Saturday, May 15, 2021

Past: Cathy Wilkes

"Since sculptural figuration’s wastelanding after modernism, its return in inhumanist impulse made sense in conceptual and post-minimal fallout. The humanist passe was instead fit into the acceptable accounting methods of the 60's ruling doctrine, and begetting experiments fitting the body into the cold baths of art’s de rigeur; e.g. Nauman’s uncanny serialization of it. It continued time and artist again until it started actually resembling the body reflected in cold capital, looking prescient for whole new reasons...."

full: Cathy Wilkes at Kunstmuseum LinzCathy Wilkes at Tramway

Thursday, May 13, 2021

Sanya Kantarovsky, Camille Blatrix at Modern Art


Artists engaging in traditional crafts, marquetry and woodblock. But tradition was wiped out by the invention of capitalist plastic. Labor was reduced to work, and craft became manufacturing processes, became laser cut wood, CNC milled blocks, a thousand interns on call. Suddenly your dreams could be injection molded. Ostensibly. And these are two artists who's importance is the plasticity of style - the sort of whatever possibility of plastic goos, bent for artistic purposing. New images in old habits. So it's odd then to have a press release calling the whole thing into question, a excerpt from a 1906 book of traditional wood crafts lamenting novelty:

"If there is one quality which more than another marks the demand of the present day it is the requirement of novelty. ...the question is not, 'Is this fresh thing good? Is it well-fitted for its intended uses?' but 'Is it novel?' ... dispens[ing] with tradition, and ... set forth with childlike naïveté. Careful study of these experiments discloses the fact that .... the undigested use of natural motifs results not in nourishment but in nightmare"

This would all depend on whether we believe this art to be "undigested designs indifferently executed which have little but a fancied novelty to recommend them.” Not a "...a saner view of what constitutes originality by setting before them something of the experience of past times, when craft tradition was still living and the designer had a closer contact with the material in which his design was carried out than is usual at present." Surely this is not today. But there's something I'm not willing to throw away with the show. Somehow its uselessness seems the point, an abuse of interest. 

see too: Sanya Kantarovsky at Marc FoxxCamille Blatrix at Wattis

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Liz Larner at Regen Projects


"Painted trash" sounds like an insult, but it's what we have here. A decorate filth. Framing the more expensive. Does this imbue them a criticality they would lack otherwise? Connecting them to issues at hand? Or 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 lumps remain. 

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Past: Yui Yaegashi at Parrasch Heijnen

"...faceted like jewels, cut, edged, given intricacy and surface, with the strokes etching them. Their efficiency and craft promises, if not to organize your home, to organize your thoughts. Like Muji, or IKEA prior, objects which through their own clever construction promise their efficiency, its perfection, an aura like spell to cast it, to your home, something so cute you just want to grab it..."

Monday, May 10, 2021

Frank Walter at David Zwirner


"the artist Frank Walter who died eight years ago. He lived in extreme poverty, was the child of a slave owner and a slave, a fragmented identity. He travelled extensively in Europe during the fifties and sixties, where he experienced extreme racism. Afterwards he lived in the Antiguan countryside, intensely interested in questions of ecology and agriculture. He was a pioneer. And he painted over 5,000 paintings! An unbelievable body of work, which has not been seen so far. He also wrote poems, worked in nearly all art disciplines. He was the Leonardo da Vinci of Antigua. " –Hans-Ulrich Obrist"

I wish we could stop picking up the bones and proclaiming vitality, picked from the wreckage, like an archaeological dig waiting on the culture to fall - waiting for hardship to patina into aura. Starts to feel like a celebration of pain. The skeletons are worth more to the natural history museum. "Dominant culture lays the concrete of its social conditions, proclaims "look a dandelion has grown," hangs its photo in our halls as testament to humanity. But it can seem like a testament to the concrete. A mythos of suffering starts to feel like instructions for it."

See too: Alvin Baltrop at Hannah Hoffman

Past: Orion Martin at Bodega

"the roughly two inches of depth that Martin allows as pans for the sifting of images, cultural gold, and perhaps owing to Beckman's claustro-orgies, updating that era's expressionism is for this one's iPhone sheen, both's cultural unconscious brought up and pressed against the glass for our peering zoological efforts. ... the images we have internally seared into us, cultural echoes rattling around inside your head's quiet moments occasionally materializing from the noise of your brain a jingle from 30 years ago."

Read full: Orion Martin at Bodega

Friday, May 7, 2021

Past: Jos De Gruyter and Harald Thys

"Against Venetian statuary, against marble gods with triforks, JdGHT's 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. "

"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 PS1