Sunday, December 31, 2017

“The Photographic I – Other Pictures” at S.M.A.K.


We scroll images of images. Our capacities for dealing, for dealing with, making sense, of them erodes as the sheer quantity of information we are met with on the eponymous daily. They flow against whatever wishes for a control to the spigot, they'll be more tomorrow. We begin to triage our incoming information; our form of relation moves from a relation of understanding to one of recognition, able to name something, our conversations formed around the little opinions we've manifested as stopgap standing in for control, CAWD.

Lucy Skaer at KW


They're just such nice things. Commodity's reproducibility, the quantity, the mass suggests its virtuality, the perfect other they all infer as individuals plucked from it, the ether of abstraction, the idea of the product. Obviously this is a lie, the commodity isn't its conception but rather the defecation of it, the bodily machined sweat object. Commodities infer virtuality. But are far more handmade than we generally think, factory sweat is wiped from every clean aluminum body. Things melt and are cast aside.  The particular begins to vanish from above, so we bejewel some, award them medals, give them titles, separate them from populations, learned like children from gameboards, how we deal with the world today.

See too: Katharina Fritsch at Walker Art CenterMathis Altmann at Freedman Fitzpatrick

Friday, December 29, 2017

Willem de Rooij at KW


Attempts to discern is handed a blue screen to infer what in "Whiteout—a selection of de Rooij’s production from the last twenty years" is happening.  This feeling we have at such attempts, of confusion, of being at a loss, is strange to us since art generally works to be so visibly, pornographically there. But it's the power of the known artist to withold, give us the promotional still as FOMO shield: that we are unable to judge but know happened and we missed out.

See too: Willem de Rooij at Le Consortium and Willem de Rooij at Arnolfini

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Petrit Halilaj at Kamel Mennour


"composed of a group of 12 school desks [...] from the Primary School “Shotë Galica” in Runik , a small town in the north of Kosovo, where Halilaj lived and studied. The artist discovered [...] while filming the demolishing of the building of the school in favour of a new and more modern one. The green surface of the desks and the wooden benches were covered with thousands of drawings, inscriptions, carvings and scribbles left by several generations of school kids. [...] reproducing and enlarging these drawings in his sculptures..."

The desire to preserve often comes with attempts to rectify, solidify, clean, put it in frames, protect it from the world with cushions and embalm it, so its nice to see the graffiti of children maintain a bit of its chicken scratch projected like leaded ghosts on walls. There's no desire to clean it up, Halijaj is like a povera artist on roids even amidst a sea of it in contemporary art, the sentimentality balanced with material mysticism bearing the weight of history in all its unkempt detritus, so the sky transmits Eminem.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Ahmet Öğüt and Goshka Macuga at Witte de With

(ep. 1, ep. 2)

Disimages humor wasn't so much in its mockery of stock photography - they swore they weren't - but in making fun of artists: Dis, with an early understanding the growing need for artists to function as their own producers of stock-like images in an increasing pressure for artist's to make a striking singular image, mocked the artistic anxiety for image production that could handle anonymized displacement in the network, speak for itself images sturdy enough for dissemination in image aggregators like CAD, VVork and all those other tumblrs exploding. Both stock images and the artistic contain similar relationship of specificity and anonymousness, like promotional stills they allow a viewer to infer a few specific traits ("multicultural office", "Gallery sculpture") at the same time broad, blank enough to accommodate a viewer's own interpretations. Both stock images and many art images are as plain as they are inscrutable. An image like a handshake of the artist.

see too: Sherrie Levine at David Zwirner

Jenny Holzer at Blenheim Palace


The struggle to find new ways to flaunt text, to sediment it as a thing, transactable. at least instagrammable. Holzer's mimicking the advertorial strategy, of programmatic infiltration into, its ability to evolve new forms of advertising, ways to address you. "The main focus of her work is the delivery of words and ideas in public spaces." And Holzer has for years developed a rainbow of means to do so blinking. The recent resurgence along with Kruger as a voice and means for political activism - which, activism understandably, needs little in the way of grey area - seem odd.  Holzer truisms had seemed almost koan like in their ability to use a sentence as a slogan to defeat sense. A protest sign must almost violently means what it means. It never really felt as though we were supposed to believe in what the truisms were saying, their rapid fire semantic blugeon and mass strategies seemed to exist as a question of how we were left to interpret something so explicit already telling us something. Now it seems in our political moment we are asked to maybe ask and believe in their bludgeon. Or maybe we've just been conditioned to not trust any text in public.

See too: Matt Keegan, Kay Rosen at Grazer Kunstverein

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Nolan Simon at What Pipeline


Whoa when was the last time you saw detail shots in painting documentation? Pointing at the paint itself seems to come with Simon's slow move towards seriousifcation, way long ago Simon used to make funny paintings, mentioning 4chan even, the subject matter occasionally Tansey-esque. Comedy which seems to been have shored up to the much more artworldly common form, that quiet awkwardness, that flat footed, punchline free form of humor of like Nauman, say, and you could make an argument Simon's now aren't even actually comical at all, that the traditional scumble technique on view would maybe even point to them being anti-funny since technique generally isn't associated with humor (as if comedians weren't putting hours into craft) comedy is supposed to appear effortless and these appear - and with detail are asked to be noticed as - labored. Jokes aren't really prone to art. A joke is spent and exhausted. So an artwork with its requisite implicit promise of eternalness can't really make a joke without implying that it too will one day be depleted. Prince's real joke is that the paintings keep telling the same joke for years and years stupidly.  Maybe it's with more time that the joke can still survive being even more slight, maybe the joke is painting flowers at all, maybe it's painting them with conviction, a real slapstick subject for contemporary art.

Friday, December 22, 2017

Lewis Stein at Essex Street


"LS: We become much more conscious of our movement through space, and the things exerting force on us. I took a “primitive” art class at Berkeley and the takeaway was that the world was alive for those people. That is what I wanted for our modern world—to emphasize how we can make it alive for ourselves."

Some made nearly half a century ago, Stein an obvious precursor to today where interest in cultural artifactification  and art space's white light used as anthropological study become primary means of a number of trends. The world is alive and humming with the energies that conceived an object as well the current emptiness inferring the ghosts that will inhabit it.  Darwin, looking at a flower, was able to draw unseen the moth that would eat from it.  A door handle infers a maker and user, and art is the Fried-ian stage that plays it. The animism pervading art is the prickling of this ghost moth-user.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Jim Shaw at Metro Pictures


A friend once commented that, against Freud, there was nothing worse than having someone telling you their dreams, they could say literally anything, conjure or erase any detail, that the dream only mattered if you invested enough to interpret its event in the psyche of the dreamer, see the shark was actually the subconscious manifestation of the girlfriend. And trust the honesty of their manifestation enough to let slip some detail telling. A lot of work for occasional reward. The analysand preconceives the analysis coming, meaty burger lady mystery.

See too:  Jim Shaw at Metro Pictures

Wednesday, December 20, 2017


(NADA, Basel)

CAD posted over a thousand images today. While today was a special one, for the second year in a row no longer selecting the choice bits but publishing the full-nude of NADA and Basel, it presents CAD's crossroad in deciding between art documentation's curatorial highlighter or mass storage locker. Should CAD collect them all or just the right stuff. Miami has its limits, the full thing can be consumed, perhaps even be sorted through to find yourself, or us, but should our feed enlarge, put us at the limits of our stomachs produce the indigestion of our fracturing guts at just so much: taste superseded by amount, the tastemaker chef no longer matters in a trough, and we'd have to remove our lips glued to their hose and start our own sampling systems at the deluge. What is more profitable, feeding with the mass or attempting selection for high-end. Eventually the curator can't also represent the panopticon.

Correction: CAD didn't actually post the entirety of every booth, it appears some booths were selectively documented, for instance What Pipeline's booth (which doesn't have a link oddly) only had Quintessa Matranga work documented.

See too: CAD

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Barbara Kruger at Sprüth Magers


Words are cruel, advertising is crueler, deploying statements as an injection like bludgeon. Words like bat on the aluminum of your skull, recognition, legibility. Advertising takes advantage of your ability to see, to read, of human's innate need to recognize the information of your surroundings, so put words bigly around and watch people look and read without thinking, the delivered words already standing inside your head, whacking away at sense. Kruger's popularity in the Supreme irony of advertising is the desire to castigate its belittling skull-whack by owning it, approving it yourself, asking for it, taking the poison of alcohol on the daily to numb the feeling.

Monday, December 18, 2017

Adrián Villar Rojas at MOCA Geffen


Enacting the post-apocalypse as a theater in the gallery of art has become tiresome like all those eco-disaster films, well trod, belittling, and a cudgel to the culture that gave it the cudgel. So many "post-humanist" practices enact on the culture the disaster they forewarn, how many fantasies of disasters until we are just living in a disaster. Like the high-end fridges embalming their putrescent content, disaster films produce their wastelands with hi-expense CGI,  the paradox of fantasy, getting your cake and seeing it destroyed too, a symptom perhaps of watching those with so much cake that has been built upon the ruination of worlds, artists too want to ruin something and have it be forever preserved, another thing in a vitrine.

see too: Ajay Kurian at Rowhouse ProjectMathis Altmann at Halle für Kunst LüneburgChadwick Rantanen at SecessionKahlil Robert Irving at Callicoon Fine ArtsMelvin Edwards at Daniel Buchholz,  “May the Bridges I Burn Light the Way” at STANDARD (OSLO)Nancy Lupo at Kristina Kite & Yuji Agematsu at Miguel AbreuDylan Spaysky at Clifton Benevento,Tris Vonna-Michell at Jan MotMatthew Zivich at What Pipeline“Sylvanian Families Biennial 2017” at XYZ collectiveMaggie Lee at Real Fine ArtsBrian Griffiths at Vilma GoldGina Folly at Ermes-Ermes“Flat Neighbors” at Rachel UffnerHans-Christian Lotz at Christian Andersen,Yuji Agematsu at Artspeak“RR ZZ” at Gluck50Yuji Agematsu at Real Fine ArtsMathis Altmann at Freedman Fitzpatrick AltmannOlga Balema at Croy NielsenDavid Douard at Johan BerggrenNancy Lupo at WallspaceKatja Novitskova at Kunsthalle LissabonAnicka Yi at Cleveland Museum of Art, Transformer StationFlorian Germann at Gregor StaigerTimur Si-Qin at Carl KostyálBen Schumacher at Musee d’art contemporain de LyonAnna Uddenberg and Nicolas Ceccaldi at MEGA Foundation Pamela Rosenkranz at Karma International“Being Thing” at Centre International d’Arte et du Paysage & Treignac ProjetMichael E. Smith at Sculpture Center

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Richard Aldrich at Adrian Rosenfeld


"his ever-accumulating practice."  

Anyone spending any significant time in struggling art students' studios would recognize these experimental searchings, objects-as-attempts, considered less for what they are than the potential in an artistic career, (i.e. it's not contemporarily gleaming right now but it could be polished later if I chose this object-as-trajectory as my career,) the object as long term possibility. It was Aldrich's decision to accumulate rather than throw the fits, recognizing their stupid interest as potentials, each a tangential to the great whale of capital P Painting. Because there's an artist somewhere that does this full-time, which we were all trying to avoid such jobs.  Aldrich's attempts at personally expanding the field of painting attend their comedy-almost by feeling so part-time. Because surely there is actually a fool doing this full time.

See too: Richard Aldrich at Gladstone Gallery

Friday, December 15, 2017

Past: Karla Black

"Despite the inanity of the moniker, soft sculpture probably matters in its expression of a development in how we best see ourselves represented, and the materiality ever since still of course representative of us, of our our world as we see it, the softest garbage in the wind."

link: Karla Black at Museum Dhondt-Dhaenens
link: Karla Black at Raffaella Cortese
link: Karla Black at Raffaella Cortese

Alexandra Bircken at Le Crédac & BQ

(Le CrédacBQ)

"Double entendre of object like innuendo complicating the minimalist mantra of what you see is what you see, because what you see is sometimes sexually confusing, leather seats in car beginning to look like the lap of a tanned, taught, naked man."

And like many today Bircken finds ways to make the body appear through its latent expressions in commodic forms that conform in packages for it, the body. The majority of the objects we interact with are deformed to our bodies, are created in our image, wraps for us, and our absence makes them appear as ghosts, apparition in objects, which float like innuendos among polite society, tenuous, unmentionable which Bircken's digging at finding ways to all but place the words on our tongue: the body, the butthole, the flesh, the donger like thing you handle every day.

The body too:Erwin Wurm at Kunstmuseum WolfsburgOlga Balema at High ArtOlga Balema at High Art (2), Nairy Baghramian at Museo TamayoRon Nagle at Modern Art"Being Thing” at Centre International d’Arte et du Paysage & Treignac ProjetKatja Novitskova at Kunsthalle LissabonNancy Lupo at 1857,  Torbjørn Rødland at Kunsthall StavangerMartín Soto Climent at Proyectos MonclovaRoger Hiorns at Annet Gelink

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

“Hecate” at Various Small Fires


Of course art's a witchcraft, disproved by the sciences, elucidated by sociology and psychology, in which a practice's material insistence affects a viewer magically: think tarot, images drawn and illuminated shine to bounce around in your head to alight some new substance inside, like any painting. The further you believe in the drawing the more deeply it affects. A potion for wealth eventually brings it through stubborn physical existence on your kitchen counter to remind you that's what you value, seek. Any object's aboutness, its meaning, it tautologically enacts like a string tied around your finger: the string doesn't necessarily intrinsically symbolize "pick up eggs;" its meaning is conjured by the reminded who tied it. Objects are imbued with meaning, even snakes humans are not primed to fear but primed to develop some emotional response to, blank slates all. Like art the trick is getting anyone to believe it enough to keep it in their home, tie it to their being.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Martin Soto Climent at Atlantis


The gesture given frame, cradle for its image, able to be sent, transacted. The clear delineation of artistic parameters allow fungibility. Soto Climent's sensitives haven't always been so packaged. The packaging lends a sentimentality, a hope for stasis, permanence, removed from the chaotic world into an order, like butterflies pinned to boards, like a new gallery seemingly without website finding itself well represented on white backdrops.

See too: Martín Soto Climent at Proyectos Monclova

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Gilbert “Magu” Luján at University Art Galleries, UC Irvine


The prototype produces a form to be extrapolated into a production, an object purchased and used, the sediment of which accretes a reality, our reality, the ubiquity of objects that littering our day and the world; the art object prototypes something similar but different. The mass produced car must appeal to millions, but as the product moves further into niche recesses of impossibly improbably decisions and the audience approaches one we begin to see less a car and more an accumulation of decisions which fracture common sense, the subject of what created it, the artist.

See too: Robert Grosvenor at KarmaJonas Wood at David Kordansky

Friday, December 8, 2017

Caroline Mesquita at T293


The PR mentions Giger for whom the mechanistic and biomorphic found waypoint in the skeleton, the complex curvature of the arthropod's organic exo-shell, the crabs and muscle cars who share the PVC fetishist's interest in shiny bulges; it wasn't hard a move to the erotic. And like the Iron Giant for beyond parental guidance suggested, we can anthropomorphize steel so long as it reflects our own curvature: what looks like a wormy finger in one starts to look in another like a butthole. Metal is as malleable as you want it to be, can conform your desire, and thus have no issue identifying our own corporeality with metal. It's when we go on T293's website and look at the additional photos there and realize the butt's hole contains a jagged and unformed hangnail like a fishhook that we reject its allure.

See too: Roger Hiorns at Annet GelinkRoger Hiorns at ELI Beamlines Center,

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

John Baldessari at Sprüth Magers


The text's irrelation performs the poetic fissure lamely, mechanically, i.e. Baldessari's engineered breakage of logical closure, conclusion. The space we rush to fill with guesses, the INTERPRETATION of art, that interminable precursor to MEANING. The poetic is the process for staging these interpretive fissures, founts for guessing, which Baldessari's plain creation of feels like a corpse made to dance. That dullness feels a point.

Also these look a lot like Vern Blosum at Kunsthalle Bern and see too: John Baldessari at Marian Goodman

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Mathew Cerletty, Julia Rommel at STANDARD (OSLO)


Boring at two ends of the value spectrum for painting today, meaning and object. At one end the object is valuable as a cultural emblem, painting, of historical accreditation, of a history of painting, and so Rommel makes the object structurally flaunt itself, give paint a stage upon which to display itself, paint, stripped and naked before us, and at the other end Cerletty's use of painting's cultural valuation for meaning turned into a puzzle game of clue boards of symbolist rubik's-cubeification, bright figures twisted and turned for you to puzzle over, man's search for meaning gamified on the board of painting.

See too: Mathew Cerletty at Office BaroqueJulia Rommel at Overduin & Co.

The plane shifts once again, the painting inhabits two views, the window and god's eye, painting looks down upon its subject rendered as it wants.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Jessica Vaughn at Martos


It is a, perhaps acknowledged, strange way to document the object in such a way as no one will ever view it. These lay flat on the floor, mutating into parallelograms in perspective from your walk around them, yet the camera adopts god's eye view.  Exchanging full information to replace the object's actual experience. This is what you put out into the world to describe the object, not documenting the experience but a diagram for the object. As though with enough information we can we can reassemble the experience at home. This is a trend in art documentation, for brighter shadowless lighting, for total documentation, which like the pornographic adopts total visibility to replace the experience of flesh. Cannot be overstated enough as it is analogous to a shift in our culture itself: abstractions can be used to stand in for experience, decisions made entirely on abstractions, on data. We talk of enumerations of populations with statistical variances, we talk of clouds of points that cannot be individuate but inferred. Like your phone predicting your location, with enough information we can reconstitute experience. So when documentation makes a choice to present images which choose maximum-information (gods eye, not yours) over the camera as stand in for your head, it’s a choice that seems the sediment culture's thirst for raw information.

But then they also speak of our growing preponderance for trash: Chadwick Rantanen at SecessionKahlil Robert Irving at Callicoon Fine ArtsMelvin Edwards at Daniel Buchholz,  “May the Bridges I Burn Light the Way” at STANDARD (OSLO)Nancy Lupo at Kristina Kite & Yuji Agematsu at Miguel AbreuDylan Spaysky at Clifton Benevento,

Sunday, December 3, 2017

“In Vitro” at Bodega


This is an interesting exhibition documentation choice: the light from the street overpowers the gallery's, which, generally, we avoid. The gallery's lighting should be all encompasing, powerful, a scour to impurities. That this exhibition takes as its theme the shop window makes the reversal make sense, the gallery becomes a sort of inverse shop window itself. Which it always was. The fishtank of the street. But it's an interesting way of framing object which take the commodic display as their penchant. The Musee d'Orsay lights paintings with square spots fit to the paintings to make them appear as if the paintings themselves emit the light. It's important to know from where your light come.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Josephine Halvorson at Sikkema Jenkins


The fourth wall's plane, the painting, that's always foreboding in Halvorsen's is literalized here in the NO TRESPASSING sign which, as the PR mentions, "the painting metaphorically extends the boundary line" i.e for all representational painting's ostensible window-into-ness it's still a wall we're racking our brains bashing our heads against. Mark Tansey's "A Short History of Modernist painting" comes to mind, or taking the measure of Plimack Mangold, the point being this will never not be fun, placing the sticker on the glass to make the window itself visible. It's difficult to see the painting for its frame, the image as its pixels, the words as its collection of letterforms, the painting is the barrier, making a better door than a window as it were, check out my paint.  Paintings aren't culturally valued for their ability to represent, we have images to do that for us, but a signifiers of "painting" - that most symbolically loaded cultural form - and so its important to highlight your brushstrokes, your smears, the act of making it. Gerhard Richter's dragged abstractions sell for way more than the illusions.