PETER SAUL Fifty Years of Painting / SVEN LUKIN Paintings, 1960 – 1971

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Peter Saul and Sven Lukin are lone wolves in extremis. Both were born in 1934, Saul in San Francisco, CA, and Lukin in Riga, Latvia. They belong to the generation of Pop and Minimalist artists that began gaining attention in the turbulent ’60s.

PAUL THEK Diver

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Paul Thek was an avant-god practicing his own religion—complete with apostles (the Artist’s Co-op) and prophecies; much of his work was comprised of self-deprecating, grotesque icons crackling with a spiritual aura, funny, disturbing, and at times bizarre.

PAUL THEK Diver

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Paul Thek’s anxieties are baffling by contemporary standards. Today’s artists record and broadcast their work ad nauseam. They post pics, clips, and audio files online, approaching documentation not as a secondary activity, as Beuys did when he first commissioned photographs of his performances, but as a central concern on par with the creative act itself.

JOHN LEHR Stet

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The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines the term “stet” as a transitive verb, meaning “to direct retention of (a word or passage previously ordered to be deleted or omitted from a manuscript or printer’s proof) by annotating usually with the word stet.”

Tumescent Follies, Inflated Money, and Kitschy Sex

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In celebration of the 20th anniversary of Jeff Koons’s Made in Heaven, Luxembourg & Dayan chose to present a redux edition of one the most scandalous exhibitions ever held in SoHo.

TRACKS: Stephanie Brody-Lederman’s Art of Whispers, Traces, and Fleeting Bons Mots

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Consider the lines with which Albert Camus opened The Myth of Sisyphus, his 1942 meditation on what he called the inescapable absurdity of human life: “There is but one truly serious philosophical problem,” he wrote, “and that is suicide … what is called a reason for living is also an excellent reason for dying.”

TRACKS: Reuben Kadish, The Anti-Hero of American Modern Art

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Upon completion of the mural at Mexico’s University of Michoacan in 1935, David Alfaro Siqueiros proclaimed, “It is my honest belief that Phillip Goldstein and Reuben Kadish are the most promising young painters in either the U.S. or Mexico.”

The Crude and the Rare

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We are only as great as the sum of our parts—copper, ash, mineral, carbon. These are the material elements that define, comprise, and typify human corporeality. They are also the materials which, given a certain set of political and economic parameters, can act to expose the dark side of the human condition.

STANLEY LEWIS, HANS HARTUNG, MARGRIT LEWCZUK, and PETER ACHESON

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When I look at Stanley Lewis’s paintings, I see places I’ve known. Though Lewis lives in Leeds, MA, to me these are New Jersey spaces, because those are what I know. They take me back to meandering walks through Teaneck, Montclair, and Bergenfield, to the familiarity of tree-sheltered suburbs with urban-scented air.

ANSELM KIEFER Next Year in Jerusalem

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Among the group of German artists responsible for rebuilding their country’s culture during the postwar era, Anselm Kiefer is the most quintessential. Kiefer, who has lived in France for decades to (as he puts it) “possibly have a better look at Germany,” is the only one to vehemently tackle and obsess over what Germans cannot escape: their history.

JILL NATHANSON's Quiet Vision

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Two exhibitions of Jill Nathanson’s work, Sacred Presence/Painterly Process at the Derfner Judaica Museum in Riverdale and No Blue Without Yellow at the Messineo Art Projects/Wyman Contemporary in Chelsea, give view to more than five years of her development.

FRANCIS CAPE The Other End of the Line

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The funny thing about mobile homes is that you see them parked more often than you see them on the move, which perversely makes it seem peculiar when you do see a mobile home being hauled along a highway. In New York, these trailers frequently serve as headquarters on construction sites, but rarely much else.

Alternative Histories

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I caught Alternative Histories at Exit Art on the last day of the show. While I had avoided, for the moment, one of the hazards of a hyper-busy life—the belated discovery that an important exhibition had already run its course—it felt especially wistful to visit this remarkably well-researched and well-presented excavation of recent cultural history in the hours before it vanished forever.

PAT STEIR The Nearly Endless Line

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It’s one thing to understand the empiricist philosophers’ notion that the observed and the observer cannot really be separated, quite another to vivify it through visual art. But in The Nearly Endless Line, a new installation at Sue Scott Gallery, Pat Steir does just that, with both subtlety and force.

BROOKLYN DISPATCHES: Those Damned Weeds

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Ornithogalum pyrenaicum or wild asparagus is to some a pernicious weed, to others, a rare delicacy. Every spring, after the snow melted and the days lengthened, my great-aunt Afton would scurry around the environs of her small farm on Bear Lake, Utah, searching river and canal banks for sprigs of the tender delight.

GEDI SIBONY

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Since the railroad-style building next door to my apartment is adjacent to a parking lot, I can see its entire inside wall as a façade rather than a continuous row of houses. This bleached yellow vinyl siding is attached in foot-wide, horizontal striations that span the entire length of the building.

Marksmen and the Palimpsests

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At Centotto, curator Paul D’Agostino provides a conceptual link for each exhibition, inviting artists to respond to it any way they see fit. D’Agostino’s concept for the current show, featuring the painters John Avelluto and Josh Willis, is the palimpsest.

ART BOOKS IN REVIEW: How We Talk About Chuck Close

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In Marion Cajori’s keenly attentive 2007 documentary Chuck Close, one of the artist’s most frequent subjects, Philip Glass, states, “There’s no such thing as a string quartet. A string quartet is what you happen to be listening to when a string quartet is playing.”

MARCO BREUER The Nature of the Pencil

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When I saw Marco Breuer’s show, Nature of the Pencil, at Von Lintel Gallery, I was still visually hungover from seeing my first ever Dreamworks animated movie, about a boy who trains a dragon.

179 Canal/Anyways

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There’s the party and then there’s the day after—eating leftovers and talking about the party with friends who couldn’t make it. 179 Canal/Anyways has a little of that next-day feel. Margaret Lee organized 179 Canal/Anyways at White Columns as a “non-retrospective” look at 179 Canal, a collaborative wellspring of art invention she nurtured during a 15-month span starting in March 2009.

Letter From PORTO

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How to make an image but still construct a painting is the question that John Wilkins has repeatedly tried to solve over the years. Unless you’re familiar with London painting at the end of the last century, it is unlikely that you know Wilkins’s work.

JORGE QUEIROZ

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In his first solo show in New York, Jorge Queiroz throws down the gauntlet and challenges the viewer to work. With his eerie and disjointed imagery, this Berlin-based, Portuguese artist determinedly reminds us that his creations are about the act of looking, and all that entails in a post-Freudian world.

Letter From BERLIN

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Exhibitions dealing, in their very different ways, with 21st century abstraction opened in the first half of September here in Berlin. Nymphius Projektee presents a small survey of painting, hung salon-style, which looks at some conceptual and geometric tendencies in 1980s abstraction that still underpin much abstract painting today.

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