Art In America

Robert Breer

at Simon Preston,
301 Broome Street

Everything in this concise overview of Robert Breer’s career feels alive, or at least animated. Breer (1926–2011) created abstract paintings until the early 1950s, when he turned to film, a “medium that permitted mixing,” as he told P. Adams Sitney, legendary chronicler of American avant-garde cinema. Breer’s stop-motion animations, including 70 (1970), projected here, revive abstract art with a jolt of electric energy. The hand-drawn or painted frames flash on-screen at a frantic pace. Breer went to the opposite extreme in his decidedly unhurried sculptures. A sleek cylinder, two Styrofoam blocks, and a crumpled plastic sheet shuffle across the gallery floor, propelled by hidden motors. The roll is so slow that it’s hard to perceive, and it can take a few minutes to notice that the objects in this eclectic array have shifted positions relative to each other and the gallery architecture. Then again, even the walls here are closing in; an L-shaped structure that looks like a standard white-cube drywall edifice drifts up and down the length of the gallery, changing the dimensions of the projection of 70 as it glides. Like all of Breer’s work, the whole situation feels improvisatory, open to unexpected possibilities. —William S. Smith


Pictured: Robert Breer: Float, 1972, resin, paint, wood, motor, and batteries, 19¾ by 39⅜ inches. Courtesy Simon Preston, New York.

More from the Lookout

Siebren Versteeg

at bitforms gallery,
through May 28
131 Allen Street

“Formal Complaint”

at the Knockdown Center,
through May 28
52-19 Flushing Ave., Queens

Aki Sasamoto

at The Kitchen,
through May 13
512 West 19th Street

William Cordova

at Sikkema Jenkins,
through May 13
530 West 22nd Street

Dawn Clements

at Pierogi,
through May 7
155 Suffolk Street

Sara Cwynar

at Foxy Production,
through May 14
2 East Broadway

Keltie Ferris

at Mitchell-Innes & Nash,
through May 6
1018 Madison Avenue

Soshiro Matsubara

at Brennan & Griffin,
through May 7
122 Norfolk Street

“Outlaw Glass”

at apexart,
through May 27
291 Church Street


Romare Bearden

at DC Moore,
through Apr. 29
535 West 22nd Street


Michaela Eichwald

at Reena Spaulings Fine Art,
through Apr. 30
165 East Broadway

Lygia Pape

at the Met Breuer,
through Jul. 23
945 Madison Avenue

Sarah Charlesworth

at Maccarone,
through May 6
98 Morton Street


Harvey Quaytman

at Van Doren Waxter,
through Apr. 28
23 East 73rd Street

Georgia O’Keeffe

at Brooklyn Museum,
through Jul. 23
200 Eastern Parkway

“Self-Interned, 1942: Noguchi in Poston War Relocation Center”

at the Isamu Noguchi Museum,
through Jan. 7
9-01 33rd Road, Long Island City

Giorgio de Chirico and Giulio Paolini

at The Center for Italian Modern Art,
through Jun. 24
421 Broome Street

Submit your e-mail to receive insider information from the art world every week.