Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Juliette Blightman, Dorothy Iannone at Arcadia Missa


...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 charm for wealth eventually brings it through stubborn physical existence 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. Thus objects are imbued with meaning. Tarot cards tell you they are meaningful.

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.

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Agnes Scherer at Sans titre (2016)


We should be exceedingly skeptical of comparing artistry and servanthood. Art isn't service. Fraser's existential question “What do I, as an artist, provide?” comes to mind. Or Bourdieu:
"cultural producers tend to feel solidarity with the occupants of the economically and culturally dominated positions within the field of class relations. Such alliances, based on homologies of position combined with profound differences in condition, are not exempt from misunderstandings and even bad faith."

That said, the PR does fine corralling why such affinities might exist. And Flaubert's novel and parrot are made for metaphor. The parrot dead and our heavenly afterlife: an art career. Anyway, write what you know. The professionalization of art is pain, our lives are increasingly disembodied and neuroticized. Paintings of laptops make sense, they are our story.

Monday, September 28, 2020

Helen Mirra at Nordenhake


"As measurements of time and being, the 13 woven pieces capture in yarn the somatic activities of standing, extending arms, articulating hands, breathing, and sensing."

The Marxist commodity fetish was, confusingly named, our mistaken relation to capital's objects as an economic rather than human social relations, it was a concealment: the aluminum clamshell of your laptop being seen as economic product of capital innovation itself, rather than the hand-sweat of laborers distanced beneath gloves. A price tag for a face. Almost nothing is this world is actually automated - everything you touch is hand-made by workers. This separation of our social relations we've so completely assimilated that labor itself returns as a literal fetishism, stitches mark this labor, look compelling, can be brought out onto white walls, as aura, as artwork. Every cheap objects is an equal tapestry. The stitches in time are smoother, hidden. Hold up your child's plastic toy and feel another at its end.

Sunday, September 27, 2020

Laurent Dupont, Lisa Jo at Braunsfelder Laurent Dupont


You paint the thing over the thing, a face over your face, a representation getting closer and closer to its object until, well, they touch, link, and representation adsorbs, becomes, its object. A history of attempts to kill the artwork - here make a painting so redundant as to negate it - always fail - but we find them titillating, art as thing that cannot be killed. In its place a ghost of it.

Saturday, September 26, 2020

Berta Fischer at Barbara Weiss


Stuf. Crushed and molded into gangbangs. Not even necessarily organized or compositionalized, more just amassed. The "errancy" here would be against manners of taste, more an orgy, an excess. Stuf itself accrues a byproduct: a quality we could attempt to separate the difference from surplus and glut; exuberance and waste.

Kathleen Ryan at Ghebaly Gallery, Valerie Keane at High Art

Friday, September 25, 2020

Past: Phung-Tien Phan

"... placing a thing on another thing. Foregrounding the ghost who've arranged the space, the artist's hand, both magnifying their leave while highlighting the staging. of the encounter. Like Broodthaers' potted palms casting the scene in its artifice, it makes the ghosts come out, those who constructed its object for you, tombs where flowers have been left."

Read full: Phung-Tien Phan at Bonner Kunstverein

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Sydney Schrader at Gandt


"Experimental" would ostensibly insinuate "new" and "untested" forms, but more often applied by readers unwilling to do the work required or by artists themselves successfully applying for European grants. At worst experimental is synonym for obtuse, or, when applied to oneself, intentional obfuscation. "Off-spaces" generally assume "experimental" perhaps simply because a lack of white walls encumbers the usual halo identifying what is and "isn't" the art. Which generally also applies to the documentation, 00s web-design like memories of The point is to enjoy the experience, be lost, possibly click on some gore, not make sense of something. It's annoying, sure. But occasional "titillation" was part of Gandt's success was finding for the perfect venue for a tickle fetish "novel." Or a dissociative text. Think Lynch's Inland Empire, enough nonsense that eventually you open to it.

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Raha Raissnia at Marta Cervera


Contraptions to capture the "ephemeral," make it tangible - nets for the schools of fish-like light.  The sculpture sediments feeling into rock; the painter, paint. Ostensibly. We seem to value art for its packaging. At some points in history more ephemeral forms of art were prized, say, songs because we didn't yet have books, and so whether this is a symptom of capitalism or of art is hard to tell. Fish in the ocean do not generate value by swimming, but being collected, in parks or nets. As an entry ticket or its meat. A reservation for entry, a thing to be gathered around.

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

"There's a published panel discussion 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

Monday, September 21, 2020

Past: Louisa Gagliardi at Open Forum

"...cartoon mirroring our model's own el Grecoing bodies into lanky warbling sticks, printed in advert sweat, inks, magazine glass. That wet look, pavement in the rain under sodium streetlamps, inky, in the surfaces where even the lighting appears moisturized."
"A whole exhibition today called PVC fetishism - that the youthful today, raised in glass-inflected magazines, slick cartoons, feed though plastic, eventually adopt affinities for that torrent of slickness, we start to print our dreams on vinyl."

Saturday, September 19, 2020

“Crumple” at VIN VIN


A sort of paganism that pervades. In this exhibition and elsewhere, we smear paint, assemble objects, to arrange something like "meaning." A like-meaning, or an affect of it. A yule pole for every occasion. 

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.

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

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

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

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

Contemporary Art Writing Quarterly: Material Porn

In case you’d like to spend a while absorbed in the universe of a single trend, you might like to visit Contemporary Art Writing Quarterly, where we publish deep archives of the trends of artists.

This week, we’re featuring the archive of Materialphilia, where you can find writing about the trend for material porn.

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.