t break before you’re done. It’s a faith in the possibility of coherence—seductive, arguably false, and easily punctured with a pencil. Under the membrane, you’ll find innumerable perceptual facts, colliding but unrelated, forming a shifting, radically incoherent terrain. Two very different attempts to capture this chilly, honest world went on view last week in Chelsea. Read More