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Walter Robinson: Salad, Candles, & Money

Walter Robinson’s sardonic eye flits from one banality to another, fusing an Existentialist will to create meaning with a Pop delight in the things of this world.

Incidental Relays of Memory

Constructing a synthetic space in a natural landscape, Bending body is subversive countenance, While Afropunk Odalisque watches the spirit of the dead.

A Wild Ass Beyond: ApocalypseRN

I recently revisited the remarkable scene in Frederick Douglass’s narrative, where he and his fugitive comrades are detained and captured. To safeguard their passage, Douglass wrote up passes, knowing, to use Frank Wilderson’s apt phrasing, all whites are “deputized” in the face of the Black, so that any white person could demand to see their “papers.”

The Menil Collection Reinstallation: Selections from the Permanent Collection

Founders John and Dominique de Menil built the collection on a belief that art could be something both sacred and modern, linking viewers to cultures across time by means of an inherent, shared poetry of form. So when the Menil announced a six month renovation in February to completely reconfigure and reinstall the galleries, displaying works that have never been exhibited, I was excited.

Elise Ansel: Time Present

Ansel begins by reading the past, finding elements that interest her, and recombining them. Her eye and her camera wander over paintings in real, virtual, and recalled museums until something tells her to stop.

Yasumasa Morimura: Ego Obscura & In the Room of Art History

Yasumasa Morimura’s practice is about blurring boundaries. His intricate tableaus hover in the interstitial space between painting and photography and are admired for their inquiry into the construction of gender and identity.

James Rosenquist: His American Life

These seventeen paintings, early 1960s to early 1980s, each so clearly marked by Rosenquist’s experience painting billboards, are pop beyond pop. Riveting indeed and way beyond, each sporting flash points apparently unconnected. “I don’t do anecdote, I accumulate experiences,” says Rosenquist.

Mariana Castillo Deball: Petlacoatl

The Codex Fejérváry-Mayer, a pre-Columbian manuscript depicting the tōnalpōhualli, is currently held by the World Museum, Liverpool. Drawing inspiration from this rare, lushly detailed and hand-colored document, Castillo Deball has orchestrated a material and spatial reinstantiation of the tōnalpōhualli.

Introducing Tony Conrad: A Retrospective

How to introduce an artist? One may position them in a previously established historical canon, revise history by undoing hegemonic structures of forced invisibility, or isolate an “individual” practice that doesn’t conform to historical compartmentalization.

Bacon’s Women

Francis Bacon, the indomitable twentieth-century painter whose gritty and chaotic life was expressed so eloquently in the turmoil of his canvases, was not known to make women the subject of his portraits.

Pope.L: The Escape

“I ask no favors if the play is unreadable!” declares a thin young man standing atop a milk crate at the corner of a fluorescent-lit corridor. He sports a frizzy green hairpiece with a bald rubber forehead and a white doctor’s coat.

Ivan Forde: Dense Lightness

Spending time with Dense Lightness, Ivan Forde’s first solo-exhibition with Baxter Camera Club of New York, is to take a journey through large-scale works on paper and fabric that echo the ancient myth of Gilgamesh.

Posing Modernity: The Black Model from Manet and Matisse to Today

There was a time, not so long ago, when the study of Realism, Impressionism, and the roots of French Modernism was the edgiest of fields. Advanced scholarship and concomitant museum exhibitions teased out aspects of such Paris-based art that kept it dynamic: the quality of intellectual discernment was high; smart graduate dissertations flowed; the works connected with a popular audience; and picture prices went through the roof. But then complacency set in.

Marguerite Humeau: Birth Canal

Birth Canal, Marguerite Humeau’s first solo museum exhibition in the United States, is presented in conjunction with Birth Canal Drawings at CLEARING’s upper east side location

Emily Mullin: Woman on Top

Emily Mullin’s project of creating a three dimensional still-life involves a complicated chain of reasoning cloaked in a seemingly simple premise. On the one hand, still lifes exist everywhere, but it is creating an assemblage in real space which inhabits two-dimensional pictorial space that lends her efforts an edge.

MOTHA and Chris E. Vargas: Consciousness Razing—The Stonewall Re-Memorialization Project

The Museum of Transgender Hirstory and Art (MOTHA), a semi-fictional institution led by Chris E. Vargas, counters the stable, hetero/cis-normative, “serious” structure of the museum with fluid, playful objects and images that center trans people, narratives, and subjectivities. Vargas’s project Transgender Hirstory in 99 Objects began in 2015 and now continues at the New Museum in an exhibition entitled curated by Johanna Burton and Sara O’Keeffe.

Lisa Yuskavage: New Paintings & Babie Brood

Men have entered the world of Lisa Yuskavage’s paintings. Of course men and boys have made fleeting appearances before, but in the past they always seemed to be there on the sufferance of the damsels, coquettes, witches, and Lolitas who are the native inhabitants of Yuskavage Land.

Charles White: A Retrospective

Celebrated for his mastery in mark making that captured Black dignity, suffering, and triumph, Charles White has only recently gained acclaim as a devout educator and pioneer in social practice. While his artworks took many forms over the years—spanning the canons of painting, drawing, and public art—they share an emotive formalism, powerful enough to carry the torch of the Black Chicago Renaissance, and speak across the many binaries of the civil rights movement.


The selection of work by members of the Japanese art collective Gutai at Hauser & Wirth 69th Street aims to highlight the importance of painting to the group’s avant-garde practice. Active from 1954 to 1972, Gutai’s interest in this medium was idiosyncratic, and many of the works displayed here were not intended as self-sufficient pieces. Instead, they were intimately linked with public performances or other bodily actions.

Nick Cave: If a Tree Falls

Three untitled sculptural installations in Nick Cave’s current exhibition, If a Tree Falls, feature tightly bunched rows of black fiberglass and polyurethane hands reaching up in a gesture that might be a greeting, a sign of solidarity, or a request for help. All three versions are dated 2018, as is the rest of the work contained in Cave’s show, which is spread across both of Jack Shainman’s Chelsea venues.

John Houck: Holding Environment

Where is the dividing line between painting and photography, two visual artistic media that are often said to be essentially opposed? The long history of very diverse answers to this question is fascinating and revealing.John Houck’s liminal art, which marks and erases the boundaries between painting and photography, offers a highly original extension of this lengthy history.

Jenny Snider: A selection of paintings, drawings and sculpture, 1970 to the present

Jenny Snider is a fiercely independent artist who is deeply steeped in film culture, which has inspired her way of viewing her own life and times as inseparable from political history and the lives of the cultural figures and film makers whom she admires. As Snider said in a recent gallery talk, her work has never been based on “what was in the galleries,” which is a way of noting her outlier status in the art world.

Thornton Willis: Improvisational Structures

Elusive and unwilling to fix himself in a single modality, Willis always brings to mind a host of other painters, but in the last analysis, he is only like himself.

Black Mirror: Art as Social Satire

Alluding to Charlie Brooker’s dystopian TV series, Black Mirror primes the viewer for a dark and critical engagement with contemporary culture and technology. Unfortunately, those expecting a dark vision of our politically fragmented and technology obsessed times are likely to be disappointed.

Sable Elyse Smith: BOLO: Be on (the) Lookout

In its presentation of innocence that isn’t quite, Sable Elyse Smith makes criminality the absent center of the show; it haunts, but is not depicted.

Sarah Lucas: Au Naturel

Two fried eggs and a kebab on a table evoking a female figure; a cocoon-shaped swing made of cotton-filled tights in the shape of tits; a fearless woman wearing a t-shirt that reads “SELFISH IN BED”—these images, posted all over social media and New York City subway, depict artworks featured in Sarah Lucas’s first U.S. survey, Sarah Lucas: Au Naturel, occupying three floors of the New Museum.

Brendan Fernandes: The Living Mask

The Living Mask, the title of Brendan Fernandes’s solo exhibition at the DePaul Art Museum (DPAM) in Chicago, prompts the question: What is a dead mask? The answer can be found amid the vast hoards of African art and artifacts owned by museums and private individuals throughout Europe and North America—collections with origins in the conquest and colonization of the African continent.

Stanley Whitney: In the Color

In Stanley Whitney’s magisterially unfolding show at Lisson Gallery’s dual spaces in Chelsea, the artist presents a cycle of paintings and drawings that resemble a calendar of the conscious, a notational form of painting that checks off time as a series of vividly experienced partitions.

Harriet Korman: Permeable/Resistant

When asked how she starts one of her recent quadrant-based paintings, Harriet Korman replies that her first step is to “find the center.” She does so without the assistance of any measuring device, relying solely on her hand and eye to determine the point from which she will begin building out her right-angled bands of color.

Rona Pondick

The distended head that rests on a small rectangular base on the floor is polished and smooth. From behind, the elongated form and vaguely twisted neck look entirely alien but for two clipped human ears that perch on either side, just where they should be. Slip around to the front, and now it’s a human head for sure, with a closed mouth and eyes and a sharp nose that cuts into a slot below the brow.

Arthur Simms: The Big Picture, One Halo, Sculptures and Drawings

Simms’s reputation rests on his sculptures, which typically include discarded objects. In this show we get six works from across a range of dates from 1992 to the present.

Harvey Quaytman: Against the Static

This, the first museum retrospective devoted to the New York painter Harvey Quaytman (1937 – 2002), includes more than seventy works, many of them large.

Vicky Colombet: Paintings from 2007 – 2018

Vicky Colombet’s exhibition, Paintings from 2007 – 2018, is serving as a prelude to a major exhibition that will take place at the Musée Marmottan Monet in Paris in March 2020, for which Colombet will develop a visual dialogue with the great artist. Colombet, a painter of achieved subtlety, is offering a series of pure landscapes—a departure from her earlier work, which suggested stony outcrops and other mountainous depictions.

Carnegie International, 57th Edition

For the 57th Carnegie International, curator Ingrid Schaffner contracts the notion of mental and sensuous traveling to the concept of “museum joy,” which she defines as the pleasure experienced “from the commotion of being with art and other people actively engaged in the creative work of interpretation.”

False Flag: The Space Between Paranoia and Reason

In conspiracy theory parlance, false flags are acts of violence covertly staged as diversions by governments which then blame terrorist groups. As the exhibition’s springboard, the concept is used to lure the viewer into a state of mind in which no one is to be trusted and nothing is as it seems.

Tau Lewis: I bet this cave has been here for a really long time

Water is in the background of each scene in Tau Lewis’ film cyphers, tissue, blizzards, exile that she made in collaboration with her mother, Patty Kelly, in 2017. The film is a series of clips from archival family videos shot in Jamaica on a smart phone. In these low-res, ghostlike fragments, water is depicted in the distance from the street, below the boats that carry them, and above and around the camera as it rains. Water is a context, a realm, and a life support—it is ancient and deep.

MECA Art Fair, Old San Juan

The MECA Art Fair, founded by Daniel Baéz and Tony Rodríguez, had its first iteration before trauma hit the island in June 2017, and that is why they and the galleries involved found it so important to return.

Peter Williams: River of Styx

Four and Twenty Blackbirds (2018) is subdivided by a tree whose branches spread across the canvas, filling it with foliage painted by means of closely packed green dots, patches of sky denoted by blue dots, and passages of red dots interspersed throughout. Written inside of a branch, the width of the rectangle, is the line “Four and twenty blackbirds—baked in a pie, oh my oh my!” Williams pushes this nursery rhyme into more troubling territory through the presence of the tree, which for Williams is an inescapable image of lynching.

Hélio Oiticica: Spatial Relief and Drawings 1955 - 59

Hélio Oiticica (1937 – 1980) is a now integral part of the New York art scene, in large measure thanks to his 2017 retrospective at the Whitney, To Organize Delirium, which provided New Yorkers with an opportunity to experience him in full. His posthumous apotheosis eclipses anything he experienced in life, which is why the tight chronological focus of the exhibition at Galerie Lelong, from 1955 to 1959, is so important: it takes us back to Oiticica's artistic origins.

Mark Grotjahn: New Capri, Capri, Free Capri

Casa Malaparte, a house built for, and partially designed by, Italian writer Curzio Malaparte in the late 1930s, is situated on Punta Massullo, a rocky outcrop on the eastern side of Capri.

A Wild Ass Beyond: ApocalypseRN

Surveying the national cultural landscape of doomsday preppers, survivalists, contemporary homesteaders, and “tiny house” enthusiasts—communities within which notions of self-reliance and apocalypse can appear as driving fantasies—these four artists of color inject a counter-narrative into a predominantly white—and in some sectors overtly nativist—conversation about the nature of survival in “the end-times.


The human spine supports our bodies; it is both sturdy and flexible, bending, moving, shifting, and curving us. But spines are also fragile—something slips out of place and suddenly our bodies crumple. Books, too, have spines, structures that hold together the fibers of its pages, sometimes stiff and solid, sometimes flexible and soft.


The Brooklyn Rail

DEC 18-JAN 19

All Issues