Saturday, December 29, 2018

Jos de Gruyter and Harald Thys at Kunsthal Aarhus

“They seem big in the empty room. And they remind you of grandiose busts of important people. But when you approach the individual head, it’s as if it’s shrinking, and instead mimics the violent gesture of a decapitated, mummified trophy."

That's a pretty good description. It's JdG&HT's deflationary effect. An initially expected form withdraws, and the more you look the stupider and stupider they get. They appear to hit rock bottom stupidity, but then they fall a little more. 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. Our laughter will not be redeemed.

Read all posts about Jos De Gruyter and Harald Thys

Friday, December 28, 2018

Tom Wesselmann at Nouveau Musée National de Monaco


While this exhibition is relatively Playboy tasteful, Wesselmann has gone Hustler before. Though Wesselmann - as far as I can tell - has never actually depicted coitus. Great American Nude #87 is as explicit as he gets, and is perhaps most off-putting in the thought that that there are 87 more of these. I don't think its defense enough to say Wesselmann merely had "a love for women" as people seem to say. It may have been a love totemizing and pedestalizing the idea of "woman" but not necessarily women, since individuals are scrubbed of their faces like pink erasers. Thankfully they do get to keep their sexual organs. But, even with genitals intact, these women don't ever get laid, there is never a penetrative act*, the women never even pleasuring themselves. The pleasure they do get is the classic centerfold delight of just being an object of desire; women seemingly made orgasmic, titillated, by the eye itself. Maybe this is all obvious. Maybe the women are just happy that they got to keep their pink bits, if not their eyes. If they were allowed eyes, we can guess the look they'd be giving us, because its culturally encoded in us. But the women, despite any desire they exude, remain pure to intrusion, any penetration, even the corruption of their own devices or hands. A little agency on the part of the women might allow the virginal fantasy popped, and the commodity can't come unshrinkwrapped. The women are instead held at that mythic distance that feels a lot like (is) objectification that is desire/want perhaps come to be misunderstood as love. And Wesselmann's few penis paintings look like underwater photos of dull-headed sharks on the hunt. We haven't moved past this essentialism. Sexual dimorphism in humans is actually pretty low comparatively yet we invent this distance, must continually highlight it, perform it, seemingly incant it. Surely they are about heterosexual desire, its glossy magazine version. And are, almost by definition, sexist. Maybe this is all obvious. Maybe we can find some complexity in that. Worldcat shows I'm a couple thousand miles, or Amazon shows I'm 65$, away from the essays on the matter. Which I would like to read an astute defense. Because one of the paintings is a shelf with Mayonnaise and a ripe red tomato, which is a cruel Sarah Lucas sculpture if there ever was one.

See too: Betty Tompkins at Rodolphe JanssenLisa Yuskavage at Contemporary Art Museum St. LouisNicola Tyson at Friedrich Petzel,Nicola Tyson at Nathalie Obadia
*Found a single image of a negative-shape penis about to enter a lipsticked mouth, and another with something that could have been a popsicle or phallus, though no C. raisonné on hand to verify entirely.

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Dawn Kasper at David Lewis


It's hard to be a performance artist. And Kasper's last Lewis exhibition so cleverly inverted the artist-is-present ethos instead staging the viewer as a humming presence awkwardly avoiding the pratfall spotlighting in the artist's absence. But now, as common, the objects seem awaiting their activation, the remains of the artist, like ashtrays or souvenirs, artists leave both.

See too: Dawn Kasper at David Lewis

Past: Maria Lassnig

Past: Maria Lassnig

"It’s the ones that run near amok that are best... the subject-object problem permutes as prescient proto-version of Sillman’s bodies-that-matter imbued formalism, and many others..."

"explained well; Johanna Burton: 'an animated approximation of the homunculus replete with all manner of magnifications and obfuscations, ostensible distortions that operate—counterintuitively, perhaps—in the name of not realism per se but perhaps something like a corporeal existentialism.' or on Lassnig, Paul McCarthy: 'Francis Bacon does not know how to paint backgrounds.'"
So a note on the lighting, which Lassnig's is the cool bleaching of fluorescent "bright white." Tele-visual light. The light of the millennial gallery..."

Read Full: Maria Lassnig at MoMA PS1, Maria Lassnig at Kunstmuseum St. Gallen

Corita Kent at at Centre d’art Contemporain Passerelle


Recent expansions of protest art would assume blizzards of Kent with it, instead a mere light dusting in the winds of recent trends, Kent not being protestant enough perhaps.

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Max Hooper Schneider at Jenny’s


Well these sure make our ecological collapse seem beautiful. It surely won't be this ornamented to us. It might be beautiful to someone, but there might not be fish - or any life form - to be beautiful for. Our future might be a large hot acid scorched rock. Our plastic lingerie will dissolve to micro-suffocation devices for fish, our fake jewelry leeching till the water opaque poison. The plankton, studies have recently shown, are dying. They produce the majority of our oxygen.  These are different from Ruin porn, their interest is in fantasizing our future, apocalyptically. Maybe its nihilistic comfort to see the beauty in our suicide. And one be interested in the calculations that now don't seem impossible, what it would take, scientifically, to rain blood. The recipe as such:

"Trapped in purgatory
A lifeless object, alive
Awaiting reprisal
Death will be their acquiescence"

Monday, December 24, 2018

"Take a casino, and continue to supply power to it. With an insulation sprayer filled with soupy oatmeal, grass seed, and used band-aids in 40/40/10 mixture, spray in sporadic bursts over the interior. Turn to ON the produce misters piped into equal distribution throughout the casino's byzantine carpeted floor. Set the foggers on "Jungle." The aquariums should be clean. Open the amphibian cages, let loose several roombas. Animatronics from several Chuck-E-Cheeses should be stripped of their flesh and set in small pools of shallow water, still horrifically signing. When properly weighted the iPhones will levitate. Leave the faucets run. Scatter around the refuse of humanity. Allow ample wide fields of uncontrolled voltage to go unchecked from large gauge wires. Plug everything in. Lock the door and leave for 10 years. Upon the decade, proceed to cut up the architecture into small manageable sizes and distribute into white rooms of galleries over the entire continent to speak to the future."

Seth Price at Friedrich Petzel


Has Price gone "painting"? In hindsight despite all the technologic and cultural baggage, Price's containers were always forcing that enigma of painting into the vessels everyone was only speaking of conceptually despite Price's continuous plastering optical illusions on. Because Painting we believe is interminable, mysterious, whereas the vacuum-form is a product and thus taken as limited, understandable. Painting instead is held at a permanent distance of an oracle. Products we believe are empty. And Price with all his Rorschach tricks (ultra-HD videoing of Squid chromatophores as an almost explicit version of the both the inky comic character and psych test) attempting cultural products as the same enigma.
Which here Price's fascination with images: the point being any sufficiently advanced imaging technology might be indistinguishable from painting's magic. It will produces something alien, mysterious. Halter is right to bring up Gulliver's Travels in relation to Price, the book intended as a spoof of travelogue's desire for exoticism that also came at time when access to scientific technology like microscopes had become common, travel and tech magic depleted into something for parody. We'd been keen to be left with a joke, but when this tech eventually obsolesces into banality, we should prepare for simply being left with abstractions, hands clutching inkblots.

See too: Seth Price at 356 MissionSeth Price at Stedelijk MuseumSeth Price at Museum Brandhorst

“Lampen” at Francesca Pia


Lampen, "a group exhibition exploring recent artistic production relating to light, design and its stabilizing elements." A definition signaling that there are still elements intrinsic to lamps that haven't been deconstructed in a way of, say, painting where one would, in order to successfully broaden the definition to inclusivity of practices under the banner of 'painting,' be forced to say things like "explore the cultural concept of painting" exclusive of any defining elements like paint, since painting need not. But all these seems at least illuminated, electrified, and as per their definition, stabilized, somewhat. No one placing a pound of vulcanized rubber on the floor and calling it "lamp." So being somewhat useful is important. That we trust in the usefulness of lamps as opposed to 'painting's total uselessness is maybe a reason why we see so much neon today, its modern day campfire is somehow comforting.

See too “Marlborough Lights” at Marlborough Broome StreetSam Lewitt at Kunsthalle BaselCerith Wyn Evans at Museo Tamayo

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Lee Kit at Hara Museum


Sensitivity is a fine distinction away from sentimentality; sentimentality which enforcing its feeling. And wrapped in the fuzz of nostalgia when things weren't recorded in such high-definition. Set your filters to auto-soften. Make it ephemeral. It's ostensibly not-packaged but it is deliverable.

see too: James Lee Byars at VeneKlasen/Werner, Wolfgang Tillmans at Galerie Buchholz, Moyra Davey at Institute of Contemporary Art

Friday, December 21, 2018

“Cut-Up” and Wolfgang Tillmans at Koelnischer Kunstverein


A "program of events" that we receive now as the promotion of in the empty rooms you could have stood in and heard what you can't hear here, that we should recognize as true of not just these types of "living-structures" but of all images interfaces which make art its own auto-promotion in canvas it embeds itself in.

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Blair Thurman at Peres Projects


Big dumb is an aesthetic too, one the world increasingly relies on for its power, like all those Franz West sculptures set in financial building courtyards, a dumbness used to soften the sharp rectilinearity of power. Big dumb feigns a friendliness that can't speak. A jocularity that hides, obliterating qualities. Like bricks of ham, they are inarguable, simply there. It's like turning painting into a fight with large oversized Wiffle bats. To hide violence in something plastic. For some reason we're attracted to it.

Monday, December 17, 2018

Dike Blair at Karma


Like Edward Hopper for Instagram times. Haunted vacancy of modern ennui. Diners and foodporn now forlorn, sad. Blair is compared to Hopper a lot it seems (and that window painting could have been cropped from "Rooms by the Sea.") But Blair's specifically rely on a photograph that negates the low-level surreality of Hoppers, stubborn to the material image. And whereas Hopper had an almost Kubrickian straight framing, all walls mirroring the frame like an architecture oppressive, Blair's view is wobbly, a bit woozy, listing in the wind, making perhaps the major difference: Hopper looks in on and documents his sad clientele, in Blair's you are the drunk. A first person shooter of cocktails. People love these, instagram was filled with them, probably because we find relief in their honesty as foodporn we can all relate to depressively.
Past: Candida Höfer at Kukje Gallery

"Taking photos of jewelry would have been clearer. The act of appropriation here attempt subversion of the institution by spotlighting it. As if a highlighter critiques its excised words."
"The "technical perfection" that Höfer is always by writers rewarded for is the very thing that negates any fingerprints for more perfect mirrors, a duplicate of the architecture it wishes to encase in glass."

full:Candida Höfer at Kukje Gallery

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Nina Beier at Metro Pictures


The world converted to nougat, or asphalt. Expeller pressed in great lengths. Would you like your tar with nuggets? Adding peanuts makes it a Snickers, emulsification with added soap and water makes it cold-mix asphalt-concrete.  The Mars bar is similar to the American Milky Way (which is different than the European Milky Way which is more like an American 3 Musketeers.) The American Milky Way produces about 25 thousand miles of its bar a year. This is about double the 13 thousand of miles of roadway the US adds a year. Weirdly human use of asphalt predates human use of chocolate by a couple millennia, and weirdly nearly 99% of asphalt concrete is recycled, turned back into roads, whereas all those miles of chocolate nugget are passed down pipes in brown cigars. How many miles of brown cigars does the average person move?  We can convert things to other things through these points of pass through, surrealism predicated on making things look like other things, this ability for misrecognition that capitalism has gotten so adept at my making everything so convertible for other things that everything really does feel like a number, like a cartoon, like nugget, like asphalt, feel like shit, because the world fungible with it.

See too: Nina Beier at David Roberts Art Foundation Nina Beier at Kunstverein HamburgNina Beier at Croy Nielsen

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Hun Kyu Kim at The Approach


Why do we identify with animals, anthropomorphize them into soft humans. Shouldn't we leave the animals alone? Or is it a means to alienate the world so as to see our own actions as helpless stupid critters. We've been anthropomorphizing animals since pretty much forever with 30,000BCE zoomorphic figurines. Which gave rise to Saturday Morning Cartoons and then now Furries in adulthood. A study showed people were able to identify human traits in simple shapes like triangles and circles, the triangle was bossy, violent, locking the little circle in the room. Angular shapes in general are shown to be associated with "bad" while the curvilinear is associated with "good," which is probably why we love all those rotund creatures drawn with curvaceous softness like every Disney squirrel a Venus of Willendorf. Of course kids are going to grow to sexualize them, franchise films of them, they've been genetically bred for appeal. Crushed by capitalism. Dogs bred for pureness with destroyed hips.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Julien Ceccaldi at Koelnischer Kunstverein


Conjuring the stupidity and desperation of the forlorn, something J Ceccaldi repeats in the wasteoids and corpses against the Adonic beauties they cast themselves at. Turning the romance form into its caricature, comic with They Live glasses of romance tropes perhaps. Love never feels as thrilling or effective as it does in the commodified form of a Movie preview, in a montage, in a Pretty Woman story. I've never been a Disney Princess, but I have been a corpse. The movie makes felt this distance its spectacle, the main character's fawning for their love interest mirrors the viewers own longing for the narrative's created love, a creation of desire. The movie's resolution provides myth for the possibility of our own. It's not true you're just a living corpse.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

NADA Miami 2018


The naive and the earnest that seem to be rising. That colorful stupidity that drips, clung to, stuck on, chunky. Even three years ago it seemed all materiality and cartoons, the first major drops of surrealism. Now figuration in awkward forms. Purvis Young still looks great, even as everyone tries to meet him, but most are done a disservice. But this is probably what the next 3 years have in store.


Monday, December 10, 2018

Kaoru Arima at Queer Thoughts


Drawing was at one time a knowledge. Drawing of fetuses cut from cadavers were cutting edge science. The limits of knowledge were defined by looking at something really hard. When science and tech jettisoned oils and pencils from its repertoire modern artists got mad and crushed representation into something resembling a crumpled Coke can, seeing all sides at once, and this violence was lauded. I find it a bummer how quick artists were to give up looking at their sitters, the ones who did seem to continue looking at their sitters did so in ways subservient to the miracle of technologic reproduction all too Close, and look how that turned out. There's others ways of looking of course and surrealism and non-objective versions oscillated since. But so the PR firmly presents Arima's as looking albeit in the haptic sense, butting them up to the Francis Bacons they lean but don't ultimately fall towards. And though their reproduction isn't necessarily representational it is satisfying that the PR at least affirms their accuracy.

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Tala Madani at 303 Gallery


The projection screen of painting is the same projection screen as the minds eye. You draw from one to draw onto another. Mirror images. And Madani's projection screens make this act explicit, the theater of the imagination. Like Wade Guyton who rode a wave of funereal optimism that we would one day merely press print on our dreams. That painting expressing its ability to conjure is desirable because it proves wishes can be made concrete. You can dream it, you can print it. Or paint it, like all those paintings of Jesus. But Madani shares a similar nihilism as Guyton: that what we will see in other's printed conscious is a lot of nightmares, Madani's.

See too: Wade Guyton at Academie Conti & Le ConsortiumTala Madani at David Kordansky

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Klara Liden at Reena Spaulings


Dance in the expanded sense. The ability for a body to move, across a theater stage or clipping fences to access a city's forbidden sites. Liden's early video dance beating a bike to death, or hysteric strip on train car. The literal moonwalk and ballet practice. Videos. Dance. The posters are just tchotchkes advertising this theater performance, bodily movement that Liden's practice always been invested in.
So then here, the pratfall, physical comedy, SLAPSTICK. The world turned to rubber. "In social psychology, the pratfall effect is the tendency for attractiveness to increase or decrease after an individual makes a mistake. An individual perceived to be highly-competent would be considered, on average, more likable after committing a blunder, while the opposite would occur if a person perceived as average made a mistake."There's something about our world today where slapstick isn't as funny.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Tania Pérez Córdova at Kunsthalle Basel


Cosmetics, gunpowder, and volcanic ash walk into a gallery and smear themselves onto the wall. Conceptual art is a lot of jokes without punchlines. Instead a lapse, opening expanse like vacancy. This room is the interpretable space, the gap, where we could manifest the punchline. "The mathematician confronted with fire, proves that solution exists, and goes back to bed." The cymbals and relief of punchlines is replaced by the viewer as critic who interprets. This gap between the returns are literal here, physicalized in the holes of pots attempted to be recast into original forms. That's funny. But not like haha funny. The holes mimicking the ones placed in your head, you fill them.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Kandis Williams at Cooper Cole


"especially in the art world where we have so many unlanguaged connections to the images of empire. [Those images are] the forms and fragments of Platonic ideals that now serve as our perceptual tools."

Elad Lassry at Le Plateau


I like in this documentation how extremely far away the artwork is. In all of it. Like stains on white walls. Like placeholders for art, tokens for the objects that should be there. Like setting quarter down in golf. This feels apt for Lassry, treating images as objects and objects as images, teases art for it commodity. The frame for the packaging, the metal that contains the thing printable by the roll.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Past: Elad Lassry

" Furries costumed in fursuits as substitute for the slick lines of the anthropomorphic cartoon animals they desire sex with, Lassry's photographs dress their photograph as slick objects, anthropomorphizing the objectifying seduction of photography's cartoon version, wearing a "fursuit" of the image, color coded to the frame..."

Monday, December 3, 2018

Fergus Feehily at Misako & Rosen


Everyone loves Feehily, they are like a breeze. Against everyone else's returns to modernism Feehily's could seem one more scuzz on the pond to extract any further oxygen from it. Instead perhaps like Raoul De Keyser a mining for some odd uncanny version. There is a bit of adorability to their off-elegance. Paintings like the underdog, we root for them. Like wearing a fur-coat and a runny-nose. "in micro mode: in accumulations of near-subliminal pictorial events that reward an unhurried, particle-magnifying gaze."

see too: Raoul De Keyser at Inverleith House

“Swingers” at Greene Naftali


There's always been Tinder. We've always tried to connect in through boxes, in boxes. To find people who share our fetishes, a niche for piña coladas and rain. Our expressions are always through the frameworks of our oppressors. Fireflies have phosphoresce we have capitalism, want ads, lights in darkness. The firefly may not even know why his butt is alight, we for the camera.

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Vladimir Kokolia at Fait


Kokolia a perfect example of what the art world's internet presence was like Before CAD. Go Google Vladimír Kokolia. Active artist for decades, a show a MoMA in the 90s, and yet almost nothing organized online. This is what it was like for almost everyone in BC era. Click around and remember it. After Daily, when everyone recognized the power of transmission, the visible became hegemonic, pornographic, we could see everything and know nothing, as promotion of the highest order. And now desperate desires to see Kokolia's drawings off in the distance prove the addiction to sight. I want to see them. Someone sell me one.