October 20, 2007

NYTimes Art in Review: Chris Ofili, Elif Uras, Thomas Eggerer

"CHRIS OFILI: Devil’s Pie," David Zwirner, New York, NY. Through Nov. 3. Holland Cotter reports: "Mr. Ofili has always been forthright about the devotional spirit of his art; here he makes the cross-cultural nature of the spirit clear, and a little too clear. Time and further experimentation should bring the synthesis he’s after. I take the Zwirner show as a laboratory — a laying out of developmental material, a sorting through of ideas — and I like it for exactly that reason. We get a lot of airtight minor shows in Chelsea; it’s not every day that you get to see a major artist thinking. You do here." Read more.

Related link: Ofili shows us the long journey, the big picture

"ELIF URAS: The Occidentalist," Smith-Stewart, New York, NY. Through Nov. 4. Karen Rosenberg reports:"Born in Ankara, Turkey, and educated in the northeastern United States, the painter Elif Uras has seized on the buzzword Occidentalism — a retort to Edward Said’s Orientalism....Ms. Uras can be both decorative and topical. Otherwise, her “clash of civilizations” is more an arranged marriage." Read more.

"THOMAS EGGERER: Run River," Friedrich Petzel, New York, NY. Through Nov. 10. Martha Schwendener reports: "Art in galleries is appearing more frequently with a literary accompaniment: an artist-written news release or stream-of-conscious text. It arrives here in the form of a poem by the artist R. H. Quaytman, composed from recordings of Thomas Eggerer speaking about his paintings. The poem is distributed as a handout to gallery visitors....Mr. Eggerer is aware of the challenges facing contemporary painters. 'As if one’s own liberated language could speak for itself/in a medium as overdetermined as painting,' the poem says. But here the pressures of forging that liberated language nearly drown out the visual pleasure. The poem, unfortunately, doesn’t pick up any of the slack. Read more.