Barbara A. MacAdam
Barbara A. MacAdam is a New York-based freelance arts writer.
with Barbara MacAdam
On the occasion of David Row’s recent show, Zen Road Signs, at Locks Gallery in Philadelphia, Rail contributor Barbara MacAdam met with the artist in his longtime SoHo loft filled with examples of his art from various periods.
GREGOR HILDEBRANDT with Barbara MacAdam
The Berlin-based, West German born-and-raised artist Gregor Hildebrandt was in New York for the opening of his show at Perrotin Gallery on the Lower East Side. It’s a disarmingly huge, three-story, former hardware emporium on Orchard Street, where the blaring signage announcing Beckenstein Hardware, remains intact as a reminder of the building’s history, and underscores the persistence of the past in the ultra-modern light-filled interior.
Whats So Important About Criticism?By Barbara A. MacAdam
To begin with, as a critic, editor, and simple enthusiast, I find criticism to be an often delightful form of self-indulgenceone that allows me to set forth a problem for myself and then figure out how to solve it.
Saul Steinberg: UntitledBy Barbara A. MacAdam
Steinbergs paintings run the gamut in associations, from the lyricism of Paul Klee to the political satire of Thomas Rowlandson, to the elegantly limned Surrealism of Giorgio de Chirico.
Joanna Pousette-DartBy Barbara A. MacAdam
Joanna Pousette-Darts work is a visceral experience. Organic and warm forms embrace one another just as they do the viewer. Similarly, the paintings colors are sweet and seductive and actively engage one another in often indefinable and unexpected contrasts.
Claire Sherman: IntuorBy Barbara A. MacAdam
Claire Sherman entangles us in intimate and intricate landscapes: once we enter, we cannot escape. But this work is not about the dangers of nature. To the contrary, the paintings in this show, ranging from the delicate 30-by-26 Wildflowers (2020) to the room-filling (96 by 234) triptych Trees and Vines (2021), are intended as evidence of the harm human activities are inflicting on the global environment. But in depicting our pernicious intrusions, Sherman creates a paradox: how beautiful that damage appears! Is it a trick? Sherman brings to bear a richness of color and activity that almost seems to celebrate our meddling in the natural order, and this, as unlikely as it may seem, offers a note of optimism.
Edith Schloss: Blue Italian Skies AboveBy Barbara A. MacAdam
What a wonderful time to discover the sly and seductive charm of Edith Schlosss largely under-the-radar art, writing, and life.
Mirror Image: A Transformation of Chinese IdentityBy Barbara A. MacAdam
The seven artists in this exhibitionall born in mainland China between 1979 and 1987are represented by nineteen works that range from video to performance to installations, digital art, painting, and more. Each tells a different story with wit, curiosity, techno savvy, painterly skill, and/or sociability.
Fiona RaeBy Barbara A. MacAdam
At play in the fields of abstraction, British artist Fiona Rae forces us to consider what indeed is abstraction. Could it be a part removed from a whole, or a piece used to construct a form? Can it stand alone? While this might appear to be a simple and overused trope today, it remains a provocative one, sitting at the core of anything we call art, and Raes works are truly art about art.
In Search of the MiraculousBy Barbara A. MacAdam
This fascinating exhibition, curated by Gerard Mossé and Sebastian Sarmiento, leads us through physical, spatial, and spiritual realms to speculate on the nature of mostly abstract art in its many manifestations. It takes us through the variegated present, from the poetic expressions of artists like the Lebanese-born Etel Adnan to the young, Indigenous painter Sheroanawe Hakihiiwe.
Jorinde Voigt: The MatchBy Barbara A. MacAdam
Stretching along the hallway of David Nolan Gallery and into a light-flooded exhibition space, two large offices, and a parlor, Jorinde Voigts show The Match features a number of sculptures called Dyads (made of gold-plated stainless steel), and Triads (composed of wood), together with nearly thirty works on paper. Covering ten years of production and evolving techniques and media, Voigts content has been both coherent and diverse.
Lisa Corinne Davis: You Are Here?By Barbara A. MacAdam
Lisa Corinne Daviss new paintings, created between 2022 and 2023, represent an evolution from her earlier works. Not a change in direction or an abrupt turn, but rather a development expressed in an extended, nuanced conversation with herself.
Merlin Carpenter: Paint-it-YourselfBy Barbara A. MacAdam
The explosion of angst begins here with a Dear Reena letter to the gallery: Merlin Carpenter states, first, that he will not be attending the opening, however strange a social situation it might provoke. Of course, since Reena Spaulings is a collective enterprise, the position Carpenter takes is broadly directed; he is critiquing an abstraction.
Eddie Martinez: Inside ThoughtsBy Barbara A. MacAdam
Meaty and heady, Eddie Martinezs densely packed paintings, rich with associations and imageryall in the form of quotidian objects, sports paraphernalia, kitchen and dining items, art-history fragmentsrefuse to commit to a specific time or style.
Judith Murray: TempestBy Barbara A. MacAdam
Judith Murray’s Tempest, at Sundaram Tagore’s New York gallery, features a whirlwind of mosaic-like compositions.
Nari Ward and Robin Rhode: Power WallBy Barbara A. MacAdam
Extrapolating from American poet Robert Frosts iconic reflection Something there is that doesnt love a wall, we see in Power Wall both the brute reality of the wall and its much-loved qualities. Something in the work of both Robin Rhode and Nari Ward invites us to see the wall as so many things: barrier, writing surface, canvas, community center, basketball court, dance floor, and even decorative backdrop.
Fernanda GomesBy Barbara A. MacAdam
The entire installation, filling the gallerys several rooms and corridors, is something like a stage set, with all the props either tossed about or lined upand the performance not yet rehearsed. Where should the pieces go? What is their purpose? How do they relate to one another? Do they? And, above all, how do they activate our imaginations?
Hemali Bhuta: and the epic did not happen!By Barbara A. MacAdam
This warm and elusive show can be befuddling. Its reach is far and subtle, and embraces many modalities while its expression is quiet and minimal. It is what it isnt.
John Chamberlain & Donald JuddBy Barbara A. MacAdam
So far and yet so near, the antithetical aesthetics of John Chamberlain and Donald Judd are provocatively at play in this compelling show of sculptures, wall pieces, and paintings from the 1960s and 70s. The artists could be considered the alpha and omega of 20th century American sculpture.
Saul Steinberg: Imagined InteriorsBy Barbara A. MacAdam
The intimate drawings in this virtual show, astutely curated by Michaëla Mohrmann, associate curatorial director at Pace, take viewers on a charming, witty, ironic, and droll perambulation through the landscape of Saul Steinberg’s mind.
John GiornoBy Barbara A. MacAdam
Influenced by Warhol, Rauschenberg, the graphic art of Pop as Edward Ruscha construed it, and the shock and schlock of advertising slogans and other signage, Giorno mixed media to promulgate feelings, beliefs, and social justice.
By Barbara A. MacAdam
Clear, bright, and crisp, Daniel Rich’s recent paintings might also be viewed as eerie and unstable.
Catherine Murphy: Recent WorkBy Barbara A. MacAdam
Murphys profoundly precise, deadpan depictions of all quotidian matter, from rags to trees, hair, doors, gratings, and even a camouflage blanketoften excerpts from artifacts and scenesfocus our attention on the power of the part in relation to the whole, the underlying tension between the two. We are left to wonder whether the part builds or undermines our perception of the entire picture.
Esther Kläs: Come AgainBy Barbara A. MacAdam
Its as if, in this sensitive exhibition at Peter Blum, Esther Kläss sculptures, works on paper, and installations had themselves chosen their relationships with one another and set the stage for performing together.
Calder: Small Sphere and Heavy SphereBy Barbara A. MacAdam
A fascinating glimpse into the origins of Alexander Calders thinking and evolution, this abbreviated retrospective is a rare opportunity to examine the artists early experimental and tentative production. The show follows Calders singular career, illuminating the artist's later, resolved and fully realized work, deploying some 70 objects from the mid-1920s through the 1950s.
Günther Uecker: NotationsBy Barbara A. MacAdam
The title of German artist Günther Ueckers fascinating show at Lévy Gorvy, Notations invokes many meanings of the term, from a system of symbols representing information, to the noting of and keeping track of ideas, to the staking out of intervals in time. The works on display here create a visible beat.
Philip Guston: What EnduresBy Barbara A. MacAdam
These works capture one significant period in Gustons multifaceted career (or careers), hinting at the breadth of his artistic and intellectual reach.
Elisabeth Kley: A Seat in the Boat of the SunBy Barbara A. MacAdam
Elisabeth Kley revels in the kitsch, the eccentric, and the natural rhythm of patterns. Her drawings and ceramics span time and cultures with intelligence, charm, and humor, as well as allusions to nature and the way we play in it.
Petra Cortright: borderline aurora borealisBy Barbara A. MacAdam
Although she is a digital painter Cortright also embraces tradition, and while her medium is new, she does not shy away from redeploying something old. A painter who doesnt use paint, she teaches us to look using her tools as we follow her lead through represented landscapes and between hanging sheets of abstract images.
Jorinde VoigtBy Barbara A. MacAdam
Voigt conveys her conceptual imaginings in color and line. Her peregrinations lead us through a sea of hand-dyed blue paper that has a Disney-esque underwater appearance in which strange, sometimes almost identifiable forms swim or float.
Jackie Saccoccio: Femme BrutBy Barbara A. MacAdam
Layers of texture and materialspaint, oil pastel, and micasupported by pattern upon pattern in shaky thin lines set the foundation for Jackie Saccocios forceful, physically and emotionally self-reflective paintings.
Elizabeth Schwaiger: From the Dark SeaBy Barbara A. MacAdam
Elizabeth Schwaiger sets in motion a cacophony of styles, ideas, colors, and movements in this dense show spread out over two floors.
Vivian SpringfordBy Barbara A. MacAdam
Indeed, Springfords paintings, with their spiritual meanderings and discomforting vivid colors that appear to congeal and darken toward the center of the canvas, seem to strike a cultural nerve today. We are drawn into circular dark voidsevoking sexual orifices, pockets of the cosmos, the eye of a hurricane, and the caverns of dream and memory in the mind.
Degree Zero: Drawing at Mid CenturyBy Barbara A. MacAdam
Curator Samantha Friedman has made a sensitive selection of some 80 drawings from MoMAs international pool of artists working between 1948 and 1961.
Jacqueline HumphriesBy Barbara A. MacAdam
Conceptual-modernist painter Jacqueline Humphries is actively securing her place in contemporary art history, and she is doing so in a particularly literal way, making unabashed reference to those who came before her and to those working more or less alongside her.
Erik Lindman: Fal/ParsiBy Barbara A. MacAdam
The sandwiched matter of Lindmans 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.
By Barbara A. MacAdam
In his intriguing, often provocative, interpolated show at the Brooklyn Museum, Rob Wynne builds, reflects, and—more literally—reflects on connections in American art. In doing so he manages to intervene in the course of art history itself. He pulls at the museum's paintings and sculptures and activates them through light and language, transmuting the collection by means of his signature hand-poured, mirrored glass.
Sylvia HochfieldBy Barbara A. MacAdam
It’s very difficult to write about people you know well. The moment you start, you immediately suspect your own words and perceptions—you haven’t said enough? Made your point clearly? Or is it too simplistic? Obviously nobody perfectly fits a description.