Writings by David Cohen

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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


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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.


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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.


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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.


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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.


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Karen Yasinsky at Mireille Mosler, Alex McQuilkin at Marvelli, Isaac Julien at Metro Pictures


Where Yasinsky accesses early girlhood through dolls and dinky illustration technique, McQuilkin seems dedicated to a perpetual state of teenage angst. The specific identification of both with early cinema relates to a broader trend in feminist-influenced art.


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Anthony Caro at Mitchell-Innes & Nash


These hefty yet open-form, emphatic yet enigmatic assemblages of prefabricated, found, and adapted components show a youthful, spry, curiosity-filled artist at the top of his game.


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R.B. Kitaj


R.B. Kitaj’s work broke a modernist taboo – before it became fashionable to do so – by being unabashedly literary. Hilton Kramer once complained that his paintings were “littered with ideas.” But as referential as he could be, Kitaj was always a consummately visual artist.