Saturday, September 26, 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:

Berta Fischer at Barbara Weiss

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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

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"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 rotten.com. 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


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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


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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. 

Thursday, September 17, 2020

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


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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

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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


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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



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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


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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


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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


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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


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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


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"...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


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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

Past: 

"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


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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

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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