Thursday, September 17, 2020

Contemporary Art Writing Quarterly

In case you’d like to spend a while absorbed in anything other than listless documentation of art, you might like to visit Contemporary Art Writing Quarterly, where we publish deeper, uh, "expanses" on art. Pick your essay below:

Past: David Lieske

"Lieske was of the first of the cargo cults reassembling the totems of meaning in the desert of it, picking detritus. The issue was resolved not by necessarily by making objects mean again - which they couldn't - it's hard to make an empty bottle mean in arid land - but by situating objects so that they connoted meaning despite whatever inscrutable blankness. Like hieroglyphs. What was important was exuding the affect of meaning, regardless of whether there was any and that it didn't matter anyway was what we were all beginning to pick up on and what the commercial world had known for decades (that you can create "meaning" at will with attitude, aura) which while Lieske pondering whether this was a problem was suddenly flooded and drown by more ephebic artists already having decided for him it wasn't and now this is the water we live in, a flooded terrain of objects imbued, over-saturated "meaning."

"If so much art looks like Broodthaers today, it is because Broodthaers was of the first invested in the arrangements of display as a credence to meaning, institutional or otherwise."

"An ambivalence at the heart of much of art today displayed as presentations of objects left to the viewer with a "deal with it" coolness, figurative sunglasses donned."

Click to read full: David Lieske at MUMOKDavid Lieske at Lovaas Projects

Past: Klara Liden

"At best Liden's "examinations of the anxiety of urban space" demonstrates the fraughtness on which society rests: flippantly publishing the keys to city, (e.g. bolt cutters and flashlight); implicit threat of artist's desublimating their profession bashing a bicycle to death (see too: real violence); or the small smile of this exhibition's theft of things that delineate private property (i.e. stealing the things that make private property possible). Bristling the small hairs separating us from chaos. Feel the rush of anarchism from the safety of the institution...""At worst wonder whether the rich whose wealth rely on this power that Liden ostensibly undermines don't feel some sort of safety in the irony of owning these"

 Klara Liden at Reena Spaulings (1)Klara Liden at Reena Spaulings (2)Klara Liden and Karl Holmqvist at Kunstverein BraunschweigKlara Lidén, Alicia Frankovich at Kurator

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Lynne Cohen at Jacky Strenz


The dryness of black and white documentary photography becomes a deadpan. Something you can't quite call comedy. But might. That same small twist of sense. Sometimes the world doesn't acquiesce to staid photographic capture; sometimes the world seems to sort of fight back. Seems too absurd for its clinical silver. Cohen seems to seek out these moments.
Past: Jochen Lempert

"Most of 'planet earth' didn't look like Planet Earth, most of the world burns. [...] the "documentary" had increasingly become escapist television. The "reality TV" that is a fantasy of a world that isn't on the edge, that still safely harbors flora, breath, life, isn't choking. Securing some fantastical turf for the "natural" we ostracize to parks and behind 4k glass."

"So maybe Lempert's moribund nostalgia is actually a sci-fi, of our present from the future, as it wrinkles and curls and blows out. Tragedy."

"Grain clinging like dust to paper; eyelashes etched into the silver [...] The overt romance balanced not so much by an attachment to science, but just the basic desire to show: 'Trained as a Biologist' [...] a sort of phenomenological augment [...] that like Audubon who upset the world of avian illustration by depicting accurate birds in naturalistic motion [...] it was realized you can learn two things about the world at once."

Read full: Jochen Lempert at Contemporary Art CentreJochen Lempert at Between Bridges

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Alex Bag, Jason Yates at von ammon co


What should we call this? Paul McCarthy to Alex Bag to today's schiz-u-tainment? Now militarized Teletubbies and Hollis Frampton with Hollywood soundtracks, the animistic televisual resurrections. The artiste tonally dissonant entertainments, the slapstick affect, the emotive we can turn on and off like rain. What is this? Was this. Who is writing the big thing about this? What have we made of this? Reassess, take stock, congeal something....

See too: Venice vs TriennialAndrew Norman Wilson at FuturaRachel Rose at High Art, Ed Atkins at Serpentine, Steve Reinke at Isabella Bortolozzi, Lynn Hershman Leeson at Vilma Gold, Jordan Wolfson at David Zwirner, Shana Moulton at Kunsthaus Glarus,

Past: Tomoo Gokita at Taka Ishii

You can do incredible violence with a painting, with a stroke you can mutilate. The horror film and the painter implement similar meat. [...] Watch a body be melted, a face cleaved. A flower erupts a deformity or berries, it's difficult to tell, [...] a painting's wayward stroke contains an ambiguity that is interpretable [...]

Monday, September 14, 2020

Autumn Ramsey at Crèvecoeur


In that the decorative itself becomes an object. It's not the shimmer to a space, but the sculpted out affect. You're not looking at a lion, you're looking at a hallucination carved.

See too: Autumn Ramsey at CrèvecoeurAutumn Ramsey at Park ViewAutumn Ramsey at Night Club

Past: Richard Aldrich

"Aldrich's befuddlement of the terms and conditions of paintings makes for obtuse, tangential starts digressing from those painting histories generally acceptable as beginnings. If the paintings seem facetious or frivolous it is because Aldrich doesn't necessarily venerate the histories that are painting cannon, and so which attaching almonds to a painting is not only a thing to do but becomes naturalized as a term of painting - possibly - as all the talk of flatness once was...

"Because surely there is actually a fool doing this full time."
Past: Autumn Ramsey

"decorative embellishments adorning the subject like Christmas tree, a structure for the hanging of means, that while Moreau's wreaths of ornamental doodadery shimmer with objects and riches, Ramsey's warble with the various means of representing those objects, the paint itself. ... an object that has more or less lost its meaning to act the tradition itself, history painting glitz."

"lovely and sensuous cat butt"

Read full: Autumn Ramsey at CrèvecoeurAutumn Ramsey at Park View, Autumn Ramsey at Night Club

Sunday, September 13, 2020

Group Show at FUTURA


Looking forward to more of this type of documentation. Like the archer, both sculptures posit a space that is shot through, projected, an external world that overlays our own.

Friday, September 11, 2020

Past: Christine Wang at Nagel Draxler Kabinett

"... dripping disgust with an almost self-harm cruelty is also an earnestness in moral dubiety. What do these things mean, is of course the question every painting asks, these just do a lot more explicitly, ambiguously. Do I want a threesome with the Winklvii? Wouldn't it be nice to be rich, to have made it to the moon on Bitcoin? Is my desire for the Winklvii merely a symptom, hoping for some relief from anxiety of capitalist precarity, their big arms? The questions come embedded in the image. The world, surely, is fucked. The newspaper is a surrealist device, atrocity competing with diamond ads. Against the majority of juxtapositional surrealists operating today who find themselves content in jumbling signs for subconscious irruption, these hand you the pile of garbage and ask you to find help in untangling it."

See: Christine Wang at Nagel Draxler Kabinett

Rirkrit Tiravanija at Chantal Crousel


Those fucking potted palms. What a trope - since at least Broodthaers(?)... the same species even. Plants ironize the space of art, their temporality (as decoration and life) clashing with our notions of art's eternality. "Life is short, and art long." Here is the art is short. Requires watering. Dies after exhibition. Broodthaers even called his installations "decors" a primordial institutional critique, the system itself up for question, that has now become a stand-in, a symbol, invoking critique. "If so much art looks like Broodthaers today, it is because Broodthaers was of the first invested in the arrangements of display as a credence to meaning, institutional or otherwise."
Then some poetics crusted into marble. On art rags. It's the art's metadata that's important here, the halo. The signals of "critique" are just polish for that halo.

See too: David Hartt at Graham Foundation, David Lieske

Thursday, September 10, 2020

Yona Lee at Fine Arts, Sydney


You can attach anything to anything today. A subway pole becomes a mop, runs plumbing, becomes lamp, attaches a table for when we're all stuck underground. The signs get slippery, confused (the thin difference between a barrier pole or a handrail.) This capitalist surrealism that seems inherent to our age - the general symbolic orders melt to some other demand. Efficiency that we laud capitalism for, the invisible hand pressing everything into everything else, together, the same.

See too: Nina Beier at Metro Pictures“May the Bridges I Burn Light the Way” at STANDARD (OSLO)

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Past: Veit Laurent Kurz at Kunstverein Nürnberg

".. anachronistic period aesthetics misremembered, like retrofuturism, or steampunk. Call this look post-apocalypse primeval. Cosplay nostalgia for time that was not. Steampunk clinging to the Cartesian, mechanistic, [a nostalgia] comforting against the opacity of neoliberal globalism, market algorithms, and subprime CDOs that no one understood until collapse. Then it made sense that [Star Wars] and Apple commercials began setting their products in lush green forests, envisioning the technology so advanced it appeared natural, magic, indistinguishable; today: Artisanal baguettes and iPhones."

Read: Veit Laurent Kurz at Kunstverein Nürnberg

Jannis Marwitz at Lucas Hirsch


I suppose the thing that keeps Bosch from being the first surrealist is his ostensible belief in some kind of truth to his images, biblical authority. But which the surrealists too -  under a new bible, manifesto - also led a new moralizing order. Maybe you can't paint humanoids and skulls without some small redistribution of sense. Which is why Tarot cards are such powerful meaning creation devices - humans are apophenic machines - seeing sense where there may be none, they create it for themselves. Art comes to resemble it.

See too: Caitlin Keogh at Bortolami

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

David Ostrowski at Jir Sandel


Preferring not to, inhabiting the other, the parasite, etc, etc. In 1994 Heimo Zobernig was asked to make a design for the dust skrim covering the Generali Foundation's facade during renovations. He painted the Foundation's logo as large as would fit in the wrong colors and pretty poorly. Refusing the responsibility of the creative act, giving in to corporate signs - I find the critique is in not doing what art was supposed to, soften the facade with "design" but instead merely repainting its logo forcing an ugly re-exposure - no facade at all. Anyway that was decades ago and here we are again.

Past: David Ostrowski at Sundogs

Monday, September 7, 2020

Noel W. Anderson at JDJ


"...made entirely from cotton pulp, and the images on the surface of the paper are made by pressing wet paper pulp of various colors through mesh screens..."
We so badly want images to become real, want history to have some weight, a tangible reality against our current realm so beholden to a manipulation rendering the world virtual - things become their assets; people become populations; and us wanting to hold something. Art must make its things physical to trade while the world attempts the opposite, take it out of our hands and I'm not sure these two processes are separate but it sure feels better to have something rather than the opposite.

Sunday, September 6, 2020

"... Reinke's videos are a methodical stress-testing of our emotional capacities through tonal short-circuiting. It's funner than it sounds submitting to psychological bondage. ... calming paternal voice leads through footage and images with jarring music, unexplained scenes, and philosophical manhandling as a bad-trip Nature film fritzing our relationship to its input, creating a helplessness at the hands of the torturer who remains in control of the sensory input.

"Desensitization that makes one impressionable to suggestion, coercion and inculcation. It's an interesting metonym for the suggestive function in the affectual-coercion of wider culture ...the socialization and replication of a normative culture we find inside us daily that Reinke seems firm in his odds against. When Reinke, in 'The Genital is superfluous,' says of the drunk shirtless men wrestling wetly on formica flooring that they 'want to go back to the placental state' it's been so pummeling getting there you submit to it, believe him."

Saturday, September 5, 2020

Pedro Reyes at Museum Tinguely


Castrated and made to sing. Art never feels worse than in trying to poeticize a politics - its process of symbolization more important than its musically flat final existence. Conceptual art might actually be the process of creating myth. The objects are manufactured merely to gather the public around.

See too: Dane Mitchell at MossmanDana Hoey at Petzel
Past: Allan McCollum

"McCollum's brute force attack on "creativity," ironizing uniqueness with its interminable variation, like 'try and stand out in this crowd kid,' pulling out the cornerstones of value with machine made uniqueness, the scary "algorithm," and handcrafted replaced with stand-ins, surrogates, and stage props. Making uniqueness bland. How cruel. Showing on the doll where the creativity hurt him. It all ends in death. Did you think your bones were unique. etc."

"...without rarity in their uniqueness, but a collector’s majority stake, hoarding wealth like diamonds, irradiating gold, that old Dr.No trick, a governed population, produces power. "

"A cold humanism, depressing individuality. The endgame summated in the center of far sides's black/white sea innumerate, an individual, a penguin, singing, “I gotta be me, Oh I just gotta be me.”

Read full: Allan McCollum at Mary Boone, Allan McCollum at PetzelAllan McCollum at Thomas Schulte

Friday, September 4, 2020


"Henrot's object incongruence: material tension whose fault lines irrupt laughter. It's a comedy, acting sculpturally stupid, where material images don't add up... stretches sculptural sense like a cartoon mouse avoiding the axe, inducing cackles in children, material truth replaced with a clown. Who represents us today."

"the viewer as a receiver, not cryptographer presented an object-code for contemplation. An "object" instead active toward the viewer as receiver, and a for once happiness to pacify audience that so much art wished to shake 'awake.'
"Nolan's Inception is the comic concrete (slapstick) version, a parable of the Hollywood model lulling viewer's into the theater's dream state, inserted with the various registries and synaptic firings of plot, awaking from a Hollywood feeling having somehow participated in it.  Entertainment the long thin wire pushed deep past cortex and pulsing.
"Anyway this entertainment has something to do with Henrot, the surface means, and the telephones delivering comic haywire monologues into a viewers ear, the carousel, the overabundance of registry..."

read full: Camille Henrot at Kunsthalle WienCamille Henrot at Metro Pictures,

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Elizabeth Peyton at UCCA Center for Contemporary Art


The joy of an Elizabeth Peyton painting is its mess, the disservice done to her pictured the glee in leaving it wrong, sick.  They weren't so much "toggling between vapidity and sophistication" as realizing vapidity was sophistication: vampire, tuberculoid. People wanted "regal," men with red lips and blue blood. A sickness that was their allure. The beautiful young men are already a putty, a generic interchangeability of any of the men on The Bachelorette, and Peyton's just added apple cheeks, crimson lips, death, paint as a smear of affection on hollow containers.

See too: Sam McKinniss at JTT, "Watermelon Theory"

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Yan Xinyue at Capsule Shanghai


Because our paintings should sweat - with heat we desire from them, from us, to condense on glass. So now there is proof of it, or at least we get to imagine it. The heat.
Past: Cosima von Bonin

"...having attempted and failed to peel the stubborn adhesive from the surface, [the critics] claim, "ah look how stuck together they are!" And admittedly von Bonin's adherence to the commodity - despite every critical attempt to remove it from - is sticky stuff, and eventually one wonders if there is a layer at all, or merely a patch drawn to appear such. And the whole critical art world grouped around attempting to pick quarters painted on the palatial shopping mall floors while above their bent necks the objects transact. The critical establishment hallucinate quarters because they are needed to eat."

"The commodity is the form we now think in, and these are the "good" commodities."

"but you are not any longer buying the sponge for its color, you're buying it for what it can accomplish in your home."

Read full:  Cosima von Bonin at Marianne BoeskyCosima von Bonin at House of Gaga & Magasin III JaffaCosima von Bonin at Friedrich Petzel

Monday, August 31, 2020

Pedro Wirz at Marc Selwyn


Souvenirs of our demise!

See too: Pedro Wirz at LongtangCooper Jacoby at Freedman Fitzpatrick

August Review Index 2020

Puppies Puppies (Jade Kuriki Olivo) at Balice Hertling
Torey Thornton at Moran Bondaroff
Maren Hassinger at Tiwani Contemporary
Guan Xiao at Antenna Space
Brandon Ndife, Diane Severin Nguyen at Bureau
Solange Pessoa at Mendes Wood DM
Juliana Huxtable at Reena Spaulings
Sandra Mujinga at Kunstverein Hannover
Tishan Hsu at Hammer Museum
Bri Williams at Queer Thoughts
An-My Lê at Marian Goodman
Hadi Fallahpisheh at CENTRAL FINE
Ser Serpas at Karma International
Simone Leigh at David Kordansky
Past: Pedro Wirz

"We all fear for lumps inside us, unchecked growth, a malignancy, 'matter out of place,' 'the contaminated diversities that proliferate in the dump.' Fear of toxins, poisons, heavy metal build-up, of heavy concentrations of micro-plastics in the great Pacific beverage, in parts per million, in tumors, cysts, bio-cucumlative, they add up in sediments in your blood, fat, balls, monuments, these fears into nervous objects, art."

Pedro Wirz at Longtang

Sunday, August 30, 2020

Tetsumi Kudo at Louisiana Museum of Modern Art


Before CAD the largest vault of images were catalogs, expensive, locked in coastal university libraries. Acquiring them you would get maybe one good image of an installation and a lecture, essay. This is how we learned about art. The "contemporary" you had walk to see. Sending it around meant describing it to friends. What was going on in Zurich was a faint smattering of bad images on a website like steam engines. Then, around the cusp of the 2010s, suddenly enough everything changed. The most ephebic artist's exhibitions were each documented in 40+ crisp images in pornographic lighting that could be sent instantly, everywhere. And in the center, in the palm of your hand, the campfire CAD. I have no hard statistics about actual numbers in the increase in documentation but the difference is total. There are more images of many 30 year old artists exhibitions circulating than Bruce Nauman's entire career. There is a Before CAD and an After Daily in this history of art. The deluge of contemporary images, simply by mere quantity, threatens an occlusion. Bruce Nauman or Eva Hesse is safe, but the early-career 90s artist might be completely lost. Early/Pruitt, or Art Club 2000, for ones we actually remember.

The Artworld has always been attempting "rediscovery."How many times is Kudo himself going to be "rediscovered." But the term seems more loaded now, like pulling things out of an oblivion. It had been that books rested on shelves for long terms next to each other, discovery was there, all lined up right next each other. But the attention economy changes the shelves' equalizing nature into a quicksand in which viewing must be continually renewed, pulled up into the top of the feed, refreshed at the top of the page, requiring a publicity, an action, a press. The ideology of the institutional acquisition gets replaced with the ideology of attention. "Rediscovery" might not be a limited action on historical subjects but the act that we are now engaging with constantly, eternally, daily, asking to be seen.

This was all originally to say thanks to the Louisiana Museum for putting the full catalog online, and to CAD for hosting it. Though PDFs are brutally cumbersome, they feel more sane than the disenfranchised images that circulate online. Hopefully someday the artworld invents something better.

Friday, August 28, 2020

AR: Simone Leigh at David Kordansky

Click here to read

Originally Posted: June 22nd, 2020

Note: This entry is part of August Review, our annual look back at this season’s key exhibitions. For more information, see the announcement here.

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

AR: Hadi Fallahpisheh at CENTRAL FINE

Click here to read

Originally Posted: February 11th, 2020

Note: This entry is part of August Review, our annual look back at this season’s key exhibitions. For more information, see the announcement here.

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Jochen Lempert at Contemporary Art Centre


When the new Planet Earth (II) came out there was a critique that the tiny slivers of the planet in exquisite 4k and presented on 70 ft screens made those tiny glimpses appear larger than they were. Most of "planet earth" didn't look like that, that most of the world burns. They were right, the "documentary" had increasingly become escapist television. The "reality TV" that is a fantasy of a world that isn't on the edge, that still safely harbors flora, breath, life, isn't choking. Securing some fantastical turf for the "natural" we ostracize to parks and behind 4k glass.
So maybe Lempert's moribund nostalgia is actually a sci-fi, of our present from the future, as it wrinkles and curls and blows out. Tragedy.

See too: Jochen Lempert at Between Bridges

AR: An-My Lê at Marian Goodman

Click here to read

Originally Posted: February 17th, 2020

Note: This entry is part of August Review, our annual look back at this season’s key exhibitions. For more information, see the announcement here.

Monday, August 24, 2020

Scott Benzel at Bel Ami


Art's shared aspects with games manifested in tableaus. Think 3 Standard Stoppages: the arbitrary and the meaningful and the arbitrary-made-meaningful. This with all sorts of correlations to art. On Kawara's One Million Years versus here's dice roll over a Million Random Digits. You could write a paper on both books' similarities and differences . Thus art becomes the casino of picking digits, making meaning, manufacturing rarity.

Saturday, August 22, 2020

Carmen Argote at Commonwealth and Council


Large Pepperoni Extra Cheese 2020, Pizza oil transfer on paper.
Oils weep, seep in our guts. Haunt our upholstery. Our intestinal distress. The contaminants of the human. The Turin shroud of gluttony. I think it's important that we hang our stains on the walls. (Art is a series of stains, tho a particularly peacocked version.) That we know ourselves. And we should know them all.

Friday, August 21, 2020

AR: Bri Williams at Queer Thoughts

Click here to read

Originally Posted: March 13th, 2020

Note: This entry is part of August Review, our annual look back at this season’s key exhibitions. For more information, see the announcement here.

Thursday, August 20, 2020

Derek Fordjour at Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis


Maybe its people become decoration, subsumed to the overarching command of DESIGN.
There is a predicament of individuality, as people become uniforms, bodies become composition. Hands up comforts those in power. "The repair and disrepair of the canvas reflects the conditions of abandonment and scarcity present in the artist’s upbringing in the South." The hardship that is reclaimed like wood for collectors.

See too: Purvis Young at James FuentesDerek Fordjour at Night Gallery

AR: Tishan Hsu at Hammer Museum

Click here to read

Originally Posted: April 20th, 2020

Note: This entry is part of August Review, our annual look back at this season’s key exhibitions. For more information, see the announcement here.

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Hanna Hur at Feuilleton


The optical gets a bad rap, subordinated to painting's other bigger brothers, say, the haptic, the impressive, the totalizing, or big. Visually informed sure, but not particularly optical. Perhaps even Abstract Expressionism despite its broad exclamation of color wasn't a particularly optical movement, more concerned with presence, a bodily feeling. (Against Abstraction Expressionism "Op-art was a cheap imitation of the purer form's sanctity; Op-art rested on physiologic parlor tricks rather than the more strict and thus universal forms of abstraction that could [ostensibly] communicate with dolphins and gods.") We lack language for the physiological, for the glass of our eyes attempting to apprehend something that breaks its system, like these, like a computer trying to understand the frission of Bonnard.

see too: Larry Poons at Michael Jon & Alan

Monday, August 17, 2020

Susan Philipsz at Tanya Bonakdar


An opera of objects. An internet of things. The lullabies, found. Sounds emanate from an elsewhere, from culture, from barrels - this is important, suggesting a different intelligence, a possibly objective intelligence - the objects play us, the tool with a heart. It won't be true; the suggestion is somehow enough.

Sunday, August 16, 2020

Erwin Gross, Ross Bleckner at Bernd Kugler


Omg these photos. You would think - with the recent rise of an embodied abstraction - Bleckner would primed for some type of resurgence, but then you're reminded with photos like this, and a nytimes headline or two will fill you in on the rest, Bleckner never really desurged, just one of the big painters quietly filling rooms like this. Where little bit of taste becomes a deluge of it. Gross's paintings looking like flowers in a trash bin nicely better at annealing the heat.

Saturday, August 15, 2020

AR: “Beyond the Black Atlantic” at Kunstverein Hannover (Sandra Mujinga)

Click here to read

Originally Posted: March 23rd, 2020

Note: This entry is part of August Review, our annual look back at this season’s key exhibitions. For more information, see the announcement here.
Past: Rute Merk at Gallery Vacancy

"...New style on old themes, as the world struggles to self-represent. Here's the process: the world, culture, attempts to manufacture a synthetic version of itself - CGI, video games, American cheese - and the artifacts, struggle, of this process is its own aesthetic, a sediment of its age. Eventually artists package this aesthetic, create 8 bit indie video games, airbrush paintings, Velveeta cheese product."

Read full: Rute Merk at Gallery Vacancy

Friday, August 14, 2020

Anne Wilson at Rhona Hoffman


Tensioning the labor we value and the labor we don't. The communal labor of the hand, the weaver, the worker/laborer, versus the drip, the stain, which is seminal, authorial, and thus rich, valuable. (Which of course stains your grandma's tablecloth and teenage bedsheets.) We don't want hands, we want the mark of the hand. Hands are a mass product, but the drip is neoliberally genius. This is why there may be a healthy skepticism at the framing of communal labors in a realm of art, because generally art isn't great at spreading its rewards.

See too: “Kasten” at Stadtgalerie Bern

Thursday, August 13, 2020

Tony Just at Efremidis


"Tony Just, for example, makes ironic paintings that are never sure if they wouldn’t rather be transcendentalist paintings." -Mark Prince, Frieze

"It is my understanding that a Rorschach test isn’t so much about what you see, as long as you do see something." Tony Just

Art as a great goose game.

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

AR: Juliana Huxtable at Reena Spaulings

Click here to read

Originally Posted: March 23rd, 2020

Note: This entry is part of August Review, our annual look back at this season’s key exhibitions. For more information, see the announcement here.

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Past: Charlotte Posenenske at Konrad Fischer

" Scratched glass tends to reveal itself. This is the edge, the limit. Posenenske found it. And then Posenenske, tellingly, left the artworld. Yet we keep dragging her back, out. Why does art love and mythologize the people that leave it? As Herbert recounts one of her last acts was handing out broadsheets at Documenta stating 'You culture vultures, so here you are all gathered together to chat and lie and talk crap so as to gain the upper hand.' Us all loving our artists while not listening to them, an exhibition like a condescending smile."

Read full: Charlotte Posenenske at Konrad Fischer

Monday, August 10, 2020

AR: Solange Pessoa at Mendes Wood DM

Click here to read

Originally Posted: March 23rd, 2020

Note: This entry is part of August Review, our annual look back at this season’s key exhibitions. For more information, see the announcement here.
Past: Kaoru Arima

"Drawing was at one time a knowledge. Sketching fetuses cut from cadavers were cutting edge science. The limits of knowledge were defined by looking at something really hard. When science and tech jettisoned oils and pencils from its repertoire modern artists got mad and crushed representation into something resembling a crumpled Coke can, seeing all sides at once, and this violence was lauded. "

"...human features bludgeoned to bloom bruise, bouquets, or apply rictus like geometries, portraits of a stroke. On and on painters rushing to injustice portraits... Here, the face is more figurative idea, an outline, a Jawlensky like framework for which to hang wanton libidinal paint. ...We find its horror almost playful, cute, even interesting, a learned tolerance for pain."

Read full: Kaoru Arima at Misako & RosenKaoru Arima at Queer Thoughts

Sunday, August 9, 2020

Rute Merk at Gallery Vacancy


Cue Radiohead, "Fake Plastic Trees," angst over our coming cling wrap lives. Emo polygon living. We spray representations of this anxiety in physical goo on material canvas. New style on old themes, as the world struggles to self-represent. Here's the process: the world, culture, attempts to manufacture a synthetic version of itself - CGI, video games, American cheese - and the artifacts, struggle, of this process is its own aesthetic, a sediment of its age. Eventually artists package this aesthetic, create 8 bit indie video games, airbrush paintings, Velveeta cheese product.

See too: Louisa Gagliardi at Open Forum

Friday, August 7, 2020

AR: Brandon Ndife, Diane Severin Nguyen at Bureau

Click here to read

Originally Posted: Mar 10, 2019

Note: This entry is part of August Review, our annual look back at this season’s key exhibitions. For more information, see the announcement here.

Thursday, August 6, 2020

Past: ektor garcia at Cooper Cole

"...a very modern problem, our world, mediated by screens, the totality of which becomes enshrined in gallery or touch screen glass, and art is the world's development project in all the ways to surmount it, a materiality so strong it visually empaths itself, that we could actually feel something through glass. A "supernormal stimulus," exaggerated materiality that begins to look like fetish for."

Read full: ektor garcia at Cooper Cole

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

AR: Guan Xiao at Antenna Space

Click here to read

Originally Posted: June 12th, 2020

Note: This entry is part of August Review, our annual look back at this season’s key exhibitions. For more information, see the announcement here.
Past: Nancy Lupo

"Like eye goo, stuff's service is its waste, a continual sloughing, so we can remain fresh, clean. Stuff accumulates, piles, is shed. Stuff is quasi things, is transient, transactional. A disposable fork is, like, quintessential stuff.."

Read full: Nancy Lupo at Kristina KiteNancy Lupo at Swiss InstituteNancy Lupo at 1857Nancy Lupo at Antenna Space

Monday, August 3, 2020

AR: Maren Hassinger at Tiwani Contemporary

Click here to read

Originally Posted: November 5th, 2019

Note: This entry is part of August Review, our annual look back at this season’s key exhibitions. For more information, see the announcement here.
Past: J. Parker Valentine

"expectations of legibility, depictive of some tip-of-the-tongue subject within a library of means detailing the amorphous thing it circles but fails to produce. There is the lure of subject object, the thing that will at any moment manifest itself in the definitive lines of drawing"

"a viewer left to sort spaghetti formed lines like tea leaves that were inside you all along. Pareidolia."

J. Parker Valentine at Misako & RosenJ. Parker Valentine at Juan and Patricia Vergez CollectionJ. Parker Valentine at Park View

August Review 2020

Today we initiate our sixth annual August Review. Every year we reflect on the exhibitions that were especially memorable to us since the previous August. We will re-publish one show each day, marked by “AR:” in the title, while continuing to cover new exhibitions daily.

At the end of the month we will provide an “August Review Index.” The previous five seasons’ selections are available here: 201520162017 2018, and 2019.

Sunday, August 2, 2020

“A Love Letter to a Nightmare” at Petzel


Group shows always look like you blew up a shopping mall, like its reassembly after catastrophe, like hangers categorizing airline wreckage. Trying to make sense in debris. Us, a cargo cult. Us, a primitive culture, drawing aurochs on our white cave walls. With the debris of culture. Our Mystic auto-anthropology. Sexy legs made in wheat aren't surreal but reality when a world sells children cereal with fat assed bee, then sells adults figurines of that bee. This is reality, a sexy hotdog is practically a readymade. Merely exploded.

AR: Torey Thornton at Moran Bondaroff

Click here to read

Originally Posted:January 5, 2018

Note: This entry is part of August Review, our annual look back at this season’s key exhibitions. For more information, see the announcement here.

Saturday, August 1, 2020

AR: Puppies Puppies (Jade Kuriki Olivo) at Balice Hertling

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Originally Posted: July 26th, 2019

Note: This entry is part of August Review, our annual look back at this season’s key exhibitions. For more information, see the announcement here.

Group Show at Kunsthal Charlottenborg


We all thought DIS was responding to the internet but were actually getting in line with the turn toward aestheti-tainment. Museums and galleries, no longer solvent on symbolic capital, with a relevancy we could call dusty, turned toward audience engagement, and realigned with missions with populist modes. They invited celebrities for ad campaigns, made memes and light of their own once stiflingly prestigious collections, having lost distinction between low and high the museums to middle brow with a budget, a sort of consumerist factory of light experience. A prediction for our future.

See too: “Stories of Almost Everyone” at Hammer Museum

Thursday, July 30, 2020

Past: Daniel Rios Rodriguez

"The crust laden and the spiritual, it's hard to do sentimentality in art without being an outsider. You can't paint a flower without ironizing its loveliness, your desire to impress this. Sentimentality drips into its performance, theatrical, a too-much-presence and we blush for the artist having fallen into the trap of their own subjectivity for them, too often. Thick paint helps. It alleviates with its own painterly over-presence, which provides, if not an ironizing, at least a solidarity. The paint expresses materially the same excess as the subject is. Confidence in clumsiness, endlessly endearing..."

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Past: Andrea Zittel

"... a vegetable with Star Wars adverts on it. A large anthropomorphic bumble sells cereal to adults. Fantasy is a strong force in the universe. "Smashes box-office records." Zittel is local science-fiction - ideas as propositions, viewing them you get to feel the utopian impulse - imagine a world where we haven't already welcomed the new insect overlord, rebellion against Empire.

Read Full: Andrea Zittel

Monday, July 27, 2020

KP Brehmer at Weiss Falk


Information displays appear authoritative, declarative, they are telling us something. Whether or not it does, it contains the look of content, and beyond that content brandishing the authority of science, facts, and data, all the power of a white lab coat, whether or not it does.

See too: Peter Fend at Museo Nivola

Sunday, July 26, 2020

Kaz Oshiro at Nonaka-Hill


The meta games of painting we play, teasing all the ontological buttons that make a show of its questions. When it's good it's hallucinatory; bad, it's Disney Land. "Removed from the packaging artworks and butterflies disperse, cling everywhere, etherealize into suspicion for them." Everything becomes corrupt, seeing suspicious butterflies everywhere.

See too: Michael E. Smith at 500 Capp Street Foundation

Saturday, July 25, 2020

Park McArthur at Essex Street


The world is mediated and there are no natural forms of that mediation. That forms of mediation appear to naturalize as similarities establish themselves throughout the artworld is as often the mere failure of art's imagination (and signals of its conformity) as it is one of the worst forms of normalization that make it seem as if a consensus has naturalized these forms. But you might choose differently if other options were available. The most basic boring forms of art's mediation are political choices, a system we choose and reinforce. You might choose to filter the world while for others it might not be a choice. Like when you buy another bad painting based on a JPG and CV.
Past: Park McArthur

We deform the world, adapt it to our bodies, sculpt it. Our world is its largest open-pit mine, dug out and backfilled with human scaled objects. The paver is the pillar to our locomotion, the lawn to our jurisdiction. It's hard to appreciate how manicured the world is, and how inhuman when it isn't. Walk off trail and encounter "terrain."
"a pathos in the materials we find to mediate our touch to the world. The objects here, designed for ourselves, infer something about the bodies which they govern. A way for an object to "speak" without resorting to symbolism or surrealism, but exist as a circumstantial evidence of a reality, the tragedies of a world we must continually attenuate..."

"Reading about all the elegant facilities of 53W53 feels like brambles."

Full:  Park McArthur at ChisenhalePark McArthur at SFMOMAPark McArthur at MoMA

Thursday, July 23, 2020

Past: Trevor Paglen at Metro Pictures

"The art trope of highlighting the discrepancy between surface depiction and the latent content; Paglen’s I-spy photographics, making spectacular-banal photographs that await the moment of their reveal: finding the tiny dot denoting drones that mar the expensive print of skies, or the anonymous building turning out to be a possible “black site” discovered by the artist, or nonsensical phrases revealed as government code names. ... Paglen’s photographs make visible something meaningful that is ultimately meaningless, there’s nothing to be done with this information, these absurd names, but watch them pass like a poisoned and interminable river, a discrepancy affective but belittling. Having more to do with art than politics. You’ve found Waldo, but you’ll never get to shake his hand."

Read full: Trevor Paglen at Metro Pictures
Past: Forrest Bess at Modern Art

" nothing worse than reading heaping praise on Bess, it doesn't work, the paintings deflect it like steel pans ... writing that resorts to retelling the life that was strange and mad and made for a script. The paintings just don't take it. Bess's paintings are artless, direct, and without affect. They are, as Bess stated, more diagrams than self-expression. He called himself a copyist, assuming a representational adherence to the forms. ... Explicitly drawing something but not necessarily what, we look at Bess's with all the perfect inscrutability of art, its search for meaning. A hurricane came through and blew away Bess's home late in his life and he was left to search through the Gulf's mud to find everything in it.

Read full: Forrest Bess at Modern Art

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Past: Karl Holmqvist at Sant’Andrea de Scaphis

"..we trust words, our whole society practically predicted on words... So the Holmqvistic hammering of words into tin for his cymbal tapping repetition could feel either charmingly disruptive or cruel. Holmqvist has expressed less affinity for jazz than for noise, words become the sensation of objects felt with a numb hand, the cacophony of nerves deprived...."
"A rose is a rose is a rose, there is a long history of this use of semantic satiation: the repeated arousal of a specific neural pattern causing "a reduction in the intensity of the activity with each repetition" - effectively numbs like our hands our ability to perceive them with any force but some wide flat plainness, deprived of structure to give its words lifeblood like sucking nitrous from balloons until the world dissolves into a stupefied vertigo, and we feel the noise, the static of our brains deprived.

"There's a panel discussion published in which [Denny's] staunch refusal to talk about artmaking in any terms but the corporate terms of "product" "content" and "brand" leaves the other art-types at a sort of incredulous distance, wondering whether to refute the position (corporate terms obviously implying evil) or understand it at the safe distance of metaphor. This "struggle" to come to terms with such description is mirrored in much of the writing about Denny's work, in which writers search desperately to find where the critique - that of course must be there- lay...." 

"...there isn't "critique" in the ambivalence of Denny's semi-archaeological work... "critique" for Denny would only be part of experience of the product, its brand. In the same panel, stating a complicity with capitalism that he "doesn't want to kill," Denny is challenged with what he does "want to kill," again implying the assumption of "critique" that the artworld so desperately needs. Denny responds, "That's not my goal. My goal is to make interesting content."

Read full: Simon Denny at MoMA PS1

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Sterling Ruby at Xavier Hufkens


One of the last of phalloaggrandized, a dude in denim with big "objects." Ruby turned size into a quality, blasted with whatever goo could be pumped. Cady Noland with a better and less critically engaged budget. They're supposed to be dumb - this is their ostensible critique. And it is true, seeing sculpture bumped to 18 feet resolutely failing to signify or even really mean, this is affecting. It's watching the big meaningless be enacted like a mountain. Wasteland hippie at size. Selling the experience of Nihilism for those with too much money to experience it themselves. And now as always selling some of the rubble at more manageable scales, as souvenirs for your walls at the cottage.

see too: Matias Faldbakken at Astrup Fearnley Museet

Monday, July 20, 2020

Hélène Fauquet at Edouard Montassut


"There is nothing wrong with your television. Do not attempt to adjust the picture. We are controlling transmission.  We will control the horizontal. We will control the vertical. We can roll the image, make it flutter. We can change the focus to a soft blur, or sharpen it to crystal clarity."

And we get pristine jpegs of bad jpegs, printed. En abyme, we tumble.
Past: Monika Baer

"Baer playing her own game of painting, our fun is figuring out the rules. There are many ways to play painting acceptably - we, like canvas, can support both Merlin Carpenter or Caravaggio - ideologies that Baer seems to enjoy abutting in flat statements for all static they can generate. Mixed modes that present a sort of meta play of figuring out which boardgame entered. [...]Pleasures are denied and reinstated, the picture plane is mocked with cartoonified sweat but open to atmosphere, the viewer is asked to look in only to be pressed out by a little turd. I'm not sure how you win."

Read full: Monika Baer at Neuer Berliner Kunstverein

Saturday, July 18, 2020

Paul Kolling at Kunstverein Harburger Bahnhof


Visualization might be the shared space of science, art, and ad agencies. The ability to use information to affect. Tufte's Visual Explanations: Images and Quantities, Evidence and Narrative, etc. For art the importance is that "hardly any conclusions can be drawn" and that "What remains are questions."  Affect.

Thursday, July 16, 2020

Calla Henkel and Max Pitegoff at The Downer

"'I’m leaving because this is bad. Because it’s really bad, isn’t it?' At a performance of the play Apartment (Mother Courage) (2015) by New Theater at the Whitney Museum, this statement/question was thrown into the audience by critic Claire Bishop as she dramatically walked out halfway through. Bishop happened to be sitting in the row in front of me, before she exited with a group of friends and colleagues. 'Was that staged?' I heard someone behind me whisper. Later that evening I was at a friend’s birthday party, where one of the walkouts approached me, recognising that I had been seated behind him. 'Did people think it was staged?' he asked.
"The Whitney performance was to be the swansong for Berlin’s New Theater, a finale that was to draw to a close the activities of the artist-theatre project, run by Americans Calla Henkel and Max Pitegoff..." -Read full: Laura McLean-Ferris, ArtReview

see too: Calla Henkel & Max Pitegoff at Cabinet