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Alana Shilling-Janoff

Alana Shilling-Janoff is a contributor to several publications including the Brooklyn Rail. Her recent work includes features on ancient Cypriot art, the history of printed books, emblems, and a fiction review for the Los Angeles Review of Books. She also writes a monthly column on theatre in New York City for the London-based Fortnightly Review: The New Series. Shilling received her Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from Princeton University in 2011. Her research there focused on the empirical qualities of ‘forgetting’ in Latin, Italian, Arabic, and English.

City of Gold: Tomb and Temple in Ancient Cyprus

Just how evocative can a material object be, really? Can it recover forgotten places, call back lost time and make us understand the unfamiliar? The answer to these questions, respectively, is an uncategorical “Very” and a hesitant “Perhaps, but not as much as you might think.”

Metonymy, Mortality, and Wang Keping’s Women

Its theme might be older than the Venus of Willendorf, but Women proves that the female form can simultaneously reference tradition and cast it aside for an aesthetic suspended between rusticity and urbanity.

Traylor in Motion: Wonders from New York Collections and Bill Traylor: Drawings from the Collections of the High Museum of Art and the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts

His graphite seems enchanted: the simultaneous embrace of two-dimensionality and rejection of linear perspective unfolds sentiment without sentimentality.

Poetics of the Unpromising

When an exhibition titled Tempus Fugit surfaces, it would seem wise to gird the loins for another pageant of pretension that aspires to the hermetic yet achieves only self-parody.

New Jersey as Non-Site

The island of Atlantis, domesticated by sober laws of longitude and latitude, has seemingly shaken off the musk of legend. It lies off the coast of Africa, cradling the continent’s curve from Morocco to Senegal.

Myths of Eden and Gauguin’s Metamorphoses

For those hoping to wander through galleries laden with the Tahitian reveries and thinly veiled Gallic indiscretions formed by the jewel-conjuring palette of Paul Gauguin (1848 – 1903), the Museum of Modern Art’s Gauguin: Metamorphoses might prove a tremendous disappointment.

Tà Hierá

It is fitting that the Bonni Benrubi Gallery’s curators eschewed modern languages, reaching back instead to Koine Greek for tà hierá (roughly, “sacred things”), the title of the current group exhibition of 17 photographs by seven artists.

JOHN WALKER: Recent Paintings

In an epistle from his “Cézanne Letters,” poet Ranier Maria Rilke, caught between rapture and melancholy, marveled over the chance discovery of page-pressed sprigs of heather redolent of “the scent of autumn earth … Containing depth … the grave almost …


Isabel Nolan’s An Answer About the Sky, on view at the Sean Kelly Gallery (September 13 – October 18, 2014), is a history of the virtues of accident and error that unfolds in 14 works across media including paintings, sculptures, a rug, and a series of reflections authored by Nolan herself in prose that is both limpid and lyrical.


The fretful, glaucous coils resolve themselves into form against an otherworldly charcoal-colored background, a gouache mist. The unearthly quality of the scene finds a formal counterpart in the composition, as the indeterminacy of streaming lines suggests figures; one defies the viewer with its vulpine gaze.

JORINDE VOIGT Codification of Intimacy: Works on Nikolas Luhmann

It is a curious matter when an exhibition engages the mind with dexterity and arouses an emotional response not at all. That, at least, is the predicament countenanced by German-born artist Jorinde Voigt’s current exhibition.


He deftly forges strange, vicarious intimacies between viewers and the unlikely subjects of his paintings—from giants and insecure grasshoppers to an entire cast of fretting fowl.


Willem van Genk: Mind Traffic, the American Folk Art Museum’s current exhibition of 43 works by the Dutch artist, which range from large-scale paintings and collages, to an installation of the artist’s prized raincoats, is an historical victory, a correction of a curious oversight in the art historical annals of U.S. institutions.

ADRIAN GHENIE Disturbing Dichotomies and New Paintings

It is impossible to categorize the curious pleasure that emerges when our most complacent knowledge is challenged.

Art, Improbability, and Jean Dubuffet’s Excursions en no man’s space

It is ironic that discourse about Jean Dubuffet, that notorious “rebel” of art-land, is so often script-like, resembling ritualized narrative, as if convention could make it possible to contain the complexities of a titan.

Love For Sale

Valentine’s Day has come early to Chelsea—in a love poem of an exhibition at the David Zwirner gallery. Showcasing recent works by Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama, I Who Have Arrived in Heaven consumes all three of the gallery’s West 19th Street locations and will continue to do so through December 21, 2013.

DOUG ARGUE Artspeak and The Art of Translation

Once upon a time, Arthur Danto proclaimed the death of grand narratives that defined art movements and pronounced contemporary art beyond the “pale of history,” bereft of a unifying narrative.

POIGNANCY ON VIEW Giosetta Fioroni: L’Argento

Novelty consorts with nostalgia, fashioning the enchanted atmosphere that suffuses the Drawing Center’s latest exhibition.


Too often, activist art is charged with an urgency its very ephemerality bestows upon it, lingering only so long as its context permits, and doomed to an afterlife as dated social commentary.

ALLEN GINSBERG Losing Sight, Coming into Focus: Beat Memories

Some exhibitions command attention through historical significance; others by sheer power of artistic expression.

Art and the Predicament of Emotional Exposure

It is a Saturday afternoon in April, 2009. Visitors flow through the Metropolitan’s Bonnard exhibition like a restrained fluvial event. It’s not really in fashion to approve of Bonnard too strongly these days. But suddenly, amidst those straggling final frames of the show, was that self-portrait.


The Brooklyn Rail

NOV 2023

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