Monday, October 19, 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:

Sung Tieu at Emalin


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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 interpretiblity becomes their function. This is art, possibly. 


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

Past: Ei Arakawa

"turning an artwork to an interpretable state and blinking, tea leaf divination in sporty Vegas-odds inkblots. We're primed to see meaning in information, in art, particularly when so bright and shiny, and thus lots to be said, interpretation to be done, they'll pour forth all you are willing to extract from them. Perfect analysands. Like the wacky inflatable arm man drawing eyes to dealerships, Arakawa understands the qualifiers for "art," performing them with wacky panache, theatricalizing the artwork as a caricature of attention..."

"a system in which the production of artistic meaning is itself made clear as a series of gestures and movements that encode work with whatever aura is distinct to contemporary art separate from the objects subsumed."

"Arakawa's funneling of history into technologic codes (1959 Gutai represented on arduino Lite-Brite) [...] expressionist rendered binary, computational, circuitry and cells. History reappears, history still shines through, you get to exist as it...."


Read Full: Ei Arakawa at Kunstverein DusseldorfEi Arakawa at Taka Ishii & Peter Halley at Modern ArtKarl Holmqvist and Ei Arakawa at Overduin & Co.

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.

Friday, October 16, 2020

 Past: Sylvie Fleury 

“Fleury suggests art can be liberated from its reliance on constant innovation and complex physical formulation and relax instead into a sort of ne plus ultra of laissez faire “whateverism” which ups the ante on American “Slacker” culture’s aesthetics of resignation.”
-Adrian Dannatt

read: Sylvie Fleury at Karma InternationalSylvie Fleury at Karma
Past: Paul Mpagi Sepuya

"It's why so many photographers are want to document the youth, embodiment of the photograph's eternal nubility as we all die...

"The bodies work for the camera who is the master to be satiated. Which explains their machine-like affection. It's a more Hans-Breder-like photographic attitude, any sympathetic Tillmans-esque is fractured, the body formalized, turned to abstraction, which is a gore, a machine of equivocation, skin becomes fingerprinted glass becomes magazine flesh cut and pasted.  This is ostensibly fun but play and its dalliance gets close to frivolousness, becomes dangerous when you are machine shredding bodies



Read Full: Paul Mpagi Sepuya at DocumentPaul Mpagi Sepuya at Modern Art hosting Team Gallery

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Carolyn Lazard at Essex Street

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"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.




Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Past: Lin May Saeed

"Making art that expresses care for animals by carving it in material that - if left uncared for - would quickly degrade and release poisons to harm those animals depicted is sort like selling live grenades in a puppy shelter. Why not take a grenade home, why not take back some of this asbestos to protect the earth if not your home, these animals need you. Sort of expressing the suicide games pretty much everyone believes we're playing now in the anthropocene's foot-to-the-pedal towards brick walls type of time period."


Full: Lin May Saeed at Jacky StrenzLin May Saeed at Studio VoltaireLin May Saeed at Lulu

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Yong Xiang Li at Emanuel Layr


(link)

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. 
Past: Isa Genzken

"To make one of those statements that art writers have tendency to make based upon an inflated assessment of their own opinion's import [...] Bruce Nauman has passed the torch of most influential living artist to Isa Genzken. It happened in field about 4 years prior as part of a much unpublicized ceremony 28 miles due south of Santa Fe. Without fanfare, neither artist even leaving their respective vehicle, handed through lowered windows, Nauman reported to have said "Best of it." The two made eye contact and somewhere off a small goose was made to fly along with several terse press releases from the agency that assess such matters. It was said that Genzken's speed finally attained escape velocity from the crushing gravitation of Nauman's iron mire."

"Genzken founded strategies rather than objects, an artistic down-shifting, a speed that could overtake. "the most influential living artist not because everything looks like it, but because it predicated a conglomerate speed absorbing any last vestiges of particular attention to individuated objects" i.e. When we see Genzken we react to the deployment or manipulation/alteration to its strategy, the means of attending the object rather than object itself. Weirdly deny the consumptive act of looking by permanently existing in a state of limbo.."

Monday, October 12, 2020

Keren Cytter at Kunst Museum Winterthur





(link)
"In a more recent video, Killing Time Machine, a bunch of friends are sitting around, eating Chinese takeout food, talking about a deceased parent, reading old letters, communing, and so on, but everything is very flat—the dialogue, the energy. There’s no emotion. I was interested in literally making a machine that kills time, in seeing how I could make a movie become something physical, like a machine. Watching it, you’re aware that you’re wasting your time—it tells you that in the title—but you keep watching it for some reason."
The limits of our connection to the power of video narrative tested.
Past: Josef Strau

"The way butterflies seem garish and unnecessary to a world and inspire our wrath so children crush them and artists crush them against canvas, looking for ways to bejewel our production, steel it against the unpleasant taste of mouths eating coin. They're fine in that way of pleasantness, pinnacle of subservience that is the crux of high dollar abstraction, submission to their surroundings by letting it walk all over them."

"These are much uglier ...  And Straus's text begins with an almost apology for the exhibition, which reminds of how endeared we all were to artists failing ten years ago."
"A hail mary pass to capture, touch down, on some meaning."

 "Strau’s concurrent rise with the hegemony of the art's image (say, CAD) makes a sense. Strau attaching text to image, delaying reception by giving words to its arrival at the moment it made it consumable without giving it away. This was huge."

Saturday, October 10, 2020

Josefine Reisch at Noah Klink

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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.


Friday, October 9, 2020

Past: Pieter Schoolwerth at Miguel Abreu

"... the stylistically performative running the permutations of their look. ... aptly describe the loss of your viewer-self within, metaphor for the free floating body that everyone everywhere is at pains to describe but not touch. So we’ll say it here, it hurts to touch nothing. So when looking at the coldness and feeling the stylistic chrome they contain know it’s a real possibility."


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


(link)

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


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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.


Friday, October 2, 2020

Past: Richard Hawkins

"collage becomes important as the collisions of the world's disparate systems become increasing violent, and the Surrealists and Frankfurters were wrong that irrational juxtapostion would spark any mass as the world world became the biggest surrealist juxtaposition of all, and that collage in the larger sense - the sense that Hawkins has practiced since the beginning - was meant instead to make "alternative forms of touch" as soft touchdowns, as a sort of pathos? The decrepit sexual patina grown over Hawkins work wasn't always so. There were once clean young men paper-clipped to fields of bright fabric, and anyone was yet to be beheaded."