Articles by

<Kate Lowenstein>

09/27/06 12:00am

In Ecotopia
International Center of Photography (ICP)

39 international photographers depict the natural world and all its terrifying 21st-century manifestations. Through January 7th.
1114 Sixth Ave, Midtown.
Harris Lieberman
Artist-on-the-rise Aaron Young exhibits past antics and newer gimmicks in his multimedia show. Through October 14th.
89 Van Dam St, West Village.
Cezanne to Picassso: Ambroise Vollard, Patron of the Avant-Garde
The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Included in Parisian art dealer Ambroise Vollard’s legendary collection is a newly reassembled triptych from his 1896-97 Van Gogh retrospective. Through January 7th.
1000 Fifth Ave, Upper East Side.
Gagosian Gallery

YBA bad boy Damien Hirst is known for his shocking sculptures, but this is a collection of over 200 of his drawings.  Through October 28th.
980 Madison Ave, Upper East Side.
My America
Hasted Hunt

White House press corps member Christopher Morris presents photos of the secret service, cheerleaders and soldiers. Through October 7th.
529 W 20th St, Chelsea.
View Ten: Remember Who You Are
Mary Boone Gallery

A group show addressing the grotesque with such up-and-comers as Sean Bluechel and Mika Rottenberg. Through September 30th.
745 Fifth Ave, Upper East Side.
Invisible Geographies: New Sound Art from Germany
The Kitchen

Four German sound artists present their complementary aural offerings. Through October 14th.
512 W 19th St, Chelsea.
Denial is a River
Sculpture Center

This group show features multidisciplinary works by such heavy-hitters as Jean-Luc Godard and Vito Acconci . Through November 18th.
44-19 Purves St, Long Island City.
Everybody Dance Now
EFA Gallery

YouTube clips are cheek-by-jowl with videos by Michael Smith and others in this boogie-focused show.  Through  October 22nd.
323 W 39th St, Midtown.

Carbon and Silver
UBS Art Gallery

See the somewhat controversially touched-up Walker Evans show.  Through November 17th.
1285 Sixth Ave, Midtown.
Robert Towne
Lever House

Lever House boasts Sarah Morris’ massive abstract painting. Through December 3rd.
390 Park Ave, Midtown.
Sarah Sze’s Corner Plot
Central Park’s Doris C. Freedman Plaza

Sze’s fascinating installation rises out of the ground. 
Through October 22nd.
59th St, at Fifth Ave, Midtown.
Ninth Annual International Juried Botanical Art Exhibit
The Horticultural Society of NY

Intricate drawings will please flora buffs.
Through November 17th.
148 W 37th St, 13th Floor, Midtown.
Garden of the Accused
Thomas Paine Park

Frolic among Dennis Oppenheim’s synthetic plants and rocks. Through November 8th.
Worth, Pearl and Centre Sts, Tribeca.

Lisa Luskavage
David Zwirner, Zwirner and Wirth

Work by this luscious-lady painter will be split between Zwirner and Wirth uptown  and the expanded David Zwirner in Chelsea. October 18th through November 18th.
32 E 69th St, Upper East Side.
525 W 19th St, Chelsea.
Lucio Fontana: Venice/NY
The Guggenheim Museum

This exhibit features two of the Argentine artist’s 1961 series: his Venice paintings and his New York metals. October 10th through January 21st.
1071 Fifth Ave, Upper East Side.
Tropicália: A Revolution in Brazilian Culture
The Bronx Museum

Having undergone a $19 million expansion and instituted a new director, the Bronx re-opens with an exhibition highlighting 1960s art in Brazil. October 7th through January 28th.
1040 Grand Concourse, at 165th St, The Bronx.
Kiki Smith Retrospective
The Whitney Museum

Smith looks back on 25 years’ worth of art-making. November 16th through February 11th.

945 Madison Ave, Upper East Side.

John Currin
Gagosian Gallery Uptown

This artist’s sexually explicit caricatures will inevitably induce rubbernecking. November 9th through December 22nd.

980 Madison Ave, Upper East Side.

Alex Katz Paints Ada
The Jewish Museum

See half a century’s worth of portraits of the artist’s wife. October 27th through March 18th.

1109 Fifth Ave, Upper East Side

Tavares Strachan
Pierogi Gallery

In July, Strachan shipped a piece of Alaskan ice to the primary school he attended in Nassau, Bahamas. While the gallery was unable to salvage that piece of his oeuvre, many others will be on display here. October 13th through November 13th.

177 N 9th St, Brooklyn.

Domenico Tiepolo
(1727–1804)  A New Testament
The Frick Collection

Including 60 of the 313 large ink drawings composed by the pious artist, this is the largest New Testament cycle produced by a single person. October 24th through January 7th.

1 E 70th St, Upper East Side.

Least Wanted: A Century of American Mugshots
Steven Kasher Gallery

200 people put their best faces forward in a survey of mugshots. Through October 28th.

51 W 23rd St, Chelsea.

Frederick Church, Winslow Homer and Thomas Moran: Tourism and the American Landscape
The Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum

This show tracks the rise of the bucolic American vacation, spearheaded by the pioneering painters in the 19th century. Through October 22nd.
2 E 91st St, Upper East Side.


Six contemporary artists take on recent art history with re-enactments of conceptual pieces by such trendsetters as John Baldessari and Ed Ruscha. Through October 14th.

291 Church St, Tribeca.

Common Destinations: Selections Fall 2006
The Drawing Center

Twelve artists selected from the Viewing Program explore geopolitics past, present and future. Through October 28th.

35 Wooster St, Soho.

Jens Haaning

As part of Creative Time’s Who Cares series, Danish artist Haaning will be postering the city with clichéd jokes in Arabic script (and no English translations). For more info, go to
October through November.

Mark Jenkins

The convincing life-size figures that this Wooster Collective member “embeds” in compromising positions (like upside down in a garbage can) might surprise Brooklyn pedestrians. (If you can’t find one in the city, check out YouTube’s videos of his work.)

Ellis Gallagher

Chalk shadow-outlines in Carroll Gardens and other Brooklyn neighborhoods appear and disappear  overnight.

Five Points Art Collective

The graffiti murals on this street-art collective’s building in Long Island City are an eye-opening splash of color as you ride by on the 7 train.

Gretchen Vitamas

Artist Vitamas wears Subwear — an outfit that perfectly matches the oranges, yellows and greys of the NYC subway. On the F train between Delancey and 14th St. Thursdays 7-9pm and Sundays 3-5pm. (for more info, go to Through October 1st.

For relaxing: Mustang: The Last Tibetan Kingdom, photos by Don Gurewitz at the Jacques Marchais Museum of Tibetan Art (catch a meditation session while you’re there) Through November 22nd.

For checking your teeth:
Anish Kapoor’s 23-ton circular stainless steel sculpture, Sky Mirror, at Rockefeller Center.    
Through October 27th.

For eating:
Swirled or stacked concoctions in a glass at mad-scientist dessert chef Will Goldberg’s Room4Dessert. 17 Cleveland Pl, Soho.

For advertising:
The Fuse TV’s news zipper, which snakes down the facade of 11 Penn Plaza. Seventh Ave. between 32nd and 33rd Sts and across the sidewalk.

For wearing:
Japanese clothing chain Uniqlo’s Soho t-shirt gallery, with tops made by high-profile artists like Nobuyoshi Araki and Yayoi Kusama, launching in early November. 546 Broadway, Soho.

09/13/06 12:00am

Frederick Church, Winslow Homer and Thomas Moran: Tourism and the American Landscape
Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum
Those who’ve felt their patriotism wane with repeated political disappointments of late might experience a swell of American pride upon viewing the plentiful natural beauty of this country presented in Cooper-Hewitt’s show. Arranged by region, the exhibition is an overview of the parts of the U.S. that became popular among American vacationers in the late 19th century. The thesis is that Moran, Church and Homer were the sunset-hungry pioneers whose romanticized images of America’s previously unknown wilds spearheaded rapid growth of tourism in such scenic places as Niagara Falls, Yosemite and the Adirondacks. Historically speaking, this is an interesting (and ironic) phenomenon: The untouched land quickly grew developed and commercialized by the large volume of people wishing to visit the wilderness. Artistically speaking, however, the show is a notable disappointment: Among the many studies and woodcuts, there is not one large, final painting to be seen (except in small photos on the wall text next to some of the sketches). While it was the Hewitt sisters’ intention to display the processes of these successful artists (a plaque at the end of the show delivers this disclaimer), seeing reams of sketches without any final products is a bit like climbing a mountain and then missing the view.

Eva Hesse: Sculpture
The Jewish Museum
There is a visceral appeal to this late artist’s work, which pleases art buffs and the uninitiated alike. Some might be drawn to Hesse’s quirky, abstract sculptures for their creative transformation of materials, others because of the work’s disregard for the rules of Minimalism, and still others because there is just something wonderfully animated and downright funny about a group of dented, luminous resin-and-fiberglass buckets (Repetition Nineteen III, 1968) and icicles of fiberglass and resin dangling gawkily from the ceiling (Connection, 1969). Humor, of course, is not always the first thing associated with Hesse. The German-born artist, who died of a brain tumor at the age of 34, is regarded as a tragic figure both because of her untimely death and the largely mournful content of her published diaries. There are traces of this sadness in her art too, and it’s especially evident in the last piece of the exhibition (untitled, 1970), left unfinished upon Hesse’s death: brown latex-coated ropes hung in a corner of the gallery like a giant, ominous cobweb. “I wanted to get to non art, non connotive, non anthropomorphic, non geometric, non, nothing, everything,” she said about one of her pieces. In the process of making art free of all references, she imbued her sculptures with uncanny life and personality.

08/02/06 12:00am

David Melrose, You Can Take It With You When You Go.

The media is focusing on the state of the environment at long last, no small thanks to Al Gore. In step with this, Arcadia, a show of 13 photos, one DVD and a sculpture, centers on the outdoors and humankind’s harmonious interaction with it. Justine Kurland’s color print of naked women (Mother Nature figures?) and tender toddlers in a forest clearing is utopian, as is the impossibly ideal cottage in David Spero’s Tir Ysbrydol (Spiritual Land). On the flip side of this natural serenity is David Hilliard’s multipanelled panorama of the fake flower aisle in Wal-Mart, which bursts with exuberant false blossoms. David Melrose’s trickling fountain in a wheelbarrow, titled You Can Take It With You When You Go (A Portable Meditation Garden for Nomadic Living) is amusingly untrue to its name: the bright orange extension cord that powers the contraption tethers it to the wall. Arcadia joins today’s nature-conscious climate without directly plucking at our tender global-warming-sensitive heartstrings. Instead, the show is an earnest celebration of people in the natural world. Notably absent is the massive destruction our abuses have wrought on the Earth. Perhaps this is just the happy inspiration we need to protect the idyllic settings we haven’t yet lost.    

I-20  Through Aug 18
Art’s traditional male-on-female gaze has been reversed in this show of ten paintings of men by women, curated by artist Ellen Altfest. The painters don’t consistently portray the opposite sex as demure nudes (the way centuries’ worth of men depicted women) but rather with a variety of attitudes ranging from mocking to worshipful. In the portrait Josh, Marina Kappos censors the cocky, ironic expression on her subject’s face with two strips of electrical tape painted where his mouth should be. In Clare Rojas’ large acrylic panels, men with raging erections engage in a fist fight while a woman looks on, her head thrown back with hysterical laughter. In contrast to these two instances of apparent reproach, Catherine Murphy’s larger-than-life photorealistic rendering of her husband’s nipple (a most useless element of the male anatomy) is executed with loving care, and Ellen Altfest’s “still life” of a flaccid penis resting between the hairy thighs of its owner on a paint-splattered stool is at the very least respectful in its truthfulness. A letter of protest sent by Nicole Eisenman and A.L. Steiner of Ridykeulous is included in the show’s catalogue. It reads, “Oh great. Gross. Another show about men.” They may have a point — “Isn’t everything about men?” they ask. But what Ridykeulous fails to anticipate is the way in which this collection of works leaves the viewer thinking not about the men in the pictures but rather the women who created them.

07/19/06 12:00am

Kim Holleman
Trailer Park

Petrosino Square, at Lafayette and Kenmare Sts

Manhattanites — who are all too familiar with cramped living quarters — might take  a little pleasure in finding a trailer in the middle of an East Village sidewalk. On the outside, the silver vehicle appears to be an inventive solution to ever-soaring rent costs, but a peek through one of its windows reveals not beds, but rather a tiny oasis of green and calm. Kim Holleman’s Trailer Park is a miniature garden, complete with two benches, a sundial and a trickling fountain, installed in what once was a functional trailer. A paved path winds between two small mounds of soil sprouting leafy plants that are watered through a hidden irrigation system. This portable patch of nature — part of the current Storefront for Art and Architecture show around the corner — is the perfect invention for an ever-moving city. The stationary sculpture would be far more exciting, however, if it made use of its wheels and roved the urban landscape rescuing those seeking momentary refuge from the concrete jungle.  

Nancy Rubins
Big Pleasure Point

Josie Robertson Plaza, Lincoln Center

Rubins has added a splash of maritime color to Lincoln Center’s gray plaza. Big Pleasure Point is a collection of over 60 boats fastened together high above the ground with a complex system of wires. The salvaged kayaks, canoes and rowboats burst outward in a giant, many-pointed star above the swarming crowds of tourists and theater-goers. The piece, created between midnight and 7am every day for over a week, is a happy reminder that we’re on an island, albeit one that usually lacks the beachy feeling that this gravity-defying construction invokes. The hovering vessels loom like a hazy memory of a seaside vacation — or, for the rubberneckers among us, like a 60-boat pileup from the East River.  

07/05/06 12:00am

A Brighter Day
James Cohan Gallery, until July 14

The first piece in this potent show sets the tone for the three galleries’ worth of work that follows. Jenny Holzer’s white marble footstool — which sits almost unnoticed just inside the entrance — reads, “What urge will save us now that sex won’t?” Copulation alone is no longer enough to propagate a species threatened by global warming, terrorism, and political unrest, Holzer seems to be saying. With this grim notion in mind, each of the 28 subsequent pieces read as commentary — sometimes understated, sometimes explicit — on the sorry state of our country. Video artist Aida Ruilova’s 33-second looping DVD is a syncopated, desperate soundtrack of painful groans and the whispered sentence “I have to stop” paired with shots of what looks like the artist in an underground cell. Nearby, Folkert de Jong’s carefully carved Styrofoam man looks to the sky in supplication from his perch atop oil drums and bright pink foam machine guns. In the last room, James Hopkins’ shelves hold a collection of wine bottles, musical instruments, champagne glasses and other tools of human amusement, all arranged to look like a grinning skull when viewed from a few feet away. This piece’s rather didactic title, Consumption and Consequence, pinpoints a theme running through the entire show. So is “A Brighter Day” (the show’s real title) meant facetiously? Perhaps, but a collection of work so skillful is also uplifting: Beautifully made art and incisive commentary give hope for better times to come.                     

Matter of Time
Betty Cuningham Gallery, until July 14

Discontent with the state of the world is more subtly expressed in this smaller group show, where escapism rules. Each of the inventive pieces seems to be part of an alternate universe. Kathleen Vance has built a slab of cement and sand out of which sprouts perfectly delicate blades of grass on one side and velvety moss on the other. It is a living sculpture that at once seems utterly natural — like a remnant from a decaying house — yet is completely fabricated and would never actually come to exist on its own. In Jeff Shore and Jon Fisher’s Sand Time III, a video shows two interiors intermittently filling up with rocks — a landslide invading a house, we think, until we realize that the cameras recording the shots are located inside two minuscule wooden models nearby, which mechanically tilt back and forth, and the “rocks” are actually grains of sand pouring from one tiny room into the other and back. These artists are using their creative abilities to play God. And in troublesome times like the present, who can blame them?

06/21/06 12:00am

E.V. Day, Bride Fight
Lever House Lobby Gallery
390 Park Ave

Slowing a speed-walking New Yorker is no easy feat, but art installed in unlikely locations occasionally does the trick. People rushing by the Lever House recently have been pausing to take in E.V. Day’s current installation, Bride Fight. The white explosion of tulle, lace and silk, peppered with two pairs of pumps, a string of pearls and a blonde braid, at first appears to be a model of a galactic phenomenon. A closer look — and a glance at the title — reveals that the supernova-like abstraction in fact represents an earthly situation: two dynamically positioned wedding gowns within the installation suggest larger-than-life brides having at each other with superhuman rage. This is a catfight from nuptial hell, a humorous yet nightmarish representation of the stress of having a “fairytale” wedding. Day’s piece functions visually — the energized outward blast of white material could be a 3D rendering of an Italian Futurist painting — and also as social commentary, but what sends New Yorkers on their way with a smile, for better or worse, is the work’s one-liner quality: they look, they understand, and then they get on with their day.

Sarah Sze, Corner Plot
60th St and Fifth Avenue

The one-liner appeal of this sidewalk curiosity beckons to pedestrians from afar. The brick building rising up from the pavement (or is it sinking into the pavement?) promises to give passers-by the simplistic pleasure of gawking at a sci-fi movie set. Its perceived predictability slips away, though, when viewers bend over to look in the window of the oddly positioned structure. Inside, there is no perfect replica of a New York apartment and no scene from Poseidon. Instead, Sze has arranged a collection of her trademark objects: Rolls of toilet paper, pushpins and empty bottles populate the interior of the partially submerged space in a disorienting jumble. While some might be relieved that the piece isn’t consistent with its Epcot Center-ish exterior, the unexpected tableau of ordinary things isn’t satisfying either. Sze’s most successful works are her expansive installations of quotidian objects in the hundreds, assembled with Rube Goldbergian logic. The cramped space inside Corner Plot’s windows doesn’t allow for the careful, ordered nature of those larger works, and consequently people walk away from the piece more confused — and just as unstimulated — as they were on the approach.