When I moved to New York in 2007 one of the first things I picked up was a copy of New York Magazine with Dash Snow, Dan Colen, and Ryan McGinley in bed together on the cover. The image, shot by Cass Bird, has stayed with me. It shows a bird’s-eye view of three friends in their underwear, snuggled together like a small litter of puppies. The picture is intimate but it becomes oddly intrusive on a magazine cover, in part because no one is making eye contact with the photographer. Instead all... [more]
Grayson Perry, Turner Prize winning potter, weaver, draftsman, transvestite and Brit wrote a poignant essay on the "Default Man" last week for The New Statesman. While he applied his critique of embedded privilege to England alone, this concept most definitely exists internationally and particularly, in Western cultures where white, straight, middle-class males are the dominant, benevolent rulers.
This, like any other western nation, is a country of the Default Man. The Default Man—white,... [more]
1) A young woman in skinny jeans pauses outside the entrance of Spaced Out: Migration to the Interior. She pulls her cell phone away from her ear and peeks in at the pink shag carpet lining the floor and Fred Tomaselli’s Diary (1990). She tells whoever is on the other end of her phone call to hold on a minute as she turns her head toward the bouncer, “What the hell is going on in there?” she wants to know, “Is this some kind of surrealist circus or what?”
Jim La... [more]
It’s late morning and the ride across the New York Harbor, from Manhattan to Staten Island, is brisk. Tourists crowd the starboard side, photographing Lady Liberty, as our ferry powers along. “Did you know that Staten Island voted to secede in the early nineties?” I slant my eyes at the artist, Will Corwin, whose artwork, The Great Richmond, is currently installed at the Staten Island Ferry terminal.
“It’s true,” he says, “but the whole effort got los... [more]
The Earth breaks along fault lines. Mountains are pushed up; buildings crumble. Active faults are sites of extreme subterranean tension that operate on an unpredictable timeline with potentially devastating environmental, economic, and social aftershocks. To live near a fault is to live with unending uncertainty. Entire cities and nations have suffered when the earth shudders along her lines.
All of this would seem like ample fodder for the socially and politically minded artists Allora & Calz... [more]
The magnitude of entropy overcomes one who moves along the two floors of Dominique Lévy’s gallery, viewing Roman Opalka’s five-decade quest to render the spectrum of time’s (ir)relevance. Two early series prognosticate the honed laboriousness arriving in the French-born Polish artist’s most renowned final series OPALKA 1965 / 1 – ∞ (1965-2011). In this series, comprising 233 paintings in total, 11 shown by the gallery—each titled Détails&mdas... [more]
If any image could be counted as a badge of honor amongst photographer artists, it would be the navel gaze of photographing one's own camera. Like countless others before him, David Benjamin Sherry has also photographed the tool of his trade in all its glory. Among the twenty-nine photographs on view in Climate Vortex Sutra at Salon 94, the artist’s traditional large-format camera is shown as a quiet still life upon its tripod—its bellows left extended as if focused precisely on any numbe... [more]
Imagine a summit called by feminist activists and artists representing all of the nuanced wings of the movement. In this time of uncertainty about the role of feminism in the art world, these delegates wonder who could best represent the complexities of feminism and feminist theory without apology. The name they arrive at is Lily van der Stokker, whose new show at Koenig & Clinton is a sprawling pink spectacle comprised of flowery sculptures and wall paintings that illustrate the artist’s theoreti... [more]
September in New York: Maneuver the Mania
New York Editor Charlie Schultz makes a plan for seeing great art this fall without getting carried away—if only he can stick to it.
There is a shift in every August when this art critic’s inbox goes from near vacancy to nearly too packed to approach. The slim pickings of late summer exhibitions explode into a buffet of delicious opportunities. Great art, it seems, is everywhere in the city and the challenge (... [more]
There is a shift in every August when this art critic’s inbox goes from near vacancy to nearly too packed to approach. The slim pickings of late summer exhibitions explode into a buffet of delicious opportunities. Great art, it seems, is everywhere in the city and the challenge (for me) is to not grotesquely over consume, which has taken years of practice and willpower development. And even still, it’s not a guarantee. In fact, despite my best efforts to maneuver the mania I have not... [more]
The path to the Lucas Samaras exhibition, Offerings from a Restless Soul, at the Metropolitan Museum proved to be a fortuitous one. It led me though the Greek and Roman Galleries, filled with remnants of classical art, works that undoubtedly inspired Samaras, a Greek-born artist who came to America in 1948.
Two works stayed with me as I made my way to the Samaras show: the marble head of a youth, attributed to the Greek sculptor Polykleitos, with its strong muscular face, aquiline nose, and locks of... [more]
A World's Fair tribute in a New York neighborhood mash up by Lee Ann Norman Balthus, Joseph Cornell, Daniel Gordon, Van Hanos, Robert Indiana, Ray Johnson, Jamian Juliano-Villani, Anya Kielar, Claes Oldenburg, Dushko Petrovich, James Rosenquist, Pierre Roy, Peter Saul, Johannes Vanderbeek, Stan VanDerBeek, Roger White at Rachel Uffner Gallery
June 28th - August 16th
New York City has always been a draw for an eclectic mix of artists working across the visual and performing arts. Its underground pubs and speakeasies, expansive loft spaces, museums, sidewalks, and streets have served as creative inspiration for all kinds of movements including jazz, expressionism, Fluxus, hip-hop, and punk. Despite all of that creative energy and expression, the city has also been a beautiful breeding ground for social and cultural dissonance. While New York may not be known... [more]
The Art World's Intrinsic Conflict of Interest
Ryan Wong on the blurring of public and private interests, and the rise of a new brand of curator.
The cousin, flip side, and feeder to the museum, in today’s money-saturated world of contemporary art, is the private collection. The necessity of this relationship might be surprising to the average museum visitor, who often looks to museums as the centers of the art world. Private collections, however, shape our understanding of art history and production not on... [more]
The cousin, flip side, and feeder to the museum, in today’s money-saturated world of contemporary art, is the private collection. The necessity of this relationship might be surprising to the average museum visitor, who often looks to museums as the centers of the art world. Private collections, however, shape our understanding of art history and production not only by determining which artworks are available for display and loan, but by actively applying curatorial labor towards their ca... [more]
Driscoll Babcock, which moved to Chelsea two years ago, is something like a stately townhouse in a row of beige suburban mansions. The gallery bills itself as the oldest in New York, and casts itself in a grand tradition of the city’s academic art. You don’t find sly, discreet conceptual gestures, nor massive, high-production-value installations. Instead, the gallery seems to look for untrendy, well-crafted works in a certain American tradition—their roster includes works from the... [more]
Bradford Kessler’s cut-out panels coated in a paint-like sealant called hydroflex are not quite paintings or sculptures. Neither do they seem to be of the crowd that questions the nature of painting using sculptural methods (to name a few practitioners: Jacob Kassay, Nathan Green, Lisa Sigal, and Kenji Fujita). So what are they? They are weird and maybe boring, but boring in a way that hangs out at the edge of one’s consciousness for days. They are like a child’s bed set, retired to th... [more]