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William Powhida

WILLIAM POWHIDA is an artist and former contributor to the Brooklyn Rail.

Whitney Biennial 2006: Day for Night

The 2006 Whitney Biennial had the potential to harness a subversive undercurrent with only a slight (if radical) reinterpretation of its curatorial premise, Day for Night.

Jamaica Flux: Jamaica Center Evolves

In October, Jamaica Center for Arts & Learning (JCAL) will present Jamaica Flux: Workspaces and Windows beyond the gallery’s walls in the heart of the surrounding community.

Matt Leines and Keegan McHargue

The large drawings by Matt Leines and Keegan McHargue in the two glass doorways on West 20th Street that are The Wrong Gallery feel something like the geometry of poetry, if there were such a thing.

The Neon Forest Is My Home

The title of this amusing if not slight group show at *sixtyseven refers to thematic use of nature in the works of twelve emerging artists.

Olaf Breuning: Metro Pictures

"Home," a thirty-minute, two-channel video installation by Swedish artist Olaf Breuning, turns immaturity into an absorbing and entertaining spectacle of dream-like narratives. Individual segments are presented in color featuring a bizarre combination of characters, masks, and locations, while Breuning radiates an exhausted intensity as the narrator in black and white on the adjacent screen.

David Opdyke

In Loose Ends, David Opdyke is a sculptor with a cause—the complete and utter failure of the current administration’s foreign and domestic policy. Opdyke’s lacerating vision is unleashed in a variety of highly detailed and specific critiques of what might be viewed as U.S. policy meltdown.

Guy Richards Smit

Guy Richards Smit’s musical alter-ego, Maxi Geil!, and his band PlayColt, perform their rock videos in A Message to my Audience. The three videos are shown as part of a Swiss television show in front of a Satin covered bed surrounded by Smit’s paintings of Maxi Geil! and PlayColt. The often hilarious videos send up eighties prog rock and performance-based art with uniform glee and drip with sexual and artistic pathos.

Patrick Martinez

Deep existential questions like "Why are we here?" are answered with wit and empathy in Patrick Martinez’s show Liquid. The title isn’t an afterthought, but the theme of the conceptually analogous works. Martinez works successively, building a quietly stunning narrative starting with "Orange Wall" (2003). The partition facing the exterior of the gallery is painted neon orange that absolutely glows in direct light like the flash of an explosion.


The title of Pierogi’s video show, one-on-one, in Gallery One at Pierogi 2000 refers both to the intimate videos as well as the cubicles that partition the gallery into a maze of individual viewing stations. The installation is an effective framing device for the overtly narrative and conversational videos.

Jason Middlebrook

Jason Middlebrook has made a promising career out of large-scale sculptural installations like his transforming "Dig" (2001) at the New Museum that turned the downstairs library into an open pit. It comes as something of a surprise to encounter Middlebrook creating an installation that doesn’t transform the gallery as much as traverse its walls with intelligent, beautiful drawings. This surprising, effortless turn elevates an already excellent show.

Jim Shaw

Generically titled Drawings 1979–2003, Jim Shaw’s mini drawing retrospective might have been called "There and Back Again." His recent body of work eschews the narrative driven pencil drawings of the 1990s for black-and-white experimentation.


As the title implies, the artists in Outpost are looking for new territory in contemporary art. Largely made up of videos, performances, and installations, the unexpected use of technology is another dominant theme in this exploratory show at Smack Mellon, an artist’s outpost in DUMBO. While the exhibit succeeds in tapping a vein of new works, the obvious premise is less interesting than the dialogue among the works.

Focus Group

Curated by Eric Heist for Minneapolis’s The Soap Factory, Focus Group previewed for three weeks at Momenta Art and rewarded viewers with a timely and compelling case for the defense of the individual in corporate America.

Exit Biennial: The Reconstruction

An ambitious endeavor, Exit Biennial: The Reconstruction is the first of five Biennials planned for the decade to highlight Exit Art’s transformation from an offbeat Soho gallery into a major venue for emerging art. The inaugural biennial is spectacle of thirty-four site-specific installations and performances, rivaled only by the new space itself, the curatorial theme of the show. The new 11, 000 square foot space is delineated by chain-link fence creating a camp, X-ray-like feel, immediately setting the exhibit in a political context. Visible beyond the entrance are a café, offices, and the exhibition area. The layout and ten dollar suggested donation raise the ante on the expectations for the exhibition, composed of a group of emerging and relatively unknown artists.


In an attempt to both reinvigorate the landscape genre and complicate our perception of the real, Grounds presents the work of Caroline McCarthy, Ezra Parzybok, and Ravi Rajakumar. Each artist displays landscapes that have been carefully constructed for seemingly different purposes. McCarthy uses an innovative video technique to create a fictional, urban canyon, Parzybok builds exquisite little worlds out of familiar objects, and Rajakumar appropriates specific moments of animated landscapes. The sharp formal differences between the works creates a dialogue about appearance and reality.

Bjørn Melhus

German artist Bjørn Melhus doesn’t so much exhibit video as invade New York with three new shows. In his first US solo show at Roebling Hall, Melhus presents three small videos and a large video installation that transport the viewer into the strange yet familiar worlds populated by the artist. The exhibit should make Melhus a ubiquitous figure in New York.

The Paris/Brooklyn Exchange

The Paris/Brooklyn Exchange involves 18 galleries and extends over a two month period with nine galleries participating in each country.

Greater New York 2005

Greater New York 2005is plainly not the show of emerging artists it was five years ago. In this go-round the curatorial premise has changed from giving emerging artists an opportunity to showcasing artists who’ve emerged since 2000.

A Brief Look Into Institutional Celebration

Starring Performa the Moca the Gugg the Whitney

William Anastasi

The conceptual artist William Anastasi, whose career began in the early 60s, is probably best known for playing chess with John Cage everyday in the late 70s. A number of individuals, including both the artist himself and Thomas McEvilley have argued that his contributions to conceptual art and the trajectory of minimalism have been excluded from the historical narrative of Modernism, either through negligence or conscious omission.

Paradise Now?

Embracing irony and cliché in the title itself, Paradise Now? presents fifteen artists from the Pacific Islands who use postmodern devices to interrogate notions of a “Pacific” identity in a culturally and geographically diverse region.

Harriet Shorr

Like the classical sculptures in her realist paintings, Harriet Shorr presents an idealized version of things in her dreamy/domestic worlds.

Saviour Scraps

The site-specificity of Cabin Comforts serves as a conceptual framework for the communal art store created by Saviour Scraps, an artists’ collective made up of Katie Kiline, Jojo Li, Brieana Ruais, and Shabd Simon-Alexander. It is almost impossible to view the show out of context of the gallery space, Secret Project Robot, and the massive redevelopment of the waterfront along Kent Avenue.

Under The Rainbow

Part of the inaugural Project Diversity series, Under the Rainbow presents the diverse works of fourteen artists selected from over 1,000 entries for the broader show, which includes 200 artists at seventeen spaces across Brooklyn.

Indigestible Correctness Parts I & II

Feminism hasn’t looked this good in a decade. Indigestible Correctness, a pair of concurrent exhibitions at Participant Inc., and Kenny Schacter/ROVE, is a gutsy and visceral curatorial exercise.

Jennifer and Kevin McCoy

Creating art of great intellectual and emotional complexity is often the result of manipulating received ideas to provoke an unanticipated response.

Manufactured Landscapes: The Photographs of Edward Burtynsky

Edward Burtynsky’s show of large scale photographs of the industrial landscape owes more to the photography of Ansel Adams or the paintings of Charles Scheeler than to contemporaries like Andreas Gursky or Gregory Crewdson.

Bjørn Melhus

Roebling Hall’s new Chelsea space is not quite as finished as Bjørn Melhus’s symphonic installation “Prime Time” (2001). The video installation composed of thirty-two televisions and a large wall projection should make Melhus a truly international art star.

Ten New Paintings

The curatorial proposition for Ten New Paintings at Parker’s Box notes that the selection of the artists, not the work, was the basis for inclusion in this survey of contemporary painting. The departure point for each artist appears to be figuration, and the canvases arrive at a range of aesthetic and conceptual possibilities.

Thomas Lendvai

Perception is the departure point for Thomas Lendvai’s brilliant installation, “A series of ‘nows’” (2005), at Plus Ultra. Using a sequence of wooden beams, Lendvai creates a kind of slanted drop ceiling that spans the gallery space.

Global Priority

Entering Global Priority at the Jamaica Center for Arts and Learning is like stepping into Doctor Who’s phone booth and discovering a world inside.

Jim Torok

Jim Torok’s latest solo show at Pierogi is a deeply felt, literary comedy presented in a series of ink drawings on paper. Torok employs a simple comic-book style to convey his everyday struggles and eventual triumph over a troubled existence.

Mark Esper

Opening the fall season with three concurrent solo exhibitions, Brooklyn-based sculptor Mark Esper presents his vision of art governed by the supersensible forces of the electromagnetic spectrum.

Eric Heist

Transforming Schroeder Romero into an Interfaith Center to explore the hypocrisy of organized religion as an increasingly corporate system is not much of a stretch for Eric Heist.

Travel Agents

Eric Heist’s latest solo show at Schroeder Romero is an ambitious critique of Western military and economic hegemony through the theoretical languages of montage and appropriation.

Jason Cole Mager, Michael Yinger, and Jeffery Kilmer

A trio of young men comprise a show that hovers between angst and the desires that fuel their acute anxieties. Jason Cole Mager was asked to select two artists whose work would compliment his own.

WMD Front Room Gallery July 2004

The conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan and their psychological toll are rendered in a variety of media in WMD at Front Room gallery.

Two enter and one leaves: YEAR

Drawings its title from a line in Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome, Two enter and one leaves at YEAR has something in common with the post-apocalyptic Bartertown where Mad Max fights for his life against a mentally challenged giant controlled by a midget.

Jules de Balincourt

Never having seen de Balincourt’s work prior to This Is Our Town, his second solo exhibition at LFL, I missed the “prewar optimism” of his earlier work. While there is a dystopian narrative concerning the rise of corporate-driven cultural conservatism in America, the message isn’t baroque.

Jason Cole Mager, Michael Yinger, and Jeffery Kilmer

A trio of young men comprise a show that hovers between angst and the desires that fuel their acute anxieties. Jason Cole Mager was asked to select two artists whose work would compliment his own.

Majority Rules!

Every two years, the Whitney Biennial offers the world an assessment of the state of contemporary art, but the ensuing debate often seems less about the art than the curating.

John Paul Villegas

The title of Jon Paul Villegas’s exhibition, My Genitals’ Genitals: More in love with the idea of not being in love with the idea than with the idea of not being in love, suggests some of the calculated chaos of the show.

Jonathan Schipper and Simon Lee

Questions about performance and interactivity connect the disparate bodies of work in the debut solo show of sculptor Jonathan Schipper and the recent photographic work of Simon Lee.

Cai Guo-Qiang

t’s ironic that a Chinese artist should make one of the more important political statements about the convergence of devastation, celebration, and heroism in the midst of an American war on terror.

Tim Hawkinson

For the past twenty years, Tim Hawkinson has been part of a larger movement in art concerned with transforming everyday materials into radically new forms, both abstract and representational.

Abigail Lazkoz and Francisco Lopez

Conflict without resolution is not merely a description of the contemporary work of artists Francisco Lopez and Abigail Lazkoz, but a condition of being.

The Game

Get recognition. Get the gallery. Get in museums. You'll need some help.

Seeing Other People Marianne Boesky Gallery

What do the curatorial selections of fifteen gallery artists reveal about their own contemporary practices? The obligatory summer group show at Marianne Boesky gallery presents everything from narcissism to thoughtful reflection about the nature of artistic reciprocation.

Enemy Image

A nation’s construction of an enemy “other” often serves less to define the latter than the former’s identity. The works in this politically charged group show interrogate various notions of how mechanisms of representation reflect this process.

An Equity for Visual Arts Act

In the fall of 2011, for a brief moment, the art world considered the implications of the Equity for Visual Artists Act. The bill would have created a modest 7% resale royalty with half of the money going to artists and the other half going into escrow for non-profit art museum acquisitions.


The Brooklyn Rail

SEPT 2023

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