Monday, May 29, 2023

Jos de Gruyter & Harald Thys at KIN & Gladstone Gallery

Jos de Gruyter & Harald Thys is a long term investigation into the lowest level of stupidity we can still identify with. The lowest level of lifeform, brainmatter. The groaning idiocy of the fringes, the plains of simpletons, us, you slurring, drooling everyone, the world, these things contained by the world, by the artworld filled with the cranially polished, symbolically medalled, forced to consider farts. Perhaps stupidity is the The Thing, the attempt to assimilate an intelligence, to become human, invade us. Stupidity is a poison ready to escape its terraria, spread.

Saturday, May 27, 2023

Nicolas Ceccaldi at Édouard Montassut


Fan art quickly leads to the extremes of content. At one end you have the pure libidinal energy of slash fiction / rule34 / sonichu into the deepest depravity of desire. At the other end you have the desire to elevate, make "cool" and consumable and you see Shepard Fairey storm troopers and pencil drawings of Darth Vader measured in hours of work. While the latter only serves as offering to valorize its master the IP - the pervert instead steals the content and moves it into their own playpen. For instance Puppies Puppies unauthorized public-domaining of the today's modern epics (Spongebob, LoTR) - treating them as oral traditions that can be used for our own purposes, fuck The Mouse, and create our own worlds, rather than eternally paint pictures of our tourism in other's properties. This not being the druids we're looking for. 

Contemporary Art Writing Quarterly: Darren Bader (draft)

Anton Chigurh: Don't put it in your pocket. It's your lucky quarter.

Gas Station Proprietor: Where do you want me to put it?

Anton Chigurh: Anywhere not in your pocket. Where it'll get mixed in with the others and become just a coin. Which it is.

Most art is like lucky quarters. Can made indistinguishable from their unconsecrated brethren, objects, just a coin. When an artwork is thrown into the world's pile, there is an anxiety of an artwork lost, returning to common object, which it is. 

If once there was a critical contingent of art that wanted to spread art to everyone, merge art and life - Bader is someone who is willing to accept the terms of such, gleefully risk losing the critical difference between art and objects, which doesn't actually enrich life but simply removes the halo above our ordained objects, tossing it all into the sea. 

This is possibly the reason a lot of artists hate Bader, this refusal to perform any sort of critical consolidation of art, or of his practice, that moral underpinning of art, "criticality," (that ethic reproduced in art school). The halo is risked, not repolished. Instead, at the cost of any "critical" structure, a near incessant expansion. His ability to take. Any of Bader's "good ideas" are buried in an avalanche of "any idea." 

Because if Bader seems to come out of a minimalist and conceptual legacy, it is that history's tension between object's specificity and their genericness, singular yet replaceable, a box built industrially to specs, or definitions/instructions superseding the objects they define, and for Bader one burrito and all burritos are with the possibility of being the same. The psychoactive part of Bader's work is this aspect of minimalism hypertrophied, that you can never be sure if you are looking at a concept or an object. Even people.

Bader's reduction of things to names, names converted to songs which share them, (this makes them equitable in Bader's world) which songs all played at once orchestrate the cacophony of the world. The noise of things. Concepts delineate what the world cannot: if you converted the world to song, it would be just noise. How sad. Like Creed's All the Bells, aesthetic considerations are subordinate to the rule of name, category: bells, all. Language becomes code allowing for slippage, treating things as their categories, there is no difference between burritos only the category, burrito, which makes the Kickstarter to help Darren Bader become Martin Creed doubly funny for both's categorical tomfoolery, under which two of the same thing can be one.

Because if we're going to take seriously the idea of dead fire bricks arranged gravenly on floors, or water become tree, then too so we must accept with it 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.

Bader is exhausting.  A lot of artists - despite whatever art's claims to freedom, and ostensible rejection of cultural values - wouldn't let themselves behave half this stupidly. The criticism is perhaps that acting stupidly isn't really freeing, but really neither is what most artists do anyway. Mirrors are best when they are stupid.

If Darren Bader is experiencing some mania or hesitancy over images/object as least he’s doing it in an interesting way - or the least interesting way - or the least artful, maybe most arty, way. There’s no need to band-aid beauty to anything, and, like M. Creed a sort of categorical impulse over the objects themselves lets them express enough. Each object to its own, because Objects are crazy, and how is it possible to move past this. It’s minimalism on a meta-level, where if we can experience academic hysteria over boxes, stones, and neon in a room, then surely a mere arrangement of some of the world’s products would rub up an equal static charge.

Sure its like “The Busy World of Richard Scary” for adults, but at least you don’t have to look at a room full of paintings again. It would be more interesting to talk about most of these objects sitting on the floor 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.

A PR for Bader states: "What is compelling here is not a proposal that these assemblages are meaningful, but that there is a chance they could be." The line is telling, much to unpack. The anxiety of things. Of their meaning. A real terror. 

Friday, May 26, 2023

Maaike Schoorel at Studio M


Teasing cotton candy seems the sort of blue-balling kink we'd be into and you're right. There's pleasure in restraint. We don't need the cake, we only need to know there might be cake. Don't fuck me, just give the air its possibility. The crumbs of someone else's pleasure, that's how painting works. 

Past: Nicolas Ceccaldi
"Identifying not with the joker, but the losers who paint pictures of the joker."

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

Friday, May 19, 2023


"Displays themselves become uncanny; they are the living dead, lacking human they were designed for. They are stage without actors, so when we seen them we see death. ... This exhibition comes with a packet explaining which exact ghost haunts each."

Full: Barbara Bloom at Capitain PetzelBarbara Bloom at Capitain PetzelBarbara Bloom at Gisela Capitain

Thursday, May 18, 2023

Past: Jessi Reaves at Bridget Donahue

"...a reminder that, like all that stolen Ikea elegance whose eventual blown out corners reveal its making of all but compressed trash, underneath everything we desire to be is an intestinal makeup of sponge replacing its weight with rumors of dead-skin and dust-mites of a body threatening to turn fungal even while its pubescent biology meets identity, becoming gendered but threatening death..."

Click: Jessi Reaves at Bridget Donahue

Ed Atkins at dépendance


Is there anything more autoerotic than Rembrandt's self portraits? More embarrassing?

Draft IV, 2017 for Spike Magazine (unpublished)

Our blushing offers the blood, displays it, our vulnerability. Blushing offers what Darwin’s called the “most human emotion,” one of the few social cues that cannot be faked, actors cannot simulate it.
Blushing is the body imparted the possibility of being threatened. carnality established the body as living fragile human, meat

Blushing cause by the sexually engorged, who in film die first, ensuring the actors are filled with blood before its letting.. Sex in horror films filled the character with blood for its destruction to come. Dinosaurs cannot blush, films must fill their skin otherwise: Jurassic Park’s bekahkied Dr. Grant rides the respiration of an ill triceratops while Dr. Sattler is elbow deep in its shit, scrapes berries from viscous tongue, a sign of thrush. Breath, shit, and illness fillout its latex or CGI skin. Embarrassment causes blushing, and Jurassic Park’s first death: a public toilet’s doors are blown off, exposing an indecently bethroned lawyered, plucked like a screaming terrified flower by jaws, abdomen punctured, swallowed, digested alive, blushing. Our embarrasment at his most porcelain moment fills us with and thus him with blood. Was he embarrassed to be found by reanimated reptile on the toilet? Newman sneezed on before, behind dewed glass, eaten alive.

CGI objects, like dinos, when not properly fleshed-out appear to lack internal weight, blood, and new films, floating entirely in green screen exacerbate all the problems weightlessness; our fantasy lacking the physical meat-ness that real objects have. And so films gloss their [digitally produced] images with “chromatic aberration,” a post production color. A filter mimicking the analog flaws of glass from the physical cameras they have rid themselves of, the flaws, vulnerability that adds comfort to the sterile clarity of our digital mannequin-uncanny, a post-producing warmth in the corpse. “Chromatic aberration” sounding a lot like a blush. Green screen’s abyss and CGI purporting to manifest all the astral promise of our imaginations.

It is exceedingly enjoyable to watch our world in a digital mirror. The giddiness for CGI - handed Academy Awards each year for advancement in its mastery over reality - like all technologies comes with an implicit promise to resolve a primordial desire, which CGI seems to come with the potential to make our imaginations “real.” The ability to finally print our dreams. But, technologies never quite pan that way. The small improvements technologies afford are quickly consolidated by an increasing efficiency accelerating modern neurotic haste. Remember the microwave? Because generally CGI is a tool as any other, the utopic promise of our dreams manifested is instead used by corporations to draw cell-shaded hotdogs which dance to mock us. our dreams, and their subsequent utopias remain, as ever, caged in skull.

While fantasies go to great lengths to make their imaginations corpulent, the real world moves to its bloodless fantasy in Advertising who smoothing their models like averaging the totality of human portraits, blurs the distinction between people.

The distance between our corpulent realness and advertising’s bloodless idealization we in real makeup by painting faces on top of our faces. Add rouge faking the blush that signals vitality. Blush which stands for blood. To appear digitally,

Armoring our body against the instrusion of digital panoptics of “social media” and its continual measurement of our physical bodies against this idealization, a social pressure erupting a vernacular form of protest against the hegemony: the duck-face. People are pissed: the duck-face doesn’t allow flesh’s evaluation. As if to prove the point several scientific studies are done to assess the duck face strategy’s success in dating, and as if to prove the power of the duckface as armor the studies come back ambiguous. The unending measurement of our corpulence, physical evaluation. But our more memorable supermodels are paradoxically marred: Crawford’s nevus, Bardot’s strabismus, Monroe’s both, the always waxing/waning popularity of the diastema, Pitt’s recurrently awful facial hair. Our super models are marred as armor against their total virtualization, a blemish against the blurring, making them human, like a blush. Against this, our auto-erotic dutch painter, Rembrant’s almost guiltily intimate, suggestive, ultra-mastubatory self-portraits. Rembrandt self-portraits catching someone in auto-frottage, rubbing his dinosaur flesh. Is there anything more erotic than this? Do we not blush at the thought. Today men lovingly lift shirts to flex chiseled abs in their own endless pleasured bliss, just like our painter once had. Recording. If you get really close to a rembrandt, one of the later one, get really really gucking close, you’ll see it’s abstract, like the pixels of an image. Both the camera and Rembrandt saw stupidly. Rembrandt’s rapture before the pleasure of the visible had been instrumentalized by advertising turning it into bloodless pornography where no one can blush under faces painted, so heavily [bloodletted]. When corpulence was its own reward. We could see. Paintings as a reincarnated fossil of a time when the visible’s pleasure had not yet been saturated with images instrumentalized, purposed. Compared to the advertising mass-market bouquets Instagrammed abs are like wildflowers, bloodfilled men. Its hard to make humans like dinosaurs. Corpulence is now horror. A time when the image itself was erotic and rare. When man spent hundreds of hours alone with himself. The Mona Lisa destroyed by the image which precedes it, bigger than it. But think of the one who cleans the mona lisa, lain on a soft cotton table to be stroked like a mother’s hand. The performer blushing shatters the illusion. In this metaphor Rembrandt is the dinosaur and us the khakied riding his ancient reanimated corpulence.

Wednesday, May 17, 2023

 Past: Ed Atkins

"Historically, it was the art that owned the technologies of realism. (Using it the Western church controlled the Real with the power to realize ornate heavens.) Now the technologies of realism have been taken over by corporations, dollars, industry. At some point the photographic became the highest form of realism - a painting indistinguishable from photography was the “most realistic” painting. ... Artists were supplanted to a realism become sales pitch of megapixels, framerate, ever wilder and increasing definitions, measuring “better” photos, “quality” of video, controlled by big budgets. The real came to no longer mimic what we saw but a detail more magnificent than your eye, detailing into a new fantastical real. Too real for reality. A night sky converted to information, output through processors, telescopes no one looked through anymore. That are said to see. The soft disavowal of ourselves..."

Full: Ed Atkins

 Past: Sarah Rapson

" insistence on the material substrates of our thought. A reminder that these are the moldy objects we build our empire on. 2,000 years of grandiose diction projected on slowly eroding blankets."

"While early Conceptual Art was interested in the document ... its second generation is a bit more lossy, interested in the fossil, more precisely the fossilization, that slow decomposition into eternality, history. Recoups its own acidification, hazing, foxing, all the condition reports it will accumulate. ...  a pathos in the materials we find to mediate our touch to the world.

"It would not take a freudian to posit why particularly women appear to be more sensitive to material conditions of the world. 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...."

"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."

Full: Sarah Rapson at Modern ArtLutz Bacher at Galerie Buchholz & Sarah Rapson at Essex Street

Tuesday, May 16, 2023

Past: Lucie Stahl

"the specificity of their slick digi-crust-materialism and resolution-as-sex, we loved, the scanner trash prints: what everyone else was at such pains to display with existential and overwrought, like, expression, Stahl had turned into cheap easy and fast slacker products that got closer to the existential dread of that material-reproduction by embodying all its cheap easy fast sexy disposability."

"No longer the romantic era representing ourselves as fathomless depths ... we are now better feared as plumbing: oils, flows, pumps, fluids directed, misunderstood as monsters. The human body is indistinguishable from any sufficiently complex sewer. ... A world already dripping black nightmare, that we pump from the earth, have constructed our world out of... A product pipe-capable. Art as fluids, pipes, same as any other product. We all are forced to become fluid, make a product for channels, be pumped. "

full: Lucie Stahl at Queer ThoughtsLucie Stahl at Cabinet, Lucie Stahl at Halle Für Kunst Lüneburg
Past: Anne Speier

"a troll in a mall, among so much digitally rendered beauty."

Anne Speier at Neue Alte Brücke Anne Speier at Galerie der Stadt Schwaz,

Past: COBRA at LambdaLambdaLambda

"All creativity must be caged, painted. Or maybe it's just a couch painting for your song bird, happy he isn't a worker forced to factory production for eggs." "a metaphor for art"

Full: COBRA at LambdaLambdaLambda

Sunday, May 14, 2023


"Parody is funny, but a form masking the pain of the content, often." 

"Invention becomes the lash of capital, the driving force - internalized as self-flagellation, forced to invent, the jester marionette.... The [novelty] artists are shackled to... Invention becomes survival, requires our renewal continuously, Sisyphean, invention a plea, please, allow my survival, make me interesting."

Full: Pippa Garner at Redling Fine ArtPippa Garner at JOAN

Friday, May 12, 2023

Sareena Sattapon, Adèle Essle Zeiss at Lilith Performance Studio


You occasionally see an image that's so just stupidly perfect you know any press release is going to ruin it, any explanation can only downgrade - you wish there was simply a group of friends who had invented this, like a board game night, a cultural practice unexplored, a Tom Cruise left forever hanging over plot device, never needs resolution, worse explained. 

Past: Theodora Allen at Blum & Poe

"Call it, Byzantine icon influenced iPad Tarot painting. Maybe just, iPad Surrealism. Interface Astrology.

"the priest, like the painter, is the manager of both realms"

full: Theodora Allen at Blum & Poe

Thursday, May 11, 2023

Past: Martin Wong 

"...nothing to do with the tragedy that would befall them, but a representation of a common experience among them, of a body merely ill at ease in culture, now looking like a premonition...."

"...At the same time, Art has an abusive history with commodifying pain and dispossession as late-stage heroism (generally after the halo reward is blocked by several feet of dirt.)  So a hard time reconciling an embrace of Wong's body-ill-at-ease on one hand, with personal jade over de Nieves celebratory excess. And no flies on fruit ever prevented the consumption of a little dutch vanity. ..."

past: Martin Wong at P.P.O.W, Martin Wong at Bronx MuseumMartin Wong at Galerie Buchholz & Raúl de Nieves at Company Gallery

 Past: Susan Te Kahurangi King at Robert Heald

"A sort of exquisiteness, corpse of culture kaleidoscopic. Things rearranged in a twirl. Liquid, like images turned back to ink and spun."

Full: Susan Te Kahurangi King at Robert Heald

Wednesday, May 10, 2023


"... There's something Frankensteinian about it, electrifying it to dance over and over, not allowing to pass into death. Make it do it again. Make it haunt. "

Full: Frida Orupabo at KOENIG2 by_robbygreif

Past: Richard Rezac

"... we are more than acclimated to objects and commodities adapted to us, so much so that any object blurrying its provided function produces an uncanny effect. We say they look otherworldly, alien, simply because we don't know what good they are to us..."

"...contaminating themselves in faint veils of cultural signifiers. These look purposed. Look like other things vaguely. As their power. "the elusive mechanisms of interpretation," They appear designed but without a purpose we can ascertain."
"The flux capacitor must only look like the expectations a public has for such an object." This, not time travel, was its power.

Click: Richard Rezac at Isabella BortolozziRichard Rezac at The Renaissance Society

Monday, May 8, 2023

Past: Nina Beier

"20th century Surrealism couldn’t have predicted how surreal the 21st would actually become. Like the floor on view here, the new virtuality of surface makes Magritte’s paintings a reality, a drag and drop images into the real..."

Read all posts tagged Nina BeierNina Beier at Metro PicturesNina Beier at David Roberts Art FoundationNina Beier at Kunstverein HamburgNina Beier at Croy Nielsen


As the cultural detritus of artist's childhoods coagulates as surrealist irruptions, we become evermore surveyors of trash, the unconscious waste of time. That which sinks to bottom, the marine snow of populist energy discarded. Stuf. Culture is automatism, and artists become the process of its barnicalization.

Erin Jane Nelson at Atlanta Contemporary

Friday, May 5, 2023

Marcia Hafif at Galerie Hubert Winter

This is tragedy, no? Art cataloguing a world. Swatches of what was. The airline wreckage assessment. The white light searching rubble for meaning. Permanent Green Light, 1972.

Thursday, May 4, 2023


"What we aren't supposed to notice literally highlighted, brightly stripped, illuminated. Art's hanging hardware, the seams of garbage. 

In 2012, PS1 used the term "particularlizes," a verb apt for the then trend of what could have been called "feng shuing the institution" but probably more like "making compositions of space," i.e. offsetting objects to give the boring venue actual particularities, attributes, things that could be noticed when it was assumed we were all to weary to. Its lovely colored asceticness was a moral ethic, anti-ostentatious, "emphasizes that hard work, discipline and frugality," and predicting the trend for "presentness," or apps on your phone randomly pinging you reminding you to take in your surroundings because they're generally handsome. It was a lot like that.



What, one might ask, does Burr’s Camp vision of sculpture do to Minimalism? My list is partial (as this project cannot be said to be concluded, and has only gained strength in Burr’s most recent works): Camp fixates on the Minimalist object’s surface. It makes Minimalism purple. Or it makes it shiny. Or, if it keeps the black-and-white neutrality, or retains the naked industrial material, it makes Minimalism all butch and sexy, often by comparing it, via photo-works, to icons of excessive masculinity like Jim Morrison. Camp might then value Minimalist surfaces as “superficial,” but it also invests these surfaces in depth: Camp likes Minimalism’s fakeness, revels in its extreme challenge to nature. Camp turns Minimalism into theater, into so many duplicitous stage sets ripe for the enactment of “drama.” Camp takes a Minimalist form and makes a bar of it, throws an imaginary party around it. Camp makes Minimalism festive. Camp turns Minimalism into objects of decor, into furniture or things to be used. Camp here means smoking a cigarette and snubbing it out dramatically in the rakish ashtray placed on top of a Minimalist form.  
        George Baker's "The Other Side of the Wall" (no longer free online

"Tom Burr owns the foppish gesture ... The starch pressed severity make the attenuation towards the diaristic details all the more fetishistically perverse and good. "

Full: Tom Burr at BortolamiTom Burr at Franco Noero

Wednesday, May 3, 2023

Past: Jochen Lempert

"Most of 'planet earth' didn't look like Planet Earth, most of the world burns... the "documentary" had increasingly become escapist television. ... Securing some fantastical turf for the "natural" we ostracize to parks and behind 4k glass."

"So maybe Lempert's moribund nostalgia is actually a sci-fi, of our present from the future, as it wrinkles and curls and blows out. Tragedy."

"Grain clinging like dust to paper; eyelashes etched into the silver [...] The overt romance balanced not so much by an attachment to science, but just the basic desire to show: 'Trained as a Biologist' [...] a sort of phenomenological augment [...] that like Audubon who upset the world of avian illustration by depicting accurate birds in naturalistic motion [...] it was realized you can learn two things about the world at once."

Read full: Jochen Lempert at Contemporary Art CentreJochen Lempert at Between Bridges


"Stylistic violence never registered strongly in painting. Abstraction's pulling reads less like the horror of war and more like the whims of painter. Like Picasso or de Kooning ripping and rearranging people, it's just modern..."

Full: Jacqueline de Jong at Rodolphe JanssenJacqueline de Jong at Château Shatto(2), Jacqueline de Jong at Château Shatto(1)

Tuesday, May 2, 2023

Past: Ei Arakawa

"an action to conjure the documentation.""Like the wacky inflatable arm man drawing eyes to dealerships... the artwork as a caricature of attention... turning an artwork to an interpretable state and blinking, tea leaf divination in sporty Vegas-odds inkblots....  "

"its child-like unstoppability.."

"Because: the system shifts from content generation to interactivity itself, turning itself into interface for the user/viewer to self-produce. This is the turnkey-operation entrepreneurial dream, in which as long as the structure is up and running 'content-revenue' will self-generate, perfect museum lobby bait. It fulfills the institutional functions in their programs whose goals like "outreach" have kids painting in the style of those artist to see themselves as..'

Monday, May 1, 2023

Sandra Mujinga at Hamburger Bahnhof


Horror is implication, suggestion, threat. Which makes it perfect foil for art, which must perpetuate endless affect. Horror must eventually reveal its monster, but art can go on interminably delaying its reveal. Because art only need be a throbbing box, a tell tale heart for our guilt beneath the floorboards. 

See too: James Bantone at Centre d'Art ContemporainPope.L“Beyond the Black Atlantic” at Kunstverein Hannover (Sandra Mujinga)