ONE-LINE REVIEWS: Pithy Takes on Ugo Rondinone, Faith Ringgold, and More

An artwork from Aakash Nihalani's exhibition "Islands" at Signal Gallery
(Photo by Terri Ciccone )

Once again, ARTINFO has sent its intrepid staff into the streets of New York, charged with reviewing the art they saw in a single (sometimes run-on) sentence. (To see our One-Line Reviews as an illustrated slideshow, click here.)

Simon Lee, “Mother is Passing Come at Once” at Cristin Tierney, 546 West 29th Street, through April 27


Stepping into Simon Lee's multi-sensory installation feels like crossing a threshold into a whimsical and enigmatic collective psyche, where Lee's curation of found photographs, recorded readings of found letters, and their fictional responses come together as an enchanting, diaristic narrative at once deeply personal and powerfully universal. — Sara Roffino

Aakash Nihalani, “Islands” at Signal Gallery, 260 Johnson Ave, Brooklyn, through May 14

Departing from his trademark outdoor installations of neon tape, Aakash Nihalani brings his work indoors and creates contrast by using the white surfaces of the gallery walls as negative space in his 3D “portals” and cut-outs that distort perspective as the viewer walks around the gallery.  — Terri Ciccone

Faith Ringgold's America: Early Works and Story Quiltsat ACA Galleries, 529 West 20th Street, 5th Floor, through April 27

Nearly half a century later, Faith Ringgold's early works still pack an arresting combination of visual punch and political sharpness, and though the “American People” pieces included here seem soft by comparison, the incredible intensity of her story quilts — particularly a brutally honest piece from “The Lover's Trilogy” — and less-well known “Black Light” series of text paintings remains undiminished. Benjamin Sutton

Ugo Rondinone, “Human Nature” presented by the Public Art Fund, at Rockefeller Center Plaza, through June 7

Offering a transfixing mediation between soaring midtown skyscrapers and the rank and file who fill them day in and day out, Ugo Rondinone’s “Human Nature,” a set of nine prehistoric-ish, human-like figures, 16 to 20-foot-tall and made from colossal stone slabs, are surprisingly witty, transforming Rock Center plaza (where the Christmas tree stands each year) into a mythic but playful outdoor garden that impresses itself upon you less in specific visuals (though the figures' jaunty boulder heads and long towering limbs quickly become seared into your memory) than in the collective — taken together, the forms have a mesmerizing and slightly mocking aura. — Rozalia Jovanovic

Kathy Ruttenberg, “Nature of the Beast,” at Stux Gallery, 530 West 25th Street, through May 18

Kathy Ruttenberg’s dark forest of nature gods fashioned from clay overtook me from the moment I stepped through the gallery door and found myself dwarfed by a towering sculpture of a tree giantess, and as I wandered beyond into the unknown each deity was more unbelievable than the last; at once grotesque, surreal, magical, and horrific, each of Ruttenberg's creatures seems somehow filled to the brim with a sense of powerful, positive vitality — and, in spite of the old stigma against ceramic, it struck me as some of the most beautifully imaginative and captivating work I have seen recently. — Alanna Martinez

To see the reviews with images, click on the slideshow.