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Saul Ostrow

Saul Ostrow is an independent critic, and curator, Art Editor at Large for Bomb Magazine.

Charles Gaines: Southern Trees

By abstracting Gaines’s processes and its operation we can tie his game of building and deploying systems to the real world—they are models of the way in which the particular loses its identity and becomes part of a category. Gaines’s works, then, function as analogies whose subject is the construction and discernment of identity.

Noël Dolla: Tulle/Dye, 1969-2023

Noël Dolla is a French artist, and if he is known at all in the United States it is for his participation in Supports/Surfaces, a collective of like-minded artists who in the late 1960s to 70s shared common ideas about the identity and symbolic function of art.

David Deutsch: Hurly-Burly

Given a selection of earlier works in the lower gallery at Eva Presenhuber it is apparent that Deutsch has always been aware that what differentiates a mimetic image from an abstract one is that an image’s mimetic function of simulation is at its highest when the medium least asserts itself; inversely when the medium asserts itself most viewers see its materiality and not what may be encoded in it.

Joseph Grigely: In What Way Wham? (White Noise and Other Works, 1996–2023)

In the tradition of such artists as On Kawara, Stanley Brouwn, James Lee Byars, and Ray Johnson, whose work extensively consisted of ephemera—postcards, hand-drawn maps, notes, and collages—the conceptualist Joseph Grigely presents images and texts as artifice, evidence, and commentary.

Josh Kline: Project for a New American Century

The exhibition Project for a New American Century at the Whitney Museum installed on the fifth and eighth floors is a sampling of Josh Kline’s works done over the last fourteen years. The initial impression is that Kline’s work descends from the tradition of social realism and agit-prop in which art serves as a tool of social and political criticism and mobilization. However, what one soon realizes is how often it instead verges on melodrama.

Bridget Riley Drawings: From the Artist’s Studio

These works’ pictorial strategies, and others from the 1970s on, though their initial effects are still op, align them with many of the now marginalized practices of post-50s hardedge and geometric abstract art. With this insight, I realized Riley’s practice extends beyond her association with Op art and that her work can be contextualized within the broader aesthetic discourses of early and late modernism.

KP Brehmer: World in Mind

In his effort to subvert capitalism’s visual representation of politics, economics, science, consumer culture, and everyday life, KP Brehmer adopted a graphic designer’s aesthetic to produce diagrams, postcards, inserts, multiples, posters, banners, and displays.

William Corwin: Lethe-Wards

In 2021 on the occasion of his exhibition Green Ladder, I had written that artist William Corwin’s works are “discursive, and recursive, while his subject-matter and contents are heterogeneous, interdisciplinary, and multi-cultural. Often Corwin is a time-traveler filling his sculptures with esoteric, mystical, and mundane knowledge from the past. 

Simone Leigh

Simone Leigh makes highly refined and stylish sculptures that seemingly tell consciously constructed stories as well as unintended ones. The installation of this exhibition of her works at the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) in Boston is stark, dramatic, and elegant.

Alex Katz: Gathering

It might be best to think of it as a tightly-knit show of selected works, which unravels about half-way through as Katz’s imagery becomes increasingly abstract.

Let Us Start by Identifying Differing Ends

I have been asked to consider this moment as an opportunity to elucidate what we can learn from what happens when a major museum decides to expand and the contingent consequences of that decision as it affects the future of art within the city.


The Brooklyn Rail

SEPT 2023

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