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FOR THE BROOKLYN RAIL FROM DORE ASHTON Krzysztof Wodiczko’s …Out of Here: The Veteran’s Project

In some of the literature on Wodiczko’s work it is mentioned that he was born in 1943 in Warsaw. Is it a fortuitous fact that the Jewish ghetto, established by the Nazis in 1940, and which, by 1942, sequestered 500,000 Jews, rose up in the year of Wodiczko’s birth?

CHUCK WEBSTER My Small Adventures

The key to Chuck Webster’s work is drawing. His first show at ZieherSmith in 2003—this is his fifth solo exhibition at the same gallery—was packed salon style with drawings, most of them less than two by two feet. Many were done on old paper, rather than the pristine sheets you buy in an art supply store.


One of the best things about the state of painting right now is that nothing is central. You can literally paint whatever you want in whatever way you want. Amid this chaos, a viewer like myself understands and (for a second or two) even sympathizes with the critics and theorists who hate painting, and who have declared that a realm in which they have no authority has ceased to have any validity.


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.


I received this moving e-mail from someone at Andrea Rosen Gallery. It starts like this...

MARY JUDGE Pop-Oculus: new works in pigment

There is a perfect stillness to Mary Judge’s installation at Storefront. Most of the works are on paper, mounted in two ranks: framed under glass at eye level and unframed above.

Staging Action: Performance in Photography Since 1960

Staging Action: Performance in Photography Since 1960 at the Museum of Modern Art, which features still images of artists performing specifically for the camera, proffers a conservative position with regard to categories of photographic performance documents, which have traditionally been seen as either “documentary” (records of live actions and events) or “theatrical” (performed for the camera).

Winter @ The Kitchen

With an emphasis on performative installations, the screening of avant-garde film and emerging artistic dialogues, the Kitchen, now 40 years into its tenure, has long since established itself as a hotbed for experimental exchange.

Hard-Edgeness in American Abstract Painting

Invented by the critic Jules Langsner in 1959, the term “hard-edge painting” represented a kind of geometric or Classical painting in which the shapes within the painterly format were clearly defined by a hard edge—often, but not always, taped in the process of their delineation.

Found in Translation

The Guggenheim’s current survey of film and video-based installation art, Found in Translation, features a series of darkened rooms off the main rotunda. Each room houses the work of one of the 11 artists in the show, some of the very best working in this format.


Gallery intel reveals that Michael Patterson-Carver is a self-taught artist from Chicago with a wry sense of humor and a healthy disdain for the United States government. Loose Lips Do Sink Ships broadcasts itself as Outsider Art (oooh, can we still say that?) from 50 paces outside the gallery with all its flat perspectives, unadorned figures, and flat wash watercolors.

PATRICK JACOBS Familiar Terrain

Déjà vu is a French expression that literally means “already seen.” It describes such a universal phenomenon—the experience of feeling inexplicable familiarity—that the phrase was long ago adapted into English vernacular.

Letter from LONDON

Today time seems to be moving faster. A visit to Times Square isn’t necessary to experience this. Just glance at your iPhone and watch the e-mails tick by; that is, we have so many distractions that slowing down seems nearly impossible. Two shows in London offer interesting perspectives on this.

Letter from BERLIN

Alois Riegl (1858 – 1905), an Austrian art historian, was a major figure in establishing the study of art history as an independent discipline. He was also highly influential in the development of late 19th century formalism. It is well documented that Greenbergian formalism, with its blinkered appreciation of mid-20th century painting and sculpture, has brought this way of looking into serious disrepute.

Letter from HONGKONG

With all the talk about the disappearance of bees lately, I thought I’d head off to see a modern hive of another sort. This weekend brought me to Fotan, a section of Kowloon, just north of Kowloon Tong, to “one of the most important creative clusters” of Hong Kong, aptly named Fotanian.

JOHN MCDEVITT KING: In Pursuit of Alien Perfection

Looking at the work of John McDevitt King, the word perfection—or some attempt to achieve it—stubbornly recurs. In the graphite fields of shading that precisely describe volume and light, and yet retain the warmth of the human touch.

Dark Star: STEPHEN IRWIN, 1959–2010

It could only have happened where it happened—on the periphery.” In speaking about the life and work of Louisville artist Stephen Irwin, curator Julien Robson invites the idea that there remains a type of art-making that is not only deaf to the siren song of New York, but in fact flourishes for being so.

ESTEBAN VICENTE Concrete Improvisations: Collages and Sculpture

Of  Spanish ancestry, Esteban Vicente (1903 – 2001) is a lesser-known but seminal member of the New York School. His masterful collages, which follow in the Spanish avant-garde tradition of Pablo Picasso, Joan Miró, and Juan Gris, now are reintroduced to the public at NYU’s Grey Art Gallery, in the same neighborhood where the Ab-Ex revolution began (by way of the Cedar Tavern, the 9th Street Show, and the Club).

GEORGE CONDO Mental States

mWatchers of stock markets and world governments these days well understand the word “volatile.” Increasingly, patrons of the New York arts must patiently apply this term to the ever-inconsistent New Museum.

Exit from the Overpass

In 2011, the art world will make a rare appearance at the Academy Awards, and not in the guise of the stereotypically brooding lothario painter or tiny-dog-clutching patrician art collector.


The Brooklyn Rail

MAR 2011

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