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Jacques Flèchemuller

Early to bed, early to rise, work like hell and advertise. The early bird catches the worm. The dictionary is the only place where success comes before work. Yes, the Protestant work ethic has reasserted itself with a vengeance. The dual facets of visible labor intensity and philosophical obscurity induced by over intellectualization are evidently common trends in plenty of contemporary art production. Through some misplaced sense of guilt, it has become fashionable to tout how hard we’re all working.

The Russian Doll Show

As part of 65 Hope Street Gallery’s visiting curator series, Eddie Martinez commissioned thirty-eight fine artists, commercial designers, and graffiti artists to make their own versions of Russian nesting dolls. The structure of these dolls— something that opens to reveal a smaller version of itself— was used as the conceptual point of departure for the show, which explored variations within a collective.

Fragmenting the Form

Before going to Figureworks Gallery, I had the fortunate experience of seeing Rebecca Stenn perform at the Joyce. Her company put on a playful dance and onstage musicians provided the score. The best moments came towards the end when the musicians ceased observing the dance from behind their instruments and began to take part. Unexpected scenes followed: a cellist feigned the murder of a dancer with his cello; a slight female slung the tattooed bassist over her shoulders.

Olaf Breuning: Metro Pictures

"Home," a thirty-minute, two-channel video installation by Swedish artist Olaf Breuning, turns immaturity into an absorbing and entertaining spectacle of dream-like narratives. Individual segments are presented in color featuring a bizarre combination of characters, masks, and locations, while Breuning radiates an exhausted intensity as the narrator in black and white on the adjacent screen.

Norbert Bisky: The Proud, the Few

Having caused a stir in his home country ever since his first solo exhibition in 2001, German painter Norbert Bisky has finally made his way to the States via Leo Koenig Gallery.

Tim Wilson

Another painting, entitled "Rush," shows a monarch butterfly descending on a bottle of liquid incense in the same halcyon landscape, capturing Wilson’s concern with heightened pleasure as a form of distraction. Toys serve such a purpose for children as aids in creating imaginative fantasy. Drugs and the entertainment and forgetfulness found in barrooms serve similar ends for adults,

Jim Wright

Who says the New York art world isn’t controlled by a list of worn out clichés? For example, "There’s nothing more dangerous than an original idea, especially when you only have one." Or, "It’s always wise to challenge accepted wisdom." Right! Unfortunately, those people who actually step over the boundaries established by the current market/institutional complex, are usually stopped at the velvet rope by the gatekeepers of good taste.

Fang Lijun

Considered one of the leading figures in China’s contemporary art scene, Beijing-based Fang Lijun returns to New York with a vigorous group of large-scale woodcut prints.

William Pope.L

The ghosts of Adrian Piper and Paul McCarthy are conjured at what amounts to a tripartite William Pope.L retrospective at Artists Space, The Project, and Mason Gross Galleries at Rutgers University. On an arguably unparalleled level among contemporary American performance artists, seeing is believing with Pope.L, since describing his work in words can’t convey

Leon Golub

Leon Golub is a painter, who for most of his career has been considered a relentless political activist. He has always stuck to his own world view—a kind of persuasive skepticism, for which the oppressed condition and aggression became identifiable to his means of self-defense and personal dignity.

Natvar Bhavsar

I first met Natvar Bhavsar in 1980 at his exhibition at the Wichita Art Museum in Kansas. I was familiar with Bhavsar’s paintings in New York during my graduate student days at New York University, but to see a major exhibition in Wichita by this Indian painter whose work I had admired at Max Hutchinson Gallery in SoHo was an undeniable thrill.

Tomie Arai

In a process that amounts to subjective excavation, Tomie Arai considers the various layers of our unresolved relationship to history and place within the context of our mortality. Drawing upon the metaphorical language of stories and an image from a distinct time, Arai’s work orients us in our relationship to evolving, accumulated collective memory, and, locates our ultimate submersion within the non-linear processes of time.

Jaakko Heikkilä

In Rooms of Man, a series of photographic portraits, artist Jaakko Heikkila documents the relationships between apartment dwellers and their homes; moreover, the dialogue he establishes between people and their environments is broadly narrated as an east-west dichotomy. Heikkila's route includes visits to the Torne River of Finland, to Njuchtja, Russia, Rytow, England, and Harlem, New York.

Joan Jonas: Five Works

For the first time in New York, the Queens Museum of Art is presenting a large-scale exhibition of the artist Joan Jonas.

Eunice Kim and Joe Bradley & Ward Shelley

From Tara Donovan’s Styrofoam cups to Scott Hug’s bedroom installation, the banal materials of everyday life appear everywhere as art these days.


The Brooklyn Rail

FEB 2004

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