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World-Class Art

Thomas Hoving Picks a Collection of American Artists Who May Be the Picassos and Monets of the 21st Century
Thomas Hoving
From the Print Edition:
Jack Nicholson, Summer 95

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The piece confused me in a delightful manner. I found myself thinking about my childhood, whether or not I had suddenly become a child again and if the perceptions of a child were not more acute than any adult. The sculpture established that delightful confusion between reality and artifice--which is fundamental to so many naturalistic works of art and which seldom has been so admirably captured. Feature, 76 Greene Street, New York, New York 10012, fax (212) 431-7187

Jeanne Dunning. Her works in Cibachrome mounted onto Plexiglas, such as her untitled image of 1994, on page 218, are disturbing, superbly made images of looming sexuality. I find her work profound, totemic, powerfully echoing our troubled--and occasionally exalted--times. Her strength lies in the very enigmatic nature of her semihuman scenes--images that come from the closets of all our minds. Feature

Jason Rhoades. He has got to be the most provocative installation artist working at the moment. His "Garage, Renovation New York," 1993, amply shows its strong character. Ragged, hallucinatory, dynamic, his huge works evoke the shattering activity of artists at work, their doubts, turmoils, fears and triumphs. They are really stupendous and theatrical self-portraits. David Zwirner Gallery, 43 Greene Street, New York, New York 10013, fax (212) 966-4952

Lorna Simpson. Her works possess an incredible emotional blast. She has the ability to make something minuscule grow to important dimensions. Her work, "III," is a box made out of wood and has three wishbones made of ceramic, rubber and bronze. The piece evokes a series of nerve-alerting responses. What are these wishbones? Fragments of carcasses or perhaps divining rods seeking something crucial for the rest of time? Sean Kelly Gallery, 22 Wooster Street, New York, New York 10012, phone (212) 343-2405, fax (212) 343-2604

Mark Innerst. His landscapes are vivid, sometimes strangely brooding icons of high emotion. Each one is a deftly captured specific moment in a special season. In "Central Park South," 1995, above (9 1/4 inches by 12 1/4 inches in a beautiful, handmade frame), the artist has evoked the sunlit glory of the great South Lawn as an oasis of peace and hope in the center of a threatening city, whose dark and cruel forms loom ominously, yet curiously safely, just outside Eden. The paint passages are thrilling. Curt Marcus Gallery, 578 Broadway, New York, New York 10012, phone (212) 226-3200

Frank Stella. The veteran artist's work has never been better than right now. I've watched Stella's work for a lifetime--from the spare and dour pin-striped paintings of the late 1950s which were poetic, remote and bereft of tricks, through a sort of kicky wasteland of the past 25 years in which he seemed to sound off and partly sell out in attractive, three-dimensional, highly colored but strangely uncolorful pastiches. But some recent sculptural work is almost unbelievably hard, uncompromising and powerful. They are like giant gnarled hunks of some petrified forest of the imagination. This one is called "Fos," 1994. Stephen Mazoh Gallery, 67 East 93rd Street, New York, New York 10128, fax (212) 289-5991; Larry Gagosian Gallery

Nari Ward. He makes grandiose, rugged installations out of many media, such as his 1993 work on page 215. They distinguish themselves by their drama, their sensitivity and their poetic strength. Jack Tilton Gallery, 49 Greene Street, New York, New York 10013, phone (212) 941-1775, fax (212) 941-1812

Stephen Antonakos. Some might think the lean masterpieces of this artist are minimalist creations. That would be a mistake. When one really gets into them, one recognizes them as dazzlingly rich and wondrously complex combinations of rectitude and freedom, stillness and boundless energy. Antonakos places the forms--crosses, circles, half-circles, arcs--with intense care onto grounds of flickering color or blackness. The artist conveys a feeling of startling spirituality in his extraordinary pieces, which are made with colored pencils on French plastivellum paper. Stephen Antonakos, 435 West Broadway, New York, New York 10012, phone (212) 925-5956

Sara Sosnowy. She's one of the most accomplished colorists working today. Her large constructions of rectangular four-inch-by-four-inch paper panels, painted in a dazzling array of colors and stuck to a seven-foot-by-eight-foot board like a series of Post-its, are breathtaking--at once delicate, dreamy and expressive. John Weber Gallery, 142 Greene Street, New York, New York 10012, phone (212) 966-6115, fax (212) 941-8727

Damien Hirst. There's no telling what medium or what images fine artists will choose to create their most expressive achievements. Why not, say, dead animals or a shark, preserved in perfect condition floating in a formaldehyde solution, in cases of steel and glass? Hirst has chosen these bizarre forms. In his gifted hands images such as his "Away from the Flock" are at once frightening, riveting and grand. Larry Gagosian Gallery


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