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BECKY HOWLAND: Weeds of New York

MOIETY gallery, an inviting first-floor space in a long-time artist-owned building opposite McCarren Park, dwarfed by the McCarren Hotel—that almighty glass gentrifier—and a neighborhood bar, is seemingly the perfect space to host a meditation on gentrification, weeds, the secret life of parks, defiance, and survival. Howland, a former member and one-time president of Colab (Collaborative Projects, Inc.), has lived in New York for several decades, seemingly spending them defying or thinking around the onslaught of real estate development.

Pia Camil: A Pot for a Latch

If nothing else, Pia Camil’s work makes people smile. Or at least that’s the thought that struck me the other day as my companions and I exited the New Museum carrying a one-and-a-half-foot-tall green letter D and a wooden spoon large enough to serve peas to the Jolly Green Giant, to the amused stares of the people we passed on the Bowery. These were the literal takeaways from our visit to Camil’s first solo show, A Pot for a Latch, a“participatory sculptural installment.”


Anri Sala’s sound, vision, and sculptural installations feel like they want to exist whether or not anyone is there to hear or see them. Like the entranced drummer in the work that lends the show its title, Answer Me (2008), Sala is not concerned with conventional conversation.


Henrik Olesen, again and again, makes works that are feedback loops of the rather self-replicating and/or wormhole-y type. They convey information, and facilitate (our) understanding of it, back onto themselves, but they also threaten—rightly so—to upend the structures and/or dimensions that made such a cycle possible.


An imaginary fence runs between the new work of William Pope.L and Will Boone on view at Andrea Rosen Gallery. It fences in and fences out, work and viewer.

Photo-Poetics: An Anthology

At first glance, Photo-Poetics seems like a rehashing of recent iterations of the New Photography series at MoMA. Six out of the ten artists, including Anne Collier, Moyra Davey, Leslie Hewitt, Elad Lassry, Lisa Oppenheim, and Sara VanDerBeek, have been featured in MoMA’s series, itself perhaps the closest thing New York has to a proper survey of newfangled photo-based work.


“These trees are magnificent,” Rilke famously observed, “but even more magnificent is the sublime and moving space between them, as though with their growth it too increased.” Especially in the West, so scant is our awareness of negative space—of the gaps, pauses, and silences between things—that it often takes a great poet to bring it to our attention.

I Am a Lie and I am Gold

The familiar image of Diane Arbus’s iconic twins greet viewers by the entrance. Yet something is immediately amiss—it is not a photograph but a meticulously enlarged replica of the image drawn in pencil. Daniel Davidson’s Mirror (Diane Arbus) (2015) gives the first hint at the challenges of this exhibit. Three rooms of the gallery have been packed with a wide range of work, from text-based pieces to traditional oil paintings. Although not a single photograph is on display, each artwork addresses an old concern: “How has photography influenced our perception?”


Two concurrent exhibits, one uptown at the National Academy Museum and one downtown at the Eric Firestone Loft, offer versions of the legacy of Miriam Schapiro (1923 – 2015), one in the vaunted halls of academic history and the other within the white walls of a contemporary gallery setting.

Laura Poitras Astro Noise

Laura Poitras, the dissident journalist and filmmaker, imagined creating an art installation about a month after her initial contact with Edward Snowden, the NSA whistleblower who would become the subject of her Academy Award-winning documentary Citizenfour. Here and elsewhere in Poitras’s diary, excerpted in the Astro Noise catalogue, we can glimpse her enthusiasm about the radical potential of installation art, its capacity to choreograph social participation, to disorient and transform consciousness through immersive experience.


Walking through Cameron Rowland’s solo exhibition, 91020000, is a sobering experience. Here, the Philadelphia-born artist, who has been exhibiting in galleries for only a few years now, presents a body of work that is as disquieting as it is inspiring. The artist, known for displaying ready-made objects that are obtained through abstruse economic exchanges, showcases work that transcends its own objecthood as commodity, revealing a language (and history) of social and racial hierarchies.

Regards Sur Beyrouth: 160 Ans D’images 1800 – 1960

The exhibition Regards sur Beyrouth 160 ans d’Images 1800 – 1960, curated by Sylvia Agémian, is one of the inaugural temporary exhibitions at the newly renovated Sursock Museum in Beirut.

PETER HUJAR Lost Downtown

The twenty-four black-and-white photographs from the estate of master portraitist Peter Hujar (1934 – 1987)included in Lost Downtown, document a pivotal moment in the New York art world and, at the same time, manage to convey something essential about the medium itself.


The primary exhibition image for the two-person show Queen (featured both on the press release and the gallery website) does not depict any of the paintings shown at Lyles & King.

MERNET LARSEN Things People Do

Mernet Larsen’s Things People Do range from the mundane to the quixotic, forming an unlikely index of human activity: reading, sitting, spearfishing, falling, operating a chainsaw.

Reality of My Surroundings: The Contemporary Collection

This winter, Duke’s Nasher Museum contributed its two cents to the roiling national conversation on race by celebrating its tenth anniversary with a show of artists of African descent, organized by chief curator Trevor Schoonmaker.


“Once you leave New York City, America begins,” or so the old maxim goes. The notion that the city is a threshold, that it stands apart from the rest of the country, is a potent cultural marker, one that many New Yorkers subscribe to.

AMY SILLMAN Stuff Change

More than a hundred drawings, a dozen paintings, two videos, and a zine populate Stuff Change, Amy Sillman’s first solo show in New York in six years.

How to Be Unique

How to be Unique, an eclectic exhibition selected from the private collection of Jochen Kienzle, includes the work of thirty-two international artists from three generations and eight countries.

The World is a Totality of Things

A series of exhibitions in London this winter deals with the collection of objects and the archiving of images as a pathway, through art, to a variety of utopias. In most cases these utopias are inaccessible, whether the artists are willing to admit it or not, or so deeply subjective they appear to be the vision of one person.


An opulent glimpse into a voluptuous void / Gave birth to the Maiden Voyage. / In the middle of a convivial mirage, / She simply refuses to reach her destination.


Martha Diamond: Recent Paintings is a terrific show of forty-one small abstract paintings, done since 2002, continuing her ongoing exploration of a world characterized both by rough figuration and abstraction. She is a true New York artist, a veteran of the still active and productive decades of the New York School whose work demonstrates a predilection not so much for the lyric, gestural abstraction we know so well in the city, but a more uncouth reflection of urban life.


The Brooklyn Rail

MAR 2016

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