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Marcus Jahmal: Interiors

A remarkable verdict, not long ago, gently contested His idea of impermanence and transcendence.

Tiziano 1508. Agli esordi di una luminosa carriera

When in 1505 a fire damaged a very important commercial site, it was quickly rebuilt. And then in 1508 Titian competed with Giorgione in doing frescoes on this building. The exhibition’s Italian title marks this moment as the beginning of Titian’s brilliant career.

The Credit Suisse Exhibition: Frans Hals

“Frans Hals is a colourist among colourists,” enthused van Gogh in a letter to his brother Theo in 1885, “a colourist like Veronese, like Rubens, like Delacroix, like Velázquez.” With testimonials like this, it’s no wonder anticipation for the National Gallery’s recently opened Frans Hals survey was high.

Sean Scully: LA Deep

One positive outcome from the distraction of art fairs has been that more artists and their dealers are working together to make gallery solo exhibitions that juxtapose new work with early work. When done with sensitivity and a good eye, these presentations often become far greater than the sum of their parts, an achievement rarely achieved in stalls that bring to mind a county fair. And when an exhibition provides the bonus of rebuilding a historical connection to its actual location, as does this focused yet sweeping exhibition of ten works by Sean Scully (nine paintings and one sculpture installed outdoors), its use-value rises.

Vaughn Spann: Trilogy

Sometimes working figuratively and other times abstractly, painter Vaughn Spann is a man for all seasons. The burning question: which Spann would show up to inaugurate Almine Rech’s new, grand gallery space in Tribeca?

The Taos Abstract Artist Collective

This month, the Taos Abstract Artist Collective is holding their second group exhibition of works from artists across northern New Mexico, and it is no less monumental than their first. In total, 147 artists are represented across two shows, one this fall and another in the spring of 2024, and are intentionally focused on building a thriving community.

Distortions: Moscow Conceptualists Working Today

When an artistic tradition moves from one culture to another, it inevitably changes. And if that other culture is very different, it changes greatly. When El Greco moved from being an icon painter in Greece to Italy, and then on to Spain, inevitably his pictures changed.

Laura Anderson Barbata: Singing Leaf

It is difficult to duly appraise an exhibition like Marlborough’s Laura Anderson Barbata: Singing Leaf purely through the vantage of aesthetics. A minute hand crowned by an incised pearl, caras vemos (corazones no sabemos) (1997), curiously hides along an easy-to-miss wall.

Annesta Le: Eternal Current

In this evocative exhibition, Le explores the phenomena of water in motion: currents, rivulets, and intimate, cascading waterfalls, all imaginatively rendered in a series of four glowing blue neon wall reliefs from her “Fluid Form” series (2023), which protrude several inches into the gallery‘s main space. The exhibition’s viewing event title, Neon After Sunset, refers to the darkened room as it appears in the darkness of the evening, with the walls and floors painted wrought-iron black, effectively conveying the feeling of a nighttime reverie or a dream state.

Allison Miller: World

Allison Miller digs deep into the world around her, scattering peripheral elements like the tiny rocks and dirt one kicks up in an abandoned city lot or scanning for misplaced artifacts. Some elements in Miller’s paintings reappear, as they sit atop slightly modulating, near-monochromatic fields, spaces that encompass both the innermost and the universal.

Katy Moran: How to paint like an athlete

No one really wants to paint like an athlete, unless by painting Katy Moran means something like Tom Sawyer whitewashing a fence. Lots of people would like to paint like Moran, but precious few have the wherewithal. The seventeen works here, mostly—following her signature modus operandi—acrylics on found painting, constitute an affirmation of abstract painting, a genre many consider outmoded. How utterly wrong she proves them!

Aaron Curry

Aaron Curry is a mid-career sculptor working with figures made of light wood, often on chest-high pedestals of the same material, usually embellished with colored pencil and some paint. The figures, divided into two small rooms in the gallery, start out at first like examples of 20th-century modernism, but there is another current: often the faces and bodies of the figures look a bit eccentric, as if their inspiration came from cartoons.

Charles Traub: Skid Row

Photographs today are simulations, amalgams of effects and filters, whereas in the mechanical age (1840s–1960s) people tended to believe photographs were trace records, evidence—an indexical copy of something that was once in front of the camera. In other words, photographs were a disembodied specter. When looking at Charles Traub's photographs, we come to recognize the subject’s direct and causal connection is not to the camera but to the photographer’s eye.

David Novros: Wall Paintings

It’s an admonition we must respect when dealing with this terrific show because the wall and the work hanging on it have a consubstantial relationship. The paintings will eventually hang on other walls, but it is the wall as an infinite, inhuman plane Novros demands we take into account to understand them. Portable murals, as Novros calls them, wall paintings meant to be seen against that blank, meaningless void on which they confer structure, human order. So not sculpture, but perhaps architecture.

Heather Dewey-Hagborg: Hybrid: an Interspecies Opera

In the exhibition Hybrid: An Interspecies Opera at Fridman Gallery, on view through December 13, 2023, Heather Dewey-Hagborg stages another kind of revelatory reckoning, this time in the biomedical arena in which pigs, one of our closest genetic relatives, host organs for human use.

Jessica Segall: Human Energy

Jessica Segall, a self-described “artist that needs discipline,” infuses the darkened space of Smack Mellon with sexual tension and suggestions of menace. With transgressive defiance, her multichannel video installation Human Energy confronts the spectacle of petroleum extraction, appropriating and subverting its masculine iconography.

Ali Banisadr: The Changing Past

Imagine a reality where the future is historical and the past contemporary, where time stands still and simultaneously moves on. Ali Banisadr conjures such wondrous worlds in his paintings. By bringing the ancient into conversation with phenomena of the present and the future, he explores what stands the test of time. And the circumstances of the current exhibition itself similarly weave together distinct layers of time and space, as the Tehran-born and Brooklyn-based painter celebrates his first solo show with Victoria Miro in the British capital during this year’s Frieze Art Fair.

Dala Nasser: Adonis River

Beneath the vaulted ceilings of the gallery, a ruin emerges from the ground to meet a shroud suspended above. From wood, mesh, clay and ash-stained cloth, curator Myriam Ben Salah has invited Dala Nasser to build an effigy of the Temple of Adonis, which is located in Lebanon.

Adriana Furlong: Hundreds Do Things

Adriana Furlong makes sculptures about the grand history of class struggle and the vortical clinamen of economic transformation in Manhattan, from a workers’ town to a neoliberal haven for financial speculation and accumulation.

Martyn Cross: All Shall Be Well

Cross’s glowing, sandy paintings are partially inspired by the Mesozoic Era fossils darting the English Jurassic Coast, where the artist stayed in early 2023 as part of his term at the Hogchester Arts Residency.

Don Eddy

Don Eddy is a master painter whose career has spanned over fifty years. The subject matter of his paintings has consisted of the most mundane materials, yet the completed paintings rivet the most discerning viewer with curiosity.

Wave Pattern

As early as 1981, when Benjamin Buchloh published “Figures of Authority, Ciphers of Regression” in October, Neo-Expressionism and the concomitant resurgence of texture and pathos within painting was met with almost unanimous critical rejection.

Marisol: A Retrospective

Organized by Buffalo AKG (where the exhibition will travel next year as part of a multi-venue tour), Marisol: A Retrospective now open at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts seeks to resurrect Marisol’s reputation and shed new light on her recently, and undeservedly, neglected life and career.

Manet/Degas

Édouard Manet (1832–1883) and Edgar Degas (1834–1917), Parisian contemporaries, were sometimes friends. And of course, as Impressionists both men portrayed the subjects Charles Baudelaire laid out in his influential 1863 essay “The Painter of Modern Life”: café scenes and popular entertainments; wars and domestic political events; and depictions of contemporary dress. With more than 160 paintings and works on paper on display, and a fully illustrated catalogue with scholarly essays, Manet/Degas is a classical blockbuster, a massive crowd-pleasing display of two painters who have often been presented at the Met.

Richard McDonough: House Full of Time

A single line drawn across a plane may be the most forthright representation of time, presenting it as a continuous and irreversible sequence of events. But the perception of time is often different in actual experience. For artist Richard McDonough, it is evidenced in layers and the patient building up of surfaces.

Yonia Fain: Modern-ish: Yonia Fain and the Art History of Yiddishland

Equally painter and poet, Fain’s literary work was inseparable from painting. Modern-ish aims to represent the richness of Fain’s life and career by exhibiting his paintings, books, ephemera, and a video interview all in the same space.

Christian Walker: The Profane and the Poignant

Before delving into the social issues that Christian Walker wrestled with in his relatively short but vibrant career (spanning the mid 1970s through the mid 1990s) his quieter formal achievements should be considered.

Barkley L. Hendricks: Portraits at the Frick

Barkley L. Hendricks’s paintings shine with a kind of affect that one is inclined to call “beautiful.” And, indeed, they are. Yet they are loaded with something too tense, too bristling with heat to fit neatly into such a definition: something else is here, too.

Dana James: Pearls & Potions

Dana James creates harmony out of contrasts. In mixed media, abstract paintings, she varies her mark-making, ranging from luminous, cloud-like layers to sparse dashes of distinct, bold brushstrokes. She combines materials, sometimes adding paper and metallic foil, and using oil, acrylic, encaustic, pencil, pastel, and pigment.

Valerie Jaudon: Parameters

A visitor to Valerie Jaudon’s stunning show at DC Moore, made up of sixteen oils produced between 2006 and 2023, might justifiably wonder just what it is she is trying to express. This imaginary visitor might know nothing of her participation in the Pattern and Decoration movement of the 1970s or of the fact that she coined the term “conceptual abstraction” to describe her own work and that of others.

Connected Diaspora: U.S. Central American Visuality in the Age of Social Media

Curated by Veronica Melendez, Connected Diaspora: US Central American Visuality in the Age of Social Media is a celebration of multimedia artistic contributions of US Central American artists who too often are excluded from contemporary art world conversations.

Harry Smith: Fragments of a Faith Forgotten

Harry Smith lives on as a spirit through his yearly film showings at Anthology Film Archive. As hierophant, he reminded his devotees there were alternative paths outside the prevailing critical discourse, the museums, and the commercial art world.

Out of Bounds: Japanese Women Artists in Fluxus

Curated by art historian Midori Yoshimoto and Japan Society’s Tiffany Lambert and Ayaka Iida, the exhibition surveys the transnational Fluxus network (1962–78) through the lenses of geography and gender, focusing on four members—Shiomi, Kubota, Yoko Ono, and Takako Saito—whose prolific output of performances, scores, and “anti-art” objects is enriched when considered in conjunction with their experiences as Japanese women in New York in the 1960s.

Manet/Degas

Once in a blue moon, an exhibition as enthralling as Manet/Degas comes along. You wonder why it’s never been done before. Currently, more than 160 paintings, pastels, drawings, and prints by these two Parisians are on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Ezra Tessler: Where the Stress Falls

If Ezra Tessler’s recent paintings call to mind pillows, it is not only due to their lumpy disposition, but also the harmony between surface, substrate, and support that lends them a dreamlike quality. His constructions of wire, resin, and paper pulp swell outwards, their edges failing to contain the colors and patterns that wrap around their backs.

Remedios Varo: Science Fictions

With this exhibition, the Art Institute builds on its institutional commitments to collecting, exhibiting, and contributing to the research on Surrealist work. It also reaffirms the museum’s commitments to recent vital collaborations with Mexican art institutions such as the Museo de Arte Moderno in Mexico City.

Trude Viken: Night Crawlers

An old wooden cabinet is illuminated on the inside by a single bare bulb. The door tilts open. The light is warm. A dark cushion rests at the base. The texture of the object corresponds with its age and sets up a particular channel of domesticity to view the many small paintings that hang upon it, both inside and outside. It’s not comfortable, but it calls for the nearness of intimacy, and up close its strangeness is only amplified. The paintings depict heads, and the heads share the rippled and bumpy surface of the earth after an earthquake. They’re turbulent, but charming. The way Trude Viken paints a mouth brings joy.

Roy Lichtenstein: Bauhaus Stairway Mural

At twenty-six feet high, Roy Lichtenstein’s Bauhaus Stairway Mural (1989) towered over me, projecting a playful spirit despite the seemingly impersonal means of its creation. I was awestruck by the monumental scale of the painting, imagining the energy that goes into creating an artwork of this size. But as I stood there longer, the novelty faded away and I began to feel a sense of detachment, wondering how to make a deeper connection. 

Deborah Buck: Into the Wild: To Crash is Divine

Deborah Buck’s Into the Wild: To Crash is Divine at La Mama Galleria connects the thinking-through process of drawing to the loose shaping of crowds and identity.

Climate Futurism

Climate Futurism brings together the work of artists Erica Deeman, Denice Frohman, and Olalekan Jeyifous. Curated by marine biologist and climate luminary Dr. Ayana Elizabeth Johnson, the exhibition showcases newly commissioned works by all three artists as part of the Threshold Fellowship from Headlands Center for the Arts.

I See No Difference Between a Handshake and a Poem

The exhibition curated by Fernanda Brenner brings together a vast range of media, as well as artists from different contexts and career stages. Its title comes from a letter by the poet Paul Celan written in 1960.

Man Ray: Other Objects

The New York branch of Luxembourg + Co. is presenting an idiosyncratic, but most provocative, selection of Man Ray’s so-called “Objects.” The exhibition has been organized to explore and hopefully to justify his approved proliferation of his unprecedented plastic Dada poems (none surviving in its original version) as replicas and multiples.

Chloe Chiasson: Keep Left at the Fork

Keep Left at the Fork opens with two hands maybe grasping for, maybe pulling away from one another. Jesus is watching from a wrist. As the title of the imposing work suggests, in this gaze are The Eyes of Texas (2022). The ambiguity of charged space between contact sets the tone for Chloe Chiasson’s solo museum debut at Dallas Contemporary; here, enormity and iconography suggest how home and history are constantly rejecting us and beckoning us back. Through a grouping of nine large-scale mixed-media paintings and sculptures, the artist succeeds in imbuing queer expression into scenes of Americana.

Myrtle Williams: Spirit of the Sisterhood

What a season for seeing contemporary ceramics in New York. Works by Eiji Uematsu, Edmund de Waal, and Ken Price are all being displayed simultaneously, while Grounded in Clay at the Metropolitan Museum celebrates the history and practice of Pueblo pottery from its origins to the present day. And at Salon 94, Myrtle Williams’s first solo show in New York has immediately added her to this list of masters of the medium.

Manet/Degas

The thirteen rooms of the Met’s latest blockbuster seek to present a dialogue between Édouard Manet (1832–1883) and Edgar Degas (1834–1917), two of the essential lights of the late-nineteenth-century French avant-garde, who are revealed to be simultaneously inheritors of an Old Master figural tradition from Titian to Delacroix and progenitors of a novel post-Courbet urban realism. They duke it out in the form of some 160 oils, watercolors, drawings, pastels, and etchings.

Sam Gilliam: The Last Five Years

To conclude that Gilliam produced the work being shown at Pace in a moment of denial, as if to negate his mortality, that a return to the past would cancel out an inevitable future, would imply despair. This work has nothing to do with anxiety and everything to do with vocation: Gilliam was going to follow his calling until the light went out.

Andrew Ross: Bucket of Truth

There’s a strange no-man’s land between the intentionally surreal and murky reality of digitally created forms that through a combination of form, text and effect mimic surrealism without actually accessing surrealism’s conceptual motivations. Ross in his many capacities as an artist—sculptor, videographer, and performer—has frequently mined the web and dark web for all manner of memes, images, phrases, and tropes to construct a topsy-turvy world of hybrid monsters with deep sociological underpinnings.

Sean Scully: Jack the Wolf

In one of Picasso’s pithy phrases, the artist remarked “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.” This quote stuck with me as I took in the exhibition Sean Scully: Jack the Wolf, which presents the drawings Scully made for a forthcoming children’s book in collaboration with his son Oisin, who was, at the time, five years old.

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The Brooklyn Rail

NOV 2023

All Issues