Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Antonio Ballester Moreno at Tanya Leighton


Tasteful, set to maximum. You could put these things anywhere and you would prepare to be served a longstem cocktail. Like art from a really lovely hotel, hotel art, but maybe a perfect hotel.

Monday, April 12, 2021

Analia Saban at Sprüth Magers


Making things look like other things with other more culturally cached things all put in the frame of the biggest cache of all, that frame, art. Ostensibly this is meaningful, reweaving signs and myths into themselves, but it feels like doing imaginary math, a premise to simply get us to argue about the answer, which makes the formula appear interesting.

 past: Haegue Yang

"Decorous displays of the mass produced, of the stuff clogging transaction's pipes hung like Christmas trees to capitalism. The store catalog was admittedly her bible and "abstraction" the presentation of it. Abstraction doesn't seem to precisely describe Yang's compositionalization of mass market crap. Unless "abstraction" is taken to mean some form of Marxist fetishization, that these might simply be ugly abscesses of global labor displayed for "abstraction." Like trophies to capital. People make those blinds, handle those bells.You can buy any amount, fill any space, the labor is liquid. The skins of people's sweat hung up."

"Yang’s shopping spree installationism"

Full: Haegue Yang at Fondazione FurlaHaegue Yang at dépendance

Sunday, April 11, 2021

Clayton Schiff at Real Pain


Transcendence and medical technology illustrate themselves similarly. Cartoons become the hollow container you fill yourself into. The body illustrated becomes a cartoon you can inflict. Both art and sales require this permeable vessel. It supplies the identification for its product.

Saturday, April 10, 2021

Adam Henry at Candice Madey


Like op-art turned to info-graphics, there seems to be something we are being diagrammatically informed of - which - conflicting with the phenomenological fuzz creates an artistic ambiguity we associate with smiles. 

Friday, April 9, 2021

Ryo Kinoshita at Fons Welters


So why does labor reappear? Why does "stitching" make a comeback? Impressionism's strokes showcasing its painterly labor. It had been that eventually genius embedded itself into the canvas, itself signifying "art," and blankness was fine. Does canvas no longer back painting's monetary value a priori? Do we need proof of work? Like the ornately etched lines of paper currency, making the labor of reproduction more expensive than the bill itself - proof of scarcity, value. Time equates to money. But now we have copy machines, CNC routers, childlabor and interns. Perhaps proof of work is just nostalgia for when there was infinite time, for when there was time. 

See too: Diedrick Brackens at Various Small Fires

 Past: Diedrick Brackens at Various Small Fires

"A stitch correlates to time, it is a labor visible in increments. While brushstrokes may have been the impressionist equivalent, modernism seemed, somewhat, goal orientated toward removing the more intensive marks of labor (first for a performative "expressive," the work was not labor but expression) before culminating in Minimalism and Conceptual art, two legacies infatuated with things ostensibly springing from ether. (The instructions being the art, not the 40 museum interns drawing it.) I'm not sure what this meant for them, their desiring to be capitalists, desiring to wipe the sweat from their aluminum, but it's still a desire today, no wants want to imagine previous fingerprints on their new iPhone. So the workers hands are latexed. Work, labor, sweat is the parcel of something we denigrate to the great purity of "good design," that cerebral craft we revere, which should be clean, elegant, and without a trace of sweat."

Past: Diedrick Brackens at Various Small Fires

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Sharon Hayes at Kristina Kite Gallery

"It's days like this when you realize you are just looking at promotional vehicles, you haven't left the house in days, the world being advertised to you. There's no content here, just a dark room for your projection of how interesting this could be. The advertisement."

Artworld films live or die on their promotional images. A succesful film still, you can almost speak about the films without having seen them. This is how they succeed.

"If Matthew Barney somehow didn't know of Ulrike Ottinger's oeuvre then a medal is in order. Others have made the connection in terms of gender, surrealism, mythos, which is accurate if vague horoscope retro-prediction. But the more distinct fingerprint lay in Ottinger's use of the promotional still image as a mode itself, able to connote and transact meaning equivalent to the film, a received token with through which to speak, a common communal currency. Barney had to have known of this when he turned the promotional image into a metastasized hypertrophic version involving stylists, lighting and image consciousness to an extreme, into basically Levi's ad campaign of artistic hubris. Cremaster succeeded, regardless any filmic merit, on its ability to manifest excitement and intrigue as a promotional vehicle, a cultural mythos that mirrored the mythos within. At the time you could almost talk about Cremaster without having seen any of it, the image was so omnipresent. Seeing was of less import than having being able to have an opinion and know of it. Having gained traction ever since, this form of promotional vehicle cannot be understated in importance post CAD/insta etc. when pipes and what they can funnel is tantamount."

"Towards a language of the promotional still, which, brandishing the act it can only suggest but never actually capture, becomes a sort of gestural pool, an we infer. In this way the promotional image, suggests narrative, a story we can't see, making them function the way altar paintings once had: creating icons for stories, propaganda for their churches.
"The promotional image has a leg up on art since it doesn't finalize itself, it withholds its decisive utterance. It gestures a story, but we are not allowed to speak of it, since we can't "know it." Serving cake and keeping it too, spread, replicate without depleting itself."

"Important for performance to begin to swallowing its own promotional material. The relevant info being self-contained is part of good documentation. Everything there, apparent. Punctured back in, the reason we're here, promotion."

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Emanuel Seitz at Christine Mayer & Tess Jaray at Secession

(Christian MayerSecession)

Painting becomes an organization system for color. For "painting". Which then work backwards to find the logic, organization system. Which is something like meaning. 

Derrick Adams at Rhona Hoffman


Hard to be critical of a warm breeze. Hard to find injustice in pleasant days. A curmudgeon with the weather so good. The color amped to electrified sign. Color as a sign. Force fed pleasance. Not to rain on someone's parade. A "tropic interlude." Art becomes a fantasy, a vacation. A kindness we live vicariously through. We do a lot of living through these days.

Past: Tess Jaray at Exile

"The history of western modernism is one of secularization, no longer higher powers commanding but instead argued for in manifestos, the age of critics who proclaimed the usefulness of aesthetics (or anti-aesthetics) in a society increasingly industrialized and pressurized to extract value from everything, including art, and putting Greenberg on tirade, espousing the paradoxical function of an art ostensibly for only art's sake. The critic pokes the painting, saying "C'mon. Do something." The need for painting to "function" so sublimates into art that it becomes naturalized, necessary."

full: Tess Jaray at Exile

Friday, April 2, 2021

Bernadette Corporation at House of Gaga

The point being, the brand of the artist was tantamount to the work which created and informed the brand. Not a painting but a Picasso. Identity was always a governing force of art's valuation. Art's function is more often the creation of this identity/brand. The lamentations for any current identity vogue fail to realize that this was core to art. The metadata to art is often more telling than its object. 

Thursday, April 1, 2021


Have things gotten softer lately? Gentle... Blurry kinda. Worn into old age? Have we gone soft?

 Past: Bernadette Corporation at Stedelijk Museum

"Launching a hundred like-minded careers since, BC weren't the first of the fashion-orient but their understanding its "based on mythmaking and seduction" opened the eyes of today's Genzkenites to the aura preceding their deluge of material whateverness. Brand was the powerforce of the artist, and confusion, misalignment and just stuff could dissolve objects to the narrative-sans-critque, seen performed in the phenoms of today everyone from Arakawa and Bratsch to half the surround-audience gen and trickling into some of the post-krebberites' conceptual horsing"

 Past: Bernadette Corporation at Stedelijk Museum

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Amelie von Wulffen at KW


Ghosts in our garbage, [x] in our things. Nightmares in the waste repressed, under the rugs, stuffed into hills, called landfills. Our history. It accumulates. In corners, on paintings. The mud of culture. The brown of painting's history hides a lot; we'd prefer not to remember.

Monday, March 29, 2021

Shimabuku at Nouveau Musée National de Monaco

Because of the hegemony of image, we don't see art like this much anymore. Shimabuku requires a time that no longer exists, the lazy day, a time for wasting on clouds. Long videos without much a clear point. It's that Bas Jan Ader, Francis Alys sort of breezing conceptual art. Gentle myth making.  You glean as much, or more, from the generous press text accompanying the the exhibition as you do the images, which in true poetical-conceptual fashion, don't mean much, but instead provides a lovely illustration. It's easier to recall a myth if you have an image of it. Recall a time when we had time for this.

Past: Amelie von Wulffen

"...the history of painting comes like bruises into von Wulfenn's paintings. How images batter through time. We have memory of how painting was, how impressionism was painted, but it's wrong, like your head full of hangover, a painting full of malfunction, its shipment through time arrives damaged."

"feel so egregiously like painting trauma, its history of abuses...  Painting is filled with horror, the calls coming from inside the house."

Friday, March 26, 2021

Masaya Chiba at Tokyo Opera City Art Gallery


The zany installation needs to make comeback. That science fair exhibit gone wrong of the 90s/00s. Jason Rhoades, Cloaca, Hello Meth Lab in the Sun, Christoph Büchel, etc. Everything looked like a laboratory, an industrial factory, used conveyor belts. Rhoade's PeaRoeFoam predicted the late 2010s process orientated abstraction as a giant comedy - art's industrialized factory of charisma, a caricature of the production of aura. It was also enjoyable. Something about the science fair animates and comedies the ideologic process of art's chambers. The conveyer of viewer, the turtle munching mulch, the paintings aloft, the didactics and visible/invisible arrows. Look here, learn this. "You can sit in this chair." Thanks. That the imprisoned turtle is the stand-in for us isn't even that far fetched, just like Foucault said, society is a...

Thursday, March 25, 2021

Alex Heilbron at Meliksetian | Briggs


An explosion in a Hello Kitty flannel factory. A John Wesley from hell. Organized, but not necessarily reasonable. 

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

 Past: Gina Beavers

"Appending painting the body it both does and does not want. Inflating it to bulbousness, we want body but ... we want it sleek and slim for transaction, shipping, but here we find painting's brushwork metastasized and images become their nightmare: embodied. "How to achieve a flawless look with NO CAKE FACE."

Read all: Gina Beavers

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Pope.L at The Neubauer Collegium for Culture and Society & Mitchell-Innes & Nash

(Neubauer, Mitchell-Innes & Nash)

Language abstracted to near illegibility would be frowned upon as a cake-and-eat-it-too cop out, the affect of meaning without having say anything at all. But Pope.L makes the illegibility unnerving, like a joke whose punchline we aren't sure we get, the language's refusal to be clear instead affect uncomfort. Aggravating an unspoken racial relation of a violet people.

Past: Pope.L

"but the joke dissipates and the punchline, lost, disperses the energy of its expectation to an audience as nervous flatness. This type of joke flips the roles, the performer now audience to their reaction, making the best of such jokes just complex enough to contain within the possibility of real punchline hidden and thus doubt, a heightened consciousness of where exactly it lay, the blankness of its meaning a projectable void that you can stand on many sides of..."

Monday, March 22, 2021

Caitlin Keogh at Overduin & Co.


Clue board games. Painting converted to iOS, and graphical icons to redistribute sense. Building interfaces for interpretation that is abyssal, sinking. Art seems doomed to be particularly suggestive tarot cards. 

 Past: 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 we feel something is being told, illustrated. Like if John Wesley designed Tarot cards ... The Tarot illustration provides its own oracle, meaning. ... Its less the digitalization of painting than its conversion to iOS. Clarity and "recognition is a visual strategy used by the advertorial (logo) or systems (icons) that has reached saturation with touchscreens, GUIs, facebook... [Clarity and recognition become their own force, violence.] Painters begin adopting this as their history, the Magrittean version of objects as linguistic symbols."

Read full: Caitlin Keogh at Bortolami

Sunday, March 21, 2021

Ken Taylor at Simchowitz


What the artworld attempts to disavow always comes back to haunt it. (Andrea Fraser wrote about this well.) Disavowal "rejects a fact that is too uncomfortable to accept" - i.e. the artworld unable to accept some uncomfortable truth that doesn't agree with the self-image it needs to project. So for instance, Simchowitz is the artworld villain of the 2010s -  I can't even remember what the villainry was - maybe saying the quiet part loud - his name basically synonymous with "evil dealer."  But as new villains emerge evolving greater forms of evil, Simco seems tame, his methods all but accepted, and the artworld acclimates to the uncomfortable fact about itself. That people use it to make money. The lesson here being the ultimate adjudicators of [vitality] in art are not justice. It is the merely the ability to self-replicate - to procreate, survive, spam yourself into consciousness with press, sales, money. Power in the artworld is simply the ability to leverage ones assets into more.. well assets,  which eventually becomes visibility. Until it's non-ignorable. Until they all absorb the evil, still pretend something else. 

Same w/ the Cucchi/Clemente thing here - despite all the last 20-30 years warding against neo-expressionism, guess who is back. 

Friday, March 19, 2021

Alastair Mackinven at Reena Spaulings


The Spaulings shift happened around 2014. Josh Smith was painting palm trees. Klara Liden took dance lessons (instead of bashing bicycles with a pipe in an empty apartment.) Koether showed painting on canvas. Even Carpenter painted paintings. Claire Fontaine's revolution stopped being given several exhibitions a year. Seth Price decamped for Petzel. It was like everyone had kids. And then two years later, a second home, and suddenly tasteful paintings on the walls, many exhibitions of them. Had we all just become adults? This was everywhere. Even Mackinven's 2013 paintings seemed more with old Spaulings. But everyone's teenage hopes of criticality and middle fingers given over to colorful walls, given over to the mere apparatus of visibility (2014 was one year after Sanchez's question on digital transmission, is this the aftermath?) to just keeping the symbolic lights on for fluorescent symbolist moments. So that there are two kinds of nostalgia operating now. 

see too: Alastair Mackinven at Reena Spaulings 

Past: Alastair Mackinven at Reena Spaulings 

"Something on our faces."

This one is mostly images, so you gotta click to see: Alastair Mackinven at Reena Spaulings 

Thursday, March 18, 2021

Simone Fattal at Karma International

Part of being amorphous, blobby, is that it gives nothing to hang on to. Vagueness becomes shield, defenses, an outer wall to climb like glass, nothing to hang onto, where are the suction cups, what words can you append. Attempts describing rocks, they seem impervious to all general description. We individuate them by saying they look like other things, otherwise they're just rocks. This is somehow meaningful. 

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Past: Bob van der Wal at Neue Alte Brücke

"...the mad attempts at extracting some actionable knowledge from [art]. As it's said, Conspiracists, like fetishists, like theists, find comfort in the underlying belief that someone is in control, at least someone is pulling the strings that manipulates the world that would otherwise feel so painfully arbitrary. We attempt to make sense, our Hominid brains are excellent at seeing patterns. We extract meaning from nothing. We become paranoid of a silent informed minority. Attempt to read the subtext in everything. Like art."

Full: Bob van der Wal at Neue Alte Brücke

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

 Past: Michelle Grabner

"In Ken Johnson's now infamous review of Grabner's Cohan exhibition - inspiring dozens of site's posts to just contextualize and organize the increasing spiral of commentary and responses and blog posts that themselves further contextualized and organized, excerpted in full and commented with ever lengthening comment sections growing atop still warm bodies until you had this like eco-production-system of sites that spiral out, far as you would like to go, into cold and nervous chattering all based around the whale fall of one small dead review and which now us too still sucking off the carcass - was, as is often the case with negative reviews, spot on in everything but valuation, Grabner's work might be "comfortable" "middle class" work from a "tenured" "soccer mom" that allude to nothing more than the "bland" "unexamined sociological background" from which they spring, that's exactly" what they offer.

See: Michelle Grabner at The Green Gallery

Monday, March 15, 2021

Ulala Imai at Nonaka-Hill


Sufficient to portray, not anything more - its own aesthetic. They depict the thing. There it is. The sign painter's pleasure. Paintings that feel sort of worn in, faded, like your life. The things ready to date themselves, the air exposed fruit, the bordering passé culture - it's all so ready to expire. Which makes them skulls.

Past: Ser Serpas

"Think of milk congealing a skin. Objects, things, threaten a flesh, the hoarder begins to see objects as a living thing, requiring compassion. Canvas like animal skins.'

"Hoarding as a sort of extended compassion for the derelict neglected of culture, a sympathy moving to material itself, material that a world simply would like to rid itself of. Composing it into art objects becomes a blessing for sending the objects into the "heavenly" afterlife, a means of delivering them to the majority white institutions to get them to care for them in perpetuity. Hooking the hose from the expelling parts of our cultural body to the part that feeds, getting it to eat its underwear."

Ser Serpas at LUMA WestbauSer Serpas at Karma International

Friday, March 12, 2021

Batsheva Ross at Kantine


past: Julia Wachtel at Vilma Gold

"Wachtel's sign systems of the cultural meltdown, express the rupture, floating between Baldesarrian inanity and Wolfsonian semantic violence. Finding the tense middle ground where the inanity is the violence, of someone hitting you in the face with something so dumb."

Read: Julia Wachtel at Vilma Gold

Thursday, March 11, 2021

Naoki Sutter-Shudo at Bodega


The PR's meter relates them to sun - "Sunshine made physical" - and not that dark shameful interior - the abyssal logs we pass like intestinal ropes, attaching us our immanence. The difference between what something is and what something represents. They are but sticks. Sunshine made physical. But oiled with elbow grease. Which makes them sensitive. Opens pores for interpretation. The break in between what something is and what something suggests: a function, poetic fissure. Tea leaves, turds, or sticks, when placed against porcelain, it's open. Suggestive and, more importantly, moistened.

See too: Yuji Agematsu at LuluRichard Rezac at Isabella BortolozziNaoki Sutter-Shudo at Bodega

Past: Naoki Sutter-Shudo

"The souvenir acts as a placeholder for tourists urge...  desire, likely some vestigial expression of our sexual selection's wiring, which is why so many of them are cute."

Full: Naoki Sutter-Shudo at Bodega

Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Mathew Cerletty at The Power Station


As "photography" becomes ever more processed by virtual machines, and "realism" so abstracted beyond anything concrete, the term "photorealism" becomes meaningless against our cartoon stuf. The new plastic real. The protagonists of Toy Story are not representations of cowboys or Space Rangers, their being is rendering: "YOU ARE A TOY," screams the sheriff of this reality. But through the power of movie magic, they are suspended between. Their image is the real, the world around them is made false, a rendering in comparison. When you buy the cartoon sponge off the shelf, you don't purchase the one in your hand, you purchase that higher order of its affective image, its grease scrubbing sorcery. This higher order that arranges us. Originals without origin. Which rubber duck is this? Where is this image located?

"the closer it is to reproducing its sign that maybe reality starts to panic. Painting feeling like object smoothing into their icons," "Depictions all but untethered from physicality [the bespotted "real"], and Cerletty has seeming captured the balloons adrift. These are fake images, but inability to determine the level of artificiality makes them unnerving. ...stripping the metadata turns everything into clues pointing as interpretable evidence to a time that never took place"

"painting's cultural valuation for meaning turned into a puzzle game of clue boards, of symbolist rubik's-cubeification, bright figures twisted and turned for you to puzzle over, man's search for meaning gamified on the board of painting."

Read full: Mathew Cerletty at STANDARD (OSLO)Mathew Cerletty at KarmaMathew Cerletty& Julia Rommel at STANDARD (OSLO)Mathew Cerletty at Office Baroque

Monday, March 8, 2021

Past: Miho Dohi 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.

"...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."

 Past: Gerold Miller

"a genre, "Problems in painting" which we could trace through a legacy of modernism and concerns with flatness, frames, and for-art's-sake, ... endless ways to begaze your navel, painting. Weren't Stella's black paintings just navels-en-abyme. ...How many ways can Dr. Frank reassemble the corpse and we still call it painting?.."

"severity of its blankness softened by form massaged to the shape that becomes the content of its extreme legibility: graphic and squealing. Extreme legibility; insta icons semio-traverse space to possess recognition, without it, the psychoactive element of Miller: getting struck in the face with blankness."

Gerold Miller at Cassina ProjectsGerold Miller at Kunsthalle Weishaupt

Saturday, March 6, 2021

“De Por Vida” at Company Gallery


Painting is important because that scrotum only exists in oil. Of another dimension, a substance that has never existed before. It looks nervous, like a game of "got your nose." The Manet-like fracture that keeps the whole hind in its own ampul. A fearul gum that competes with heavy stare. I am reminded of Autumn Ramsey's painting of a cat butt, the torso's "ivory white revealing hind's cool pink turning over into the warm autumn of anus." A brush had to touch every part of, every color was constructed, every curve was a choice, and someone shaved it.

Thursday, March 4, 2021

Emma McIntyre at Chris Sharp Gallery


The lead at the eponymous, opening with, questions abound, is this an argument/ante/gambit for unambiguously pretty painting? Bogs of the saccharine, positively. Don't sleep on this.
The PR's first paragraph is more classical- appends only minor conceptual hedging: "lyrical recapitulations of the history of abstraction" (lyrical) or the more time honored "historical engagement." These are negligible clauses compared to our decades long cliche, of painters "investigating painting" "rehistoricizing painting" "avoiding-at-all-costs-saying-just-painting." And this PR uses no ironizing verb. Instead the second paragraph spends its juice, arguing "lack of allegiance" "refusal to be limited," "languages to be liberally borrowed from." Until finally, "her articulate frank and unfettered incidents of a body thinking on canvas" which translates almost perfectly to "just painting." In a Merleau-Ponty sorta way. Drips that aren't even ironic. This would all seem slight, so inconsequential, if it didn't feel like an opening readied for crowbars edge. The last line earns its dystopian threat, the window wrested open to the "new horizons in contemporary abstract painting." It may come flooding. An ocean blue strategy eventually coalesces an ocean red with.

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Past: Tony Cokes at Greene Naftali

  ...but now text is aerosolized, language appears from all corners buzzing up from your hand to see newscasts across the continuum. An economy of speech value is recalculated on the ability to harvest attention. ... we make sense of the world in lozenge form. Compartmentalized by the feed, everything must self-contain. Cokes' read like poems of how text feels today, a glitchy attention deficit ... difficult to read but they command attention.

Full: Tony Cokes at Greene Naftali

Haim Steinbach at Tanya Bonakdar


"the artifacts of a future civilization.”-Germano Celant
It perhaps should come as no surprise that Haim Steinbach’s practice has seemed increasingly relevant during the past decade, a period in which the rituals around commercial objects have become all the more pervasive and resolved in their choreographies of desire. Indeed, the heightened attention to design in mass culture—its near-total application in commerce, from the making of products to the construction of display space, at the service of rendering life itself more a matter of lifestyle—would seem an immediately resonant context for an artist long interested in the ways in which our subjectivity is inflected by the things with which we choose to surround ourselves. One might even productively compare corporate focus groups, which seek to articulate and refine the emotional and intellectual associations consumers have with their belongings... But whereas the focus group is steeped in a kind of mercenary anthropology, Steinbach’s endeavors hold up a mirror not only to the symbolic operations attending the creation of exchange value but also to the real psychological dynamics that underpin such identification.  - Tim Griffin
If desire is what Steinbach’s work produces, it arrives with blunt, unexpected force. That might be because our drive to acquire and organize things is, in part, a conduit through which we understand ourselves. Less a comment on capitalism than an investigation of the production of the self, Steinbach’s work acknowledges the fragility of subjecthood—that our funny, fragile egos are bound up in the unexpectedly rich terrain of the knickknacks and bric-a-brac we collect and covet.- Johanna Burton
Whether his manipulations of anticipation and desire produce a unique psychological space or are merely clever remains in question. -Joshua Decter

Monday, March 1, 2021

R. H. Quaytman at Serralves


Quaytman is forebear to today's painting puzzification. Like any good mystery, it's rife with clues. Painting becomes signs and signals, turn painting into information, the little motifs become points of reference, repetitions to build resonance. A resonance that feels like meaning. They are endlessly elsewhere. We are told "every detail... is subject to careful control." Careful control presuming purpose for such, but surely there can be anality without purpose. Or, anality itself is the purpose. The careful control of avoiding anything so specific as to be finally graspable, a very very finely tuned house of mirrors. "a novel without conclusion." Already in 2014, Quaytman asking "What are they adding up to—or, to put it bluntly, what is the “book” about?" The question becomes that of all painters, painting, how long can Quaytman keep the mystery without end interesting. How long can one delay? How to resist saying anything while still appear to be speaking. Enough mirrors and the ventriloquist need not speak at all?

...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 Quaytman "chapter" you saw in person at Abreu.. And Quaytman's paintings magnified the pleasures of this, of a good mystery. The doors of new media opening along with the mystery of Quaytman; it provided its own meta-detective story. ... 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. ... in higher and higher resolution, eventually returned itself as an endless and inconclusive hall of mirrors. They revealed themselves as paintings.

See all R.H. Quaytman

Saturday, February 27, 2021

Group Show at Tanya Leighton with Sadie Coles


...exhibition most interesting for its documentation which turns to documentary. The work no longer accruing laurels through rent-space but argued in cultural speech. This is a subtle but powerful shift. Looking for new ways to internet its object. The press release becomes narrative voiceover. History becomes filmic juxtaposition. We've always had the accrediting power of Art21, or whatever mini-documentary, but now its put out in an exhibition, in place of it. That open headspace of clicking through images we can't let go uncapitalized, that's free real estate. Let the voiceover soothe. This might become a thing. At the time I had thought Leckey's Proposal for an Exhibition was the way forward, maybe this is what will come - Advertisement/documentary.

Friday, February 26, 2021

Bradley Ertaskiran [Bunker] at Contemporary Art Daily


It's generally frowned upon, the extolling/photography of your own bellybutton. Navel-gazing's "self-indulgent or excessive contemplation of oneself or a single issue, at the expense of a wider view."
But when has art ever been above its own self-aggrandizement, mirrored-auto-pleasure. (We've practically turned that itself into an art.) (This the obvious fallout of institutional critique.) The mirror becomes shinier, more pixels added, until someday hopefully the functions themselves become visible. We ascribe great power to a room that is the ostensible factory of our meaning. Painful to find to only rooms. Go into a church and find the basement's folding tables, plastic conference rooms for the glory of God. They are but rooms. The phantasm of nothingness. 

Ala Bourdieu, the real consecration is getting people to believe. 

 Past: [Adam Feldmeth] at Contemporary Art Daily

"...Like fish bumping into glass, attempt to seek the limits of our experience, our aquarium of fantasy..."

Read full: REDCAT at Contemporary Art Daily

Thursday, February 25, 2021

Hend Samir at Real Pain & Sophie von Hellermann at Larsen Warner

(Real Pain, Larsen Warner)

..trends for a sort of hyper-liquidity - hyperbole of the painterly... exaggerated to jest. ...the painterly involves a framework, a subject that bleeds. The painterly requires an object for the brush to caress. 

"Because it seems what we are actually pushing around on the canvas is the cultural object of painting. The canvas, support, oils, were long ago replaced by this mythos, its signifiers, significance."

("Paint becomes simply the candied shell to painting's cultural myth. ..Drawing ripples in surface to activate the beneath, tap the vast depths of painting's cultural wealth, this the watermelon.")

We want the painterly because this is painting's bright jewel - the more painterly it is the more undeniably painting it is, tautologically as symbol. In times of crisis we seek comfort in the familiar - put our money in what's safe. Is this why impressionism is coming back? When painting tends towards its hyperbolization - the ability to be more painterly, more Painting. We see time move in reverse, is this already impressionism?

See too: "Back to the Future impressionism" Genieve Figgis at Almine Rech, Ambera Wellmann at LuluNicola Tyson at Friedrich PetzelNicola Tyson at Nathalie Obadia, "Watermelon TheoryTala Madani

Past: Sophie von Hellermann

"Such softness, it's abject. Saccharine. Like walking around with cotton candy between toes, sugary resolve to true grit. Till your teeth fall out your head. But softness something of a ruse, a narrative lacking definition..."
"We look through the paint at some cloudy apparitions like a Renoir got wet. For all their candy von Hellerman's aren't all that appetizing; Suzanne Hudson called their characters etiolated, plants grown leggy in darkness, a feeling of being deprived of crucial nutrients..."

Read full: Sophie von Hellermann at Office Baroque Sophie von Hellermann at Greene Naftali

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Olaf Breuning at Metro Pictures


The big dumb. A more cartoon sculpture. Ironic paleo-totemism. With a smile. Breuning's interest in our connection to laughable things. The cruder it is, the more archaic it looks, the more permanent we perceive it. Interminably stupid rocks last an unfortunate forever. So paintings like pictograms, petroglyphs. Give a rock some doe eyes.

"As the world feels closer and closer to destabilization, isolationism, far-right tolerance, moves closer towards its end, we find solace looking towards the primitive technologies we might find as our future, and the deities we will worship in the trees we once had."

"we find some comfort in dirt smeared not because of its primeval "truth" but because it seems like it can't obsolesce, it can't be superseded, blown away as dust, which we mistake for being eternal."

See too: Olaf Breuning at Metro PicturesSolange Pessoa at Mendes Wood DMAaron Angell at Koppe Astner

Past: Olaf Breuning

Clownic terror is emotional indifference to our own, irony as slapstick, forcing a replacement of our feelings with manic versions, to feel better. Happy or sad, the clown face draws its emotion as large as possible, overpowering the nuanced plane of facial expression, overshadowing our own, powerless and impotent. ... Breuning a villain swaddled in fun that is no fun at all.

Read full: Olaf Breuning at Metro Pictures(1)

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Past: Tobias Kaspar

Past: Tobias Kapsar

"Folding fashion into art should seem to cause a nebulous hole to erupt, a singularity, the whole thing en abyme and vertiginous, distinctions collapsing and the thing torn open for questioning. But it just looks like art."

"None of this is lost on Kaspar who has been gliding between fashion-as-art and just-plain-art [...] fashions which for the moment the flash can be frozen"

Past: Tobias Kaspar at SilberkuppeTobias Kaspar at Peter Kilchmann

Monday, February 22, 2021

Abraham Cruzvillegas at Chantal Crousel


According to the PR, the works in the exhibition "are the result of a long term reflection" on the Las Limas Monument, "Señor de Las Limas."
"Made from materials picked up around the city ... they are all put together to be carried and carry something else... based on scientific proposals as to the transportation techniques the Olmecs used for the Señor de Las Limas... Abraham Cruzvillegas completes his sculptures by a hybrid activity: strapped to his body, he embarks each one on a journey between the gallery and a place of personal importance in this day-to-day life."
According to wikipedia page for the 1000BCE Señor de Las Limas: "What these sculptures symbolized to their culture is not clear." Which is true now too. What do these sculptures symbolize to our culture, chairs in the air. We can't even figure it out now. "examines the notion of labor" or more specifically the valorization processing labor into art through myth.  

Saturday, February 20, 2021

Harry Gould Harvey IV at Bureau


Not sure what multiplier of neo-neo-gothic we're on. As early as 2001 artists already mocked the gothic vacancy with felted craft projects of black metal's "Norwegian Romanticism" or New Gothic, Southern Gothic, before the "Digital Gothic" Modern Gothic- etc. - etc. People want the Gothic. Want the look. We reclaim it like wood. The above sculptures claimed from a Gilded Age Gothic Revival mansion. Wealthy 19th century Americans who "admired the estates of the European nobility" and saw themselves as nouveau-nobility, wanted it, recreated it. Reflected and distorted enough times, the gothic becomes a signifier without origin. Which like neoclassicism whose attempt to affect stateliness becomes McMansion Hell, the gothic becomes the safety scissors of edge. The affect of brooding power. "language that was once living and ephemeral turns from undulating patterns and waves of frequency into physical declarations that simultaneously attempt to solve social ills while imposing structural violence on those who may be marginalized."

Attached to real history to add some new bells, whistles, lockets, an affect on an affect. A look. A whole history of burning architecture to be dark and look cool. anachronism, an implicit nostalgia for the past's future, rather than our own. What the Victorians had imagined as horror, pools of blood and pendulum cuts, is far more genteel than what is our current madness. This is the pleasure-saftey of genre, it has rules.

For more conceptual wood: Venice 2019, Danh Vo, & at kurimanzutto

Friday, February 19, 2021

Erdem Taşdelen at Mercer Union


Painting's trend for clue boards maybe has its precursor in installation art - the arrangements compositioned to heighten the details, give aura to clues - you see it in the particular way things are placed, casually, but in concrete, casually, but forever - this makes the mundane appear meaningful.  Which is important for art.

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Past: Charline von Heyl

"What Kelsey called Big Joy could also be a state of mania, or anxious outburst, like seeing your friend on amphetamines and wondering what about his personality you liked in the first place. Abstraction is the friend in this metaphor. Because these paintings are brutal."

"trading the devotional for the more transactional address of advertorial cymbal crashing, of images striking"

"like being struck, designed with the force of icons and logos, instantaneous recognition, the paintings connect with a speed prophetic of the contemporary / understandable that her rise delayed would coincide with that of digital networks: von Heyl's paintings turn composition into a kind of semio-transaction of consumption"

"painterly recognition that is particular, depleting, and manic"

Click for full:
Charline von Heyl at Petzel & Deichtorhallen
Charline von Heyl at Gisela Capitain
Charline von Heyl at Capitain Petzel

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Past: Francis Alÿs at Museo Tamayo 

"Alÿs's politics begin to look more and more like children's book fantasy; images as dreams as solutions, poetics attached ever so lightly to horrible quagmires."

Monday, February 15, 2021

Lucy McKenzie at Museum Brandhorst


Displays and information, the stuff always embedded in other systems - legal grey areas because the signifier is always a bit ...removed. Inhabited. It's all fake. The painting above left is her own copy of the 2005 original. Which is not a forgery, but it is something. Slippery. In the style of. From which era are we looking. Is this mis-en-scene or are we actors? Who's thought bubble is this. 

Past: Lucy McKenzie

"Different from other representational returns prizing the awkward and cartoon, Mckenzie's representation is surreal exactly for its literalness, a directness almost vertiginous in our distrust of it. [...] the modern question of whether we should believe in the sign or not, the surface or not, like clue boards we're not sure to trust, as the PR states: presenting legal grey areas in culture’s appetite for the genuine."

Read full: Lucy McKenzie at Daniel Buchholz

Saturday, February 13, 2021

Jay Chung & Q Takeki Maeda at Essex Street


CAWD, previously: 
Artists continually forcing a reading between the lines they force distinctly apart. So that the blank white space feels ominous and full, like a detective novel, figure it out, Jay Chung & Q Takeki Maeda adept at objects in aura of evidence or clues. In dark forests we imagine predators, in confusion invent gods, or artists.
And this exhibition showing why "reading between the lines" is so precarious, from the preface:
 "Bad Driver is a work of post-truth conceived in this post-truth era. It is a collection of historical writings that constructs a generalized picture of “Asians,” following an outline made up of a constellation of fixed racial stereotypes. ... The authors have “done the research”—as conspiracy theorists say—and uncovered factual evidence that support these preconceived notions. ... a portrait of “Asians” that rely on the reader’s presumptions and internalized prejudices far more than the materials cited within." "...the fact’s factual quality was dependent on the surrounding details of its original context. Once severed, the fact immediately lost its verisimilitude as a fact."

Making interpretation a matter of delicacy. I want to say I feel vindicated for previously not wanting to enter into JC&QTM's game - this artifactization for anyone's interpretation clue boards - i.e. not become the detective - but there is something enjoyable in reading these, in playing this one's game. You feel the process of your brain latching onto fact - "connecting the dots" -  despite being forewarned how worthless these contextless facts are. It still works. Chapter 4 for instance we are shown the questions on a Chinese driving test with their obvious dogwhistle possibility, but JC&QTM casual bypassing of the correct answer suddenly allows all the answers their possibility, reaffirm the racist cliche. This would be stupid if you didn't feel how incredibly effective it is in building an insidious implication. It is like a cliche in reverse, watch it be structured, maintained. The wellspring of implication, aura, that functions no matter how many times we say it's just Disney magic. This has obvious parallels (and critique) for any art that apparels itself with the "serious look" - the ominous monolith - the blankness for projection - allows unconscious thoughts to fester - the actor that claims innocence. 

See too: Heji Shin at Reena Spaulings 

Friday, February 12, 2021

Trevor Shimizu at Misako & Rosen

I enjoy late Monet, before his cataracts surgery, the rusting of his pastiche into yellow lumps, all but blind. Their gross mismanagement of color failing to materialize his prettiness. You watch a master, hampered, fail. Late Monet like Soutine painted a colonoscopy. Shimizu's, ditching the coprophagia, have almost the opposite but equally compelling problem, a prettiness for which there is no reason - you watch failure produce horrible beauty. 

Past: Jay Chung and Q Takeki Maeda

"In the smoke of Matias Faldbakken's rocketship ascendancy the artworld was left blind scrambling to adhere a politic for it, to make a critical foundation for the artworld's hot new power iconography, unable to accept that how it looked, rather than any little content it contained, was its appeal. ... Issues of interest for Jay Chung and Q Takeki Maeda, ..."

"Artists continually forcing a reading between the lines they force distinctly apart. So that the blank white space feels ominous and full, like a detective novel, figure it out, Jay Chung & Q Takeki Maeda adept at objects in aura of evidence or clues. Bits of knowledge that are brought up in the PR, starting with the failure of the cult to deliver its prophecies, its promised cataclysm falling to a gaping white nothing burger, a lot like the art's lines. "

"These photos tell you nothing, give you no information but they connote an affect, one of literal and metaphorical velvet ropes. What, after all, is this photograph of? Of the air, in the impressionist sense. That emptiness they love. ... Or maybe there is just that much air. Like John Knight, the strategies of withholding generate power. In dark forests we imagine predators, in confusion invent gods, or artists."
Past: Trevor Shimizu

"satisfying like a sign painter's numbers, a dumbness relieving against the muddled intentions of more artistic means."
" long as it is painted, so long as it is painting, it is already done."
", which the inept can be lovable or painful, the bumbling either funny or eye-rolling, and Shimizu's an extended question of which.

Thursday, February 11, 2021

Emilie Louise Gossiaux at Mother Gallery


Emilie Louise Gossiaux is blind. And in front of you, sighted person, is a sculpture you can see. Or perhaps it was described to you. It is passed between us. (To paraphrase someone else) "The primary purpose of the [sculpture] is to allow both the audience and the artist to have a relationship through the art that is valid and unbreakable." Objects are merely a myth, we construct them for each other.

Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Michael Armitage at Haus der Kunst

(Forgive some of the indelicacies on timing; Jana Euler was already Artforumly connected to social realism already in 2012, etc. The oh so spooky Zombies already labeled by 2014, etc. etc. Party's party began years ago. etc. etc. etc.)

Every hypothesis needs an experiment. And so if you see impressionist painting in the next year, know that it was hypothesized here first.

Monday, February 8, 2021

Nandi Loaf at King’s Leap


Cycle the artist back into itself, reroute it into content. The number of followers become auto-content for said followers. So they can follow it. Bruce Nauman stated it succinctly: “If I was an artist and I was [on the internet], then whatever I was doing [on the internet] must be art. At this point art became more of an activity and less of a product.” Because activity is now the product, it is the social internetted object, keeps the generator of art whirring: visibility. Eyes/views are the underpinning. Fame is only predicated on sight, not value: eventually a critical mass of people know you and then you are famous. Think of Bickertons paintings that also LCD their price-value - here becomes the social, the eyeballs. DJ Khaled yells, "Nandi Loaf is the [best] artist of the 21st century." Its truth does not matter, the truth value is less than it having been spoken. "Everybody going to say something - the worry is if they said nothing." The point is claim that speech. Follow @Nandi_loaf. Get in early. Pre-IPO. Watch the line go wee.

See too: Petra Cortright at Société

Sunday, February 7, 2021

Gordon Parks at Jack Shainman Gallery


This is a good exhibition. I'm going to cast aside all critical -cynical- impulse and just state the fact that this exhibition should exist and glad its here in one place. It should be bigger, it should be huge, put every single portrait from Parks' Chicago portrait studio up on the walls - even if it's all for sale - it will at least be here archived under the painful white light of contemporary art. Make it hurt. I am reminded of Ruby Frazier, because they "confuse time and conflate eras, make chronology slippery, and deny a continuum of progress, inherently anti-nostalgic" - a question of why today can look like 30 years ago, and  30 years ago look like today. Antidote to nostalgia photography. "We have facial recognition tech in the palms of our hands and water we can't send through pipes."

Past: Tam Ochai

"Ochai's painting collect their painting like a window sill collects dust. The only requisite might be time passing and its loss sedimented of whatever accumulate. You might write your name in the dust, but these collect places as their dust. We could just be happy it doesn't look like painting."

Friday, February 5, 2021

Lawrence Abu Hamdan at Secession


It's days like this when you realize you are just looking at promotional vehicles, you haven't left the house in days, the world being advertised to you.  There's no content here, just a dark room for your projection of how interesting this could be. The advertisement.

Wednesday, February 3, 2021

Marieta Chirulescu at Plan B


Against the stunning orgies of cartoon extremes, a painting that is vague feels like relief. Surrealism becomes the inability to distinguish - to even parse what is and is not content - painting a sponge for it. 

Tuesday, February 2, 2021

Jameson Green at Derek Eller


...which, maybe the point is that there's no aversion to reference - but that its actually the adornment to your figuration, the value added, the decomposition of the cultural cache into kitsch. Grows mushrooms. A Hellraiser Pinhead Guston type of fungus. 

Saturday, January 30, 2021

Marte Eknæs at Efremidis & Sam Lewitt at Z33 House for Contemporary Art, Design & Architecture


Spooky object scary time. Ominous, cold. An emptiness we the viewer backfill with projections for what could be. See apparitions. See ghosts in the machine. Invent spirits in the trees, gods in the heavens that care about us. Artists as shamans show us the way, the truth, the light, the emptiness.