Thursday, November 21, 2019

Venice 2019, Laure Prouvost French Pavilion


Comparison to a Dental office because there is something so administered about Prouvost's, like being reclined slightly fetal as you are worked on, jaw agape, drilling, affects, smiling faces. A strange feeling of being digested. The same feeling as a very effective advertisement. Pressed and kneaded through tunnel again. Expelled out the end and feeling like it. A "4D film is a marketing term for an entertainment presentation system." The sensorsium, being awash in the seat of pure sensation. Like you are inside the movie. Like of course there's a queue. We require an industrial entertainment complex for the jetset. The special mention Golden lion went to the equivalent of Disney's It's a Small World boat ride, but its just Belgium.

See too: Laure Prouvost at Carlier Gebauer

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Venice 2019, Belgium Jos de Gruyter & Harald Thys Mondo Cane


Against Venetian statuary, against marble gods with triforks, JdGHT's is wantonly provincial, the unsophisticate, the stupid it is. Turns out, despite centuries of looking up at them, we don't actually resemble Greek Gods. Instead these sullen mannequins far more accurate to the people encircling it. Tourists or art-polloi are made electric by this awful mirror. We are the botched paintings of Christ. It is a cruel realization that more than the marble, we unfortunately echo these, you Chuck-E-Cheese animatronic. Turns out people are ugly. A Golden Lion to mockery as corrective.
Welcome to Belgium.

Read all posts about Jos De Gruyter and Harald Thys
Read: Jos de Gruyter and Harald Thys at Kunsthal AarhusJos De Gruyter and Harald Thys at Gavin BrownJos de Gruyter and Harald Thys at WattisJos De Gruyter and Harald Thys at MoMA PS1

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Venice 2019 Notes: Christoph Buchel

Something like a conversation, Venice:

"Something like 75 migrants died."
"No, I think it was 300, maybe more."
A third person through sipped coffee conjectured a third much higher number, which everyone, my eavesdropping included, agreed was absurd.

The United Nation's number is Google away for you and had for us group shaded in Free WiFi. But nobody wants to google a deathtoll. And we, having heard it before, carried with us some approximation we felt accurate-ish. We carry vague feelings of distinction between 75, 300 deaths, 800 deaths they label migrant. This indistinction matters, it seems it matters more than the actual number. The scales of death blurring as equivalent-ish. One-third of a September 11th.

Interesting that an artist generally dealing with installation and artifice is now trafficking this.

Monday, November 18, 2019

Venice 2019


When Venice has finally sunk and the winter beaches have washed away and we jetset can no longer virtualize space by exhausting the earth and finally have to stay put and upload to cloud for our higher desires, when there is no earth and there is only net, then we'll be forced to come up with a way to better sort our image. The primitive mass of image against this is all going away in our best attempts at preservation.

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Gerold Miller at Cassina Projects


This belongs to a genre, "Problems in painting" which we could trace through a legacy of modernism and concerns with flatness, frames, and for-art's-sake to today's endless ways to begaze your navel, painting. Weren't Stella's black paintings just navels-en-abyme. Torture in the ontologic sense.  Painting for painting's... what? How many ways can Dr. Frank reassemble the corpse and we still call it painting? I say this as someone who thinks Jo Baer is criminally underrated. It's perhaps one of those weird quirks that it cannot be just that the problems are interesting, the answers unfortunately have to be too.

Saturday, November 16, 2019


[Previously a] press release asks, "So how can we make up for the inability to touch?"

Our modern problem, our world, mediated by screens, the totality of which becomes enshrined in gallery, or touch screen glass. Ours is a world we see but don't touch, like an art museum.

And so art becomes the world's great development project inventing all the ways to surmount glass with a materiality so strong it could visually empath itself, so that we could feel through glass.

Like porn, we want to touch, want to experience sensuality. Separated by this glass both art and porn must find ways to make physical sensation a visual code passable through glass. Pornography does this by covering the body in oil, wrapping it in latex, inflating its breasts to absurdity. Art does this with goo and viscera and softness and lumps. Hypernormal stimuli.

So we get more exhibitionist materiality. Open wardrobe to expose wood, some woodgrain to counteract the glass we see everything through. This materialist becomes conflated with the authentic, the rustic.

Attention to the brown you may have noticed in stores having enveloped our packaging to stand for its green, the ecological concern signified by "brown." And "Natural" you may also have noticed has no FDA governance and can be, without recourse, stated about things like gasoline and high-fructose corn syrup, maybe steel nails.

Natural, like nature, creates a negative distinction, we are said to go out "into nature" to pretend we are distinct from it, to pretend worlds distinct from mankind. Like the trend in homes, bars, everyone hauling reclaimed wood by the tonnage deep into the city, West Elm mass producing it, in attempt to reclaim some authentic experience separate from the glass we touch all day in pocket. 

But the glass like the gallery can bring us anything, it appears on screen, in white fields, in front of you, your touch of nature, your finger grease smeared on it.

Like cabinets of curiosities collecting various exotic tokens displayed for enlightened society's pleasure, N. Dash's material deployments like swatches of touch are the anthropological remains of our dissolving physical world, distributed like catalogs of our once sensual pleasure over digital networks, "The Kunstkammer conveyed symbolically the patron's control of the world through its indoor, microscopic reproduction" but no one is that hubristic today, these are about the loss of that, mourning it, our desire to once again touch things again.

The department store catalog of naturalism we now need as the world virtualizes under fingertips; in the future there will be booths where you will pay 25 credits to touch wood, feel dirt, see a tree, watch archival footage of rain.

"deploys her fragmented gestures in the service of a greater alchemy," chipping away at the artistic monument, further granularized to finer and finer pocks and us finally all staring at noise like a church for sensitivity training - commanded to the virtue of noticing. Like if you removed all the signs from the world asserting "scenic view ahead." As if we could consider it all so. There is no thing to see, no "main thing." Just a forest and trying see every tree for it, any sufficiently complex sidewalk is indistinguishable from art.

Stripped. But, no matter how much you want it, do not touch the art. Leaving everyone with a case of erotic sexual denial.


....The rotund, biomorphic. The anthropomorphic, anthropoid, and the dripping and the glistening. The meaty and the squishy, fungal. Glass etched with goo, sprayed. Wax deformed Rodins. Primordial, high definition flesh. The dirt. Psoriasic pulchritude. Your standard innuendo; vaginal negatives. The soft and photo sensitive. The band-aid awaiting its knee. Someone farts. The misshapen; hideously deformed. The institutionally nurse-like and the gore spread across asphalt. The putrescent, the rotting inside taught PVC. The colonoscopic. Our bodies inferred, touched, spread with creams oils and ointments. The sick. It was a lie to believe in machined aluminum autonomy, bodies and minds everywhere guttered. Every sculpture today inferring the body."
Past: Mungo Thomson at Contemporary Art Gallery Vancouver

"Taking the tropes of conceptual and post-minimalist art, Thompson's boorish version replaces romantics with a cleverness, inserting pop-culture into the permutations of conceptual art. It's all almost funny. e.g.: taking the October-author-weight of concern with the index and making an indexical film about the antiquated quaintness of the Rolodex, a gallery's. or: John Cage's 4:44 rendered beautifully as symphonic chirping of crickets. [...] The list goes on and critics groan and the uninitiated feel some sort of awe at getting it, art, we get it, the easily explainable trick Mungo's greatest trick of all."