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2017. 11. 20


[미술일반] What to see in New York Galleries
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What to See in

New York

Art Galleries

This Week

Photo
Brian O’Doherty’s “Parallax City (Rope Drawing #125)” (2016), at the Austrian Cultural Forum show “Dis-Play/Re-Play.” Credit Simone Subal Gallery, New York

‘Dis-Play/Re-Play’

Austrian Cultural Forum
11 East 52nd Street
Manhattan
Through Sept. 5

“Art exists in a kind of eternity of display,” the critic and installation artist Brian O’Doherty wrote in 1976 in his seminal series of essays “Inside the White Cube.” “This eternity gives the gallery a limbolike status; one has to have died already to be there.” Artists and curators are still grappling with this idea 40 years later. “Dis-Play/Re-Play,” organized by Prem Krishnamurthy and Walter Seidl at the Austrian Cultural Forum and featuring six artists, offers an updated response to the white-cube conundrum.

Photo
Hermes Payrhuber’s “Ode to the Rope With a Knot With a Hole, for Thomas Bernhard” (2016), in “Dis-Play/Re-Play.” Credit Naho Kubota/Austrian Cultural Forum

Among the works is Mr. O’Doherty’s “Parallax City (Rope Drawing #125)” (2016), a striking installation in which the walls and floor have been painted and the center of the room has been divided vertically by a rope. Judith Barry, another theorist of the art-exhibition space (her 1986 essay “Dissenting Spaces” is cited in a gallery handout) is represented by a retooled version of a two-channel video from 1978, while a third white-cube thinker, Martin Beck (his essay “The Exhibition and the Display” is in the show’s handout), has a video with a Muzak-like soundtrack at the front entrance and framed text and images upstairs. Mika Tajima’s playful wallpaper and colored plexiglass panels mix art with design; Hermes Payrhuber’s graffiti suggests a street vernacular; and Gerwald Rockenschaub deconstructs the Austrian flag with red and white plexiglass panels.

“Dis-Play/Re-Play” demonstrates how, as Mr. O’Doherty wrote in the ’70s, “context becomes content,” but also how everyone from artists to architects has revolted against the white cube. This might surprise its modern inventors, who saw it as ideal, universal and equalizing. Perhaps in another generation this view will return and artists will push back against the now-prevalent idea of the white cube as a prison or mausoleum.

MARTHA SCHWENDENER

Photo
At rear, Jessica Diamond’s “No Money Down” (1986/2016); Peter Halley’s “Yellow Cell With Conduit” (1982); and front, Nayland Blake’s “Joe Dallesandro as Augustin” (1991-94). Credit James Fuentes, New York

‘Bad Faith’

James Fuentes
55 Delancey Street
Lower East Side
Through Sept. 11

The late-season summer exhibition “Bad Faith” revisits some acerbic works from the Reagan era (give or take a year or two), with a wary eye on this year’s election.

With just four artists, and a total of seven pieces, the show’s organizers, Andrew J. Greene and James Michael Shaeffer, manage to evoke some of that period’s complexities and its multifarious discontents.

On one wall Jessica Diamond’s huge text painting “No Money Down” (1986/2016) urges viewers to “Buy a House With 200 Credit Cards,” connecting the shady real-estate practices of the mid-80s (when Ms. Diamond first used this slogan) to the more recent mortgage crisis. Set across from her piece is an intricate 1986 drawing on a slab of lead by Robert Morris, an elegy to the architect and SoHo loft designer Alan Buchsbaum, who died that year from AIDS-related respiratory disease (hinted at in the delicate bronchial passages of the main image).

Elsewhere, geometric abstraction meets extreme figuration; a 1982 painting by Peter Halley uses cells and conduits to elucidate networks of power, surveillance and cruelty à la Foucault, while Nayland Blake deploys a marionette and a miniature theater inspired by the writings of the Marquis de Sade (in works from 1991-94 that provide some literary-historical context for the National Endowment for the Arts culture wars of that time).

Politically minded artists today have many other tools at their disposal (witness Hank Willis Thomas and Eric Gottesman’s super PAC, For Freedoms, which raises funds for national advertising campaigns based on artworks with diverse messages), but as “Bad Faith” reminds us, there’s still a lot that can be done with painting and sculpture.

KAREN ROSENBERG

Photo
A. R. Penck’s “Umsturz” (“Coup d’État”) (1965), at Michael Werner Gallery.

Credit Michael Werner Gallery, New York and London

A. R. Penck

‘Early Works’

Michael Werner
4 East 77th Street
Manhattan
Through next Friday

Along with Anselm Kiefer and Georg Baselitz among others, A. R. Penck rode the wave of German Neo-Expressionism to international prominence in the 1980s. “A. R. Penck: Early Works” is a rousing exhibition of paintings from the 1960s and sculptures from the ’70s at Michael Werner.

Photo
A.R. Penck’s “Standart-Modell” (1972-73), at Michael Werner Gallery. Credit Michael Werner Gallery, New York and London

Born in 1939 in Dresden, Germany, and raised in what later became East Germany, Mr. Penck had no formal training and little knowledge of contemporary artistic developments in the West. But in his early, vigorously cartoonish paintings of rudimentary symbols and stick figures he showed a precocious understanding of painting as avant-gardist provocation. Note, for example, his comically scatological “Untitled” (1966), which illustrates food progressing through a man’s digestive system, from his stomach to the toilet he’s sitting on and down into a basement septic tank.

By using hieroglyphics, Mr. Penck aspired to create a universal language for addressing all conceivable states of mind and the world. “Primitive Computer” (1968), a grid of 45 simple signs painted on a green field like a keyboard, anticipates the digital future.

The paintings are not always so readily decipherable. In “Heaven and Hell” (1967), the figures, signs and tangled lines painted in black on white illustrate a baffling cosmology. Understandable or not, Mr. Penck’s paintings typically have an infectiously percussive formal aspect.

In sculpture, he favored grungy abstraction. Displayed on pedestals, eight crude constructions from the ’70s are assembled from cardboard, tape, string, aluminum foil and glass bottles. For his works of that time, Mr. Penck coined the term Standart to satirize the standardization of modern life. His sculptures, you might say, represent the sad-sack soul of the externally sleek new commodity.

KEN JOHNSON

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