Rail Editor-at-Large, Dan Cameron, talks with Paul McCarthy about the trajectory of performance art, his interest in television as a medium, and his current collaboration with Lilith Stangenberg.
Ever since bursting onto the scene during the East Villages so-called Neo-Geo wave during the last half of the 1980s, Ashley Bickerton has tended to be the odd man out relative to the generation with which he is invariably compared. Although his early works were eye-popping and futuristically slick, Bickerton wasnt especially interested in theories of appropriation or simulation, nor was he seduced by the doctrine of banality.
Donald Moffett (b. 1955) says he doesnt know what kind of art to makegiven the situation. Its a moving thought for an artist who is showing fantastic new paintings in his seventh solo exhibition at Marianne Boeskys gallery.
Matt Mullican is one of the artists Ive followed the most closely over the years. Part of that has to do with the fact that when I was getting interested in his work nearly forty years ago, I reached out to him, and was lucky enough to have some interview sessions. Fast forward to 2023 and the incredible exhibition thats going on right now at Peter Freeman. I feel like Im starting all over again, that Im needing more direct discourse with Matt Mullican so I can continue on the path of decoding and getting to the bottom of the iconography in his work.
Solmis recurring subject is the knowing abuse of power, and he has a bleak and urgent message for us regarding this particularly agonizing moment in history: it has happened before, it will happen again, and there is very little within our power to stop it. Bucking convention, Solmi even sees it from the perspective of the aggressors, whose greatest wish is to wall themselves off from the rest of us, the better to enjoy the fruits of their plunder.
There have always been multiple entry points for viewers to come to terms with John Sonsinis bravura portraits of single or multiple male subjects, most of whom are Mexican day laborers, and the age of Trump has unexpectedly provided us with yet another.
The ghost of Mark Lombardi hovers over recent exhibitions by Fernando Bryce, at Alexander & Bonin, and William Powhida, at Postmasters, both of which trafficked heavily in a fusion of text and imagery. This combination seems far easier for audiences today to digest than was the case 20 years ago, when Lombardi was one of the few working artists able to locate the proverbial sweet spot between things people want to read and things people want to look at.
The installation functions as a veritable safe space, where we might gradually accustom ourselves to the voices and faces of people whose political opinions are diametrically opposed to ours, while perhaps attempting to perceive a crucial distinction along the way between the message and the messenger.
Paul Anthony Smiths first solo exhibition in New York, at Jack Shainman Gallery, arrives with the proverbial wind at the artist's back. Smith, who turns 31 this year, has already enjoyed multiple museum group shows and acquisitions around the country, and some mid career artists whose names would be familiar to most readers have been discreetly collecting his work for some time.
Since Whittens death in early 2018 at the age of 78, a new and welcome focus of attention has been brought to his achievements.
In Monika Baers second exhibition of new paintings at Greene Naftali, familiar tensions are teased out between her fluency with the norms of academic realism, and an apparently superseding interest in the painting as a handmade object that can be perceived from a multitude of varied perspectives.
In comparison to Kaphars earlier work, these enigmatic new paintings are asked to bear a heavier burden of direct narrative, and the lack of an obvious relation between the absences and presences that Kaphar highlights here leaves us with a new and unfamiliar kind of disorientation.
A product of the 1990s upheaval that transformed video art into video installation, Rottenbergs videos are the focal point of an intricately linked material universe in which architectural elements and room transformations function as added liminal spaces by which one arrives at the screen.
Williamss exhibition, titled Tracing Memory, builds on the tradition of apostate picture-makers with such confidence that the fact that this is also her debut exhibition at a commercial art gallery in New York City comes as a surprise. Many of the works on view lack any support structure at all, preferring instead to migrate across the wall with a breezy randomness that belies their precise deployment of shape, color, and materials.
Gonzaless efforts to transform both the emotional raw material of her research, as well as actual patterns and motifs found in Shipibo textiles, result in compositions that seek to retain the freshness and urgency of her experiences, while opening up a space in contemporary artistic practice for a non-exploitative relationship to pre-Colombian cultures.
Her groundbreaking works of 30 years ago seem to dovetail just as effortlessly with a contemporary interest in activism and ways that artists can deploy new developments in technology and communication without becoming subsumed by a consumerist ethos.
The art and life of Winfred Rembert (19452021) offers a double reflection of two of the most glaring injustices in the US over the past century: the forceful imposition of Jim Crow laws of racial segregation in former slave states in the South, and the explosive growth of the prison industry as a tool of social control over individuals and groups whom the system finds troublesome or a threat.
Another troubling aspect to the infallibility principle of art criticismby which the value of your opinion is determined by the proportion of artists you choose to write about who are still considered relevant 10 or 20 years after the factis that contemporary art is never affixed with an unwavering value, even after its no longer seen as contemporary.
During our time scattered amongst the living, we are frequently on the receiving end of advice to the effect that death is the event we should fear the mosta reflex that has always bewildered me.