Writings by David Cohen

Alexander Ross at Marianne Boesky and 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.


Jeff Wall’s Unlovely World


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.


Luc Tuymans


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


Juan Usle at Cheim & Read and Silvia Bachli at Peter Freeman, Inc.


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.


William Kentridge, What Will Come, 2007. Courtesy of Marian Goodman Gallery

A Surfeit of Genius: William Kentridge at Marian Goodman Gallery


Seeing Double is packed with elaborations of his trademark idiom: imagery transmogrified


Alan Saret at the Drawing Center, Richard Pousette-Dart at Knoedler


Physical gesture means the artist’s hand is present yet transcended: there is no question that the arcs or circles are handmade, but an unforced, lyrical all-overness creates a cosmic, suprapersonal sense of order and well-being.


Katy Grannan at Salon 94 Freemans and Greenberg Van Doren; Lina Bertucci at Perry Rubinstein


There is a pervasive ambivalence in Katy Grannan’s portraits: the gaze that returns the viewer’s is a mix of coyness and exhibitionism. The images themselves oscillate between similar extremes, building a visceral sense of the present through precision while succumbing to a remoteness that results from theatricality.


Alberto Burri at Mitchell-Innes & Nash


However raw and rude his torn, scorched and crudely sewn-together burlaps, his molten plastics, or his randomly cracked ceramics might have been, he was a consummate aesthete, incapable — seemingly — of inelegance. In the case of Italian artists, the national stereotype happens to be true — they have a Midas touch with beauty, even when they are attempting to convey poverty, trauma or angst.


Alberto Burri, Rosso Plastica L.A.,1966. Plastic, acrylic, combustione on Celotex, 11-3/8 x 14-1/2 inches Courtesy Mitchell-Innes & Nash

Alberto Burri at Mitchell-Innes & Nash


Burri is famous for the poverty of his means and the richness of his results.


Thomas Demand at 303 Gallery and Merlin James at Sikkema Jenkins & Co


Merlin James and Thomas Demand might seem as different as two contemporary artists can be. But a coincidence of means begs a comparison between shows of overtly contrastive mood and art-world temper. For both artists make their final images from models of their own making.