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Matt Connors Enjambment

In his show Enjambment at Canada Gallery, Matt Connors’ paintings can be charming and refreshing but also exasperatingly clever. Connors builds his work from simple shapes that enact bizarre and engaging formal relationships. Quasi-geometric forms nuzzle together, long stripes come close without touching, and opaque rectangular brushmarks cluster in tenuous harmony.

Enantiomorphic Chamber

Enantiomorphic Chamber is not a statement of purpose or a world-changing philosophy, but it does explore a visual idea that seems to open up much wider fields of inquiry all around it, and that’s pretty exciting. An enantiomorph is “a pair of asymmetrical figures that are mirror images of one another.”

Tadaaki Kuwayama’s Aesthetics of Infinity

Born in Nagoya, Japan, Kuwayama came with his wife, the artist, Rakuko Naito, to the United States in 1958, roughly the same time as Yayoi Kusama and Yoko Ono. By 1960-61, he had already developed a reputation as a reductivist painter through his association with such important gallerists as Richard Bellamy and Bruno Bischofberger.

Marcel Dzama Even the Ghost of the Past

On March 6, Marcel Dzama’s anticipated exhibition, Even the Ghost of the Past, opened at David Zwirner, marking the cresting of the neo-folk floodwaters. His work, once groundbreaking and as fresh as the air in Winnipeg, Manitoba, where he’s from, now looks more familiar than ever.

Dan Walsh

Paintings by Dan Walsh at Paula Cooper Gallery summon several monumental streams of late twentieth century painting—color field, geometric abstraction, and even the less monumental Op—to the side of an artist who somehow eludes categorization. The works are comprised of regular lines, grids or squares repeated in near-perfect regularity.

Guglielmo Achille Cavellini: Works from 1960 to 1990

Born into an old Tuscan family in Brescia on September 11, 1914, he began to draw during his military service and made caricatures of his fellow soldiers. After World War II, he began to exhibit the works of Vedova and San Tomaso in his home in Villa Bonomese in Brescia.

Lori Ellison

The eternal return of the same is not metaphysics; it’s an aesthetic! The obsessive-compulsive busies herself frantically to insure that nothing happens, furiously weaving nets to bind trauma. That “trauma” is real life. Shock, lack, and the abyssal wail remain in force then wrest control, but such discord is not well captured by mere fracture.

Joseph DeLappe Gandhi’s March to Dandi

Is Second Life merely an iconic simulation of commerce, privatization, and exclusivity or could it work as an engine for building social awareness? Attempts to awaken users to the concerns of real life by way of strife-free virtual worlds may seem counterintuitive at best.

Dave Miko

Dave Miko offers perplexing painting for perplexed people, unsettling and comforting in the same tentative breath. Suffice it is to add that the paintings are quiet, unostentatious, and unpredictable, with the bulk of the show consisting of recently completed text-based paintings. The shimmering elegance of their surfaces is the result of oil paint on aluminum sheets.

Ruth Root

From afar Ruth Root’s painting is not easily recognizable as painting. Its slick surface calls to mind metal, plastic, or some unknown medium of the future. Ultra thin, brightly colored, variably shaped aluminum set flush against the gallery wall creates the impression of an object naturally merging with the wall space.

Hungover at Whitney

At the material level, a significant portion of the work featured in the exhibit—from Ruben Ochoa’s uprooted chain link fence to Mika Tajima’s bizarre pageant of shifting mirrors and distorted audio—pursues an aesthetic of fragmentation, disjunction, or, in the case of Walead Beshty’s safety laminate-encased, fractured glass boxes (an allusion to Duchamp’s damaged-in-transit The Large Glass?), just plain brokenness.

America’s Lessness

During the 20th century, while American artists did not generally take the country’s integrity for granted, they did tap the rich vein of its mythic virtue with a tacit understanding that it was not all illusory. In the mid-'50s, Jasper Johns adopted the American flag as the subject for a series of groundbreaking painterly meditations.

Kalm Before the Storm, Responses to “The Ethics of Aesthetics”

It seems my March column “The Ethics of Aesthetics” induced some urgent replies from a couple of the article’s major players. In keeping with the Brooklyn Rail’s tradition of encouraging open discourse, these two letters are being published in their entirety.

Brooklyn Dispatches

I’d bumped into this kid after closing time on a Sunday afternoon in the “Killing Room” at a Williamsburg gallery. I’m usually running around looking at shows in the off-hours, trying to get an unobstructed view of the work. Seems young artists on the make have picked up on the idea, since it’s a great time to talk to exhausted gallerists wrapping up the weekend, their defenses down.

Flip: Rachel Beach and Nora Herting

Its latest show, Flip, brings together two artists, Rachel Beach and Nora Herting, who are completely immersed in a world of decoration and design. While they share some commonalities, they diverge in their approach and success. Beach is a sculptor who excels in fashioning art out of the seemingly superficial world of veneers, but shallow her objects are not.

Catherine Sullivan Triangle of Need

A work of this scale and audacity necessarily defies the ordinary tools of assessment; perhaps the most straightforward way to approach it is through the sources that Sullivan and her collaborators, composer Sean Griffin and choreographer Dylan Skybrook, have acknowledged in their writings.


Something of that porousness between machine and human is to be found in Lydia Dona’s most recent exhibition, which consists of one large, three-panel painting (seven feet high and sixteen feet wide) and four prints. The ostensible subject is what lies behind the surface of upscale, urban lives.

Jasper Johns

Ever since he completed his groundbreaking Flag (1954-55), Jasper Johns has persistently and, for many, annoyingly defined himself as an individual of no special merit, fixed identity, or authorial “I,” who stands outside both the Marxist definition of worker and the romanticized notion of the artist as hero.

June Leaf Paintings & Sculpture

These days you would think that the only woman artist over seventy-five is Louise Bourgeois. And yet, even if Leaf didn’t pave anyone’s way, and was in fact a completely isolated figure, as she has been called by some observers, her work—she paints, draws, and makes sculptures—demands far more attention than it has received.

Floor Plans

Whitney Biennial 2008: Installations and Performances


The Brooklyn Rail

APR 2008

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