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Lyle Rexer

Lyle Rexer is the author of several books on outsider art, including How to Look at Outsider Art. He is on the faculty of the School of Visual Arts.

EMIL ALZAMORA Random Mutations That Work

Alzamora’s sculpture, concept meets craft at a very high level, a union as rare as the teeth of the proverbial hen. With the general de-skilling of art and the rise of conceptual strategies, which have gone hand-in-hand since the early 1960s, it has been too little noted that what amounts to an old-fashioned, Henry-Fordish division of labor has taken over in the art world.

Robert Frank: After The Americans

In The Americans, Robert Frank may have appeared as a revolutionary photographer, but beyond The Americans, the real revolution in photography was taking place elsewhere.

Hector Leonardi

There is a story about how Bonnard, as he grew older, became increasingly obsessed with the juxtaposition of color, to such a degree that when he was working with a pigment, he would walk among his canvases and see where the color might be applied in anything he was doing, to get just the effects he was after.

Sally Mann: Proud Flesh

Several years ago in conversation, Sally Mann said that once she adopted the wet collodion process for taking photographs, she became aware of making “graven images.” This exhibition is her most vivid demonstration of the truth of that idea.

Luis Camnitzer: Towards an Aesthetic of Imbalance

Luis Camnitzer’s work has always confounded me with the way it speaks so critically while assimilating seamlessly into architectural space, including the quasi-sacred but increasingly consumer-friendly temple of the museum and the white cube gallery.

Mike Kelley: Timeless Painting

It was upsetting and exhilarating in equal measure to see a selection of those paintings extracted from the detritus of Kelley’s sprawling artistic career and made to stand for something important in the cold confines of Hauser & Wirth. Separated from the stuffed animals, videos, sculptures, and architectural models that crowded MoMA PS1 a few years ago, Kelley’s paintings become an uncomfortable retrospective, inevitably shadowed by the artist’s suicide in 2012.

Ken Grimes: Alien Variations

Although the exhibition at Ricco/Maresca contains mostly smaller works on paper—drawings and gouaches—it may be the most revealing presentation about the motives of this prolific artist. It is illuminating as well, not only about Grimes but also about the strategies of a range of artists on the visionary spectrum, from Alfred Jensen and his obsession with Mexican pyramids to Johannes Itten, who founded the Bauhaus design program, to Emery Blagdon, the outsider who created a barn full of healing machines.

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The Brooklyn Rail

APRIL 2020

All Issues