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Firmament & Flora Are The New Black

This month, the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery unveiled two commissioned portraits of former President Barack Obama and former First Lady Michelle Obama by artists Kehinde Wiley and Amy Sherald.

Thomas Cole’s Journey:
Atlantic Crossings

The exhibition opens with smoke, soot, ash, and steam—the environs of gritty, urban, insalubrious, northern England. These were the byways of Thomas Cole’s Lancashire youth.

Untitled (Havana, 2000)

Untitled (Havana, 2000), currently installed at the Museum of Modern Art, is a challenging antidote to our milieu’s visual practices. Bruguera’s work intervenes in the representation of conflict by implicating visitors into a material environment that articulates this tension spatially.

Embodied Forms

Casts of dried mud dislodged whole from the body, or mummified fragments: Embodied Forms, the first exhibition dedicated to the work of Polish artist Magdalena Abakanowicz since her death last year at 86, welcomes us with arms, formed or partially formed up to the elbow, from resin-stiffened burlap (From the Anatomy Cycle: Anatomy 21, 29 & 32, 2009)

NATHANIEL MELLORS: Progressive Rocks

Progressive Rocks is a cycle of four substantial video works that require a commitment of time and attention amounting to over two-and-a-half hours. Margot Norton’s curation plays to the theatrical nature of Mellors’s enterprise by guiding the viewer through the space in a circular motion, creating a central square core of flickering screens.

Tarsila do Amaral:
Inventing Modern Art in Brazil

In Brazil, Tarsila do Amaral is a standard part of elementary school curriculum. Her work illustrates history books, literature exams, and is poorly copied in art classes. There, she is such a beloved and noteworthy figure that her surname is unnecessary.

Quinn Likes Trucks

What if we just let boys act like boys, and girls like girls? It’s a straight question, posed as provocation by the curator of Quinn Likes Trucks, Carl Gunhouse. The answer, of course, is that we already do.


It is this immeasurable space between visual belief and betrayal that Thomas Demand mines in his intricate photographs. For his new show at Matthew Marks, Demand combines stills, animations, and sound to consider the textures themselves of experience.


Nate Ethier’s recent exhibit at LMAK is titled Wilderness, and the eight paintings in this show walk us through geometric abstraction’s endless possibilities. Ethier’s mid-size paintings engage in a regenerative abstraction. The artist paints geometric forms built up through color shifts, transparencies, and opacities, but form is never quite solid.

Apocalypse, Right Now: Abel Tilahun: Vital Signs

Abel Tilahun’s exhibition, Vital Signs, indulges in a play of scale and materiality meant to momentarily disorient the viewer. It is illusionism on a level at which we question our own perception, falling into a subset of sculpture which includes Duane Hanson, Ron Mueck, George Segal, and Robert Gober.

What Are You Looking At?

What Are You Looking At?—Al Taylor’s largest retrospective in the United States to date—confirms his reputation as an artist who does not cease to challenge his audience. The 150-piece exhibition explores and examines Taylor’s creative process: his love of rule breaking, appreciation of inexpensive materials, and his late-found belief in the importance of self-reliance.

An Assembly of Gods

Timed to coincide with the Chinese New Year that begins on February 16, 2018, An Assembly of Gods consists of one painting and explanatory panels, which give close-ups of the painting to identify the dizzying number of over 80 gods that populate it.

California Landscapes: Richard Diebenkorn / Wayne Thiebaud

In iconic works from the Bay Area Figurative Movement, Richard Diebenkorn and Wayne Thiebaud defined a California vernacular in the early 1960s—Diebenkorn with suburban views of figures at windows and Thiebaud with arrays of desserts.

Paranoia Paradise

A fixture in New York’s downtown scene throughout the 1970s, Jayne County was—in her own words— “the first completely full-blown, in-your-face queen to stand up on a rock'n'roll stage,” fronting various glam and punk bands at CBGB, the 82 Club, Max’s Kansas City, and other underground venues.

Transformer: Native Art in Light and Sound

Waves of light, sound, and electric current flow throughout Transformer: Native Art in Light and Sound to demonstrate the vitality of Indigenous contemporary art in the digital age.

ROBERT MOSKOWITZ: Window Shades, 1959–62

Back in 1959, Robert Moskowitz was making art that broadly and barely stood some place between conceptual, minimal, pop, abex, expressionistic, and new imagist. But in the subtlest of ways it belonged to no specific genre, and in that sense, was also very much a part of its time.

peter campus: pause

Few artists understand the potential of the moving image as well as Peter Campus does. For fifty years, he has been training his eye on film and video, concentrating on how small breaks can make for big differences that bend our perspectives.

Michael Goldberg End to End: The 1950s & 2000s

Thirty-three works, fifty-seven years of Michael Goldberg’s long and rich artistic career. The alpha and the omega of his artistic life: nine paintings from the 1950s (1950-1959) and twenty-four from this century, from 2000 until 2007, the year of his death.

In Practice: Another Echo

In the wake of the #MeToo moment, time’s up as they say. As accusation and confession give voice to new power dynamics, the cultural spasm promises to reverberate throughout our cultural, business, and political worlds. The stories of those whose voices were previously devalued to the point of silence may even give us a framework for re-reading some of the foundational myths of our culture.

The Sweat of Their Face: Portraying American Workers

Curated by the Portrait Gallery’s Dorothy Moss and David C. Ward, The Sweat of Their Face “aims to re-inscribe the important roles that laborers have had in shaping the United States since the colonial era.”


I once heard the theorist Fred Moten beg a simple question: “Can black people be loved?” In this provocation, he interrogates the capability of the dominant culture, to love black people not out of a desire to possess black bodies, or praise black cultural forms, but to love out of the presupposition of black humanity. If Moten’s words were lyrics, Brooklyn-based Deana Lawson’s photographs could be the defining melody.

Them Changes

Dedicated to Barkley Hendricks’s lesser known works on paper, Them Changes starts with an X-ray image of a person’s derriere superimposed over a graphite drawing of an anonymous buttocks, the X-ray overshadowing the liveliness of human flesh.

Mr. Dial’s America

History is made up of layers. The present, like a creeping vine, overtakes the past and without studied remembrance it becomes easy to forget that times now are not always what times once were.

Incision: Feminist in Residence Exhibition

I’m pleased to announce that the Vagina is back—at least in New Jersey. Not the “pussy” in its pornographic or hat form, but the chthonic orifice that my mother and her friends got intimate with in their Happenings, wielding speculums in the name of the Goddess.


This is Plagen’s best show to date, with works that indicate an ongoing achievement after decades of work, which thematically returns to the same question of how a presumed incompatibility of styles can co-exist in the same painting.


There is an unstable mix of elements in Sparks’s work. On the one hand, a magic component—not the magic of sleight-of-hand or hat tricks, but the magic of religious belief, the magic of the fetish—the object that possesses obsessive power of some kind.


Robert Ryman’s painting smolders with restrained, yet eccentric, color and gesture. His hand both withholds and idiosyncratically gestures with an open palm: the magic of an aesthetic disappearing act.


The uniquely compelling factor, which keeps the viewer in front of the works, is their lack of answers. In these paintings, more so than in any previous body of work, Doig directs the oneiric overtones from the present rather than from memory.

The Ghosts of Italy’s ’68

The Galleria Nazionale, dependent until now on deeply carved historical narratives of 20th century painting and enamored with its canon, has decided to reject all its institutional decorum and pledges allegiance to the promises of ’68.

In a Word

Though Brooklyn-based artist Christopher Knowles is renowned for his mathematical, oftentimes compulsive, use of language, his large retrospective show Christopher Knowles: In a Word is a revelation of how equally intense and curious he is throughout the breadth of his artmaking.

Some Roads Yet Untraveled in Abstraction

What’s left of abstraction? Not long ago we were told—most famously by some rambling and snobbish essays of Clement Greenberg’s—that only art which consciously pursued formal innovation could save culture from drowning in mass-market kitsch. As movement gave way to movement, Greenberg insisted, art moved toward increasing abstraction.

The Beautiful Brain: The Drawings of Santiago Ramón y Cajal

When it comes to that distinctly human sensation we call awe, little can rival the complexity of our own brains to elicit it. Indeed, so staggering are the numbers— current estimates have it that each contains 100 billion neurons with 100 trillion connections between them—that the organ seems to founder before its own immensity. No less astonishing, though fortunately more comprehensible, are its structures—the cells’ elaborate shapes and the byzantine networks by which they communicate— and this is exactly what we get to see in the exquisite drawings of Santiago Ramón y Cajal.

Seeing and Believing

Leandro Erlich’s retrospective at the Mori Art Museum in Tokyo navigates the impersonal aesthetics of globalization and consumerism, driven by the human compulsion to see and be seen.

Club 57

Club 57, founded by polish émigré Stanley Strychacki with recent film school graduates Susan Hannaford and Tom Scully, was located in the basement of the Holy Cross Polish National Church at 57 St. Mark’s Place.


The Brooklyn Rail

MAR 2018

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