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Ron Amstutz: Right Roads & Wrong Ways

By now we’re all versed in the complexities of the “performance document.” While a single photograph can refer back to a primary action, it can never quite recreate the reality of that moment. It cannot bring a dead thing back to life.


Progress is an excellent exhibition of work from the Whitney Museum’s permanent collection. Hot on the heels of Buckminster Fuller: Starting with the Universe, Progress only mildly concerns itself with the technological advancements considered synonymous with the term and integral to Fuller’s utopian designs.

Marc Van Cauwenbergh: Loose Formations

For over two decades, Marc Van Cauwenbergh has explored the language of color field abstraction. He creates compositions that contrast monochromatic fields with isolated, predominantly vertical shapes by brushing layers of translucent oil paint directly onto raw linen.

Show and Tell: Contemporary Practice in Artists' Books

This month over 138 international publishers, booksellers, and antiquarian dealers will stock their bookshelves at Printed Matter’s annual fair for contemporary art books, art catalogs, artists’ books, art periodicals, and zines. In addition, the Art Library Society of New York is hosting a four-day conference to examine contemporary directions in artists’ books.

Swoon: Swimming Cities of Switchback Sea

Swoon—a street artist whose moniker shields her from potential prosecution on vandalism charges—sailed her ragtag Burning Man on the Hudson-like flotilla of seven sculptures nee boats to landfall in front of a cheering crowd of hipsters on the docks of Deitch Projects in Long Island City.

Raha Raissnia

The Miguel Abreu Gallery is low lit for “Free Way,” Raha Raissnia’s composite 35mm slide projection and 16mm film. Her big black and white paintings and small drawings don’t suffer from the dimming, a testimony to the toughness of all Raissnia’s work­—you can see it in the dark.

Pipe, Glass, Bottle of Rum: The Art of Appropriation

In an interview with Gene Swenson, Andy Warhol articulated his intellectual stance on originality and mechanization, saying: “I think somebody should be able to do all my paintings for me…I think it would be so great if more people took up silk screens so that no one would know whether my picture was mine or somebody else’s.”

Arthur Cohen

Arthur Cohen is a persistently dedicated painter, the proverbial painter’s painter. His first important works were of Italian Baroque cathedrals in Rome. Although painted during the early seventies during the height of New Realism and eventually selected for the Whitney Biennial in 1973, Cohen’s paintings were never quite fashionable.

Shit: a group exhibition

So it’s in the air. Three shows opening the new season in New York all bear the word “shit” in their titles: Andres Serrano’s Shit at Yvon Lambert (reviewed here by Robert C. Morgan), Alejandro Almanza Pereda’s The Fan and The Shit (reviewed by Shane McAdams), and Shit: a group exhibition at Feature’s brand new, barely finished space on the Bowery.

Medium Cool: The Case for Serrano's Hot Shit

Shit may be the closest we come to death in life, or for that matter, the meeting ground between Eros and Thanatos. It is most often the detritus we choose to ignore, the packaging we rip from the simulacrum and tear apart.

Alejandro Almanza Pereda THE FAN AND THE SHIT

When I first saw Alejandro Almanza Pereda’s precariously arranged constructions a few years ago, I remember thinking that he must have been the kind of kid who tortured his mother by rollerskating around the pool with scissors in his hands, drinking Coca-Cola and eating pop rocks.

Cecelia Condit

Cecelia Condit’s videos from 1981 to the present chart the psyches of American women. Based on her immediate personal experience, the early narratives discuss the tensions between young women and their lovers, their close friends, and their families.

Baker Overstreet: Follies

There’s something buried in these paintings, hovering at the cusp of recognition. It’s a fleeting something or other that at times appears as parody, and at others as a sincere meditation on the medium of a medium (or market gone mad?), and it hits home in both contexts.

Leigh Ledare: You Are Nothing To Me. You Are Like Air

Not to mix mythic metaphors, but Oedipus was also a narcissist.

Brooklyn Dispatches: Performance Anxiety

As a painting snob, I’ve always held performance art at arm’s length. I do appreciate the Feminist tactic of using its designation to elevate the drudgery of “women’s work” to an aesthetisized level, subverting the elite realm of high art.

Art and China's Revolution

A collection of mostly Social Realist paintings about Mao and the Chinese Revolution, spanning the 1950s through the 1970s, is quite honestly nothing revolutionary to look at. But, like the Shroud of Turin, the history behind the image is what pulls together these never-before-exhibited works.

Robert Bordo: It's always raining

The clearest preoccupation one takes away from the paintings by Robert Bordo at Alexander and Bonin is obliteration. He paints over an earlier layer of a painting to the point that it is visible only as a line or a few chinks of color.

Entre Chien et Loup

New York’s fall art season is in full swing and you would never know that our country is on the precipice of an historic presidential election. Kent Gallery’s current exhibition, Entre Chien et Loup (“between dog and wolf”), gives itself fully to this crepuscular moment in American politics.

Charles Seliger: Ways of Nature

Charles Seliger’s place in history has yet to be fully secured. Born in 1926, he was the youngest and most precocious artist in the group that gathered around Peggy Guggenheim in New York in the 1940s (Piet Mondrian and Jackson Pollock were also part of this circle).

John Ashbery: Collages: They Knew What They Wanted

For those who still need a guide, poets can be divided into two groups, those who have at one juncture or another used collage (or a related methodology) in their writing, and those who haven’t. The former are interested in what has been called (rather negatively) the experimental, while the latter regard themselves as traditionalists.

John Ashbery: Collages: They Knew What They Wanted

Tibor de Nagy Gallery September 4–October 4, 2008

Letter from London

The discovery of Le Douanier Rousseau by Picasso in Paris, and the naïve fisherman-artist Alfred Wallis by the British modernist Ben Nicholson in Cornwall, provided inspiration for new approaches to making art. What opened their eyes was a freedom of material, expression, and mostly of composition that worked purely within the terms of the frame.

Andrew Bick and Charlotte Beaudry

n our current art-fair-crazy moment, it is quite difficult to imagine a situation of antagonistic ideologies such as that posed by the Jewish Museum’s Action/Abstraction exhibition.


The Brooklyn Rail

OCT 2008

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