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Alfred Mac Adam

Alfred Mac Adam is Professor of Latin American literature at Barnard College-Columbia University. He is a translator, most recently of Juan Villoro’s Horizontal Vertigo (2021), about Mexico City.

Jutta Koether: 4 the Team

These small paintings, made between 1983 and 1987, are superb. Their role in Koether’s oeuvre is reminiscent of Eva Hesse’s expressionistic “spectre” paintings of 1960 in that they also show the artist taking control of an Expressionistic style reminiscent of Soutine’s still lives or even Philip Guston’s figural paintings—but a style she will jettison.

Julian Schnabel: The Patch of Blue the Prisoner Calls the Sky

Out-of-context quotation in art and architecture is characteristic of the postmodern condition, but Schnabel’s relationship with antecedents is complex. Here, he alters a line to fit his intentions, but elsewhere he shows himself to be a past master of painterly parody.

Off the Wall

Color experimentation brings together the seven very different artists in this sparkling virtual group show. Sequestered in the confines of apartments and houses, where we see the same colors day after day, we crave color permutations, which is exactly what this lively mix of multi-generational colorists provides.

Rackstraw Downes: Paintings & Drawings

“So I said to the person I was with, ‘You know I think I’d like to paint the whole world on a postcard,’ and in a funny way, though I never thought about that remark until years later, that was what I did, in a way.”

(Nothing but) Flowers

The title of this spectacular show of 59 artists should be: These Are Not Flowers. Only Magritte’s admonition keeps us from confusing nature and art, though of course such confusion is the inevitable result of this floral avalanche. When do flowers cease to be nature and become art?

Genieve Figgis: Immortal Reflection

For years now, Genieve Figgis has been playing—with astonishing success—the double game of caricature. A double game because caricature involves simultaneously viewing Figgis’s paintings and viewing in the mind’s eye the things she mocks.

Cristina BanBan: Del Llanto

Cristina BanBan’s Del Llanto is the perfect answer to the tedious, inevitable question, “And what have you been doing during the pandemic?” She’s been mighty busy, so much so that she’s filled two venues, 1969 Gallery in Tribeca and albertz benda in Chelsea, with her efforts: over 30 works in oil, acrylic, pastel, and charcoal.

Tacita Dean: The Dante Project • One Hundred and Fifty Years of Painting • Pan Amicus • Significant Form • Monet Hates Me

Tacita Dean’s current show at Marian Goodman is not your ordinary gallery show. In fact, Dean has subtly revolutionized the very concept. The presentation of an artist’s work at a given moment can produce a species of tunnel vision because the individual pieces, often created at the same time, frequently bear such a resemblance to one another that they blend together.

I long and seek after

In a lost play by Sophocles mentioned by Aristotle in the Poetics, the princess Philomela, having been raped and maimed, can only express the horror of what has happened by weaving a tapestry.

Painting the Essential

Chris Martin has brought together fifteen painters, including himself, that are united by time—the eighties—and place—downtown Manhattan and Brooklyn—but resolutely different in style. This is a marvelous show that summarizes the American artistic sensibility of our times: a house decidedly divided against itself.

Susan Rothenberg: On Both Sides of My Line

Gray New York has rounded up 10 of Susan Rothenberg’s horses, all produced between 1974 and 1979. This is a rodeo of a very special kind: there are no riders as in a Marino Marini sculpture, no bronco busters, no human figures at all to distract us from the presence of the horses.

Abby Leigh: Sledgehammer Paintings

Abby Leigh’s visible work seduces with subtle, unassuming color and flashes of silvery metal. We look at these paintings, and it is as if we were peering into a microscope at a specimen displayed on a slide.

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.

Lesley Vance

Lesley Vance swirls her powerful colors over the canvas until she dominates the entire surface. Horror vacui or will-to power? Probably equal doses of both, but the utter assertiveness of her ribbons of color in these nine oils on canvas mark her as a conquistador.

Josephine Halvorson: On the Ground

A hasty visitor to Sikkema Jenkins might easily overlook Josephine Halvorson’s 11 gouaches, tucked away in the back gallery. That sin of omission would be unforgivable and a source of eternal regret, because these outstanding paintings take landscape painting as a genre in a new direction, focusing on the insignificant rather than the infinite.

Interiors: hello from the living room

The COVID epidemic has made us acutely aware of interior spaces and their metamorphosis from living space into working and recreational spaces. But this fascinating show also reminds us that these multi-use spaces are saturated with sin.

Chaim Soutine: Flesh

The title of this rich, tightly focused show of thirty or so paintings is somewhat misleading. “Flesh” could imply sexuality or sensuality, a Rubensesque or Boucher-like delight in the human body. But such corporeal delights could not be further from Soutine’s relationship with formerly living animals. No other artist has taken nature morte, the French term for still life, quite as literally, reminding us that once life has been drained from a living organism, it becomes inanimate—that is, lifeless, it becomes a thing. No other artist enacts the transformation of matter into art with as much ironic self-awareness as Chaim Soutine (1893–1943).

Joseph Elmer Yoakum

The 60 works on paper by Joseph Elmer Yoakum (1890–1972) assembled here automatically make us wonder who this bizarre artist was. Yoakum's picaresque life and his late embrace of an artistic vocation call to mind traditional myths that assume artists are born, not made.

Valerie Jaudon: Prepositions

The titles of Jaudon’s 11 paintings refer explicitly to rhythmically organized sound—music. But terms like Aeolian (2017) and Lydian (2019) are strange to most of us and require a dictionary for elucidation. Even after we decipher the words, we wonder how we spectators are supposed to make the leap from visual experience to the music these titles ask us to hear?

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.

Emilie Stark-Menneg: Strawberry Moon

Emilie Stark-Menneg is a psychological artist, but to call her one is to do her a disservice. Eric Fischl, for instance, presents us with fraught moments in the lives of his subjects, fragments of a narrative, but Stark-Menneg sets aside stories in favor of psychic icons of an autobiographical nature.

Helen Frankenthaler and Robert Motherwell: The Art of Marriage

Humor is not a matter we associate with great artists, but it is with these star-crossed lovers, both dedicated body and soul to their craft but with the good sense to periodically stop making sense.

cart, horse, cart

This exhibition proves, first, that nowadays there is no down time in the art world and, second, that abstraction is not only not dead but has also risen phoenix-like to new heights in the twenty-first century.

Aleksandar Duravcevic: YOUTH

Most of the works in Youth have a reflective quality that transforms visitors into potential avatars of Narcissus.

Wayne Thiebaud: Mountains 1965–2019

These mountains embody the most sensuous aspects of the beautiful, as Thiebaud is a fundamentally erotic artist whose work arouses the viewer’s appetites.

Hermann Nitsch: Bayreuth Stories

Whether real or acrylic, blood is Nitsch’s preferred way to express the sublime, which the artist construes very much in Edmund Burke’s sense, as a spectacle that astonishes us, freezes us mentally and physically, and infuses in us a touch of horror.

Coronation of Sesostris  &  In Beauty It Is Finished: Drawings 1951-2008

Scheduled to coincide with what would have been Cy Twombly’s ninetieth birthday, Gagosian’s vast two-venue exhibition is an asymmetrical two-headed monster.

Experiments in Drawing

This concise, dazzling show of sixteen drawings (primarily landscapes) corrects this view, establishing Gainsborough as the progenitor of an English landscape tradition running from Constable to Turner and, ultimately, David Hockney.

Michael Goldberg End to End: The 1950s & 2000s

Thirty-three works, fifty-seven years of Michael Goldberg’s long and rich artistic career. The alpha and the omega of his artistic life: nine paintings from the 1950s (1950-1959) and twenty-four from this century, from 2000 until 2007, the year of his death.

Ma Paw

Much of Corrigan’s work until now has been charged with narrative, her paintings often episodes from untold tales she invited viewers to invent and complete. In these eighteen works, she attenuates narrative to focus on specific scenes from her forest-garden borderland.

William Hogarth: Cruelty and Humor

In a marginal note, William Hogarth (1697–1764) summarizes his artistic program: “to treat my subjects as a dramatic writer, my picture was my stage.”

Joe Zucker: 100-Foot-Long Piece, 1968-1969

Let's get into Joe Zucker's time machine. 100-Foot-Long Piece (1968-1969) is our point of departure, but Zucker brings us up to date with nine acrylic-cotton pieces from 2019. The show is not exactly a retrospective, but enough of one: nine gestural drawings in India ink from 1964 and two vitrines stuffed with miscellanea, including Zucker's high school diploma, a photo of him playing varsity basketball, and a host of gallery announcements and posters capture his chameleon nature.

John Currin: Memorial

With the seven oil paintings in Memorial, John Currin embraces Mannerism in all its twisting, elongated distortion.

Estamos Bien: La Trienal 20/21

Curators Rodrigo Moura, Susanna V. Temkin, and Elia Alba have composed a wild mélange of Latinx art, one that connects the viewer directly to the complexities of Latinx heritage in the context of the United States.

Margrit Lewczuk: Angels

Margrit Lewczuk has, as they say, a thing for angels. She has summoned 18 of them for this show, along with two paintings of birds and four of wings: a veritable heavenly host.

Ansel Krut: Back to Back Balloons

Like his fellow South Africans William Kentridge and Marlene Dumas, Ansel Krut might be defined as an expressionist of the latter day. Where Kentridge is theatrical and Dumas passionate, Krut seems zany, but in fact he is dead serious and addresses a wide range of artistic and social issues in these 30 acrylics and oils, all painted between 2017 and 2018.


There is an unstable mix of elements in Sparks’s work. On the one hand, a magic component—not the magic of sleight-of-hand or hat tricks, but the magic of religious belief, the magic of the fetish—the object that possesses obsessive power of some kind.

Jasper Johns: Recent Paintings & Works on Paper

This old dog can teach you more tricks than you can ever learn. Jasper Johns (b. May 15, 1930) fills Matthew Marks's gallery with 37 works and a 24-piece suite of drawings in ink on paper or plastic.


Nara Roesler Gallery inaugurates the opening of its new Chelsea space with the first installment of an ambitious program: to present a full panorama of Brazilian art. Cross-cuts is curated by the Venezuelan poet and art critic Luis Pérez-Oramas, and delivers the work of nine revelatory artists, seven of whom are currently practicing.

James Hyde: Western Painting—Magnasco

In Western Painting--Magnasco James Hyde makes a brilliant case for abstraction—as long as we understand what he means by that idea.

Dana Schutz: Imagine Me and You

Dana Schutz apparently found the title for this splendid show in the Turtles’ 1967 saccharine hymn to togetherness of the same name. No one is likely to become enraged over this appropriation. But it reminds us of the absurdity entailed in the very idea of appropriation, that somehow subjects are the exclusive property of some artists but not others.

Marco Maggi: Initialism (From Obscurantism to Enlightenment)

Marco Maggi has brought about the improbable union of Plato and Stéphane Mallarmé. Specifically, the marriage of Plato's allegory of the cave in the Republic and Mallarmé's Un coup des dés jamais n'abolira le hasard, his polyphonic text, meant to be read simultaneously at several levels in order to be understood.

Suzan Frecon: oil paintings

With the nine oil paintings currently on view at David Zwirner, Suzan Frecon moves into what we might call the classical phase of her career: the moment when she marshals, with supreme ease, every aspect of her previous work into a grand summary.

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.

Chloe Wise: Thank You For The Nice Fire

We live, Wise says, in a new edition of W.H. Auden’s “ The Age of Anxiety” (1947), where the intimate relationships we crave may be dangerous traps, where what we eat to stay alive may poison us.

Myths & Mortals

Marlene Dumas has had every accolade, every apotheosis a living artist could want. She could easily rest on her laurels but instead trades her laurels for myrtle, the evergreen with white flowers sacred to Venus. Which is to say, she focuses on the erotic, specifically female love.

Goya’s Graphic Imagination

Born in 1746 and died 1828 at the age of 82, Goya made nearly five decades of drawings and etchings, assembled here, that constitute his artistic alter ego, where self-awareness and intention could yield to emotion.

Eugène Delacroix at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

At this moment, the Metropolitan Museum of Art contains enough work by Eugène Delacroix (1798 – 1863) to keep you busy for several lifetimes.

Wood Works: Raw, Cut, Carved, Covered

Works by 20 artists are included in this wood-themed show.

Loló Soldevilla

The work brings into focus another aspect of the Concrete aesthetic: art as game with fixed rules within a fixed space, but a game in which the viewer participates. From a biographical perspective this work also constitutes an irony: with the triumph of the Cuban Revolution in 1959, Soldevilla’s work was deemed counterrevolutionary and she was obliged to discontinue her artistic practice and work in a factory making wooden toys for children.

Susan Rothenberg

As in all her works, the key element is creative destruction, the hands that destroy are also the hands that make. This may bring us closer to Rothenberg’s artistic essence: no creation takes place without destruction. Wherever we look in Sperone Westwater’s gallery, we find disjecta membra, the fragments of an aesthetic cataclysm.

Alexis Rockman: Lost Cargo: Watercolors

Alexis Rockman’s medium for the 22 marine and submarine works currently on view at Sperone Westwater—watercolor and acrylic on paper—is paradoxical: watercolors are notoriously susceptible to moisture while acrylic paint, though water soluble, is waterproof when dry. So, the paintings are ephemeral and permanent at the same time, like nature itself.


The two hundred or so objects assembled in this superb show—sculptures, paintings, and drawings, many of which have never been shown before—enable us finally to set aside the monstrous obfuscation of Giacometti’s oeuvre by philosophers and critics (Jean-Paul Sartre especially) who projected their ideology or self-image onto him and his work, and see him in the company of Egyptian, Greek, and African painting and sculpture, as well as the work of Brâncusi, de Chirico, and Cézanne.

Alberto Giacometti: Giacometti

The two hundred or so objects assembled in this superb show—sculptures, paintings, and drawings, many of which have never been shown before—enable us finally to set aside the monstrous obfuscation of Giacometti’s oeuvre by philosophers and critics (Jean-Paul Sartre especially).

Jacob El Hanani: Recent Works on Canvas

Jacob El Hanani’s Recent Works on Canvas, through a combination of large scale and virtually microscopic images, leaves us transfixed.

I'm Made of Milk

Kate Groobey has rehabilitated the zany. Not that she is personally zany or that her wonderful large-scale paintings are zany, but that she has brought back to artistic life the zany, the clown, the zanni or Gianni or Giovanni of the Commedia dell'Arte.

Charles Burchfield: Solitude

If naming an object kills it, looking directly at a bewitching scene, even in memory, kills it.

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.


The Brooklyn Rail

NOV 2021

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