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.

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.

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 

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Yuji Agematsu, On Kawara at LA MAISON DE RENDEZ-VOUS


What is contained in a day, what does a date contain, etc. If you pressed anyone on these questions they would admit the hairiness of the situation. But that isn't how we act, when we write press releases the questions themselves are preventatives against answers. This because "raising questions" is, we are told, the power of art. Which makes actually answering its questions a loser's affair - the questions must be kept on life support; Art, for its shareholders, must be eternal. (And thus why thousands of artists continue redeploying On Kawara's essential question. It becomes a mannered tool for evoking, but not answering, a question.) This is one of the worst aberrations of art. There is no critique if that critique never cancels. "Our fingerprints are ours, but we cannot be created from them."

See too: Kirsten Pieroth at MathewSam Falls at 303 GalleryAlan Ruiz at Bad ReputationTrevor Paglen at Metro PicturesSarah Ortmeyer at Chicago Manual of StyleOn Kawara at the Guggenheim,

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Past: On Kawara

"The dates point to a specificity that immediately is lost in largess and unknown, in the inability to circumscribe a date's entirety, or one man's marking of it. This distending distance between the signifier (the date) and its lost signified (the entirety of a day) is its affective pathos. .... The desire of viewers to find dates to which they can link "significance" eases the longing for the sign to conclude, to fill with meaning."

Read full: On Kawara at the Guggenheim

Monday, July 13, 2020

Paa Joe at High Museum of Art


Deploying Museological Context. On one hand all objects require information to mean within a history and context, and on the other the deluge of history can imply that these objects' interest is their illustration or worse, artifact, of that history. Implying at worst that the objects are less than commensurate with the history that wrought them. This conflict would seem less were it not that western objects were treated as not-necessarily-requiring didactics, that we still treat the modernist myths of abstract universality well-true-enough, get to hang a Jackson Pollock without explaining the history of sublimated dick-wagging.

Sunday, July 12, 2020

Felix Gonzalez-Torres at various places throughout the world


The contract for participating asks for images of the installations and that:
"It is understood that by providing these images, you are providing copyright-free permission for their use in online and print publications related to this exhibition, and for non-commercial use by the Felix Gonzalez-Torres Foundation, including on its website."
Which turns the cookies into machines for production, for producing the work, a system by which we all relate to each other through the image...

Joe Scanlan on FG-T in "Uses of Disorder":
      Most exemplary in this regard were the untitled paper and candy works, stacks and piles from which anyone could take a piece without returning it or diminishing the firsthand experience of anyone else. At the same time—and in apparent contradiction with that reception—this process of eternal deferral was a welcome panacea for a ruling class in need of a mechanism by which they could create the appearance of public generosity without having to disturb the supply chain of power....
     It demarcates a public site and then converts any events that transpire within the site into part of the work, into private property....
     But the most important characteristic of this dynamic is the refusal ... to appear powerful or acquisitive at all. This too is a kind of “wig,” a controlled ethos of casualness that conceals not only its intentions but also the act of concealment itself. The art and persona of Gonzalez-Torres thus mark an important transformation in the style and atmosphere of power, from the ordinal authority of modern capitalism to the pseudo-communitarianism of today. If the formal properties of 1960s Minimalism—hardness, geometry, impenetrability, silence—were aligned with those of the military industrial complex, then forty years later Gonzalez-Torres’s work exhibits precisely the inverse properties—flexibility, organicism, accessibility, eloquence—and yet aligns with the same thing: the dominant social order. Gonzalez-Torres’s signal accomplishment was his realization that the most expansive, pervasive way to amass power is to not seem powerful at all....
     These very features of Gonzales-Torres’s work parallel those of the Internet economy, where superficial, user-friendly atmospheres mask deeper emotional and psychological manipulations. In the startup days of any social network like BitTorrent, Facebook, or Twitter, part of the appeal is the excitement of feeling responsible for the construct by simply participating—and encouraging your friends to participate as well, since greater activity strengthens the construct and increases its functionality. How the construct can or will become profitable is a mystery to everyone involved, and this mystery is another part of its appeal. Everyone is free to pursue their own ends and these motivations are their own reward. Of course, joining the network requires surrendering your right to the value of any data your activities there might produce...
     ...although this production is mutual, the profits from it are not shared...
     One of the great unacknowledged truths in Gonzalez-Torres’s work, and in the chronic denigration of material pleasure in art in general, is that the call for nobler ambitions almost always comes from people with guaranteed incomes, of whom it can be said, if nothing else, that at least they know first-hand the evils of which they speak....
     ... who seized on the participatory aspects of his work as a kind of election to be won by the artist or curator who garners the most votes...
     That the political potency of Gonzalez-Torres’ work has atrophied but its beauty has not, however, demonstrates how timeless is beauty and how brief are notions of political access and cultural power in a technologically advanced society. It also confirms the class differences inherent in that inevitability—after all, Ars longa, vita brevis is rich people’s thinking. is dubious to maintain that Gonzalez-Torres’s sculptures are egalitarian or even generous in our time.
Past: Felix Gonzalez-Torres

"The now distance between becomes the very thing that is felt. [...] Time passes, causing eventual significance to rise and fall, events that become distant are felt against against the glaring alarm of today's violence, and the space between, the erosion and swelling of meaning, of emotion, like lungs breathing, like a tide going in and out... like candy refilling and taken."

Saturday, July 11, 2020

“Group Show” at Hussenot


Teenage and whether coy or sympathetic, not many want to prolong their teen proclivity, and here it is not only enshrined but endures, cast as art we don't grow out of but into. Comfort in not nostalgia but a return to adolescent states. What is true about our world is that the teenage years return as powerful forms of commodity.

see too: “Puddle, pothole, portal” at Sculpture Center

Friday, July 10, 2020

Kaspar Müller at Société


Because it stirs the pot, ripples the surface of mythos, of art, content. You cannot kill content if you tried because art is baggage, preloaded with a cultural et al. So make it look good on a wall, even toilet paper.

Read all posts tagged Kaspar Müller, Ripples in the Surface

K8 Hardy at Karma International


30 seconds of video, and images through glass, of a lifetime of outfits, enjoy your daily contemporary art.

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Rosie Lee Tompkins at BAMPFA


That paint has become the signifier of High Art seems arbitrary, a historical fluke, difficult to decide whether comical and infuriating. At different times tulips and tapestries were more valuable - commissioned paintings of tulips were mere souvenirs to the tulips themselves, etc. The shifting values of culture come with the ideological pretense that those values are either now ideal (progressive) or eternal (traditional), that painting, like diamonds, are and have always been, forever - the grand narrative hung in most western institutions. Greenbergian discussions of Painting in hindsight are comically infinitesimal  - Pollock's great breakthrough of image and object seems groundbreaking only in the history of paint, outside this very tight parameters the distinction is null. "Painting" becomes the history of paint, a substance as any other without the valorization of High Culture. And paint is dumb with that.

Monday, July 6, 2020

Jongsuk Yoon at Galerie nächst St. Stephan Rosemarie Schwarzwälder


Turning Frankenthaler into the cotton candy it's become for collectors, what was latent become libidinal. Stirring the surface into a delightfully consumable substance.

Sunday, July 5, 2020

Past: Mark Manders at Zeno X

"...This stasis, like a pause, blurs sculpture as its image, blur their bronze eternality with the fresh moment they inhabit. A moment replaced with its object. To be both an object and its ossification, the chair is still a chair even if it's a sculpture of it... It's a subtle thing treating the world as an image, masking the violence of our treatment of it as such."

Read full: Mark Manders at Zeno X

Saturday, July 4, 2020

Paul Lee at David Shelton


Composition is the stirred pot activating subterranean content. The dead drum highlights how far we've left the possibility of something, anything. Because nothing has become content.

see too: Paul Lee at MaccaronePaul Lee at Karma

Friday, July 3, 2020

Mark A. Rodriguez at Park View/Paul Soto


Too bad that "meme" came to mean the whatever-viral-image, rather than its original broader biological definition of any self-replicating social phenomenon. The specificization snipped a useful term for the reproduction/evolution of ideas/ideology, the way we pass along and create thought, deem it useful. Socrates' words living on in 2020 is a meme; Rupert Murdoch invented a memetic form of conservative dogma. The survivability of ideas. It's not propaganda but a much more supple thing, the ability to be not just striking images, but echoing on. To make ideology replicate, teach children thumbs up from thumbs down.

Thursday, July 2, 2020

Anna Zacharoff at Neue Alte Brücke


"...Drawing ripples in surface to activate the beneath, tap the vast depths of painting's cultural wealth"

Like cutting a rose from a watermelon, everyone wants the sweet fruit but we facet a composition. This is a metaphor for painting.
The watermelon in the metaphor is that essence "painting" - that unconscious object, myth, we all have some benign feelings towards, painting. And [Marlene] Dumas provides illustration: got famous for theatricalizing its juice struggling against the container, composition, corral.
Because it seems what we are actually pushing around on the canvas is the cultural object of painting. The canvas, support, oils, were long ago replaced by this mythos, the actual material, its signifiers, significance.
Paint becomes simply the candied shell to painting's cultural myth. Doesn't matter how thin because it's merely the container/shape of our love for "painting." As thin as marginally abstracted t-shirts. Drawing ripples in surface to activate the beneath, tap the vast depths of painting's cultural wealth, this the watermelon.

A lot of painting functions by tensioning the relationship between painting and its cultural myth - think the Neanderthalism of Joe Bradley, Krebber, or conceptually negated Sturtevant, the printer of Guyton, the signature of Josh Smith, the bruising history of von Wulffen, necrotics of Richter, the fordist production lines of Koons, Craven, Murakami, Kaws. Etc. Neurotic affairs with "painting." But occasionally painting succeeds by making us forget the relation to its myth, succeeds as a painting without history, paints something else and Painting we get to forget about.

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Josephine Pryde at Galerie Neu


Genre being the capsule that allows immediate swallowing: "They're about touch." What Isabelle Graw called "straightforwardly thematic." And so we understand them like a trojan horse, internalize with ease. Ostensibly later spring forths the latent soldiers, medicine. But it might be the gulping was the trick. Getting you to immediately get them. The cuteness of gerbils, the joke of consumption.