Friday, December 30, 2022

Daniel Turner at Kunsthalle Basel

Sculpture never had its Zombie formalism. But this is it. The industrialization of aura through reference-shredded-process. This stuff comes from hospitals! And, like, chemical factories! Spooky. Think of hospitals, stuff happens there! Chemicals! I bet they linger! Wow, have you heard of On Kawara! It points! Things in the world! Oh my! Traces! Like the Shroud of Turin in relation to the face of Jesus, they are fake. But asking questions! Artworld JAQing off. A more steroidic budget. Turning human blood into wine for rich consumption. 

This value added of anecdotal content, of reference converted to sign...
While this was the central conundrum to conceptual art since its inception, the rupture and distance between sign and object (always at risk that its sign didn't actually contain its object) it has since been taken as granted, as a granting agency for value added. While On Kawara's July 21st 1969 poses the question of whether it actually contains the weight of a moon landing, [now art] is given to absorb the history. 

Jason Rhoades built a career of mocking this value-added system, performing it under absurdly comical conditions, to create his referentially seminal signature: PeaRoeFoam, a mess of so much reference and history and jest that it self imploded. A satirical factory of art aura.

The animism that pervades contemporary sculpture is a compositional strategy of curators and artists drawing out a latent feature of minimalism described already in 1967 by Michael Fried as a "theatricality," and used as a showroom potentiality, a sort of pornographic objecthood in a showroomization of art, imbuing importance with display strategies arranging attention, prioritize the presence of the object in relation to a viewer, no longer the blank mirror objects of minimalism creating a stage to hold the viewer/actor, but objects which the actor, you, holds in relation to themselves, Hamlet touching the cranial vault to his own, all under the shadow-less white light of product photography or god.

See: “Being Thing” at Centre International d’Arte et du Paysage & Treignac ProjetJames Hoff at VI, VII

Thursday, December 29, 2022


 Swennen's painterly literalness: there is no magic, just the object and the sisyphean onus, push paint. It makes an image. The interest in this hamhandness is in never pulling the same gambit twice, still producing some object interest while lacking any painterly ambition whatsoever.

an occasional brilliance in darkness, that dies, and leaves one wondering what light there ever was in the first place, and when its dark its almost chilling levels of it, sort of begging you to hate them.

full: Walter Swennen at Xavier Hufkens(1), Walter Swennen at Xavier Hufkens (2)

Wednesday, December 28, 2022

Heimo Zobernig at Petzel


There is no bedrock to terrible things. Imagine something bad, now imagine it a little worse. Make it children. Redder. Make it expressionist. Continue until you have ugliness you cannot commit to paper. There are further depths than this abyssal trench. A drill is required to get deeper technicolor horror. The baseness of Heimo Zobernig's painting. Things you can't explain to father. 

Tuesday, December 27, 2022

Past: Silke Otto-Knapp

"The ethereal silver surface appending some Last Year at Marienbad memory".." they're projection screens for home films of your cultural baggage."

"Our recognition-of is the greatest asset of a painting, proving its commonality, prerequisite to fame."

"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. "

Read Full: Kyung-Me at Bureau & Silke Otto-Knapp at The Renaissance SocietySilke Otto-Knapp at greengrassiSilke Otto-Knapp at Taylor Macklin

Monday, December 26, 2022

Dashiell Manley at Marianne Boesky Gallery


Laura Owens was able to rescue from cynicism the quotational irony of Jonathan Lasker's cartoons and whack out a baroque nosegay. The academic into clusterfucks. Even Fun. Here the quotational returns to that Xeroxed question; you put art history straight to the office paper shedder. "You put the referent in the shredder to make a puzzle appear. Which looks like a painting. Gives the PR something to talk about. "

See too:Dashiell Manley at Jessica Silverman


" A lot painting today is excuses for getting bright striking colors onto canvas. ... 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. ... Perhaps brilliance, like Grotjahn, in just not even excusing oneself. A confusion of whether or not these are dumb."

Dashiell Manley at Jessica Silverman


...rendering's look itself has come to represent and stand in for our imaginative space ... The wet image absorbed the qualities of virtual space, the sheen of the digitally plastic, denoting its manipulability...

Saturday, December 24, 2022

Marina Xenofontos at A MAIOR


A disappearance into the christmas trees of capital. Placing your art amongst commodities is a higher form of self-flagellation. 

Friday, December 23, 2022

Past: Manfred Pernice

"Construction, for Pernice, is made like a complaint, the decisions heavy and won." "... failure to fully erect anything." "Height made apparent with pain. the stacking as its major form of construction.. attainment of a height passable for sculpture. ... denote an empathetic shyness, a slovenliness evocative of the depressed's care for self-comfort."

Read Full:Manfred Pernice at The Modern InstituteManfred Pernice at Kunstmuseum St. GallenManfred Pernice at Galerie NeuManfred Pernice at Anton Kern

Tuesday, December 20, 2022

Past: Barbara Kasten

" exorcisms to make photography reveal its surface: what was made to represent everything but itself ... a surrealist project of photography's desire-surface, the paradox of photographing glass ... desiring the wet image of surface. Like making love to someone's glistening sweat... making its car-body self expose without getting a look under the hood, now pretty much every photographer today not necessarily trying to break the glass, at least looking to place a sticker on it or find some odd way to warm its domination of us, with a filter say, the image.

Read Full: Barbara Kasten at Hannah Hoffman“Every Day I Make My Way” at Minerva

Sara Deraedt at Maxwell Graham / Essex Street

Art abhors a vacuum, we critics race like rats to fill void with our hot air. Me, a pattern seeking brain, notices: D's continual insistence on containers, empty or to be filled. Vacuums, a "fishbowl" gallery, empty water bottles, prisons, and then now these... chambers. Several of these past works include in their materials list the cubic centimeters of volume they contain: 2010 cm³, 448000 cm,³ - Steel, screws, paint, 364480 cm³, etc. (Pedantically accurate, they include 10 cm³ of airspace in the 2L water bottle.) A small detail from an otherwise reticent artist for this exhibition: "All objects are human body size." In other words this is the space for you. You project yourself. The art just there to contain it.... yeah, like a prison. It reaps your profits.

This is not "audience-as-decoration." Because you are indentured to this bespoke void.

Enjoy your stay: The empty space for ghosts

Sunday, December 18, 2022


"the bad television of painting history, floating through low reception airwaves..  It arrives jumbled, confused, i.e. the "What we think we see is a creation of our mind’s eye." In other words, an inkblot.

Full: Heather Guertin at JDJHeather Guertin at Brennan & Griffin 

Terry Winters at Modern Art


Terry Winters is proof that dumb painting can look smart with the whiff of information, science, intelligence. The gentlest hint of reason. So bubble up signs in mud, possible glyphs to understanding. Because we want paintings that speak, mean.

Like all those microscopic slides whose abstraction we nonscientists can't assess but are told hold meaning. Isn't that the perfect analogy for art?

We apophenic machines: Antek Walczak at Jenny’s

Wednesday, December 14, 2022

Past: Tobias Kapsar

"Folding fashion into art should seem to cause a nebulous hole to erupt, the whole thing en abyme and vertiginous... 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

 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, 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, ..."

See: Michelle Grabner at The Green Gallery

Tuesday, December 13, 2022

Colors of the year(s)

We made this joke in 2019 on instagram. But the radiant orchid is a perennial. 

Saturday, December 10, 2022



 Looking for the ghost in the machine we instead find the designer. We find ourselves, staring back. This is you, the abyss your baggage brought. 

Writing about blank art you are confronted with the theater of your skull, your dome's skeletal movie screen. It's called "prisoner's cinema," a useful term for art. Eyes phosphene in darkness, in vacuity your mind alights. You project. Blankness rewards the already full mind, handing the viewer back to themselves, allowing all the self-satisfied self-congratulations they can self-muster. Art abhors vacuum. You cannot kill content if you tried. Because art is baggage, preloaded with a cultural et al. 

[Because] not knowing is unacceptable, and rejection would prove viewer's impotence, thus created an environment where artists are able to produce further and further extremes of blankness filled by those refusals to not-know, whose sensory deprivation creates phantasms, see the abyss looking back because we are doing the projecting.

The wider the distance between signs/images the greater the space to be filled, the grander the concept, the impossible gap, generally seceded to the viewer. This is our conceptual moment. Objects have meaning, we cannot pass that off, and the distance between them, grand like the canyon, vacant and large. ...the only thing left to do is to produce greater and greater gulfs of meaning.

The tension: whether this beacon actually broadcasts idea. Or simply clears space for fill, me, this, now."

In dark forests we imagine predators, in trees see intelligence. In confusion we excel at inventing gods, or meaning.

Tuesday, December 6, 2022

"for Brodmann style is suspended  in the dispersed particles of [art's] past participants, in the soup of its references, closing in on the liquify setting of its blender."

"By turning the painting into an accumulation of "Brodmann moments", in a sort cave-painting/graffito mode, Brodmann compositionalizes his semio-capital, transmuting it into information, into a field of redirects failing to place it anywhere, turning it into painting as sort of recursive field, allowing to renege on the artist task of "be Brodmann" while being Brodmann."

Past: Vittorio Brodmann at Halle Für Kunst LüneburgVittorio Brodmann at Freedman FitzpatrickVittorio Brodmann at Gregor Staiger

Monday, December 5, 2022

David Rappeneau at Queer Thoughts, New York


Hold a fashion magazine up to warbled silver. The effect ostensibly providing the "nightmare" and "post-apocalypse" to what otherwise are a snapchat's night out. They just look fun. You can't out nihilist fashion - that's a loser's game - these already begun their pleasance. If they were paintings they'd already be on the high courts walls. Their crayon applies a backrooms feel, underdog, pulled from the notebook of a derelict clown. Their paper being their critical strength. Otherwise they'd just be silver mirrors. 


Liz Craft at Centre d'édition contemporaine, Geneva


Craft's investment in our emoji-ification - the way we relinquish representation/communication to symbols and mannequins. Yellow orbs to replace us, pareidolialy, trash compose face. It's easy and we're good at it. That we identify with the dead eyes of Ms. Pac-man. That speech bubbles can shrink wrap anything. The frame explain its function, even when there is none, it comes flooding, like a painting. We will always see something in them, singing signing. 

Liz Craft at Real Fine ArtsLiz Craft at Jenny’s

"the youth are bored, despondent, they are nervous and pallid, but worst they're nostalgic. Cylindric reference reflects in anamorphosis to project history as bigger than it..  Looking back to see yourself reflected in the glass already containing all the gold you can fish, to find yourself trapped on the silver side of the mirror, your reflection. And Rappeneau's endless inscriptions in this silver surface, this hypertrophied advertorial ennui.."

Past: David Rappeneau at Queer ThoughtsDavid Rappeneau at Queer Thoughts
Past: Liz Craft

"could wish our communicado could find space for ethereal content, walls to text become brick to evoke a feeling rather than language, emoji mise-en-scene."

Liz Craft at Real Fine ArtsLiz Craft at Jenny’s

Friday, December 2, 2022

Past: J. Parker Valentine

"expectations of legibility, depictive of some tip-of-the-tongue subject within a library of means detailing the amorphous thing it circles but fails to produce. There is the lure of subject-object, the thing that will at any moment manifest itself in the definitive lines of drawing"

"a viewer left to sort spaghetti formed lines like tea leaves that were inside you all along. Pareidolia."

J. Parker Valentine at Misako & RosenJ. Parker Valentine at Juan and Patricia Vergez CollectionJ. Parker Valentine at Park View

Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Past: Mathis Altmann at Halle für Kunst LüneburgMathis Altmann at Freedman Fitzpatrick

"The Model becomes predominate as the world's point of scale becomes unmoored, and reality floating between the virtual and material conditions - abstracted by floating points of enumeration etc. etc. Housing replaces houses replaces house, distinct from home, which is bombed out. The model encapsulates this world governed by virtual features, the planning, projected statistical everything, abstraction of everyday. Looking down at our hands the sphere of the earth is said to be at our fingertips. This abstraction feels lived in."

Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Alfred D'ursel at dépendance & Monika Stricker at Galerie Clages

(dépendance, Clages)

Hot monkey action day today at CAD. A sort of content of the night. With monkeys. But whereas one withdraws into dark heat the other goes full frontal - bearing all the fruits it can let hang out. A press release well to go with it:

"The depiction of a monkey actually always stands for something else, especially in paintings. Most of the time, monkeys act as a distorted picture of mankind, they articulate the tragic dimension of human existence, of life as a cultivated animal. Clearly, Rococo singerie painting only worked satirically ... Monika Stricker continues her engagement with the scrotum, which has now been going on for several years."

Exposing the nut of the matter doesn't diminish it. Turning on the lights doesn't necessarily let its content out. 

see too: Monika Stricker at dépendance


"... these paintings are soft creatures -  Stricker can turn a nutsack into a malignant growth. This would seem obvious or easy - the thing is an alien enough gum - ... there's an uncomfortable paternity. Occasionally even looks like a crowning child, the penis removed entirely, and the bulb swells. A monstrous sex, and painting a strange care for the creature. ..."

Full: Monika Stricker at dépendance

Masaya Chiba at Bel Ami

Display being a function of reproduction, education. Masaya Chiba's always something pedagogically askew - like there's a presentation happening, there's some thing scientifically flat about the work - illustrative - but without information's answer. They seem to imply some big red arrow that would point out meaning, but lacking it instead presents that interminable inkblot question, 

see too: Masaya Chiba at Tokyo Opera City Art Gallery

Monday, November 28, 2022

Past: Moyra Davey

"Sontag pointed out photography as inherently elegiac, and Davey further expresses its moribund nature-morte with a gloss of preemptive nostalgia. Like instagram filters made to affect 70’s grain on crystalline microlenses - an artificial warmth on the cold of its technologic clarity - Davey pre-placing that touch on the photographs..."

"art often feels like a process, technology, for imprinting nostalgia. ...  Photography provides /immediate packaging: that inherently elegiac medium also promises preservation of someone's sight of you.' So you get to preserve your recognition like pickled pigs and call it romantic. Nostalgia's artistry becomes its own technology. "

"It's alluring to attach the psychology of money to feces."

Sunday, November 27, 2022

K.R.M. Mooney at Miguel Abreu


The problems of material convergence remain testament that the world is not entirely plasticked. That you can't just glue anything to anything. A reminder that while we can impregnate kittens with panda, injection mold ears on mice, we still have screws holding a world together. Bones stitched with bolts. Medical grade screws. The world is dumb and full of pipes rusting. There may never be a technology to solve this.  We may never invent a better substance than this. 

Saturday, November 26, 2022

Alex Mackin Dolan at David Lewis


CAWD has been talking about the interfacization of painting since at least 2016. 

the iconization of content. The practice of stylization...  Information is converted to its image then compositionalized. But that doesn't nerf it. The interface is strong, it causes our reading which we cannot prevent. Icons are meaning even when they don't. and we are like hypnotized. We are made to read space, and here sign systems converted to labyrinth make puzzling. [The fount of art]

Alex Mackin Dolan's had been a sort of Bickerton excess of this until now literalizing it. We put quarters of our attention into painting- this is a wishing well for meaning. Here the pay off is content, and that bright shiny orb of an interior payoff. This is how painting is like gambling. 

see too: Interface

Friday, November 25, 2022

David Douard at Serralves


The trash pile of culture looks different every 20 years. Certain shapes just didn't exist 30 yers ago. Metal logos metastasized and "Every 10 years the art's assemblage reinvents itself as the dumpsters picked through are modernized to the current castoffs and appear new, the waste that evolves along culture until finally an artist is able to rummage up enough LEDs, acrylic panels and Arte Povera catalogs to accumulate the update to our Rauschenberg cardboard clogging the pipes of our forward progress. At least sticks are still in vogue as symbols of the foraging, our original human toil, production."

This "looks like you blew up a shopping mall, like its reassembly after catastrophe, like hangers categorizing airline wreckage. Trying to make sense in debris. Us, a cargo cult. Us, a primitive culture, [these are the] aurochs on our white cave walls. With the debris of culture. Our Mystic auto-anthropology."

"art treats culture as a system of artifacts to be interrogated by its own white light certification process, a factory for meaning production." 

Art becomes cultural waste, the gallery swallows, and you the viewer digest its tract. and "We eat its excitement."

Eventually the malls will look again like this, maybe they already do. 

Past: David Douard at Johan Berggren

"...the bodily in the trash accumulated, acknowledging the filth of things ready made, the body in the product, in the package, in the excrement of practice, Duoard both reacting to and participating in the cold industry of the system; filthy, disgusting, sporadically humane."

Full:  David Douard at Johan Berggren

Wednesday, November 23, 2022


...You look into Kyung-Me's, awaiting you is a little snow globe of a world inside it...

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

Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Claire Fontaine at Air de Paris


The art equivalent of a Live Laugh Love poster. When you point this out they say yes that's the point. But it's a shitty point. Do collectors know they're buying fake art? Or does it not matter anymore. Shitty art self-naturalizes on the walls long enough. The artist is on strike, that's why the art is bad, it would be neoliberal to care. 

Past:  Claire Fontaine

"People hate Fontaine. It's easy to see why, and a particularly searing example by Chris Wiley for Frieze (e.g. 'I also consider the mealy-mouthed, jargon-besotted forms of this political position’s promulgation – utilized by the editors of Tiqqun, Fontaine and others – an impediment to reasoned debates surrounding political change, as well as a crime against language' a single sentence in an unending screed against the work) is the front and first review of one of Fontaine's gallery's press packet on the artists. "

"exemplar of the artist's grandstanding the impotent and hollow feeling of political ineffectuality as big shiny horrors,"

Monday, November 21, 2022


"And one of the joys of a vernacular functionalism is the endlessly alternative, the elsewise arrival at a similar solution. ... Kanu's project might be a similar mining of alternatives to an already existing solution, selling the artworld what it wants. "

"Art has no surprise, all subversion is already accepted. But furniture is a form with expectations and so allows for subversion. ...wonky, impractical, painful, these are the tools of the artist/designer. There's an air of relational aesthetics: art's questions are traded for a function. Who needs beauty when you're being served excellent chili. Art's unicorn "criticality" gets replaced with being useful. ... A 100 years of critics inventing function for art, as MEANING, eventually confuses the issue. The old Indiana Jones slight of hand, exchanging heavy trash for gold. But Indy made that academic gaff, mistaking volume for weight, having never really held gold, didn't know the exchange rate. Then the temple collapses. 

"The dust forms a question for archeologists. And then how you felt about the temple to begin with."

Full: Dozie Kanu at Project Native InformantDozie Kanu at Performance Space

Friday, November 18, 2022

Past: Josephine Pryde

"... Pryde uses Pop's function, the saccharine of instant recognition ... whose comfort allow defenses dropped and desire for disposable sweets, a populist bent to criticality ... a shutterstock imaging of normalized categories.... "

"Genre is the capsule that allows immediate swallowing... And so we understand them like a trojan horse, internalize with ease. Ostensibly later spring forths the latent soldiers, medicine. But it might be the gulping was the trick. Getting you to immediately get them. The cuteness of gerbils, the joke of consumption."

Monday, November 14, 2022

Harald Thys at MANIERA


A stupid idea given full weight. Makes for interest. Because it nerfs the blowhard heights of design to this crayola sketch. Rendered in 3D. With an accredited automotive designer attached. Maybe it's the simple pleasure of watching design "fail" but function. The great outrage of twit overlord's low polygon cybertrucks winning design of the year. There's something about "bad" industrial design. The enjoyment of something less capitalistically aerodynamic, not very aerodynamic at all. Why do most cars look like lobsters from future? And not this soft bar of soap.

See too: Andreas Schulze at Sprüth Magers

Saturday, November 12, 2022

Nancy Lupo & Monique Mouton at Veda


Both whose object's loss are one breath away. At the cusp of entropic dissolve. Lupo's stuf and Mouton's airs. Waste, exhalation, as much accumulated or captured as made. They even kind of look like "strange attractors." Or "Cantor dust" - just remove the center square - extract her mouth, it will still stand in for her - the ever fractilization of things into the dust they shall return.


"[Fragments] are wounded, ominous, their meaning is fractured, in ways that can't be put back together. We place these objects to our foreheads and ask for their secrets, contemplate their use, rotate them in our minds. [Their use is] to be pressed to ears, interminably silent, and hear the ocean in your head." Attempts to cage a cloud, the pleasured exhalation of your last cigarette, leave one wondering at the limits of repair.

Full: Monique Mouton at Bridget Donahue

Past: Chadwick Rantanen

"it's tearing off the wings a butterfly, removing the potential of resurrection/metamorphosis - returning the butterfly to its immanent flightless body, a grub, snivelling across surface."
"...intentionally crafting kawaii critters to abuse in the circuits of his machinery. The gestures seem less absurd than frustrated .. The director of fetish "crush" films Jeff Valencia speaks of desiring to be the subject under the feet of the crusher, identifying with the object/animal being crushed."

"And which, these are torturous objects. ...and this is upcycling from hell. This is trash into an agnostic crucifix, into a "devotional object," something the PR hints we may supplicate to... that's just appending symbology to make your fetish seem rational. Rantanen just seems to love torturing the stuf of capital. Pretend to asphyxiate it."

Thursday, November 10, 2022

Danielle Mckinney at Marianne Boesky Gallery


Thinking about past paintings, about Eric Fischl's bad boy, how bad it was, how that was what we wanted then. How that's not what we want now. It was bad then. How what we want now is memories of how painting-as-a-stand-in-for-history could have been, like the colors were this way all along, a rose tinted rearranging of our hindsight, now in 2020. A golden hour for in your dreams.

Tuesday, November 8, 2022

 Past: Gillian Carnegie at dépendance

Peppered with Sphinxes whose riddle must be answered, painting. And us all tossing darts at meaning. Carnegie's slow career to worlds with no light, almost shadowless worlds reticent, seen in distant silver. ... something mercurial, resistant to hands, and thus why all the writing on Carnegie is pretty much awful, this. ... If what Mayweather did was easy, all boxers would do it. Withdraw as a form of iconoclasm, luminous in rejection. How annoying to wither, die, under the mockery of a cat's impassion.

Full: Gillian Carnegie at dépendance

Sunday, November 6, 2022

Peter Bradley at KARMA


Painting like a trap for accumulating ... what? Not content precisely but something we might confuse with it. Painting like a trap fo accumulating our heads. A retainer for mental projection, light.

Saturday, November 5, 2022

Group Show at Antenna Space


Thing becomes stuf. Stuf become our thing, a movement, today in art the object is animate with Kristeva flesh, a new form of object that is no longer what you see because what you see is sexually confusing. Why does a couch look like a tanned corpse, why does our/ painting look like a redundant skin. The moment is marked! Question for grad students: Why are we attracted to this? 

See too: Anti-ligature rooms, OUT NOW!

Friday, November 4, 2022


"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.

"in the end Feehily's seemingly less industrial more underdog engine may be no differently dead. "

Read full: Fergus Feehily at Misako & RosenFergus Feehily & Günther Förg at June

Wednesday, November 2, 2022

Cristina de Miguel at L21 Gallery


Binge and purge the cultural cake,  painting like "a dog having found the birthday cake to lay it out once again on the patterned rug." A painting barfs. No one ever needed to excuse painting excess. It's what we want. More. To get it and eat it too. But the consumption of painting is in reverse.

See too: Genieve Figgis at Almine RechJoanne Greenbaum at CroneJoanne Greenbaum at Richard Telles

Past: Mathis Gasser

"Like taking sips from a firehose, Gasser's sampling of the deluge of images...using the fountain to make a construct-your-own-adventures storyboard.."

"The big dumb object is painting."

Tuesday, November 1, 2022

Corinne Wasmuht at Petzel


“in the era of the LED-backlit computer and smartphone [that] often engage with the kind of spaces and effects that the electronic screen generates.” Alas, as the same catalog admits, “what can be achieved today through painting looks very circumscribed compared to what is possible in other more immersive and interactive media.”

Like Julie Mehretu, Guillermo Kuitca, every tornado-hits-architecture painter, the question of "image processing" has been replaced by ever faster forms. Visual interest is now just a technological slider. "Vibrance" "Contrast" "Interest" "New Paintings"

Past: Shimabuku at Nouveau Musée National de Monaco 

"It's that Bas Jan Ader, Francis Alys sort of breezing conceptual art. Gentle myth making.  You glean as much, more, from the generous press text ... as 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: Shimabuku at Nouveau Musée National de Monaco 

Sunday, October 30, 2022

Alan Reid at Nicelle Beauchene Gallery


Painting converts to information, into design. Into sign systems. We no longer paint landscapes we paint the superhighway of adverts. This makes sense. We look at more iPads than we do trees. The iPad is more meaningful than a tree. We relate to the world as icons, fonts, swipes - this the grammar of our meaning. "We understand them implicitly, terrifyingly." And these prose poem.

informative painting: Math Bass

Friday, October 28, 2022

Gordon Hall at DOCUMENT


The part, piece, glint is inherently evocative. It projects its missing part liked a dotted shadow, which we fill in. Everything here ready for something else. You stop the artwork from completing meaning so that it forever self renew, remain ungraspable, await its performance again.

Wednesday, October 26, 2022

Faith Wilding at Bortolami


Wilding is precursor is this suggestive era, to our biomorphic and questionable lumps. The minimalist mantra no longer holds up. It is no longer "'what you see is what you see,' because what you see is sometimes sexually confusing, leather seats look like the lap of a tanned naked man." Think Nairy Baghramian, Lucy Bull, Ron Nagle, everyone using the word "bodily." The pareidolic. "a meaningful interpretation on a nebulous stimulus." You even start to see other artist in them."Surrealism works for today as art must be a fount eternal, and so the point today is to overlay as much as information as possible, until it blurs, slips, make inkblots"

Nairy Baghramian at Museo Tamayo, Lucy Bull at High Art
Past: Alex Hubbard

"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."

Tuesday, October 25, 2022

Past: Gene Beery

"The trueness of statements... becomes if not beside the point, a thing to torture. Not the treachery of images, but the treachery of saying anything at all. "

"Beery toys with this functionality," "words can perform in a way that art doesn't, a transmission between people, infiltrative, allowing its horsemen direct access to your head, to say whatever it wants, and already there, words standing around inside you. .. no wonder the surrealists and conceptualists loved Beery."

"a slight haywire version sparking in the walls, threatening to burn the whole thing, meaning, down.


"... which is then treated to a Kubrickian austerity, totemized as the monoliths, allowing the surrounding emptiness of space to lend all the pressure that the gallery symbolically can"

Full: Florian Pumhösl at Galerie BuchholzFlorian Pumhösl at Meyer Kainer

Monday, October 24, 2022

Past: Alexandra Noel

"... a psychic mess, more pollution than collage, tinged with repression. The shadow of a plane is the specter haunting here, but throughout is an "offness" that is more motion sickness than fear. ...  Noel's light too, toxic, the haze as permanent fixture, everything feeling smogged, poisoned. Pollution as repression, spectacular sunsets, and black oil beneath feet. The 9/11 in everyone's bedroom."

Full: Alexandra Noel at Freedman Fitzpatrick, Atlantis, Alexandra Noel at Antenna Space

Friday, October 21, 2022

SoiL Thornton at Kunstverein Bielefeld


8 years ago CAWD noted that Darren's Bader's floor strewn with "regular objects" might be more interesting than art:

It would be more interesting to talk about many of these objects than it would most paintings in galleries today. Some of these objects are miraculous, a lot of the world is; who needs a painting, or worse, art.

It was true. And Bader was suicide bomb to the categorical dam of art, release the world into the gallery. Art had no defense.

[because] if we're going to take seriously the idea of [Carl Andre's] dead fire bricks arranged gravenly on floors, or [Michael Craig-Martin's] water become tree, then too so we must accept its ideological twin: shrimp tossed in a foosball table or muffins arranged. To argue one way or the other the importance of bricks/floor vs shrimp/game is to already enter into Bader's standoff, and lose to the man brilliantly willing to lose everything to win.

Like lucky quarters undifferentiated, Bader was willing to risk losing art into pile of ordinary objects it could barely be distinguished from - were it not the crowning halo of art accreditation, usually the oxymoron, certificate of authenticity. The merger of art and life was protected by legal documents. An unspoken sore point that Bader salted. Life was more interesting than art, and we defended art from it with notarized paper and a retrograde return to painting's definitive art-ness. 

Thornton OTOH seems to understand Bader's take - life's objects are more interesting than art's. But without wanting to suicide the category of art - and most importantly keeping art alive without necessarily a rebooting past genres. Everything here is neither sculpture nor readymade nor painting. It's like the world but also not the world at all. 

See too: Darren Bader

Shinpei Kusanagi at Altman Siegel


This is our most nostalgic era. Our "great again" era, a rehash era. Our reboots. Remakes. The artworld nostalgia that pervades like Marvel universes. The broad brushstrokes are already all there, the script merely updated. Or not. All things must pass. Unless you just endlessly perpetuate them. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2022

Past: Lucy McKenzieAtelier E.B

...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.

How many artists/art projects have started, or started as, a fashion brand? It's almost a genre at this point, the "art" fashion brand. ... Fashion is a perhaps more honest about its object, which is really the brand, the effort to construct the aura ... And honesty about what backs the work allows for a more complete control over the gesamtkunstwerk, the ads, the displays, the showroom itself. The walls don't even need to be white, the production line of aura.

Atelier E.B at Garage Museum of Contemporary ArtLucy McKenzie at Daniel BuchholzLucy McKenzie at Museum Brandhorst

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

Thursday, October 13, 2022

"...  Like, while Kosuth was concerned for all the mysteries of "Chair," Wex and Mary Kelly were like yes, but we also get pregnant. The "cerebral" of men's white concerns was treated as the higher plane and, for all its agnostic posturing, the "conceptual" allied itself with a reverence akin the religious divinity it ostensibly exiled. Men, oblivious to their own bodies that had never been in question by culture, had the privilege to etherealize themselves above everyone's heads to some assumed universal while women's were increasingly entrenched in politic ground war. ..."


Wednesday, October 12, 2022

Catharine Czudej at von ammon co


"the feigned resistance of the artists"

Admittance: I cried in the Rothko Chapel, left for fear of making scene. In an intellectual sense it was sham, big dumb paintings, built with a church! At the same time what unbelievable lengths to go for an artist to say, "no." Building such an elaborate stage only to wilt and retreat at its presence. I know the feeling. If Reinhardt rhetorically proclaimed the last paintings, then Rothko had accidentally found them, a trap, and so, retreated, eternally. It felt accidental, unintended, which was the pathos. Like, oops, all abyss. But now, "Reinhardt’s dictum of his as the last paintings taken as a challenge rather than rhetoric, certain artists since race to end painting in an escalating torture-porn of it." But now, now you can just turn off the lights. And since we believe, god or art, someone, somewhere, will turn them back on, we live forever. So long as the generator runs. 

Tuesday, October 11, 2022

Hannah Quinlan & Rosie Hastings at Kunsthalle Osnabrück; Trisha Baga at beacon

"The bedroom as terrarium, the girl as experiment"

"...The Model becomes predominate as the world's point of scale becomes unmoored, and reality floats between the virtual and material conditions abstracted by floating points of enumeration etc. etc. "Housing" replaces "houses," which replaces "house" distinct from "home," which is bombed out. The model encapsulates this world governed by virtual features, the planning, projected statistical everything, abstraction of everyday..."

Full sketch for the The Model 

Monday, October 10, 2022

James Bantone at Centre d'Art Contemporain


"Plainly, Bantone is refusing the identification of your subjects and thereby refusing their exploitation." 

Perhaps similar to Pope.L tensioning a joke without the relief valve of a punchline, instead airs uncomfort - Bantone's horror is actually mere refusal to assimilate with a more gentle color. It's obvious but armor against normalization always is, always needs to be? 

see too: Pope.L“Beyond the Black Atlantic” at Kunstverein Hannover (Sandra Mujinga)

Sunday, October 9, 2022

Wednesday, October 5, 2022

Maryam Hoseini at High Art


People bent to composition. A stress positions of beauty. Art's been holding bodies to uncomfortable tasks for forever. Models etoliated on diet coke and fashionable ambitions. Hieronymus Bosch. The garden of hell is scary not because we believe it exists, but because someone imagined it. And really this is painting that demands it, which is just us. Picasso beats his models to a pulp and Jordan Wolfson Real Violence. A trumpet out the ass, regaling. Wine or boiling oil, what difference. Think the Matrix-line virtual plane of painting's imaginative space, where anything can be conjured, and somehow Hellraiser exists, is a franchise. 

See too:Tala MadaniViolence Against Faces

Past: Maryam Hoseini at Deborah Schamoni 

"We like destroying people. Ambiguity in flesh. Bend their limbs like pipes for decoration, from Bacon to Matisse, Bellmer, Picasso, axe blades to the human doll. Gore from the 80s. To form a pleasure."

Full: Maryam Hoseini at Deborah Schamoni 

Max Brand at Harkawik


Brand soup is better than generic? The same contents with a different emphasis. An evolution of today's trends: Abstraction AND surrealism. Surrealism as abstraction. An abstraction of. Any sticker placed on these paintings would affect it none. Perhaps that's what makes them great. Like a clown punching bag, no matter what you did, it would not make the painting better or worse, the clown returns to take another from you.
Past: Max Brand

"If you rolled silly putty across Painting's history, you'd have Brand..."

"Seeing the soup for its referents. ... hazy memories of once distinct tastes roiling in the surface. so clarified as to not single out any one flavor, any one referent, everything so blended, you could just keep naming ingredients. Which is where we're at today. Soup is easy to mass produce: a base prepared in advance can be used to a support a wide and readily available ingredients on its surface."

Full read: Max Brand at Off Vendome, Max Brand at Galerie Bernhard

Monday, October 3, 2022

Gabriel Orozco at Galerie Chantal Crousel


Orozco used to make sculpture. Now Orozco sells tourist art, but as the tourist. Souvenirs not of your travels but his, buying his peripatetic romance. We purchase romance. - this is what artists sell, on Japanese paper. That they are almost literally inkblots is perfect. Because this romance is all you can project into it, interpret it. A diary of plants, us once again reading tea leaves left of porcelain walls, shit. 

The whole premise of "process-based abstraction"'s creating souvenirs of experience is premised on some vestigial trait of conceptual that may never have existed. Like, does On Kawara's "January 22nd 1988" on canvas actually mean anything outside a finger pointing toward it. Does an artist in the forest placing native plants on a canvas actually contain its sound? What information is stored? 

While this was the central conundrum to conceptual art since its inception, the rupture and distance between sign and object (always at risk that its sign didn't actually contain its object) it has since been taken as granted, as a granting agency for value added. .... Jason Rhoades built a career of mocking this value-added system, performing it under absurdly comical conditions, to create his referentially seminal signature: PeaRoeFoam, a mess of so much reference and history and jest that it self imploded. 

souvenirs of experience: Sam Falls at 303 Gallery, their valorization: James Hoff at VI, VII

Tea leaves from the bowels: Yuji Agematsu at Lulu

and of course, inkblots.

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

John Lindell at Corvi-Mora


There are just certain curves that imply. That we will relate to. Not tell mom about. "The most direct rules of inanimate erotics are first- that the object be becoming flesh, and second exemplifying the curve of inside into out. These turns are important, they mirror our body's soft points, the vulnerable pink cusps. Your lips, eyes, anus, ears, urethral opening, these twilight moments rolling into... an expression of explicit vulnerability. They resemble, brandish resemblance, which morph in sinuous exterior/interior unsecured - aortic openings hint interior chambers, others skeletal - they twist in on themselves like an ouroboric muscle car. Like cutting open your abdomen to reveal a cathedral. ... but the transitional state of the objects isn't so much a becoming-subject of the abject, but instead a faint pubescence of gender, objects just arriving at a split, a fork budding a semblance of female or male possibility..."

Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Sophie Reinhold at Fitzpatrick Gallery


"Aporia" industrializes the poetic - it is the rupture in understanding, the internal disjunction, a preventative against relieving meaning its burden. You read a sentence, understand it and move on. But the poetic aporia of a poem's line provides no conclusion. This is the life support of art, meaning eternally suspended from conclusive death. Ever further "meaning," ever longer wall texts. But as we've gotten better at corralling interpretations, butterfly pinning beauty to theory - the artist must gather from further ends in the fields of elusivity. Eventually the canyon becomes large enough and field once again becomes meaningless and we get to enjoy flowers again. Sink into the bubble's bath.

"...the only thing left to do is to produce greater and greater gulfs of meaning": Carissa Rodriguez at WattisAdriana Lara at Algus GreensponHenning Bohl at What Pipeline

Past: Maggie Lee

"coolness is an affect ...  the subject expresses through the grate of social coding, is its pathos. [...] self-expression immediately confronted with the terror of self-consciousness. 'Gigi is me in 2006.' A teenage self-conciousness..."

"The bedroom as terrarium, the girl as experiment."

Monday, September 26, 2022


"humor in searching for spiritual value in commodic life ... juxtaposed with the day's small tragedy turning over a can of beans to read its ingredients"

"endless mockery of her subject's desire to appear ... bullying our desire for comfort in recognition .... somberly kicking us when we're down with a medical donut strapped to our ass"

"You've got to actively believe for the things to have effect: the point was the power was inside you all along... The placebo effect so strong in the US that drug manufactures have difficulty time creating new painkillers that are stronger than sugar pills. The effect is not seen in Europe, or pretty much any where that does not allow pharma advertising."

"That this mass inculcation might be the strongest effect of all, like we're all living in a theater in mass suspension because thats what gets the crystals like art to work."

Click full: Shana Moulton at Kunsthaus GlarusShana Moulton at Gregor Staiger

Monday, September 19, 2022

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."

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

Sunday, September 18, 2022

 Past: Martin Wong & Aaron Gilbert at P.P.O.W

"Which against this dull light, Gilbert's figures grow etiolated, leggy, soft. They bend in strange ways. Squishy vulnerability. For all the bad situations they still manage to find a lot of pleasant lighting, lovely pastel color."

Full: Martin Wong & Aaron Gilbert at P.P.O.W

Wednesday, September 14, 2022

Stella Zhong at FANTA


Hard to make fetish baroque. Baroque require excess, a quantity which supersedes the detail-attention of the fetishist. The fetishist doesn't want a thousand feet, he prefers one exquisite foot to totemize, as mother. This exhibition's attempt to make sculptural fetish an ever expanding orgy relies continually segmenting space and scales which fractally segments and conceals. So you can be alone with your feet and still have them in the hundreds, precious held each. 

Less Pumhösl than a Wurtzian Cronenberg sort: B. Wurtz

Tuesday, September 13, 2022

Ulala Imai at KARMA


They are skulls, cultural memento mori, a vanitas post plastic, already going out of style, soft with the sugar of sentiment (and fondant flowers), passé, hints of fading photographs, like a 70s spread left to the light, going blue with that ultimate death, cliche. 

Monday, September 12, 2022

Notes on Stitches

(Clockwise from top left, ektor garcia, Diedrick Brackens, Brendan Fowler, Helen Mirra)
Why does "stitching" make a comeback? ... Do we need proof of work? ... the ornately etched lines of paper currency prove scarcity... the labor of its reproduction becomes more expensive than the bill it represents. Thus time equates to money. Thus representation equated to money. But now we have copy machines, CNC routers, child labor and interns. Perhaps proof of work is just nostalgia for an era before there was infinite time, for when there was time. 

A stitch is correlated to time, it is a labor visible. While brushstrokes may have been the impressionist equivalent of stitching, later modernism seemed orientated toward removing the marks of labor (first for a performative "expressive," ...painting not labor but expression, sprayed) before culminating in Minimalism and Conceptual art, two legacies infatuated with things springing from ether. (The instructions being the art, not the 40 museum interns drawing it.)

Minimalism's infatuation for the industrial process, of say Judd et al, was, in part, premised on these industrial processes deletion of the body and its "expression" (if not a promise of subjectivity lifted entirely) in looking "pure," like objectivity, removing the human. Of course this was the lie of any commodity: that the clean aluminum sheets comprising boxes or laptops weren't simply wiped of their indentured sweat.

...but it's still a desire today, no wants want to imagine 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.

Commodity fetish was, confusingly named, our mistaken relation to capital's objects as an economic relation rather than a human relation. It was a concealment: the aluminum clamshell of your laptop being seen as economic product of capital innovation itself, rather than the hand-sweat of laborers distanced beneath gloves. A price tag for a face. Almost nothing is this world is actually automated - everything you touch is hand-made by workers.

This separation of our social relations we've so completely assimilated that labor itself returns as a literal fetishism, stitches mark this labor, look compelling, can be brought out onto white walls, as aura, as artwork. Labor itself becomes auratic, the look of it. Simulacra. Because every cheap objects is an equal tapestry. The stitches in time are smoother, hidden. Hold up your child's plastic toy and feel another at its end.

 Past: Diedrick Brackens at Various Small Fires

"A stitch correlates to time, it is a labor visible. While brushstrokes may have been the impressionist equivalent of stitching, later modernism seemed orientated toward removing the marks of labor (first for a performative "expressive," ...painting not labor but expression, sprayed) before culminating in Minimalism and Conceptual art, two legacies infatuated with things springing from ether. (The instructions being the art, not the 40 museum interns drawing it.) I'm not sure what this meant for them, desiring to wipe the sweat from their aluminum, their desiring to be capitalists, but it's still a desire today, no wants want to imagine 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

Past: ektor garcia at Cooper Cole

"...a very modern problem, our world, mediated by screens .. becomes enshrined in gallery or touch screen glass, and art is the world's development project in all the ways to surmount it, a materiality so strong it visually empaths itself, that we could actually feel something through glass. A "supernormal stimulus," exaggerated materiality that begins to look like fetish for."

Read full: ektor garcia at Cooper Cole

Friday, September 9, 2022

As we near the 9th anniversary of Contemporary Art Writing Daily, we haven’t had a donation drive in three years, not since we built Contemporary Art Writing Quarterly, a free public service of research after bleeding eyes at 500,000 pieces of documentation. In the year since CAWQ launched we’ve been inundated by requests to explain ourselves, in addition to the ongoing work of writing Contemporary Art Writing Daily. We’re thrilled to see the Anti-Ligature Room grow so quickly, but each archive takes time and labor, and for that, we need your help. Please make a not-tax deductible donation to our no-profit work here.

Thursday, September 8, 2022

Past: Liz Larner at Regen Projects

"'Painted trash' sounds like an insult, but it's what we have here. A decorate filth. ... a self-inflicted wound, pointing out that the jewels too are just mud with a glaze. Eventually the plastic disintegrates, washes away, and inside the [x] remain." 

full: Liz Larner at Regen Projects

Tuesday, September 6, 2022

Adam Martin at Galerie Buchholz


Think of the promotional image and its parallel to art documentation. And then around 2011 they became the same. Where documentation had generally lagged behind the object/exhibition, the image now preceded the object. Then replaced the object. And this was useful to art's promenade - the Matthew Barney effect. 

"[Cremaster was a] 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, 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."

The image allowed an opinion, allowed the chatter, fostered the spread. At the same time the promotional image mirrored the structure of art - it refused resolution, instead creates a hole, a lack, that need to be filled. A gap mirroring art's life-support of eternalized "questions." Consumable without destruction, depletion. What is salesmanship in advertising, is the poetic in art.

Which is all to say (in the current vogue for promotional stills of people wearing 3D head sets staring off like Galileo into space) Martin's very lofi promo documentation is somehow alluring and perfectly opaque.