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Strangers: The First ICP Triennial of Photography and Video

As his contribution to Strangers, the first Triennial of Photography and Video, Beat Streuli filled the street-level, story-high glass windows enclosing The International Center for Photography’s bland architectural box in midtown with larger-than-life sized color photographs of people walking the streets of New York. Like a Gap ad by Philip-Lorca diCorcia printed by Andreas Gursky, the images are seductive, otherworldly, and appealing. They are a good advertisement for ICP and its mission to increase its visibility in the art world, exemplified by the creation of its very own regular group survey of contemporary artists working with photographic media.


Despite the title Landslide, this Smack Mellon exhibition is equally concerned with landscape art, which presumes a stable and distant vantage point, as with the sloppy side of raw matter, which might indicate more of an engagement with 1970s Land Art. Curator Rebecca Graves describes the intention to present the work of eight artists who use "revisionary tactics to approach the tradition of landscape art."

Kristin Baker

I remember working at NASCAR one summer in Daytona Beach with my sister. The smell of charred rubber, beer, and white trash filled the arena. I never thought I would relive those memories in downtown Manhattan. Flat Out is a show about fast cars, tight curves, and, explosions. Kristin Baker has created a full sensory environment.

Jim Shaw

Generically titled Drawings 1979–2003, Jim Shaw’s mini drawing retrospective might have been called "There and Back Again." His recent body of work eschews the narrative driven pencil drawings of the 1990s for black-and-white experimentation.

Steven Charles

"My life is perfect and I’m always happy" claims Brooklyn-based Steven Charles in the title of his third solo exhibition at Pierogi. Looking at the excessively intricate, labor-intense, pop-colored canvases, one starts questioning if the phrase might indeed be meant literally rather than ironically. Whatever the answer, one thing is clear: Charles, who states that "the impetus for this work is my optimism," draws his audience into visual riddles that leave us cheering and confused.

Ele D’Artagnan

When being interviewed by Toni Maraini in 1994, Federico Fellini defined his understanding of art as the "experience of pleasure when I find myself in front of something that is the absolute truth, not because it resembles life, but because it’s true as an image for itself, as a gesture." Looking at the incredibly innovative works by former Fellini actor, writer and artist Ele D’Artagnan (1911–1987), the essence of this statement seems to materialize, revealing a kindred spirit.

Kelly Heaton

If nothing else, Kelly Heaton succeeds at being distinct— and convincingly weird. Live Pelt is a sprawling, obsessive exhibition of her Tickle Me Elmo-inspired art, including several works made from Tickle Me Elmo dolls as well as any and all ephemera relating to Heaton’s acquisition of them. While there are obviously several theoretical stabs at work here, most of them jab meekly in the dark.

Richard Pousette-Dart

Richard Pousette-Dart’s "Mythic Heads and Forms," abstract paintings which span the decade of the 1930s, with their elliptical organization of thick black lines that forcefully yet almost imperceptibly shift space, have an immediate impact, in the sense of both sureness and conviction.

Ben Parry

As each day passes, automatism saturates deeper into everyday life. Natural spontaneity has been stifled by technological convenience, a fact frequently misplaced within individual routines. Ben Parry’s cluttered installations and prints are extremely witty and sensationalize the mundane through the construction of mechanically engineered performances.

Chris Caccamise

Chris Caccamise’s intimate paper sculptures are as engaging to encounter as the title of his current show at Star 67 gallery, The Secret Tornado and the Power of Being a Beast. He meticulously crafts the tiny automobiles, reservoirs, trains, and homes that compose his miniaturized world, covering the final sculpture with a thick coat of enamel paint. This last gesture gives the work an artificial veneer that facilitates the young artist’s gentle jabs at pop culture and high art.

Heidi Cody

Call me Ishmael. Some days ago—never mind how long—I visited an art exhibit of work purporting to be a critique of "Big Oil." Now, this "Big Oil" is nearly the same business that was hunting the whale and rendering its oil to light the world of the nineteenth century.

Laurie Thomas

Enter Priska C. Juschka anytime before October 20th, and you’ll see an average-sized painting entitled "Blight" on your left. It’s part of Laurie Thomas’s current show Chandeliers. It’s special because, in a show full of very good paintings, it’s a great one. Its composition is simple. In the upper left-hand corner, small ochre circles hover in the milky white ground that covers most of the surface.

Please Pay Attention Please

Please Pay Attention Please, the collected writings and interviews of Bruce Nauman, feels like such a crucial text because Nauman’s early work feels seminal, his later work still excellent, and his whole output so consistently ahead of its time in so many ways. Yet he remains an enigma. No catalogue raisonné of his works is available yet, and much of the work is difficult to document or describe. In a lot of cases, you had to be there.

Markings (Sacred Landscapes)

In her recent exhibit Markings (Sacred Landscapes), Marilyn Bridges offers a small survey of photographs she took during her numerous flights over the desolate plains of Peru, Gaza, Egypt, and the vast rain forests of the Yucatán. Looking at the work in sequence, in "Pathway to Infinity" (1979), "Yarn & Needle"(1979), "Nazca, Peru" (1979), and "Arrows Over Rise" (1979), I was reminded of the earth works of Robert Smithson, James Turrell, Richard Long, Michael Heizer, all artists who turned away from the early modernist fixation on primitive painting and sculpture in favor of the monumental organizational patterns of prehistoric culture.

Another Art Story From Venice

For the past six years, an exhibition has occurred on The Lido in Venice called OPEN. The purpose of this event is to create an outdoor exhibition of sculpture and installations in which artists from various countries participate. Since the inception of this exhibition concept in 1998, the director Paolo De Grandis and the curator Pierre Restany were two forces who made this exhibition a major event. It was conceived in relation to the Venice Film Festival, which always happens at the end of August.


The Brooklyn Rail

OCT 2003

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