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Corina Larkin

CORINA LARKIN is a painter and writer who lives in New York City. She is also an editor of the Rail's ArtSeen section.

In Conversation

JUDITH BERNSTEIN with Corina Larkin

Time has caught up with Judith Bernstein’s art. Trained in the early 1960s at Yale, Judith moved to New York and soon became a founding member of the A.I.R. Gallery.


Just for the record, these paintings are not by the comedian Robin Williams. But this young artist does share some of the verve and originality of her coincidental namesake, making for a visually entertaining exhibition.


At first glance, the work in the concurrent shows of Rebecca Purdum and Matthew Fischer is diametrically opposed in vision and temperament. Purdum’s paintings are vast, seemingly monochromatic color fields and Fischer’s are colorful jumbles of bold strokes.

LIN TIANMIAO Bound Unbound

In the exhibition catalogue for Lin Tianmiao’s Bound Unbound, a grainy photograph from 1995 shows the installation work “Proliferation of Thread Winding” in its original context, a bare cement-walled apartment. A twin bed occupies most of the cramped and dimly lit room.

TOM BURCKHARDT Pretty Little Liars

For those readers not spending time around adolescent girls, the show’s title, Pretty Little Liars, refers to an insanely popular book and television series about a group of high school girls who lie their way through a murder investigation.

Ink Art: Past as Present in Contemporary China

For many Chinese artists, their country’s long, illustrious, and in some ways hide-bound visual traditions are an elephant in the studio when it comes to making contemporary art.


Just in case anyone out there is still arguing about form versus function in ceramics, Kathy Butterly’s recent exhibit settles the score: form has won. These 12 small scale—but not diminutive—pieces make the argument cogently.

JOAN SNYDER: A Year in the Painting Life

As might be expected of any grande dame, Joan Snyder’s recent paintings are extravagant, dramatic, sexy, and somewhat at risk of becoming sentimental caricatures of themselves.


Charline von Heyl’s paintings share the qualities of a ballet dancer—effortless grace with the help of discipline and serious muscle. First, a word about the muscle: the works are all large (typically around six square feet), and the canvases assert a palpable degree of authority, even in the context of a very spacious gallery.

DAMIEN HIRST The Complete Spot Paintings 1986 – 2011

Wandering through the New York portion of Damien Hirst’s global extravaganza “Spot Paintings,” I found myself thinking of Dutch tulips and sub-prime mortgages.


Is it possible to be punched in the gut by a flower? This is the feeling provoked by “Pageant” (2013), the first painting that comes into view as one enters Gregory Amenoff’s recent show of paintings and drawings.


 “Obsessive” and “compulsive” are two words that immediately and inevitably come to mind when one views Lori Ellison’s work. While apt, these words alone do not do her art justice.

BEN LA ROCCO Fugue State

Like his toddler son, Ben La Rocco spends a lot of time trying to understand how things fit together. In the case of the father, it’s not stacking cups, but bigger things, like the cosmos, or form and color. His recent show is the manifestation of this struggle.


Patrick Wilson is on a self-professed quest for beauty in the realm of color and form. His search takes him back to 20th-century abstract colorists and reaches forward into contemporary, technology-dominated, urban life. Such rigorous study of color relationships, careful observation of artificial and natural light, and references to technological motifs yield complex and sublime results.

MARY LUCIER New Installation Works

Lucier’s recent installation is a pared-down, elegant affair, which in its apparent simplicity belies a wealth of layered perceptions.


As the title of the current exhibition suggests, Time-Lapse showcases pieces that either address the subjective experience of time or rely expressly on the passage of time to achieve full realization. Works accrue gradually, offering visitors a unique viewing experience every day, if not every minute.

MATTHEW RITCHIE Ten Possible Links

The paintings, sculpture, and video in this exhibition seem like an unnaturally contained drop in the bucket compared to the explosive output of Matthew Ritchie’s on-going residency at Boston’s Institute of Contemporary Art.


In his first solo show in New York, Jorge Queiroz throws down the gauntlet and challenges the viewer to work. With his eerie and disjointed imagery, this Berlin-based, Portuguese artist determinedly reminds us that his creations are about the act of looking, and all that entails in a post-Freudian world.

Art And Trauma, or Run of the Mill Suffering

Years ago, I bought a postcard of a Louise Bourgeois artwork that still hangs in my studio. In scratchy, uneven handwriting, she had written, “Art is a guaranty of sanity.” For Bourgeois, that special master of spinning art from torment, it may refer to her process of creation. But it is also a reminder of art’s power to affect its viewers.

What is Art?

As Justice Potter Stewart once said in reference to hard-core pornography, “I know it when I see it.” Like pornography, art is difficult to define and can mean different things to different people.

Bad Boy: My Life On and Off the Canvas

The story doesn’t get off to a promising start. It begins with a road rage incident on the opening night of Eric Fischl’s 1986 Whitney retrospective. Is this going to be a Jay McInerney-esque, drug-addled tale of the ’80s? Or will it be a self-conscious confessional, as foreshadowed in the next chapter detailing Fischl’s painful suburban childhood? It’s unclear whether the book is going to be an entertaining beach read or a satisfying insight into the mind of a commercially successful, deep-thinking, and influential artist.


The Brooklyn Rail

SEPT 2023

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