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Maxwell Heller

Profile: Will Ryman

In his current exhibit Tuesday Afternoon, now on view at Marlborough Chelsea till January 8, 2007, artist Will Ryman translates commonplace urban scenes into playful but unsettling sculptural gatherings.

Tavares Strachan: Hermetically Sealed

Strachan eschews the coldness adopted by other conceptual artists, instead creating installations that speak not only to our intellectual interests, but to our emotional concerns, our feelings of loneliness, desire, and loss.

TRACKS: Sultana’s Dream and the SAWCC

The South Asian Women’s Creative Collective celebrates ten years of artistic and intellectual work with Sultana’s Dream, an Exit Art exhibition that epitomizes the group’s aesthetic accomplishments and its strength as a collaborative community.

Picturing South Africa in New York

At first glance, Gary Schneider’s ink prints on canvas look like satellite images—mottled with whorls of light and fields of charcoal black, they recall photographs of our planet at night, or Hubble snapshots of distant nebulae.

Artbooks in Review: TYPE A

Twelve years ago, New York artists Adam Ames and Andrew Bordwin of Type A began examining masculinity through the lens of their individual experiences. But changes in the city’s cultural landscape following 9/11 and the economic crisis have broadened their work’s purview, bringing unexpected political implications to past installations and infusing new projects with cutting social commentary.


Paul Thek’s anxieties are baffling by contemporary standards. Today’s artists record and broadcast their work ad nauseam. They post pics, clips, and audio files online, approaching documentation not as a secondary activity, as Beuys did when he first commissioned photographs of his performances, but as a central concern on par with the creative act itself.

Le Radeau: Bruce High Quality Foundation Lands in Chelsea

On either side of the entrance to Bruce High Quality Foundation’s retrospective at Sarah Inglett Gallery, two C-prints appear in modest steel frames. At right hangs an image of the New Museum’s lauded façade, with its rainbow-loud “HELL YES” motto, here reduced to unassuming silver-grays; at left is Bruce High Quality Foundation’s response: a picture of a brick building across the street from the museum, festooned with the phrase “HEAVEN FORBID” and patrolled by a tall figure peering with binoculars directly at the viewer.

Bruce High Quality Foundation: Empire

When Bruce High Quality Foundation’s Retrospective mocked art commerce last Spring, a “red-hot market” was fueling galleries and museums and sending hammer prices soaring at Sotheby’s. Flawed or not, the object of the exhibition’s ridicule was thriving.

A Day with The Marie Walsh Sharpe Foundation Space Program

Since 1991, the program has made annual awards to 250 American artists. This year, however, grantees face a major challenge: adjusting to a new workspace on Jay Street, Brooklyn. No longer will participants ease into the Lower Manhattan location that was home to the program for 16 years; this season, they join the rapidly growing DUMBO arts community.


In Jacolby Satterwhite’s video “Country Ball 1989–2012” (2012), on view in May 2012 at the Studio Museum in Harlem, real and computer-generated bodies gyrate in a landscape brimming with earthly pleasures.

Francis Bacon

Francis Bacon was very private, not only about his personal affairs but also about the creative process that unfolded in his infamously chaotic studio.


Mark Bradford has a striking presence and people like to talk about it. Even the most self-serious art writers set aside paragraphs to say that he’s impressively tall, thin, and disarmingly handsome.

George Tooker: A Retrospective

Critics have attempted for more than fifty years to locate George Tooker in terms of his aesthetic affiliations. To this end they have discussed his work variously as a descendant of American Realism or of Socialist Realism, as an offshoot of Surrealism, a modern variety of Romanticism, or a branch of Magic Realism.

Poetry: Mourning & The Female Voice

Alice Notley’s newest collection of poems, Alma, or The Dead Women, is a pure expression of rage and grief. It is a direct response to the rise of international violence following the events of September 11, but it does more than mourn the deaths of soldiers and citizens—it defines the Iraq war as the product of an inherently violent, phallocentric culture.

Typecasting: A History of Stereotype

In a chapter of Typecasting that explores Western exploitation of indigenous peoples, authors Stuart and Elizabeth Ewen take readers to Chicago’s Columbian Exposition (1893), a “colossal side show… six hundred feet wide and a mile long,” where tourists gawked at exhibits designed to illustrate the immoral, primitive, and hypersexual tendencies of foreign cultures. ...

David Shapiro: The Poem

David Shapiro’s New and Selected Poems (1965-2006) forgoes the formality of frontmatter and commences without introduction; but perhaps no introduction is necessary. From the first halting syllables of “January” to the sonorous phrases of “Burning Interior,” each piece explains itself fully, citing sources of inspiration, announcing intentions, and guiding us through the chaos of its postmodern aesthetic.

Disruptive Behavior: Elaine Equi’s Ripple Effect

Elaine Equi releases the enormous potential energy of irreverence in Ripple Effect, her brilliant collection of new and previously published poems, as she assumes a poetic voice that simultaneously embraces and mocks poetic appropriation.

Poetic Alliances

Conversation about New York’s poetry scene generally drifts in romantic directions, either to the lost years when poets lived within walking distance of one another, met on street corners, converged for readings in apartments and bars, or to the difficult future, when gentrification and post-modernity decentralize and permanently scatter a movement-less poet community. Perhaps these narratives stem from legitimate concerns.

Face to Face

Though this is his first monograph, photographer Zwelethu Mthethwa’s uniquely personal portraits of South African life have won him international attention for decades. Most images that reach us from southern Africa fall into a category that essayist Okwui Enwezor calls “Afro-pessimism”—they horrify, polarize, and suggest that the African experience is and always has been distant from our own.


The Brooklyn Rail

SEPT 2023

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