Thursday, April 30, 2020

Hannah Weinberger at Nicolas Krupp


Since Weinberger's generally seem to be about establishing some sort of social/relational intimacy of living breathing art slugs, it is a odd turn now to have an exhibition of video of stone people, an intimacy that, like all of us communicating through televisual monitors, leaves no real intimacy at all. Just statue and flesh, becoming similar material under glass, the mere shapes of human we're all pantomiming on Zoom, indistinguishable from any sufficiently complex animatronic.
Past: Tony Conrad

Tony Conrad's Glass

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Atelier E.B at Garage Museum of Contemporary Art


How many artists/art projects have started, or started as, a fashion brand? It's almost a genre at this point, the "art" fashion brand. (This one is the slightly more material-historical project of Beca Lipscombe and Lucy McKenzie.) Fashion is a perhaps more honest about its object, which is really the brand, the effort to construct the aura that anoints its objects. And honesty about what backs the work allows for a more complete control over the gesamtkunstwerk, the ads, the displays, the showroom itself. The walls don't even need to be white, the production line of aura. 

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Caroline Bachmann at Kunsthaus Glarus


The waypoint between today's digital surrealism and the pre-renaissance's religious devotion, with paintings that treat space with the depth of an iPad and organized with halos for its icons. I'm convinced the way spirituality has been rendered over the centuries has a direct influence on our computer interfaces. Organization of symbols to access higher planes.

See too: Emily Mae Smith at Rodolphe JanssenAlexandra Noel at Freedman Fitzpatrick, AtlantisOrion Martin at BodegaRay Yoshida at David NolanSascha Braunig at Kunsthall StavangerAlice Tippit at Night ClubLui Shtini at Kate WerbleSascha Braunig at Rodolphe JanssenMathew Cerletty at Office BaroqueAnne Neukamp at Greta Meert
Past: Rebecca Morris at 356 Mission

"feel less composed than organized, here a patchwork quilting clarity, holds its parts in distinct textures and color, like swatches, or a sample catalog, display system proffering an endless variety available."

link: Rebecca Morris at 356 Mission

Sunday, April 26, 2020

Andrea Bowers at Weserburg Museum für moderne Kunst


Taking a public phrase, created and upheld by the multitudes who echo it, and giving the
the privatizing glass of artistic glitter reeks of bad faith. This was the tone deaf fiasco of Bower's public black eye: taking something that was given to a public and collecting it as her work. Art, despite all its PR and back patting as a common good, is a privatized endeavor.  Museums are behind paywalls, is a pony show of the elite. Art is not medicine, it is only sold as such. The monuments of art will never be as public as an actual class consciousness, as the public itself, which the phrase already was.

See too: Andrea Bowers at Capitain Petzel

Saturday, April 25, 2020

Petra Cortright at Team Gallery, Inc


The art dads who thought artists interacting with youtube was revolutionary are back and they're interested in printing the computer in physical space. "Post-internet art" as become the Kinko's avant garde, all the substrates and inks you can print. The issues for Cortright, and the virtual progeny as whole, seem at odds with the demands of art which - despite all the Lippardian lip service otherwise - requires physical coins to be traded, the friction of so much "post-internet" art struggling to erupt the virtual as unique meat. The PR says as much: "Cortright’s challenge [...] is conveying the distinctly digital navigation of an endlessly evolving visual terrain resistant to a singular final state or form." Everything that makes virtual space unique is lost in order to give you, prospector, something to bite. The "diaphanous textiles" function only a primitive allusion to the high clouds of photoshop, like a cardboard cut out replacing someone famous. Cortright's just straight digitally printed "unique" "paintings" are perhaps a more interesting tensioning of the digi-physical divide in that they don't metaphorize the digital, they just press print and call it painting, asking collectors to believe it.

See too: Petra Cortright at Société

Friday, April 24, 2020

“Kasten” at Stadtgalerie Bern


Culture loves continually reimagining if Hitler had won the war. And art too could use some speculative histories where Judd was merely a megalomanic loon left to the desert, where painting weren't trading cards for the rich (maybe tapestries were still en vogue because communal labor was still too instead of neoliberal myths of genius) and one where "boxes" (Kasten) are the pinnacle genre of art.* Imagining alternative histories are important in articulating that our, or any, history isn't rational, ours are not natural forms, painting is not natural form, that other realms are plausible. Speculative fiction writer Ursula K. Leguin's acceptance speech for National Book Awards: "...the profit motive is often in conflict with the aims of art. We live in capitalism, its power seems inescapable – but then, so did the divine right of kings." So did the right of so much of our cultural monoliths. Why isn't the world built for people in wheelchairs. Does MoMA really need to get bigger.

*Spec script is something like this: At the end of WWII, Russia is given credit for defeating axis powers and economic recovery is well supported by the allies and emerges global hegemon, emerges victorious in the cultural cold war with a lauded series of traveling exhibitions of Fabergé eggs and the publicity of a Nicolai Pollack who deconstructs the egg into an expression of the contained, drips dye in place of diamonds, is given spread in Zhizn magazine, and eventually transmutes into a postcontemporary situation where global exhibitions of boxes are posted on a website called "" Painting is limited to houses and the remedial Sunday types. The film is dead serious which goes over a lot of heads.

Past: Keith Farquhar

"Things become embedded with connotation like a gym locker room is embedded with naked men. Conceptual austerity becomes filthy-with. Like content that can be applied, sticky. Clung to Chris Wool, like you peeled it off. How children are sticky, their plastic like grime accumulators. Wood to absorb ass sweat. [...] a goo spread."

"...painting in need of laundromats, content viral, wash basins, outlets smeared with paint. [...] we fear getting it on us because we fear its indistinguishability between us, and Farquhar's [...] spreads the fear that we could get some painting on us."

Read full: Keith Farquhar at High ArtKeith Farquhar at Cabinet

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Josh Kline at Various Small Fires


The PR states this "explores the catastrophic implications of America’s political dysfunction." No, it doesn't. For the students in the room this is called "puffery" "a promotional statement or claim which no 'reasonable person' would take literally." A generous read is that it is simply an anti-display, inverse to the usual ebullient displays of US nationalism, the equivalent of how in high school I wore a t-shirt with an inverted flag and thought that was cool. This is Piss Christ but with a flag in a TV and stained. A perhaps formally interesting technique (like, how did all those clowns fit in that car) this should have been one of those quiet shows you use to make a buck in a new city but now boom it is on CAD and mildly soiled underpants for everyone to see.

see too: Josh Kline at Modern Art
Past: Josh Kline at Modern Art

"... Enemy or ally to its strategies, everyone wanted to Instagram Kline's militarized Teletubbies, proving them valid in an economy of attention, the high-production gloss of mass culture virtually demands it."

Read full: Josh Kline at Modern Art

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Lily Wong at Kapp Kapp


The sweet potato people, the enflamed, those afflicted with the Botero. Trying to reclaim our bodies from a culture that has so streamlined it for its productive forces, so we imagine them in ways that are not easily fit into its machinations, inflated so they can remain human and not advertisements.
Past:  Luchita Hurtado at Hauser & Wirth
"Hurtado has recently experienced a rise to fame that has been thrilling to witness — albeit maddening in its lateness. Later this month, Hauser & Wirth will dedicate three floors of its gallery [...] the Serpentine Sackler Gallery in London will mount a solo exhibition [...] Hurtado’s first international [...] Museo Tamayo [...] then travel to a series of art institutions in the United States.
"Albiet maddening in its lateness." Maddening in its pretense to an artworld omniscience. As if a lot of artists haven't been left off. As if mere oversight. [...] thankfully the tastemakers, the overlords, have finally selected her for accreditation, get to join the ball. The Disney story we all believe in, the rescue we're all waiting for, recognize the good in us.

Monday, April 20, 2020

Tishan Hsu at Hammer Museum


Obvious forebear and yet something else entirely; today's surrealist melting icons are kept distinctly separate from our biomorphic goop. Hsu's technology acquires a bulge; the inanimate congeal a Cronenbergian "new flesh." For years smartphones pressed to be seamless, this was the pinnacle of technologic interface, to lack the orifice that Hsu keeps pressing. A phone shouldn't look like it might drool, Instagram icons shouldn't look like a dank bathroom. Like Thek, or Lynch, the campiness is part of the grotesque. You take your phone away from face, a smear of your human grease marring its perfect black pool. We don't like our tech to feel like us. The more we interact with it, the more it becomes us, the most we want it not resemble us.

Saturday, April 18, 2020

Kathleen Ryan at Ghebaly Gallery


Encrust things with jewels, add a few art historical references to the nature of our mort and you got yourself a stew. The mold adds a delightful balance to what would have been all too saccharine wealth. Previously Ryan's had been less explicitly bejeweled even when they were explicitly jewelry. (Though the material confusions/substitutions that Ryan has a knack been themed throughout.)  But here the material question is less of clever substitution and more reminiscent of Tara Donovan where a certain quality is quantity: the compositionalizing of such an amount seems more like the excuse to amass such a quantity. A reason to put so many gems together. NYT magazine called "critiques of excess" which I find delirious. Excess does not inherently critique excess. Dutch vanitas were also a means for the wealthy to signal their humility through ostentatious displays of said humility. A car that belches exhaust to critique global warming.

See too: Ana Pellicer at House of GagaRoger Hiorns at ELI Beamlines CenterRoger Hiorns at Annet Gelink

Friday, April 17, 2020

“HOOKS & CLAWS” at Gregor Staiger - Bruno Gironcoli


Ask and any Austrian artist will roll their eyes at how famed Gironcoli is and everyone outside of Austria wonders who the fuck you are talking about. Seems to be the general vibe. Gironcoli has been dead ten years but you could confuse them for a Jordan Wolfson, Marguerite Humeau, Helen Marten or whatever. Just enough for the surrealist soup'dujour.* They are modernist sculptures that abscess with the wrong thing: what is supposed to be the clean lines and  modern ergonomics of say Henry Moore or di Suvero tinges a little too dumb, fecal, stupid, wet. Like Mike Kelley paintings made into sculpture, the abject mess of high/low. The way Children's toys always seem one vibration button away from sex toy. Every one of them somehow far more uncomfortable than a Paul McCarthy buttplug on your plaza.

*As how H.R. Giger was in the past considered campy at best for his blend of Machino-sexual organisms, Gironcoli's blending of hulking pop-sculpture with tinges of Actionist entrails was similarly a bit too on the nose. Similarly having mild resurgence. 

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Albert Mertz at Croy Nielsen


Variations and permutations of style are the most bludgeoningly tiresome aspects of contemporary art; artists implanting their "subject" in mass produced canvases, themselves into little Fordist factories, producing the worst thing an artist can, a "series." Some finding "criticality" in an ironic exhaustion like Josh Smith or Ann Craven. Then the whole zombie painting deal. It leaves us exhausted for an artist like Mertz. It becomes hard to articulate a difference without rimshoting around some basket of the "authentic." Though he was before all that.

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Sam McKinniss at JTT


People hate McKinniss, possibly be the most polemical painter not being spanked for absurd auction digits. The hate against McKinniss's hamsters seems incommensurate. But maybe his continual painting of hamsters, or making hamsters of his subjects, that cloying adorbz of the neotenic focus-group-tested rodent/celebrity, is what drives the want to wring the necks of those oh so vulnerable and useless. Everyone so cute, loved, like the adored really needed a court painter. How rare that McKinniss paints someone that isn't massively completely almost annoyingly loved.

The point being, at some point, desire itself became "critical." Your teenage bedroom becomes a "site," a "presupposition" of "critical vanity," the art terms attach easily. Putting cultural touchstones on display you obviously vampire their cultural relation if not their capital, forming a portrait of culture through its blood. Consumption becomes a form of value. Relation has value. And post-kitsch understands that no amount of kitsch is not recuperable by artistic "criticality." The invisible framing of art does that. The way On Kawara paints "9 JAN.1973" McKinniss paints a more adorned version, pointing to Prince or JTT, whatever celebrity moment, the cultural object is a signifier, a blank date hung on its readymade coatrack with an affect of cultural valorization: painting, the embellishing act that makes them proper in the silver gilt halls of art. The act could seem redundant to celebrity itself or simply inevitable. Your becoming a heavily trained marker of culture.

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Katherine Bradford at Adams and Ollman


There might be less menace than Miriam Cahn, the color less abrasive, but the lighting still portends. For both, color can appear as cruelty, threat. Heatmaps for vitals, sensitivity.  And paint is substance these things wear. It's why painters love pools, water, excuse to cover their subjects in. What we came to be deluged with: nostalgia for painting.

see too: Miriam Cahn at Meyer RieggerMiriam Cahn at Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina SofíaMiriam Cahn at Jocelyn WolffMiriam Cahn at Meyer Riegger

Monday, April 13, 2020

Christopher Williams at David Zwirner


Williams' institutional mirroring - reusing walls, indexing the gallery, reflecting and marking the gallery - its ostensible critique also simply multiplies and reiterates its institutional halos.

Christopher Williams at C/O BerlinChristopher Williams at MoMA

Sunday, April 12, 2020

Simon Fujiwara at Dvir


Among those trying to reassemble meaning in the fallout of Genzken and Harrison's cultural TNTing, Fujiwara's accumulations of content are not the endless permutations of cultural arrangements that make culture "speak," ala Danny McDonald et al. Instead they seem a return to narrative invested in its display systems that constructs that cultural story, history, myth, not just our garbage. Whether or not it actually assembles meaning, it at least looks a little more like it, by rebuilding the structures that construct it.

See too: Gertrude Abercrombie at KarmaDavid Lieske at MUMOKSimon Fujiwara at Dvir (1)

Friday, April 10, 2020

Lea Von Wintzingerode at Jacky Strenz


Despite the depths of figuratives that we're in, rare to just be painting someone. Like an actual person. The painters using people's bones to hang or inflate abstraction. (We're abstract enough aren't we.) But here reminiscent of Quintessa Matranga's toilets. Just painted. Maybe paradoxically by inventing characters you have to actually paint that person. You don't suddenly have an excuse to throw paint at them, rearrange their features for your whims.

See too: Quintessa Matranga at Freddy

Thursday, April 9, 2020

Artworld getting fast and loose with the term "online viewing room," with these "platforms." These are websites. They're not even shops. They're flash webpages you have to submit a fake email to get into.
Thus we're announcing THE  CONTEMPORARY ART WRITING DAILY "ONLINE VIEWING ROOM & PLATFORM" CONSULTANCY. Get individualized professional consulting on your online room. Simply enter your email below to sign up.

Gary Simmons at Metro Pictures


Obvious paradoxes of' "erasure" in objects intended to endure as art. Which, obvious, is allegory for the racist caricatures themselves, history preferred to erase but endure. Not quite erasure at all. Erasure is a fantasy of white imagination surely. But who buys these things?

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Moyra Davey, Peter Hujar at Galerie Buchholz


And art often feels like a process, technology, for imprinting nostalgia. Casting banality in bronze, silver, with a halo of rose. "Nostalgia a toxic substance used to preserve our memories in formaldehyde's rose tinted veil." Photography provides "immediate packaging: that inherently elegiac medium also promises preservation of someone's sight of you." So you get to preserve your recognition like pickled pigs and call it romantic. Nostalgia's artistry becomes its own technology. I don't think this is implicit to art. Against this someone like LaToya Ruby Frazier's grayscales confuse time and conflate eras, make chronology slippery, and deny a continuum of progress, inherently anti-nostalgic.

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

April 7th, 2020


What an excessively visual day. It's like a sci-fi movie in here.

Monday, April 6, 2020

Everyone rushes to produce "content." Noticing a captive and assumed bored audience the attention economy flexes, pulsates; you begin to the feel the capitalistic end of content's tentacle. What was intended as the fill for little crevices in the bricks of our day at some point became our day. Chatter becomes the content; Instagram becomes the business. And everyone microtize their content, becoming viral capable, themselves the droplets. Content starts to hurt. People mistake our convalescence as opportunity, our boredom as their docking point. The line between extraction and compassion becomes thin.

Past: Reena Spaulings at Chantal Crousel

"Reigning champions of the dumb art gesture so profoundly, inertly, token as to rupture any semblance of hope for meaning; it found comedy in the malignant stupefaction of the "art gesture." ...  The work actively attacked the insider: anyone who understood Spaulings game did not receive art's usual self-congratulations but the unloading of 40 foot soldiers of uncommon stupidity inside your head. A virus affecting only those in-the-know while the blissfully unaware remained free of its belittling folly.
"Writing this, I've actually needed a thesaurus for "dumb."
"...the more you get it the more it evacuates."

Read full: Reena Spaulings at Chantal Crousel

Sunday, April 5, 2020

Past: Marc Camille Chaimowicz

"Art like pieces of display catalog, Ikea presentations of what your home could be, as images of potential, like all those pantone grids we all find so pleasant in organizing the full mess of choice into something pleasant, choosable."
"We find this wanton sensitivity almost unnerving in art, we fear the institutionalization of its form, the hospitalization of 'sensitivity.'"

Read full:
Marc Camille Chaimowicz at Kestner Gesellschaft
Marc Camille Chaimowicz at INDIPENDENZA

Saturday, April 4, 2020

Ebecho Muslimova at Maria Bernheim


Cartoon characters are only cartoon when they are cut from their world and pasted into the real. In their natural inked setting cartoons are simply flesh, however elasticized. Floors, feces, body are of the same stuf and there was some inherent truth.
When the cartoon now does its Who Framed Roger Rabbit thing, the duck finally becomes a cartoon duck, the visual promiscuity is lost, his flesh is now not of the the surrounding world and forces him to become more singularly himself.  Fatebe becomes a character, no longer a natural feature of her reality but a style cut and pasted into. And her world becomes simply a grab bag of digital effects to encounter. It was always bound to happen, drawing must eventually be valorized as painting. Madani gets away with it because her painting is drawing. And Who Framed Roger Rabbit was most interesting when the softness of cartoons were hit with hard reality, forced to take its shape, "flatten the duck with a frying pan and he becomes a frying pan" and the worlds again begin to seamlessly blur in the green glow of the Matrix, our imagination's virtual plane, and the cartoon naturalizes again.

see too: Tala Madani

Friday, April 3, 2020

Friederike Feldmann at Barbara Weiss


It would be so nice if we could just have some drawing without requisite need of deploying it like a big factory of gesture, magnified swatches of what had been human. The just plain ol' drawing has everything already. This is the fault of the world. We need more drawing.

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Cyprien Gaillard at Sprüth Magers


This is the language of advertising: upstairs you view the commercial and in the showroom the products. The film, which is beautiful and affective like all good ads, ostensibly provides a confusion/detournment to the process of commodity affectation, but not sure language can talk itself out of the language. Cynicism about the process is still the process.

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Koak at Altman Siegel


People bent like pipes for their decorative purposing. The painter demands composition, extraction, humans repurposed for painting's ends, how modern. Arabesque motifs get harsher until the ballet seem inhuman doll-like, Picasso rips apart models and we find this intoxicating. Our runway models and their own body's El Grecoing. Etiolated for the consumption. There is discrepancy between what things represent and what they are: beautiful.

see too: Julien Nguyen at Modern ArtLisa Yuskavage at Contemporary Art Museum St. LouisLouisa Gagliardi at Open Forum

Charlotte Posenenske at Konrad Fischer


PR states "she erased all gestural traces avoiding and dimishing [sic] any kind of subjectivity." which while not entirely true the attempt does feel apropos to our current scratching at the glass, less to feel something than touch its borders as well as mark it. 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.