Wednesday, January 31, 2018

William Leavitt at MAMCO


For many, it's important, a film's believability, the story's ability to maintain its dream-thrall and for its duration become real, its objects become realized. We understand fiction as able to - even momentarily - become actual. And in Leavitt's work seeing false things we know have the power to become real is its humorous anxiety. The various distances from "realness" are its multiple punchlines, as far from realness as the the science lab on view and we can still understand our ability to believe in them as signifiers of science lab.  At the other end, like Guillaume Bijl, the stages are hyperrealist with question of at what point are the arrangements decor and at what point it is the thing it represents, i.e. authentic living room or staged, is the obvious question, the answer is that all living rooms are. At what point does our decor function as a reflection of society and at what point do our living rooms produce their own image for Hollywood and your neighbors to reproduce, and at what point does suspension of disbelief just become permanent.

see too: William Leavitt at Greene Naftali

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Nairy Baghramian at Walker Art Center?


So CAD's photos are almost certainly from S.M.A.K.'s dark wood floors - where the exhibition was originally presented - and not the Walker Art Center named here, a fun bit of transpositional virtuality, a rose by any other name would smell something different in it, a theme of Baghramian's work. You look in the clouds in the background and see a fist crushing a fire, whereas we see two tapeworms' coitus, a mold for an object we cannot see but envision, the negative space we are left to fill with our own hot air, you the blimp to travel to different institutions in new names, what would it matter if the floors change.

see too: Nairy Baghramian at Museo TamayoNairy Baghramian at Marian Goodman

Monday, January 29, 2018

Matias Faldbakken at Astrup Fearnley Museet


Do you recall, in the smoke of Matias Faldbakken's rocketship ascendancy the artworld was left blind scrambling to adhere a politic for it, to make a critical foundation for the artworld's hot new power iconography, unable to accept that how it looked, rather than any little content it contained, was its appeal. Who in that moment didn’t want have to their big fuck-all paintings and sell it too.  Objects representing the 101 ways to say "no." The ironic self-awareness of Faldbakken’s sculpture, like Fontaine, made its recycling of an already co-opted language acceptable, the viewer being smarter than the sculpture was a sales value added.  The comedy today: after such years of "negative expression" one is now looking any such ways to escape the bed one lain. "His artistic practice previously revolved around the concept of negation as it is expressed in avant-garde art and underground culture." 

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Moyra Davey at Portikus


It's alluring to attach the psychology of money to feces.
"For example, the miser’s hoarding of money can be thought of as symbolic of the child’s refusal to eliminate feces. The defiance with which the child withholds its precious feces in the face of parental demands is generalized over a period of time to the withholding of all precious possessions from a world perceived as hostile and demanding. Since it is readily apparent even to developing child that most people view money as a prized possession, the transition from feces to money is an easy step." "Feces themselves are perhaps the most valuable commodity in the child’s young life.
“Norman. O Brown observ[ed], ‘In its famous paradox, the equation of money and excrement, psychoanalysis becomes the first science to state what common sense and the poets have long known - that the essence of money is its absolute worthlessness.'"- Money Madness Goldberg & Lewis

And us tossing pennies into watery wells, everyday make a wish upon a throne with coins in stow, placing O. Browns into white repositories, a text released to the underworld.  Davey symbolically rooting around in latent feces, fingerprint stamps all over, evidence of molding it to your hand.

See too: Quintessa Matranga at Freddy, Moyra Davey at Institute of Contemporary Art

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Henrik Olesen at Cabinet


Take for instance the coroplast sheets these are on, corrugated plastic, sheets of industrial quantity and cheapness that is less thing than stuff, a temporal substrate, a material capitalistically expendable, what we call "disposable" despite stuffing landfills for eons, denting and scuffing with ease to become "waste" while remaining stuff, flakes like your dead skin collecting under beds with dirt as dust, the cells that Olesen keeps adhering like wet toilet paper to everything, and the hangnails sticking out from walls, an imitation game of filth, waste failing to crystallize packagability, use, the matter of bodies that meaninglessly accumulate, failing representation.  "Polypropylene has been reported to degrade while in human body as implantable mesh devices. The surface's degraded material forms a tree bark-like layer." a skin cell, sloughed.

See too: Nancy Lupo at Kristina Kite & Yuji Agematsu at Miguel AbreuHenrik Olesen at Reena Spaulings

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Karl Holmqvist at Sant’Andrea de Scaphis


On Holmqvist at GBE: "It's punk plagiarism, sucking out the affective lyricism of the pop ecosystem to flatten out all those very-much-felt feelings into a poetry of surfaces - and tedium."
  - Andrew Durbin TzK

We like words, we trust words, our whole society practically predicted on words, everywhere, ubiquitous, magnificent and fragile. So the Holmqvistic hammering of words into tin for his cymbal tapping repetition could feel either charmingly disruptive or cruel.  Holmqvist has expressed less affinity for jazz than for noise, words become the sensation of objects felt with a numb hand, the cacophony of nerves deprived. A rose is a rose is a rose, there is a long history of this use of semantic satiation: the repeated arousal of a specific neural pattern causing "a reduction in the intensity of the activity with each repetition" - effectively numbs like our hands our ability to perceive them with any force but some wide flat plainness, deprived of structure to give its words lifeblood like sucking nitrous from balloons until the world dissolves into a stupefied vertigo, and we feel the noise, the static of our brains deprived.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Michael E. Smith at 500 Capp Street Foundation


A public's anxiety over the status of the artwork represented in the likes of online quizzes to differentiate children's from famous, a prank gone viral placing glasses on the floor of SFMoMA, or Pierre Brassau. We feel comfort with the artwork identified and labeled, packaged by the camera or work list, catalogue raisonnéd. We appreciate butterflies pinned spread behind glass.  Removed from the packaging artworks and butterflies disperse, cling everywhere, etherealize into suspicion for them. You can never be certain you've seen all the butterflies, their artwork is everywhere. The entire space becomes a distrust of what means and what is merely meaninglessly there. Never really be sure. In Marfa seeing - in the hordes of Judd's objects arranged on tables - a small box repeated amongst many different rooms and asked what this one object of Judd's was: It was a recorder for humidity and sunlight for archival purposes put there by staff, not Judd's at all. Was it meaninglessly there, or should we choose it to mean. For Ireland everything would seemingly be encompassed with open arms, comfort to know. For Smith, building this distrust likely the point. Anxiety artworks.

See too: Michael E. Smith at Sculpture Center, Michael E. Smith at Michael Benevento, Michael E. Smith at Zero, Michael E. Smith at Lulu, Michael E. Smith at Susanne Hilberry

Monday, January 22, 2018

David Lieske at Lovaas Projects

Thomas Meinecke: Yes, and did you come to any results? 
David Lieske: Not really. In the end, this magazine embodies complete ambivalence altogether and, as it is, that’s enough for me. Even more so that’s what I find particularly interesting and admirable about it as the same is true for the art that I want to exhibit and that I am promoting – its greatest aim should be to generate the highest level of ambivalence. In the same sense I am unsure whether what I am proposing here as my exhibition could still be called art.

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. An ambivalence stemming from the pictures generation, authorship and authority questioned, and now artists - as stated previous - picking through semio-rubble and arranging it in quasi-mystical totems of the anthropologically alienated. Artists are like primitives to droppings of powerful Mass Culture, even its "special interest magazines," sifting through it with an almost reverence to its ability to "mean" in a way art likely never will, artists become in awe of Culture, develop intense interests in its niches, its ability to generate slight amounts of slack in its culturally tight bunghole through the ambiguity of its insertion, the insertion that art attempts to duplicate with its ambivalence, as if ambivalence itself opens new space, like one where maybe art doesn't have to mean.

See too: David Lieske at MUMOK

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Miyoko Ito at BAMPFA


Paintings that look constructed, built like homes, making their abstraction like a plan for its composition. Ito's paintings are plain, direct, and confusing, a straightforward depiction belying its subterfuge. You unpack their construction like the pleasure of a model, or architectural funbook, same as of say Tomma Abts, huge precursors to the puzzification and surreal ipad-iconists of today, the trend for paintings tangled icon of itself, abjuring the directness of recognition that design implies, instead designed for misrecognition.

"The pleasure of Abts’s paintings is that of origami, or well constructed puzzle, like setting a good corner in New Mexico pasture, the blankness of a Morandi, solving simply its own internal puzzling, like shaker furniture, a clever construction in a protestant like satisfaction of a few-frills job completed."

See too: Tomma Abts at David ZwirnerCharline von Heyl at Gisela CapitainEmily Mae Smith at Rodolphe Janssen, Ray Yoshida at David Nolan, Sascha Braunig at Kunsthall Stavanger, Alice Tippit at Night Club, Lui Shtini at Kate Werble, Sascha Braunig at Rodolphe Janssen, Sascha Braunig at Foxy Production, Mathew Cerletty at Office Baroque, Oscar Tuazon at Le Consortium & Paradise Garage

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

David Hartt at Graham Foundation


The potted plant in art. Was Broodthaers the first underlining the theatricality of its installation, the artificiality of its use as staging, the stage, decor of a gallery.  The potted plant can only ironize with temporality clashing against that of the gallery, a greenery that extends beyond it. I've been collecting art images with them for a while a now, its a trope, one of the few home decor choices regularly entering the space of art.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Marie Angeletti at Beach Office


You can assemble the parts of the PR to de-crimescene what's on display here, or wait for the writer mutated to docent, to explain, but that'd be beside the point to be at a loss shuffling through image and text that Angeletti seems determined to maintain in the limbo of contextlessness. The breadth of Angeletti's work looks like a google image search for a long string of arbitrary numbers, an array of the world's images arranged by a search term we cannot see, which in an era of almost total fuck-all of contextless images our cognition is molested by daily could make an art practice mirroring such seem a brutal finger but at some point we have to be trained for this, we could attempt to make sense of, it all, if we wanted to start lifting.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Liam Gillick at CAC Vilnius


"So then in the middle of this empty room we'll have these, like, little models that sort of look like Risk tokens of industrialization"

"Like little maquettes."

"Like all alone and empty across the space."

"Yeah, symbols I guess..."

"in the dark."

"Well and there's like heavenly club light like pouring down on it."

"Symbolizing the interior."

"and then sawdust all over the floor."

"also symbolizing the interior."

"Because they're actually warehouse dancehalls."

"Well yes people are in an Museum, but surely they'd rather be somewhere else.."


The forebear to today's Simon Dennys and Anne Imhofs, the weaponizing of corporate and cultural tropes as a banality, ambivalent to its corporate manipulation of emotive capacities so long as it produces its effect, content, cruel fun.

see too: Simon Denny at MoMA PS1Venice: Anne Imhof at German Pavilion

Friday, January 12, 2018

Tariq Alvi at Michael Benevento


Which look like enlarged thumbprints on the adverts, which sort of charicaturize what collage always meant to invoke, the touching, the importance of artistic labor, which we treat shamanistically, artists prove their touch with the assumption of our belief in it, channeling, arrange some truth out of cultural noise, which these are returned to.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Juliette Blightman at Fine Arts, Sydney


Like home design catalogs presenting the life we could live, the gallery displays an open door breeze, the sentimentality of trying to maintain, hold, a night between friends that a playlist remembers. Your life could be better the catalog says, if only you could imagine it as mine. The elegiac quality is the loss.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Cali Thornhill Dewitt at Karma International


“Low-level advertising really speaks to me because it’s so forthright. All the information is there, there’s no bullshit..”

Kanye's Saint Pablo Tour merch designer and probably-not murderer of curt Cobain, Cali Dewitt here with his hammering textual effigies. The phrases, deprived of all context, still haunt. A good phrase is like a magic spell, an incantation, it makes itself truer every time you say it, saying it conjures its ghost into being. This rattling emptiness so apt to Kanye's merch, is perhaps the lovely subterfuge of Dewitt, hollowness doesn't preclude impact horribly.

see too: Gene Beery at Shoot the Lobster

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Anna Uddenberg at Kraupa-Tuskany Zeidler


Uddenberg works with the obvious message that's unspoken, that you almost have to force, make explicit, that our cars look like tanned bodies, lingeried accoutrements, there's a sexuality to the leather curves of car interiors.  Which like the bootied bits of Uddenberg's before all but force the issue: the mass majority of sculptural history's content sexual and unspoken by the MET's blue haired.  And everyone now tearing at couches to reveal our innuendo's innards, digging for the implication from the things that caress us.

See too: Jessi Reaves at Bridget DonahueOlga Balema at High Art (1), Olga Balema at High Art (2),  Torbjørn Rødland at Henie-Onstad KunstsenterAnna Uddenberg and Nicolas Ceccaldi at MEGA FoundationCaroline Mesquita at T293Alexandra Bircken at Le Crédac & BQNairy Baghramian at Museo TamayoJessi Reaves at Bridget DonahueBergen AssemblyKatja Novitskova at Kunsthalle Lissabon

Monday, January 8, 2018

Anne Collier at The Modern Institute


As Sturtevant foretold, "appropriation" post internet is different indeed, no longer political or even contentious, "theft" is airquoted, artists incredulous at being called out on it. It was perhaps the youtube era of Supercuts, a "genre of video meme, where some obsessive-compulsive superfan collects every phrase/action/cliche from an episode (or entire series) of their favorite show/film/game into a single massive video montage" garnering millions of views, tumblr collections reported on in NYTimes, pinterest boards, the age of aggregators and the lines outside the door for Marclay's Clock, arrangement became meaning, content, "appropriation" went full populist. In the absolute deluge of images as the fount of internet opened it made sense for the archivist impulse to popularize as people tried to make sense of the mess, of the overstimulation of everything all once, that could be divided arranged, made into little groupings of sense. Sturtevant on the other hand started making nightmares.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

“Tierra. Sangre. Oro.” at Ballroom Marfa


We don't like to see labor, we attempt to believe our objects as plucked from some global production line where no one fears the coming automation because we believe everything to already be, like the seams of our clothes not already warmed by sweating hands in hot rooms, or the brushed aluminum and Gorilla glass whose machining attempts to appear seamless, the seams that stand for assembly, that collect grout, human detritus, that body we don't wish to see. When the seamless, brushless, painting disintegrated into the impressionist strokes like building blocks the bourgeois were appalled, and the desire of minimalism to once again repress the labor of the factories they got to build their work seem an attempt to return the order of the seamless virtual object, willing to align themselves against labor. Each seam, each brick representing the hands that minimalism was willing to sacrifice, lop off, repress.

See too: Judith Hopf at Museion, Judith Hopf at kaufmann repettoMelvin Edwards at Daniel Buchholz

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Diango Hernández at VAN HORN


"The number 5 on my list of least used words in contemporary art is ‘love’. Believe it or not these days love is not really in vogue, hip or cool. I have looked repeatedly in museums, galleries and all sorts of exhibitions and rarely I saw or heard it used. How could that have happened? Who took it away from art? Have we all forgotten the primary reason why we make and exhibit art?"

If you believe art to be some abstracted form of sexual plumage it would make sense that all art is a form of "love," shimmering objects like peacock's tail. It is perhaps why Chuck Close could - oopsie - assault by mistaking an interest in his object as an interest in him, the conflation of art with its sexual extension. We don't speak of art as love - Gonzalez-Torres had to all but force the issue - because we fear this sublimated form of desire bubbling back up its primordial grease. Art is an extension of us, our selves, our home, sometimes as an innuendo at the end of a rod.

Friday, January 5, 2018

SoiL Thornton at Moran Bondaroff


Enough amalgamation allowing for the collection of everything and yet remain free of its debt, reviewers throwing artistic forebears by the handful to see what sticks but Thornton's elision of names proper provides its greatest deftness, a balletic comedy of evasion, against being pinned down.  Dumb painting and its dogged ability to get the paint on the canvas as its own stubborn form of defense.

Schjeldahl, 1988: George Condo is one of the new dumb painters, adherents of a fashion bidding to be a tradition. [...] the latest hope in the painterly romance that flared a decade ago with Julian Schnabel and Sandro Chia and has since made dozens of names in the U.S. and Europe. The Romance is an infatuation with paint, distinct from any special use for it. The new dumb painters  of the 1980s are not necessarily unintelligent, but they are allergic to analysis. They bet that their own innocent pleasure in painting proves that painting (and they) will be immortal. [...] In its decadence, signaled by Picasso's terminal, self-imitating, dumb phase (mid-'40s onwards), one gets an elegance so second nature that the fiercest attempts to uglify it, by Dubuffet or by Picasso himself, merely amplify the tastiness. [...] That's the point: to show that painting has a primordial vitality as unkillable as cockroaches.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Rita McBride at Wiels


Like the previous empty negatives of industrial cut outs, hollow forms that speak to both specificity and vacuity, that old modernist tension of simplicity and its ability to strike, that has come to be mocked by so many so well able to perform it a zesty stupidity, Zobernig, Lili Dujourie, Armleder, Levine, etc. etc. Modernism was obviously absolutely vampired by the production it pathed until it became cheap clad chip-board flat-packed and distributed to the point of annihilation, everywhere, insidious, today represented by its most terminally numb forms. Wresting just one more inert but definitive object from it is the ongoing joke.

See too: Heimo Zobernig at Kunsthaus BregenzHeimo Zobernig at Simon LeeHeimo Zobernig at IndipendenzaHeimo Zobernig at Petzel, Krupp, MUDAM

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

The violence against faces.


"You can do incredible violence with a painting, with a stroke you can mutilate. The horror film and the painter implement similar meat. [...] Watch a body be melted, a face cleaved. A flower erupts a deformity or berries, it's difficult to tell, something the horror film cannot do: a painting's wayward stroke contains an ambiguity that is interpretable."
Full: Tomoo Gokita at Taka Ishii

"The body an artist can drop from a height over and over again and care nothing for it if they so wish. Cahn seems to care, even while suspending its pink people over the sandpaper caustics of its abrasive color, one of a very few painters to make painting's bright beauty a violent thing. and against people like rubbed erasers, pink and sensitive worn forms. Painting can do a real violence to balloons filled with red liquid." 
Full: Miriam Cahn at Meyer Riegger

Michaël Borremans at Dallas Museum of Art
"Like early scenes in horror films - prior first blood - The body is imparted the possibility of being threatened. If the trope of horror-films was to die after sex, it was because the carnality established the body as fragile, human, meat; sex filled the character with blood for the destruction to come. Similar to Borremans' realism positions the body capable of bodily "abstraction," the subtle wavering of flesh by a painter using brushstrokes to threaten hurt. Borremans painting loosens (abstracts) to threaten what could be done, coming apart with the fragile blow of a stroke. 
Full: Michaël Borremans at Dallas Museum of Art

"Like injection molded dolls to the grinder, like PVC fetishists inside too-hot cars, like your makeup running from tears or acid rain, disfigured, de-gloving Barbie's arms, Homer's shotgun bursting his wife's face in makeup gore: Tyson's melting figurines. The violence done by painters." 
-Nicola Tyson at Friedrich PetzelNicola Tyson at Nathalie Obadia

"its ambrosial sweetness balanced against subtle representational violence towards the women depicted, who in attaining this otherworldly ripeness bruise deformities... missing arms, noses, or butts swollen like egg sacs, breasts manipulated by invisible strings, contorted and culled to the desires of a culture, like everyone wondering whether Nicki's butt is real, or furry porn grown from Saturday cartoons given bodies like overinflated water-balloons, and subsections of violent pornography where the maternal is extracted and policed by the programmatic systems of capitalist production in bondage and milked called human cow -  there is a lot proving our cultural relation to maternal is at least a little fraught..." 
Full: Lisa Yuskavage at Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis

"...Madani's paintings foreground drawing of imagination from an abyss, that, like Bacon's claustro-realms, become spaces for enacting and enacted belittlements and torture, and what this means for Madani in psychoanalytic terms is hard to tell." 
Full: Tala Madani at David Kordansky

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Nicolas Ceccaldi at Le Consortium


"Within the context of the present exhibition, the satanic motif exceeds the framework of occultism to become a kitsch allegory of artistic practice as professional activity."

Like LaVey's Satanism rebranding Randian Objectivism with dark panache for its target audience of misguided white kids, 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, which you can't see behind the hollow overlay.

See too : Nicolas Ceccaldi at Mathew

Monday, January 1, 2018

Marc Camille Chaimowicz at Kestner Gesellschaft


Art like pieces of display catalog, Ikea presentations of what your home could be, as images of potential, like all those pantone grids we all find so pleasant in organizing the full mess of choice into something pleasant, choosable.

Marc Camille Chaimowicz at INDIPENDENZA