Wednesday, January 31, 2024

Naoki Sutter-Shudo at House of Gaga


From the detritus of our semio-catastrophe we re-erect old forms: the wreckage is placed back into the shape of airplane, or of the critic and its painting. (Of a world still generating meaning.) The ability to re-erect it stands in for it, a literal strawman, the wreckage magically invokes its whole. If it can be recreated surely it can be understood. A social ritual to create a collective conscience that this once existed. There used to be people and not just cave paintings from the mall. 

Past: Naoki Sutter-Shudo

"The souvenir acts as a placeholder for tourists urge...  desire, likely some vestigial expression of our sexual selection's wiring, which is why so many of them are cute. ... The trinket functions like a flower, a desirous other, holding some promise. We don't know what it is for, but it feels for something. The flower was beautiful before we knew its sexual radish. "

Full: Naoki Sutter-Shudo at Bodega (1), Naoki Sutter-Shudo at Bodega (2)Naoki Sutter-Shudo at Crèvecoeur

Tuesday, January 30, 2024

Georgina Treviño at Embajada


Both Rachel Harrison and the 00's hipster were responding to the shopping mall, which had exploded, semiotically, into chaos of sign systems. A tweety bird tee, Louis Vuitton boots, and a struggle mustache - and everyone was confounded. It was the aughts, you were intended to adhere to the rules that kept meaning rigid, in place. We all performed the ritual of dress to keep meaning ordered. Until someone didn't. The horse girl and the whale tail merged. Post this semio-apocalypse everyone was left scrambling in the detritus to assemble totems, and we had a lot of cargo cult art in the 2010s. Now we've sifted the rubble and collected enough signs we've agreed have sentiment that the shopping mall is conscerated as jewelry of itself - cast in remembrance, the chaos of surface, symbol, nostalgia embedded within a silver relic. The benediction of sign systems. The highest order these relics can obtain is that they get put on Beyonce, as a Christmas tree of our sign systems, collective wreckage, past. The highest order of totems, shown back to us like a lighthouse reorganizing meaning.

Monday, January 29, 2024


"beneath table settings, the underneath, the legs become the portal, cavern ... in the nocturnes, in the maw, against mother's legs clutched, we found worlds in forts constructed, in makeshift boxes, a certain heat to the darkness."

Full: Doris Guo at Bodega

Friday, January 26, 2024

Barbara Wesołowskam at Silke Lindner


Painting is already a memory, all art is already monument, a moment of mori, an object which transacts through time its x. There is no art that is decidedly present (besides perhaps Tinguely's Homage to New York.) Art is intended as preservation. Art is already rosed glass fetal pigs, embalmed for interminable annual dissection. You need not smear the rose pig in dirt to feign archaeology. Though.. that would be kinda fun science project. Actually okay lets bury some fetal pigs, see what science brings us. 

Thursday, January 25, 2024

JJ Manford at Derek Eller Gallery

The artist inventing interiors. From ether, a decor not previously existing, and yet they are so quotidian? There's pathos to inventing something so normal. Stock photographs. Is this trying to fit in? To conform? Plugging into the Matrix with its infinite karate, cars, stunts, and the guy invents .. a red dressed blonde? Desire so built around nostalgia. Because we've all sat here. Which is comfort, and hard to invent new forms of that. That wishing small sometimes actually gets the sandwich they desire. Plug into the world of pure imagination and invent: a rug. 

Wednesday, January 24, 2024


"For years smartphones pressed to be seamless, this was the pinnacle of technologic interface, to lack the orifice that Hsu keeps pressing. A phone shouldn't look like it might drool, Instagram icons shouldn't look like a dank bathroom. Like Thek, or Lynch, the campiness is part of the grotesque. You take your phone away from face, a smear of your human grease marring its perfect black pool. We don't like our tech to feel like us. The more we interact with it, the more it becomes us, the most we want it not resemble us."

"image, pure ethereal surface, desire, that could was given reality, body, skin. The practical SFX perfected the transubstantiation. It tapped some unconscious cultural anxiety to give body to what was only presented to us abstractly, remotely, a televisual war ... It's an old horror story- our dreams, manifested, bring actual nightmares. This is what we deep down know, why it's such successful plot trope: our desires are craven, you manifest the flesh on the screen and in reality you receive a really annoying supermodel. "

 Full: Tishan Hsu at Hammer MuseumTishan Hsu at Empty Gallery

Tuesday, January 23, 2024

Past: Jos De Gruyter and Harald Thys

"Against Venetian statuary, against marble gods with triforks - de Gruyter and Thys is wantonly provincial, the unsophisticate, the stupid it is: turns out, despite centuries of looking up at them, we don't actually resemble Greek Gods. "

"The groaning idiocy of the fringes, the plains of simpletons, us, you slurring, drooling everyone, the world, these things contained by the artworld's cranially polished, symbolically medalled, forced to consider farts."

"Painful, developmentally delayed style, filled with speech impediments, slow progress, and language drifting into nonsense, is, like von Trier's early film, an idiocy against social decorum, our socially vulnerable conversations, socially conscious films, replayed by the slow and impaired"

"They're funny, but they don't feel good to laugh at, no matter how stupid they are, they still reflect us. The doofus in film is guaranteed redemption by the contrivances of plot and will win out in the end. These characters get none."

Read full:
(Jos De Gruyter and Harald Thys)
Venice 2019, Belgium Jos de Gruyter & Harald Thys Mondo CaneJos de Gruyter and Harald Thys at Kunsthal AarhusJos De Gruyter and Harald Thys at Gavin BrownJos de Gruyter and Harald Thys at WattisJos De Gruyter and Harald Thys at MoMA PS1Jos de Gruyter & Harald Thys at KIN & Gladstone Gallery

Monday, January 22, 2024

Nancy Lupo at Veda


Amnesia is state of the world, object permanence reconstructed by its disposability, a spoon that is "one time use" and an entire machine is created to make that true, wastebaskets, garbage trucks, hulking green men, heaping landfills, oil rigs. Each plastic spoon is unique - one time use - and replaceable, infinite. Every sighting Capital has made the chocolate bar anew while paradoxically they are the same one. This is the anxiety of capital's stuf. We purchase not the object on the shelf but a myth we buy into - the ghost of spoon, complex carbon chains of signification pressed into its shape - the belief of this being a spoon. Pressed into shape of our belief carries us so far until the FDA must define the amount of sawdust as no longer meeting the definition of chocolate. So it's a "chocolatey bar." "Prepackaged one bite confections, when sold individually, are exempt from the labelling requirements. A hard candy is considered to be a one bite confection when it is sold by itself, however, a roll of 10 of these candies is not." Stuf only has value en mass - a single spoon is free, given, cost buried dispersed into oblivion, but 50 spoons has a price. The Burger King wears the crown given to him freely, but the crown in mass disperses responsibility amongst the birthday party and someone must pay for all that cardboard scenery. We all do. The wastebasket is technology for making true that stuf is opposite of art's monument. 
Past: N. Dash

"swatches of touch, the anthropological preserves of our dissolving physical world. These are like catalogs for its remains, our once sensual pleasure distributed over digital networks." 
"The Kunstkammer conveyed the patron's control of the world through its indoor, microscopic reproduction ... but no one is that hubristic today, these are about the loss of that, mourning it, our desire to once again touch things again, like all those salvaged wood paneled Brooklyn bars, churches for mourning"

" at base they are still the butterflies, material, pinned behind glass, catalogs of physical sensations you see but cannot touch. Materiality porn. " is the world's development project in all the ways to [build] a materiality so strong it visually empaths itself, feel something through glass.""Our touch, now more than ever, comes from sight, comes from packages of it in the high definition of images and advertising, we feel through sight"

Thursday, January 18, 2024

Arthur Okamura at House of Seiko


Okamura is probably too weird for the artworld, too elusive, slippery in content, not in a conceptual way, in a professorial painter way, too many ugly paintings, too much seasick gray, too much risk for jewels too complicated to sit easily behind desks. Content drifting between academic and symbolist, surreal, abstract. He worked with poets, a huge mistake. He represents an interesting case of what is allowed. He is interesting. He will be forever probably monikered an artist's artist. He will disappear. In five years time someone will take all this, streamline it for production, add some hue, and get their return. 

Tuesday, January 16, 2024

Paul Levack at Bodenrader


Levack's commitment to the greasy surface - not the juicy pleasure of painting but a leather film. Voiding the photograph's neutral glass, replaced with a repulsive vaseline lens, the soft focus of vintage pornography and sellotape handling on corporate landscapes, all a bit begrimed. 

Antoine Catala, Erika Landström at Christine Mayer


We require that art "do something". So this one "breathes." A parody of life, animatronic meaning. All composition is motion artificial. A ventilator for Kandinsky. 


"A dance to do nothing, an alphabet respirates. ... Made to jitter, on life support, the electrified corpse of symbolism. A gesticulation to command the attention, get the breath it demands. 

Read: 2019 Venice, Antoine CatalaAntoine Catala at 47 Canal

Monday, January 15, 2024

Toru Otani at XYZ collective


As art becomes its meaning, graphic design's "information" becomes tension and lure. Signs symbols and apophenia. 
Humans are information processing machines with leg systems to move us toward the carrot of new information. Dopamine, long mythologized as the "pleasure center," instead creates seeking behavior, which, at the roulette wheel of digital feeds, scrolling news, and authoritative lists, causes all the odd psychological problems of lab rats given access to their own dopamine levers in humans. "After only a few days of training, the monkeys showed a clear preference for choosing the informative colored target." ...with paintings that prize information-as-legibility, that the usefulness of the information matters none: the complete arbitrariness of it here still invokes its authority.

Past: Josef Strau

"The way butterflies seem garish and unnecessary and inspire wrath so children crush them and artists crush them against canvas, looking for ways to bejewel our production... They're fine in that way of pleasantness, pinnacle of subservience that is the crux of high dollar abstraction, submission to their surroundings by letting it walk all over them."

"These are much uglier ...  And Straus's text begins with an almost apology for the exhibition, which reminds of how endeared we all were to artists failing ten years ago."
"A hail mary pass to capture, touch down, on some meaning."

 "Strau’s concurrent rise with the hegemony of the art's image (say, CAD) makes a sense. Strau attaching text to image, delaying reception by giving words to its arrival at the moment it made it consumable without giving it away. This was huge."
Past: Olga Balema

" ... both art and pornography must materialize its sensitivities by finding visual equivalents for touch. "  "Our touch, now more than ever, comes from high definition images and advertising, we feel through sight"

"over-inflated carcass of rotting whale PVC fetishists"

"the demands for artwork, like pornography, to photograph well... Now, here a show that doesn't photograph well. Instead, like tires danced through by hulking men on tiptoes, your body staged in tripwires. Connections others have made to the history of empty galleries miss the fact that A, the gallery is full of things and B, empty galleries do not require such care where you step. (The read of "empty" seems, again, evidence of our perception now dominated by sight rather than haptic presence, proprioception, etc.) ... This is another means of making the body appear, nervous, a perhaps long theme of Balema, but without resort to the "excess body", the biomorphic, lumpy, intestinal. ..."

Full: Olga Balema at Bridget Donahue, Olga Balema at High Art (2)Olga Balema at High Art (1)Olga Balema at Croy NielsenOlga Balema, Geta Brătescu at Galerie Barbara Weiss

Saturday, January 13, 2024

Group Show at Istituto Svizzero


The language of neon advertises the possibility, transgression. An interesting image even if it voids its own fragile possibility, that we could. Of course we can't. But we could. The predicament of art is the predicament of us, our failure to act, only allowed to think it. But fantasy is fun. Advertise the fantasy enough you get stochastic terror. 

Justin Fitzpatrick at Seventeen


The victorian era surgery of Gross Clinic, HR Giger, The Thing. Stitching mutant art together with premodern surgery? That is most contemporary surrealism, Frankenstein juxtaposition of zombie culture. But the artist today seeks new medical procedures for our content's facelifts. This is genetic mutation, assimilation, a steam punk CRISPR, a Deco horror.

Thursday, January 11, 2024

Rasha Omar at Jan Kaps


Paintings of the memory an 11 year old boy killed by bomb during the Syrian war. The uselessness of painting tragedy to duel the tragedy of useless death. Or is it to try and void the uselessness of both. Protect the paintings protect the memory. Your beneficence becomes an act of preservation, intertwining memory with show, purchase. For only the price of cup of coffee a day you too can keep this boy's memory hanging. Intertwining or conflating painting with a candle in darkness.

Wednesday, January 10, 2024

Past: Markus Oehlen at Karma International

"No doubt their painting is just another kind of performance, but it leaves behind a deliciously smelly residue. It is this odor of garbage that attracts us. We sense that the artists are trying to set painting right after it has betrayed us by pretending that it can become attractive flesh hanging in museums and apartments. Garbage must be garbage, in the name of the honest truth; this claim of authenticity is a traditional one, like many others around today, but it’s harder to resist than the others, for history and art history’s pile of garbage continues to grow." 
-Kuspit, 1985 Artforum

Read full: Markus Oehlen at Karma International

Tuesday, January 9, 2024

Tony Hope at von ammon co


"What is true about our world is that the teenage years return as powerful forms of commodity."

They're remaking everything these days. Monuments to our childhood, sold back to us, bigger more iridescent with nostalgia. Hope's previous exhibition at von ammon co. presented an interesting allegory for the problem of art's "content" - replacing the prestige framework of painting with the more aesthetically neutral minigolf. Both host content but no one pretends mini-golf has anything to say about its Nightmare - its content is merely the lure to get you to play mini-golf. If Art's prestige genres doesn't have some magical property rendering its content "critical," and painting/golf/sculpture's image is all viewer lure, then what is art's attraction to ICP adorned PlayStation character sculptures? There is a  correlation in the price of vintage autos' manufacturing dates with adolescence - peaking when those teens later in life have money to buy back their childhoods, place them in showrooms.

Monday, January 8, 2024

Tina Braegger at Société


Is the cultural totem a "critical" experiment, an artifact for the semiologic theology of art? Or is the cultural totem merely the container that smuggles painting through the door, under an assumed Visa stamp of criticality? A MacGuffin driving the plot of Press Release? Are these merely formalist exercises posing as some grand statement about the content? i.e. just paintings? These are all questions that the PR is happy to lead up to asking, but which of course, does no answers. No, as always, these answers are left for you to parse dear viewer. (Art writing's "questions" is the death-in-life life support of art afterall - this art's true meaning, providing the ritual of questions.) All I can think of is George Condo and how pastiche excuses a painting strikingly associable to Picasso pricing. Pastiche permits mediocrity to pass, as "critical," until eventually it normalizes as "greatness" as "painting" or at least prices that denote it.

Sunday, January 7, 2024

Group show at What Pipeline


"heightening the contrast of edges" "appearing larger" - blurring their boundaries, that dirty smudging edge, crust filth excess. Nice. But you don't want to get it on you. 

Friday, January 5, 2024

Emily Barker at Sentiment

This is a good press release.

Leave the world designed for your body and encounter "terrain." Recognize now how much of this world been groomed for you, molded for you. This is called Bushwacking and it is incredibly energy expensive, both physically and psychologically, and the explorer is encouraged to carry a machete, as removing the offending material is often less demanding than pushing through. 

You saw the Picabia retrospective. You've heard of David Salle. James Rosenquist exists. Now, in 2024, get ready for...

Thursday, January 4, 2024


We - despite all - trust art to tell us something about subject, and Katz's "self-portraits" make this mirror between painter and self-subject anxious by threatening this trust: ...competing styles that delay any coherence in its subject, the painter, our trust for the text to tell us something...

Content becomes the lure to questions. PR: "the viewer is compelled to seek out connecting lines running through the apparently disparate subject matter... in order to complete the circuit." But content is the red herring. Questions are Frankensteinian death-in-life of art. The actual meaning is in this means to distribute meaning. To make it feel like there may be some. A meaning-feeling metaphor that's apt to life. There may be none!

Click for full: Allison Katz at MIT List Visual Arts CenterAllison Katz at Gio MarconiAllison Katz at BFA Boatos

Wednesday, January 3, 2024

Megan Plunkett at F

The anxiety of observing, the anxiety of art, the anxiety of being unable to produce "meaning." Feeling others eyes at "not getting it," a social panopticon appears and hex at it: "surely this is a joke."
Is this not haunting? A third presence?

"Haunting" and the paranormal share with art the expectation of a ghostly other. A presence that flits recognition and which we actively search. For art this is MEANING, the ghost we invented that now haunts all artwork. An expectation that preterrorizes the artwork. Mike Kelley inferred as much with his ectoplasms. And stating: ‘Occult rituals interest me because they are akin to art-making.’ Because for paranormal and art both begin with search.

Past: Diamond Stingily

"...forever ambiguous until looked upon which like the quantum cat's vitals inside a box, a physical attribute achieves a superposition in culture, a sort of walking contradiction as a symbol of power at the same time it leaves open the wound for the bitter slight, Becky with the good hair.'"

Diamond Stingily at Queer ThoughtsDiamond Stingily at Freedman FitzpatrickDiamond Stingily at Wattis

Past:  Megan Plunkett at Emalin

Dear grad students: a history of the "Mona Lisa effect" - "paintings' eyes that follow you" - literalized in the trope of "portrait painting peephole" - villain's eyes peering out at meddling kids. Essays on Sherrie Levine explain the feeling of being observed. Michael Fried's viewer/actor stage. The anxiety of observing, the anxiety of art, the anxiety of being unable to produce "meaning."

Full:  Megan Plunkett at Emalin

Tuesday, January 2, 2024

Manuel Solano at Peres Projects


Solano's might seem cloying because its sleeves are so obvious with themes and questions. A painter who can't see their paintings, like dutch artists dying before their fame, a childhood lost through the sieve of VHS decay. Is memory the same thing as seeing? Does the memory exist better the mind of the painter than the paint, than the VHS? Does the record recall better than what we contain? Is the painting always a failed handshake? Our paintings ostensibly live on past us, past our eyes. These only catalyze the already running processes of time. Like painting beyond your death.

Not sure our paintings need to be so cultivatedly disinterested, nor esoteric in questions. These are fine illustrations of the problem.


The blind painter, it's like a Borges story, we see the creation the creator cannot. The preloaded failure in communication, the age old question whether the tree in my mind is the tree in yours...

Full: Manuel Solano at Carlos/Ishikawa

Past: Pedro Wirz

"We all fear for lumps inside us, unchecked growth, a malignancy, 'matter out of place,' 'the contaminated diversities that proliferate in the dump.' Fear of toxins, poisons, heavy metal build-up, of heavy concentrations of micro-plastics in the great Pacific beverage, in parts per million, in tumors, cysts, bio-cucumlative, they add up in sediments in your blood, fat, balls, monuments, these fears into nervous objects, art."

Souvenirs of our demise!

Pedro Wirz at LongtangPedro Wirz at Marc Selwyn

Monday, January 1, 2024

Lena Henke at Marta Herford


Stardate january 1st 2024. The new year. An unexplained cubical object blocked our vessel's path. A large mass of rubber tires. The cubes have been awarded the Marta Award by the Wemhöner Foundation. On the bridge, Mr. Spock immediately ordered general alert. My location – sickbay. Computer analysis: "This interplay of kitchen furnishings, sculpture, and display becomes an ambiguous object in the museum space." 

Further analysis:

The fallout of the semiotic manicism/collapse/supernova, of the 00’s assemblage (Harrison, Genzken, Pernice et al) and the exploding of Unmonumental’ detritus, left the next generation picking cultural rubble. Artists became post-semio-apocalyptic cargo-cult, artists, still wanting to believe, began to reassemble totems of cultural meaning. Staedelschulites rehashing a form of ready-made-marxist-surrealism, societie's tchotchkies made to “speak” the tongues of the Invisible Hand's gods who must be crazy. Post-Lieske - the real rabble rearranging/collaging/juxtaposing the signs of capital as some sort of anti-altar to them - the whole "arrangements" phenomenon, tableaus of cultural artifacts, seen again and again and again on the rugs of art fairs everywhere - finally hitting bedrock in the strip-mine of Darren Bader just arranging capital’s objects on the floor.

Art is the cargo-cult to a mass culture whose droppings they rearrange as totems to stand in for understanding. In cave paintings the mystical prey were made many times larger than the people. The ancient people were thought to trek to the rooms to be extolled by the PR about the significance of. 

Star maps reveal no indication of habitable planets nearby. Origin and purpose of the cube still unknown. We've been here, held motionless, for 18 hours. 

Captain's Log, Stardate 1514.0. The cube has been destroyed. Ship's damage, minor. But my next decision, major – probe on ahead or turn back.

Past: Lena Henke

"Ambiguousness as a means for the simultaneity of surrealism. A tree sort of looks like a horse so we can put them together; a cloud can look like anything, much like a turd, some will see interest."

"... their genericism becomes strength. A low poly mesh provides metaphorical possibility [because of] its low resolution. ... Even looking digested, worn at by smooth muscle of artistic intestine... Because the turd is a form morphing in a viewer.   The dimensional Rorschach, the sculpture everyone makes to turn down and see themselves reflected in the water at, a picture of you for your interpretation.