M The New York Art World ®"All You Need To Know."
M The New York Art World ®"All You Need To Know."

Summer 2004



    From The Publisher


    Started in September 1998, the magazine, M, (and its internet companion,
    TheNewYorkArtWorld.com) celebrates its sixth year this fall. We have expanded over the years, adding more editorial features such as book reviews, film reviews and coverage of the performing arts, in addition to providing the most up-to-date and easy to use listings guide available from a single source, anywhere.
    Whether you are a casual reader, subscriber, advertiser or a professional member of our magazine (through our Basic and Deluxe Membership Packages) you help us to make a difference every day.
    Thank you.

    Best wishes for a warm and happy summer!




    On The Move
    The New Museum of Contemporary Art announced that they will operate an interim exhibition space on the ground floor of the Chelsea Art Museum, home of the Miotte Foundation, 556 West 22nd Street (at 11th Avenue). New Museum exhibitions, public programs and the New Museum Store will be presented at this location beginning September 18, 2004, as the museum vacates its current home at 583 Broadway. This move marks an important phase in the museum's transition to a new state-of-the-art facility being built at 235 Bowery, scheduled to open in 2006 For more information, please call 212.219.1222 x.217

    Contemporary Art Auction

    Philips de Pury & Company is to hold an auction of prints, photographs and multiples June 10 (with viewing to begin June 1 - 9). For more information, please call 212.940.1200.


    Gallery Closes
    Jan Van Der Donk - Rare Books, one of the early pioneers of pre-gentrified Chelsea, has closed. Mr. Van Der Donk will continue as a private dealer.

    New Gallery
    Nailya Alexander Gallery has opened on 57th Street. (see Midtown Listings)

    The Phatory llc, a new gallery in the East Village, has opened (see Village Listings)

    Sunshine Factory, a new gallery on the Lower East Side, has opened. (see Soho Listings)

    Art Fair
    Liste 04, The Young Art Fair in Basel takes place June 15 - 20, in Basel, Switzerland. For more information, visit: www.liste.ch

    Art Basel, the aging Swiss mega-fair, takes place June 16 - 21, in Basel, Switzerland. For more information, visit: www.ArtBasel.com

    Photo San francisco takes place July 22 - 25, in San Francisco. For more information, visit: www.photosanfrancisco.net


    The exhibition, Size Does Matter, which was reviewed in last month's issue by Lily Faust, should have stated that it was produced by "eyewash" (a migratory gallery matching artists to exhibition spaces in Williamsburg) in cooperation with Gallery Boreas, which provided the space.

    Cover Caption

    Hilary Harkness
    Heavy Cruisers, 2004. Oil on linen, 33 x 37 inches. MBG#8792.
    Courtesy: Mary Boone Gallery, New York

    Art Review


    Andreas Gursky, at Matthew Marks Gallery >>
    by Nicolette Ramirez

    Terrorvision, at Exit Art >>


    Hilary Harkness, at Mary Boone Gallery >>
    by Joyce Korotkin

    Alexey Titarenko, at Nailya Alexander Gallery >>

    by Joel Simpson

    Andy Warhol: Red Books, at Pace MacGill Gallery >>
    by Nicolette Ramirez

    Andrea Frank, at Marvelli Gallery >>

    by Mary Hrbacek

    René Burri, at The Gallery at Hermès >>
    by Joel Simpson

    A Point of View, at The Museum Of Contemporary Art >>


    Paper Chase, at Axel Raben Gallery >>
    by Joyce Korotkin

    Cindy Sherman, at Metro Pictures >>
    by Joyce Korotkin

    Get Off, at The Museum Of Sex >>

    by Nicolette Ramirez

    Daniel Richter, at David Zwirner >>

    by Nicolette Ramirez

    Mykola Zhuravel, at Ukrainian Institute of America >>

    by Lily Faust

    Pool Art Addict, at A New York Underground Art Fair >>
    by Michael MacInnis


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    Andreas Gursky, at Matthew Marks Gallery
    by Nicolette Ramirez

    Mixing documentary and a personal journal style of photography, Gursky captures interiors and exteriors; realism and abstraction. Massive in scale, these works arrest the viewer with their complexity.

    Gursky has an eye for geometric patterns in natural and man-made objects. The majority of these works are aerial shots, bird's-eye views of landscapes marked by lines, boxes, rectangles, spirals and other forms dotted with people, animals and objects. Whether in realistic or abstract compositions, Gursky emphasizes the dramatic. PCF, Paris (2003) is an abstract rendering of a spiraling vortex which is the ceiling of the French Communist Party Headquarters. In this silver grey spiral that fills the picture plane Gursky captures the eternal image of a spiraling galaxy, like the image of the spirals formed from a drop into water.

    Color also plays an important role in Gursky's work. Rimini (2003) combines geometric patterns and color; rows of beach umbrellas are sectioned off by color, red, yellow, blue and green. The sections on the sand mimic the curve of the shore and the buildings behind it. In Untitled XIII, Mexico (2002), Gursky depicts a land fill dump, showing one-third of the photograph as white sky with birds circling and two-thirds as a contrasting riot of color and texture in the sea of cardboard, plastic, wood and metal that comprise the scattered garbage.

    Nha Trang Vietnam (2004) shows factory workers making chairs; the workers can be distinguished from the uniformity of the color of the straw, by their black hair and orange shirts. An interesting trompe l'oile effect is created in this photograph, which at first appears to have been cut and divided into strips but on closer inspection we see that the horizontal lines are actually suspended lights on cables across the factory floor.

    The success of this show hinges on Gursky's unique combination of technical prowess and an uncanny ability to distill abstract imagery from seemingly ordinary, everyday pictures of the world around us.

    Through 6/27.


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    Terrorvision, at Exit Art



    The historical and geopolitical framework within which a work of art is presented has always informed the creative process. Today's heightened awareness of terrorism, as a nihilistic force made vastly more lethal through the same technologies that once promised a world of peace; satellite communications, the internet and global travel for the masses, seem to permeate every human act and thought. Against this backdrop, this mega-group show, dubbed Terrorvision, processes the present state of world affairs through the eyes of fifty-nine artists; in multiple disciplines, from photography to sculpture and interactive installations, as well as ongoing video screenings and discussions.

    Upon entering the enormous exhibition space, the viewer begins a journey in which the senses are saturated with a myriad of pre-fabricated menaces. In some instances, the viewer is, in effect, seduced into participating in vicarious acts of death and destruction. For example, the interactive video projection by Robert Hickman, You¹re Killing Me, engages the audience by offering the opportunity to shoot and kill an innocent passerby. In another case, Saoirse Higgins and Simon Schiessl's Mechanism 1: War, the viewer is asked to wind a toy drummer boy, which unwittingly triggers the the release of falling bombs.

    Mona Vatamanu and Florin Tudor¹s video projection, in which a woman puts herself in the "other's shoes" by dressing in an attire foreign to her, attempts to shift our perspective so as to promote understanding across a symbolic divide.
    Personal fears are addressed through dark humor, such as the artist, Flash Light, whose apprehension about the ominous "Patriot Act" passed by U.S.
    lawmakers in the aftermath of 9/11, finds expression in the interactive experiential piece, I am Terrified of the Patriot Act. Approaching a computer monitor, in an effort to read its small text, the words "I am Terrified of the Patriot Act" suddenly pop up on screen in large characters.

    We look around trying to figure out what we have done wrong, worried that the computer has read our thoughts. This work is quite effective in putting the viewer in an irresoluble state of unease.

    Despite its heady title, this show manages to steer clear (more or less) of predictable cliches, yielding an intelligent and engaging multifaceted convergence of ideas shaped by a world in which the consequences of miscalculation grow exponentially. To be sure, fear, on an existential level, is not an entirely new phenomena; once the nuclear cat was let out of the bag at the end of WWII, the rational for fear had already begun to seem a little absurd.

    Through 7/31.


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    Hilary Harkness, at Mary Boone Gallery
    by Joyce Korotkin


    With three small paintings spotlighted in the cathedral size space of Mary Boone¹s Chelsea gallery, Hilary Harkness creates a fantasy scenario of forbidden, super-sexed navy life; wild vixens engage in lesbian erotica that runs the gamut from S&M bondage to the unspeakable.

    Harkness structures her invented revelations on intricately painted and radiantly lit cross-sections of naval ships. Gun images abound, lots of rifles and the like, which read as phallic symbols in pictures where males are conspicuously absent. In Matterhorn, for example, two women flirt while one inserts a rifle into a fire, above which hangs a cauldron filled with skulls.

    Harkness questions the nature and unconscious sexual allure of institutionalized authority, exposing none too subtly the sublimated sexuality that fuels it. Dominance and submission define the perimeters of these relationships; devoid of romance or the threat of love, they nevertheless edge all too close to reality.

    Through 6/26.


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    Alexey Titarenko, at Nailya Alexander Gallery

    by Joel Simpson

    In this series of somber black and white, square formatted photographs dubbed Time Standing Still, Titarenko (b. 1962) documents Russian street life in the aftermath of the breakup of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). The predominant tonality of the images is grey, with an aural luminescence here and there. Titarenko uses extended time exposures for these images, taken under mostly low light conditions. The result is an eery glimpse into a suspended past, wherein the unmistakable look of East European life (in the Cold War) seems to rise from the grey mist of blurs, transparent fragments and crowd-streams of light that comprise human beings shuffling by.

    In less capable hands, the use of time elapse photography could become a gimmick, but to see the variety of Titarenko's hurried, preoccupied, often incomplete human figures against the rows and rows of corniced windows of the residential districts (or the bus stop,or the newspaper stand) more often than not in the snow, is to feel the tension of that historical moment, the anonymity of the Soviet man and woman intensified by a time of uncertainty.

    Titarenko admits that his results are aleatory ‹ a matter of what the film manages to capture when the shutter is loosed upon a crowd. This body of work consists of the happy discoveries from among the images he's made over the years. It's not what the eye saw, nor even what Titarenko may have conceived of at the time, but something else, something that he recognizes as true about that unreal period after the breakup. He is also offering a meditation on time (Proust is one of his main influences). The contrast between the moving subjects and the still backgrounds seems to suggest a disconnect between the lived human time of the citizens and the fixed historical setting, as if individual human time were somehow irrelevant to the historic changes happening invisibly in the background.

    In one particularly striking image, the dominant form is a rounded, iron banister that divides an outdoor public stairway. There are city streets, shops and buildings in the background, but the space between them and the railing is filled with a restless blur of a moving crowd, entirely de-individuated into a sea of light and dark grey. A row of disembodied hands grasps the railing. The symbolic message is loud and clear; a faceless crowd grasping for something ‹ anything ‹ to hold onto during this unprecedented time of institutional breakdown (in a society where the paternalistic institutions of government offered cradle-to-grave security).

    In a paired set we see the same market square by the train tracks in winter and summer, populated by a mixture of well-defined standing figures amid a wash of blurred figures in motion. One of the most haunting images in this series shows the side of an apartment house on a rainy day, with a parked car across a leaf-strewn street, and three transparent women's legs walking across the foreground. Their owners seem to have faded into the past and not quite taken their legs with them.

    4/1 through 5/15.

    Editor's Note: Nailya Alexander will be mounting a major exhibition of Socialist Realist photography next fall.

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    Andy Warhol: Red Books, at Pace MacGill Gallery
    by Nicolette Ramirez


    As unlikely as it may seem, there are still never-before-released works by Andy Warhol. Compiled in little red photo albums, these "Red Books" feature drag queens, celebrities and artists such as Giorgio di Chirico and Larry Rivers, as well as several self portraits that Warhol made, using Poloroid snap-shots. These Red Books are often themed around certain people and events in Warhol's life, such as one about Mick Jagger, another about Paloma Picasso, one about the summer fun at Warhol's Montauk home of the Kennedy and Radziwell family, and others about various luncheons in cities across Europe.

    Celebrities such as Bianca Jagger, David Bowie, Marisa Berenson and Jack Nicholson figure prominently in these albums. Shot from the chest up, these photographs offer candid, unvarnished glimpses of bigger-than-life figures.

    Some of them are affectionately dedicated to Andy and signed by the sitter e.g. "To Andy - Love Lee. May 6th Montauk. 1972." John Lennon and Yoko Ono make a beautiful couple in yet another unguarded pose.

    There are some pretty wild images too; Factory fixture Brigid Berlin is shown cavorting naked around the studio, while in another series we see an unknown artist with a paintbrush stuck up his bum, painting a canvas.

    In these irreverent shots, as well as the more formal portraits, we a get a sense of the inspiration that Warhol derived from the world that found its way to his door; inspiration filtered back into the world of mass media.

    Through 6/19.


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    Andrea Frank, at Marvelli Gallery

    by Mary Hrbacek


    Frank's new series of large scale black and white photographs of trees presents an expansive vision of nature, linked to human endeavors, that emphasizes both spiritual and physical regeneration. From a vantage-point on the ground she focuses on the upper regions of trees, where towering tree tops, tree climbers and open space converge far above the earth. The idea is that somewhere up there in the tops of trees, there's a spiritual place that is above the day-to-day concerns of life.

    Revered by ancient Northern and Central European tribes, the forest, a natural cathedral, serves as a sanctuary and refuge for us that is far removed from the complexities of social interactions. These photographs evoke a yearning for freedom, for a sense of oneness with nature. Frank captures the ecstatic aspect of natural settings that bring the viewer in touch with this yearning. The focus of these images is the tree as such; the people climbing them take on a supporting role in quiet drama.

    Frank makes use of the contre-plongee photographic technique used by Bauhaus photographers, who shot tall buildings. Like them, she captures her tall subjects from far below, from a viewpoint where the trees and sky activate each other to produce a complete, unified visual statement. Using infra-red film, Frank employs closely related tones that create a subtly luminous, other-worldly quality of twilight that mirrors the transition between day and evening. The small, partially visible, climbing figures in the trees merge with the tree tones, implying the symbiotic quality of their relationship. In the activity of tree-climbing, people experience a sense of wonder that nurtures their need for both fantasy and sensory stimulation derived from physical exertion. They express their independence by escaping the tedium of conventional routine activities.

    In Search #2, Frank captures a severely foreshortened image of a dark, double tree trunk that provides a niche for a tree climber. In this format, all the inter-twining spaces are activated with either branches or contrasting silvery white and gray tree trunks. The variety within the elements that range from small to large, or light to dark, produces a dynamism and plasticity that opens up the picture plane to express air and space. On the top right format, a tangle of various shades of gray, white and dark branches interact with splashes and spots that are in fact poetically interpreted canopies of leaves.

    In another photograph, Search #4, a diagonal tree trunk extends to both left and right, revealing the shadow of a figure barely visible behind a central branch. The sky, marked by innumerable white twigs that proliferate in a profusion of vein-like networks, evokes an imaginative vision of transformation. The provocative picture is linked to fantasies of boundless freedom and euphoria that often originate in dream imagery. In Search # 6, the white space behind two powerful, twin tree trunks contrasts dramatically with the dark tree branches. This creates intricate airy veils of interlocking and overlapping branch forms. The highly charged emotional expression is informed by touches of dappled gray leaves that linger on the edges of the frame, adding subtle variations in the diverse and strongly contrasting composition.

    These photographs are conceptually most effective when both the figure and the tree subtly merge to create unexpected dramatic metaphors for human growth phases. The qualities of nostalgia, euphoria and brooding that pervade these images probably originate in dreams, with psychological links to a mythic, collective unconscious. In our quest for meaning in the lives we live, we often strive to rise to higher levels of growth, understanding and maturity. These works are, in effect, visual metaphors for our human efforts to reach a higher ground.

    4/23 Through 5/22.


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    René Burri, at The Gallery at Hermès
    by Joel Simpson


    This extensive retrospective of the work of Swiss photographer René Burri (b. 1933), whose work examines the relationship between architecture and the human figures who give it meaning, presents an excellent introduction for those unfamiliar with his photographs.

    Burri was inducted into the prestigious Magnum photo agency at the recommendation of Werner Bischof in1955. He first attracted international attention as the photo-documentarian of Le Corbusier, and this show features a generous selection of that work. We see Le Corbusier in his Paris studio, involved in the construction of two of the architect's religious buildings (Notre-Dame-du- Haut church, Ronchamp, and La Tourette Monastery in Eveux-sur-Arbresle, both in France), both sensitive examples of photojournalism in the service of the arts.

    On another wall in the show, the scale of vision broadens out to document Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer and his masterpiece, Brazilia, the inland capital of Brazil that replaced Rio de Janeiro in 1960. Then we visit Mexican architect Luis Barragán and his Mexico City Satellite Towers.

    Most of the rest of the show is given over to the insights of Burri's architecturally sensitive eye. His graphic sense is infallible, and he frequently achieves a penetrating irony. The statue of a Native American warrior glares silently through the tangle of traffic lights in on Michigan Avenue in Chicago. A dark, blurred pedestrian nearly blocks our view of Adolph Eichman's hideout in Buenos Aires, underlining its banality. Endless clay skeletons of an abandoned desert city reticulate the landscape in Oman, while the decaying hulks of a myriad of helicopters do nearly the same thing in the helicopter cemetery of Tucson.

    Burri makes arresting compositions of war ruins in Berlin and Beirut. He juxtaposes silhouettes and ruined classical columns in the Jordanian desert, then reprises nearly the same motif with suited figures on a rooftop paralleling the smokey traffic bustle many stories below in Saõ Paolo. The Great Wall snakes imperturbably toward the horizon, and rounded trapezoidal cement aeration towers form their own somber henge on a New Mexican grassland.

    Most of the photographs are black and white, shot with a classic (rangefinder) Leica and a single fixed focal length normal lens (like Cartier-Bresson). The exhibition also includes a rich selection of more recent images in color, arranged four-in-a-row in thematic units that frequently draw from widely divergent settings, a presentation particularly suited to Burri's sense of irony.

    Through 6/5.

    Ed Note: The Gallery at Hermès is located at 691 Madison Ave. at 61 Street, 4th floor, New York. Hrs Mon-Sat 10-6, Thu 10-7


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    A Point of View, at The Museum Of Contemporary Art



    Christened A Point of View, this anthology of contemporary videos, with newly commissioned works by eleven artists invited to articulate their own particular points of view, showcases some interesting videos, even if the curatorial point of view is not so clear. Curiously, artists who have been a seminal force of video art in recent years are absent here, notably Nam Jun Paik and Bill Viola. Moreover, the show seems to have assumed an entirely Western and male dominated "point of view," as there is no representation here of Eastern or Asian artists, and only 18% of the artists featured are women. Conspicuously missing are Shirin Neshat, Sam Taylor-Wood, and Michal Rovner to name a few.

    Of the two women artists chosen for the anthology, Joan Jonas represents a considerably older generation; her work is rooted in performance art and the women¹s movement of the 1970s. Influenced by 18th Century French outdoor theater, she is closer to performance-art than video art; her contribution WALTZ (2003) offers an unstructured, fragmented performance­video, with references to mythology, gender and identity.

    Swiss artist Pipilotti Rist composed a music video, I WANT TO SEE HOW YOU SEE (2003), in which a composite of floating images of architectural interiors and body parts symbolically represent different parts of the world.

    Gary Hill's video work is demanding of both our intellect and senses. In BLIND SPOT (2003) he focuses on a seemingly random man, unaware of the camera, in a street of an undisclosed town. While slowing down the man's movements, the image is intercepted with pulsating sounds and throb light effects. The viewer's inclination to study the main protagonist is thwarted by the flashing lights and pounding audio.

    A conceptual video by Belgium artist Francis Alÿs (now residing in Mexico City), EL GRINGO (2003) makes the viewer (represented by the camera) into the unseen protagonist who experiences an unwelcome reception by a group of growling dogs in the street. Part metaphor and part real experience, the viewer is made to feel the physical sensation of being an outsider.

    Isaac Julien's ENCORE (PARADISE OMEROS: REDUX) (2003) presents a poetic photomontage of pieces that did not make it to the final cut of his previous films, while William Kentridge, best known for his superb animations of black and white charcoal drawings depicting apartheid in South Africa, offers a work titled AUTOMATIC WRITING (2003). The video's title alludes to the attempt to make contact with one's unconscious or presumed spirit. Here, the movement away from political art to a focus on the individual is a noteworthy trend.

    Through 5/2.


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    Paper Chase, at Axel Raben Gallery
    by Joyce Korotkin

    An embossed figure enters a blank piece of paper through the single line of an embossed door, then turns around and disappears back from whence it came.
    With little more than this charming vignette accompanied by a soundtrack of the squeaky door opening and closing, Shin-il Kim's slyly witty video, Door, drawn laboriously, cell by cell, beckons the viewer. Curated by Renee Riccardo, this exhibition, dubbed Paper Chase, consists of works made from paper, as opposed to more traditional works on paper. Paper has come up in the world of art, lately. No longer merely a surface on which to create work, it is seen by artists as a flexible medium for sculptural installation as well.

    Molly Smith's Drip and Fall, for instance, transform the gallery walls, out of which faux paper water pours in minimalist simulation of the real thing.

    Jon Rosenbaum's tiny, intricately detailed sculptures, lined up on a shelf, each pack an unexpected punch in an exhibition in which the unexpected is emblematic. His Phasmid depicts an adorable little insect whose pincers are poised to sting, while Luge, a roller coaster whose track stops in mid-air, will pitch riders into nothingness at breakneck speed.

    In this vein are Margaret Lee's color-saturated drawings of pouting Bambi-like deer; slightly sinister, like evil children up to no good, set against the graphic sunny rays of a Pop sky. Likewise, Chris Caccamise's paper sculpture, The Mountain Splitter, is another work with an edgy twist. This toy-like tractor supports an immense red ax, while Don't fail me now literally spells its title out in 3-D letters aboard a toy boat that recalls both Robert Indiana¹s iconic love sculpture as well as Ed Ruscha¹s work.

    Koji Shimizu's floor sculptures, in papermache and styrofoam, playfully simulate work vehicles, while Troy Richards combines a sculpture of flowers in a vase (the kind children might make in art class) with more formal pastel painting in his Observatory. The preponderance of this Pop toy-like approach is curious, and one wonders if it is inspired by a zeitgeist aesthetic or by the nature of the medium itself.

    The frothy sculptural wall pieces by Doug Morris take craftsmanship to an astonishing new level. Entirely abstract and brilliantly colored, they are built up from hundreds of bits of this and that; paper, ribbon, ink and foam into Untitled abstractions that yet recall recognizable objects; a child's party hat taken to an extreme of design, or a veritable 3-D cloudburst of tiny snowflakes that seem to have emanated from a cut-out cloud adhered to the wall. Each of Morris'works looks vaguely familiar in this manner; phantasmagorical and full of implications at which one can marvel.

    Somewhat more traditional approaches with paper are taken by Charlene Liu, whose cut-paper silhouettes of delicately painted flora overlap an orange sherbet colored stream, and by Deborah Grant, whose comic-inspired text-filled Draft, Ham and Swiss on White presents a cacophony of voices.

    Grant fills her house-shaped large sheet of paper with numerous "rooms" in which disparate scenes unfold, each one chronicling an event, argument, humorous anecdote or just plain hissy fit; the flotsam and jetsam of other people's everyday lives that we catch bytes of in passing.

    Paper Chase offers a fascinating glimpse beyond the boundaries of this oldest of mediums, paper, as it finds new respect among more and more artists and curators.

    4/1 Through 5/8.

    Ed Note: Axel Raben Gallery is located at 526 West 26th Street, suite 304.
    New York, NY 10001. Tel 647.9064 Fax 647.9065 www.axelRaben.com


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    Cindy Sherman, at Metro Pictures
    by Joyce Korotkin


    Completely obscuring her real Self, Cindy Sherman's ability to transform into invented characters, leaving no trace behind of her actual persona, is astonishing. When watching cinema, we suspend disbelief even while recognizing known actors. Sherman, however, melds into her roles without interference, becoming just another prop on her sets. The Clown images, on which she has worked for the last eighteen months, exemplify this.

    Echoing the way Sherman morphs into her characters, the clowns here seamlessly meld into their backgrounds. Spectacular canvases on which to paint complex images, they are full of delectable color, pattern and dizzying space. The razzle-dazzle of props, such as glistening cherry vinyl mouths and translucent lemon balloon sculptures, polychromatic wigs and exquisite brocade and satin costumes all blend into fabricated, digitally created backgrounds of lollipop colors and psychedelic patterns.

    Clowns are potent symbols of the human condition, so much so that they automatically invite skepticism. Sherman's clowns, however, go beyond the obvious; rather than hackneyed metaphors of the tortured soul, they are emblematic of the false face. Like politicians, they are masters of the artful spin, with deceptive smiles, cunning and vaguely sinister expressions. In one image, a luxuriously flower-embroidered jacket such as what an English dandy might wear is combined with a silver spangled bowler hat reminiscent of the type Joel Gray¹s emcee wore in the film, Cabaret.

    Twisted several times around her waist and up around her shoulder is a belt with a black and white pattern of piano keys on it. It bears more than a passing resemblance to a gun belt. In her white-gloved hand, she holds a bottle of what could be pink lemonade or a molotov cocktail, about to be thrown. The wide red-painted smile is belied by the dispassionate and menacing look in her eyes, focused intently on the viewer. This clown poses an overt threat. Perverse, scary and subversive, it is hardly a delightful image intended to distill the essence of childhood wonder.

    One expects, in clown images, to see the stereotypical eyes of the world-weary Pagliaci that expose the seared heart of the clown within us all, but Sherman's eyes are opaque and expressionless, baring nothing as they stare back at the viewer. Menace lurks behind the façades, but no clues are given as to what it might be.

    Between the eyes and the fanciful costumes rife with symbols that imply more than their face value, the viewer is braked from imposing pat interpretations on the work without investigation of its hidden meaning. Sherman thus questions the veracity of perception by invalidating pre-conceived notions of what we think we see and know.

    Through 6/26.

    Editor's Note: Concurrently, Sherman's very early works, created during and just after her college years, are on exhibit at the Montclair Art Museum.


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    Get Off, at The Museum Of Sex

    by Nicolette Ramirez


    Combining established and emerging artists working in various media from video, painting, drawing, sculpture, photography and furniture design, Get Off humorously portrays all types of sexual pleasure; from autoeroticism to copulation and various forms of fantasy.

    Standouts include Lisa Dilillo's Engorge, Gobble and Gulp (1994), a video of a talking vagina that addresses women's sexual appetites. From munching carrots to smoking a cigarette, this "pussy" is not deterred by societal conventions. Laurel Nakadate and Dora Malech's video Blue Ribbon Fun: A Love Story (2003) offers a sexy-girly take on lesbian love. The boundaries between a very close friendship and gay lovers is blurred in the two girls' antics; peeing in public, spitting, playfully licking the ears of their pet dog and rabbit, showing their breasts, chewing gum and blowing bubbles while holding hands and prancing around to the accompaniment of music by Roy Orbison, Sam Cooke and other classic oldies.

    Michael Shmelling and Matthew Salacuse's black and white photographs capture the raging excitement of a strip show featuring buxom black women and well endowed black men, along with the orgiastic pleasures of sex in a public space.

    Jane Dickson's (1980) monoprints poke fun at the male obsession with his own penis in humorously titled works such as Where¹d It Go?, Kissing The Big Cock and Dr. Freud. Her works, made with oilstick on sandpaper on emery cloth, capture an erotic world of fire and heat in shadowy nude figures that glow with red and gold light against a black background.

    The exhibition also features a collection of advertising images; cartoons, drawings and posters curated by art historian Kirby Gookin. These include works by Vito Acconci, Lynda Benglis and Jeff Koons.

    Concurrent with this contemporary look at changing sexual attitudes in Western society, the museum is also showing also a comprehensive selection of works from China on the second floor, titled Sex Among The Lotus, curated by John E. Vollmer. This show takes a more scholarly look at sexual practices in China over the past two millennia, utilizing a range of texts and items that include pillowbooks, photographs, sculpture, paintings, cloissone enameled boxes, engraved opium containers, miniature vases, sexual toys, literary texts, and embroidered silk and satin shoes.

    The exhibition is not laid out chronologically but instead moves back and forth in time, according to theme. For example, models of penises made from jade, painted earthenware and rock crystal date as far back as the 10th century, while later in the exhibition we see an 18th -19th century soapstone dildo, a late 19th - early 20th century carved wood dildo and a wood and gold cock ring in a tin box circa 1900.

    Elsewhere in the exhibition, small statuettes made in cast bronze dating from the 19th century, of Jade Maidens who instructed mortal men in the art of sexual pleasure, are placed ahead of 18th century ivory figurines of nude women that were made for men's viewing pleasure.

    Photographs of prostitutes and brothel scenes from the late 19th century appear the 19th century photographs of women and girls sewing; a bridal couple and boys in school that are placed alongside a 19th century pillowbook depicts various sexual positions, while a 19th century erotic album in ink and color on paper, with goldleaf, follows this work.

    One of the earliest illustrated guides to healthy sex, Xing ming guizhi or Directions for Endowment and Vitality (1615), shows diagrams of an anatomical chart. Next to it is a Scholar's Rock, the hollows and projections of which denote physical and cosmic realities, as well as symbolizing worlds within worlds and the yin and yang.

    Footbinding as a social norm and sexual fetish is given prominence in the exhibition. A mummified frostbitten bound foot from 1874, the Mutter foot, is on display alongside samples of footbinding cloth, photographs of bound feet, an instruction manual for footbinding, a documentary and various styles of shoes.

    Posters from the 1920s and 1930s show a strong Western influence and Reagan Louie's Couple; Hong Kong 2000 offers an up-close view of present sexual mores, but still leaves the viewer puzzled because the pair's backs are to the viewer, thus rendering their actions somewhat ambiguous.

    Through summer.

    Editor's Note: The Museum of Sex is located at 233 Fifth Ave. @ 27th Street, New York, NY 10016. www.museumofsex.com


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    Daniel Richter, at David Zwirner

    by Nicolette Ramirez


    German artist Daniel Richter's first solo exhibition in New York uses news media images as a launching pad for many of his works. Populated by costumed characters and animals set against urban and pastoral backdrops, many of these large scale works have a theatrical, carnivaleque theme and reflect excitement, drama, fear and angst. Photographs of demonstrations, protests and political conflict serve as inspiration here. In Ebb (2004) Richter's early penchant for abstraction is still evident in the amorphous ghostly figures. Outlined in fluorescent yellow and pink, these fleeing cyber ghosts, with their splashes and drips of paint, harken back to the action painting of Jackson Pollock.

    Urban angst, nervous energy, paranoia and fear characterize another piece in the show, Tuwenig (2004). In this painting, a ghostly figure of a woman in a cabaret costume stands within the ring of a pack of wolfish black dogs, set against a night-black forest with a post-nuclear violet sky in the background. Whether the dogs have surrounded her threateningly or whether she wields control over them is unclear. In Erben von Burden (2004), the victorious female hunter (in a super-hero costume) appears to be hanging her animal trophies on blood stained walls, while the shadow of a man seemingly erased on the wall stares back through the blood.

    The apocalyptic extremes of good and evil, life and death, as propounded by the color field artists Newman and Rothko, is echoed in Richter's White Horse ­ Pink Flag (2004). In this painting, a white and black horse battle against a black night. In between the two rearing horses is a pink flag. It appears that the white horse will win the battle with the black horse, since it dominates the picture plane. In these surreal, carnivalesque scenes in which drama and theatricality take on menacing traits, Richter taps into a nihilist zeitgeist that seems to be slowly creeping into our everyday public discourse.

    Through 6/19.

    Ed Note: David Zwirner Gallery is located at
    525 W 19th Street, New York, NY 10011.
    Tel. 212.727.2070


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    Mykola Zhuravel, at Ukrainian Institute of America

    by Lily Faust


    A fascination with the earth and its mysterious phenomena is pivotal to Mykola Zhuravel's aesthetics, as articulated in his numerous paintings, drawings, photographic documentation and video work in this show. The spherical form of this planet, as well as occurrences within its natural order, from the beneficent bees to the elusive fog, become conceptual points of departure for this artist from the post-Soviet era Republic of Ukraine.

    His works, layered in rich interpretations, are visual and symbolic constructs that reflect the overlapping of conventional modes of expression, such as paintings, with the photographic and electronic media.

    Zhuravel's poetic examination, Conservation of the Mist, documents the ephemeral mist as it hovers on the banks of the Psel River, in the village of Mogritsa, Ukraine. Physically collecting the misty fog in glass jars at 4 a.m., on an unspecified morning in 2002, the artist isolates the enigma of fog itself, converting its eminent mystery into mundane droplets of water condensed on the interior of the jars.

    Extracted from its surroundings, the mist is lost, raising issues related to the fragile nature of life, and of knowledge, itself. In capturing the illusory landscape through the distortion of fog, the dozen photographs that comprise this work juxtapose moments of clarity with moments of haze, effectively reflecting the fleeting nature of time. In some of the images, the fog forms a backdrop to the activities of the artist as he collects the mist in jars; in others, he is immersed in fog, his silhouette barely discernible in the blur. The combination of the sharp and the unfocused images parallels the duality between fact and fiction, reason and imagination, the apparent and the implied.

    Another series in the show, titled Apiary Project, centers on the activity of humans who cultivate and exploit bees. Zhuravel, who comes from a family of beekeepers, dedicated this series of paintings and sculptural objects to the inventor of the contemporary beehive, the Ukrainian Petro Prokopovich.

    Utilizing shades of pale and golden yellow, the color of honey, as its core palette, the surface of these paintings is incised with the rhythms of flight and the geometry of hives. Linear motifs, such as rectangular and circular icons that represent swarms of bees, hives, people and habitats, enhanced by the surrounding delicate color, enliven the pictorial plane. The sculptural work from this series, sliced in places to show cross-sections of its interior, concentrates on architectural models of beehives, an imaginary collection of inventive forms, dome-like and visually engaging.

    Aggressive Beekeeping, depicts the destruction of beehives through the video and photographic recording of a performance by the same name, which was staged in Kiev, Ukraine in 2002. Documenting the inherent violence to beekeeping methods used by people in the past in order to extract the sweet rewards of nature, the work implies an inevitable hostility in a world dominated (and not particularly well managed) by humans. The image of the white beehive burning into a charred heap call to mind ominous images gleaned from contemporary world events that look awfully similar to the bees' fate.

    Through 8/29.


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    Pool Art Addict, at A New York Underground Art Fair
    by Michael MacInnis


    One could argue the point, as to whether the art world really needs another art fair right now. Truth be told, probably not. But what about an "underground" art fair? In the great food chain of art and commerce, little fish often get tossed back into the sea.

    That's fine if you're a fish; but artists need to break out of the food chain, to get noticed, and this is where the notion of an underground art fair begins to make sense.
    Organized by Thierry Alet and a small cadre of supporters who comprise the non-profit Frére Independent, the fair brought together some twenty exhibitors in an intimate setting at New York¹s Four Points Hotel, which is located at 160 West 25th Street, in Manhattan.

    These exhibitors included independent curators, private dealers, arts organizations; such as The Artist Network, off-beat artists groups; such as The Museum of Truth and Beauty, film and video from Intersections Films Presents, and a modest sprinkling of international participants from Germany and Finland.

    The timing of the fair, during the contemporary art auctions at Christie's, Sotheby's and Philips early last month (May 13 - 16), helped bolster the turnout on opening night. To great relief, the hordes of party-goers that typically overwhelm opening events in New York did not crash this one. The fair drew a mostly mainstream crowd of visitors who appeared to have come for the art (and not the booze). While there weren't many buyers, people looked, and connections were made.

    If the objective of the fair's organizers is to call attention to the efforts of serious artists, whose work is often overlooked, then by this measure the inaugural of Pool Art Addict, marks a promising start.

    5/13 Through 5/16.


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