Josef Strau at Greene Naftali review in Manhattan Art Review, 2022
Josef Strau, Installation view, Ulysses, Greene Naftali, New York, 2022
For his sixth solo exhibition at Greene Naftali, Josef Strau presents a new group of tin and wire works on canvas—approximations of paintings, as the artist describes them. Made from thin sheets of metal plied into ridges and furrows and soldered into place, the works’ varied textures and visible fastenings assert their own topography. Strau heightens that link to landscape through a horizontal orientation: splayed out like a map, each painting evokes other kinds of lateral movement, like daily circuits through the city. An artist-writer who typically pairs his visual practice with printed texts, here Strau’s narrative accompaniment has been condensed to the exhibition’s one-word title, Ulysses. Detaching the proper name from its specific import to mythology and modernist literature, the artist recasts it instead as an attempt to dispel the recurrence of his individual Ulyssesness.