OCTOBER 2008        last updated October 17      Calendar        subscribe      review panel     archives

NEXT REVIEW PANEL TONIGHT FRIDAY, OCTOBER 17 AT THE NATIONAL ACADEMY - Faye Hirsch, Joao Ribas and Nick Stillman join David Cohen to review exhibitions of Rita Ackermann, Nicole Cherubini, Kota Ezawa, Michael Krebber, and William Pope L.

CALENDAR Check out shows opening and closing in New York City this week, lectures, panels, events


the online magazine of art and ideas 

Publisher & Editor David Cohen
Associate Publisher
Laurie Frick
Associate Editor Eric Gelber
Contributing Editors
Reuben Baron, Joan Boykoff Baron, David Carrier, Joe Fyfe
Deborah Garwood, Jonathan Goodman, John Goodrich
Contributing Writer (auction reports)
Brian Appel
Contributing Writer (Internet art)
Amber Ladd
Editorial Assistant Gabbe Grodin Administrative Assistant Gili Levi

see articles for image credits; some cover images are details

Cecily Brown



posted 10/17/2008 
JOHN ZINSSER on Untitled (Vicarious) curated by Tom Duncan at Gagosian

This adventurous photography survey, pairing historical and contemporary examples of sculptural construction and assemblage as subject matter, includes David Smith, László Moholy-Nagy, Peter Fischli & David Weiss, James Welling, Gregory Crewdson, Thomas Demand and Wolfgang Tillmans.

posted 10/16/2008 
CATHY NAN QUINLAN on Marvin Gates at Bowery

The eye is constantly moving between flat patterns of color -- abstractions of pedestrians, crosswalks, cars and buildings -- into areas of deep space and then back again.

posted 10/15/2008 
DAVID CARRIER on Nick Miller at the New York Studio School

Just as many Matisse drawings and paintings made in Nice in the 1920s and 30s incorporate a representation of himself making the work of art, so Miller includes images of his working space in his landscapes. The effect is to bring us into the working process.

posted 10/5/2008 
DAVID CARRIER on Vincent Van Gogh: The Colors of Night at the Museum of Modern Art, and to: Night: Contemporary Representations of the Night at Hunter College

Nightfall can inspire fascination with the starry sky, optimistic hopes for fulfilled sexual desire, or at least anticipation of sleep. But it can also cause anxiety if you are lonely, which is why van Gogh described The Night Café (1988), at MoMA, as showing a place where “dark forces lurked and suppressed human passions could suddenly explode.”

posted 10/5/2008 
JOE FYFE on Janet Malcolm at Lori Bookstein

Malcolm chooses to photograph leaves of the burdock plant because of its lowly status in the plant world - as a common weed that grows “along roadsides…and around derelict buildings” - and because of its literary status. She notes that Chekhov and Hawthorne have referenced it in their fiction to denote “ruin and desolation” and explains that she prefers “older, flawed leaves to young, unblemished specimens — leaves to which something has happened.”

posted 10/5/2008 
JAMES SCARBOROUGH on Julian Hoeber at Blum & Poe, Los Angeles

Collectively, these sculptures look like death masks cast from Aztec sacrifices. Each embodies the magical absurd-beyond-belief-because-it’s-so-true realism of Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

posted 9/29/2008 
DAVID COHEN on Rirkrit Tiravanija: Demonstration Drawings at the Drawing Center

There is a limited range of drawing styles, which tends to be competent enough but generally stilted, illustrative, and a bit nerdish. One wonders whether the difference in treatment that does come across is purely a matter of the individual draftsman’s hand or whether different speeds of movement in the scenes depicted — orderly placid drudging through dreary East European streets versus violent clashes with riot-geared police in some steamy tropical town — account for these differences.

posted 9/29/2008
DAVID COHEN on Diana Al-Hadid at Perry Rubenstein

Al-Hadid has been hooked on towers for several years now, involved in what can be taken as a reverse Watts Towers syndrome — instead of transforming found, non-art materials to create an aspirational edifice, she deploys considerable artistry to depict with a literalist intensity state of the art, fabricated structures in a frozen instant of failure.

posted 9/22/2008 
CATHY NAN QUINLAN on Judy Glantzman at Betty Cuningham

Drawing and painting alternate in an extremely fluid and unusual way in these works. Has a painter ever been compared to Aretha Franklin, the way she can be talking one moment and singing the next?

posted 9/22/2008 
DAVID COHEN on Robert Bordo at Alexander and Bonin

The diversity of this show, which finds its unity in values rather than effects, is another of its strengths. There is a wide divergence in terms of palette, texture, focus, and scale, but consistency in the depth of pleasure these canvases strike in the materiality of paint and the way its manipulations arbitrate the space between representation and experience.

posted 9/22/2008 
PIRI HALASZ on The Governor's Island Art Fair, organized by 4Heads Collective

The art fair is billed as "organized entirely by artists, for artists—and the public’s enjoyment." What a pleasant change of pace from most of our big art fairs, especially the various Armory Shows, which are organized by dealers and have nothing but booths named for dealers.

posted 9/22/2008 
NORA GRIFFIN on Geo/Metric : Prints and Drawings from the Collection, at the Museum of Modern Art

After being run through the pressure chamber of Conceptual Art, geometric forms for many artists working today are not indicative of a strict allegiance to any kind of school of non-objective thought or practice. From the storied history laid out in the rooms of “Geo/Metric” it seems that geometry in art has indeed reached its highest accomplishment: the freedom of eternal fresh starts.

posted 9/14/2008 
DAVID COHEN on John Ashbery and Trevor Winkfield at Tibor de Nagy and Mario Naves at Elizabeth Harris

Is there something intrinsic to the appeal of collage to writers — to moving bits of paper around in startling, revelatory juxtapositions? The coincidence of two shows of collages by writers of markedly different ilk – a sometime poet laureate and a member of the third estate – begs the question.

posted 9/14/2008
JONATHAN GOODMAN on Su Xinping at ChinaSquare

One does not want to exaggerate Su’s gloom, but an unspoken anguish works its way into most of his art. His paintings beckon toward an isolation that is as moral as it is esthetic, so completely existential is its underpinnings.

posted 9/14/2008 

Like the bastard twin of metaphysics, we want art to tell us the meaning of it all.

posted 9/14/2008 
SANDRA SIDER on Rosie Lee Tompkins at the National Museum of Women in the Arts

Roberta Smith has referred to Tompkins’s quilts as “pictorial powerhouses,” an apt description since the energetic color in these surfaces virtually spins the quilts off the wall—as if Anni Albers were inspired by the Jitterbug. 

posted 9/8/2008
JONATHAN GOODMAN on Nature Interrupted, curated by Elga Wimmer, at the Chelsea Art Museum

Artists, like everyone else in the world, are worried about the consequences of global warming in the natural world; moreover, they realize that the damage is psychic and imaginative as well as terribly real

posted 8/29/2008
DAVID COHEN on Phoebe Washburn at Zach Feuer

Because it is a zany exploration of progress and decay, this is a work that, by its very nature, will unfold and only fully realize itself with the passage of time

posted 9/7/2008
DAVID CARRIER on Katya Mezhibovskaya at Chashama ABC 

Mezhibovskaya’s art is the most devastating commentary on Art Since 1900 and the most original supplement to Duchamp’s ready mades and Danto’s commentary on Brillo Box that I have had the pleasure to discover.

posted 9/7/2008
DAVID COHEN on Philip Pearlstein at Betty Cuningham

Ostensibly, the subject of his relentless scrutiny over the last four decades has been the nude in the interior, and yet, for all the pounds of flesh and claustrophobic constructions of actual, lived in and worked in space these pictures present, the paintings are imbued with such a denial of emotion, connection or purposeful activity as to rob them of the defining characteristics of the interior genre.

In the July/August 2008 issue:
NORA GRIFFIN on Mike Nemire at Janet Kurnatowski

JOE FYFE on Emily Kame Kngwarreye at National Art Center, Tokyo
JONATHAN GOODMAN on Xiong Wenyu at Three Shadows, Beijing
NORA GRIFFIN on Tensegrity at Klaus von Nichtssagend
DAVID COHEN on Cy Twombly at Tate Modern, London

In the June 2008 issue:
STEPHANIE BUHMANN on Olafur Eliasson at PS1 and the East River
JOHN GOODRICH on Peter Heinemann at Gallery Schlesinger
DAVID COHEN on Delia Brown at D'Amelio Terras and Hilary Harkness at Mary Boone
DAVID COHEN on Walton Ford at Paul Kasmin and Neo Rauch at David Zwirner
MORGAN TAYLOR on Nicolas Carone at Washburn
JONATHAN GOODMAN on Eduardo Santiere at Haim Chanin
PIRI HALASZ on Kenneth Noland at Leslie Feely
SANDRA SIDER on (un)common threads at Michael Rosenfeld
CATHY NAN QUINLAN on Christopher Wool at Luhring Augustine
DAVID COHEN on Milton Resnick at Cheim & Read
Jilaine Jones at the New York Studio School
DAVID BRODY on Jess at Tibor de Nagy
DAVID COHEN on Dawn Mellor at Team
DAVID COHEN on Catherine Murphy at Knoedler & Company
ERIC GELBER on David Kinast at Winkleman DAVID CARRIER on Dara Friedman at Gavin Brown


David Cohen discusses his work with DEBORAH SOLOMON
- live recording at the New York Studio School
, Wednesday, September 26, 2007



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posted 10/14/2008
DISPATCHES: MICK FINCH Notes from... Paris: Bridget Riley and Peter Doig

Bridget Riley

In his first dispatch from Paris, Mick Finch ponders simultaneous shows of two artists, Bridget Riley and Peter Doig, both active in Britain but from different generations, whose contrastive relations to Post-Impressionism proved instructive.

posted 10/8/2008
Notes from... North Carolina

Casey Porn

In the first of a new series of dispatches from around the US and the world by regular contributors, GREG LINDQUIST charts developments in his native North Carolina


© Giorgio Morandi by SIAE 2008

posted 9/10//2008
ELISABETH SHERMAN on Art Spiegelman's In the Shadow of No Towers

Every fall, like so many New Yorkers, I find my myself returning to September 11, 2001 in search of a new way to understand an event that has fundamentally shaped our times. Since 2004, the year in which it was published, I have perennially revisited Art Spiegelman’s book, In the Shadow of No Towers.  


R.C. Baker, Carly Berwick and Peter Plagens join David Cohen to review the 2008 Whitney Biennial

Joe Bradley

posted 5/4/2008
DAVID CARRIER on Art Power by Boris Groys

Groys discusses fundamental topics: the nature of the art market; the connection between museums and contemporary art; the role of curators; the relation of film to art; the place of video in the museum; the art critic’s position; art and terrorism; Hitler’s art theory; socialist realist art; the goals of cultural studies; the effects of privatization in Russia; and the roles of minorities in Europe.


Alexander Ross

Dore Ashton, Joshua Mack and Stephen Maine join David Cohen to review JULIAN HATTON at Elizabeth Harris, BYRON KIM at Max Protetch, ALEXANDER ROSS at Marianne Boesky and at David Nolan, and TABAIMO at James Cohan

posted 4/7//2008
Tribute to the late art historian
Michael Podro

Frank Auerbach

Paintings, Michael Podro wrote, “address us, and they do so in part through creating uncertainty.” The spectator, he explained in a typical commentary, is drawn into Rembrandt’s group portraits because they “surround the present objects with a sense of atmosphere, so that the spaces between objects are felt as part of a homogenous optical effect,” making us  “aware of an interplay between those objects and our own mental life.” Few writers employ words economically to such good effect as he consistently did.


Jeff Wall

Svetlana Alpers, Phong Bui and Linda Nochlin join David Cohen to review Jeff Wall, Michal Rovner, Catherine Sullivan, Dan Walsh and Silvia Bächli

posted 3/13/2008
MERLIN JAMES on Francis Picabia

A welcome notion of George Baker's much fêted new book on Picabia, Merlin James discovers, is that Picabia was less the nihilistic anti-artist than he is often seen to be, that he found, through and beyond Dada's rupturing and refusal of meaning, a new space for affirmation and signification, indeed for joy and love.


Chris Martin

James Gardner, Barry Schwabsky and Robert Storr join David Cohen to review Katy Grannan, William Kentridge, Jane Freilicher, Ellen Berkenblitt and Chris Martin

posted 2/5/2008
DEBORAH GARWOOD on The Theatre of the Face: Portrait Photography since 1900 by Max Kozloff


Zhang Huan

Ben Davis, Lance Esplund and Lilly Wei join David Cohen to review TARA DONOVAN at the Met, ANNE HARRIS at Alexandre, BHARTI KHER at Jack Shainman, DAVID REED at Max Protetch and ZHANG HUAN at the Asia Society



Kara Walker

Arthur Danto, Vincent Katz and Linda Yablonsky join David Cohen to discuss KARA WALKER at the Whitney and at Sikkema Jenkins, KAREN YASINSKY at Mireille Mosler, ISAAC JULIEN at Metro Pictures, KATE SHEPHERD at Galerie Lelong and ANTONY GORMLEY at Sean Kelly