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Wardell Milan: Bluets & 2 Years of Magical Thinking

Walking through Wardell Milan’s new show at Sikkema Jenkins, I felt among his fleeting figures. In his exhibit, Bluets & 2 Years of Magical Thinking, the collages, sculptures, and paintings produce an intimate atmosphere. The audience forms a loose communion as they wander the three large rooms of the gallery, apprehending his vast paintings upon entrance.

Arthur Dove: Sensations of Light

It is rare to witness a lifetime of dedication, a slow-burning desire that lasts decades. Arthur Dove’s meticulous study of the natural world lasted his entire life, resulting in less a material perfection than a gestural divine. This month, Alexandre Gallery is featuring Arthur Dove: Sensations of Light, a survey exhibition.

Eva Lundsager: Ovation

Ovation, a solo show of oil paintings by Eva Lundsager, extends the artist’s long-standing investigation of abstract landscape. Over the last thirty years, she has honed her painting language into a polished vocabulary of gestures: drips and pours, wet into wet, calligraphic line, and more.

Alexandra Metcalf: Vol.18

The unyielding strangeness of Alexandra Metcalf’s visual imagination might lead the viewer to demand thematic resolution. Certainly the seventeen works in her recent New York solo debut, “Vol.18,” offered any number of clues that might have tempted one to construct an interpretation. And yet one could only wonder whether trying to find the work’s raison d’être in its discursive layer was not to be—however beguilingly—misled.

Lydia Dona

Lydia Dona creates a painterly feminist parable of Plato’s Cave: across a visceral wonderland of blooming and seething colors in the background, a spider’s web of fragmentary imagery creeps along the foreground.

Jan-Ole Schiemann: New Paintings

In New Paintings at Kasmin Gallery, Jan-Ole Schiemann utilizes a segmented compositional structure to annotate different modes of mark marking. The artist makes extensive use of pastiche within the gaps of the picture plane, in a process that disconnects signs from the literalness of representation.

Yayoi Kusama: I Spend Each Day Embracing Flowers

Yayoi Kusama (b. 1929) has unveiled her first solo exhibition with David Zwirner in a decade. I Spend Each Day Embracing Flowers—on view this spring from May 11 through July 21—features dozens of new paintings, massive pumpkin and floral sculptures, and an Infinity Mirror Room by the prolific Japanese artist.

Andrea Marie Breiling: Swallowtail

We have the pleasure of experiencing new work by Andrea Marie Breiling at Almine Rech’s uptown New York location in their two main galleries. There are four paintings in each room: the main gallery, back gallery, and connecting hallway.

Lisa Corinne Davis: You Are Here?

Lisa Corinne Davis’s new paintings, created between 2022 and 2023, represent an evolution from her earlier works. Not a change in direction or an abrupt turn, but rather a development expressed in an extended, nuanced conversation with herself.

Leah Ke Yi Zheng

What is Leah Ke Yi Zheng’s work about? It feels like the wrong question to ask, yet it feels more unjust to leave it in an ambiguous aesthetic limbo that is susceptible to taste.

Beverly Fishman: Something For the Pain

Beverly Fishman likes the look of Finish. No, not like Larry Bell and Helen Pashgian, artists associated with the Finish Fetish scene in LA in the 1960s. Though she may start from the same materialist impulse, she occupies her own territory. For starters those artists used glass, resin, enamel, and aluminum to make abstract paintings and sculptures in an effort to address the new materiality surrounding everything from car culture to consumer culture at large.

Philip Guston Now—A Personal Meditation

It is good to remind ourselves that for every demagogue, tyrant, or dictator, their most fierce adversaries are the free thinkers, artists, writers, poets, and other creatives. We should also be reminded that painting, being the oldest form of human expression, long before the invention of language, has held an unusual and sustaining power to reflect directly or indirectly our perpetual struggles among ourselves while providing healing agencies through the artists’ inner impulses, guided by their ideals of truth that are opened to constant self-corrections without fear from others.

The Curatorial Imagination of Walter Hopps

Walking into The Curatorial Imagination of Walter Hopps, now on view at the Menil Collection, we are greeted (and that really is the word) by a larger-than-life assemblage portraying Walter Hopps (1932–2005).

Kyle Dunn: Night Pictures

Kyle Dunn’s Night Pictures offers quiet, intimate scenes that hum with depth. Under the rubric of domesticity—cocktails, dogs, and fashionable garments—the show brings together a wealth of ambivalent emotions, seemingly brought about by the day’s slide into night.

King Cobra: White Meat

What happens when whiteness is put on display? This is the question at the heart of King Cobra’s White Meat, a show that illuminates the sadism, power, and playfulness of the artist even as it portrays varieties of whiteness as threat, as diseased, and as contagion.

Man Ray’s Paris Portraits: 1921–1939

As Emmanuel Di Donna says in his introduction to this splendid display of vintage portrait photographs by the indisputably great Man Ray, these works do indeed capture “the essence of Parisian life between 1921 and 1939.” How not already to love the verb “capture”?

Melissa Brown: Windows and Bars

In her third solo exhibition at Derek Eller Gallery, Melissa Brown continues exploring different applications and processes to create kaleidoscopic imagery. Fusing and mixing extends to the show's title, Windows and Bars, as a double entendre.


While recently in Paris, I saw a curious, complex, and riveting exhibition titled Exposé·es at the Palais de Tokyo. It was inspired by and named after art historian, critic, and activist Elisabeth Lebovici’s highly personal book What AIDS Did to Me (Exposées: D’apres “Ce que le sida m’a fait” d’Elisabeth Lebovici).

Aura Rosenberg: What is Psychedelic

Dualities of past and future merge with progress and completion, signifier and signified in Aura Rosenberg’s excellent two-part survey, What is Psychedelic, at Pioneer Works in Brooklyn and Mishkin Gallery in Manhattan. Spanning five decades of myriad mediums and compelling overarching themes, both within and beyond the “Berlin Childhood” series, the exhibition is also supported by a comprehensive catalogue.

George Condo: Humanoids

For the length of his career, George Condo (b. 1957) has examined the almost-human. The New Hampshire-born artist’s solo exhibition Humanoids—on view from March 31 through October 1, 2023 at the Nouveau Musée National de Monaco (NMNM)—abstracts and subsequently humanizes the world around us. Yet this begs the question: what exactly is a humanoid?

T. Venkanna: Looking for Peace

Contradictory to the artist’s soft-spoken nature, T. Venkanna’s fluency in questioning the profoundest moments of life—death, lust, and a forthcoming series on birth—make art history Venkanna’s primary vocabulary. By transforming us into witnesses who must look again and again until the brutality of this world, as frightening as it is, becomes inadmissibly real, Looking for Peace is an exorcism of evil disguised in the discourse of development.

Ernst Caramelle: actual size

We journey through this exhibition with Ernst Caramelle. The works unfold his biography, daily experience, and curiosity about both art and life. From the very beginning of his career, before the beginning in fact, certain necessary core questions—what are art works actually, and what is it to be an artist—had already coalesced. What, too, are the connections between artworks and everything else? Are they part of everything else? Caramelle could not take any of this for granted, as a given.

Ilya Fedotov-Fedorov: Snake Changing Skin

Ilya Fedotov-Fedorov’s current solo exhibition in New York, now on view at Fragment Gallery’s newly relocated space, speaks to the artist’s continued fascination with ambiguous forms of life, while also marking a move away from the conceptual strategies he is best known for.

Murray Hochman: New Dimensions

This is the kind of exhibition that pulls you through it. Each work holds its own significance in the original sense of the word. It offers the viewer a complexity that engenders thought on the cusp of delight.

Mark Bradford: You Don't Have to Tell Me Twice

For his first New York solo exhibition since 2015, Los Angeles-based artist Mark Bradford interlaces urgent themes of migration, isolation, and vulnerability with an uncompromising tenacity that breathes through monumental scale and unruly material.

Sung Tieu: Infra-Specter

The Vietnamese-German artist’s incredible depth of research into unexplained phenomena and tangled official responses to them, her cool hijacking of minimalism’s stark visual language to lend her work power and legibility, and her quiet resistance to didacticism throughout all contribute to this exhibition’s ability to occupy space in your brain long after your visit. I felt so “haunted” by it on my way home that I missed my stop on the G train.

الفكرة ذكرى / A thought is a memory

The group exhibition الفكرة ذكرى / A thought is a memory curated by Noel Maghathe and on view at CUE Art Foundation includes work by four artists, Zeinab Saab, Kiki Salem, Nailah Taman, and Zeina Zeitoun, who have lineages tracing to the “Arab world.”

Angela China: Girl on the Grass

As frosty air and bleak clouds give way to warmth and color the sense of renewal inherent to blooming tulips and budding leaves becomes palpable. And so it is witnessing the debut exhibition of a young artist full of promise—hope also blossoms. Girl on the Grass, a solo show of ten paintings by New York-based artist Angela China arouses a similar, buoyant expectation.

Louise Bonnet and Adam Silverman: Entanglements

In what is a first for the space, Hollyhock House curator Abbey Chamberlain Brach has organized a site-specific intervention with paintings by Louise Bonnet nestling work into the home’s recesses and ceramics by Adam Silverman set on the dining room table and various plinths uncannily anticipating display.

Roxa Smith: No Vacancy

No Vacancy, the current exhibition at C24 gallery, takes some time to appreciate since there are no visible inhabitants in the colorful interiors depicted, aside from the occasional cat. What we do get are distinct inklings of persons suggested in all of the painterly roomscapes touched off by the magnetic perspectives, dazzling color, and lofty eye levels.

Elisabeth Kley: A Seat in the Boat of the Sun

Elisabeth Kley revels in the kitsch, the eccentric, and the natural rhythm of patterns. Her drawings and ceramics span time and cultures with intelligence, charm, and humor, as well as allusions to nature and the way we play in it.

THE ÖMEN: Albert Oehlen paintings and Paul McCarthy sculptures

The actor Ben Becker is playing Albert Oehlen. He is sitting on Oehlen’s studio rooftop and surrounded by empty beer cans. In a listless shrug, he tells the cameraman that they've been left up there by the neighborhood teenagers and that he wishes to leave it so they can see the mess they’ve left. Oehlen is ventriloquizing through the belligerent and maudlin Becker for the docufiction The Painter (2022).

R.I.P. Germain: Jesus Died for Us, We Will Die for Dudus!

R.I.P. Germain’s exhibition ‘Jesus Died for Us, We Will Die for Dudus!’ confronts power dynamics with multi-layered tact, transporting visitors through subjectively loaded underground and publicly visible spaces. ‘Dudus’ is Christopher Coke, the now imprisoned leader of the Jamaican drug gang “the Shower Posse.” Coke lived the precarity of hustle culture and gang violence while also using proceeds from the production of drugs to set up community programs and support locals in his home neighbourhood of Tivoli Gardens, West Kingston. Coke’s impact on the neighbourhood was such that police could not enter without community consent.

Of Mythic Worlds

The Drawing Center’s latest exhibition is full of portals: artworks that beckon us to a mysterious elsewhere and enable us to tunnel deeper into ourselves at the same time.

Michael Madrigali: Big City Nights

The human body only serves as a logical tool for measurement until it catches sight of itself. By toying with scale within his works, Michael Madrigali pokes holes in familiar strategies of measurement and organization, from the urban landscape to the personal archive, topiaries to semaphores, thus animating his paintings and sculptures with a peculiar self-awareness that never quite gives way to nihilism.

Pierre Bonnard: The Experience of Seeing

Pierre Bonnard typically evades categorization as a member of one tendency or another in nineteenth or twentieth century painting, for example Impressionism. Bonnard’s paintings are about far more than a genre categorization opticality, though they are visually complex in the extreme.

Georgia O’Keeffe: To See Takes Time

In the eyes of the profound American artist Georgia O’Keeffe (1887-1986), a single artwork can’t always fully express the complexity of its subject: sometimes it takes a few tries. Up now at MoMA is a wonderful expansion of that idea in Georgia O’Keeffe: To See Takes Time, featuring more than 120 works on paper spanning five decades of the pioneering artist's career.

Cecily Brown: Death and the Maid

Cecily Brown: Death and the Maid, an atypical mid-career survey, on view at the Metropolitan Museum of Art through December 3, 2023, comprises 21 paintings, 18 works on paper, 5 sketchbooks, and 3 monotypes made between 1997 and 2022 that treat just two themes: death and a maiden.

Lois Dodd: Natural Order

In Lois Dodd’s comprehensive exhibition Natural Order, now on view at the Bruce Museum, the artist’s unique approach to observation is laid bare. Dodd’s paintings of modest subjects read like field notes, recording her perception of the immediate environment. The frenetic energy and physicality of her work reminds us that making sense of the world is not an instant phenomenon.

Gego: Measuring Infinity

Despite the radicality of her practice in the context of twentieth-century modernism, Gego’s work has been largely overlooked in the US, an issue that the Guggenheim sought to redress in her first museum retrospective in New York. Building on a selection of nearly two-hundred sculptures, drawings, prints, textiles, and artist’s books, Gego: Measuring Infinity, curated by Geaninne Gutiérrez-Guimarães and Pablo León de la Barra, attempts to summarize a rich and varied oeuvre through a spiraling procession of geometric constellations in the museum’s vertiginous rotunda.

Ficre Ghebreyesus: I Believe We Are Lost

“To emigrate,” John Berger writes in And Our Faces, My Heart, Brief as Photos, “is always to dismantle the center of the world, and so to move into a lost, disoriented one of fragments.” For artist Ficre Ghebreyesus (1962–2012), who fled Eritrea during the period of Red Terror, after the country was annexed by Ethiopia, those fragments became the basis of a visual language that filled the images he made with flashes of memory from his early life and evocations of the loneliness of transience. Two dozen of his paintings and pastels make up Ficre Ghebreyesus: I Believe We Are Lost at Galerie Lelong.

Juan de Pareja, Afro-Hispanic Painter

The Met’s riveting new exhibition, Juan de Pareja, Afro-Hispanic Painter, is a curious amalgam. Although the show does present a selection of Pareja’s paintings, offering an overview of his little-known oeuvre for the first time, it is far from being a traditional, single-artist exhibition.

Anselm Reyle: Rainbow in the Dark

Anselm Reyle is about drawing, insofar as drawing is about diagramming, writing, jotting, annotating, and condensing reality. Much art tries to convince the viewer that an illusion is real, but in Rainbow in the Dark (curated by Emann Odufu), Reyle does the opposite: he convinces the viewer that the real is an apparition.

Wangechi Mutu: Intertwined

Spanning all four floors (in addition to one sculpture in the sky room), Wangechi Mutu: Intertwined brings together nearly three decades of the multimedia artist’s work, from intricate collages and large-scale sculptures, to videos and small assemblages.

Dan Graham

Dan Graham died a year ago at 79. Although his diverse corpus is relatively modest in size, Graham holds a prominent place in the canon and, after seeing the five well-coordinated tribute exhibitions currently on view throughout the city, I feel sure that he always will.

Simone Leigh

Simone Leigh makes highly refined and stylish sculptures that seemingly tell consciously constructed stories as well as unintended ones. The installation of this exhibition of her works at the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) in Boston is stark, dramatic, and elegant.

Enrique Chagoya: Borderless

Enrique Chagoya applies subversive wit to intimately crafted revisions of Aztec codices—cartoon-like, fold-out books made on panels of traditional Amate paper. His vocabulary of politicized, graphic imagery also extends into his large paintings on Amate panels, mounted on canvas, of which four are included in Borderless, his new show at George Adams Gallery.

Kern Samuel: Paining

It is uncommon for painting to be pulled apart at its threads with such care. Kern Samuel’s preoccupations with the medium are obsessive and unabashedly earnest; each of his deconstructions is mirrored in an equivalent statement of confidence.

Amy Lincoln: Radiant Spectrum

The task of capturing natural light through landscape painting is one as familiar and thoroughly explored as any in art history. Accordingly, we might approach the spectacular series of imagined landscapes and seascapes in Amy Lincoln’s exhibition, Radiant Spectrum, as ripe for comparison to many other artists and movements that focused on documenting the external world.


The Brooklyn Rail

MAY 2023

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