In the NY Times, Roberta Smith writes that déjà vu is an occupational hazard of art criticism. "You walk out of one gallery and into another only to see what appears to be the show you just left, all over again....Yet, as art formulas go, nothing beats paintings based on photographs. There must be hundreds of such works in progress at all times around the globe, usually involving newspaper images, opaque projectors and any number of materials: traditional oils, buttons, you name it. It is something of an art-world plague, and the point is driven home by current shows at the Charles Cowles Gallery and at Luhring Augustine in Chelsea. In both galleries, steps apart on West 24th Street, you encounter large brushy grisaille paintings based on newspaper images or other photographs. The elephant in the room in both cases is the German painter Gerhard Richter, especially his drizzly gray images of the members of the Baader-Meinhof terrorist gang and their funerals.The paintings at Cowles are by Xiaoze Xie, a 42-year-old Chinese-born painter who teaches art at Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pa....At Luhring you’ll find the New York debut of Johannes Kahrs, a German painter born in 1965 who lives in Berlin.
"I am sure that advocates of these two artists (especially their dealers) could argue at length, and probably convincingly, for the marked differences between their work. The harder you look at each show, the more differences you may even be able to eke out. But for me it’s all too close for comfort as well as derivative of the influential Mr. Richter. Part of an artist’s job is to do something that hasn’t been done before, not something that has been done to death." Read more.
"Xiaoze Xie," Charles Cowles Gallery, New York, NY. Through Nov. 8.
"Johannes Kahrs: Eyes on His Body," Luhring Augustine, New York, NY. Through Nov. 8.