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Bill Viola
video still from the series
"Five Angels for the Millennium"
at Anthony D'Offay Gallery

Philip-Lorca diCorcia
Head #7
at Gagosian Gallery

Katherine Sherwood
To Rise to High Places
at Gallery Paule Anglim

Sandra Tucci
Floating Violet Blue Object
at Galeria Luisa Strina

John Hillard
at Galería Helga de Alvear

Brad Kahlhamer
Immature Eagle
at Deitch Projects
Artnet Insider
by Sherry Wong

The Gallery Center boasts websites for more than 1,300 galleries and individual artists from around the world. Thanks to this unusual collaboration, web cruisers can sample new exhibitions as soon as they open. It's especially exciting to see new work by top artists -- works that are debuting in cities far away, across continents and oceans. Now, that's being connected.

Among the important exhibitions premiering this May -- on as well as in the galleries themselves -- are shows of works by Bill Viola at Anthony d'Offay in London, Philip-Lorca DiCorcia at Gagosian Gallery in London, Katherine Sherwood at Gallery Paule Anglim in San Francisco, Sandra Tucci at Galeria Luisa Strina in So Paulo, John Hilliard at Galera Helga de Alvear in Madrid and Brad Kahlhamer at Deitch Projects in New York.

In his third show at Anthony d'Offay Gallery in London, May 2-July 21, 2001, the video artist Bill Viola has devised a monumental installation called "Five Angels for the Millennium" that is the culmination of several earlier works that dealt with figures moving through water. This intense "hall of vision" complements a separate installation of a "hall of images," in which actors go through variations of four primary emotions: joy, fear, anger and sadness. More than any other artist, Viola has harnessed the magic of technology "to explore the phenomena of sense perception as an avenue to self-knowledge."

One of the most exciting photographic talents to emerge in recent years is Philip-Lorca diCorcia, whose emotionally charged "Streetworks" photos give an operatic sense of drama to apparently ordinary individuals simply passing by on the sidewalk. The artist's show at Gagosian Gallery in London, May 2-June 14, 2001, presents several of these works and also debuts a new series, called, simply, "Heads." Shot with a trip light under the scaffolding of a building in New York's Times Square, these photos are stark and almost impossibly concentrated.

The San Francisco painter Katherine Sherwood, whose new works are on view at Gallery Paule Anglim there, May 2-June 2, 2001, was one of the better discoveries of the 2000 Whitney Biennial. Using her trademark method -- one that combined painting, paper collage and photolithography -- Sherwood is here working with imagery that comes from medieval emblems that were thought to have originally been drawn by King Solomon. The search for talismans of wisdom, then, continues to spark contemporary abstract painting. The poet and critic John Yau has authored the essay in the show's accompanying catalogue.

In her show at Galeria Luisa Strina in So Paulo, May 2-26, 2001, Sandra Tucci "has created an exhibition whose emblem is the labyrinth," writes Katia Canton in her essay, Suffocating Beauty. Objects made of silvery chains and translucent balls are gothic, sadomasochistic, religious. Ordinary materials acquire "an ornamental and sacred character" and are displayed so that "they become ordered, dense and full of meaning."

At Galera Helga de Alvear in Madrid, John Hilliard's show of recent photographs, May 24-June 30, 2001, features works in which the center of the picture is blocked out, by a screen, a hanging blanket, even a sign reading "keep out." As one of the original photographic deconstructionists, Hilliard has been since the 1970s examining the presumed "transparency" of the photographic medium. These works literally block the center of attention and obscure the field of view -- an aggressive act directed both at the viewer and at art itself.

Brad Kahlhamer's exhibition of new paintings at Deitch Projects in New York, May 5-June 30, 2001, is titled "Almost American." As critic Michael Cohen points out, Kahlhamer's vibrant, swashbucking paintings of Western scenes combine the search for the sublime of Abstract Expressionism with a Native American visionary tradition. The American bald eagle sweeps through the paintings and may be a surrogate for the artist. A survey of Kahlhamer's works opens June 1 at the Aspen Art Museum.

SHERRY WONG is editorial assistant at Artnet Magazine.