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Alberto Giacometti: Drawings

Alberto Giacometti’s drawing oeuvre documents the artist’s lifelong effort to represent visual perception, or “rendre ma vision,” as he famously declared.

Poster Boy: Brooklynovation

Advertised on NY Art Beat’s website as “the Spring Event that lets you cut and paste just like Poster Boy,” Brooklynnovation, at Bushwick’s artists’-space-cum-gallery, 3rd Ward, ultimately seems less about innovation and more about redundancy.

Unica Zürn: Dark Spring

This is the first museum presentation in America of the drawings and paintings of Unica Zürn (1916-1970), who is known in the English-speaking world as the author of two books, translated as The Man of Jasmine & Other Texts (1994) and Dark Spring (2000).

Sophie Calle: Take Care of Yourself

It is doubtful that “X,” the aptly named anonymous former lover of the artist Sophie Calle, anticipated that the artist would use his break-up letter, sent to her via email, to open the collective floodgates of feminine response, metabolizing the experience through a public exegesis, or else he might have picked up the phone instead.

John Outterbridge

This was the first solo show in New York of the innovative sculptor John Outterbridge, who, at 76, is well-known as an artist, community activist, and arts teacher in South Central Los Angeles and Compton.

Sadie Benning: Play Pause

Sadie Benning first shook up the art world as a slip of a grrrl at the Whitney Biennial in 1992. Her self-confidently personal yet visually alienated videos, made with a Fisher Price Pixelvision camera, advanced the political agendas of the decade while superseding their polemic through a quirky and personal storytelling style.

Nalini Malani: Postmodern Cassandra

Having met the Indian artist Nalini Malani in 1985, I have been following her work for nearly 25 years with increasing admiration. When I first knew her, Malani was primarily engaged with acrylic paintings on canvas or watercolors on paper that presented an essentially realistic, socially-based picture of life in contemporary India, focusing especially on gender and family issues.

The Plop of the Paint: Tumi Magnússon

Why wait forever for one weepy orange dribble in a Callum Innes to hit the bottom of the canvas if one could watch seven colors slosh in succession over two video screens and take their real time—or seem to—to dry.

Ray Johnson…Dalí/Warhol/and others…‘Main Ray, Ducham, Openheim, Pikabia…’

The Richard L. Feigen & Co. gallery has unveiled an unseen trove of collages by Ray Johnson, with works by Salvador Dalí and Andy Warhol. Included are the collages Johnson subjected to seemingly endless reworking and overlaying, which were found signed, scrupulously dated (many with multiple dates documenting the ongoing changes) and neatly arranged in his house at the time of his suicide on January 13, 1995.

Compass in Hand: Selections from The Judith Rothschild Foundation Contemporary Drawings Collection

It was when I hit the Sherry Levines that the sinking feeling started. If the impetus behind Compass in Hand: Selections from The Judith Rothschild Foundation Contemporary Drawings Collection is “assessing drawing now,” as the exhibition catalogue asserts, it disregards evidence of a parallel “then” alongside the “now,” with Levine’s 1985 works marking the wormhole between the two.

R.C. Baker: “…and Nixon’s coming” ⁄ the draft

Kirby Holland, the fictional protagonist of R. C. Baker’s ongoing novel-cum-exhibition, explains his art-making process this way: “I put…these collages…together as grounds, the surface you paint on,” before laying the abstract designs on top: “I need some grit, something to hang my compositions on.”

Petit Retrospective of ARAI Shin-ichi Works from 1999-2009

Being in a room with Arai Shin-Ichi is something like being in a room with a coyote; misunderstanding is a given, but reciprocal inquisitiveness guarantees a good time.

Frank Lloyd Wright: From Within Outward

In 1924, the middle of the age of the Charleston, wealthy businessman Gordon Strong asked Frank Lloyd Wright to design a tourist destination for the top of Sugar Loaf Mountain in Maryland.

Keiko Narahashi: Picturehood

The majority of works in Keiko Narahashi’s Picturehood embody the continuum between two and three dimensions. For Narahashi, “picturehood” seems to imply that a picture, or representation, is as present and material as any three dimensional object.

Brooklyn Dispatches

It’s funny that nothing seems to get dated faster than our depictions of an imagined future. Reading Nineteen Eighty-Four in high school, the future looked grim, but inevitably, when 1984 popped up on the calendar, life still looked cheery, and when the long-awaited movie lumbered along, it was a period piece indulging in high-kitsch Cold War paranoia. Likewise, 2001: A Space Odyssey is a much better snapshot of 1968 than anything we’ve seen in the new millennium.

Graham Nickson: Italian Skies

Most of the work I have seen by Graham Nickson over the years—whether in oil or watercolor—has been figurative, often bathers interacting as if they were caught in the middle of a dance movement—strident poses moving from full body to classical gesture, where everything is connected in the realm of aesthetic intersubjectivity. The

Pierrette Bloch

A word like “revelatory” should be used advisedly, but there really isn’t a better way to describe Pierrette Bloch’s current exhibition at Haim Chanin Fine Arts.

Cy Twombly: The Natural World, Selected Works, 2000-2007

No painter since Pollock has refused to separate landscape and language more than Cy Twombly. His work is at its best when “no” withstands “yes,” when all of the things that make it beautiful to look at in the affirmative are never left to their so-called natural devices.

Tangled Alphabets: León Ferrari and Mira Schendel

Tangled Alphabets charts the careers of León Ferrari and Mira Schendel, two twentieth-century artists who made language central to their dense, lyrical explorations of the visual world.

Francis Bacon

Francis Bacon was very private, not only about his personal affairs but also about the creative process that unfolded in his infamously chaotic studio.

Letter from ULAN BATOR

Mongolian artists, freed for little over a decade from the long, dreary shadow of Soviet rule, employ a bold, in-your-face Genghis Khan kind of style that gives them my vote as the hip hop gangstas of the Asian art world.

Ryan Trecartin and Lizzie Fitch: The Aboutthing (in the air)

If such a thing as the collective unconscious could be visualized in a work of art, the Y generation’s version of it is arguably portrayed in Ryan Trecartin and Lizzie Fitch’s collaborative gallery debut.

Letter from LONDON

Despite the fact that we’re now nearing the end of the first decade of the 21st century, there is still much to be said about doing things the old-fashioned way.

Judith Murray: Continuum

Judith Murray is a New York-based abstract artist who, in the course of her long career, has shifted from a graphic, hard-edged style and sensibility to a more painterly mode, increasingly enamored, as is abundantly evident, by the luminosity and versatility of oils, her preferred medium.


The Brooklyn Rail

JUNE 2009

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