In the Room

Captioning an image is the task of both the photographer and those who preserve the image in perpetuity.…Read more

Gut Renovation

Matta-Clark often used the term “anarchitecture” to express his approach to the built environment.…Read more

In the Studio: Allen Ruppersberg

From the start, Ruppersberg has turned banality inside out, mining the heady mystery of the obvious.…Read more

Issues and Commentary: Here to Stay

Here to Stay and the protests against Fast’s show continue a lively lineage of Chinatown-based artistic activism.…Read more

on Twitter

Follow Us



Pareidolia is the common phenomenon of seeing figures or faces within random patterns and objects: in wallpaper designs, say, or clouds, or geological formations—or in vintage movie cameras, which have been a recurring motif in Catherine Story’s work in recent years. All the paintings and sculptures in the British artist’s exhibition at PEER loosely portrayed movie cameras, and to a greater or lesser extent every one could be read pareidolical

ly. It was what the works demanded, in fact, as if they were somehow inherently unstable. Technically, the reason had to do with the quasi-Cubist style Story adopted. Her small oil paintings in particular, with their palette of earthy, melancholy hues and their radically simplified and abstracted forms, resonate anthropomorphically. A bulging tubular lens, a shadowy slanted gap, a pivoted bracket—these resolve in Lovelock (II), 2011, into the nose, eyes, and mouth of a clownish, slightly leering face. Odeon (2011) is more overt, depicting what appears to be some kind of despondent robot, with one protruding component raised as if in a wistful wave. The little clay works situated on plinths along the walls ranged from the exaggeratedly cartoonish—such as a dual-reel-camera model resembling a Mickey Mouse head in the three-sculpture installation Piano (2011–17)—to the teasingly red...

In J.M.W. Turner’s paintings of the English seaside town Margate, the jetty dissolves in beating waves and violent sea spray, and fishing boats are dwarfed by sea and sky. “To feel powerless, overwhelmed, and totally dominated by the spectacle of ‘nature’ is a large part of what we have come to appreciate, since at least the nineteenth century, as the sublime,” writes French philosopher Bruno Latour. Nostalgia for this power dynamic—for

a time when we felt small—was the uneasy subject of Ellen Harvey’s exhibition “Nostalgia,” and Margate, painted by Turner throughout his life, was her case study.The central work of “Nostalgia” was an exhibition within the exhibition: Arcade/Arcadia, an installation commissioned for the 2011 opening of the Turner Contemporary gallery in Margate and reconfigured the following year. In the revised version, a framework of pinewood stud walls houses thirty-four luminous engraved depictions of contemporary Margate and the North Sea. Six-foot-high lighted letters announcing arcadia lean against an exterior wall: signage adapted from that of a now-shuttered Margate amusement park. The structure is a three-quarter-scale reimagining of Turner’s London gallery, and the panels within correspond to the dimensions of paintings on display at the time of his death. Meticulously hand-etche...

Biennials usually balance works from and about disparate places with site-specific projects and gestures toward local culture, often by local artists. As a site for such a show, New Orleans poses a particular problem, laden as it is with tradition and myth. It’s called North America’s most African city, its most European city, its most Caribbean city. It’s the “Gateway to the Americas.” It’s Catholic and carnivalesque. Its color could ea

sily overwhelm the bland, flat globalism of the standard international exhibition. But curator Trevor Schoonmaker has risen to the challenge with Prospect.4, the current edition of the New Orleans triennial, titled “A Lotus Despite the Swamp.” With seventy-three artists and duos showing at seventeen venues, the show nods to both tourist-brochure boasts and the art world’s global purview in a way that invigorates them, by reanimating histories of trade and exploitation, fusion and exchange....

“Disney on acid” may be the best descriptor for the eight paintings in Berlin-based Stefanie Heinze’s first exhibition in the United States. In the works (all 2017), abstracted cartoonish forms float on backgrounds rendered in mostly bright or pastel hues. Mickey Mouse noses emerge from the chaos, as does a Dumbo-esque head, suggesting that the show’s title, “Food for the Young (Oozing Out),” had two meanings. While the paintings do depi

ct forms resembling edible items (potatoes, a hamburger, a slice of Swiss cheese), they also seem meant as a commentary on the consumption of visual media. They turn the movies we “feed” children into nightmarish scenes. Heinze seems preoccupied with the corporeal. Eyeballs, tongues, breasts, fingers, and lips punctuate the images. In Cephalopod (Silken Touch), seven legs appear to emerge from a thick-lipped mouth whose crooked teeth chomp down on them. The motif, suggesting a sexualized marine creature, hovers against a background of light blue with inky black splotches. Heinze’s title is again clever: “silken touch” is the sort of gauzy phrase that could be used to brand any number of commercial products. It’s the name of a current line of house paint, for instance, and has been used in the past by various pantyhose companies. Indeed, the paint here is flat and even, as it ...


Current issue