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Art in the Shadow of Katrina: Exploring Prospect New Orleans

When Mark Bradford built his ark, “Mithra” (2008), in the middle of New Orleans’ devastated Lower Ninth Ward, I don’t know if he envisioned it as a monument to futility or a symbolic cry for salvation but it reads as a little bit of both. Bradford’s ship sculpture is composed of large sheets of plywood and covered with advertisements that, even in New Orleans’s rather temperate climate, peeled and washed away.

Walking the Edge of a Blade of Grass: Art and Activism of The Canary Project

Let’s start anecdotally: a pair of high-end white leather boots, a smart piece of luggage, a decadent bijou cradled by a clump of ice, and drifting in a wintry, monochrome sea.

From Abstract Expressionism to Minimal Art: The Legacy of Ad Reinhardt and Tony Smith

Art historians often speak of the phenomenon where one artist, or possibly two, moves the fragmentary residue of one formidable movement in the direction of another.

Art Koans: Zen and the Tao in Conceptual Art

The Zen scholar and teacher, Daisetz Suzuki (1870 – 1966), once explained that the origin of the term koan was a kind of certifying document that, in ancient times, was used to test one’s understanding of Zen.

Nancy Spero: Un Coup de Dent

Nancy Spero’s recent exhibition at Galerie Lelong reaffirms the artist’s status as a national treasure.

Brooklyn Dispatches: Tough Time, Don’t Whine, Get With a “Project”

If you’re lucky enough to be in a relationship, one that has begun to stretch, before you know it, into an ever-higher percentage of your life, then you’ve been privileged to witness what the ravages of time can do.

Letter from LONDON

There is no doubt that Phyllida Barlow is a sculptor. That is one who makes objects in the round, and is concerned with the shaping of space and the tactility of materials.

Moving Beyond ObamArt

After suffering through eight years of dangerously misguided Bush administration policies, we all heaved a sigh of relief when Barack Obama was sworn in as the forty-fourth president of the United States.

Richard Aldrich

Richard Aldrich’s solo exhibit of twenty paintings at Bortolami presents a duel between the artist’s heavy sensibility and a selection of light experiments in abstract painting.

Al Held

The exhibition of Al Held paintings from 1979 to 1984, recently on view at the Paul Kasmin Gallery, New York, was part of a larger exhibition devoted to this artist’s work held in conjunction with Waddington Galleries, London, which presented paintings dating from 1989 to 1993 (the two shows shared a single catalogue).

R H Quaytman Chapter 12: iamb

It’s been a number of years since a solo exhibition by R H Quaytman has appeared in New York. It has been well worth the wait, however, to have the opportunity to view Quaytman’s work at the Miguel Abreu Gallery, a small space on the Lower East Side in an area that has been relatively recently colonized by art galleries.

Sara Greenberger Rafferty BANANAS Vlatka Horvat Or Some Other Time

It is somewhat unclear whether the exhibitions by Vlatka Horvat and Sara Greenberger Rafferty at the Kitchen were conceived as separate shows, or as independent efforts that, as curated by Matthew Lyons, just happen to work well together.

Image in the Box: From Cornell to Contemporary

Entering Hollis Taggart Galleries, the display of boxes feels as all-enveloping as the hoard of a manic butterfly collector or sideshow magician. A closer look reveals unusual, seldom-shown artworks—collages and assemblages tucked into their small enclosures, most of absorbing interest.

Joan Banach: Citizen

I can’t remember a show that sabotaged my first impressions more thoroughly than Joan Banach’s recent solo at Small A Projects.

Erik Schmidt: As above is so below

Though Erik Schmidt has been critically acclaimed in Europe for years—to the extent that in 2006 Hatje Cantz published a comprehensive monograph—his work has so far remained little known in the United States.

Lucas Ajemian and Julien Bismuth: Les Lettres Tristes

Combining their individual practices and shared interests in performance and narrative, Lucas Ajemian and Julien Bismuth’s collaboration, Les Lettres Tristes, was a thoughtful exposition on the art of distraction.

Andrew Forge and Fairfield Porter: Works on Paper

The pairing of Andrew Forge (1923-2002) and Fairfield Porter (1907-1975) makes sense for a lot of reasons, not the least of which is their devotion to perception and their desire to grasp the tangible and intangible aspects of reality.

Uri Aran: Geraniums

In the center of Uri Aran’s Geraniums, a wooden dresser tilts forward at an angle, drawers out and cabinet doors aslant. Emerging from the trunk’s center, like an impossibly long keyboard tray, is a fake, flat-screen “aquarium,” a motorized roll of plastic scrolling brightly printed fish along an ultramarine background.

Helen Mayer Harrison & Newton Harrison: Global Warming

While looking at Helen Mayer Harrison and Newton Harrison’s exhibition Global Warming on a dark, dank, altogether nasty Wednesday afternoon, an unrelated opinion piece from that morning’s New York Times kept drifting into my head.

John Walker: Drawings 1973–1975

“I never really abandon anything,” John Walker said more than thirty years ago. This exhibition of drawings from 1973-1975 confirms it. Looking back with a treasury of images deposited in the mind’s eye by all his work since then, we can see how powerful certain of Walker’s impulses have been; how his quest for light brings him so often to a familiar place–a place that his imagination inhabits and in which he feels most at home.


The Brooklyn Rail

FEB 2009

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