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Benjamin Clifford

Benjamin Clifford is an Art Editor at the Brooklyn Rail. He received his Ph.D. from NYU’s Institute of Fine Arts in 2019.

Minimalism and Beyond

Minimalism and Beyond takes its title seriously: an emphasis on ‘beyond’ informs Mnuchin Gallery’s liberal selection of works, and lets surprising, productive connections develop. That said, the conventional narrative of Minimalism’s origins in the early 1960s and its evolution into Postminimalism later in the decade is well represented.

Josef Albers in Mexico

The Guggenheim’s concisely titled Josef Albers in Mexico explores Albers’s experience of the eponymous Latin American nation, focusing on his frequent visits to pre-Columbian monuments and archeological sites.

Sculpture and Drawings

The works that make up Serra’s current show reveal an approachability that’s surprising for a figure commonly associated with aggressive, even overwhelming, effects.

Raha Raissnia: Galvanization

Raha Raissnia’s atmospheric new paintings, drawings, and projections share much with the work she exhibited at The Drawing Center last winter.

Fotoclubismo: Brazilian Modernist Photography, 1946–1964

Although the people that populate the FCCB’s photographs may at times exist in Romantic solitude, the built environment and mass-produced goods around them proliferate relentlessly—these are unmistakably images of urbanism at mid-century.

The Worlds of Joaquín Torres-García

Acquavella’s The Worlds of Joaquín Torres-García is a wide-ranging and substantial look at the Uruguayan master’s career, drawing on material executed as early as the artist’s youth in the late nineteenth century and as late as 1949, the year of his death.

Nuvolo and Post-War Materiality 1950-1965

In his most characteristic works, Nuvolo stitched fragments of fabric together with a sewing machine to form an asymmetrical but carefully balanced grid.

Gabriel Orozco

The varying texture of local stone, the colors of a specific landscape, the ephemera of regional commercial culture—Orozco’s work finds its enduring vitality in the slippages and incongruences that emerge from these factors.


Kairos, the title of Pat Steir’s most recent exhibition at Lévy Gorvy, is taken from an Ancient Greek word that refers to the right or opportune moment for action.

Willem de Kooning:
Men and Women
and Drawings

Willem de Kooning’s practice never stood in place for long, a sustained creative restlessness that is plain to see in a pair of exhibitions currently on view, one at Craig F. Starr and the other at Matthew Marks.

Radicalism in the Wilderness: Japanese Artists in the Global 1960s

Radicalism thinks through this dialectic within Japan itself and on an international scale. The show features boundary-pushing artists who worked in areas remote from Tokyo—the seat of the art establishment after World War II—while proposing the terms “connection” and “resonance” to describe, respectively, concrete links and conceptual parallels with figures in Europe and the United States.

Paintings 1985—1995

This presentation of thirteen works by David Salle focuses on the ten years following his establishment in the art world—a period that saw the painter’s compositions grow denser and more complex in their staging.


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.

Nour Mobarak: Logistique Elastique

The first impression made by Nour Mobarak’s solo debut in New York is celestial: several roughly spherical objects are scattered throughout Miguel Abreu’s Orchard Street gallery, like an eccentric solar system in miniature.

Epic Abstraction: Pollock to Herrera

The title of the Met’s new ongoing installation, Epic Abstraction: Pollock to Herrera, suggests a revisionist take on the history of abstraction since World War II. However, the show is drawn almost entirely from the permanent collection, which is simply not broad enough in this area to fulfill such an ambitious promise.

Richard Serra

Both shows largely eschew the raw and overbearing aggression that Serra is best known for. Instead, they are finely judged installations that manipulate the relationship between a sculptural object, a display space, and a mobile viewer with great sophistication. The overall effect is thoughtful and, at times, even seductive.

Deborah Turbeville: Collages

The collages by Deborah Turbeville currently on view at Deborah Bell draw mainly from the photographer’s work in fashion. Turbeville’s images are shrouded in a gothic atmosphere of deep shadows and Romantic decay, and her models typically convey alienation or psychological dissociation—not precisely the glamour we expect of luxury advertising.

Benjamin Clifford on Edward Steichen

It’s February 2020 and I’m looking at two prints laid side-by-side on a work table in the Museum of Modern Art’s Department of Photography. Each shows a wooded pond in Westchester County in the dark of night, the moon rising, shining dimly between the trees that line the far edge of the water. In each case it is the same scene—the same brute visual information—and both images are rendered in soft focus, with a similarly Romantic atmosphere. But they are different.


The Brooklyn Rail

SEPT 2023

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