DAVID COHEN, Editor           


March 2008

posted 3/30//2008
David Cohen on Alexander Ross at Mariane Boesky and at David Nolan

His imagery is concerned with strange growth patterns, with odd cellular structures metastasizing, imparting an ominous sense of alien substances spreading like the plague. Above all, though, it is his aesthetic impact that feels diseaselike. His giddy surfaces are icky, sickly, and yet addictive.

posted 3/30//2008
JOHN GOODRICH on Courbet at the Met

As a painter, Courbet ravishes a nude in the same manner as he would a tree or a trout: for the visual evidence of its expressive physicality.

posted 3/1//2008
DAVID OLIVANT on Takashi Murakami at the Geffen and at the Brooklyn Museum

Murakami does not have to be self-conscious about his eclecticism and can quite happily superimpose characters cloned from Mickey Mouse, with the iconography of Buddhism, the stylistic devices of anime and the aesthetics of Muromachi screen painting. The burning question is what all of this adds up to apart from an exercise in fusion.

posted 3/30//2008
DAVID CARRIER on Ruth Root at Andrew Kreps

For an abstract painter of her generation, the older distinctions between figurative and abstract art, or between politically critical art and the consumer products of mass culture cease to have much importance. Perhaps that is why her essentially cheerful art shows no signs of th angst which inspired so many of the pioneering Abstract Expressionists.

posted 3/30//2008

Like Henry Darger, Ku refers to a mindset populated by children who undermine confidence in the world as it is. She presents disturbing tableaux, meditations on transgressions that make no sense, that seem to come out of nowhere.

posted 3/14//2008
DAVID COHEN on Jeff Wall at Marian Goodman

The effect of scale, however, is to demand an attention the unglamorous, prosaic images might not otherwise command, to make moral, political claims for the importance of their subjects — in the senses both of the socially marginalized people and the issues raised.

posted 3/20//2008
ERIC GELBER on Sean McCarthy at Fredericks & Freiser

McCarthy’s chimerical hybrid creations are sphinx-like. Mysterious and inscrutable, their individual characteristics undermine any symbolic reading. They are rooted in the real world, but also convey a complete sense of otherness.

posted 3/14//2008
MORGAN TAYLOR on Stanley Lewis at the Bowery

Lewis's unfailingly authoritative skill for painting real, rich and crystalline light, joined to his muscular composition, is the key to his power and success.

posted 3/14//2008
Luc Tuymans at David Zwirner

In Luc Tuymans, you are never allowed to forget that the source is banal and secondary. Painterliness underscores alienation rather than ameliorating it.

posted 3/1//2008
JOHN GOODRICH on Rackstraw Downes at Betty Cuningham and Greg Lindquist at Elizabeth Harris

Downes paintings reflect a unique combination of aggressive conception and passive elaboration. Fervent perceptions of space enliven their broad outlines; details follow, filling in the story of each site exactly “as is.” Colors add atmosphere and light.

posted 3/3//2008
JONATHAN GOODMAN on Bingyi Huang at Max Protetch

Given Huang’s indirectness, we experience the scene as if imbued with symbolist forms, which reveal their meaning only fleetingly. Yet the painting does not feel deliberately obscure, but rather poses the question, How much must be revealed before the images makes narrative sense?

posted 3/1//2008
DAVID COHEN on Juan Uslé at Cheim & Read, Silvia Bächli at Peter Freeman

Despite different approaches towards scale, texture and color, a common attitude pervades each artist’s style that isolates a cool tension between involvedness and restraint.

posted 3/1//2008
ERIC GELBER on Diana Puntar at Oliver Kamm/5BE

Their biomorphic qualities are undermined by the fabrication process, but this increases the sense of otherness they generate. They suggest imaginary beings that are not the product of fantasy, but rather of imaginative speculation on the real but unknown.

posted 3/1//2008
DAVID CARRIER on Successive Approximation at Perry Rubenstein

Too often group exhibitions, especially those that mix together young artists and famous figures, fail to reveal elective affinities. This tight small show, however, revealed that these nine very different looking works of art all shared a genuine concern with successive approximation. And in doing that, it also displayed the totally unexpected relationship of these contemporary works of art with the traditions of old master painting.