“Mickalene Thomas: She’s Come Undone!” Lehmann Maupin, New York, NY. Through May2. Roberta Smith: Yet there is a fast-food obviousness to these paintings. Their potpourri of contemporary precedents is too easily parsed: Kathe Burkhardt’s raw images of Elizabeth Taylor, Robert Colescott’s racial indiscretions and the decorative (often beaded) overkill of artists like Lucas Samaras, Lisa Lou, Rhonda Zwillinger and Joyce C. Scott, not to mention the godfather of excessive tactility, the erstwhile cotton-ball painter Joe Zucker. Their reliance on photographs can make them seem rote and even inert, despite the visual vehemence and the fact that the photographs are set up and taken by Ms. Thomas.Combining videotapes of these photo sessions with small portraits of their subjects is a bad idea; so is a wall of small, simpler Warholesque portraits titled “A-E-I-O-U and Sometimes Y.” Still, Ms. Thomas’s conviction that the political is visual and every square inch of a painting’s surface must count is inspiring.
“Allan d’Arcangelo: Paintings, 1962-1982,” Mitchell-Innes & Nash, New York, NY. Through May 2. Roberta Smith: In keeping with the “no artist left behind” approach to art’s recent past, a resuscitation of the paintings of Allan D’Arcangelo (1930-1998) is in order, even if it suggests that most of them may not withstand the test of time….These works place Mr. D’Arcangelo on the forefront of a generation that rejected the emotionality and indefiniteness of Abstract Expressionism. But position isn’t everything. The paintings don’t deliver pictorial satisfaction. They seem to be gradually changing in status from art to artifact, becoming period pieces that convey the afterglow of a particular time but don’t really speak to ours.
“Sarah Crowner: Paintings and Pots,” Nicelle Beauchene, New York, NY. Through May 3. Karen Rosenberg: Sarah Crowner’s first New York solo show pairs hard-edged geometric canvases and lumpen, unglazed ceramics. They go together better than you might expect, thanks to Ms. Crowner’s interests in craft, design and decorative strains of modernism.The two-dimensional works aren’t painted, but stitched together from monochromatic pieces of canvas and linen. Most enlarge fragments of midcentury modern artworks by Lorser Feitelson, Lygia Clark and others….Her patchwork paintings are impressive, too, in that they deftly sidestep clichés about craft-centric art movements like Pattern and Decoration. But she stops short of creating the participatory environments favored by Ms. Clark, Andrea Zittel and other proponents of D.I.Y. modernism.
Read the entire “Art in Review” column here.