Reviews


Medals of Honor

Sculpture portable enough to fit in the palm of your hand, inside a pocket, or tucked into a wallet can also be invested with enough narrative power to tell an epic story. The newly published catalogue, The Scher Collection of Commemorative Medals, proves that sculpture the size of a silver dollar can assume the presence of something monumental.

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Christopher Miles

SANTA BARBARA, CALIFORNIA College of Creative Studies Gallery, University of California, Santa Barbara The nine dramatic structures constituting “In Form” so agitate their surroundings that they create a distinct atmosphere independent of the space itself. Animated, highly detailed, penetrated with holes, tube-like parts, glossy excrescences, and contrasts between interior and exterior, they demand an engaged, committed process of examination.

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Hans Op de Beeck

NEW YORK Marianne Boesky Gallery The uncanny quality of the show stemmed from the exacting observation that Op de Beeck applies to his matte-gray human figures and their interior settings, which appear as if frozen in time.

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Ruth Asawa

ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI Pulitzer Arts Foundation While “Ruth Asawa: Life’s Work” did not present her life experience idealistically, her creative, ethical response to her experience and her tenacious devotion to labor became almost transcendent models of work-arounds for obstruction.

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Francis Upritchard

LONDON Barbican Centre Referencing an Iron Age burial site in the north of England, Francis Upritchard’s impressive exhibition, “Wetwang Slack,” announced from the outset that archaeology would be an underlying theme. But this was no dry, bleached-out display of indistinguishable artifacts such as have tried the patience of school children for generations.

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Mike Nelson

LONDON Tate Britain The development of sculpture through the 20th century was made possible, in part, by the development of increasingly sophisticated machinery, and The Asset Strippers expounds that interdependent relationship.

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Tara Donovan

DENVER Museum of Contemporary Art Denver Some of the more recent pieces in “Fieldwork,” Donovan’s recent mid-career retrospective, lacked the aesthetic beauty of her early work with translucent materials like plastic cups. Yet the impact of an elephantine installation amassed from gray file cards is thunderous, as powerful as banyan tree roots, mythical monsters, or the mountains of Huangshan.

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David Rabinowitch

TOKYO Ikeda Gallery The relationship between David Rabinowitch’s sculptures and works on paper is multifaceted. His drawings can be directly linked to his three-dimensional metal fabrications, exist independently of them, or hover somewhat restlessly between the two realms.

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58th Venice Biennale

VENICE Central Pavilion and Arsenale It could be said that Rugoff’s eschewal of a general theme has a Whitmanesque ambition to “contain multitudes,” letting the rooms swell with the unmediated voices of the artists, every object a megaphone. Yet the question in producing behemoth exhibitions like this is always the same in terms of the number of artists and works: How many? The answer is also always the same: as many as the space will bear.

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Monika Sosnowska

GLASGOW The Modern Institute There’s a visual contradiction at the heart of Monika Sosnowska’s new series of sculptures (on view through September 7, 2019). Her mangled steel structures are precisely arranged, hanging on the walls, dangling from the ceiling, and resting imposingly on the concrete floor; they also exude newness with their pristine coats of black paint.

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