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Review

Review

Read All Over: At Sikkema Jenkins, Mark Bradford’s Medium Is the Message; at Salon 94 Bowery, Jules de Balincourt Is Out at Sea

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Jule de Balincourt, Pangea 2012, 2012

The two best painting shows in New York right now, the superb “Picasso Black and White” at the Guggenheim and the convert-making “Wade Guyton OS” at the Whitney are exemplary of distinct conceptions of painting—there’s the inexhaustibly inventive, emotionally charged Modernist, all eros and thanatos, and, a bit further downtown, appropriately, the cool, cunning techno-formalist, launching surprise attacks on painting’s past.

But both shows are distinctly grayscale affairs, and as such are likely to put you in a mood for color. Luckily, sprawling canvases by two ace mid-career colorists, Jules de Balincourt and Mark Bradford, appeared in galleries this past weekend, just before Hurricane Sandy made landfall. Read More

Review

Odd Couples: Frank Benson/Peter Fischli and David Weiss at Andrew Kreps, Al Taylor and James Welling at David Zwirner

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James Welling, FD105C3, 2012

In these days of endlessly proliferating biennials, triennials and mega-exhibitions, contemporary art curatorship tends to be equated almost exclusively with the ability to gather works by dozens of artists under one roof while maintaining at least the illusion of a convincing theme or thesis. And while this skill is nothing to be sniffed at—it implies administrative mastery if nothing else—there is perhaps just as much to admire in the successful juxtaposition of two artists not generally associated with one another, or even with a particular approach or sensibility. Two current Chelsea exhibitions make a convincing case for the satisfactions of such pairings. Read More

Review

Controlled Experiments: ‘Process 01: Joy,’ at P!, ‘Katrín Sigurdadóttir: Ellefu,’ at Eleven Rivington, ‘Etel Adnan’ at Callicoon Fine Arts

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Etel Adnan, Untitled, 1990, at Callicoon Fine Arts

WHEN DUTCH DESIGNER AND TYPOGRAPHER KAREL MARTENS came to P!, graphic designer Prem Krishnamurthy’s new exhibition space on Broome Street, to see the first-ever full show of his letterpress monoprints—installed alongside the aggressively heartbreaking social photography of Chauncey Hare and Christine Hill’s installation Volksboutique Small Business Outpost (Chinatown Division)—he insisted on some changes. It was the day before the opening, but Mr. Martens felt it was important that the hanging of his prints reflect the loose, spontaneous way in which they had been made. His is the kind of loose spontaneity that results from diligent practice and rigorous editing. Read More

Review

From Brush and Palette to Printer and Cartridge: ‘Picasso Black and White’ at the Guggenheim, ‘Wade Guyton OS’ at the Whitney

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Pablo Picasso, Head of a Woman (Dora), 1941 (cast 1958)

IN ADDITION to being the most celebrated artist of the 20th century, Picasso is also the most difficult to pin down. So it is not surprising that an austere exhibition of his paintings, sculptures and drawings, ostensibly all in black and white, actually yields smudges of color: jade, olive, lemon-meringue yellow, midnight blue. Less surprising is the fact that the pieces on view—some 118 paintings, sculptures and works on paper, including 38 being shown for the first time in the United States and five displayed for the first time in public—are full of his signature muscular shapes. The show’s curator, Carmen Giménez, brought Richard Serra to the Guggenheim Bilbao in 1999, and her taste for the sculptural is evident in this exhibition. Read More

Review

Transformers: Ambitious Installations Are Altering the Reality of New York’s Galleries

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Jonah Freeman and Justin Lowe's 'Stray Light Grey' at Marlborough Chelsea

Just when you think you know what it’s doing, art has the nasty and endearing habit of veering in a completely different direction, turning back on itself and throwing you, Alice-style, down a chute into wonderlands. Consider: a Depression-era bank has time-traveled to ZieherSmith; a cavernous cruise ship casino has crashed into Gladstone; a rabbit’s warren of dingy, sinister rooms has displaced Marlborough Chelsea; and a suburban home has taken up residence in the Pierogi Boiler.

What happened? Just a few months ago, the Whitney Biennial argued that the past decade’s excesses had passed. It celebrated modestly scaled art, exemplified by Andrew Masullo’s compact abstract paintings, K8 Hardy’s fashion photos and Vincent Fecteau’s cement and clay confections. That, as it turned out, was wishful thinking. The new season has delivered a bumper-crop of full-on, intensely immersive, gallery-filling installations. Read More

Review

Sea Spume, Magic Hands and Miniature Worlds: Jeff Shore and Jon Fisher at Derek Eller, Michael Bell-Smith at Foxy Production, Louise Fishman at Cheim & Read

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Installation view of Louise Fishman's show at Cheim & Read

FOR THE TEXAN collaborative team of Jeff Shore and Jon Fisher, the camera obscura has been displaced as a metaphor by a surveillance-state Moebius strip. Everything is exposed for peering at, but there is no outside from which to peer in. Their new installation Trailer, currently biding its time in Derek Eller Gallery, consists of five ceiling-mounted projectors throwing five blank, digitally pixelated rectangles, each tinted a different color, onto or beside five groups of 17 wall-mounted plywood boxes, six power strips, and innumerable wires, caps, circuits and LED lights. The wires, whose elegant parallels and polite crossings bring to mind a schematic subway map, lead up the walls and across the ceiling to a secret control room in the back. Read More

Review

Andy’s Kids: The Met Takes a Scattershot Stab at Establishing Warhol’s Influence, but at Artists Space, the Bernadette Corporation Is the True Heir to His Myth-Making

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Installation view of 'Bernadette Corporation: 2000 Wasted Years' at Artists Space

If you listen carefully, you can hear the howling from curatorial and critical circles about the Metropolitan Museum’s blockbuster, “Regarding Warhol.” Organized by Mark Rosenthal with Marla Prather, Ian Alteveer and Rebecca Lowery, the exhibition is a Trojan horse: under the guise of examining the influential Pop artist, the Met has crept through the gates of contemporary art curation. The haphazard display, which looks cobbled together from auction-house catalogues (rather than from art history books), functions less as a thoughtful exhibition than as a three-dimensional press release for the traditionally more historically focused museum’s plans to expand into new art. It’s a land-grab, a wild claim to exciting territory. Its raison d’être is more institutional positioning than visual persuasion. It is bold, impolitic—and interesting. Read More

Review

Let the Music Play: Susan Philipsz at Tanya Bonakdar, Michael Rakowitz at Lombard Freid Projects, Karen Kilimnik and Kim Gordon at 303 Gallery

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Installation view of Karen Kilimnik & Kim Gordon at 303 Gallery

The seemingly innate capacity of music to fuse direct emotion with a more ideational connection to the culture at large is the envy of many a visual artist, so it’s unsurprising that it remains a thematic touchstone even as styles push relentlessly forward or circle back to their roots. Three Chelsea galleries are kicking off the fall season with exhibitions centered on creative explorations of the myriad contexts, uses, and meanings of organized noise. While both Michael Rakowitz at Lombard Freid Projects and the pairing of Karen Kilimnik and Kim Gordon at 303 Gallery deal in the cultural reverberations of rock and pop history by way of artifacts and performances—playing too with the notions of authenticity that invariably surround them—Susan Philipsz at Tanya Bonakdar Gallery looks further back and ponders a different tradition, drawing on early twentieth-century avant-garde classicism in the service of a quieter, more introspective narrative. Read More

Review

Tire Tracks, Totems and Tricked-Out Trees: Lara Favaretto and Esther Kläs at MoMA PS1, Oscar Tuazon at Brooklyn Bridge Park

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Lara Favaretto, Gummo, 2012

ITALIAN ARTIST LARA FAVARETTO’S EXHIBITION AT MoMA PS1, “Just Knocked Out,” delievers one knockout: a 2012 work called Gummo that is made out of five tall car-wash brushes in black, gray, blue, red and umber. At rest, the brushes look like tall, hairy phalli, and when they spin they expand like the frocks of whirling dervishes. Over the course of the show, which opened May 3, they have been wearing down their bristles on a slab of iron on the wall behind them, and a fine layer of dust has accumulated beneath them. It is an intoxicating sight, all that energy being used for so little return—and also an apt metaphor for the show. Read More

Review

Use It or Lose It: Liam Gillick’s ’90s Hit Bard’s Hessel Museum

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Liam Gillick, The What If? Scenario (Part 1), 1995

It seems odd that chronic collaborator Liam Gillick hasn’t yet worked on a project with novelist Jay McInerney. The 1980s wunderkind novelist who pioneered second-person narration about coke parties and the 1990s artist, beloved of curators, whose work about exhibition viewers features lots of cheap alcohol both address their audiences relentlessly and with a certain easy glamour. Bright Lights, Big City is set against the orgy of debauchery and self-pity that was 1984, and tends to triangulate money market jobs, Midwestern models and Colombian cocaine; Mr. Gillick’s oeuvre emerged in the hangover aftermath of the ’90s recession, amid European Kunsthallen, earnest curatorial students, and bottles of glitter and vodka. Read More