Ms. Brunschwig was born in Le Havre in 1927. Jewish, she escaped deportation due to the shelter of a Catholic good friend within the south of France, and later in Paris she grew to become pleasant with Emmanuel Levinas, the nice thinker of ethics within the wake of the Holocaust. As early because the 1950s, when she overlaid a slate grey board with scumbles of white and black (all her work are untitled), Ms. Brunschwig forswore the methods of each figuration and gestural abstraction in favor of speechless evocations of vacancy. Quickly, influenced by Chinese language portray, she started to work on paper with opaque India ink, masking the surfaces with saturated zones of black and leaving hazy-edged, abraded voids within the type of trapezoids, lozenges or stalactites. In a single latest work right here, painted in a leporello (that’s, a guide whose pages are folded into each other accordion-style), calligraphic black stripes develop denser and denser from web page to web page, and the resultant blackout has the burden of historical past.
Slowly, in exhibits reminiscent of “Soldier, Spectre, Shaman,” at MoMA, and “Postwar,” on the Haus der Kunst, in Munich, curators are starting to rewrite the historical past of European portray after 1945 as one thing greater than a give up to America’s avant-garde — and to position the devastation of the Holocaust on the very middle of that story. Ms. Brunschwig’s resolute, comfortless artwork is a vital element of that historical past, and it’s by way of the very absence of pictures that she bears witness to the unspeakable.
By means of March 11. MoMA PS1, 22-25 Jackson Avenue, Queens; 718-784-2084, momaps1.org.
One of many standout artists in final summer time’s “documenta 14” exhibition, held in Athens and Kassel, Germany, was Naeem Mohaiemen. In Kassel, Mr. Mohaiemen offered a terrific three-channel video, “Two Conferences and a Funeral” (2017), about Bangladesh’s shift from socialism to Islamism within the mid-1970s. In Athens, he confirmed “Tripoli Cancelled” (2017), which is at the moment on view within the exhibition “There Is No Final Man” at MoMA PS1. (Mr. Mohaiemen was additionally a part of a gaggle of artists who signed a petition to guard documenta from turning into a completely “commercial enterprise.”)
“Tripoli Cancelled” was impressed by an precise story about Mr. Mohaiemen’s father, a Bangladeshi physician who labored in Libya and in 1977 was stranded in Athens’s Ellinikon Airport (an deserted construction designed by Eero Saarinen that was just lately used to accommodate refugees) for 9 days after leaving his passport at a previous checkpoint. Mr. Mohaiemen’s fictional model of the story is magically existential — like Franz Kafka and Samuel Beckett blended with Julio Cortázar, threaded by way of the needle of colonialism and 21st-century safety states.
For “Quantity Eleven (Flaw within the Algorithm of Cosmopolitanism)” (2016), Mr. Mohaiemen digs into one other fascinating episode in 20th-century historical past: his great-uncle, the Bengali author Syed Mujtaba Ali, who wrote in help of Hitler’s Germany within the late 1930s as a approach of difficult the British Empire. Displayed as a collection of diptych pictures of his uncle’s writing, in a darkened room at PS1, the work highlights our personal culpabilities and the potential for falling on the “improper” facet of historical past. That is clearly a priority for Mr. Mohaiemen as an artist-activist. And but he aptly exhibits not simply how the non-public is at all times entwined with the political, however how historical past veers from neat linear narratives into round, concentric and even unbelievable and unimaginable patterns and designs.
By means of Jan. 21. Ulterior Gallery, 172 Lawyer Avenue, Manhattan; 917-472-7784, ulteriorgallery.com.
Yasuo Ihara was born in Osaka, Japan, and began out as an summary painter. However right here in New York, the place he arrived in 1963 and located work as a fancy dress designer, his follow took a tilt towards the conceptual. In 1971, he started making latex casts of family objects and preserving the casts in fastidiously labeled Plexiglas containers. Ihara died in 2010. Working from a 1973 picture and a typewritten record, with recommendation from the artist’s daughter Mia, the gallerist Takako Tanabe has reconstructed, for its first public showing, Ihara’s extraordinary “Rationalization 1,” which contains 68 of those stacked containers.
On their very own, the latex casts make any variety of completely different factors. The paper-white, simply recognized “CARTON OF EGGS,” almost a stand-in for its topic, is pop philosophy, whereas “DRAWING TABLE,” crumpled unrecognizably within the backside half of its field, is a tart memento mori. A yellowed and drooping masks of Hermes, a part of the separate six-box “Rationalization,” might function an indictment of the insularity of white artwork historical past, and an intricately bumpy cantaloupe as a approach of isolating an attractive texture from distracting colour.
All collectively, although, the casts represent a symphony of magical absurdity, demonstrating each the elasticity and the uselessness of our human college for selecting out objects and naming them — on this case in block capitals. (Not for nothing did Ms. Tanabe grasp Maryam Amiryani’s tiny black-and-white portray of Jorge Luis Borges within the gallery’s workplace.) However they’re additionally a soothing reminder of the world’s supple resistance to being picked aside that approach, as a result of as quickly as these separate objects are juxtaposed, they knit themselves collectively once more into some new dwelling complete. In “Rationalization 1,” it’s a successful, wistful portrait of a person who ate his fried EGGS with toasted ITALIAN BREAD and drank his COFFEE with MILK and his SCOTCH with COCA-COLA.