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Bahar Sabzevari: Gaze and Glance

Bahar Sabzevari is an Iranian-born, New York-based painter who mostly produces self-portraits that echo the greatness of the Persian past. A painter of unusual technical skill—Sabzevari studied at the New York Academy of Art—the artist regularly paints her own features, with embellishments that look back to her country’s history and culture.

Beverly Fishman: I Dream of Sleep

The overarching theme of I Dream of Sleep is opioid addiction, and by implication Fishman’s conglomerations of squares, hemispheres, pentagons, and triangles model the molecular structure of pharmaceutical “cures” for depression and other disorders.

Andrew LaMar Hopkins: Créolité

Isn’t power a drag? Isn’t it a show, a performance replete with costumes and character roles and play-acted identities? The artist Andrew LaMar Hopkins has mastered this strange dance between power, performance, and play.

Leeza Meksin: Turret Tops

Turret Tops plucks both the form and proportions of the deCordova’s distinct architectural feature: two windowless turrets, grounding and queering them, both spatially and socially.

Between the Lines

Although the artists each cultivate highly personal, distinctive practices, they choose to challenge prevailing modes of art making through serial and conceptual approaches that often highlight the unspoken, the unseen, the unheard of—and that rely on the spectator.

Gayleen Aiken: Interiors

A Vermont native, Aiken mastered a luminous color palette, often composed from colored pencils, that could evoke the seasonal landscape with vivid freshness.

Andrew Lyght: Second Nature

The sophistication and innovation of Lyght’s work depend on a balanced layering of colored planes slipped in and out of their constructed enclosures. The originality of the work depends on autonomous self-reliant balance that mirrors the life he has lived as an adventurer and explorer.

Ficre Ghebreyesus: Gate to the Blue

Gates, passageways, windows, frames: the paintings of Ficre Ghebreyesus are rife with portals, thresholds through which one is transported to reimagine notions of home and foreign lands, history and memory, self and other.

Gedi Sibony: The Terrace Theater

Without swerving into didactic messaging—he avoids explicit references to the virus, or even loaded associations like hope or loss—Sibony’s labyrinthine theater reflects the mental gymnastics and displacements involved in grappling with flux.

Adrián Villar Rojas: La fin de l’imagination

As one enters La fin de l’imagination, and while the eyes are getting used to the ambient obscurity, one first notices Villar Rojas’s signature move: he has removed all traces of the gallery itself.

Park Kyung Ryul: Tense

ot quite a painting show, not quite a show of sculpture, not quite a show embodying an installation, Korean artist Park Kyung Ryul’s Tense is taut with possibility. Developed from her residency at the DOOSAN Gallery, Park’s sophisticated show seeks to expand the flatness of painting to a three-dimensional degree.

C.T. McClusky: Circus Surreal

The collaged works in C.T. McClusky: Circus Surreal are installed in an orbit around a suitcase that sits on a pedestal at the entrance of the gallery. Bathed in a warm yellow spotlight, with edges warn away, it greets visitors with the word “circus” affixed in large  letters peeling from its surface. This suitcase is presented as a surrogate for the artist, of whom little is known, beyond the unverified claim that he was a traveling circus clown.

Harold Ancart: Traveling Light

Harold Ancart is a Belgian-born, New York-based painter who seems to have catapulted into the limelight in recent years. His first one-person show at David Zwirner in New York fills two of Zwirner’s adjacent 19th Street locations with large, dazzling paintings, all created in 2020, that provide ample opportunity to consider his contribution to the recent reappearance of a familiar conversation concerning painting.

Julian Schnabel: The Sad Lament of the Brave, Let the Wind Speak and Other Paintings

Despite the undeniably heroic scale and boldness, the paintings have as much to do with self-effacement in the circumstance of unknown experience as an adventure or foil, a falling into form and a finding of balance however precarious, or transitory.

Melissa Vogley Woods

In Columbus, Ohio, Vogley Woods turned her house on a thoroughfare into an interactive installation, during a time of dissipating social contact. Countering this encroaching anxiety, Always transpired to communicate a historical perspective on the cyclical nature of pandemics, while attempting to raise consciousness and care on a micro level.

Taney Roniger: Never The Same River

Consistent with Roniger’s interest in the philosophy of Heraclitus, Never the Same River offers a contemplation of oppositions. There is a reversal in value, the white paper ground of the source is now the velvety black of layered charcoal, a deep space from which volumetric, tonal forms emerge.

Peter Doig

Nothing in Doig’s work is ever left completely to the mercy of what memory can do to what we always try to call the past, and nowhere have I absorbed this more than I have in Japan. I would like to think that the absent presence of this exhibition will linger for me to take in the next time I am there, or at the next Doig exhibition I see, wherever it may be.

Toyin Ojih Odutola: Tell Me A Story, I Don’t Care If It’s True

Tell Me A Story, I Don’t Care If It’s True is comprised of portraits of Black people made from colored pencil, graphite, and ink. These are not images of capture—no one seems to acknowledge the viewers.

Grayson Cox and Joan Waltemath: Apparatus

Apparatus, curated by the artist and writer A.V. Ryan, gathers together Cox and Waltemath’s work in a contemporary yet timeless setting, as it takes its main inspiration from the current global crisis surrounding COVID-19 and a Giorgio Agamben essay, “What Is an Apparatus?”.

An-My Lê: On Contested Terrain

Lê’s pictures are about intense desire, which draws us to make form in this world. They seem to say that the weight of history is omnipresent, but shifting—each reiteration sutured together from more disparate sources, lit from a dustier sun.

Suzan Frecon & Patricia Treib

Good painting gives us pause because it is so absorbed in a proprietary language that we must approach it on foreign terms. We cannot begin to shape our own words without our bodies becoming enlisted in the object’s way of making meaning in the world.

Luchita Hurtado: Together Forever

Together Forever gathers more than 30 self-portraits—predominantly works on paper—that Hurtado created between 1960 and 2020. Viewed in succession, they read as pages in a diary, with each drawing or painting suggesting a single entry, an assessment of physical and emotional states, made along an extensive timeline.

Lily Stockman: Seed, Stone, Mirror, Match

Under deceleration’s magnifying glass, our deliberate politics of self-care is extended, in Stockman’s hands, to the odds and ends that surround us. The artist’s meditation on these circumstances in the Moffett paintings takes her work in a new direction, while still tethering it to her familiar language of softened geometric forms.

Joan Snyder: The Summer Becomes a Room

Snyder wraps this body of work in an overwhelming sense of acceptance and gratitude for the cycles of nature: the seasons, life and death, day and night, morning and dusk. Overall this seems a positive reckoning; her palette is bright and harmonious, and it’s hard not to get a boost from looking at it.

Lauretta Vinciarelli: Intimate Distances

The irony of a lot of architecture is that it’s meant to be looked at but not physically interacted with. We, the viewers, are expected to take in the symmetries, shadows, and rhythms of the structure from a privileged viewpoint. Lauretta Vinciarelli’s watercolors depict spaces created from this curated perspective. Her work is a conversation with, but ultimately a concession to, the frozen requirements of the architect’s eye—yet this is not necessarily a pejorative trait.

Duke Riley: Welcome Back to Wasteland Fishing

Riley’s concept here is straightforward: he shows anglers how to up-cycle plastic waste into sport-fishing equipment. Part of what Riley illustrates is that fishing, like just about everything else, is dominated by capital. The lures are a pun; they nod to the fish that is fatally hooked to commercial desire.

Léonie Guyer and Rebeca Bollinger: Threshold

This latest, and last, exhibition at Interface Gallery arrives as we feel ourselves on a precipice: we risk encountering what lies beyond the unraveling of our social fabric. A threshold signals a material change or activation, abandoning what is left behind to confront, embrace, and to become something new.

Claudia Hart: The Ruins

Hart travels in hyperreality, thinking through media archeologies and post-photographic practices, but is also a draughtsperson and painter. All of this merges forcefully in bitforms’s exhibit, which recognizes the failures of so many Eurocentric utopias, and yet engages modernism in a way that releases any hold those artists, designers, political and cult leaders once had.

Jesse Chun: SULLAE 술래

Jesse Chun interrogates systems of power, which necessitates an interrogation of language. English, the “common” or “universal” tongue, is often at the forefront of Chun’s practice.

Suzan Frecon: oil paintings

With the nine oil paintings currently on view at David Zwirner, Suzan Frecon moves into what we might call the classical phase of her career: the moment when she marshals, with supreme ease, every aspect of her previous work into a grand summary.

Joanna Pousette-Dart: Floating World

Pousette-Dart’s painting, in general, is decidedly uncool in that its aggressively-shaped, chromatically bold canvases adumbrate the liminal space between painting and sculpture with an irrepressible jouissance.

Ferrari Sheppard: Heroines of Innocence

Having attended the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Ferrari Sheppard brings his formidable intellect and passionate engagement to this series of acrylic, charcoal, and gold-leaf portraits of Black girls and women spending time together and offering themselves moments of contemplation or repose. Sheppard constructs these figures out of kinetic bursts of color, scrabbles of charcoal stick, and weeping drips of paint.

Alvin Armstrong: This Place Looks Different

Even when they are supposed to be still, Armstrong’s figures keep moving: heads leaned towards each other, gossiping or observing, bodies out of the frame, partaking in mundane dramas only illustrated by their feet, staring plaintively with gazes that go on and on.

Joiri Minaya: I’m here to entertain you, but only during my shift

“I’m not the motherland. I’m not a landscape. I’m framing this conversation. I’m not a flower. I’m only here to work,” declares a woman whose monologue acts as the soundtrack to video documentation of performances from 2017 by artist Joiri Minaya. The woman’s refusal of identities which connect the feminine to the landscape is emblematic of Minaya’s exploration of the female subject, in particular the construction of the tropical woman.

Jim Shaw: Dad’s Drawings

For more than 40 years, Jim Shaw has been a guide to the American optical unconscious, exploiting and exploring the popular forms of representation that have shaped many Americans’ perception of everything from nuclear war and organized religion to sex and domesticity—and, it almost goes without saying, beauty.

Will Ryman: Dinner III

This is Will Ryman’s first New York gallery exhibition in five years, and his first with CHART. Formerly a playwright, Ryman applies a particular kind of philosophical and formal enquiry, rooted in his interest in the Theatre of the Absurd, to sculpture. From this basis Ryman seeks to examine and explore, with humor as well as seriousness, our existential search for meaning in a clearly indifferent, at best contingent, world.

Andy Goldsworthy: Red Flags

The appearance of Red Flags in this annus horribilis in the capitalist heart of this country, that Grand Experiment looking brittle at 244 years old, forms a palimpsest of hope in our recovering city.


Life in 2020 is starting to feel like one big can of worms. That is how David Shrigley seems to think we might be feeling about it in any case. For his largest solo exhibition to date, DO NOT TOUCH THE WORMS (2020), the Turner Prize-nominee known for his distinctly wry British humor has filled a gallery of Copenhagen Contemporary’s industrial warehouse on Refshaleøen island with twenty, larger-than-life, inflatable replicas of the pink, writhing creatures.

Berlin Biennial 11: The Crack Begins Within

Against the backdrop of the pandemic and global anti-racism protests, the show’s impassioned screed against patriarchal capitalism, settler and extractive colonialism, and Western and neoliberal temporalities and material realities feels urgent and timely.

Silky Shoemaker: Billboard Project

If art is to play a role in political change, the first step is to get it out of the galleries and into the streets. Silky Shoemaker’s Billboard Project, a series of four graphically striking anti-Trump billboards installed in rural Pennsylvania, is one example.

Josh Smith: Spectre

Josh Smith has done it again. With a palette favoring lilac, tangerine, lime, and citron, he has transformed a relatively bland subject into a fevered dreamscape.

Erik Lindman: Fal/Parsi

The sandwiched matter of Lindman’s images oozes its way to the surface, often leaking out and dripping in translucent rivulets. The artist makes his acrylic paint earn its keep, transforming it into something surprisingly rich, impastoed, and creamy.

Julia Phillips: New Album

With delicate ceramic body fragments on armatures of steel and stone, Phillips beckons viewers into an ambiguous physical and psychological space, where agency and desire meet subjugation and violence.

Vantage Points

Individually, the artworks by Letha Wilson, Sonia Almeida, Heidi Norton, and Claudia Peña Salinas offer much to appreciate. Collectively, they enjoy lively correlations of color, texture, materials, techniques, and imagery. They also raise questions about the relationship between nature and artifice, a pairing that has only become more complicated with the climate crisis. Sussing out how these artists connect and at times diverge on that topic is the real pleasure of Vantage Points.

Christo: Show Cases, Show Windows & Store Fronts, 1963-1966

Christo’s exhibition, situating art as a material process, presents a selection of his historic covered cases, all hidden behind a covered vitrine.

Gabriel Orozco

Gabriel Orozco, now close to 60, is a permanent part of the contemporary art landscape. Coming out of conceptualism, often working with photography (but also with other mediums), Orozco is offering at Marian Goodman paintings large and small made in Tokyo. One can only wonder at the unusual facility of the artist: somehow, he has turned these paintings into innovative, exploratory statements, even while working within the by-now-established history of abstract art.


The Brooklyn Rail

OCT 2020

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