Writings by David Cohen


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, Nero cretto (Black Cretto), 1976. Acrylic and PVA on Celotex, 147.3 x 246.5 cm. On view at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, in their exhibition, Alberto Burri: The Trauma of Painting. Private collection, courtesy Luxembourg & Dayan

Alberto Burri at Mitchell-Innes & Nash

As Burri’s retrospective continues at the Guggenheim through January 6, a review from 2008


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.


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.


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.


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.

Lynda Benglis, Quartered Meteor, 1969. Lead, 57-1/2 x 65-1/2 x 64-1/2 inches, edition 1/3. Courtesy Cheim & Read Gallery

Lynda Benglis and Louise Bourgeois: Circa 1970, at Cheim & Read

Louise Bourgeois and Lynda Benglis are both inveterate explorers of sculpture’s soggy underbelly. They are doyennes of a dark sexuality and of the nebulous space between the personal and the universal.