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Martin Kersels
Attempt to Raise 
the Temperature of 
a Container of Water 
by Yelling at It.

Martin Kersels

Richard Misrach
Playboy #49 
(Adam & Eve), 

Paul McCarthy

Paul McCarthy

Steven Parrino
Void Vortex 
(Darby Crash), 1996 

Scott Reeder &
Donald Morgan
Sleeping Robot 

Polly Apfelbaum 
Eclipse, 1996 

Kathleen Gilje
Comtesse d'Haussonville, 
Restored, 1994-96. 

Kathleen Gilje
Comtesse d'Haussonville 
Restored, 1994-96.

Meghan Boody
Truly Scrumptious

Peter Hristoff
Untitled, 1996.
David Robbins Untitled, 1996.
photos by Wolfgang Tillmans
photos by Wolfgang Tillmans
Alix Perlstein Untitled (Interiors- -White Cat), 1996
Alix Perlstein video still from Interiors, 1996.
Josefa Mulaire Cut, 1995

the soho hit list

by William McCollum

Martin Kersels at 

Jay Gorney Modern Art

Sept. 7 - Oct. 5, 1996

A big man, Martin Kersels feels gravity's 

pull. In what may be SoHo's most 

wonderfully idiosyncratic show, the 

California artist exhibits a series of 

basically artless, large color photographs 

of himself tossing friends through the air 

(they're all titled Tossing a Friend). 

These works continue in the vein of earlier 

series, "Falling" and "Tripping," that also 

feature the artist as protagonist (by the 

evidence, Kersels could have the self-image 

of a klutz). He makes "talking sculptures" 

as well, such as Stingray, a construction 

of plywood with a small screen and an 8mm 

projector, showing a film loop. First is a 

shot of a modest suburban plywood ramp, 

followed by a sequence in which the giant 

Kersels, atop a much-coveted Schwinn 

Stingray, rides down and then, just before 

lift-off, aborts the hard way, landing on 

his stomach. This comical self-deprecation 

is actually endearing. Downstairs, in another 

construction, Attempt to Raise the 

Temperature of a Container of Water by 

Yelling at It, a jar of water is

monitored for temperature fluctuations 

while suffering verbal abuse from the tape-

recorded artist. A different kind of "mad 


Richard Misrach at Curt Marcus

Sept. 5 - Oct. 5, 1996

Desert photographer Richard Misrach, who in 

the past has goosed the sleepy landscape 

convention with his pictures of modern 

detritus marooned in the natural wastelands 

of the Southwest U.S., here focuses in on 

two cast-off items the artist found near a 

nuclear test site: a pair of Playboy 

magazines used for target practice. The 

violence that permeates the American 

consciousness, as well as its view of 

femme-objet erotica, is evidenced by 

Misrach's photographs of pages from the 

magazines. Holes rip through playmates, 

beer-drinking cowboys, Rambo and Ray 

Charles in a demonstration of Democracy at 

its blindest. (Or perhaps, another subtext, 

a bad attitude toward Richard Prince's 

appropriations of magazine photography?) 

Misrach's second series of photographs 

presents details of genre paintings that 

were done in Europe and that, somehow, 

found their way out West. Why accept new 

cultures when you can idolize your past?

Paul McCarthy at Luhring Augustine 

Sept. 7 - Oct. 12, 1996

Wee-ha! Ride `em cowboy! This rip roarin' 

installation is pure Frontierland meets 

Warhol's Lonesome Cowboys. In 

McCarthyworld, two mechanized ranch hands 

(one with a dog's head) play pull the pony 

in the bunkhouse while catgirl, cowboy, a 

blonde floozy and the pig bartender spin 

and rotate in the Saloon. Meanwhile, over 

in the teepee, the Indians....well, never 

mind. The Old West as siphoned through Zap 

Comix via Las Vegas, but flush hard because 

it's got to go all the way to Times Square, 

the old Times Square. When you think about 

it, McCarthy's historical revisionism is 

more original than not. And who's to say 

that it all didn't really happen that way? 

"The Speed of Painting" 

at Pat Hearn Gallery  

Sept. 7 - Oct. 12, 1996

Featuring work by Laura Owens, Monique 

Prieto, Steven Parrino, Scott Reeder and 

Donald Morgan, this show at Pat Hearn 

presents a lively array fresh painting, 

including a press release containing some 

spry free verse by Hearn herself to tie it 

all together. Prieto and Owens give us 

energetic abstractions of color and form. 

Reeder presents us with a great jokey 

formalism. Parrino's canvases seem angry, 

like punk rock, with Void Vortex evidently 

knowing something else about Darby Crash 

than is presented in "Decline of Western 

Civilization" or any Germs recordings. 

Dormant in the back was our favorite, 

Reeder and Morgan's "robots" 

assembled of light battleship-gray geometric

boxes, like reclining Joel Shapiros.

Polly Apfelbaum at Boesky + Callery 

Sept. 3 - Oct. 5, 1996

Speaking of painting, what's this stuff 

doing on the floor? Is this painting 

prostrating itself and begging for re-

acceptance? Or is it painting standing on 

its own, though admittedly limited in 

stature? Re-presenting painting as object, 

or more specifically as the mark, this 

installation is infectious. More scatter 

than Ryman, Apfelbaum's colorful, crushed 

velvet oval swatches--arguably the most-

mentioned show during the SoHo Arts 

Festival weekend--refreshes the screen for 

Minimalist-formalist painting.

Kathleen Gilje at Bravin Post Lee

Sept. 5 - Oct. 5, 1996

Gilje, an Old Master conservator, 

recontextualizes art-history with images 

from contemporary culture. There's a 

portrait of a woman, but here 

with the black eye of a battered wife. 

Brueghel's cripples are kicking the ball 

around. And isn't that small painting in 

the back gallery of a pierced young woman, 

her image made famous last year by the 

Metropolitan Museum's Petrus Christus show, 

a sales associate at Urban Outfitters? 

Ironic pastiche at its best.

Meghan Boody at Sandra Gering 

Sept. 7 - Oct. 5, 1996

And cyberpastiche at its finest in a series

of photoshopped collage images, known as 

New York Dolls, where half-dressed women 

and girls rule. They interact with penguin-

borgs, fighter mammoths and brainiac 

creatures inhabiting an icy domain. This 

Iris-printed virtual reality is equally 

unsettling and fascinating. 

Peter Hristoff at David Beitzel

Sept. 5 - Oct. 5, 1996

Born in Turkey and based in New York, 

Hristoff makes ornate paintings and works 

on paper that combine vaguely Middle 

Eastern decorative motifs with geometric 

color abstraction and figurative outlines 

that suggest computer mediation. This 

enviable task is accomplished with 

layerings of forms and figurations, 

semiotics and even the odd doily. The

result is compelling.

David Robbins at Feature 

Sept. 6 - Oct. 12, 1996

`Tis the season. Or seasons. Hey, why limit 

snowmen to dead twigs, coal and winter 

accouterments? David Robbins' humor renders 

snowpeople with foliage in full bloom. The 

drawings depict them festooned with flowers 

and healthy vines in an array of stylings. 

Perhaps touching on the temporality of life 

as evidenced through the people made of 

snow, and the blossoming foliage. That's 

about as intelligent as I can get at the 


Wolfgang Tillmans at Andrea Rosen 

Sept. 14 - Oct. 26, 1996

The photographer Wolfgang Tillmans' 

installation of recent work is surprisingly 

lacking the slacker beauties he is largely 

known for. Blurring the line between 

commercial and art photography, these color 

prints taped and clipped to the wall depict 

more or less regular people, places and 

only some clothing, with an emphasis on 

saturated color (piles of bright orange 

pumpkins, for instance). It's like life or 

like Life, I'm not quite sure.

Alix Pearlstein at Postmasters 

Sept. 7 - Oct. 5, 1996

Lining the wall is a row of small, framed 

paper collages of interiors, each made with 

three or four elements clipped, apparently, 

from `60s magazines like Life and Look. In 

the middle of the gallery is a videotape 

presenting seven vignettes, each based on 

one of the collages. A witty, postmodern 

evolution of artistic motivation--paging 

the Actor's Studio! Also at Postmasters, 

Paul Ramirez Jonas in the peephole is a 

must-peep. Also on view: Josefa Mulair's 

photos of little stick drawings she made by 

cutting into the skin of her leg. 

WILLIAM MCCOLLUM is an artist who lives and 

works in New York.