Hard Truths: How to Handle Working for a Duplicitous Artist

In interviews and writings my boss presents a righteous persona, but deep down he only cares about the optics of his social brand. …Read more

Alice Miceli on X-raying Chernobyl

The landscape around Chernobyl doesn’t look radioactive, but it has been permanently altered. To show this, I developed my own process for making radiographs.…Read more

Science-Fiction Visionary Ed Emshwiller Gets Recognition as an Experimental Filmmaker

It’s easy to forget that the technical feats in Emshwiller's films are products of his expert editing sense, rather than contemporary software.…Read more

Tosh Berman’s Memoir Captures the Dark Side of a Bohemian Childhood

Tosh, the son of the mid-century, Los Angeles artist Wallace Berman, adds a curious dual memoir to the genre’s history that is as unorthodox as his bohemian upbringing and his father’s compelling art. …Read more

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This small but stirring exhibition was titled “George Tooker: Contemplative Gaze,” begging the question, to whom does that gaze belong? To the figures who stare out of the egg tempera paintings and lithographs, eyes wide in concentration or distraction? Or to the visitor lulled into a state of quiet rumination by them? In Woman with Oranges (1977) and Window XI (1999), it is surely both, as the viewer locks eyes with characters by turns diffiden

t and confident, reserved and brash. Featuring twelve works that Tooker (1920–2001) made between 1952 and 1999, the exhibition offered a small window onto his peculiar strain of pictorial solitude—a solitude found even or especially with figures shown in the company of others.That physical closeness belies an insidious distancing in Tooker’s work is especially apparent in his city scenes, the best-known example of which is The Subway (1950), at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York. In the DC Moore presentation, the painting Tree (1965) portrayed an analogous sense of isolation through a view of the natural world rather than the urban labyrinth. A man and a woman stand on opposite sides of a small tree, close to its trunk, their proximity and postures suggesting a level of complicity. Yet they look away from each other, separated not only by the tree but by some less visib...

I encountered Julien Ceccaldi’s work on social media long before ever seeing it in person. A few years ago, his manga-inspired comics, in which exaggerated figures—either hyper-fit or thin as rails, with conical chins and clusters of wildly lashed, wet eyes—undergo personal dramas, started to appear all over the English-speaking corners of my Twitter timeline and Instagram feed. Recently, I clicked “like” on an ad campaign Ceccaldi produce

d for the über-trendy Berlin-based fashion brand Ottolinger. Given his enthusiastic reception by the New York art world, whose influence inevitably travels south—and north, west, and east—I was not at all surprised when the young artist landed at House of Gaga for his first solo show in Mexico City.The seven oil paintings on canvas and two painted sculptures in the exhibition (all 2019) depict an emaciated, balding, androgynous man named Francis, the protagonist of Ceccaldi’s self-published comic “Human Furniture” (2017), which follows Francis as he obsessively pines after the swole Simon and has anonymous sex. The show was titled “Sex Is Work,” and indeed the paintings suggest the emotional labor that accompanies the act. In Out the Window Towards the Bavarian Castle, Francis—fully naked, with spindly, elongated limbs—floats in a pink sunset sky toward a castle, the q...

Sikkema Jenkins & Co.’s recent Vik Muniz exhibition featured works from two stunning new series: “Surfaces” (2019), composed of large-scale photo-based works that resemble paintings, and “Museum of Ashes” (2019–), comprising photographs and sculptures. On view in the foyer and main space were fifteen pieces from the former group. Muniz pays homage here to abstract or quasi-abstract paintings from the early and mid-twentieth century,

mostly by United States and Latin American artists. The series has a rather personal significance for him. The artist, who divides his time between New York and Rio de Janeiro, was born in São Paulo in 1961, and in his youth came to know modern art only through reproductions in books. In “Surfaces,” he depicts paintings that inspired him during this early era, by artists such as Stuart Davis, Hans Hofmann, Milton Avery, and Carmen Herrera....

For his most infamous work, The Nazis (1998), the Polish artist Piotr Uklański, based mostly in New York since the early 1990s, compiled an archive of filmic depictions of the Third Reich—or, more precisely, images of actors wearing Nazi costumes in films, drawn largely from promotional stills circulated by movie studios. The work consists of 164 glossy headshot-style crops of these stills displayed as a deadpan frieze, one handsome Hollywood Him

mler after another. Uklański may not have anticipated that the Polish actor Daniel Olbrychski—who appears in character within this array—would go so far as to vandalize the installation by slashing his own depiction with a sword when the work was exhibited at Warsaw’s Zachęta National Gallery of Art in 2000, but it’s hard to imagine that eliciting hysterical outrage was not, on some level, his intent. Provocation can be an effective societal mirror: to decry Uklański’s work for glamorizing its dark subject, as many furious viewers did, means admitting that you think Ralph Fiennes looks pretty sexy in an SS uniform. ...


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