Saturday, October 31, 2020

Cindy Sherman at Metro Pictures


"Renowned for her depictions of female stereotypes" says the PR.

"From the first lightning bolts of Cindy Sherman's Untitled Film Stills, the artworld continuously electrified by depictions of women in societal bondage gear. Artists depicting the strictures that force women to conform to cultural mores; images of women made, if only momentarily, powerless or complicit. Which whose artistic doubling, or performance of, is the critique. ... And despite the critical intention's now obvious powerlessness to successfully confront or diminish such roles - as evidenced by its 40 years of continuous updating and still ringing true - Sherman et al. enjoy success in the market, press, and critical etceteras."

Critical etceteras amounting to mostly, "haha women are constructed."

Art needs to contend with the fact that - if its cultural critique was successful - it would outmode itself to that culture, make itself irrelevant. So what is 40 years of Sherman's critique? That not only is Sherman still successfully mocking the mores of "woman" but also the  re-regurgitations of Sherman-esque in younger careers. That, maybe, there is no critique at all, maybe culture just enjoys the befuddlment of women.

See too: Amalia Ulman at The Gallery at El Centro,

Thursday, October 29, 2020

Past: Danh Vo

"allows legend to become perfume, an adornment mystifying its objects. Like an unironic Jason Rhoades, exhibitions become spaces for the process of mythification. Whereas for Rhoades it was a comic process of figurative trash becoming hokey possibility for art, for Vo the pre-christened becomes involved in the permutations of further embedding it in objects. ... The aura of art, of objects, is somehow smeltable, is made able to be repoured into new objects.... Vo is a factory for this witchcraft, for the production of belief in these ghosts. ... that somehow (through conceptual art) we've equated the aura of art with the mythologizing of objects with a narrative, a press release. Replaced something's raison d'être with any reason for being whatsoever."

Read full: Venice 2019, Danh Vo, & at kurimanzutto

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Pieter Slagboom at Bridget Donahue


Like, whereas outlines illustrate, designates (instructs), the contour line caresses, warms its figure with all its touch, not so much states its figure as rubs it. Probably why these look closer to surrealist frottage than drawing: the whole thing must be touched to make it appear. This is a metaphor. Humans aren't so much plumbing and cartoons as little haptic nubs that touch and feel and bone. "...your fingers developed small wounds from the pressure exerted on the pencil." "PS: I was disappointed because I could not feel the pencil anymore. The tenderness disappeared. [...]when I press down every day for a whole week.  Between the skin and the bone, finger padding begins to vanish, and the pencil makes contact with the bone, which is very very painful." You do not think the subject, but physical touch to manifest it. We get sick, a pandemic exists, and proximity feels like physical air, no meniscus, no barrier at all, everyone sharing each others heat. Spirituality seems to emerge as an any-alternative-to-this, escapes the restrictive cookie outline of "the normal" cartoon. And which, see here figuration too jettison the general cartoon delineation, drawing's outline becomes instead its Red Studio absentia, line its ghost.

See too: Miriam Cahn at Meyer Riegger

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

 Past: Victor Man at The Central Pavilion

"..brooding tinctures in the hieroglyphs of a new puzzle form of painting, the explicit clarity of subjects, revealed flatly, become illustrations of a mysterioized subject withheld. The more overt the “subject,” the harder we fall into its promise of illustrating something, meaning..."

Read full: Victor Man at The Central Pavilion

 Past: Gedi Sibony

"It had been exciting then, its barely-thereness, so slight, that "unfinished too soon" look we all at that point had craved, the provisional existence we felt stood in for life ... There was something so charming about its lack of artistry, the almost not art that it now just sorta looks like."

"The small pleasure of Sibony's found paintings is their modernist uncanny within vernacular abstraction. That those uncaring, underpaid to blot out corporate logos for truck's resale, might - through dumb luck or undiscovered brilliance - have painted something fine. ...  That brushstrokes without art intention always look best, and these just made to cover, to stop beer from selling itself, so painting could."

Read full: Gedi Sibony at Greene NaftaliVenice: Gedi Sibony at The Arsenale

Monday, October 26, 2020

Jacolby Satterwhite at Mitchell-Innes & Nash


The Matthew Barney libidinal excess launched it into the limitless - into the psychic space, the virtual as fantasy stage. A closer representation of fantasy in etherous technology. The virtual space is both new and the same - it the blank canvas or the chunk of marble - mere projection screens, space to manifest, desire. It is art itself that is the realm that allows for this, our fantasy mmorpg; and it is the gallery that is the true virtual space, both everywhere and nowhere, excess in its ascetics. The gallery provides the fantasy of fantasy, that this is all somehow new, or even progress, that we're actually inventing something, simply because it exists. But objects are not invention. Even in virtual fantasy. The pathos of Satterwhite is that it is old. 

Friday, October 23, 2020

K8 Hardy at Reena Spaulings


The seemingly obvious in art shouldn't itself be a criticism since, well, Greenbergian abstraction was itself pretty obvious confrontation with some psychoanalytically blank wall stained with all those painterly headbutts of a phallic order. "less surface, perhaps, than receptacle" the press release nails. Just like all those stiff socks for male expression.

Sure it's yet another inkblot test for endless interpretation, but at least it's got a frame to shape it. Like tea leaves, like expression's seminal drips, this at least owns the navel it gazes with.

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Past: Henrik Olesen

"the filthy human Olesen has, for a while now, been stuffing in crevasses" "flakes like your dead skin collecting under beds with dirt as dust, the cells that Olesen keeps adhering like wet toilet paper to everything, and the hangnails sticking out from walls, an imitation game of filth, waste failing to crystallize packagability, use, the matter of bodies that meaninglessly accumulate, failing representation."

Read full:
Henrik Olesen at Schinkel Pavilion
Henrik Olesen at Cabinet
Henrik Olesen at Reena Spaulings
Gerry Bibby, Henrik Olesen at Sismógrafo

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Past: D’Ette Nogle at Bodega 

'manifesting pedagogy and social reproduction in object form was never going to be exactly 'fun,' and the soft-authority is deployed with a humor so dry as to almost be nonexistent... and even when the stand-up exists it is deprecated to near loss, fury, all but calling the whole thing, whole project, the teacher that Nogle is as 'fucking losers.'" 

"And Nogle's interest in this loveably unfun thing we call bureaucracy seems to be for its hairy, ensnaring and otherwise tangly qualities. Enjoyment seems less important than the slowly painting and then identifying one's hands, yours and hers, with a faint perfume of red, so that 'you're going to regret clapping in the end.'"

Read full: D’Ette Nogle at Bodega 

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Emily Sundblad at Campoli Presti


Will these become that asterisk you see in history books: "Sundblad, a 00s gallerist known for launching the careers of [vaguely still alive artists] also exhibited her own paintings at [several galleries you faintly recall.]" Betty Parsons Gallery exists more as myth now, and her art floats down to today as rare and impossible fragments. The PR already attempts something like mythos: Sundblad as an "exile" painting "plein air on a marble balcony of the Hotel Negresco in Nice." But wait! A romance we are warned against: "the Negresco’s owner once told Bill Gates that purchasing the hotel would be well beyond his means. This moldiness has no price, she meant: a time zone inaccessible to a contemporary technocrat." But I guess these paintings can purchase it, or attempt to own some of it. Why else tell us the vintage? Romance like a wine purchased on vacation and sold to your friends. Now you can own a bit of that french villa, a piece of the world before it sinks, paintings made before the world became techno. Souvenirs of history, however artificial. 

Monday, October 19, 2020

Sung Tieu at Emalin


Astrology like tarot cards finds alliance with art since the artwork has mutated to be less an object of beauty than a fount for interpretation. Art having gone from object to oracle. The point of art begins to be setting the spheres to rotate so they may occasionally align, a machine for semio-recombination we could call meaning. Artists become not merely the recombinators of signs, but the producers of machines to do this, to be turned to on, set to run. Endless interpretability becomes their function. This is art, possibly. 

Astrology: Ei Arakawa at Kunstverein Dusseldorf 
Tarot: Juliette Blightman, Dorothy Iannone at Arcadia MissaCaitlin Keogh at Bortolami

Saturday, October 17, 2020

Trenton Doyle Hancock at James Cohan

A lot of artists have taken a lot from Guston with less honesty than this. Call those thefts the affect of Guston, the style stuck to painting. Very rare that someone goes to the sources themselves, the storytelling devices Guston himself stole from, comics or de Chirico. But it's a more interesting painting when you aren't just stealing painting en abyme. Things lose definition in endless mirrors. There are a lot more interesting things than painting. Perhaps Guston's cartoon point. The point of a politics, a concrete thing. And the comics are great.

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Carolyn Lazard at Essex Street


"Heat as a replacement for warmth." A band-aid to stand in for mother's compression. "a world we must continually attenuate." We design a "humanity" and it reappears in alien forms. You can't redesign warmth; you design its substitute. Technologies of the human. Of "care." The Journal of Technologies of Care. Because we don't, or can't, care. Aliens emerge. Colby Chamberlain channels Marta Russell: the Americans with Disabilities Act that G.H.W. Bush "signed into law to trim welfare rolls." Neoliberal care, freedom for the "uncompensated labor necessary to reproduce oneself day after day." Adorno channels Tocqueville:  "tyranny leaves the body free and sets to work directly on the soul. The ruler no longer says: ‘Either you think as I do or you die.’ He says: ‘You are free not to think as I do; your life, your property – all that you shall keep. But from this day on you will be a stranger among us.’" Care made equivalent to function. Efficacy equivalent to its efficiency.

So much art currently deploys and compostionalizes medical/insitutional aesthetics but rarely cares for its material conditions. And so what happens when Gober sinks are stripped of their touch and we are left with a stainless version- scientifically designed to shed the human. A world that won't purify on its own. We continually design a world that is hospitable in all ways but human.

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Yong Xiang Li at Emanuel Layr


The returns of overt sentimentality chimes with our nostalgic times, its longing, wistfulness, or its hate filled "again." Building apparatus to suspend this ephemeral world: a wallpaper's pleasance like a tissue against fire. 

Saturday, October 10, 2020

Josefine Reisch at Noah Klink


Organization and display systems become the forms we think in, render the world, Tufte et al.  Google images, the iPhone, the interfacization of everything becomes predominant, and children swipe at books. Approach paintings as if they too are systems of information, signs, or, worse, informative. Reisch confusing these aspects of decoration. The decoration becomes the sign it always was. Composition trades its fine line with organization.

Thursday, October 8, 2020

Past: 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. ... the mere shapes of human we're all pantomiming on Zoom, [humans] indistinguishable from any sufficiently complex animatronic."

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Austin Lee at Peres Projects


Part of the fun of bad painting is learning to love it. Same reason why some people like pictures of gore: to have an authority over the repulse. An enjoyment to finding the next level of trash, a little further to the new bedrock of stupidity. This is enjoyable. Just when you think painting can't get any worse, it gets a little worse. Vertigo in bad taste. Now here we have representations of bad taste. The difference between painting badly and making paintings of bad things. It would seem to absolve the painter, who blames the world for his representation, as if to say, "I am merely the recorder." "Look how well I have painted the dead clown" In the evolution of the dreadfulness in art, is the next step bad paintings that tries to pass themselves off as proficient? Truly awful, yes.

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Kate Spencer Stewart at Park View/Paul Soto

Slow paintings seem like one of the old white male professor ideas alongside Truth to materials or content or whatever. But we are in fact all scopophiliacs. We like looking at things. And things can be nice, and they can be slow and that doesn't have to be antique. And these all look like water and all feel like sitting by the river watched slow.

Monday, October 5, 2020

assume vivid astro focus (a.v.a.f.) at Hussenot


This really was a thing at one time wasn't it. Art was more like a technology designing a machine to fill space. And artists became the machine, symbiote to the institution. This was before the Museum of Ice Cream and Meow Wolf and just as the art industry was shifting to more populous modes of representation, leading to an installationism everywhere suddenly "fun" which hung precipitously over the entertainment "experience" industry it then immediately fell into. This machinic symbiosis with institutions is sometimes described as careerism, professional assimilation, but the careermay simply be the shell protecting the soft inner art, the machine instead adopts itself to the space it can fill, modulates to the institution, a service performed, rendered, filling art space.