Art In America

Soshiro Matsubara

at Brennan & Griffin,
122 Norfolk Street

An atmosphere of decadence and sensuality can easily encourage ponderous meditations on death. With “Sleeves of Desire II,” his first solo show in New York, Soshiro Matsubara has gone with a light touch, cultivating an environment informed by Symbolist aesthetics and Romantic thought yet equally attendant to worldly desires. Matsubara, who lives and works in Vienna, is a founding member of Tokyo’s XYZ collective. His presentation at Brennan & Griffin has the feel of a group exhibition, with an ambitious range of small-scale sculptures and paintings packed into the small gallery. The natural world is evoked—and neatly confined to quotation marks—through glazed ceramic leaves scattered around the gallery floor, as if freshly fallen from artificial trees just in time for spring. Languid abstract canvases in pink palettes hung tightly together suggest a kind of aloof mastery of historical modern art (the word romantic runs diagonally across one canvas). Yet most of the real action is on the floor, where small sculptures arranged on roughly painted upstretched canvases depict copulating couples “wallowing in happiness,” as Mallarmé would have it. A globe lamp hanging from the ceiling at knee-level illuminates this horizontal world, a space shared by human figures, ceramic vessels, and a graven image of a pagan god. —William S. Smith


Pictured: Soshiro Matsubara: Indestructible Object, 2017, glazed ceramic, 31 by 16 inches. Courtesy Brennan & Griffin, New York.

More from the Lookout

Florine Stettheimer

at the Jewish Museum,
through Sept. 24
1109 5th Avenue

“Body, Self, Society: Chinese Performance Photography of the 1990s”

at the Walther Collection Project Space,
through Aug. 19
526 West 26th Street, Suite 718

Roni Horn

at Hauser & Wirth,
through Jul. 29
548 West 22nd Street

Henri Cartier-Bresson

at the Rubin Museum of Art,
through Sept. 4
150 West 17th Street


Lygia Pape

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


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

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