One-Line Reviews: Our Staff's Pithy Takes on Shows by Bianca Casady, Stan VanDerBeek, and More

Steve Mumford's "The Battle in Baquba" (2006) in "Painting is History" at Winkleman Gallery
(Courtesy Winkleman Gallery / Photography by Etienne Frossard)

Once again, our intrepid ARTINFO staff set out in Chelsea this week, through the heat and thunderous storms, and came back with these abbreviated (though sometimes run-on) single-sentence reviews. (To read our One-Line Reviews in illlustrated slide show format, click here.)

* Henry Codax, Long Suffering, at Martos Gallery, 540 West 29th Street, July 10-August 24


This mysterious fictional artist's Easter Egg-hued monochrome canvases may not surprise anymore, but they do engulf the viewer in a field of color so flawless — so absent of the human hand — that it seems only appropriate for their true creator to remain anonymous. — Julia Halperin

* Bianca Casady, “Daisy Chain,” at Cheim & Read, 547 West 25th Street, June 28-September 8

With their mixture of harsh lines and soft watercolors, flowers standing in for salacious imagery, and representations of the oppressed embedded within kitsch, the drawings and collages of "Daisy Chain" are just the visual manifestation one would expect of Bianca Casady, perhaps better-known for her musical endeavors as one-half of the freak-folk group CocoRosie.  — Sara Roffino

* Leif Kath, “Everlasting Disorder,” at Elizabeth Harris, 529 West 20th Street, June 7-July 27

Leif Kath understands the power of high modernist aesthetics to charm and seduce, but could these square canvases of primary colors and minute lines have been more effective in a larger format? — Reid Singer

* Mark Lewis, “Tulsa Streets: Collages and Paintings,” at Bowery Gallery, 530 West 25th Street, 4th Floor, July 10-28

Tulsa-based artist Mark Lewis's painstaking collages (produced on-site) conjure criss-crossing architectural vistas that make you feel like you have been dropped into a lazy city street, and are impressively infused with panoramic depth and tangible light, as if the Oklahoma sun were shining directly onto his works. — Alanna Martinez

* Albrecht Schnider, “Melancholia of the Verge,” at Marc Jancou Contemporary, 524 West 24th St, May 31 - July 27

Swiss-born artist Albrecht Schnider’s drawings serve as a reality check, creating something human and familiar from a precise pattern of abstract lines, thereby suggesting the certainty and uncertainty that lays behind the formation of a completed image, while emphasizing how negative space is an integral part of a figure's meaning to boot. — Terri Ciccone

* “Painting Is History,” at Winkleman Gallery, 621 West 27th Street, July 11 - August 10 

Proving that history painting never really goes out of style, Winkleman Gallery’s latest show might even shock viewers with its refreshing display of large-scale figurative canvases that riff on or embrace the traditional format, including Steve Mumford’s depiction of a tumultuous moment in the Iraq war, “Battle of Baquba,” which is a work for our century. — Kyle Chayka

* Julika Rudelius, “Rituals of Capitalism,” at Leo Koenig, 525 West 23rd Street, July 11-September 8

The body language and facial expressions of the young, androgynous Chinese men in Rudelis’s video accentuate the haunting universality of sex-heavy marketing in our neoliberal world, in the way that they pose like models, their eyes begging for attention as they wordlessly move through the streets and markets of Guangzhou, as if they were lifted straight from a magazine, naively unaware of any of their surroundings save for the camera in front of them. — Shane Ferro

* “Stan VanDerBeek,” at American Contemporary, 4 East 2nd Street, July 12-August 17

There’s a reason Stan VanDerBeek is best remembered for his experimental new media work rather than his collages, which only through the narrative provided by his superbly strange poems, pasted here on the walls, come close to being as compelling as something like his “Movie-Drome” (1963–66) (currently on view in “Ghosts in the Machine” at the New Museum), yet as context for his early mental explorations that preceded his films and computer art they are nevertheless intriguing. — Allison C. Meier

* “Sweet Distemper,” at Derek Eller Gallery, 615 West 27th Street, July 11-August 16

As its dichotomous title intimates, this five-artist show (curated by Isaac Lyles) features works that are simultaneously pristine and broken, seductive and repulsive, with Anna Betbeze's torched wool carpet, Samara Golden's neon lace pattern paintings, and Despina Stokou's manic mixed-media scrawling — "Dear gallery, don't fuck this up for me!" — maintaining that fragile balance of opposites most sweetly. Benjamin Sutton

* “tête-à-tête,” at Yancey Richardson, 535 West 22nd Street 3rd floor, July 12-August 24

Mickalene Thomas takes on the role of curator in “tête-à-tête,” a show of sexually fraught photographic works by Clifford Owens, Deana Lawson, Malick Sidibé, LaToya Ruby Frazier, Thomas, and others that expose private moments and undressed bodies in a confrontational and well-assembled exhibition of young black artists on the rise. —Ashton Cooper

* “Visual Feast: A Pattern & Decoration Exhibition," at Accola Griefen, 547 West 27th Street , June 28 - August 4

Leave your prejudices at the door and bask in "Visual Feast"'s wacky, apologist (her)story of the short-lived and too-often-dismissed Pattern and Decoration movement, which shows canonical P&D works like Miriam Shapiro's fan painting and Robert Kushner's performance stills alongside Judy Pfaff's signature clusterfuck installations and Susan Happersett's mathy fractal drawings, proving that P&D — in its messy, explosive, political, and playful permutations — is anything but twee. — Chloe Wyma