Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Remember 10 years ago? Wade Guyton. Josh Smith. Kelley Walker. Isa Genzken. KREBBER. The unmonumental moment finally getting some dust on the the neo-minimalism that pervaded. We hadn't yet been flooded with the brained abstraction. Our abstraction then was called "indexical." It was cold. We liked negation. Matias Faldbakken. Gareth James. R.H. Quaytman. Andre Butzer was a bad boy, instead of the water we swim. Our gallery websites with badly color corrected images the size of thumbs, impossible to navigate. Scarce exhibition documentation and flash splash pages. There was no Instagram, students checked catalogs out school libraries. ARTBLOGARTBLOG feeling organic against Walmart Image Superstore. Surrealism was contained to Juxtaposition magazine and teenagers. The imagists hadn't been completely dismembered for new careers. Colorful painting was naive. Matthew Barney was passé instead of prescient. Remember where we were. There wasn't a figure for miles. We weren't yet bashing head against inert objects and declaring vitality. Hadn't yet revised history to seem inclusive all along. Greene Naftali still seemed cool. Gedi Sibony for that matter. Josef Strau. Sergej Jensen. Claire Fontaine. Reena Spaulings the artist. Real Fine Arts. Pro Choice Vienna. 10 years. CAD had a comments section.
Rest in Peace.
Past: Simon Starling

"Starling’s “Metamorphology” is histories' mirroring reenactment in symbolic fashions.
"The artworks feel logical in their ouroboric repetition but contain a tautological inability to be reasoned with. Tautologies make sense, but state nothing, equating a silence as poetry. They become koan-like emblems of the histories it condenses like cliff notes, glazing history subservient to it’s poetic reenactment..."

Read full: Simon Starling at Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago

Monday, December 30, 2019

Rachel Harrison at Whitney Museum


The hipster too was a semio-naut; whose careful balance of fashion’s signs were an additive and appropriative construction of appearance and identity, a careful facade of references, and so the concurrent rise of Rachel Harrison [with the hipster] makes symptomatic sense for its ability to thematize semio-collapse and short-circuits in a way that was jokey, pranksterish and light relief against undeconstructable-tuber confusion of “the real” having really ascended into code that both Harrison and Hipsters were obviously responding.

Condensing the mall into the diamonds of its peak 2006-08 moment we have to admit it was a pretty neat trick, the things just felt like collapse within singular objects.

The fallout of [this] semiotic manicism/collapse/supernova, of the 00’s assemblage (Harrison, Genzken, Pernice et al) and the exploding of Unmonumental’s detritus, left the next generation picking cultural rubble. Artists became post-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, worship of gods who must be crazy. Post-Lieske - the real rabble of Neue Alte Brucke, Pro-Choice, etc. - Ceccaldi, Yngve Holen and everyone else - 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.

Sunday, December 29, 2019

Alexis Smith at Parrasch Heijnen


What if you could compress it all into the picture frame? Hold everything? See everything next to everything else? Is that the dream of art? Of imagination? Our heads full of it, world, with the garbage accumulated getting updated from time to time as culture lurches and sloughs itself. And us attaching it to self, like gum to shoes, sticky things, catching it all.

Friday, December 27, 2019

Lisa Herfeldt at Between Bridges


The reason we've gotten into upholstery, into couches, chairs and gotten into sleeping bags, is that they infer us, they contain the ghost of the human they were made for. Every chair is a bodily innuendo. Every couch is suggestive. An "excess content" in implication. Making things look like other things, creates the vapor that there is something further there. The pervert knows what the decorous don't.

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Sean Landers at Rodolphe Janssen


We identify with cuteness, with the interminable wet-eyed critters of Disney, Pokemon, whatever latest commodified and neotenic rodent. Cuteness' pressure causing Pugs' eyes to bulge and esophagus to choke. (The stunted bone structure of Pikachu leaves him in constant pain.) And Landers' plaid animals, sad clowns, and now a pinocchio "plankboy" are the means of a lesser sort of identification. Landers' characters are not focus-group perfected. And their revulsion is "an effect of anticlimax created by an unintentional lapse in mood from the sublime to the trivial or ridiculous." Like Greek mythos for a plankboy or Moby Dick in flannel. The definition of bathos. Which Landers prances sad clown around. Landers paintings "arousing pity, especially through vulnerability or sadness," pathetic.

See too: Sean Landers at Friedrich Petzel

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Birgit Megerle at Emanuel Layr


Banality in the soft technicolor of handtowels. Or looking more like the hand-coloring of black and white photographs. Adding rose to the cheeks of children, ceruleans to the skies. The PR would chide you for not liking dogs, that populist obedient critter which, like sunsets, seem to be beyond reproach in culture. "like sunsets, both the near endless regurgitations of saccharine accident, cliche." But above take these forms and squeeze cotton candy out from it, spank the sunset for its bruise.

See too: Wolfgang Tillmans at Maureen PaleyAmelie von Wulffen at Reena SpaulingsAmelie von Wulffen at Barbara Weiss“J A N U A R Y” at dépendance
Past: Birgit Megerle

Banality in painting makes tense a medium we think of as so inherently singular. Placing its original object in the neither-nor world of common. These are like staring at milk, an object of effort to make so plain, pasteurized, from a fount so specific. Even the more particular subjects achieve some iridescent vague.

...puttying of source material, the brushing out the inflated curls and rounding of eyebrow's high angled peaks, replacing their ostentation with a hematoma of [painting]. The exchange is unsettling despecifiying of images, removing from them their character, their selfhood, depersonalized, like the most unnerving villain you could face would be a blurry monster.

Click to read all posts tagged Birgit Megerle
Birgit Megerle at Galerie NeuBirgit Megerle at Kunsthaus Glarus

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Pierre Klossowski at Bernhard


Chronicler of Christian psychosexuality, Klossowski perhaps understood what what was happening in the back room, even divined the Catholic sexual abuse scandal. Maybe he, 1964 renewer of the days of Sodom, libertine, participated in it. These paintings weren't that long ago. Maybe he, like many artists, simply saw the rituals and its concerns for body and blood and heavy robes, as inherently erotic, just pushed what was latently there. Like his novels, half the fun is the not quite understanding what is happening, always something more to be unearthed, buried. A lot of watery innuendo; it's between Klossowki's pastel lines. We like Klossoswki for this faint transgression. But these aren't erotic, the PR is right to point out the discomfort in everyone's grave stilted faces, sex unpleasurable.

Monday, December 23, 2019

Rose Marcus at Night Gallery


The world is ugly if you don't compose it. Like being forced to actually look at the decor in a Starbucks, like looking out a Starbucks window into this mess. Forced to look through all the glass of the world. Which more and more is covered in corporate design. Like, imagine adding racing stripes to a tropical aquarium. Unlike bad painting, bad photographs are unbearable. The mass of undigested photography sitting on phones, in hard-drives. If it takes a talented photographer to makes the world look beautiful, wouldn't that say a lot about the world?

Modern Gothic. See too: Gili Tal at Cabinet

Saturday, December 21, 2019

Sylvie Fleury at Karma


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.

See also: Sylvie Fleury at Karma International

Friday, December 20, 2019

Patricia L. Boyd at Christian Andersen & Front Desk Apparatus

"in 2013, Boyd produced Carl dis/assembling w/ self, [...] She instructed one of EMPAC’s technicians to put together the engine of a Dodge truck while holding in one hand a camera that both documents and impedes his labor. His performance, which Boyd edited down to a three-minute piece, is a bleak metaphor for the ways in which we conceive of and perform work in a post-Fordist, image-driven culture: There is an imperative not only to produce but to spectacularize production. Driving the point home, the man’s labor has an absurd character: After he finishes assembling the engine, Boyd directs him to break it down again, thus rendering his actions irrelevant, Sisyphean; value derives from the image of his labor, not the labor itself. In a winking moment halfway through the video, when the engine is briefly shown in its assembled state, text appears, spelling out the work’s sponsors: Frieze Foundation, EMPAC, and British broadcaster Channel 4." 
"But what does this system produce? Nothing except an image of itself. The artist refers to the work as an “exhaustion engine.” It simultaneously represents and realizes the use and expenditure of her artistic resources: a commission fee and a studio at the NASA-grade production facilities" -Annie Godfrey Larmon Artforum
Someone once said that Sports were simply an advanced random number generator for creating stories. Sometimes art seems a similarly tangential means for the same.

Thursday, December 19, 2019

Ryan Gander at Kunsthalle Bern


There is a parallel between conceptual art and murder scenes. Not in the interpretation of clues, but of detective and conceptual artist turning a messy world into object, language, into document. Turn a world's blood and guts into evidence, into levers for the legal, testaments and a shared concern for documentation, certainty in measurement. Both the detective and the conceptual artist turn the world into a story, relying on aesthetic or truth, it's attempting one that you can get an audience to swallow, convince.

Oliver Osborne at Peles Empire (Matte Representation)

The new school of Matte Representation, scumbled opaque facades:  
Clockwise from top left: Oliver Osborne, Nolan Simon, Caleb Considine, Jennifer J. Lee

Paint like suede. Leather, rubbed, treated. The point is the [soft opaque] surface, a shallow pool both lets sight in and reflects us. A plane to project on. Have you touched a movie screen, they're like this. Silver, and we can theorize an internality, a subject inside, however privy we are not to it. A surface that warbles in little blots scumbled. What do you see, what do you project. It's a new type of formalism where content is created then made an aside, rejected, cancelled by the imbroglio of meaning. A representation that is tampered, we stare at.

"This sense of content being astray has to do also with the process’ vying for significance."

Call the exhibition Clue. The puzzles of today's painting in which their individuated flat symbols present a real mystery of a subject. Looking like de Chirico designed a board game. Soviet Realism for the icon age, new devotional painting. Colonel Rublev in the museum with a candlestick.

In our time textures are of utmost importance in creating realistic digital worlds. Objects are surface to be texture-mapped, painted, [artist]'s micro-attention to the variants of matte diffuse surface (something digital rendering has difficulty with) and scattered specular speaks to the digital by deploying what it cannot. Artisanal Old-timey rendering, wrapping its cold surface in warm wool.

Sunday, December 15, 2019

“iwillmedievalfutureyou1” at Art Sonje Center


"I will medieval future you" a curse with hints of the apocalypse - drawn to sci-fi catastrophe, an exhibition conjuring gore and Hollywood-esqu FX. "suspends our conception of linear time by fusing past and future" like any dystopian Thriller. Art as our sandbox and artists enjoying the rush of the crushing of its wet castles. The limits of art's playpen, the tiny emperors and artistic roleplay, begin to feel depressing when you place art in a chronology of society, placing art against societies' arbitrary advancements - did anyone predict a phone like a portal to god - art feels not only like make believe, but not even really the best make believe. You start to nostalgia primitive forms of art like cave painting, just painting, because, as this tech-sfx-scifi presents, we're just building backdrops for our global immolation.

Saturday, December 14, 2019

NADA Miami 2019


Art Basel Miami Beach 2019


I mean holy bright and bubbly rainbows, humongous goopy aluminum, and just overall a phantasmagoria of oreo-like stuf, too much stuf, everything looking like a stop sign, like a battering ram. Maybe a yearlong moratorium on red, or rainbows, or are we armoring our emotions against a world ending 2020.


Friday, December 13, 2019

Sandra Vaka at Kunsthall Stavanger


The world isn't so much a vampire as a system of straws attempting to drink one another's milkshake.

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Mark Roeder at Michael Benevento


The coyote is still hungry despite his body made of cartoon latex. It's implied in his pre-emptive dinner attire, fork knife bib. The coyote never never catches prey, as per the rule, never eats, his hunger is Sisyphean, law. Whatever rupture was in service to plot must repair itself by show's end, return tomorrow. Like the the 90s sitcom, like television prior on-demand, the situation self-repairs. A finite period affected by a specified illness. He had an episode. An eternal aphasia, amnesia. Narrative like gum. The 90s sitcom was a cartoon was a T1000, shotgun blasts to chest tomorrow a pristine police uniform to wait for Godot. Who what or where Godot matter none, the MacGuffin, the gold briefcase, the promise of a tomorrow always still returning. Surely the bird will never die, us eternal hungry.

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Monica Majoli at Galerie Buchholz

"There was [pre-AIDs] such a high level of connoisseurship…of everything that people like this were interested in. Of everything. That made the culture better. A very discerning audience, an audience with a high level of connoisseurship, is as important to the culture as artists. It is exactly as important. Now, we don’t have any kind of connoisseur audience. When that audience died, and that audience died in five minutes. Literally, people didn’t die faster in a war. And it allowed, of course, the second, third, fourth tier to rise to the front. Because, of course, the first people who died of AIDS were the people, oh, I don’t know how to put this, got laid a lot. Okay, now imagine who didn’t get AIDS? Okay? That’s who was then lauded as the great artists, okay? If the other people who hadn’t died, if they were alive, if they all came back to life, and I would say to them, Guess who’s a big star? Guess! Guess who has a show on Broadway? Guess who’s like a famous photographer? They would fall on the floor. Are you kidding me? Because everyone else died. Last man standing."
I think this is Fran Lebowitz quoted in the PR (slightly confusing) but also I think this is Hainley quoting her to tell people to shut up? since those not raised on the magazine these are extracted from  - or saw the shift from these soft naturalist men to post-AID's armorized beefcakes - are at a loss for a language they are always translating. And, of course, a prayer for that audience's return.


But so again here Majoli's internal softness against things with harder inclinations. Say, previously the "rubbermen" whose hardedge clouds of humans men suspended, their breath contained in rubber, hanging like mercurial thought bubbles, were almost able to be blown away like a smoke ring. And have you seen her abstractions? Again hard edges but formless nights. Outlines. People disappearing into chiaroscuro, night or light like scalpel. Everyone has an armor in Majoli's paintings, they are armored, depict soft things in armor. Like crabs whose hard shell contains sensitive forms. 

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Michaela Eichwald at dépendance


We've all grown tired of our stomachs pumped for the lumpy biomorphics that pox contemporary art. But Eichwald at least willing to risk the true browns that those otherwise glossy ceramics cheerily self-sweeten with candy coating. Eichwald threatens actual excess, dribbles that could still stain, or, like graffiti, are already stained, vandalized. Which Eichwald's do feel, vandalized - graffiti's defecated signatures - that pink one scratched into with like a school desk's attempted Baphomet that comes out more as a hairy devil with tits, not really satanic at all. Because the acne poxed kid's hard desire for satanism outshines his ability to actually conjure it. This is endearing. And there's a joke in here about teenage bedsheets too, but both failed satan and besotted sheets are of that teenage libidinal excess that has a tendency to spill, run over, an excess energies that stain things. Teenagers stain things.

Sunday, December 8, 2019

Shannon Ebner at Altman Siegel


There's too much information on the text - depictedly wet letters on photographically dewy walls - that don't function as fonts in maximizing readability, instead letters in competition with statement. Which this short-circuiting of language - renege on its duty to communicate cleanly - could create some weird warping as reading becomes an act of will against text, no longer communication super highways but entering the bushwhacked terrain of Christoper Wool say, or diverse cultural fauna of Jack Pierson. The desire to sediment text as object terrain is a long time one. A love for text to self-expose. Typography nerds rejoice. Brecht's distancing effect and a self-reflexive indexing in quotes about photography. Finding interest in one's belly button again, how much can you mirror your navel, type of deal.

Thursday, December 5, 2019

John Knight at Galerie Neu at The Intermission


John Knight I would refer to it as a form of discursive specificity, but certainly not the situational model of site specificity that has been proposed by Miwon Kwon and others that tend to legitimate a generation of nineties fashion production, the likes of Pardo, etc., which are essentially designer knick-knacks disguised as “installation art.”

Isabelle Graw So in what way is the way you legitimize your practice through a site different from that type of practice you just criticized, like Pardo’s?

JK Because I don’t think my project is constructed for or received in the same way. It’s not reified under the conditions of the already fixated institutional frame like those projects are. I try not to reproduce the actual model of production that I’m attempting to interrogate, as I think others do with impunity.

Benjamin Buchloh You were the first artist that I’ve known who for many, many years, without even understanding what you meant at the time, said that all artistic decisions are design decisions. Your interest in design as a language, as one language among many systems within an ideological apparatus, has become very clear by now. Your understanding of design history and of design traditions in their transformation from the 1920s to the 1950s is a very integral part of that. Why would you then not welcome an artist like Pardo who supposedly does exactly that in the most programmatic way? He’s the guy who brought this out to the foreground and made a megaproject out of it.

JK Well, I welcome the illustration of the problem I think it represents, but don’t cuddle up to projects so politically bankrupted. It is exactly the black hole of consumption that it wants to be and questions precisely nothing.

IG His work is not about posing or causing problems.

JK There are no problems, but I would take this back to the Bauhaus, and the inherent problems in designing for a better world, which carries itself over to Cranbrook and spreads about the globe as it enters into the marketplace, vis-à-vis Design for Better Living, Design Research, Design Within Reach, and of course, the granddaddy of them all, IKEA. Product design, interior design, and installation design are all deeply implicated in capitalist ideology. It’s the primary lexicon for substantiating neoliberalism. It’s the off-the-shelf language of hegemony.
Past: John Knight

"...that Knight's most exasperating aspects are its most powerful forms, the ultimately austere cold display system establishing authority and meaning through severe withholding"..."seething through clenched teeth..."

John Knight at REDCAT
John Knight at Cabinet
John Knight at Greene Naftali

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Kaye Donachie at Yuka Tsuruno


Maybe the 19th century's joke was painting faces positioned next to flowers and 20th century's joke was painting a face like it was flowers. Now what? A face is just the putty we rearrange in hopes of arranging something like meaning. An endless mine to profit from, our faces. Something we can pump. We're inordinately cruel to ourselves.

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Paul P. at Lulu & Queer Thoughts

(QT, Lulu)

These are bit gratuitous, no? There shouldn't be this much desire, resting on the surface, as if the surface itself exuded it like the soap out of Madame X's dress, a painting condition called saponification, "a deformation often described as 'blooming' or 'efflorescence'". Centuries old paintings literally drip soap. Velasquez added too much of his painting medium to her dress in attempts to make it like oil, he desired too much a dress like a pool of onyx, and his in his desire like an inverse Icarus his painting exuded a white liquid to cleanse him. Of impurity, hubris. And P.'s structure become excuse to hang painting's flowers, blooms, cause shimmers in paint. Look how the painter's hand trembles, painting with one hand. As they become factories for desire. The steam is hung by painter.  Is this much desire, sentimentality okay?  Do these men sweat, or does the painter sweat for them? The glass of fashion. Desire placed on like a mask. DFW: "Her expression is from Page 18 of the Victoria’s Secret catalogue." Disappear behind it, no?

See too: Tony Conrad's GlassLouisa Gagliardi at Open Forum

Monday, December 2, 2019

2019 Venice, Antoine Catala


Proposition B begins differently, with breath, a soft exhaust, dispersed debris and then these words breathing slowly. Hey. Relax. Its intonation would appear friendly, coming in and out with its tide of breath. But do you trust it? Haven't we grown numb to this friendliness, that coercive calm of advertising, self-help, bait-and-switch sell. Because surely we recognize not everything is okay. Proposition A was certainly full of not-okay. And we've learned distrust. Being rightfully so doesn't make it easier. Torturing our connection with earnest pleas seems a theme of this Biennial.