Friday, February 28, 2020

Nicolas Ceccaldi

"the indulgence of style seems the point, the running theme throughout Ceccaldi's: oversaturation of 'content,' a new version of camp: 'ostentatious, exaggerated, affected, theatrical.'  It's an blanket you put on things to make them appear new. You put dark fairy wings on young children, attach biomorphic toy-parts to video cameras, remake Beethoven with the signs of the dungeon dweller, paint it black and turn it upside down and suddenly people react to the affect rather than any individual content"

Read full: Nicolas Ceccaldi at Le ConsortiumNicolas Ceccaldi at Real Fine ArtsAnna Uddenberg and Nicolas Ceccaldi at MEGA FoundationNicolas Ceccaldi at Project Native InformantNicolas Ceccaldi at Mathew

Thursday, February 27, 2020

Jordan Wolfson at Sadie Coles HQ


The success of a Wolfson artwork seems how effective the lures are in ensnaring us. The spectacle is always just the technologic bait for the game in which seemingly innocuous - but visually seductive - elements become easily quagmired in overlapped semantic dissonance. Even the James Lee Byars childhood works read like a technology for affective means, a product. This formalizing the world of course causes tension: "political trends and topics, but seemingly only for decorative purposes." Wolfson himself: “It creates a kind of poker face of absurdity to the artwork that negates meaning. They can’t load meaning into it, because it. Just. Doesn’t. Work.”  But we refuse to believe this, we can't believe something that could affect us could be meaningless. That Wolfson has become of the most famous of his generation is a case study in what the artworld demands from its artists. Attention without anything to attend to, a blank slate with bait. Wolfson seems have become a search for new technologic means to repeat the same fantasies.

See too: Jordan Wolfson at David ZwirnerJames Lee Byars at VeneKlasen/WernerBlankness
Past: Jordan Wolfson at David Zwirner

"Wolfson is a semio super-villain, weaponizing Naumanian irony to undermine affective means.  [using signs, objects] which establish identification-with (the artist's interest in the gaze and facial recognition tech as well as nostalgia and cultural mythos) only to systematically abuse and deplete that link through endless tonal dissonance and juxtaposition, e.g. playing saccharine love-songs while a boy who looks into our eyes is repeatedly dragged and dropped onto concrete from a steel marionette of the artist's hand, basically irradiating the gold underpinning our emotive currency, held hostage and tortured."

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Giulia Essyad at Cherish


Between libidinal corporeality on one end and cybernetic dislocation of consciousness on the other. Between concrete cake and blue screen fantasy. Between touch and imagination. The gulf between and its discrepancy we're all trying to currently deal with.

See too: Juliana Huxtable at Reena SpaulingsMaterialphilia

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Jon Pylypchuk at Petzel


What had been a more formal torture of our facial tendencies, is now a wanton mass, a poopy stuff. Pylypchuk had stretched pareidolia to absurdity; you can disfigure a face into extreme proportions and still see human. They were cleaner children then. Proportions were used with a comic's timing. The endless use little arms, doofy mouths, and hyperbolized eyes like a child aroused to Saturday morning TV. Affective little terrors. Infantile features triggering nurture responses in adults. And now I guess we deal with the nappies too, very pop-grunge.

Monday, February 24, 2020

Frances Stark at greengrassi


Country and date of US coups looming over pop songs from that year. The level of frission between the two varies.* Grand Funk Railroad's 1973 hit is pretty apt: "We're an American band / We're comin' to your town / We'll help you party it down." Others are less on the nose. The discrepancy provides the interpretability, that poetic fissure. The internal disjuncture on a semantic completion, allowing that sort of blank state that you dear viewer get to ink your own adventure into, wall text or otherwise.  This would be a much less interesting if Stark hadn't for a long time now been investing in bedroom posters as self-construction, adolescent in the good sense. The point isn't being political but in construction oneself as political.

see too: John Baldessari at Sprüth Magers
Past: Frances Stark

"They're her own bedroom posters. Pay attention, it's an outline of escape, that subjectivity can conform to the vessel without losing its shape, or so Stark would wager."

"Stark’s teenage formality, her posters and videos, though clean, contain a level of humanist existential goo. ... drawing from DIY-punk ethos letting it all hang out, a gesture towards admitting the cultural disposability of art practice based in images today that stands over the face of the Deep, Instagram. Artists can’t get over it, blasted in an unstoppable deluge of culture daily. With so many “dealing with it,” detourning it into art, [...] Stark’s insistence in the forms cheapness itself, its mixtape assemblage of a disposable music video, affirms her as one of the few who actually get it."
Past: Lily van der Stokker

"Lisa Frank feminism posits an ironic fuck-all to neurotic questioning of gender paranoia's possibility of stereotype, of pink; e.g. “Parenting the non-girlie girl,” “Loving Pink for Boys, Haiting it for Girls,” “Pink and Blue,” “Toemageddon 2011,” “In Praise of Pink Polish,” “When did girls start wearing pink” “Saving our Daughter from an Army of Princesses,” and “What’s the Problem with Pink Anyway?” A baseline existential question: how am I not myself? I can be who I want to be, but will everyone know that I am being who I want to be? recursive mise-en-abyme into self’s abyss..."

"The cute design abutting flat footed niceties. That despite greeting card's insistence of overflowing sentimentality, van der Stokker’s skepticism over the clean pre-packaged prose instead inserts the more human version of awkward phrasing, misguided explanations and childish self-congratulation.."

Read full Lily van der Stokker at Koenig & Clinton, Lily van der Stokker at Air de Paris

Sunday, February 23, 2020

Lina Viste Grønli at Christian Andersen


Attempting to short circuit the conduit/loop by placing tongue already in objects. The words inside my head are no longer mine. Someone sitting on your shoulder, expecting you. Common to Lina Viste Grønl.

Saturday, February 22, 2020

Dashiell Manley at Jessica Silverman


A lot painting today is excuses for getting bright striking colors onto canvas. Paint excused because we don't trust "expression." PRs become the spellcasting against anything that could be mistaken for irrational, and we spit-firing reasons, definitions, reference, backloading the work to look like weight. The compressive strength of bamboo. Excuses become important when we've conflated painting with its history. Both the history of the art-form, in which painting must become a marker for its own context, a placeholder of itself, for curators to elucidate, but also because of this the individual canvas must have a raison. This is the tension of all that neanderthal painting, of trying to make paintings so stupid it couldn't possibly be mistaken as reasonable. And yet here we are. Perhaps brilliance, like Grotjahn, in just not even excusing oneself. A confusion of whether or not these are dumb.

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Past: Fergus Feehily at Misako & Rosen

"Against everyone else's returns to modernism Feehily's could seem one more scuzz on the pond [...] Instead, perhaps like Raoul De Keyser, a mining for some odd uncanny version. [...] their off-elegance. Paintings like the underdog, we root for them. Like wearing [Modernism's] fur-coat with a runny-nose.

Read full: Fergus Feehily at Misako & Rosen

Alan Ruiz at Bad Reputation


More art as the cargo cult, the displayed droppings of dominant culture, broken into artifacts, and presented it in our white altars to press heads against it. We used to draw aurochs on cave walls; we relocate the world into art, to make it manipulable in our realm, sandbox, aesthetics. To stand in for control. Aesthetics becomes the religion of fictionalized understanding. It substitutes its little problem for the one big problem. And therefore claims knowledge, and thus domain.
If the dominance of mass culture includes threat to diminish art, [a diminishing] that we could call castration, then art's transmuting that culture into fetish item is classic Freud: it is "a token of triumph over the threat of castration and a protection against it." i.e. You can't cut off what I own of yours.
Do the Gods know we exist?

Cargo cults: Sylvie Fleury at KarmaYngve Holen at Kunsthalle BaselYngve Holen at Modern ArtYngve Holen at Modern Art (2)David Lieske at MUMOKYngve Holen at Fine Arts, Sydney,  Rachel Harrison at Whitney MuseumSean Raspet at Jessica Silverman

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Kristy Luck at Philip Martin


More ambiguous abstraction. [T]rends of biomorphics, its use of vague forms, distributed referents, the sort of innuendo formation of meaning. Whats in your head may not lay in mine. Instead clouds to see objects in, named with the words that assign more meaning to us than the [paintings] which reflect them. Overlay information until it blurs, slips, spreads like inkblots. A cat butt appears but perhaps only in me.
This feels symptomatic of something.

See too:  Lucy Bull at High ArtAlice Tippit at Night ClubLui Shtini at Kate WerbleRon Nagle at Modern ArtVincent Fecteau at greengrassiNairy Baghramian at Museo TamayoNairy Baghramian at Marian Goodman Larry Poons at Michael Jon & AlanLucy Bull at High ArtOlga Balema at High ArtOlga Balema at High Art (2Miho Dohi at Crèvecœur

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Past: Kirsten Pieroth at Mathew

"Residuals, remains, ashes, essence, marks, history, artifact. Your own level of animism denies or allows belief in encoding memory into objects. Or be like an On Kawara painting, encapsulating the object by presenting its ghost. Our fingerprints are ours, but we cannot be created from them. We leave traces, deformations in the world in our shape. At the end, ashes; perhaps your name scratched in history, or a hint of your face in a generation of children, offspring who are getting the residuals. But the object is gone, and like all behaved conceptual art there is a story.

read full: Kirsten Pieroth at Mathew

Monday, February 17, 2020

An-My Lê at Marian Goodman


We killed truth in the documentary, so photographs now adopt a sort of totemic blank state, slow and brooding. The peppering of vast landscaps becomes ominous. Fruit trees come with our knowledge of their labor, the perhaps original guilt they carry. We have come to, at root, fear photography. We have come to acknowledge that photographs carry a guilt. And when it's bigger it is worse because there is larger tray for it.

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Miho Dohi at Crèvecœur


Tuttle's never really resembled, their garbage was formal compositions from whatever looking like nothing more than art. They looked like art. Which was its own politics then. But Dohi's resemble, recall unplaceable things, which is our politics now. Resemblance was dirty back then, we wanted purity in forms, because clouded abstraction led to impure thoughts. Why do we desire allusive formalism now? Fecteau, Baghramian, Balema, Nagle, et al. Is still a latent surrealism? The shifting space of ambiguous "clouds" saying that one looks like a rabbit but never knowing it.

See too: Vincent Fecteau at greengrassiLui Shtini at Kate WerbleRon Nagle at Modern ArtNairy Baghramian at Walker Art Center?Nairy Baghramian at Museo TamayoNairy Baghramian at Marian Goodman Larry Poons at Michael Jon & AlanLucy Bull at High ArtOlga Balema at High ArtOlga Balema at High Art (2)
Past: Miho Dohi at Hagiwara Projects jewelry brazed from trash. ...something so fungal about them, lichens atop autonomous crust. ... feel fragile, like cripple ducklings we wish to care for because they can actually be wounded.

read full: Miho Dohi at Hagiwara Projects

Saturday, February 15, 2020

Sam Lewitt at Miguel Abreu


Lewitt seems to invent covers for books, images that contain a promise, alluding to some deeper richer story. Instead we get a press release. The world and the processes that comprise these objects are interesting, in the future as the works become historical documents of these technologies possibly the art will become too. Not a book by its cover and all that.

see too: Sam Lewitt at Kunsthalle Basel

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Kim Gordon at 303


At a certain point you can cash in the cred you've made by pressing tokens of it. Baseball cards of your occasionally-sublimated visage. For the collector. This show isn't about surveillance or the "intimacy surreptitiously undermined by insidious, unseen forces", unless maybe about the fact that Gordon is famous and feels like people are constantly sticking a camera in her face. Where a gathering could actually feel like surveillance. Who would acoustically render Wonderwall there? Gordon has a different level of surveillance than the rest; which is why we're here. Which is why there's a campfire of monitors in the middle to remember why we are here. The most interesting works are the ceramics, in which we watch someone famous be sort of middling and naive at something, making them human sculptures. They're the only things not cool, cold and deflecting.

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Paul Mpagi Sepuya at Modern Art hosting Team Gallery


We call this "his exploration of the dynamics of intimacy." But here's the deal, this nudity rarely feels intimate; it is awkward, stiff, bodies look uncomfortable trying to bend a composition. 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.

See too: “Automatic Door” (Mark McKnight) at Park View / Paul Soto
Past: Paul Mpagi Sepuya at Document

"It's why so many photographers are want to document the youth, embodiment of the photograph's eternal nubility as we all die...
"...flaunting the camera as possessor, the machine which embeds the photographic capture as loss, everything moving away from the machine indexing time ... These people, these bodies, moved away from this moment and its crux the camera ... It's horribly romantic but it's true, time intransigently on, surely stupid to point out, but painful to see every-time we see it ....  see you then."

Read Full: Paul Mpagi Sepuya at Document

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Hadi Fallahpisheh at CENTRAL FINE


Ah the virtualization of our white space made manifest with a blown out shutter. Letting the light in. That vertigo you feel when the floor falls out, little rooms traded for infinite white void, us floating. This is the world Fallahpisheh draws in photographically, would be the read here. But this is the world we all draw in, this is our world, this is just more literal.

Past: Andrew Norman Wilson at Futura

"It's seductive, the power of film, the strategies of advertising that is basically the solution film is now developed in. The way, remembered, a certain insurance commercial could make my mother weep and then laugh as quickly at the ridiculousness of her emotive connection to commercial effigies, fictionalized death's emotional wounding and immediately proffered palliative with horns soaring: 'AARP life insurance,'" "It is today's form of slapstick; physical comedy is replaced with emotional spanking, our weeping no use against a master's hand, he'll give you emotional candy when it's over. Buster Keaton on the piano."

Read full: Andrew Norman Wilson at Futura

David Snyder at Michael Benevento


We used to see work like this all the time, the rickety Oursler, Rhoades, Dave Hullfish Bailey, Michael Smith wet cardboard kinda humor assemblage.  But in an artworld that today attempts to find visual artifacts for touch and feel, we see endless sculptures instead fetishizing its own materialism with a sort of Carol Bove like cabinet of the past's material curiosities: The lumpy crusty and rough hewn, sanded and polished. Whereas the above instead sort of nihilistically hate-loves its own trashiness, self ironizes with its own crudeness. And in a world where everything is being virtualized and drywalled this ironic janky-ness feels cruel; it is the dominant situation. So today we find comfort in artists preserving little butterfly collections of the "real" that at once may have been considered "authentic." The above coagulates all the crap of the demolishing today. That this isn't fun anymore.
I think this worked in the past because we didn't actually fear it, it was titillating, and now it is real fear. Check out The Guano here.

See too: Materialphilia

Monday, February 10, 2020

Past: Ellen Gronemeyer

"Chagal for Dubuffet fans, smiling manically."
"Amy Sherlock in Freize relates Gronemeyer's anecdote, learning ballet: 'She didn’t know the steps, but something stuck with her: the teacher telling the dancers to "grin as stupidly as possible", to imagine they were totally idiotic. To be relieved of the tell-tale responsibility of her own expressions, to abdicate the need for the correspondence between outer appearance and psychological reality, was, Gronemeyer found, totally liberating.'"

Read full: Ellen Gronemeyer at Karin GuentherEllen Gronemeyer at greengrassi

Saturday, February 8, 2020

Dara Friedman at Kunstverein Harburger Bahnhof


Our documentation are starting to look like those bad architectural renderings, cardboard people pasted by their creator's magnificent invisible hand. The same god hand that conjures the condos for the cardboard people. Figurants whose job is to lack agency, to not revolt.

There was more film clips last time here.

Friday, February 7, 2020

Davina Semo at Ribordy Thetaz


Exercises in the statue-ization of materiality, to cast the lumpy is shiny permanence. It is at once a romanticization of the material world (which must be made monument) at the same time it treats it like a virtualization, as if you can clip out little sections of the world and freeze them with injections of liquid metal. I interminably think of the butterfly scientist, the artist who preserves his beloved by killing them. Isn't it enough to just play with clay, dough? Do we need to press them into coins with titles and dates beneath them?


Thursday, February 6, 2020

Caitlin Keogh at Bortolami


Illustration is meant to bring clarity, to denote, delineate, resolve. So when it draws surrealism there's a tension in the elegant lines not necessarily clarifying.* But what is important is that we feel something is being told, explained. Like if John Wesley designed Tarot cards, pearls for pentacles or whatever. The Tarot illustration provides it's own oracle, meaning. I guess the illusionary orbs also serve to retension the flatness, "the roughly two inches of depth" that had become its own trend, "the depth of iPad" "Its less the digitalization of painting than its conversion to iOS. Then made surreal." Said before.
Clarity and "recognition is a visual strategy used by the advertorial (logo) or systems (icons) that has reached saturation with touchscreens, GUIs, facebook forums. Our brains, wired for recognition, are berated with this, icons forcing recognition of themselves. [Clarity and recognition become their own force, violence.] Painters begin adopting this as their history, the Magrittean version of objects as linguistic symbols. These paintings delay the force of recognition as a palliative, lessening the slap of apprehension by averting it."

*A similar tension when its clarity must wrest with the delicate complexity of a rose. The conversion of complexity to something digitally clear.

See too: Anne Neukamp at Greta MeertEmily Mae Smith at Rodolphe JanssenOrion Martin at Bodega Ray Yoshida at David Nolan, Sascha Braunig at Kunsthall Stavanger, Alice Tippit at Night Club, Lui Shtini at Kate Werble, Sascha Braunig at Rodolphe Janssen, Mathew Cerletty at Office Baroque,

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Tala Madani at secession


The sketchbook is the imagination's stage, so whatever wet sketches happen in Madani's abyssal paintings already makes sense, they are theaters for whatever projection is put in it. It's a sort of brilliant trick, capable of making them accept whatever, a stick figure becomes the thought/action of conjuring it, thinking it. The painting is the sketchbook drawing from the unconscious onto the theater - which is the virtual projection inside your skull - that is, again, the painting. Projected thought*. When Madani's brush smears shit it bears the shiver of actual, not because it is, but because it feels someone imagine doing it. Reading a story of a murder feels somehow less horrible than finding, even a fictional, scrawled notebook saying how they would murder. Watching someone imagine. The paint - which painting professors will be quick to remind you is just fancy dirt suspended in fats - equates to shit, or cake, or flesh. Light is sprayed like urine. Children bear the face of men, bear the brunt of Madani. Which seem, unsafe for art, being this literal. It is becoming more and more important to be dumb in art.

*So of course they became movies, they basically already were.

See too: Quintessa Matranga at Freddy, Read all posts tagged Tala Madani
Past: Tala Madani

"Conjuring in the virtual theater of imagination's Matrix-like plane, Madani's paintings foreground the drawing of imagination from an abyss, that, like Bacon's claustro-realms, become spaces for enacting and enacted belittlements and torture, and what this means for Madani in psychoanalytic terms is hard to tell.  Madani has been painting these men for a long time, and when a grey man in the soft shape of middle age sporting an open robed Santa outfit urinates on babies in a wallpapered room, there isn't a shock, the babies already wear the beards of their adulthood..."

Click here to read: Tala Madani at David KordanskyTala Madani at 303 Gallery

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Contemporary Art Writing Quarterly: Modern Gothic

It is our pleasure to announce the release our first Contemporary Art Writing Quarterly archive documenting the trend of Modern Gothic.
The archive includes 8 artists: 14 exhibitions 2014 to 2020. Please enjoy the archive and look forward to the next Quarterly release coming this spring.

R.H. Quaytman at Museum Sztuki


Here's a bit of symptom diagnosis. When Quaytman broke out onto the screen, it was concurrent not only with CAD's rise but concurrent with the rise of images everywhere, foodporn or just porn, and our giddiness for this new instant image. This hi-def instantaneity was itself pleasing, interesting. This new retinal access and Apple was designing Retina Displays for. We were seeing everything for the first time coated in glass. Reviewing the iPhone 4 in 2010, Joshua Topolsky commented:
"to our eyes, there has never been a more detailed, clear, or viewable screen on any mobile device. Not only are the colors and blacks deep and rich, but you simply cannot see pixels on the screen…webpages that would be line after line of pixelated content when zoomed out on a 3GS are completely readable on the iPhone 4, though the text is beyond microscopic."
The internet at the time felt like so many keyholes to look through. Everything before was found in dusty libraries, had been stuffed into artist catalogs, piecemeal, the one "chapter" you saw in person at Abreu or wherever. And Quaytman's paintings magnified the pleasures of this, of a good mystery. Chapters like the catalogs which were being replaced by exhibitions online. The doors of new media opening along with the mystery of Quaytman; it provided its own meta-detective story.The new chapters becoming immediately available and better resolution with each one. Go look at 2008's documentation here. Compare it to today's. We see it all, now pornography is the mainstay, all at once as much as you want. There is little left to the imagination, to mystery. What we had all at the time been following in higher and higher resolution, eventually returned itself as an endless and inconclusive hall of mirrors. They revealed themselves as paintings.

Read all posts tagged R.H. Quaytman

Monday, February 3, 2020

Peter Fend at Museo Nivola


Art has been co-opted for worse things than environmental boostering. Fend's utopic aspects seem nice if not necessarily utilitarian, but since when has art been confronted with actualities. Art is a space without expectations of internal success, of even internal logic. Fend is capable of a grin, the plan involves "collecting hydroelectric energy with [...] waterwheels suspended from Duchamp-model bicycle-wheel forks." At best giving the boring problems of our coming environmental cataclysm at least ostensibly interesting solutions. Like Buckminster Fuller, and perhaps Obrist, ideas are less the feasible-solutions-for-actualization than they are acts of branding and dissemination, where being excited-for is itself the solution. Whether or not you feel excited is yours.

See too: Peter Fend at Embajada, Peter Fend's World Beach Party (Arts Magazine)

Sunday, February 2, 2020

Group Show at Group Show at Group Show at

Group exhibitions as a series of incomplete images. A false diaspora. The exhibition's arrangement promises to, if not resolve, at least route, provide semblance, movement, trajectory. But they begin more and more to feel like remnants, like rubble or partial artifacts. They're like flotsam of our wreckage, objects d'contemplation of our ruins, hung in altars. Our windows in have gotten so small. And we're asked to project worlds onto them.

see too: Group Show at Group Show at Group Show

Friday, January 31, 2020

Peter Wächtler at Josey


THIS THEME OF OBSOLESCENCE and nostalgia runs through Wächtler’s entire practice, and not only on the level of narrative. [...] These works’ antiquated, low-tech quality and the artist’s conspicuous investment of long hours of manual labor contrast sharply with more zeitgeisty aesthetics, modes of fabrication, and artistic strategies. [...] The imperfections that mark the films testify to their maker’s stubbornness, blood-sweat-and-tears stamina, and, perhaps, hubris, while reminding viewers that these images have been produced by hand.[...]
Wächtler presents individuals moving aimlessly among an array of simulacral roles, which in turn are subsumed in a welter of images, aesthetics, formats, genres, and techniques that—like the various identities to which the artist alluded in his ostensibly autobiographical talk—all feel somewhat outdated and hand-me-down. Here and there, his protagonists cite particular culture-industrial templates to which they owe some portion of their self-conceptions.[...]
But for the most part, the figures of speech, metaphors, and character types that appear in Wächtler’s tales trigger only a vague sense of familiarity, suggesting that the artist is excavating psychic sediments left by repeated exposure to certain idioms, images, or aesthetics.[...]
AGAINST THE FOIL of current trends or problematic genre labels such as post-Internet, and in contrast to the attitude of elusive detachment so prevalent among younger artists (who endlessly repeat the studied gestures of supposed dandyism and ironic coolness familiar from the early 2000s), the pathos of Wächtler’s work, its embrace of craft, and its sense of personal investment register as idiosyncratic and even egregiously earnest, which may account for part of its attractiveness.[...]
Wächtler’s work articulates irony not simply by depleting forms of expression, nor only by inflating those forms with “subjective” content, but by doing both. The work vehemently amps up the sense of palpable investment—then punctures that impression at the points of maximum intensity, of which there are plenty. What is thus rendered ironic is not so much the notion that any actual artistic form could adequately capture the artist’s boundless subjectivity, but the inflated, idealized image of the artist itself. -Jakob Schillinger, Artforum

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Jonathan Monk at CCA Tel Aviv


Before the internet, in 2008, there was a show called Who's Afraid of Jasper Johns? created by Gavin Brown and Urs Fischer at Tony Shafrazi gallery. The previous exhibition was photographed and printed back onto the walls (at 1:1 scale) and Gavin and Urs' new show was hung over the image. (There was also a shag white Stingel carpet throughout the space, a false waterfall tainted with viagra running down flights of stairs.)* It was bad taste toasted in an era of good taste, in 2008, just on the cusp of the hyperweb of Dispersion and hegemony of the image, a documentation overload which we were just getting our first taste of and making the exhibition feel titillating, looking over a cliff. Which we were. Looking back at it, the exhibition looks sorta bland. Exhibition documentation vertigo is both just the water of our current digital era, swimming is all we do now, but also, maybe you just had to be there. Maybe by embracing all the most nauseous parts of the digital they become wards against it.

*The show traded conceptual decorum for psychedelia, and as such became something of lightning rod of opinion. It seemed a celebration of excess, seemingly riffing on Christian Leigh's notorious Silent Baroque with its whole gluttony ordeal and quasi-hijacked gallery. There was also some irreverent metatextual stuff going on as well, Shafrazi gallery being its own character, sort of culminating in a story of the dinner's cake. 

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Renée Green at Nagel Draxler Kabinett


This - the only photo of this vitrine - is peak exhibition documentation. As if to say, you won't know what's in the vitrine, but you will know there was one. Less important to know what was than to know that there was a was. That there had been. "Having been" is the coronation anyway, surrounded by its "else," the halo around, glow. Which we see here.

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Cosima von Bonin at Marianne Boesky


The commodity is the form we now think in. The variations of fish getting more and more micro, they blur together, or are these just the same sculptures as before?  Which may be the point, the purchaser isn't buying the particular product on the shelf but the idea behind it. This store's Scotch-Brite® Non-Scratch Scrub Sponge might be pink and the one in the commercial is a more regal yellow, but you are not any longer buying the sponge for its color, you're buying it for what it can accomplish in your home.

Se too: Cosima von Bonin at House of Gaga & Magasin III JaffaCosima von Bonin at Friedrich Petzel
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 teh "good" commodities."

Read full: Cosima von Bonin at House of Gaga & Magasin III JaffaCosima von Bonin at Friedrich Petzel
Past: Lena Henke

"...apparent in those like Henke for whom physical things act as moments of duplicity, locus for multiple apparencies... There is too many things to say about these things, ... their genericsm becomes strength. A low poly mesh provides metaphorical possibility [precisely because of] its low resolution. The harder it is to define things the larger their aqueous potential..."

"Ambiguousness as a means for the simultaneity of image, of surrealism. A tree sort of looks like a horse so we can put them together; a cloud can look like anything, much like a turd, some will see interest."

"Because the turd is a form morphing in a viewer. The dimensional Rorschach, the sculpture everyone makes to turn down and see themselves reflected in the water at, a picture of you for your interpretation. Even looking digested, worn at by smooth muscle of artistic intestine."

Click: Lena Henke at Bortolami Lena Henke at Kunstverein Braunschweig & Louise Bourgeois at Cheim and ReadLena Henke at Kunsthalle Zürich,

Monday, January 27, 2020

Kyung-Me at Bureau & Silke Otto-Knapp at The Renaissance Society


One has its own internal world; one uses your internal world. You look into Kyung-Me's, awaiting you is a little snow globe of a world inside it. But the other reflects you, displays vessels for your pour over. Its why Otto-Knapp's feel like memories, they're projection screens for home films of your - like Koether - cultural baggage.

See too: Silke Otto-Knapp at greengrassiSilke Otto-Knapp at Taylor MacklinJutta Koether at BortolamiJutta Koether at Museum Brandhorst
Past: Silke Otto-Knapp

"The ethereal silver surface appending some Last Year at Marienbad memory"
"Yesterday's brand strategies reemerge in painting's today. Mona Lisa handbags, af Klimt on a tank, Carl Andre halloween costumes. You can't water down a public's desire for a painting, prevalence only increases the throngs lined to see it, at distance, behind glass. "

"Our recognition-of is the greatest asset of a painting, proving its commonality, prerequisite to fame. Your brand should be aqueous, malleable, placed on anything while retaining the specificity distinguishing yours from the competition. Otto-Knapp's strategy doesn't seem critical of such, rather recognizing it, if a painting can harbor artistic "voice," why not a dress, a dance, a rug. Deploy it as such."

Read Full: Silke Otto-Knapp at greengrassiSilke Otto-Knapp at Taylor Macklin

Saturday, January 25, 2020

Helmut Federle at Galerie nächst St. Stephan Rosemarie Schwarzwälder


It seems artworld is hard to parody well since most depictions aren't particularly comedic or even apt. (e.g. the opening's tray of grapes that marks the most naive scenes.)  If not just wrong, the worse blunder is attempting a cartoon satire; it's far better to leave the the depiction dry, unchanged, art parodies itself. I mean the artworld actually has a polished cranium that floats around having practically sedimented socializing as a career and sleeps 3 hours a night. We have statements like this: “Federle has destabilized the square, its solid form, and turned it into something that no longer represents authority. His squares are defined by their relationship to the space around them. His compositions are decidedly non-hierarchical.” What's best: I believe it, it's a good description, good art writing, accurate. And it is totally ludicrous. Art is superposition of inanity and grave seriousness. That I like these paintings.

Alex Hubbard at Regen Projects


More and more it's become important that images are "striking." They look powerful on walls or bus stops. Big colorful bonanzas about an inch deep. This is the language of advertising. Painting, it turns out, is the advertisement that advertises itself. Self-advertisement in painting. It's what artists are becoming wise to. You could strap any tagline from Coca-Cola onto these paintings and it would make sense. It's just now the product name is scrawled on the back. Big dumb abstractions sell for more.  For a more complicated take on this transactional form of visual language look at Charlene von Heyl.

(Also, I thought we put a pause on the "process based abstraction" thing after the whole stumbling in search of brains thing?)

See too: Alex Hubbard at House of Gaga (1)Alex Hubbard at House of Gaga (2)Charline von Heyl at Petzel & DeichtorhallenCharline von Heyl at Gisela CapitainCharline von Heyl at Capitain Petzel

Friday, January 24, 2020

Past: Markus Oehlen at Karma International

"No doubt their painting is just another kind of performance, but it leaves behind a deliciously smelly residue. It is this odor of garbage that attracts us. We sense that the artists are trying to set painting right after it has betrayed us by pretending that it can become attractive flesh hanging in museums and apartments. Garbage must be garbage, in the name of the honest truth; this claim of authenticity is a traditional one, like many others around today, but it’s harder to resist than the others, for history and art history’s pile of garbage continues to grow." 
-Kuspit, 1985 Artforum

Read full: Markus Oehlen at Karma International
Past: Alex Hubbard

"Jury-rigging some Wonkanian projectors has a certain pleasant inanity lacking in all the resin squares flaunting their inanity as tokens of what is funding these here."

"The move from perspectively delirious videos recording their own production - a sort of Genzkenian prolepsis of claiming the production the product - and acclaimed then before into the recent and ongoing big wet&sticky Jolly-Ranchers whose vestigial remains of the view-pointally ambiguous videos is their most interesting, albeit liminally, part.

Read full: Alex Hubbard at House of Gaga (1), Alex Hubbard at House of Gaga (2)

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Christopher Williams at C/O Berlin


"If I hang these pictures low maybe the workers will revolt" and here maybe if you post only two photos the art-polloi will re, uh, joice. Feel lucky, C/O Berlin's instagram got only the apples, posted like 4 times with differing amounts of, sigh, white framing around it. Read with sarcasm: "Williams’s work does not end when the photograph is taken, but includes all elements of its display, such as printing, matting, framing, hanging height, titles, and so on, as crucial aspects of the reception of the image." Isn't this all starting to sound like a brand package of institutional critique from the Pictures Generation? Blankness becomes its own commodity, its own bowtie. And you there, David Zwirner shopper, you get a lovely photograph and perhaps a piece of a museum wall to coronate it. That's right Williams ships the walls from the previous museum because one institutional halo is not enough. The curator is coming to elucidate it with a long text any moment now. Any moment now.

Oh and the greatest ploy of all? There are installation shots of the exhibition on Zwirner's website.

Playing CAWD like Golf, aiming for the lowest score possible: Ian Rosen at The Finley
Read too: Christopher Williams at MoMA

Monday, January 20, 2020

Ghislaine Leung at Künstleraus Stuttgart


So the point intended,
1. The continual retelling (1 novel, 2 films, 3 made-for-tv movies) of The Stepford Wives is evidence of the films resonance, to a common cultural fear: suspense/horror story of human subjectivity molded to robotic subservience.

2. This fear, plotted during a time of accelerating convenience of "modern miracle" kitchens, is predicated on a subconscious understanding that we are in some way socially reproduced by the objects around us. As our kitchens become increasingly convenient so too we will need to become convenient: the level of pleasance required around our tyrannical-husbands we intuit is in direct correlation to the level of convenience of everything surrounding us. As the world become more convenient, as kitchens threaten to replace cooks, as what we provide is continually warned to be replaceable, we must increasingly match the ease of the others/objects who threaten to replace us, and we adopt an unnatural pleasantness. This is implicit fear of the film.

3. Commodities by nature limit individual expression, and we are molded to their voice. We become subservient to what the commodity can allow us. So you join in choir with all the others who purchased their employer/partner a mug singing "THE BOSS." The commodity turns the world into a cartoon, slapstick, as everything becomes exchangeable, the backgrounds getting more repetitive in a drive towards efficiency. The cartoon, slapstick, rendered in the real is gore.

4. Leung's Hugo Boss sterility is a suburban horror movie. 

Past: Ghislaine Leung at Chisenhale & Essex Street

"...increasing modern "miracle" conveniences and the then latest "smart objects" is hard not to read as a fear of these conveniences, submissiveness, actually infiltrating us, until we became, if not kitchen appliances ourselves, at least frighteningly subservient molded to kitchen surrounding us. The fear of our kitchen as a mold. Such that options for expression become limited by the cultural detritus available in stores.  You join in union, with a multitude, a choir, signing "THE BOSS." Whether or not highlighting these cultural walls with a gloss is helpful, it does make for good scary. "

Read full: Ghislaine Leung at Chisenhale & Essex Street
Past: Phung-Tien Phan

The art meme of 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

Saturday, January 18, 2020

Group Show at Group Show at Group Show


Group exhibitions have become like scrolling a feed of a feed, exhausting. Whereas before the smorgasbord provided little nouveau bites of artistic palates, now the particalizing of everything into little squares, fractured sent and scrolled has become the little bites we accumulate as dinner, gorging on snacks. The group show ostensibly provides more orchestrated snacking, but it is snacking nonetheless. Does anyone feel satisfied after of a buffet of bites? No, you feel sick. That's what group exhibitions feel like, hors d'oeuvres to a meal that is, contemporarily, not coming. The world no longer has meals it is a feed. A continuous heterogeneous bin. We want a reprieve, a moment of contemplation, any kind of slowness, relief, I don't want to open my eyes and see 50 artists anymore.

Thursday, January 16, 2020

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

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Marianna Simnett at Kunsthalle Zürich

The documentation here comes from at least three different Museums: the, as stated, Kunsthalle Zürich, but also Frankfurt's MMK ZOLLAMT, and the above image from NYC's New Museum. Glitches as evidence of dislocation, of images just completely adrift at this point, does it even matter at this point, who cares at this point. Put anything anywhere, the video-stills are photoshopped in anyway. Drag and drop. An exhibition appears. It's the metadata that counts. How far can we dissociate. Someone should standardize the museum, to be more like the suburbs its already become, you could find anything anywhere, a McDonald's like a Guggenheim, in every metropolis, a LOVE sculpture in every park, tastes standardized across continents, fly to Zurich and still feel at home with real New York artists or cheeseburgers, anywhere. Is this dissociation?

See too: Nairy Baghramian at Walker Art Center?

Monday, January 13, 2020

Jutta Koether at Galerie Buchholz


Well these are as ugly as they come. There is almost weight to the ugliness, like it sags off the picture, obese with garishness. Koether seems continuously giving painting an excess content, the hyperlink references, the hung on glass, adding layers until it's gluttonous, unwieldy, here: bloated.

See too: Jutta Koether at BortolamiJutta Koether at Museum Brandhorst

Jutta Koether at Museum Abteiberg


I had always wanted to take a Morandi painting out of its frame, hang it on a glass wall, and write an essay about erotics and pornography.
Past: Jutta Koether

"but whereas today’s puzzle painting exists as a kind of confounding delay of symbol's comprehension, Koether's over-saturation never a maze but a hyperlink version..."
"what you're looking at isn't what you're looking at: what you're looking at is cultural baggage, garbage piling your sentience. It floating to the surface like diapers, the noise of signal and symbols. You can't see purely, you are clogged with reference."

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Win McCarthy at Atlantis


As updates on Kelley's arenas, tchotchkes on blankets, these add a box. It's a more literal symbol of repression that Kelley's, an artist with a lifelong interest in cultural repression, had left as perfume. These are like Brad Pitt crying "What's in the box?" The PR narration's spells it out ominously: "we tend to have to wait to find out what’s lying beneath" like a Kevin Spacey line. What's latent in a culture? And it's again literal, turns out the clown was a pedophile. A joke we've heard before.

Saturday, January 11, 2020

Past: Marie Angeletti

"exacerbating all the annoyances of images today, Angeletti's are always claustrophobically opaque, too close, dim. Not quite sure Angeletti has ever shown in a completely lit space, and the once maybe having had lots of photos of rotational laser lighting, the sort of whirliwig mimicking the driftlessness of our own floating so unanchored.
"which, in an era of almost total fuck-all of images our cognition is molested by daily, could make an art practice mirroring such seem a brutal finger but at some point we have to be trained for this, we could attempt to make sense of, it all, if we wanted to start lifting."

see too: Marie Angeletti at AtlantisMarie Angeletti at Beach Office

Friday, January 10, 2020

Calvin Marcus at David Kordansky


Against a bedrock fear, of death, of castration, the nervous person searches for vitality and extension to ward off impotence and death with a "big one" like a muscle car, a militarized gun, a mid-life crisis and a trophy bass, and here a harhar painting to cover fear. You have sublimated your anxiety of death to a painting mocking that fear, but it's still a Mustang against death, a painting equivalent of a truck with nuts, underneath the irony, the wet-eyed naiveté, the fear, the fear.
Past: Calvin Marcus at Clearing

...paints like a kid, draws like a kid, had huge crayons made for his big kid self. It would be an interesting history correlated, the desublimation of painting, its id-ification, from the surrealist's subconscious, to Pollock's becoming "nature," to finally the triumph of neanderthalism of say Joe Bradley, the history of men's important doodle. The mythology of the infantilized artist. We must care for him, them, genius whose diapers we exchange.

See full: Calvin Marcus at Clearing

Thursday, January 9, 2020

Gabriel Hartley at Foxy Production


Hartley always developing some new process, techniques-yet-named, aerosoling impasto, rubbing wood blushes, printing crumpled flat, etc. Processes for abstraction like all those modern photographers solarizing, photogramming, or just pouring light concrete. Processes to fulfill our need for the novel. And nice. But maybe the best analogy would be Tillmans' "Blushes" where the very thing at stake, their tension, is in seeming to be both lovely and arbitrary. Our fear.

see too: Wolfgang Tillmans at Maureen Paley

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Virginia Overton at Francesca Pia


Cut up and rearrange the objects of capital, they will hint at their previous legibility but they will not mean, it is something we will be forced to assign. Playing in the sandbox we've been left.

Monday, January 6, 2020

Brian Belott, Rhoda Kellogg at San Francisco City Hall


Before a certain age pretty much every drawing a child makes is unambiguously good. Pre- selfconscious drawing is more an act than an accomplishment. Children's drawing is more akin to carving, space has no natural means, like middle period Gustons' wads in every child's dreams. No joke that "my kid could do that," so many modern artists attempting to reaccomplish their childhoods. The thefting of art from childhood for "mature" intents we could mock, but since every artist today is mining theirs for the cartoons that litter their surrealist landscapes who are we to judge.
Passed: John Baldessari

"Baldessari's career spent on a mockery of art's formal givens, puppeteering its dumbified literal versions and removing the protective aura of seriousness so a skepticism could seep into it cracks, paving the way for today's boorish Pop conceptualism.

"Here, dissonant image/text relations leaves a viewer floundering to connect the basic formality of art: that the text relate. That we still find this Baldessarian gimmick relevant 800 exhibitions later, sometimes even comically worth it, shows how strong this base impulse is ingrained."

"The text's irrelation performs the poetic fissure lamely, mechanically, i.e. Baldessari's engineered breakage of logical closure, conclusion. The space we rush to fill with guesses, the INTERPRETATION of art, that interminable precursor to MEANING. The poetic is the process for staging these interpretive fissures, founts for guessing, which Baldessari's plain creation of feels like a corpse made to dance. That dullness feels a point."

Click here for full John Baldessari at Marian GoodmanJohn Baldessari at Sprüth Magers

Saturday, January 4, 2020

Meredith James at Jack Hanley


A notable rise in couch art, in furniture displays, as we continue our archaeology unearthing artifacts of the body. In anthropological remains seeking human representation. So the couch becomes the projection screen for us, the surveillance into us, like looking back asking the question: "Before our we uploaded to the cloud what were we?" back through the screen to see reality - or its cave - through the remains. What the exhibition titles "shadows on the wall."

see too: Lisa Herfeldt at Between BridgesAnna Uddenberg at Kraupa-Tuskany ZeidlerJessi Reaves at Bridget DonahueSarah Lucas at CFA Berlin

Friday, January 3, 2020

Past: Hun Kyu Kim at The Approach

"Or is it a means to alienate the world so as to see our own actions as helpless stupid critters. We've been anthropomorphizing animals since pretty much forever with 30,000BCE zoomorphic figurines. Which gave rise to Saturday Morning Cartoons and then now Furries in adulthood. A study showed people were able to identify human traits in simple shapes, the triangle was bossy, violent, imprisoning the circle. Angular shapes in general are shown to be associated with "bad" while the curvilinear is associated with "good," which is probably why we love all those rotund creatures drawn with curvaceous softness like every Disney squirrel a Venus of Willendorf. Of course kids are going to grow to sexualize them, franchise films of them, they've been genetically bred for appeal. Crushed by capitalism. Dogs bred for pureness with destroyed hips."

Past: Hun Kyu Kim at The Approach

Thursday, January 2, 2020

Leigh Ledare at Office Baroque


Leigh's is titillating surely, anxious, naughty, filled with all the nervous transgression of an arthouse "social experiment". Haha what if we took an anxious group psychology project but added a documentary panopticon. Of course the projects are interesting as they are well polished mirrors, psychology is turned into a formal exercise of cinema. And this thing is made for essay explicating all the formal structures that mirror its conflict. Watch "psychology" made into object of art, humans into a petri-dish, cross-sections of a people for microscope slides. "Arguably more anthropological than therapeutic..." The problematization method,* a sort of making-confounded. Greying the waters with the tangling of culture: people made demographics made signifiers, and forced to abut and spark. People are made to be art's object which gets conflated with analysand. Good cinema is not necessarily healthy outcome.

*Think Renzo Marten's Enjoy Poverty, Jordan Wolfson's Animation Masks, Korine's Spring Breakers.  
(Watch the film through Ledare's website here.)

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Rasmus Høj Mygind at Jir Sandel


Personally I think Epstein did kill himself.* But in an exhibition about contingency this is hardly the point. It's about enacting a viral birth in reality, the Epstein meme is its own title, its own reality in meme-like propagation, simply reading/thinking it propagates it, which like the far-right's conspiracies spread less by truth than by simply continuing to collect consciousness of. This becomes akin to art/entertainment where consensus/agreement is less powerful than commonality, fame reduced to shared-knowledge-of, Kardashian-like, as art and things become self-reflexive self-illustration. Pollock illustrates abstraction, Judd minimalism, enter the history books. Which these are self illustrations, self-propagate. The point isn't abstraction it's amoebic survival in consciousness. Against self-annihilation, towards extending consciousness, what we call viral may simply be confused life.

* Even if we're feeling conspiratorial, the shadow org would only have to tell him he must. Perhaps a semantic argument. But it is a scarier thought, rather than being strangled by gloved assassins, that someone doesn't need assassins at all. Instead people follow orders to kill themselves because alternatives to suicide are worse. Someone who can conjure worse-than-death.