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Magic, Luck and Friendship™: the very idea has been trademarked by Samuel Borkson and Arturo Sandoval III, founders of the commercial art collective with the most affable moniker around.

MARK DI SUVERO at Governor’s Island

If you actually want to feel the earth spin on its axis, stand underneath a monumental sculpture by Mark di Suvero. His sculptures, 11 of which are now installed on Governor’s Island, are steel mammoths that completely reorient the way the eye perceives space. In each work industrial beams—some painted and others left to rust in the elements—tower towards the sky.

Whose Modernism is it Anyway?

That modern art’s textbook history has been dominated by white Western males is old news to revisionist historians who have spent the past several decades trying to make room in it for other significant contributors to that story.

FRANCIS ALŸS: A Story of Deception

Duchamp did it before him; the Situationists carried on that legacy. Joseph Beuys mastered the art of false truths; Chris Burden and the body artists pushed the limits of performative shock value; Cai Guo-Quiang has enlisted teams of assistants to carry out his elaborate social interventions for decades.


 “Three dimensions are real space,” Donald Judd emphatically wrote in “Specific Objects” in 1965. “That gets rid of the problem of illusionism and of literal space, space in and around marks of color… Actual space is intrinsically more powerful and specific than paint on a flat surface.”

Sea Worthy

Art galleries in the summer tend to have the same breezy feel as high schools during the last week or two of classes. It’s still technically time for business, but not exactly as usual. Everything is more casual; curators are invited to be bold; partnerships are forged.

The Peripheterists

The Peripheterists, a group show curated by Jocko Weyland at Apex Art, is an ode to artists “away from the banal fuss of the validated...low-key and unsung.”

7 New York Painters

Though both are now deemed historical phenomena, there is still a Hudson River School and a New York School of painting. Both are in evidence at BRIK Gallery, Catskill, New York, in an exhibition entitled 7 New York Painters, so named for its participants’ ongoing connection to both New York City and the Hudson Valley.

The Ecstasy of Saint Herzog

Werner Herzog has expended equal amounts of blood, sweat, and perhaps even a few stoic Bavarian tears, both fictionalizing and documenting the fantastic, the heroic, the misfit, and the magical.

Geometry: Selected Works from the Estate of MARY ANN UNGER

It has been more than a decade since the work of the late sculptor Mary Ann Unger was last exhibited. I, for one, was not familiar with the artist’s prolific output, as I would daresay would be the case with the majority of the contemporary art world.

DANIEL DOUKE Bytes of Reality

This exhibition of 24 works (all completed since 2000) is the first museum exhibition of Daniel Douke, who has quietly left his earlier hyperrealism (also called photorealism) to become a painter/sculptor bent on meticulously mimicking an object down to its dents.

Letter from BERLIN

A mobile is characterized by balance and movement; various parts are able to randomly reorganize themselves in response to touch or to currents of surrounding air. This simple device, in effect a kinetic sculpture, is also familiar as a children’s toy and a store window display.


Savage Beauty, the lush, theatrically presented retrospective of Alexander McQueen’s couture design in the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Contemporary Art Wing, feels heavy with mourning.


Melanie Baker, in her singular pursuit of such an unpopular genre, has undoubtedly carved out a space for herself within this narrow firmament (w ithout being invested in, let’s say, Matisse’s formidable copy “Still-Life after David Z”).

JOHN O’CONNOR What is Toronto???

John O’Connor’s recent drawings are packed with processed data. His sources range from military history to literature to news stories to measurements of his bodily functions.

Under Destruction II

Jean Tinguely’s “Homage to New York” was performed in MoMA’s Sculpture Garden on an icy winter evening in March, 1960. The sprawling, scaffold-like kinetic sculpture was built onsite, and both the inclement weather and outsized scope of production were likely factors in the failure of the mechanized structure to fully operate and self-destruct as planned.

LOUIS I. KAHN Building a View

Louis I. Kahn (1901–1974) saw the architectural plan as “a society of rooms,” in which each individual space is connected to the other in a dialogue of light and shadow, intimate and sensitive. The ideal place, he said, is one where it is “good to learn, good to work, and good to live” in.

WE ARE PRIMITIVE: Apichatpong’s Ineffable Experience of Nabua

Thai filmmaker Apichatpong Weerasethakul embarked on an adventure. He was inspired by A Man Who Can Recall His Past Lives, a little book given to him by a monk who wrote about Boonmee, a certain visitor to his temple (who apparently resembles Apichatpong’s father, and Taiwanese director Hou Hsiao-Hsien).


The East Williamsburg Soloway Gallery’s eighth exhibition since opening in August 2010 confronts what “makes everyone, like, want to barf,” according to Annette Wehrhahn, the show’s curator and one of Soloway’s four founders.

BROOKLYN DISPATCHES: Making the Trains Run on Time

It’s perhaps one of the most often seen WWII clichés ever to come out of Hollywood. Stepping out of a cloud of silvery steam on a German train station platform, a tall, willowy blond in a raincoat and an elegant, broad-brimmed hat meets her contact.

Does Nordic Art Exist? A Lesson In Transculture

The term “Nordic” includes the three Scandinavian countries in northern Europe— Denmark, Sweden, and Norway—as well as Iceland in the mid-Atlantic and Finland.

GEORGE GITTOES: Witness to a War

Although my hometown of Austin is well advertised as a bastion of liberalism in Texas, for radical politics of every stripe, one must go to Houston. Here, oil barons, libertarians, Revolutionary Communists, anarchists, organized crime, human traffickers, and other unnameable conspirators have found sanctuary on the third coast.

LEE UFAN: The Art of Present Reality

Lee Ufan is among the truly remarkable artists of our time, one who has gone deeply within his own tradition in order to become universal. Some may perceive this as going the opposite way of recent art—that art is supposed to reach outside of interior consciousness and to absorb the signs of branding that inundate our global environment.


First, there’s the tank, lying upside down in the gravel. Then there’s the architrave: STATI UNITI D’AMERICA, in Trajan column capitals. And then there’s the 7’6” copy of the U.S. Capitol’s crowning Statue of Freedom, in blackened bronze, lying inside the “Solaris 442 sun bed.”

The 54th Venice Biennale

Venice’s canals impose an odd sort of leveling on one’s sense of history here: time moves only upwards (new spires, new façades, higher doorways to beat the acqua alta), never down.

Artists in Bushwick

At first glance, Bushwick looks like a collection of random, disconnected artists from all over the country who came to New York to “make it.” They came to this neighborhood for its abundance of available studio space, and a community developed organically simply because of proximity.

Bushwick Open Studios Continues to Grow but at What Cost?

What a difference five years makes. From a scrappy and dispersed open studios festival, Brooklyn’s—if not New York’s—largest such event, Bushwick Open Studios (BOS), has grown to 161 locations, including 16 information hubs and hundreds of artists over a three-mile stretch of the nebulous neighborhood known as Bushwick.


It’s hard to say something new about Picasso, but the current show at Gagosian on West 21st Street demonstrates that it is not impossible to experience something new about him.

JASPER JOHNS New Sculpture and Works on Paper

For years now, whenever Jasper Johns has had a show, you could count on a reviewer to cite his best-known axiom: “Take an object. Do something to it. Do something else to it. Do something else to it…”

BILL RICE Paintings & Works on Paper

As the Lower East Side progresses toward a “total make-over,” and chic hotels and designer co-ops replace its tenements, I wonder where the community of poets and artists who cannot be assimilated will move?


The Brooklyn Rail

JUL-AUG 2011

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