Jim Lee: Paranoid

ArtSeen

Any experienced coyote knows the only reasonable response to a trap is to dig it up, turn it over, and defecate on it. It’s an offering to the trapper’s pride, a piss stain on assumptions of rational authority. By confusing the roles of predator and prey, the coyote keeps things interesting, reminding us we’re not the only beings with a sense of humor.

Philip-Lorca diCorcia: Thousand

ArtSeen

A distinct nostalgia is stirring in Philip-Lorca diCorcia’s recent show, Thousand. A row of a thousand Polaroid prints snake around the pristine white field of gallery walls, each a little window into the artist’s past bodies of work and visual fixations. The linear arrangement, slightly below eye level, asks us to look intently at every frame, and then train our eyes sideways.

Allison Katz: You Talk Greasily

ArtSeen

Allison Katz makes mille-feuille of “what ifs” and “why nots.” Her paintings are modest in scale and challenging on first encounter. Perfectly at home in Kasia Kay’s intimate West Loop gallery, they speak softly but have much to say. Themes are densely elaborated; verbs buckle under adverbs; and as the show’s title (copped from Shakespeare’s Love’s Labour’s Lost) suggests, much of the visual vocabulary on display oozes with innuendo.

Amy Pleasant: Tight Shot

ArtSeen

In her recent exhibition at Jeff Bailey Gallery, Amy Pleasant considers: “How does the act of drawing function in my work? Does the intimacy of the imagery come from the image itself, the scale, or both?” After viewing the work, I would add something about how the image is executed in relation to its scale.

Corpus Extremus (Life +)

ArtSeen

The body’s evocative layers of skin, desire, and pain have long been a rich departure point for art-making. We take many of the body’s conditions as givens: its materiality, its mortality, its role as both substratum and surface to the human soul.

Rebecca Smith, Mildred Beltre, and Rana Khoury

ArtSeen

Although Five Myles may have aimed at inclusiveness in its current group exhibition of drawings by Rebecca Smith, Mildred Beltre, and Rana Khoury, it reads as three solo shows. Each artist’s diverse sensibilities are reflected in titles naming their individual aesthetic concerns.

The Mood Back Home

ArtSeen

Immediately confronting visitors to The Mood Back Home, a thoughtful and evocative group exhibition organized by Suzy Spence and Leslie Brack at Momenta Art, is Jessica Jackson Hutchins’s 70s-vintage spring-mounted hobby horse, whose head has been covered with crudely applied wads of clay in tumor-like growths.

Burning Down the House: Building a Feminist Art Collection

ArtSeen

Burning Down the House: Building a Feminist Art Collection is a subtle chapter in the story of the Brooklyn Museum’s commitment to collecting and displaying feminist art. Burning Down the House shares a lot of artists, ideas, and assumptions with Global Feminisms: New Directions in Feminist Art, one of the largest, most ambitious, and well-publicized exhibitions devoted to feminist art in 2007.

Xylor Jane: N.D.E.

ArtSeen

First known for her works on paper, Xylor Jane now paints on square or nearly square wood panels. Her methodology continues to be simple and straightforward, a fat dot of paint carefully placed within each square of a grid. Think Georges Seurat meets Alfred Jensen meets Peter Young and you get an inkling of what the artist does with her deliberately limited vocabulary.

Thomas Scheibitz: Missing link in Delphi

ArtSeen

Painter and sculptor Thomas Scheibitz is sharp, smart, and funny without devolving into parody or citation. With a vengeful glee that I find utterly delightful, he turns formalist geometric abstraction and minimalist sculpture on their heads and glues a dunce cap to their feet. It seems to me that Scheibitz has taken a vow not to be boring, ponderous, or jokey.

Leon Kossoff: From the Early Years - 1957-1967

ArtSeen

The School of London has always posed a problem on this side of the Atlantic. The term was coined by the American ex-pat R.B. Kitaj for the 48 artists he included in a show called The Human Clay at the Hayward Gallery in 1976. Today we associate the term primarily with Kitaj, Francis Bacon, Lucian Freud, Frank Auerbach, and Leon Kossoff.

Ellen K. Levy

ArtSeen

Ellen Levy’s newest set of paintings at two solo shows, in New York and New Jersey, use optical and cognitive brain research to tackle issues artists have been obsessed with since the Renaissance; how to portray depth and perspective by rendering three-dimensional space on a two-dimensional plane.

1st Annual Hoo-Rah Marginal Arts Festival Parade

ArtSeen

Ralph Eaton flapped the elongated, noodle-like sleeves of his patchwork, neon-yellow suit as he marched in a loose column of bicyclists, performers, and costumed revelers. A young girl with a popcorn bucket on her head pointed at him and shouted, “Look, it’s that weird piece of art.”

Carolee Schneemann: Painting, What It Became

ArtSeen

Painting, What It Became is a mini-retrospective of the pioneering work of Carolee Schneemann. This multimedia show was curated by Maura Reilly, founding curator of the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art at the Brooklyn Museum, and is accompanied by a small color catalog.

Bruce High Quality Foundation: Empire

ArtSeen

When Bruce High Quality Foundation’s Retrospective mocked art commerce last Spring, a “red-hot market” was fueling galleries and museums and sending hammer prices soaring at Sotheby’s. Flawed or not, the object of the exhibition’s ridicule was thriving.

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APRIL 2009

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