Friday, May 13, 2022

Joshua Abelow at Baader-Meinhof

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So I realized that being with my family is more important than being cool
Dad, what you just said was powerfully uncool
You know what this song says, it's hip to be square
That song is so lame
So lame .. that it's cool?
No
Am i cool kids
No
Good I'm glad. And that's what makes me cool? not caring right?
No
Oh how the hell do you be cool? I feel like we tried everything here.
Wait Marge maybe if you're truly cool you don't need to be told you're cool 
Well sure you do. 
How else would you know?

We're told there is a spectrum between "based" and "cringe." And also that binaries are insipid. That there is a third option, the only true "baseness" is through "cringe." A zoomer divide analogous to GenX's authentic/corporate divide (grunge fully Hegelianated into hyperpop, Pop 2.) But so, point: interest comes from synthesis. And here we have an emerging artist's retrospective. Artistic puberty as heralded mythos, before mythos. Most artists think its bad luck to say "Famous Artist" out loud but here we have all the credentials: the childhood drawings, 3rd place ribbons, rejections and recommendations - this is usually the post-mortem, the detritus for the historian's magnifying glass. Usually in the museum bearing your name. Here the receipts adorn a house gallery in Omaha. Which makes for exhibition as puffed as it is sniffling. It's intensely personal. Cardboard not corporate. The paradox of coolness is that one must "go one's own way" while maintaining sightlines with the status quo. Abelow has walked this tightrope exceptionally well. In a certain sense CAWD and Abelow are opposite mirrors to same problem: identity construction as aversion to Walmart purchased coolness. Whereas CAWD basically deleted self and thefted the corporate, Abelow and his (originally quasi-anon) projects have doubled down on exurban paths to cool, like rural even. It's what we euphemistically refer to as an artist "not impacted by current market trends." Because it's never true. They know, despite. If there is transcendence in Abelow's path, it is in happily showcasing underpants, saying out loud "famous artist," (as Oehlen put it, "really hanging your head out the window and letting it hit you") hanging out to dry your teenage self-portrait, basically exposing yourself for all to see, without real mythos armor, nothing more cringe than that. 


"The wider artworld came to know Abelow through his Art Blog which -coming to prominence against the sterile facade of CAD's hegemony - felt human, resistant, and no-qualms subjective key to a very specific NY scene, felt warm in reestablishing the local against the global, like grocery co-op charm to Walmart's efficiency. It felt NY again. And as interest increased for those looking for the freshest produce Abelow became, if a not a ringleader, then a purveyor of visibility, a figure of some small access in a scene, that everyone knew, all the while and for like ten years before making scruffy hamhanded paintings that purviewed the doubt of the painter, the doubt morphing over many years, the paintings changing over the course of Abelow's character development from unknown, from entendres of suicide ("HANG ME") to flat laughter ("HARHAR") and as the painter character grew to show himself, to paintings of a man running full speed with his erection before him, to today that same man cloaked in the facade of a powerful witch, and all lovely abstractions along the way, still running."


 Joshua Abelow at Freddy

Thursday, May 12, 2022

Ezra Tessler at Hudson House

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Let's stop talking about surrealism, let's start talking about the new little crustie. Approaching, but never quite, shellfish. This is what we tried to describe as "Lulu-core," or "the crustables." A natural evolution of Materialphilia. See too:

Miho DohiIsabel Nuño de Buen at LuluSophie Barber at Alison Jacques, Zhiliang Zhao at Lulu & Hélène Fauquet at Édouard MontassutMiho DohiGina BeaversMaterialphilia

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Past:

"...defeatist humor mocking not just the male tool but deflating the hard language of conceptual art: telling the joke over and over again on larger and larger sheets of paper, the high rhetoric of big egos reduced to a bad joke - Cue: Beyonce '♪♫ Cause he's got a big 'ego.' ♪♫' Bernstein: 'it wasn’t funny.'"

"Bernstein painting what had always been repressed as explicit - the large male "personality" embedded in art's very culture - of course couldn't be acceptable: art despises the frank open, [...] the great irony that Boone is showing these now: think of a giant crusty cock painting hanging in the same room as Schnabel, asserting maybe just where all that great thick paint on large canvases was coming from, the Yale professors of course uncomfortable by this exposing, like totally classic Freud. ..."


Read full: Judith Bernstein at Mary Boone, Judith Bernstein at Kunsthall StavangerJudith Bernstein at Studio Voltaire


Past: 

"No one packs up a van without reason... precisely one car load, kept, allowed into the future. The amount one can carry. What can be preserved as our possessions-as-selves eroding in time streamlined against current's abrasion. Which amass more in new homes. What will be the last object of yours finally cast into waste by your children? Objects carry briefly into tomorrow, but the artist is allowed attempts to loft their objects onto the generational ships of museums, while entire histories of others are and have been lost. Like Dahn Vo's attempt to carry Martin Wong's possessions, or even Cianciolo's corrugate time vessels, we allow a certain amount of artistic provenance into the future, and all the hope for it."

"relevancy in the instant availability of the digital panopticon red water requires constant change, adapt or be obsolete, things lose whatever luster they had quick, and though not every exhibition is required to be a hit, everyone is immediately aware of a bunt."

Full: Ken Okiishi at Reena SpaulingsKen Okiishi at Reena SpaulingsKen Okiishi at Mathew

Ulysses Jenkins at Hammer Museum, Los Angeles



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We're not meant to see these photos. Which explains their useless. (I mean the above image is a photo of a halo, not art.) They're meant for editorial, press photos, meant to accompany some review, to supplement what has become The Museum's online cavalcade of docents, saltzes, cheerleaders. Ostensibly me. Weirdly hard to view the work, and now words to stand in for; the foregrounding to replace ground. It's a strange turn for art. Reviews have become the information broadcast mechanism of the museum, its education wings. Which begins to eclipse the work itself: an artwork covered in newspaper clippings about itself. "We are just a mass of images you've gotten to know."

Monday, May 9, 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, mailed to package the touch that preceded them."

"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."

Omari Douglin at Theta



Blow up the pages of adolescent sketchbooks and access the id. Puberty in painting. The remains of a cultural explosion, TNT sears the shadows of coyotes into the walls our skulls. This is the imprint of culture, the massive hot branding of our brains. As you get older the projections get bigger, the canvas becomes a better receptacle. 

Friday, May 6, 2022

Shabahang Tayyari at Delgosha Gallery

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Painting converts to interface, the iconization of content. The practice of stylization and production of  "series" become obvious. Content on the swirl setting. 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. 

see too: Shabahang Tayyari at Balice HertlingMath Bass at Michael Jon & AlanAntek Walczak at Jenny’s

Past: David Lieske

"Lieske was of the first of the cargo cults reassembling the totems of meaning in the desert of it, picking detritus. The issue was resolved not by necessarily by making objects mean again - which they couldn't - it's hard to make an empty bottle mean in arid land - but by situating objects so that they connoted meaning despite whatever inscrutable blankness. Like hieroglyphs. What was important was exuding the affect of meaning, regardless of whether there was any and that it didn't matter anyway was what we were all beginning to pick up on and what the commercial world had known for decades (that you can create "meaning" at will with attitude, aura) which while Lieske pondering whether this was a problem was suddenly flooded and drown by more ephebic artists already having decided for him it wasn't and now this is the water we live in, a flooded terrain of objects imbued, over-saturated "meaning."

"If so much art looks like Broodthaers today, it is because Broodthaers was of the first invested in the arrangements of display as a credence to meaning, institutional or otherwise."

"An ambivalence at the heart of much of art today displayed as presentations of objects left to the viewer with a "deal with it" coolness, figurative sunglasses donned."


Click to read full: David Lieske at MUMOKDavid Lieske at Lovaas Projects

Thursday, May 5, 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.... People didn’t enjoy Lichtenstein they enjoyed comics, and within its soothing fantasy. Pryde delivers within the pre-existent of Trojan genres..."

"Genre is the capsule that allows immediate swallowing: "They're about touch." What Isabelle Graw called "straightforwardly thematic." 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."

Mohammed Sami at Modern Art

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Painting is affect nailed to content. A vibe sewn to image. Internally, the content withdraws to mystery, creating a distending space where paint floats above a darkening void. An interface of brush and flowers, in foliage a search for clues, a search for where to lay meaning. This is what painting must tension as its interminable life support. This is what we prize painting for, the mud writ question

See: Shannon Cartier Lucy at Hussenot 

Tuesday, May 3, 2022

Hana Miletić at Basement Roma

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Knitting being an embodiment of care. (Because knitting is so laboriously outmoded it can only be care, i.e. not capitalism, more love hours than can ever be repaid, etc. Knitting is the province of excess time, and attention, which translates to -anticapitalist- care) And so, now using knitting as a medium representing other forms of care/repair. Like hand grinding paint to depict a pencil sketch or whatever. A sort of redundancy, or analogy? Homology? Tautology? The point is there is effort-over-time in reproducing others attempts at care. Effort invokes effort. (The stitch marks time.)
"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. "
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. 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.

see too: