If you want to see the Museum of Modern Art’s atrium gallery looking better than it ever has before, go now. Walls and floor alike are covered with handwoven rugs in an installation that forms part of a retrospective of the late Italian artist Alighiero Boetti. Since the museum opened its Yoshio Taniguchi-designed building eight years ago, this tricky atrium has foiled curators and artists alike, but the team responsible for the Boetti show—MoMA’s Christian Rattemeyer, along with Lynne Cooke, chief curator at Madrid’s Reina Sofia, and Mark Godfrey, curator at London’s Tate Modern—has transformed it into an intimate space. The museum’s heart finally looks warm and inviting rather than mall-like, a place where a small caravan might encamp, or a group of schoolchildren sit in a circle. Read More
The critic Dave Hickey once cited his friend and fellow critic Peter Schjeldahl’s prescription for making it as an artist: “You move to a city. You hang out in bars. You form a gang, turn it into a scene, and turn that into a movement.” Movements may be a thing of the past, but social networks are very much a part of the present, and two current group exhibitions at Chelsea galleries, “Context Message” at Zach Feuer and “Side Show” at Greene Naftali, offer an opportunity to check in with some promising young artists who are in the midst of fomenting vital scenes. Read More
Who’s on First? No, They’re All on at Once: Star Curators Take to the Galleries for Summer Group Shows
Riding out the summer doldrums with a guest-curated group show is standard practice for name-brand galleries. Handing over the exhibition-making reins to an outsider—preferably a bleeding-edge tastemaker—allows for some quirky deviation from familiar programming. And the game of mix-and-match can, when the chemistry is there, cast selector and selections in a revealing new light. Three current examples of this appealingly unpredictable subgenre—all organized by men-about-the-not-for-profit-art-world for established Chelsea powerhouses—represent divergent approaches to the task. But while varied in their ambitions, all set an easy-going tone—too high-minded to be trashy beach reads, they’re still page-turners. Read More
It should be impossible to make a dull exhibition of work by Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama, a feisty 83-year-old whose scale-defying work—”infinity net” paintings, polka-dot installations, happenings, as well as dabblings in media, fashion and commerce—might play equally well in a closet and an arena. Yet the Whitney Museum has managed to put on a tepid retrospective: a dutiful and limited presentation of an artist who is larger than life. Read More
For some the streets of New York map out an adult playground that comes alive after dark, for others they are the setting for a revolution perpetually stalled. A pair of current exhibitions embodies these opposing sides of Gotham’s metropolitan coin, presenting viewers with two very different takes on contemporary urban cool. Read More
Bollinger, Unchained: Long-Overdue Retrospective at SculptureCenter Proves Late Sculptor’s Influence
Sprawling across SculptureCenter’s main gallery right now is an ordinary chain-link fence that lies flat for nearly the length of the space, rises to a torqued wave, and then lies flat again. You may feel foolish to have trekked all the way out to Long Island City to see such a workaday object, but you shouldn’t. Cyclone Fence 1968 (2012), a reconstruction of a piece by the late, relatively obscure artist Bill Bollinger, has much to tell us about sculpture being made by young artists today.
Over the past five years sculptures that are, superficially at least, totally banal—barrels filled with water, pipe pieces connected by rubber tubing, columns covered with sheets of linoleum tile, shelving units—have come to be commonplace in galleries. Bill Bollinger, who died in 1988 and was the kind of artist who might shop for his materials in a hardware store, is a patron saint of this school, and he is finally getting a posthumous, long overdue retrospective in “Bill Bollinger: The Retrospective.” Read More
The literary world has been flooding into the art world in myriad ways lately. Gagosian is publishing James Frey, and Ed Ruscha is finding fruitful material in Kerouac’s On the Road. Perhaps the most recent example is Lu Magnus gallery’s current show, “In What Distant Deeps or Skies,” the title of which is taken from William Blake’s “The Tyger,” and is part of the first batch of summer group shows that opened earlier this month on the Lower East Side. It features the work of Fawad Khan, Jonathan Allen, Tofer Chin and Emily Noelle Lambert. Read More
IN TERMS OF SHEER SIZE AND SEX APPEAL, Gagosian Gallery’s mammoth Richard Avedon show is easily the photography event of the summer. Installed in a flashy layout by architect and in-demand exhibition designer David Adjaye, it’s headlined by four huge group portraits. The one of Andy Warhol and his entourage is more than 30 feet long and 10 feet tall, and is pretty much guaranteed to stop you dead in your tracks. Read More
Facing the Truth: ‘Alice Neel: Late Portraits & Still Lifes,’ at David Zwirner and ‘Jutta Koether: The Fifth Season,’ at Bortolami
Alice Neel paid attention. Of course, she also worked hard and was prodigiously talented, but the main thing is, she paid attention—such close, lucid, existentially present and profoundly generous but completely unsentimental attention to the friends, lovers, relatives and acquaintances whom she painted that her work dissolves theological mysteries more thoroughly than four years in a seminary. You can see, in her portraits, exactly how each of her models felt—not in general but in the very moments in which they were doing it—about sitting still and posing. And you can see in her still lifes the demurely exhibitionist pride that her mind’s eye attributed—and that her hand then highlighted with a subtle fisheye distortion—to a potted plant. How can something have its own complete personality while simultaneously expressing no personality other than its creator’s? And how is it possible for something to be absolutely changeless but distinctly alive? Read More
What You See Is What You Get: ‘Tauba Auerbach: Float,’ at Paula Cooper Gallery and ‘Screw You,’ at Susan Inglett 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