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In one famous scene in Jacques Tati’s 1958 film Mon Oncle, Tati’s character Monsieur Hulot tries to open the kitchen cabinet in his brother-in-law’s hyper modern suburban home. He pulls repeatedly on the cabinet’s handle, but cannot open it. He accidentally tricks some switch and the doors fly open without warning, comically spilling their contents onto the floor.

2015 Triennial: Surround Audience

One of the current predicaments of art was recently captured in a statement by media theorist Alexander Galloway. Speaking at the book launch of e-flux’s The Internet Does not Exist, Galloway proposed that, contrary to the aspirations of the art of the modern period, art today isn’t really operating as a vanguard.

2015 Triennial: Surround Audience

Comprising 51 artists from half as many countries, this sprawling third triennial, Surround Audience, occupies just about every inch of the New Museum, including the stairwell and foyer.

2015 Triennial: Surround Audience

To whom does the “I” belong? Do the disconnected status updates refer to Trecartin’s body or ours? It is equally difficult to place the body and subject amidst the digital mediation that similarly dominates his video practice.

NANCY HAYNES anomalies and non-sequiturs

There are countless under-recognized—but nonetheless exceptional—artists working quietly away in our midst here in New York: Nancy Haynes is choice among them.


“Twenty years ago all the ambitious young painters I knew in New York saw abstract art as the only way out.” This sentence, the start of Clement Greenberg’s 1962 essay “After Abstract Expressionism,” provides a particular way into William Pope.L’s determined exhibition at The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA.

Poussin et Dieu

For any art historian interested in Nicolas Poussin but not a devotee of the interpretative literature, visiting this exhibition, which marks the 305th year since the artist’s death in 1665, might be puzzling.

BILL JENSEN Transgressions

Willem de Kooning once dismissively described the Oriental idea of beauty as “it isn’t here.” De Kooning preferred objects “in relation to man,” with “no souls of their own.”

JOAN SEMMEL Across Five Decades

One step into Alexander Gray gallery and you know that Joan Semmel is a fearless woman. Semmel chose to work with the nude female figure during an era dominated by male minimalists; a time when figuration was a very poor choice for artists seeking recognition.


As the poet John Ashbery once said: “Most reckless things are beautiful in some way, and recklessness is what makes experimental art beautiful, just as religions are beautiful because of the strong possibilities that they are founded on nothing.”

JAMES SIENA New Sculpture

James Siena is an artist whose work has gained extraordinary critical acceptance over the past two decades for its ingenuity and grace, yet I still wonder what exactly it is that compels such a consensual reception, given that its intellectual rigor and complexity might just as well achieve the opposite effect.

MATT DUCKLO Tomorrow is a Long Time

Like so many, photographer Matt Ducklo seems to have a complicated relationship with his hometown. He was born and raised in Memphis, Tennessee, and around 2010, after a decade-long stint in New York, he moved back there.


Brenda Goodman spent many years painting remarkable self-portraits, in which she is sometimes thinner but usually heavy, in her studio on the Bowery in lower Manhattan. But in recent years she has moved to the Catskills, where she continues to practice her art.


To capture the encyclopedic scope, breadth, and dimensionality of Joyce Kozloff’s exhibitions, a magic carpet is a prerequisite.


What is the measure of a successful artistic career? Is it the validation gleaned from an institutional retrospective, or soaring prices for one’s work on the auction block?

RAMIN HAERIZADEH, ROKNI HAERIZADEH, and HESAM RAHMANIAN I won’t wait for grey hairs and worldly cares to soften my views

Iranian, Dubai-based artists Ramin Haerizadeh, Rokni Haerizadeh, and Hesam Rahmanian’s first show in New York, I won’t wait for grey hairs and worldly cares to soften my views is a vociferous installation spanning a multitude of genres, places, times, and languages.


Photographer Arne Svenson has garnered much notoriety as of late. The infamy began in 2013, when Svenson was lampooned in the Tribeca Citizen by his neighbors, appalled that he would secretly photograph them within their glass houses (The Neighbors, 2012). He went to court twice to protect his actions as fine art; twice the court ruled in his favor.

True Monotypes

Monotype is the humblest of printmaking disciplines; you use a plate without permanent features, apply ink or paint, then print. It’s also the most variable because the marks you apply to the plate and the marks that result in printing often vary wildly.


Hisako Kobayashi has lived for many years on the edge of the East Village, where she also maintains a studio.


Julian Hatton’s recent paintings speak to a healthy self-confidence not only in his artistic process, but also in the very enterprise of abstract painting.

MONIR SHAHROUDY FARMANFARMAIAN Infinite Possibility. Mirror Works and Drawings 1974 – 2014

To reach Infinite Possibility, the viewer passes the Guggenheim’s permanent collection, and all of its iconic works that shape the common understanding of art history.

BASQUIAT The Unknown Notebooks

There are some painters who are born great (Picasso), some who attained greatness due to circumstances of their time (David), and some whose work grows in importance posthumously (Kahlo); Jean-Michel Basquiat is a rare case of a painter who managed to fall into all three of these categories.

LAURA LANCASTER A Stranger’s Dream

British painter Laura Lancaster is known for making works from photos found in flea markets. She began the series while she was making paintings from old family photos.

CLARE GRILL Touch’d Lustre

It might seem counter-intuitive to begin a review of an abstract painting show by discussing realism. Especially now, when abstract painting is everywhere, from the Museum of Modern Art’s contentious survey The Forever Now, to artist-run spaces in Brooklyn, and the white cube galleries of the Lower East Side.

JEAN PAGLIUSO Poultry and Raptor Suites

Who would mock the pretensions of Lavater’s new science of physiognomy / But Georg Lichtenberg in his witty essay “Fragment On Tails.” / It was a series of drawings of dogs’ tails made as an exercise for the readers, / “If Goethe had a tail, which one of these would it be?”


Who’s afraid of endless squares that sing independently, / Black chromatics that blaze high above the floor? / Each member of the tribe longs to separate himself, / Herself as soon as possible. / Distinctions from yesterday are barely recognizable today.

RUTH HARDINGER The Basement Rocks

It is incredibly refreshing to be confronted by a show breathing out of the human dwelling. So many artists, myself included, see their artwork as a place relating to the art-world, or more widely, to our culture.


The Brooklyn Rail

MAY 2015

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