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Ed Clark: The Big Sweep

From September 7 through October 21, 2023, two full floors of Hauser & Wirth’s 22nd Street location in New York will celebrate the life and work of prolific American abstractionist Ed Clark (1926–2019).

To Bend the Ear of the Outer World: Conversations on contemporary abstract painting

To Bend the Ear of the Outer World, an engaging exhibition astutely curated by Gary Garrels, brings together abstract works by forty-one artists in Gagosian’s two Mayfair galleries.

Melike Kara: Emine’s Garden

As opposed to a memory palace, Melike Kara has planted a memory garden on the floor of the gallery at the Kunst Halle Sankt Gallen. The composition of Emine’s Garden (named after her grandmother) is ambiguous: five large paintings on canvas lie flat, slightly raised from the floor, while laminated directly to that floor is a labyrinth of grainy black-and-white family photographs.

Precious Okoyomon: the sun eats her children

Smaller than Precious Okoyomon’s 59th Venice Biennale installation at the Arsenale, the presentation in the Eternal City operates like an echo chamber, not only for the ear but also for the eye and the skin. Beauty—with its allure and dangerous aloofness—is a core in the artist’s work in poetry, visual art, and food. Under seedlings of botanical beauty, questions of power grow.

Ay-Ō’s Happy Rainbow Hell

Ay-Ō’s Happy Rainbow Hell is the first American museum show for the ninety-two year old, Tokyo-based Fluxus artist who ceased art-making in 2017, though he is a veteran of tributes in his native Japan. Centering around eighty rainbow serigraphs the museum has acquired, this treasure trove creates an ideal port of entry for a presentation by Assistant Curator of Japanese Art, Kit Brooks, to the little-explored, contemporary yet timeless Ay-Ō Flux-story.

Cecilia Vicuña: Sonoran Quipu

If Cecilia Vicuña’s earlier quipus explored the ways that fiber can alter architecture or how this unique form can be adapted to document contemporary life, Sonoran Quipu is investigating something more ineffable: relationship, connection, dependency, resilience.

Jeff Weber: Image Storage Containers

Since 1994, Edward Steichen’s landmark exhibition The Family of Man has been on display at Clervaux Castle—an outpost of the Centre national de l'audiovisuel (CNA)—in northern Luxembourg. Between 2011 and 2013, these works underwent a campaign of conservation treatments that Luxembourger photographer Jeff Weber was invited to document.

Gary Gissler: there there

Gary Gissler’s exhibition there there amounts to a mini retrospective of his meticulously executed paintings and drawings. His work as a psychoanalyst has given him intimate knowledge of the limits of speech as a medium for interpersonal communication. For the last twenty years, he has combined traditional art materials, such as oils, gesso, and ink, with collage elements like linen and mylar to explore the ways language both conveys and conceals meaning.

Anousha Payne: Tender Mooring

For Tender Mooring, Anousha Payne’s current solo exhibition at Deli Gallery in New York, eight new works (all 2023) respond to “The Gravity of Fur,” a fictional story written by Payne. The resulting exhibition follows a transformation of its maker as she grapples with the narrative’s central relationship.

Siri Berg: The Kabbalah Paintings from the 1980s

Siri Berg (1921–2020) was born in Stockholm, Sweden. She immigrated from war-ravaged Europe to the United States at nineteen years old. Her intense interest in color was formalized by studying with Austrian born Zita Querido—a former student and colleague of Hans Hofmann—at the Riverdale Fine Arts Society in New York. Color was a life-long passion, enhanced by Berg’s strong interest in the works and ideas of Johannes Itten and Josef Albers: she in fact taught Color Theory at the Parsons School of Design for more than thirty years.

Guillermo Garcia Cruz: SCREEN I

KATES-FERRI PROJECTS presents Uruguayan conceptual artist Guillermo Garcia Cruz’s (b. 1988) first solo exhibition in New York. On view from September 7 through October 10, 2023, SCREEN I includes eighteen works that showcase Cruz’s geometric mastery.

Blythe Bohnen: Process is Life

Letters, whether they are Roman, Cyrillic, or Arabic, represented, at one time, a physical thing: a boat, or a hawk, a house, or the sun. But over time these markings, in many alphabets, have become abstracted. Now letters that line a page are mere keystrokes for what they once were. Process is Life, a show of Blythe Bohnen’s work at A.I.R. Gallery, features an early body of her paintings composed of paintbrush markings that weave within grids, rising and falling in expressive undulations with deceptive ease, the eye trying to form those shapes into letters. And even though these are not alphabetic markings steeped in an evolutionary history of culture, Bohnen’s study beside a series of loose square forms in “Brushstroke Series” (ca. 1970) offers a small key into the deep thought that went into each character appearing in the show. In the same way letters are not random shapes, these marks were well thought out. Bohnen was, above all, scientifically attentive to the motions of the world, so these compositions echo with life.

Light from Water: Heidi Howard & Esteban Cabeza de Baca, with Liz Phillips

Stepping into Light from Water at Wave Hill in the Bronx is a little bit like time travel, or space travel, or both. Artists Heidi Howard and Esteban Cabeza de Baca present a different worldview than the one that fuels New York City’s supertall buildings, logic of accumulation, and newly-shellacked Tribeca galleries.

Daniel Ramos: Eres Muy Hermosa

Photographer Daniel Ramos’s first solo show in New York is not large. Eight 40-by-52-inch, black-and-white prints span the walls of the Camera Club of New York’s intimate Baxter St Project Space. The photographs themselves do not at first appear complicated either; Ramos took each portrait with a four-by-five view camera at the same bar in Monterrey, Mexico over a two-year period (all works summer 2018–winter 2019), while living in the Northern Mexican city with his wife.

Judy Fox: Harvest

Her clay sculptures, treated with casein paint, include such oddities as a pair of small broccoli heads, connected by a thick stalk traveling down the middle. The smaller connections between stalk and head create something very like a lung system in dark green. Then there is the pepper taken over by swathes of subtle color, or the parsnip, parted into two segments and painted an off-white—all are examples of Fox’s expertise.

Noël Dolla: Tulle/Dye, 1969-2023

Noël Dolla is a French artist, and if he is known at all in the United States it is for his participation in Supports/Surfaces, a collective of like-minded artists who in the late 1960s to 70s shared common ideas about the identity and symbolic function of art.

Elle Pérez: guabancex

“Don’t want to go out in the rain. I kind of like it. / If this is dying, I guess I kind of enjoy it. I shouldn’t / But the light is just too good at the end of the world.” These lines from Elle Pérez’s poem ask us to consider how we might continue finding beauty, pleasure, and meaning with the specter of civilizational ruin lurking behind us. The poem accompanies guabancex, Pérez’s new exhibition of photographs and collages, and the new work seems poised to provide us with something that is, if not an outright answer, then perhaps an example of how we might respond.

Jane Wilson: Atmospheres

Wilson (1924–2015), the subject of DC Moore Gallery’s quietly soul-stirring Atmospheres exhibition and a founding member of the mid-century Hansa Gallery, produced a range of landscapes embodying what she referred to in a 2001 interview as “the substance of things without substance.”

Robert Motherwell: Pure Painting

The retrospective exhibition of Robert Motherwell’s paintings currently at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth is exhilarating. I came away with the sense that he has lived in totality, and that an infinite reservoir of awareness is in service for him at the moment of creation.

Barbara Friedman: The Hysterical Sublime

If there is a chaos in Barbara Friedman’s new paintings, it is just that: a maw of possibility, full of glistening teeth, gums, and tongues, eyes peering out, each one the beginning of a world.

Doris Salcedo

How does one rehabilitate a memory? The eight rooms of Doris Salcedo’s survey exhibition at Fondation Beyeler each explore a different way in which the artist uses everyday objects and materials to trigger a mnemonic reaction that is reflective, nostalgic and mournful.

Ryan Patrick Krueger: Documents from the Closet

At Tiger Strikes Asteroid’s Bushwick location, Krueger strings a loose narrative of tragedy around the room with their collages and sculptures.

Frances Brady: Much More Together

Frances Brady is the moniker of a collaborative project by two queer artists, Brooklyn-based Marta Lee and Chicago-based Anika Steppe, who asynchronously created these works by sending snapshots of their individual lives to each other and appropriating received images. The imagery is mounted on plain white walls in no particular order, and afforded a formal flare of sculptural sensibility by virtue of being transferred onto a physical panel or canvas.

Maureen Dougherty: Borrowed Time

Since its formation in 1963, the New York Studio School of Drawing, Painting and Sculpture has instilled in its pupils the importance of technical painterly prowess. Maureen Dougherty is no exception.

Many Wests: Artists Shape an American Idea

Many Wests is an exhibition focused on what gets left out of stories traditionally told about the American West. Visions of Anglo Americans bravely settling the landscape originate, as we learn from the exhibition’s didactic material, with the U.S. government’s policy of unhalted territorial expansion beginning at the end of the seventeenth century.

Projects: Dineo Seshee Bopape

Dineo Seshee Bopape’s first solo museum exhibition in New York is carefully attuned to histories of resistance. Embedded in the show is a refusal against categorization and linearity, as well as the question: How do we imaginatively retrieve or invent new methods for prospering?

Julie DeVries: Survival Moments

Julie DeVries is showing seven oil landscapes and about as many studies in her first New York show, currently on view at Hunter Dunbar. Working both from memory and photographs, her paintings depict lyrical scenes suffused with brilliant color and radiant light.

Kathy Ruttenberg: Twilight in the Garden of Hope

The courtyard of Chinatown gallery Lyles & King is a brick-and-concrete panopticon of apartment windows looming five stories high. AC units pump stifling exhaust into the air, combatting a July in which global heat records were set. But the machines’ buzzing is broken by a babble of cool water, which streams from a spout-like branch in the face of an anthropomorphic tree. It is the centerpiece of Kathy Ruttenberg’s fountain installation, which turns this glorified air shaft into a paradise garden.

Raven Halfmoon: Flags of Our Mothers

In Flags of Our Mothers, Raven Halfmoon honors her Caddo heritage and ancestors while pushing back against Indigenous silencing. With monumental hand-built stoneware sculptures filling the galleries of The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, she claims space for Indigenous peoples, herself included. The sheer size and weight of the figural sculptures command attention. As she works, Halfmoon considers the lived experiences of her ancestors—their traditions and the impact of colonization—and seeks to empower her community and uplift their stories. At the same time, she reflects more broadly on the rich heritage of Indigenous peoples, as well as their own tragedies as colonizers forced them off their land. The evidence of her emotions is preserved in the glaze, divots, indentations, and figures that adorn the surfaces of her work.

Musical Thinking: New Video Art and Sonic Strategies

Musical Thinking doesn’t simply beat the drum of aesthetics as politics, but provides a context in which to remember that politics are aesthetic and, as will shortly be evident with another election cycle, provide many a song and dance. Grayson’s curatorial sensibility tunes difficult content into a poignant show representing the diversity of this nation that some of its representatives insist on denying.

James Brooks: A Painting Is a Real Thing

James Brooks was, above all, a man of his times—that is, his various times. The exhibition at the Parrish makes evident what many knew Brooks to be: a very fine painter, attentive to his position in contemporary art history, to his influences and peers, to his surrounding landscapes, to society, and to history.

Francine Tint:The Sky is a Mirror

Tint’s extraordinary visual tenacity questions the regions of competence that others may take for granted. Indeed, she is the kind of master who knows and depends on her prerogatives. In her case, exaggerations are for the most part unnecessary

Joseph Grigely: In What Way Wham? (White Noise and Other Works, 1996–2023)

In the tradition of such artists as On Kawara, Stanley Brouwn, James Lee Byars, and Ray Johnson, whose work extensively consisted of ephemera—postcards, hand-drawn maps, notes, and collages—the conceptualist Joseph Grigely presents images and texts as artifice, evidence, and commentary.

Into the Brightness: Artists from Creativity Explored, Creative Growth and NIAD

Into the Brightness: Artists from Creativity Explored, Creative Growth and NIAD brings together these studios for the first time in a celebration of the Katzs’ vision. The exhibition marks an important milestone in the way that the relationship between disability and creativity is presented to a wide public.

Bridget Riley Drawings: From the Artist’s Studio

These works’ pictorial strategies, and others from the 1970s on, though their initial effects are still op, align them with many of the now marginalized practices of post-50s hardedge and geometric abstract art. With this insight, I realized Riley’s practice extends beyond her association with Op art and that her work can be contextualized within the broader aesthetic discourses of early and late modernism.

Oneness: Nature & Connectivity in Chinese Art

Curated by Hiromi Kinoshita and Gabrielle Niu, Oneness: Nature & Connectivity in Chinese Art features the work of four contemporary Chinese artists installed in conjunction with a selection of historical treasures from the museum’s collection.

Bridget Riley Drawings: From the Artist’s Studio

This is the first presentation in over fifty years dedicated to Riley’s works on paper, and it includes over seventy-five works from the artist’s own collection.

Songs of the Horizon:
David Smith, Music and Dance

A 1963 photograph shows David Smith on a snow-covered stone bench at his property in Bolton Landing, New York. Alone, his back to the camera, he contemplates the distant Adirondacks and a sweeping field populated with dozens of his metal sculptures.

Ceija Stojka: What Should I be Afraid of?

“What should I be afraid of?” asks Ceija Stojka. “Auschwitz is my overcoat, Bergen-Belsen my dress, and Ravensbrück my undershirt.” Stojka, a survivor of the Porajmos, the Romani Holocaust, is remembered in a beautifully haunting exhibition at the Austrian Cultural Forum New York. This collection of artworks, videos, books, and ephemera underscores Stojka’s profound message against hate and intolerance of all kinds while urging us to never forget her and the millions of Jews, Sinti-Roma peoples, and Slavs and their struggles.

Cyle Warner: Weh Dem? De Sparrow Catcher?

Brooklyn-based artist Cyle Warner never met his great grandfather, who started moving their family from Trinidad to Brooklyn in 1962. Warner, who’s just finished studying photography at SVA, interweaves that medium with textiles in his debut exhibition “Weh Dem? De Sparrow Catcher?” at Welancora Gallery in Bed-Stuy.


The Brooklyn Rail

SEPT 2023

All Issues