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Ja’Tovia Gary: flesh that needs to be loved

Gary razes derivative historical narratives and turns archival rubble into a question of who stands witness to the chaos of the present and where we begin to process the past.

The Moon Seemed Lost

The dysfunctional moon described by Calvino’s story and the exhibition title could not appear more timely than today, as we face the instability of our own planet and society, our movement is drastically restricted, and we are forced to turn inward.

Tom McGlynn: At Present

With his new approach, McGlynn is slowly moving towards a “continuum of transformations” where each painting becomes antipodal, like planes inserted perpendicular to the unidirectional flow of time.

Joanna Pousette-Dart

In her first solo exhibition at Lisson Gallery, Pousette-Dart has included larger-scale paintings alongside vivid 12-inch square gouache and acrylic studies that at first glance look like they mimic the paintings, before going their own ways, and similarly-sized fuzzy sumi ink sketches that have seeped into the weave of their rice paper grounds.

Jack Whitten: Transitional Space, A Drawing Survey

Deeply involved with materials, Whitten is well known for having devised novel tools to make massive paintings. Here, he shows himself equally at home on a modest scale and with a range of new mediums.

Philip Pearlstein: Nudes and Other Landscapes

Philip Pearlstein, Nudes and Other Landscapes is a casual retrospective of the artist’s paintings, drawings, and watercolors going back almost 70 years. It starts with a wonderful and gritty textured painting titled The Capture (1954), and comes up to the present with Two Models with Carousel Giraffe and Le Corbusier Chair (2020), right at the front door of the gallery.

Silke Otto-Knapp: In the waiting room

Silke Otto-Knapp’s exhibition ecstatically blurs your inward perception of movement with your real locomotion through the gallery as your eyes and body move with the paintings.

Jonah Bokaer: About An Arabesque

In the exhibition About An Arabesque, choreographer Jonah Bokaer investigates the socio-political underpinnings of the notion of the “arabesque,” a European aesthetic catch-all for a wide swathe of Middle Eastern and North-African decorative gestures. It is also the title of a ballet position.

Shaun Leonardo: The Breath of Empty Space

Shaun Leonardo’s current exhibition posits a simple act of resistance: to excavate these optical memories, sifting through their noise. In his repeated drawings of news photographs surrounding violence against Black men, Leonardo builds a system that questions a singular image’s capacity for truth-telling.

Ellen Lesperance: Velvet Fist

The title’s synecdoche—in which something modestly sized stands for something larger—resonates throughout the exhibition, whose unassuming scale belies the ambition of the work, which extends beyond the museum’s walls and reaches into both the past and the future.

Krzysztof Woidczko: A House Divided

The installation functions as a veritable safe space, where we might gradually accustom ourselves to the voices and faces of people whose political opinions are diametrically opposed to ours, while perhaps attempting to perceive a crucial distinction along the way between the message and the messenger.

Sahel: Art and Empires on the Shores of the Sahara

This pioneering exhibition of 200 works includes sculptures, fabrics, and some manuscripts, supplemented with detailed maps, useful captions, a massive catalogue, and a video.

School Photos and their Afterlives

Weems’s installation conveys the central insight of this exhibition: school photographs are techniques of power that subject individuals and groups to the ideological projects of state and empire. To that end, the curators combine displays of archival school photographs from Europe, the United States, and their colonies with works by contemporary artists, like Weems, who exploit the genre.

LaToya Ruby Frazier

Frazier elaborates on the wrenching decisions people were forced to make with 67 gelatin silver photographs, accompanied by interviews and mounted on a bright red paneled truss that stamps up and down like an assembly line. The narrative progression isn’t strict, but the distance from which you view it is: there’s no more than three feet between each panel, and weaving between the photos feels relentless, like going door to door to families jam-packed in “purgatory,” waiting without pay to be transferred, as local United Automobile Workers (UAW) union President David Green put it.

Marino Marini: Arcadian Nudes

The exhibition is an eye-opener, in part because, quite as Marini had feared, this kind of thing just isn’t done anymore. These figures come to us from another world, although it really wasn’t so long ago. We are now accustomed to objects that are just that, but here every “piece” is a person.

Stephen Kaltenbach: The Beginning and the End

This exhibition is not quite a retrospective, as Kaltenbach’s career has not quite taken a conventional path. Rather, as the show’s name insists, Lewallen and Mann have selected works from the beginning of Kaltenbach’s career and from its alleged end—a nod perhaps to the conclusion, with this exhibition, of the artist’s self-imposed exile from the art world at large.

Celebrating 25 Years of Project 59: Irina Danilova

Celebrating 25 Years of Project 59, is a retrospective of Irina Danilova’s longitudinal commitment to a multidisciplinary art that employs a stranger’s instinct for the unnoticed. Applying methodologies cobbled from science and art, but independent of either’s restricting imperatives, Danilova delves into the ordinary and the incidental to create a parallel narrative of her unusually busy life.

Michele Zalopany: Nānā i Ke Kumu ‘Pay Attention To The Source’

Zalopany is a master of pastel drawing, an artform usually associated with French masters like Jean-Baptiste Siméon Chardin, Edgar Degas, and the American Mary Cassatt. While many artists work from photographic and archival material, the artist’s images of native Hawaiians resonate because they are part of a personal journey to recover a culture destroyed by missionaries and colonial exploitation.

Gothic Spirit: Medieval Art from Europe

Can medieval art find a niche in the contemporary art world? Gothic Spirit: Medieval Art from Europe organized by London dealer Sam Fogg and now on view at Luhring Augustine embraces this question.

Alfred Jarry: The Carnival of Being

Jarry drew from the Symbolist movement of his own time but also made use of a unique methodology involving radical typography, appropriation of found images, and language that mixed profanity with terms lifted from scientific magazines. The legacy of his ideas found new life in Dada, Surrealism, the Theatre of the Absurd, and far beyond.

David Flaugher: Weekends and Holidays

In his first solo exhibition at Lomex, Weekends and Holidays, David Flaugher presents an austere scene that manages to feel at once delicate and confrontational.

Larry Bell: Still Standing

The best decision Bell has made is to bevel his edges. Throughout, the bevels bisect fields, color, and visitors, acting as zips that direct the eye and project us around the room. Perhaps most important of all, they let Bell’s contours be sharp, soft to the touch but sharper than glass has ever been.

Rachel Klinghoffer: Suspended in My Masquerade

The paintings are visually seductive, but their very opulence overwhelms any sense of connection to Klinghoffer’s life. All we can really see are beautifully airbrushed surfaces, while objects that connect us to Klinghoffer’s personal history fade into the background.

Bob Witz: Milk Made

As a recent take on sculpture, these unnamed works go beyond the scope of traditional form as we know it. Something else has gotten in the way, producing another system of perception, a heightened material perception offering a radical sensory revision of form.

Purvis Young and Édouard Vuillard: Prophets and Angels

That these two pieces join subject and form through a harmony of image and support is not proof of any substantial connection between their author’s oeuvres, and the pair may not warrant extended consideration. But, faced with the work’s current proximity, why not revel in its strange, absorbing links?

Alberto Giacometti, Herbert Matter, Matthew Monahan, Jonathan Silver

Put together by long-standing gallerist Nicole Klagsbrun, whose project space in Chelsea perfectly holds the exhibition’s efforts, the show communicates a shared valuation of figurative art, as well as attempts to make it new. The artists involved—ranging from Giacometti, Matter (Giacometti's brilliant photographer), and more contemporary artists such as the late Jonathan Silver, and Matthew Monahan )based in Los Angeles, but educated here at Cooper Union)—work off of modernism but interpret in their own fashion.

Harold Mendez: The years now

Harold Mendez’s The years now memorializes centuries compressed into the singular space of the present.

Radical Figures: Painting in the New Millennium

Here, bodies luxuriate, gorge, writhe, and eat themselves, squirting, smoking, kissing, suffering, even sculpting their own dismembered legs. The great plethora of bodily experience is imagined in all of its infinities, the expressive potential of the human figure as boundless as the ways of painting it.

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The Brooklyn Rail

MAR 2020

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