Saturday, November 30, 2019

Venice 2019, Neïl Beloufa


Are these not bondage devices for tourists?
"What the third-century Stylite sought in self-privation and proud stillness, [the jogger] is seeking through the muscular exhaustion of his body. He is the brother in mortification of those who conscientiously exhaust themselves in the body-building studios on complicated machines with chrome pulleys and on terrifying medical contraptions. There is a direct line that runs from the medieval instruments of torture, via the industrial movements of production-line work, to the techniques of schooling the body by using mechanical apparatuses. Like dieting, body-building, and so many other things, jogging is a new form of voluntary servitude." - Baudrillard
Art is the new form of penance. A form of entertainment as self-flagellation, "of repentance for having done wrong."
The doctor's table and the movie theater converge.

Friday, November 29, 2019

Venice 2019, George Condo Arsenale


This is the first thing you see. Proposition A. Surely opening - at least one half of - your travel destination exhibition with this prominent, large, painting is something. Surely something more should have been made of this? Ironic mirror to Warhol, to Elvis, to Condo, cartooning the world. Surely something.

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Venice 2019, Arsenale Darren Bader


This used to be fun, these adbusters-like detournements in the world, ostensibly confusing comical estranging. But who has the energy to care about another wacky project teasing the signs of commerce we've grown so numb to.  It's all synonymous with silicon valley buzz words. Surrealist irruption becomes the tech-industry's mythical "disruption." That the language of these two movements (surrealism and big-tech) mirror each other is surrealist of all. Capital has forced surreal worlds in a way that art couldn't compete. Making this feel less comically extreme and more just like normal business, you can find these things just like this out there in the world, which may be Bader's - again hamfisted - point. The world is just the world, this is just the world.

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Simone Leigh new york times

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Past: Georgie Nettell

"Like Shepard Fairey posters for today's political desensitization that feels like a personal catatonia, the semio-dissonance frustrates. Embodying the corruption of desire for political agency and replacing it with the politically negligent. The strategy of corrupting its signs, of language, ruins our ability to form political response. If you fuck up language, the rational, enough it destroys the opposition's ability to speak, to rebut. Enough of this causes the 'learned helplessness in rats.' Again, our political desensitization."

Read full: Georgie Nettell at Reena Spaulings, Georgie Nettell at Lars Friedrich

Monday, November 25, 2019

Venice 2019, Kenneth Goldsmith


This is bad and art should not become propaganda even propaganda for our team.

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Venice 2019, Arthur Jafa Central Pavilion


"The White Album" is probably best explained in reaction to reaction of "Love is the Message, The Message is Death".

"This was sad bc of where it was. I was uncomfortable bc of the ppl sat around me, the number of white ppl laughing at black people that went viral like Sweet Brown, like that beginning intro of The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is rly fucked up, it’s not funny, the whole intro is a joke at the expense of the black body and the tropes of speech that white society has marked as laughable. They were laughing at these bits that weren’t for them to laugh at, without reflection on their position as an audience, the fact they were laughing felt grotesque like, it wasn’t there for it to be funny, it was there as part of the stuff, the stuff popping up with all the other,, it made me tense. it felt violent n i haven’t rly got words to explain it very well [i feel like Aria Dean explains the feeling and more better in Poor Meme, Rich Meme; but also this essay on Black Trauma & the viral video from Buzzfeed] it was like… ok so this happened; i was sat behind two like hype beast skate bros wearing busted vans and dead Supreme caps n like… there was a moment in the film when Earl Sweatshirt pops up n they like elbowed each other got all gassed that they recognised him;;; but there was no like irony for them that 2 minutes before there was a clip of Amandla Stenberg saying “what if white america loved black people as much as it loves consuming black culture”. It felt all at once, simultaneously too much;; like both irresponsible and immediately radical to dump this raw and vulnerable film, this footage, this black twitter as archive, all this in the film there in that setting with no cushion. At the top of a London building on the Strand that had been transformed into like a Lisson Gallery greatest hits album underneath us. No explanation, no address really. It felt violent that certain ppl could potentially walk away having had that laugh, n nothing else. No really emotional connect, not feeling like a freshly picked scab// like i did. Not to say, ‘i had the right reaction, lol at these white plebs’;;; but like… if u don’t get it, maybe it isn’t for u? isn’t it radical and irresponsible also to speak in specificities, to be both marginalised and not try and speak to a majority, how beautiful, to revel in that complexity! It made me sad bc the people around me didn’t get it. i know they didn’t get it, fuck me, white ppl never do. it made me sad bc this film made me feel so fucking much, but tbh i shouldn’t feel sad. I had a beautiful, specific reaction even though this film wasn’t actually really for me either." - The White Pube

'I’m not making any more Love Is the Messages,” [Jafa] said in a phone interview from his home base, Los Angeles.
“I started to feel like I was giving people this sort of microwave epiphany about blackness and I started [feeling] very suspect about it. After so many ‘I cried. I crieds’, well, is that the measure of having processed it in a constructive way? I’m not sure it is."
The White Album’s tonal and visual proximities begin with The Pure and the Damned, the music video from Oneohtrix Point Never featuring Iggy Pop’s eerie poesy, from the 2017 film Good Time. “To me, I look at that video, I was like: this shit is definitely about whiteness,” Jafa said of the clip, which he stumbled upon on YouTube. “A lot of really white shit that white people don’t think is about whiteness, they just think it’s about the world.” - The Guardian

Saturday, November 23, 2019

Venice 2019, Danh Vo, & at kurimanzutto

(Arsenale, kurimanzutto)

"Vo has acquired objects from the estate of Robert McNamara [...] This first contact with the McNamara family led their son Craig McNamara to befriend Vo and later gift him with a walnut orchard*, its timber destined to make rifle stocks. Instead, the timber has been used by the artist to make replicas of designer furniture or to be used raw and unfinished"

Remember "process orientated abstraction", those set of instructions - a conceptual rubric - that was enacted to be left as traces surfaces the painting? Spraying of fire extinguishers, extracting dyes from flowers, silvering paintings, et al. Vo's is the conceptual art version of that. Vo allows legend to become perfume, an adornment mystifying its objects. Like an unironic Jason Rhoades, exhibitions become spaces for the process of mythification. Whereas for Rhoades it was a  comic process of figurative trash becoming some hokey possibility for art, for Vo the pre-christened becomes involved in the permutations of further embedding it in objects. I think somewhere here there is a conflation of terms or ideas. The aura of art, of objects, is somehow smeltable, is made able to be repoured into new objects through a form of storytelling. Vo is a factory for this witchcraft, for the production of belief in these ghosts. This is not to denigrate storytelling, or myth, but that somehow (through conceptual art) we've equated the aura of art with the mythologizing of objects with a narrative, a press release. Replaced something's raison d'être with any reason for being whatsoever. What exactly do the walnut tables actually contain?

*According the Guardian, Vo was gifted 10 hectares of lumber, not an actual orchard. (24.7 acres of Sierra Orchard's 450. Though some of this acreage is dedicated to olive oil and other things. However, according to Time Out London, this was all the wood from a recent clearing.)

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Venice 2019, Laure Prouvost French Pavilion


Comparison to a Dental office because there is something so administered about Prouvost's, like being reclined slightly fetal as you are worked on, jaw agape, drilling, affects, smiling faces. A strange feeling of being digested. The same feeling as a very effective advertisement. Pressed and kneaded through tunnel again. Expelled out the end and feeling like it. A "4D film is a marketing term for an entertainment presentation system." The sensorsium, being awash in the seat of pure sensation. Like you are inside the movie. Like of course there's a queue. We require an industrial entertainment complex for the jetset. The special mention Golden lion went to the equivalent of Disney's It's a Small World boat ride, but its just Belgium.

See too: Laure Prouvost at Carlier Gebauer

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Venice 2019, Belgium Jos de Gruyter & Harald Thys Mondo Cane


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. Instead these sullen mannequins far more accurate to the people encircling it. Tourists or art-polloi are made electric by this awful mirror. We are the botched paintings of Christ. It is a cruel realization that more than the marble, we unfortunately echo these, you Chuck-E-Cheese animatronic. Turns out people are ugly. A Golden Lion to mockery as corrective.
Welcome to Belgium.

Read all posts about Jos De Gruyter and Harald Thys
Read: Jos 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

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Venice 2019 Notes: Christoph Buchel

Something like a conversation, Venice:

"Something like 75 migrants died."
"No, I think it was 300, maybe more."
A third person through sipped coffee conjectured a third much higher number, which everyone, my eavesdropping included, agreed was absurd.

The United Nation's number is a Google away for you and had been for us as well, group shaded in Free WiFi. But nobody wants to google a deathtoll. And we, having heard it before, carried with us some approximation we felt accurate-ish. Accurate enough. We carry vague feelings of distinction between 75, 300 deaths, 800 deaths labeled migrant. It is the indistinction that matters, matters more than the actual number. Scales of death blurring as equivalent-ish. Say, one-third of a September 11th.

Interesting that an artist generally dealing with installation and artifice is now trafficking this.

Monday, November 18, 2019

Venice 2019


When Venice has finally sunk and the winter beaches have washed away and we jetset can no longer virtualize space by exhausting the earth and finally have to stay put and upload to cloud for our higher desires, when there is no earth and there is only net, then we'll be forced to come up with a way to better sort our image. The primitive mass of image against this is all going away in our best attempts at preservation.

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Gerold Miller at Cassina Projects


This belongs to a genre, "Problems in painting" which we could trace through a legacy of modernism and concerns with flatness, frames, and for-art's-sake to today's endless ways to begaze your navel, painting. Weren't Stella's black paintings just navels-en-abyme. Torture in the ontologic sense.  Painting for painting's... what? How many ways can Dr. Frank reassemble the corpse and we still call it painting? I say this as someone who thinks Jo Baer is criminally underrated. It's perhaps one of those weird quirks that it cannot be just that the problems are interesting, the answers unfortunately have to be too.

Saturday, November 16, 2019


[Previously a] press release asks, "So how can we make up for the inability to touch?"

Our modern problem, our world, mediated by screens, the totality of which becomes enshrined in gallery, or touch screen glass. Like an art museum, ours is a world we see but don't touch, .

Separated by this glass both art and porn must find ways to make physical sensation a visual code passable through glass.

Like porn, we want to touch, want to experience sensuality.  Pornography does this by covering the body in oil, wrapping it in latex, inflating its breasts to absurdity. Art does this with goo and viscera and softness and lumps. Hypernormal stimuli.

And so art becomes the world's great development project inventing all the ways to surmount glass with a materiality so strong it could visually empath itself, so that we could feel through glass.

We crave touch, sensibility, sense, something to counteract this numbness from everything electric, world rendered. But, no matter how much you want it, do not touch the art. Leaving everyone with a case of erotic sexual denial.
So we get more exhibitionist materiality. Open wardrobe to expose wood, some woodgrain to counteract the glass. This materialist becomes conflated with the authentic, the rustic.

Attention to the brown you may have noticed in stores having enveloped our packaging to stand for its green, the ecological concern signified by "brown." And "Natural" you may also have noticed has no FDA governance and can be, without recourse, stated about things like gasoline and high-fructose corn syrup, maybe steel nails.

Natural, like nature, creates a negative distinction, we are said to go out "into nature" to pretend we are distinct from it, to pretend worlds distinct from mankind. Like the trend in homes, bars, everyone hauling reclaimed wood by the tonnage deep into the city, West Elm mass producing it, in attempt to reclaim some authentic experience separate from the glass we touch all day in pocket. 

But the glass like the gallery can bring us anything, it appears on screen, in white fields, in front of you, your touch of nature, your finger grease smeared on it.

Like cabinets of curiosities collecting various exotic tokens displayed for enlightened society's pleasure, N. Dash's material deployments like swatches of touch are the anthropological remains of our dissolving physical world, distributed like catalogs of our once sensual pleasure over digital networks, "The Kunstkammer conveyed symbolically 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.

Most of "planet earth" didn't look like that, most of the world burns. The "documentary" had increasingly become escapist television. The "reality TV" that is a fantasy of a world that isn't on the edge, that still safely harbors flora, breath, life, isn't choking. Securing some fantastical turf for the "natural" we excise in parks and behind animal proof glass.

The department store catalog of naturalism we now need as the world virtualizes under fingertips; in the future there will be booths where you will pay 25 credits to touch wood, feel dirt, see a tree, watch archival footage of rain.

As if if you removed all the signs from the world asserting "scenic view ahead," chipping away at the artistic monument, further granularized to finer and finer pocks and us finally all staring at noise like a church for sensitivity training - commanded to the virtue of noticing. As if we could consider it all so. There is no thing to see, no "main event." Just a forest and trying see every tree for it, any sufficiently complex sidewalk is indistinguishable from art.

Stripped. But, no matter how much you want it, do not touch the art. Leaving everyone with a case of erotic sexual denial.


....The rotund, biomorphic. The anthropomorphic, anthropoid, and the dripping and the glistening. The meaty and the squishy, fungal. Glass etched with goo, sprayed. Wax deformed Rodins. Primordial, high definition flesh. The dirt. Psoriasic pulchritude. Your standard innuendo; vaginal negatives. The soft and photo sensitive. The band-aid awaiting its knee. Someone farts. The misshapen; hideously deformed. The institutionally nurse-like and the gore spread across asphalt. The putrescent, the rotting inside taught PVC. The colonoscopic. Our bodies inferred, touched, spread with creams oils and ointments. The sick. It was a lie to believe in machined aluminum autonomy, bodies and minds everywhere guttered. Every sculpture today inferring the body."

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Laure Prouvost at Carlier Gebauer


You're always entering a tunnel with Prouvost. Always ending with an argument on the exact definition of mis-en-scene. If German expressionist cinema had a unifying gestalt that we could all understand if not quite pin as anything but expressionist and German then Prouvost's is a sort of dental office maximalism. You always leave Prouvosts feeling lightly diddled, a titillation feeling swindled. Like if an Apple commercial grew tentacles entered the real and manipulated you. Prouvost treats everything and me as an infant, so radically in awe of all equally, dust, shit, flowers babies, nipples, in resin or celluloid cast together. Like advertisements working on the desire for you to return to the infantile placental state, into some affective hypnosis, impressionable like goo.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Karl Wirsum at Derek Eller


They're ludicrous of course, imagist. But occasionally their flight appears nearing touching down on reality, in landing, and, when doing so, the insanity feel nervous, electric. When the land of the zany encroach reality the question of course is whether the ludicrous momentarily mimics sensibilty or if reality itself has shifted into insanity. The world feels more and more like this no? Like taking crazy pills no? The fun of Wirsum is maybe finding these moments that touch on us, complete the circuit, release the static shock, remember waking up looking like this, looking at this man who controls our territory. Within art's safety.

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Sarah Ortmeyer at Chicago Manual of Style


Writing about blank art you are confronted with the theater of your skull, your dome's skeletal movie screen. Eyes phosphene in darkness, in vacuity your mind alights. It's called "prisoner's cinema," a useful term for art. Blankness rewards the already full mind, handing the viewer back to themselves, allowing all the self-satisfied self-congratulations they can self-muster. The philistine sees checkers; the learned, chess; the PR wonders about the things that aren't there, and the aesthete, Sherrie Levine, Rosalind Krauss's Grid, the whole history of Modernism to fill whatever text space allowed: art abhors vacuum. The tension here: whether this beacon actually broadcasts idea or simply clears space for fill, me, this, now.

See too: Sarah Ortmeyer at BodegaSarah Ortmeyer at Potts“Seven Reeds” at Overduin & Co.Kaspar Müller at Museum im BellparkYngve Holen at Fine Arts, SydneyYngve Holen at Kunsthalle BaselYngve Holen at Modern ArtDavid Lieske at MUMOKYngve Holen at Modern Art

Monday, November 11, 2019

Karin Sander at Hussenot


"canvases in standard formats that Karin Sander leaves at a selected location for a limited, defined period of time. They absorb and reproduce the specific patina of this location."

Conceptual art was obviously the roots of our the Living-Dead Formalism, the instructions lending credence to inoffensive abstraction. Weren't conceptual art's instructions just a means of self-mythologizing? Why does art cycle itself? Shouldn't we learn.

See too:  Karin Sander at Barbara Gross, Olivier Mosset, Karin Sander at lange + pult

Saturday, November 9, 2019

Past: 186f Kepler

"2015, 186f Kepler releases press stating the liquidation of informational categories as more closely resembling the aqueous system of art, and it’s true, the Field of Cultural Production now looks less like the rigid markets of symbolic goods and more like social systems of pedigree in which, as predicted by Deleuze, the postscript on society’s controls turns institutional interiors into dispersed system of self-policing and production, in which there no longer is an outside to market, your existence itself becomes the system of circulation for circles and scenes, seeking the endlessly theorized “network” of social capital. And here having CAD as your sandbox to immediately sediment your activity with visibility, you can do as little or much as desired, with enough accredited names attached you’ve got CAD to market your dispersion for you, your becoming “of interest” simply by having been listed. 186f Kepler does in fact mirror and perform the social mechanism in which liquidation isn’t so much “escape” as marketing..."

Friday, November 8, 2019

Glenn Sorensen at Corvi-Mora


The oil continues ink spread, like dipped in it. Continue into the night, where the world fractures into shadows and shards. It is frustrating that writing about the night always sounds poetic since Sorensen's seem to have done away with anything melliferous, instead something tasting more like nickel. I think it's the green, the color of late-night television thrown onto bad carpet. It is science fiction lighting. Ominous green. Feel like seeing something, then seeing nothing.

See too: Glenn Sorensen at Annet Gelink
Past: Glenn Sorensen at Annet Gelink

"Got to give Jennifer Higgie Credit for calling Sorensen 'post-industrial Monets.' If the impressionists commented on the particularity of French light, Sorensen maybe on the particular liquidness of lighted night, ... unnatural abruptness that shorts rods and cones into afterimages, emergency light, disorientated to something representational that feels abstract."

Full: Glenn Sorensen at Annet Gelink

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Sayre Gomez at François Ghebaly


Here the cage bars become less literal. Fencing dissipates into the photographic techniques, a picture's non-focus is a frosted glass wall. A fake palm cell tower, a strip-mall sign: the impediment to a sunset. Homeless encampments censored against full identification. Gomez, is Hollywood's landscape painter with a sigh, using the techniques of tinseltown's advertorial golden era, the quick seduction of airbrushed leg landscapes. But instead of vistas we get cellphone towers. Only the grisly crust gets Gomez's full HD defect.  The stupid vile blackness of an Enterprise car rental sign to match Reinhardt's own. Whether this throwing in your face shit is stupidly cruel or realistic is your personal preference. "But I painted the banality so accurately!" cries the painter of life. "A mimesis so exact it enacts the drear it represents!" Call it antidote to the naive who think Hollywood is the nice part of LA, medicine to those who have never actually stood at Hollywood and Vine, walked that one block south of the restaurants in downtown. Someday this will all be yours, someday this will all be gentrified. Gomez at whim is able to flick his vaseline seduction on or, more powerfully, shut it off. This makes him coy. A gamesman. The paintings giveth and the paintings taketh, Gomez with his fingers. Yes, think Ed Ruchsa, but now words obscuring the view are attached to sign-poles, very realistic, yes, literal, yes. Literalness in all its stupidity is given in all seriousness its hard dullness.

See too: Andrei Koschmieder at Jenny’sSayre Gomez at Ghebaly Gallery

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

“Plains Ledger Drawings” at STANDARD (OSLO)


The perspectival ambiguity of the homes/tents/forts aligning around the edge of the paper which acts as edge of its world, like a fisheye lens for god, turn the paper any orientation and this was still the center of the world. And look at that soldier's leg, the soldiers falling back akimbo, while the guy on the horse is central, static, strong, as if the rider doesn't move, as if the world moves around him. The tension between pictographs, information and depiction, stories to tell.

*Of course though painful that while these are traded under ironically white lighting, the US's native populations are still among its most vulnerable people.

See too: Purvis Young at James Fuentes

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Maren Hassinger at Tiwani Contemporary


Accumulate as ward against scarcity; arrange as ward against death. Identifying with the cast-off and detritus, seeing society waste and want not. Art which can express that lesser form of aesthetic judgement, compassion.

Minimalism's infatuation for the industrial process, of say Judd et al, was, in part, premised on these industrial processes deletion of the body and its "expression" (if not a promise of subjectivity excised entirely) in 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. Minimalism hid the body in the closet.

The hoarder artist re-stake the essential hand-care, human, blood, to what is considered by at best by most simply material. Treat waste with compassion.

Read: Melvin Edwards at Daniel BuchholzLutz Bacher at Galerie Buchholz and Sarah Rapson at Essex StreetSer Serpas at LUMA WestbauYuji Agematsu at LuluDylan Spaysky at Good WeatherDylan Spaysky at Clifton Benevento,

Monday, November 4, 2019

Hanne Darboven at Sprüth Magers


Proposal: A series of videos of artists and curators explaining Hanne Darboven to their dad.

Saturday, November 2, 2019

Katinka Bock at Pivô


Installation art seems made for its own Rube Goldbergifition, attachments and strings, pulleys and hangings: the appliances for hanging become the art objects themselves. Why do we like Rube Goldberg machines and their absurdification of the device. Is it comedy? The world rendered caricature? There is an undercurrent of nihilism, of angst and cynicism toward technology, neutering mechanical complexity as childlike confabulation. An angst or nihilism that subtly pervades Bock's work. As the PR says, Bock "‘profanes’" the exhibition space, contorted into subtly absurd gestures. "Katinka Bock chose Avalanche as the title of an exhibition in a country where it never snows but which is on the verge of collapse, like so many others."  The exhibition, its context, Sao Paulo, the art, its function, is made into cartoon, a fantastical contraption, a comedy device replacing actuality, a fantasy which is easier to deal with.
Past: Sara Deraedt

"Vacuums look like Star Wars droids, a technology not sleek but fantasy mechanical. The term 'greeble' was invented for Star Wars' scene builders to describe the false detailing added to increase surfaces visual complexity, to thus exoticize if not heighten the inferred technology. Vacuums are a tube that sucks and yet their encasements evolve all sorts of sleek sexual-mechanical curves and corners. A shell that infers the inner without much referring to it. The casing isn't designed for the object inside but for person deciding upon it, obviously."

Click: Sara Deraedt at Essex Street

Friday, November 1, 2019

Sturtevant at Freedman Fitzpatrick


While the paintings/drawing provided question of what exactly was being looked at, (How did Hainley put it? What remains of a cancellation?) as occlusion of what was Sturtevant. Against this blindness, cancellation, or hole, after her tennis break she returned with a visual maximalism that was so incredibly alluring. Recall seeing the inverted video pyramid at Gavin Brown - throbbing soundtrack lead in - and, mesmerized, watching the entire length of the video several times. What other art film has done that? Creating a gluttony, a casual technical lucidity that made them so consumable, a sugar image. They invoke an amnesia, the feeling of watching television as children, hours passing. Wake up to find yourself having been entranced by a void.