One-Line Reviews: Our Staff's Pithy Takes on Christian Jankowski, “Marxism,” and Other Chelsea Gallery Shows

Installation view of "Dogma" at Metro Pictures, New York
(Courtesy Metro Pictures, New York)

Once again, our staff set out around our offices in Chelsea, tasked with reviewing what they found there in a single (sometimes run-on) sentence. Here is what we came up with this week (to see our "One-Line Reviews" in illustrated slide show format, click here):

* “The Big Picture,” at Sikkema Jenkins, 530 West 22nd Street, through July 27 

Gathering a group of painters who flout the current wisdom that biggest is best, this group show of small canvases hits sweet spots of juicy, informal abstraction (Robert Bordo), slacker wit (Josephine Halvorson’s trompe l’oeil chalkboard), and a certain backwoods American mysticism (John Dilg’s Klee-inflected landscapes), making it altogether the most unironic fun you’ll have in Chelsea this month. — Kyle Chayka

* “Dogma,” at Metro Pictures, 519 West 24th Street, June 28-August 10

Instead of simple dog-themed art, this thought-provoking group show (held during the "dog days" of summer) is an interesting, if not entirely convincing, look at the downside of 10,000 years of domesticating man's best friend, including the saddest dog painting you’ve ever seen by Martin Kippenberger and “Tragedy” by Nina Beier, the latter of which consists of a Persian rug that, at select times during the exhibition, is graced by a live dog playing dead. — Shane Ferro

Earth WORKS: Ten Artists on Land and Industry, at PPOW, 535 West 22nd Street, 3rd Floor, June 28-July 27

Each artist here stages an encounter between natural and man-made elements — whether it's Blue Curry's bean-covered tires or the Institute of Critical Geologists's surreal photo of a big cat in a salt mine moonscape — but the most successful works flip the organic-artificial dualism on its head, especially Letha Wilson's photo-and-concrete bas reliefs and Bill Smith's psychedelic installation inspired by the one-atom-thick "wonder material" Graphyne. — Benjamin Sutton

* Christian Jankowski, “Discourse News,” at Friedrich Petzel, 535 W 22nd Street, June 21-July 27

It may be a bit simplistic, but Christian Jankowski's latest artwork — for which he invited 80 critics to write reviews of an exhibition they had not yet seen and then had them place their writings inside sealed bottles, which he clustered on the floor of the gallery — is a metaphor of artmaking itself: creators put it out in the world, never able to know or control how — or if — it will be read. — Julia Halperin

* Panni Malekzadeh, “Love Me Till It Hurts,” at Freight+Volume, 530 West 24th Street, July 5-August 11

This exhibition of work by recent New York Academy of Art grad Panni Malekzadeh could probably do without her pink doll houses, floral wallpaper, and small text paintings featuring suggestive texts, but her mournful birthday cake-colored portraits of female family members and friends dressed in lavish — but constricting — European period costume regalia, visibly worn by inner conflict over sexual and cultural identity, stand strongly on their own.  — Alanna Martinez

* “Marxism” at 303, 547 West 21st Street, June 29-August 3

This irreverent group show is more "Duck Soup" than "Das Kapital," drawing an irresistible vector connecting the anarchic humor of the Marx Brothers to various subversive gestures in 20th-century avant-garde art by drawing together a collection of objects and images including Harpo's Wig, Marcel Duchamp's Mona Lisa-with-a-mustache, and Richard Prince's abstracted portraits of Groucho’s face, plus, as an extra highlight, a tongue-in-cheek parody of the august leftist journal, “October.”  — Chloe Wyma

* “Post-Movement,” at Cristin Tierney, 546 West 29th Street, June 21-August 3

Don't let the eye-watering fumes from Dennis Oppenheim’s “Recall” (1974), a floor-mounted TV monitor playing a close-up of a muttering mouth attached to a 10-foot-long pan of turpentine (as if to enact some kind of vision of demon minimalist halitosis), repel you from this small group show which focuses on the nervy, individualistic moment in mid-'70s art via the still-too-unfamiliar emissions of the likes of Eleanor Antin, Ida Applebroog, Peter Campus, and a few other worthy figures. Ben Davis