Reviews of shows in New York, by Wade Guyton, Viola Yeşiltaç, Will Sheldon, Anthony Caro, Michelle Grabner, and more
The New York Times Paintings November–December 2015
No longer just X’s and U’s but
N’s and E’s and W’s and Y’s and O’s and R’s and K’s and T’s and I’s and M’s and E’s and S’s too.
With a wink, ads for the Times, NetJets, Ray Bans, and Android cell phones conveniently provide funny and familiar little black paintings, while ads for CitiBank make little blue ones.
Within the larger informative compositions, the works recall the old adage, something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue.
@ James Cohan
Laid out over three rooms like a well-organized essay,
Tell ’em what you’re gonna tell ’em,
and tell ’em what you told ’em.
The show’s power is in the singularity of its message and the elegance of its delivery.
In small, medium, large, and extra large, the works reinforce themselves in different volumes—the largest, the loudest.
WILL SHELDON (WITH WOMEN’S HISTORY MUSEUM AND MISTRESS REBECCA)
Tales From a Drippy Realm, the Card Thrower
While not familiar with the CC&Rs (codes, conducts, and restrictions) of the tattoo community,
to me, one’s body doesn’t seem like the place to practice new things.
A piece of foamcore with its paper skin and polystyrene flesh, or a human-scaled plush butterfly with wings mimicking arms and legs seem like suitable alternatives, with ample surface area for trial and error.
Rather than piercing the surface, most pieces seem to layer—but with tape and glue and glitter and gems, the mood is maybe less tattoo, more Vajazzle.
Strawberry of Cosmo
@ David Lewis
Glossy green glass tongs are almost indistinguishable from their plastic counterparts.
More inviting and more fragile than the other solid glass objects densely huddled together on foam pedestals,
you can imagine the squeeze, feel the break, the shiver in your spine.
Familiar and foreign, universal but also specific, these pieces of once molten but now solid chunks of color floating on speckled somethings against deep Prussian blue walls could only be described as a “Strawberry of Cosmos.”
first drawings last sculptures
@ Mitchell-Innes & Nash
There is an unmistakable ashes-to-ashes, dust-to-dust, circle-of-life quality, an equally youthful then mature balance of roughness and polish that only occurs at either end of life.
Another saying that comes to mind is, live by the sword, die by the sword.
An old friend once told me, “You better hope what you did as a kid was good, because you always go back to it.”
Change of State
@ Essex Street
Sometimes a person makes exactly the show they needed to make, exactly when they needed to make it.
Sometimes the person is a gallery, but with works by Allan Sekula, Hans Haacke, Lucy Raven and Georgia Sagri, it’s as simple as making a good thing out of good things.
The exhibition is personal and political, an old space and a new space, one dark and one lit, aluminum–coated cardboard and copper–coated zinc, a culmination as well as a beginning.
Zak Kitnick is an artist living and working in New York.