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)

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.

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. 

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. 

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 Bickerton's 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.