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After spending time in the wilderness, Sherman returns to her Brooklyn studio armed with source material. Referencing multiple digital images, she paints spontaneously, completing most work within the first day.


Isabel Nolan’s An Answer About the Sky, on view at the Sean Kelly Gallery (September 13 – October 18, 2014), is a history of the virtues of accident and error that unfolds in 14 works across media including paintings, sculptures, a rug, and a series of reflections authored by Nolan herself in prose that is both limpid and lyrical.

MARSDEN HARTLEY The German Paintings 1913 – 1915

The first installation of this exhibition of Marsden Hartley’s Berlin paintings must have been some homecoming, one that likely looked as if little or no time had passed, even though, in this case, it’s been a hundred years.


Still in grad school at Hunter College’s fine arts program, the artist Derek Fordjour has nonetheless pulled off a terrific, completely professional show of paintings and sculptures.


It’s important to remember that, unlike in life, no one gets hurt on the stage of painting. Some artists choose to reveal the scaffolding, lights, and dark box of this stage, while others conceal it as best they can. Tomer Aluf belongs in the first category: his paintings present a wide-open and generous stage, dandified with a touch of black magic.


Willem van Genk: Mind Traffic, the American Folk Art Museum’s current exhibition of 43 works by the Dutch artist, which range from large-scale paintings and collages, to an installation of the artist’s prized raincoats, is an historical victory, a correction of a curious oversight in the art historical annals of U.S. institutions.

ZIPORA FRIED I Hope the Moon Explodes

Those unpracticed at the art of “negative capability”—Keats’s celebrated term for the capacity to embrace uncertainty, ambiguity, and doubt “without any irritable reaching after fact and reason”—would do well to steer clear of Zipora Fried.


Halfway through last year’s memorial service for Nelson Mandela, the official sign language interpreter, Thamsanqa Jantjie, started to deviate from what the world leaders standing next to him were saying.

MARCEL DZAMA Une Danse Des Bouffons (or A Jester’s Dance)

Une Danse des Bouffons (or A Jester’s Dance), a roughly 35-minute-long silent film by Canadian-born artist Marcel Dzama, is an absurdist drama featuring one woman’s attempt to rescue her lover, the artist Marcel Duchamp, who is being held captive and tortured while made to recite chess moves.

For a Love of His People: The Photography of Horace Poolaw

The history of the representation of Native Americans has been, until recently, overwhelmingly one-sided. Capturing the indigenous peoples of this continent through images was the purview of the colonizer, the outsider, the anthropologists, and the government officials and painters who had the technological and material means to represent the “Indian” as they saw him.

ERIC WESLEY Daily Progress Status Report

It is common for workers to embellish their to-do lists out of boredom, but creating tromp-l’oeil, four feet tall, meticulously polished replicas of sheets of doodles takes a more worrying level of ennui.

Back to Eden: Contemporary Artists Wander the Garden

A decade ago, the art historian James Elkins published On the Strange Place of Religion in Contemporary Art, a book that offered a highly suggestive observation. The United States is a very religious country, he noted, but very little contemporary art found in the mainstream galleries or museums presents religion in a positive way.


It is important to look long and hard at the early paintings of Nicholas Krushenick as they appear on the walls of Garth Greenan Gallery 50-plus years after they were made.


The danger of the art world constantly searching for the “next big thing” is that quieter, more introspective work, like that of painter Bill Lynch is easily overlooked. Thankfully, he has just been given his inaugural—and posthumous—New York exhibition at White Columns.


Francesca Capone’s recent solo exhibition, Oblique Archive, is a meditation on the nature of language as it is increasingly unmoored from the physical realm of paper and set adrift in our digital landscape.

MIKE CLOUD Bad Faith and Universal Techique

A fellow spectator at Mike Cloud’s recent exhibition described the largest painting in the show, “Removed Individual,” (2013) as the “Buckminster Fuller one.” Initially this seemed superficial, based merely on the construction of the piece as a network of visible intersecting stretchers.

MATTHEW RITCHIE Ten Possible Links

The paintings, sculpture, and video in this exhibition seem like an unnaturally contained drop in the bucket compared to the explosive output of Matthew Ritchie’s on-going residency at Boston’s Institute of Contemporary Art.


For this artist’s second solo exhibition at Blackston, the walls and ceiling of the front gallery have been painted gray, and the difference this makes in how one experiences the five large-scale paintings that explore the tonal shifts of the complex hue is significant.

Mind Games: James Siena’s typewriter drawings

I can’t imagine John Singer Sargent typing. Maybe he did. His lush, fluid lines and his adroitness, however, make a good foil for James Siena, whose adroitness is a story of another kind.


Helen Mirra's exhibition Waulked, currently on view at Peter Freeman, Inc. presents a series of works that are united through a contemplation of walking and its related state of mind.


The Brooklyn Rail

OCT 2014

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