Tom Friedman @ Luhring Augustine, Jeffrey Gibson @ Participant, more

Given my underwhelming art show attendance record in NYC, I took a quick jaunt through galleries in Chelsea today, followed by a pilgrimage to the East side for an LES space. I’ve linked to gallery photos when available, to spare you and the artists from my low-res snapshots.

Doug Wheeler at David Zwirner 

This light-and-space artists’ major installation is this month’s must-see show, but I couldn’t see it.

Last weekend, I tried to get in line one hour before closing time, but was told to come back another day.

Today, the wait time was estimated to be about 90 minutes, with a growing line outside, and a longer line inside. Unlike Disneyland, there weren’t signs estimating the wait time; I came by this information covertly, and I promptly gave up.

The gallery ought consider extending the show as well as opening hours.

Photos on
Read Randy Kennedy’s review on NYTimes.

Terry Winters (borrowing from Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi) at Matthew Marks

Big abstract paintings in the big space, small transparency-and-Xerox collages in the smaller storefront. The collages were fun and psychedelic with rainbow-colored data visualizations.

What made me stop was recognizing a chart borrowed from  psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, whose research on flow and creativity has inspired many of my Positive Signs drawings. Winters appropriated a X-Y graph on how challenges and skill can lead to apathy or flow. He overlaid it on a paint chip page. Worked for me.

Photo at

Klaus Weber at Andrew Kreps

Sun Press looked cool, and would have been really cool if the sculptural contraption was working. Sunlight streamed in the windows and hit a mirror attached to hydraulic pistons on a wooden base. Several yards down a hall, another mirror (actually silver mylar pulled taut on a frame) was meant to catch the reflected light and re-direct it onto glass-plate-mounted transparencies, which would have acted as masks for incredibly slow, one-at-a-time, sun-bleached reproductions. Architecture and astronomy conspired against Weber, however, throwing the solar rays inertly on a wall.

The rest of the show was very good, however. A wall of death masks had two subtle surprises—humorously, a cartoonish character, and unnervingly, an empty spot with lone, expectant nail. I also liked some large, black-on-black screenprints made with honey, more for the food materials, á la Ed Ruscha. In an anatomical model, real produce filled in for organs, updating Giuseppe Arcimboldo’s veggie portraits, plus real-time decay. The brain, so inscrutable, is a cauliflower. As in my fridge, the cucumber, which stands in for the esophagus, mutinies first, shrinking as if in anaphylactic shock.

The gallery site hasn’t got any photos yet, so enjoy my grainy mobile phone photo.

A sculpture from Klaus Weber's show, "if you leave me I'm not following" at Andrew Kreps Gallery.

A sculpture from Klaus Weber's show, "if you leave me I'm not following" at Andrew Kreps Gallery.

John Miller at Metro Pictures

Puzzling theatrical sets made with b/w vinyl murals, fake trees and rocks, and sparkly automotive-painted file cabinets.

Photos at

The carpet that spells “NO” reminded my of Amanda Curreri’s Leveller. Similar materials, very different intentions and effects.

Tom Friedman at Luhring Augustine

Really superb show by the master conceptualist-craftsman. Friedman’s sculptures and wall-works seem epitomize idiosyncrasy. There is hyper-realism, psychedelia, minimal text works, and miniatures; all result from a persistent attraction to labor. Friedman is a artistic daredevil, unafraid of the impossible.

Thankfully, full photo documentation is at

Over and over, I thought of other artists who might appreciate this show, whose works resonates with specific projects. For example, I thought Steven Barich, who has made tiny pixel graphite drawings, might appreciate this pixellated acrylic painting. Anthony Ryan, who was painstakingly inlaying and weaving paper the last time I visited his studio, might enjoy this interpolated paper collage. This wrinkled photo of itself was not unlike Zachary Royer Schultz’ Crumple projects. And for yours truly, who has been dreaming about a kite project, there was this tiny figure, and his far, faraway kite (not pictured, and actually, it’s so tiny it’s barely visible in person).

AIGA’s 50 Books/50 Covers 2010 Competition 

[Full disclosure: my husband contributed to the interactive components of this exhibition.]

Graphic design aficionados who find themselves ogling covers rather than shopping for books in bookstores, this is the exhibition for you. Come and ogle away.

Graphic designers, beware: visiting this exhibition will only whet your appetite for expensive and unusual printing and bindery—gloss varnishes, rich textiles, and extraordinary boxes. Come anyway; this is the best way to see them, better than the mind-numbing sameness of printed catalogs.

Too many covers were stunners, but I especially loved the covers for Frank Rose’s The Art of Immersion and the book series, Themes of Psychoanalysis, elegantly illustrated with only one or two letters, symbols, or ornaments. The affect and emotion book, for example, bears a mirrored ampersand, which looks like two figures in intimate exchange.

Also: good spurs for home town pride: Rebecca Solnit’s The Infinite City, Mark Dion’s OMCA monograph, McSweeney’s, Tartine, etc.

Info and installation photos at

Selected book covers can be seen at’s design archives.

Jeffrey Gibson at Participant, Inc.

[At one time, Jeffrey was a studio neighbor in Oakland, CA.]

Jeffrey, who is Native American, populates Participant’s not-insubstantial space with sculptures using rugs, beadwork, masks, leatherwork, and drums. As soon as I saw these tchotchkes, painted to look like art, I thought of another LES installation/performance wherein white artists appropriated Native American culture to articulate nature-inspired mysticism. Americans in general are guilty of participating in this ongoing cultural imperialism; it’s just that the conscious acts seem so overt, privileged, and repellant. I wondered what Jeffrey would have made of them.

A series of circular drums are painted with hard-edged geometric shapes and stripes, with some whisks of aerosol. These seem to most clearly convey the show’s inspiration, a 1940s exhibit of Native American art situated in modern art history. Other works, like the pink fluorescent tube shooting out of a hide satchel adorned with two beaded balls, queer up the theme. A b/w video displays time-lapse photos of the drum-paintings in progress. Moving blankets, heavy with paint and Native ornamentation, ground floor works and, as a flag, worry a hardwood dowel.

More info at


Jim Hodges @ Gladstone, Andrea Bowers @ Kreps

I can’t bring myself to see the Carsten Höller show at the New Museum. It sounds like something I would love—
1. It’s called Experience.
2. There’s lots of mirrors.
3. There’s lots of playing with perception.

But, after Jerry Saltz’ rant, I’m afraid the New Museum will be overrun by crowds, and that it will be pervaded by playfulness and novelty that edges out reflexivity. In other words, my experience will be of a spectacle, and not of a phenomenological unravelling, of mystery unfolding into discovery, of the gradual maturity of an idea or sensibility.

While I work up my patience, I made it to see Jim Hodge’s excellent exhibitions at Gladstone Gallery (through December 23) today. At the 24th Street venue, there were three massive works, all masterfully accomplished. The first is a huge black glass mosaic tondo. During my visit it was a full circle; the website depicts the piece shown in segments. Indeed, during my visit I noticed unpainted patches on the wall, which I realize now were artifacts of this evolving display. It depicts flashes of light and sparkles, achieved only with the tile pattern. It’s spectacularly reflective and shimmering.

Adjacent to the tondo is an installation of a single, huge, slowly spinning, mirrored disco ball. Four programmed spotlights are pointed at it, so that the starry specs of light cast about the room move in multiple directions. If you’re moving at New York City speed, you’ll fail to notice that the disco ball is lowering very slowly. Indeed, if you stick around long enough, you will see it descend, unbelievably, into a circular hole jackhammered into the concrete floor, and filled with inky water. Indeed, the mirrored ball touches the surface, then becomes engulfed, achieving a slowly disappearing reflection of itself in the water, submerging completely until the room is still and dark. To transition from such a mesmerizing visual rhythm to stillness was markedly calming. Visiting galleries in Chelsea can seems like a Sisyphean task; this installation left me feeling grateful and centered.

At Hodges’ 20th Street show, I was utterly stumped by the technique behind the massive electroplated(?) boulders.

Andrea Bowers is a total beast with her graphite realism. She continues to be one of most unabashedly activist artists working today. Her show at Andrew Kreps (closing on Saturday) revisits second-wave feminist publications and posters, and combines them with devastatingly good pro-choice drawings and portraits of LGBTQ and worker’s rights demonstrators.

Ohad Meromi‘s inexplicably warm material manipulations—geometric, fundamental, recognizable, and yet fully conjectural—continue though Saturday at Harris Lieberman. A ballet bar lines the walls. Collages and their handmade plywood frames converge to become sculptural objects. A participatory “anti-performance workshop” is scheduled for Saturday 6pm.

Matthew Brannon at Casey Kaplan. Irresistible as usual letterpress/screenprints, plus 3-D translations in sculpture. The show is a crime thriller, staged in touches of fey powder pink, windowed office doors, and glossy hand-painted signs. It’s sort of literary and nostalgic and domestic. Between the pink, the letterpress, and the personally-scaled texts, I wonder if the work would be read or regarded differently if the artist was female. It shouldn’t matter, but it does. As Randy Cohen pointed out last night (at a great panel discussion at the intersection of ethics, psychology, and perception organized by No Longer Empty), a person might see clearly, but never objectively.