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Stephanie Campos, Lady Shadow: Grid Machine

The eight paintings in Stephanie Campos’ solo debut at Anna Kustera are at once rough and tumble objects and elegant meditations on modernism’s romance with the sublimity of the square.

Rick Klauber: Shim Paintings

Works by Rick Klauber at the Amelie A. Wallace Gallery of SUNY, Old Westbury, are assembled from wooden shims that are each painted a single, intense color and hung up, mostly in rows that form a roughly rectangular pattern. The shims are wedge-shaped, about 16 inches long and anywhere from two to ten inches in width.

Ann Mikolowski: Two Ways of Looking in a Mirror

In the chilled air of early spring, Lake Huron stretches into a crystalline body with no end in sight. The second largest of the great lakes, Huron borders most of Michigan’s east coast. In Ann Mikolowski’s “Ghostrider” (1988), thin layers of oil paint split the lake’s horizon into a sweeping gray and a turbulent blue that, together, evoke Mark Rothko or Barnett Newman in their consuming passage to the sublime.

Brooklyn Dispatches

Recently, within the “art critical establishment,” there’s been near-hysterical teeth gnashing and hand wringing over the diminished state of contemporary criticism. In an open letter, A Call to Art Critics, published in the December/January Rail, Irving Sandler lamented this “crisis of criticism” and its seeming irrelevance, a position that was echoed by several respondents in subsequent issues.

Jo Baer

One of the most surprising aspects of Jo Baer’s 1983 refutation of Minimalism, “I am no longer an abstract artist,” is her insistence on the intrinsic relationship between illusionism and art. Often regarded as one of the very few painters allowed into the church of Minimalism, Baer is most well known in this country for a body of elegant, hard-edge paintings produced in the 1960s.

Olga Chernysheva: Isle Of Sparks

In Olga Chernysheva’s photograph The Anabiosis (2000), a bloated plastic bag sits frozen on a field of snow. Icy footprints surround the specimen, its dark contents obscured by a fog of precipitation. What could be any amorphous object dropped or discarded is in fact a Russian fisherman, who has sealed himself inside a body-sized bag to withstand the brutal cold.

Lincoln Capla

When Lincoln Capla died of cancer in 2006 at the age of 36, he left over 2000 paintings behind. Throughout his career he returned to a set of motifs, a sampling of which comprises his mini-retrospective at Capla Kesting Fine Art. All the selections are from this millennium and all his themes are represented.

Tala Madani: Smoke and Mirrors

Tala Madani is a young, Iranian-born artist who has lived in the United States for seven years. Her painterly style is delicate, adroit, and agile, persistently on the verge of an attenuated hedonism; yet, at the same time, her message is simple and to the point, straight from the pit of Poe’s pendulum.

Dana Schutz

Dana Schutz has a way of making every painting work, and work for her. In her latest, highly anticipated show at Zach Feuer Gallery in Chelsea, there are big and very big cartoon-figurative paintings, smaller ones that are more like studies, a couple of abstractions, and even a few paintings hidden near the back of the gallery with shaped voids cut into the canvas.

Andrea Belag: New Paintings

With New Paintings Andrea Belag makes it clear how much she grows with each new exhibition. Four years on from the last time I saw her work (at the Bill Maynes Gallery) she has reinvented her practice yet again, giving us some of the most accomplished, not to mention downright beautiful, painting to be seen anywhere.

Philip Pearlstein

For the sake of brevity let me dispense with old bromides about dogs and tricks. What I’ll simply say is that Phil Pearlstein is an American art treasure.

Richard Oelze: Paintings & Drawings from the 1950s & 1960s

To enter the Ubu gallery is to be immediately surrounded by canvases full of embryonic forms floating through pre-human landscapes. The experience is, in the words of Andre Breton, “somewhat otherworldly,” and it comes courtesy of an artist as mysterious as his works.

Victoria Neel

Victoria Neel is one of several emerging talents, including Marcel Dzama, Amy Cutler, Anthony Goicolea, and the lesser-known, Philadelphia-based Michelle Oosterbaan, who have rediscovered a playful form of figurative lyricism rooted in the history and traditions of illustration.

Liz Deschenes: Registration

I always make this joke that if a fly were to land on a Robert Ryman painting, the dramatic effect would be almost Wagnerian. Dave Hickey ascribes a similar phenomenon to Andy Warhol’s short film, Haircut No 1, when the protagonist lights up a cigarette after being shorn—an otherwise meaningless gesture that in this case explodes with all the pop of the last ten minutes of a Michael Bay movie.

50 years of Helvetica

The entry of Helvetica as the first canonized typeface into the hallowed halls of MoMA is a great moment for typographers and design enthusiasts everywhere. The museum has acquired a set of original 36” Helvetica Bold lead plates (1956-57) into its collection, and has organized an exhibit entitled 50 Years of Helvetica to mark the occasion and display its influence in context.

Lee Bontecou: Vacuum-formed Sculptures and Related Drawings

Brilliantly dark with an inherent sense of foreboding, Lee Bontecou’s work reveals itself through the unraveling of layered thoughts and textures without losing its unpredictability. The experience is akin to travel—a pastiche of impressions, some recognizably of the here and now, and others hinting at an imaginary future.

Prelude to a "Criticism" of the Future

In the December/January issue, the Brooklyn Rail published “A Call to Art Critics” by Irving Sandler in the open column Railing Opinion. Sandler’s challenge provoked a number of responses from artists, critics and observers, among them John Perreault, Alan Brilliant and Eric Fischl, which have been published in subsequent issues.

Susan Bee

Susan Bee’s paintings are a savage mix of Expressionism and Pop schadenfreude populated by cut-and-paste pictures. She has had four explosive solo shows at the artist-run A.I.R. Gallery, where she will show again next year. (Founded in 1972, A.I.R. was the first women artists’ co-op in the U.S.) G

Picasso, Braque and Early Film in Cubism

Whatever you think you know about Cubism, well, think again. Picasso, Braque and Early Film in Cubism, which continues at PaceWildenstein’s East 57th Street location through June 23rd, not only gathers together a staggering collection of masterworks from what is arguably the most important movement in modern art—it knocks a century’s worth of received wisdom on its ear.

Letter from London

When Jens Hoffman was director of exhibitions at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London, a distinctive trait of his shows was their immaculate presentation and highly creative approaches to presentation. From the painted walls to the little exhibition guides and atmospheric changes from room to room, each of Hoffman’s efforts raised the bar on exhibition design, perhaps a holdover from his non-art background of theatre direction.


The Brooklyn Rail

MAY 2007

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