Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Contemporary Art Writing Quarterly



In case you’d like to spend a while absorbed in anything other than listless documentation of art, you might like to visit Contemporary Art Writing Quarterly, where we publish deeper, uh, "expanses" on art. Pick your essay below:

Pieter Slagboom at Bridget Donahue


(link)

Like, whereas outlines illustrate, designates (instructs), the contour line caresses, warms its figure with all its touch, not so much states its figure as rubs it. Probably why these look closer to surrealist frottage than drawing: the whole thing must be touched to make it appear. This is a metaphor. Humans aren't so much plumbing and cartoons as little haptic nubs that touch and feel and bone. "...your fingers developed small wounds from the pressure exerted on the pencil." "PS: I was disappointed because I could not feel the pencil anymore. The tenderness disappeared. [...]when I press down every day for a whole week.  Between the skin and the bone, finger padding begins to vanish, and the pencil makes contact with the bone, which is very very painful." You do not think the subject, but physical touch to manifest it. We get sick, a pandemic exists, and proximity feels like physical air, no meniscus, no barrier at all, everyone sharing each others heat. Spirituality seems to emerge as an any-alternative-to-this, escapes the restrictive cookie outline of "the normal" cartoon. And which, see here figuration too jettison the general cartoon delineation, drawing's outline becomes instead its Red Studio absentia, line its ghost.


See too: Miriam Cahn at Meyer Riegger

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

 Past: Victor Man at The Central Pavilion

"..brooding tinctures in the hieroglyphs of a new puzzle form of painting, the explicit clarity of subjects, revealed flatly, become illustrations of a mysterioized subject withheld. The more overt the “subject,” the harder we fall into its promise of illustrating something, meaning..."


Read full: Victor Man at The Central Pavilion


 Past: Gedi Sibony

"It had been exciting then, its barely-thereness, so slight, that "unfinished too soon" look we all at that point had craved, the provisional existence we felt stood in for life ... There was something so charming about its lack of artistry, the almost not art that it now just sorta looks like."

"The small pleasure of Sibony's found paintings is their modernist uncanny within vernacular abstraction. That those uncaring, underpaid to blot out corporate logos for truck's resale, might - through dumb luck or undiscovered brilliance - have painted something fine. ...  That brushstrokes without art intention always look best, and these just made to cover, to stop beer from selling itself, so painting could."


Read full: Gedi Sibony at Greene NaftaliVenice: Gedi Sibony at The Arsenale

Monday, October 26, 2020

Jacolby Satterwhite at Mitchell-Innes & Nash


(link)

The Matthew Barney libidinal excess launched it into the limitless - into the psychic space, the virtual as fantasy stage. A closer representation of fantasy in etherous technology. The virtual space is both new and the same - it the blank canvas or the chunk of marble - mere projection screens, space to manifest, desire. It is art itself that is the realm that allows for this, our fantasy mmorpg; and it is the gallery that is the true virtual space, both everywhere and nowhere, excess in its ascetics. The gallery provides the fantasy of fantasy, that this is all somehow new, or even progress, that we're actually inventing something, simply because it exists. But objects are not invention. Even in virtual fantasy. The pathos of Satterwhite is that it is old. 



 Past: Hélène Fauquet at Edouard Montassut 

"And we get pristine jpegs of bad ones, printed. En abyme, we tumble"


 Full: Hélène Fauquet at Edouard Montassut 


Friday, October 23, 2020

K8 Hardy at Reena Spaulings


(link)

The seemingly obvious in art shouldn't itself be a criticism since, well, Greenbergian abstraction was itself pretty obvious confrontation with some psychoanalytically blank wall stained with all those painterly headbutts of a phallic order. "less surface, perhaps, than receptacle" the press release nails. Just like all those stiff socks for male expression.

Sure it's yet another inkblot test for endless interpretation, but at least it's got a frame to shape it. Like tea leaves, like expression's seminal drips, this at least owns the navel it gazes with.

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Past: Henrik Olesen

"the filthy human Olesen has, for a while now, been stuffing in crevasses" "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."

Read full:
Henrik Olesen at Schinkel Pavilion
Henrik Olesen at Cabinet
Henrik Olesen at Reena Spaulings
Gerry Bibby, Henrik Olesen at Sismógrafo


Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Past: D’Ette Nogle at Bodega 

'manifesting pedagogy and social reproduction in object form was never going to be exactly 'fun,' and the soft-authority is deployed with a humor so dry as to almost be nonexistent... and even when the stand-up exists it is deprecated to near loss, fury, all but calling the whole thing, whole project, the teacher that Nogle is as 'fucking losers.'" 

"And Nogle's interest in this loveably unfun thing we call bureaucracy seems to be for its hairy, ensnaring and otherwise tangly qualities. Enjoyment seems less important than the slowly painting and then identifying one's hands, yours and hers, with a faint perfume of red, so that 'you're going to regret clapping in the end.'"


Read full: D’Ette Nogle at Bodega 

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Emily Sundblad at Campoli Presti


(link)

Will these become that asterisk you see in history books: "Sundblad, a 00s gallerist known for launching the careers of [vaguely still alive artists] also exhibited her own paintings at [several galleries you faintly recall.]" Betty Parsons Gallery exists more as myth now, and her art floats down to today as rare and impossible fragments. The PR already attempts something like mythos: Sundblad as an "exile" painting "plein air on a marble balcony of the Hotel Negresco in Nice." But wait! A romance we are warned against: "the Negresco’s owner once told Bill Gates that purchasing the hotel would be well beyond his means. This moldiness has no price, she meant: a time zone inaccessible to a contemporary technocrat." But I guess these paintings can purchase it, or attempt to own some of it. Why else tell us the vintage? Romance like a wine purchased on vacation and sold to your friends. Now you can own a bit of that french villa, a piece of the world before it sinks, paintings made before the world became techno. Souvenirs of history, however artificial. 

Monday, October 19, 2020

Sung Tieu at Emalin


(link)

Astrology like tarot cards finds alliance with art since the artwork has mutated to be less an object of beauty than a fount for interpretation. Art having gone from object to oracle. The point of art begins to be setting the spheres to rotate so they may occasionally align, a machine for semio-recombination we could call meaning. Artists become not merely the recombinators of signs, but the producers of machines to do this, to be turned to on, set to run. Endless interpretiblity becomes their function. This is art, possibly. 


Astrology: Ei Arakawa at Kunstverein Dusseldorf 
Tarot: Juliette Blightman, Dorothy Iannone at Arcadia MissaCaitlin Keogh at Bortolami

Past: Ei Arakawa

"turning an artwork to an interpretable state and blinking, tea leaf divination in sporty Vegas-odds inkblots. We're primed to see meaning in information, in art, particularly when so bright and shiny, and thus lots to be said, interpretation to be done, they'll pour forth all you are willing to extract from them. Perfect analysands. Like the wacky inflatable arm man drawing eyes to dealerships, Arakawa understands the qualifiers for "art," performing them with wacky panache, theatricalizing the artwork as a caricature of attention..."

"a system in which the production of artistic meaning is itself made clear as a series of gestures and movements that encode work with whatever aura is distinct to contemporary art separate from the objects subsumed."

"Arakawa's funneling of history into technologic codes (1959 Gutai represented on arduino Lite-Brite) [...] expressionist rendered binary, computational, circuitry and cells. History reappears, history still shines through, you get to exist as it...."


Read Full: Ei Arakawa at Kunstverein DusseldorfEi Arakawa at Taka Ishii & Peter Halley at Modern ArtKarl Holmqvist and Ei Arakawa at Overduin & Co.

Saturday, October 17, 2020

Trenton Doyle Hancock at James Cohan


A lot of artists have taken a lot from Guston with less honesty than this. Call those thefts the affect of Guston, the style stuck to painting. Very rare that someone goes to the sources themselves, the storytelling devices Guston himself stole from, comics or de Chirico. But it's a more interesting painting when you aren't just stealing painting en abyme. Things lose definition in endless mirrors. There are a lot more interesting things than painting. Perhaps Guston's cartoon point. The point of a politics, a concrete thing. And the comics are great.

Friday, October 16, 2020

 Past: Sylvie Fleury 

“Fleury suggests art can be liberated from its reliance on constant innovation and complex physical formulation and relax instead into a sort of ne plus ultra of laissez faire “whateverism” which ups the ante on American “Slacker” culture’s aesthetics of resignation.”
-Adrian Dannatt

read: Sylvie Fleury at Karma InternationalSylvie Fleury at Karma
Past: Paul Mpagi Sepuya

"It's why so many photographers are want to document the youth, embodiment of the photograph's eternal nubility as we all die...

"The bodies work for the camera who is the master to be satiated. Which explains their machine-like affection. It's a more Hans-Breder-like photographic attitude, any sympathetic Tillmans-esque is fractured, the body formalized, turned to abstraction, which is a gore, a machine of equivocation, skin becomes fingerprinted glass becomes magazine flesh cut and pasted.  This is ostensibly fun but play and its dalliance gets close to frivolousness, becomes dangerous when you are machine shredding bodies



Read Full: Paul Mpagi Sepuya at DocumentPaul Mpagi Sepuya at Modern Art hosting Team Gallery

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Carolyn Lazard at Essex Street

(link)

"Heat as a replacement for warmth." A band-aid to stand in for mother's compression. "a world we must continually attenuate." We design a "humanity" and it reappears in alien forms. You can't redesign warmth; you design its substitute. Technologies of the human. Of "care." The Journal of Technologies of Care. Because we don't, or can't, care. Aliens emerge. Colby Chamberlain channels Marta Russell: the Americans with Disabilities Act that G.H.W. Bush "signed into law to trim welfare rolls." Neoliberal care, freedom for the "uncompensated labor necessary to reproduce oneself day after day." Adorno channels Tocqueville:  "tyranny leaves the body free and sets to work directly on the soul. The ruler no longer says: ‘Either you think as I do or you die.’ He says: ‘You are free not to think as I do; your life, your property – all that you shall keep. But from this day on you will be a stranger among us.’" Care made equivalent to function. Efficacy equivalent to its efficiency.

So much art currently deploys and compostionalizes medical/insitutional aesthetics but rarely cares for its material conditions. And so what happens when Gober sinks are stripped of their touch and we are left with a stainless version- scientifically designed to shed the human. A world that won't purify on its own. We continually design a world that is hospitable in all ways but human.




Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Past: Lin May Saeed

"Making art that expresses care for animals by carving it in material that - if left uncared for - would quickly degrade and release poisons to harm those animals depicted is sort like selling live grenades in a puppy shelter. Why not take a grenade home, why not take back some of this asbestos to protect the earth if not your home, these animals need you. Sort of expressing the suicide games pretty much everyone believes we're playing now in the anthropocene's foot-to-the-pedal towards brick walls type of time period."


Full: Lin May Saeed at Jacky StrenzLin May Saeed at Studio VoltaireLin May Saeed at Lulu

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Yong Xiang Li at Emanuel Layr


(link)

The returns of overt sentimentality chimes with our nostalgic times, its longing, wistfulness, or its hate filled "again." Building apparatus to suspend this ephemeral world: a wallpaper's pleasance like a tissue against fire. 
Past: Isa Genzken

"To make one of those statements that art writers have tendency to make based upon an inflated assessment of their own opinion's import [...] Bruce Nauman has passed the torch of most influential living artist to Isa Genzken. It happened in field about 4 years prior as part of a much unpublicized ceremony 28 miles due south of Santa Fe. Without fanfare, neither artist even leaving their respective vehicle, handed through lowered windows, Nauman reported to have said "Best of it." The two made eye contact and somewhere off a small goose was made to fly along with several terse press releases from the agency that assess such matters. It was said that Genzken's speed finally attained escape velocity from the crushing gravitation of Nauman's iron mire."

"Genzken founded strategies rather than objects, an artistic down-shifting, a speed that could overtake. "the most influential living artist not because everything looks like it, but because it predicated a conglomerate speed absorbing any last vestiges of particular attention to individuated objects" i.e. When we see Genzken we react to the deployment or manipulation/alteration to its strategy, the means of attending the object rather than object itself. Weirdly deny the consumptive act of looking by permanently existing in a state of limbo.."

Monday, October 12, 2020

Keren Cytter at Kunst Museum Winterthur





(link)
"In a more recent video, Killing Time Machine, a bunch of friends are sitting around, eating Chinese takeout food, talking about a deceased parent, reading old letters, communing, and so on, but everything is very flat—the dialogue, the energy. There’s no emotion. I was interested in literally making a machine that kills time, in seeing how I could make a movie become something physical, like a machine. Watching it, you’re aware that you’re wasting your time—it tells you that in the title—but you keep watching it for some reason."
The limits of our connection to the power of video narrative tested.
Past: Josef Strau

"The way butterflies seem garish and unnecessary to a world and inspire our wrath so children crush them and artists crush them against canvas, looking for ways to bejewel our production, steel it against the unpleasant taste of mouths eating coin. They're fine in that way of pleasantness, pinnacle of subservience that is the crux of high dollar abstraction, submission to their surroundings by letting it walk all over them."

"These are much uglier ...  And Straus's text begins with an almost apology for the exhibition, which reminds of how endeared we all were to artists failing ten years ago."
"A hail mary pass to capture, touch down, on some meaning."

 "Strau’s concurrent rise with the hegemony of the art's image (say, CAD) makes a sense. Strau attaching text to image, delaying reception by giving words to its arrival at the moment it made it consumable without giving it away. This was huge."

Saturday, October 10, 2020

Josefine Reisch at Noah Klink

(link)

Organization and display systems become the forms we think in, render the world, Tufte et al.  Google images, the iPhone, the interfacization of everything becomes predominant, and children swipe at books. Approach paintings as if they too are systems of information, signs, or, worse, informative. Reisch confusing these aspects of decoration. The decoration becomes the sign it always was. Composition trades its fine line with organization.


Friday, October 9, 2020

Past: Pieter Schoolwerth at Miguel Abreu

"... the stylistically performative running the permutations of their look. ... aptly describe the loss of your viewer-self within, metaphor for the free floating body that everyone everywhere is at pains to describe but not touch. So we’ll say it here, it hurts to touch nothing. So when looking at the coldness and feeling the stylistic chrome they contain know it’s a real possibility."


Thursday, October 8, 2020

Past: Hannah Weinberger at Nicolas Krupp

"Since Weinberger's generally seem to be about establishing some sort of social/relational intimacy of living breathing art slugs, it is a odd turn now to have an exhibition of video of stone people, an intimacy that, like all of us communicating through televisual monitors, leaves no real intimacy at all. ... the mere shapes of human we're all pantomiming on Zoom, [humans] indistinguishable from any sufficiently complex animatronic."


Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Austin Lee at Peres Projects


(link)

Part of the fun of bad painting is learning to love it. Same reason why some people like pictures of gore. To have an authority over the repulse. An enjoyment to finding the next level of trash, a little further to the new bedrock of stupidity. This is enjoyable. Just when you think painting can't get any worse, it gets a little worse. Vertigo in bad taste. Now here we have representations of bad taste. The difference between painting badly and making paintings of bad things. It would seem to absolve the painter, who blames the world for his representation, as if to say, "I am merely the recorder." "Look how well I have painted the dead clown" In the evolution of the dreadfulness in art, is the next step bad paintings that tries to pass themselves off as proficient? Truly awful, yes.


Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Kate Spencer Stewart at Park View/Paul Soto



Slow paintings seem like one of the old white male professor ideas alongside Truth to materials or content or whatever. But we are in fact all scopophiliacs. We like looking at things. And things can be nice, and they can be slow and that doesn't have to be antique. And these all look like water and all feel like sitting by the river watched slow.

Monday, October 5, 2020

assume vivid astro focus (a.v.a.f.) at Hussenot


(link)

This really was a thing at one time wasn't it. Art was more like a technology designing a machine to fill space. And artists became the machine, symbiote to the institution. This was before the Museum of Ice Cream and Meow Wolf and just as the art industry was shifting to more populous modes of representation, leading to an installationism everywhere suddenly "fun" which hung precipitously over the entertainment "experience" industry it then immediately fell into. This machinic symbiosis with institutions is sometimes described as careerism, professional assimilation, but the careermay simply be the shell protecting the soft inner art, the machine instead adopts itself to the space it can fill, modulates to the institution, a service performed, rendered, filling art space.


Friday, October 2, 2020

Past: Richard Hawkins

"collage becomes important as the collisions of the world's disparate systems become increasing violent, and the Surrealists and Frankfurters were wrong that irrational juxtapostion would spark any mass as the world world became the biggest surrealist juxtaposition of all, and that collage in the larger sense - the sense that Hawkins has practiced since the beginning - was meant instead to make "alternative forms of touch" as soft touchdowns, as a sort of pathos? The decrepit sexual patina grown over Hawkins work wasn't always so. There were once clean young men paper-clipped to fields of bright fabric, and anyone was yet to be beheaded."


Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Juliette Blightman, Dorothy Iannone at Arcadia Missa

(link)

...tarot, images drawn and illuminated shine to bounce around in your head to alight some new substance inside, like any painting. The further you believe in the drawing the more deeply it affects. A charm for wealth eventually brings it through stubborn physical existence to remind you that's what you value, seek. Any object's aboutness, its meaning, it tautologically enacts like a string tied around your finger: the string doesn't necessarily intrinsically symbolize "pick up eggs;" its meaning is conjured by the reminded who tied it. Thus objects are imbued with meaning. Tarot cards tell you they are meaningful.

Which is why Tarot cards are such powerful meaning creation devices - humans are apophenic machines - seeing sense where there may be none, they create it for themselves. Art comes to resemble it.

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Agnes Scherer at Sans titre (2016)


(link)

We should be exceedingly skeptical of comparing artistry and servanthood. Art isn't service. Fraser's existential question “What do I, as an artist, provide?” comes to mind. Or Bourdieu:
"cultural producers tend to feel solidarity with the occupants of the economically and culturally dominated positions within the field of class relations. Such alliances, based on homologies of position combined with profound differences in condition, are not exempt from misunderstandings and even bad faith."

That said, the PR does fine corralling why such affinities might exist. And Flaubert's novel and parrot are made for metaphor. The parrot dead and our heavenly afterlife: an art career. Anyway, write what you know. The professionalization of art is pain, our lives are increasingly disembodied and neuroticized. Paintings of laptops make sense, they are our story.

Monday, September 28, 2020

Helen Mirra at Nordenhake


(link)

"As measurements of time and being, the 13 woven pieces capture in yarn the somatic activities of standing, extending arms, articulating hands, breathing, and sensing."

The Marxist commodity fetish was, confusingly named, our mistaken relation to capital's objects as an economic rather than human social relations, it was a concealment: the aluminum clamshell of your laptop being seen as economic product of capital innovation itself, rather than the hand-sweat of laborers distanced beneath gloves. A price tag for a face. Almost nothing is this world is actually automated - everything you touch is hand-made by workers. This separation of our social relations we've so completely assimilated that labor itself returns as a literal fetishism, stitches mark this labor, look compelling, can be brought out onto white walls, as aura, as artwork. Every cheap objects is an equal tapestry. The stitches in time are smoother, hidden. Hold up your child's plastic toy and feel another at its end.


Sunday, September 27, 2020

Laurent Dupont, Lisa Jo at Braunsfelder Laurent Dupont


(link)

You paint the thing over the thing, a face over your face, a representation getting closer and closer to its object until, well, they touch, link, and representation adsorbs, becomes, its object. A history of attempts to kill the artwork - here make a painting so redundant as to negate it - always fail - but we find them titillating, art as thing that cannot be killed. In its place a ghost of it.

Saturday, September 26, 2020

Berta Fischer at Barbara Weiss

(link)

Stuf. Crushed and molded into gangbangs. Not even necessarily organized or compositionalized, more just amassed. The "errancy" here would be against manners of taste, more an orgy, an excess. Stuf itself accrues a byproduct: a quality we could attempt to separate the difference from surplus and glut; exuberance and waste.






Kathleen Ryan at Ghebaly Gallery, Valerie Keane at High Art

Friday, September 25, 2020

Past: Phung-Tien Phan

"... placing a thing on another thing. Foregrounding the ghost who've arranged the space, the artist's hand, both magnifying their leave while highlighting the staging. of the encounter. Like Broodthaers' potted palms casting the scene in its artifice, it makes the ghosts come out, those who constructed its object for you, tombs where flowers have been left."


Read full: Phung-Tien Phan at Bonner Kunstverein

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Sydney Schrader at Gandt

(link)

"Experimental" would ostensibly insinuate "new" and "untested" forms, but more often applied by readers unwilling to do the work required or by artists themselves successfully applying for European grants. At worst experimental is synonym for obtuse, or, when applied to oneself, intentional obfuscation. "Off-spaces" generally assume "experimental" perhaps simply because a lack of white walls encumbers the usual halo identifying what is and "isn't" the art. Which generally also applies to the documentation, 00s web-design like memories of rotten.com. The point is to enjoy the experience, be lost, possibly click on some gore, not make sense of something. It's annoying, sure. But occasional "titillation" was part of Gandt's success was finding for the perfect venue for a tickle fetish "novel." Or a dissociative text. Think Lynch's Inland Empire, enough nonsense that eventually you open to it.

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Raha Raissnia at Marta Cervera


(link)

Contraptions to capture the "ephemeral," make it tangible - nets for the schools of fish-like light.  The sculpture sediments feeling into rock; the painter, paint. Ostensibly. We seem to value art for its packaging. At some points in history more ephemeral forms of art were prized, say, songs because we didn't yet have books, and so whether this is a symptom of capitalism or of art is hard to tell. Fish in the ocean do not generate value by swimming, but being collected, in parks or nets. As an entry ticket or its meat. A reservation for entry, a thing to be gathered around.

Tuesday, September 22, 2020


"There's a published panel discussion in which [Denny's] staunch refusal to talk about artmaking in any terms but the corporate terms of "product" "content" and "brand" leaves the other art-types at a sort of incredulous distance, wondering whether to refute the position (corporate terms obviously implying evil) or understand it at the safe distance of metaphor. This "struggle" to come to terms with such description is mirrored in much of the writing about Denny's work, in which writers search desperately to find where the critique - that of course must be there- lay...." 

"...there isn't "critique" in the ambivalence of Denny's semi-archaeological work... "critique" for Denny would only be part of experience of the product, its brand. In the same panel, stating a complicity with capitalism that he "doesn't want to kill," Denny is challenged with what he does "want to kill," again implying the assumption of "critique" that the artworld so desperately needs. Denny responds, "That's not my goal. My goal is to make interesting content."


Read full: Simon Denny at MoMA PS1

Monday, September 21, 2020

Past: Louisa Gagliardi at Open Forum

"...cartoon mirroring our model's own el Grecoing bodies into lanky warbling sticks, printed in advert sweat, inks, magazine glass. That wet look, pavement in the rain under sodium streetlamps, inky, in the surfaces where even the lighting appears moisturized."
"A whole exhibition today called PVC fetishism - that the youthful today, raised in glass-inflected magazines, slick cartoons, feed though plastic, eventually adopt affinities for that torrent of slickness, we start to print our dreams on vinyl."

Saturday, September 19, 2020

“Crumple” at VIN VIN


(link)

A sort of paganism that pervades. In this exhibition and elsewhere, we smear paint, assemble objects, to arrange something like "meaning." A like-meaning, or an affect of it. A yule pole for every occasion. 

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Past: Klara Liden

"At best Liden's "examinations of the anxiety of urban space" demonstrates the fraughtness on which society rests: flippantly publishing the keys to city, (e.g. bolt cutters and flashlight); implicit threat of artist's desublimating their profession bashing a bicycle to death (see too: real violence); or the small smile of this exhibition's theft of things that delineate private property (i.e. stealing the things that make private property possible). Bristling the small hairs separating us from chaos. Feel the rush of anarchism from the safety of the institution...""At worst wonder whether the rich whose wealth rely on this power that Liden ostensibly undermines don't feel some sort of safety in the irony of owning these"


 Klara Liden at Reena Spaulings (1)Klara Liden at Reena Spaulings (2)Klara Liden and Karl Holmqvist at Kunstverein BraunschweigKlara Lidén, Alicia Frankovich at Kurator


Past: David Lieske

"Lieske was of the first of the cargo cults reassembling the totems of meaning in the desert of it, picking detritus. The issue was resolved not by necessarily by making objects mean again - which they couldn't - it's hard to make an empty bottle mean in arid land - but by situating objects so that they connoted meaning despite whatever inscrutable blankness. Like hieroglyphs. What was important was exuding the affect of meaning, regardless of whether there was any and that it didn't matter anyway was what we were all beginning to pick up on and what the commercial world had known for decades (that you can create "meaning" at will with attitude, aura) which while Lieske pondering whether this was a problem was suddenly flooded and drown by more ephebic artists already having decided for him it wasn't and now this is the water we live in, a flooded terrain of objects imbued, over-saturated "meaning."

"If so much art looks like Broodthaers today, it is because Broodthaers was of the first invested in the arrangements of display as a credence to meaning, institutional or otherwise."

"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."


Click to read full: David Lieske at MUMOKDavid Lieske at Lovaas Projects

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Lynne Cohen at Jacky Strenz


(link)

The dryness of black and white documentary photography becomes a deadpan. Something you can't quite call comedy. But might. That same small twist of sense. Sometimes the world doesn't acquiesce to staid photographic capture; sometimes the world seems to sort of fight back. Seems too absurd for its clinical silver. Cohen seems to seek out these moments.
Past: Jochen Lempert

"Most of 'planet earth' didn't look like Planet Earth, 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 ostracize to parks and behind 4k glass."

"So maybe Lempert's moribund nostalgia is actually a sci-fi, of our present from the future, as it wrinkles and curls and blows out. Tragedy."

"Grain clinging like dust to paper; eyelashes etched into the silver [...] The overt romance balanced not so much by an attachment to science, but just the basic desire to show: 'Trained as a Biologist' [...] a sort of phenomenological augment [...] that like Audubon who upset the world of avian illustration by depicting accurate birds in naturalistic motion [...] it was realized you can learn two things about the world at once."


Read full: Jochen Lempert at Contemporary Art CentreJochen Lempert at Between Bridges

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Alex Bag, Jason Yates at von ammon co

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What should we call this? Paul McCarthy to Alex Bag to today's schiz-u-tainment? Now militarized Teletubbies and Hollis Frampton with Hollywood soundtracks, the animistic televisual resurrections. The artiste tonally dissonant entertainments, the slapstick affect, the emotive we can turn on and off like rain. What is this? Was this. Who is writing the big thing about this? What have we made of this? Reassess, take stock, congeal something....


See too: Venice vs TriennialAndrew Norman Wilson at FuturaRachel Rose at High Art, Ed Atkins at Serpentine, Steve Reinke at Isabella Bortolozzi, Lynn Hershman Leeson at Vilma Gold, Jordan Wolfson at David Zwirner, Shana Moulton at Kunsthaus Glarus,

Past: Tomoo Gokita at Taka Ishii

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, [...] a painting's wayward stroke contains an ambiguity that is interpretable [...]


Monday, September 14, 2020

Autumn Ramsey at Crèvecoeur


(link)

In that the decorative itself becomes an object. It's not the shimmer to a space, but the sculpted out affect. You're not looking at a lion, you're looking at a hallucination carved.


See too: Autumn Ramsey at CrèvecoeurAutumn Ramsey at Park ViewAutumn Ramsey at Night Club

Past: Richard Aldrich

"Aldrich's befuddlement of the terms and conditions of paintings makes for obtuse, tangential starts digressing from those painting histories generally acceptable as beginnings. If the paintings seem facetious or frivolous it is because Aldrich doesn't necessarily venerate the histories that are painting cannon, and so which attaching almonds to a painting is not only a thing to do but becomes naturalized as a term of painting - possibly - as all the talk of flatness once was...

"Because surely there is actually a fool doing this full time."
Past: Autumn Ramsey

"decorative embellishments adorning the subject like Christmas tree, a structure for the hanging of means, that while Moreau's wreaths of ornamental doodadery shimmer with objects and riches, Ramsey's warble with the various means of representing those objects, the paint itself. ... an object that has more or less lost its meaning to act the tradition itself, history painting glitz."

"lovely and sensuous cat butt"

Read full: Autumn Ramsey at CrèvecoeurAutumn Ramsey at Park View, Autumn Ramsey at Night Club

Sunday, September 13, 2020

Group Show at FUTURA



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Looking forward to more of this type of documentation. Like the archer, both sculptures posit a space that is shot through, projected, an external world that overlays our own.

Friday, September 11, 2020

Past: Christine Wang at Nagel Draxler Kabinett

"... dripping disgust with an almost self-harm cruelty is also an earnestness in moral dubiety. What do these things mean, is of course the question every painting asks, these just do a lot more explicitly, ambiguously. Do I want a threesome with the Winklvii? Wouldn't it be nice to be rich, to have made it to the moon on Bitcoin? Is my desire for the Winklvii merely a symptom, hoping for some relief from anxiety of capitalist precarity, their big arms? The questions come embedded in the image. The world, surely, is fucked. The newspaper is a surrealist device, atrocity competing with diamond ads. Against the majority of juxtapositional surrealists operating today who find themselves content in jumbling signs for subconscious irruption, these hand you the pile of garbage and ask you to find help in untangling it."


See: Christine Wang at Nagel Draxler Kabinett

Rirkrit Tiravanija at Chantal Crousel


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Those fucking potted palms. What a trope - since at least Broodthaers(?)... the same species even. Plants ironize the space of art, their temporality (as decoration and life) clashing with our notions of art's eternality. "Life is short, and art long." Here is the art is short. Requires watering. Dies after exhibition. Broodthaers even called his installations "decors" a primordial institutional critique, the system itself up for question, that has now become a stand-in, a symbol, invoking critique. "If so much art looks like Broodthaers today, it is because Broodthaers was of the first invested in the arrangements of display as a credence to meaning, institutional or otherwise."
Then some poetics crusted into marble. On art rags. It's the art's metadata that's important here, the halo. The signals of "critique" are just polish for that halo.


See too: David Hartt at Graham Foundation, David Lieske

Thursday, September 10, 2020

Yona Lee at Fine Arts, Sydney


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You can attach anything to anything today. A subway pole becomes a mop, runs plumbing, becomes lamp, attaches a table for when we're all stuck underground. The signs get slippery, confused (the thin difference between a barrier pole or a handrail.) This capitalist surrealism that seems inherent to our age - the general symbolic orders melt to some other demand. Efficiency that we laud capitalism for, the invisible hand pressing everything into everything else, together, the same.


See too: Nina Beier at Metro Pictures“May the Bridges I Burn Light the Way” at STANDARD (OSLO)

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Past: Veit Laurent Kurz at Kunstverein Nürnberg

".. anachronistic period aesthetics misremembered, like retrofuturism, or steampunk. Call this look post-apocalypse primeval. Cosplay nostalgia for time that was not. Steampunk clinging to the Cartesian, mechanistic, [a nostalgia] comforting against the opacity of neoliberal globalism, market algorithms, and subprime CDOs that no one understood until collapse. Then it made sense that [Star Wars] and Apple commercials began setting their products in lush green forests, envisioning the technology so advanced it appeared natural, magic, indistinguishable; today: Artisanal baguettes and iPhones."


Read: Veit Laurent Kurz at Kunstverein Nürnberg

Jannis Marwitz at Lucas Hirsch


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I suppose the thing that keeps Bosch from being the first surrealist is his ostensible belief in some kind of truth to his images, biblical authority. But which the surrealists too -  under a new bible, manifesto - also led a new moralizing order. Maybe you can't paint humanoids and skulls without some small redistribution of sense. Which is why Tarot cards are such powerful meaning creation devices - humans are apophenic machines - seeing sense where there may be none, they create it for themselves. Art comes to resemble it.


See too: Caitlin Keogh at Bortolami

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

David Ostrowski at Jir Sandel


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Preferring not to, inhabiting the other, the parasite, etc, etc. In 1994 Heimo Zobernig was asked to make a design for the dust skrim covering the Generali Foundation's facade during renovations. He painted the Foundation's logo as large as would fit in the wrong colors and pretty poorly. Refusing the responsibility of the creative act, giving in to corporate signs - I find the critique is in not doing what art was supposed to, soften the facade with "design" but instead merely repainting its logo forcing an ugly re-exposure - no facade at all. Anyway that was decades ago and here we are again.


Past: David Ostrowski at Sundogs

Monday, September 7, 2020

Noel W. Anderson at JDJ


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"...made entirely from cotton pulp, and the images on the surface of the paper are made by pressing wet paper pulp of various colors through mesh screens..."
We so badly want images to become real, want history to have some weight, a tangible reality against our current realm so beholden to a manipulation rendering the world virtual - things become their assets; people become populations; and us wanting to hold something. Art must make its things physical to trade while the world attempts the opposite, take it out of our hands and I'm not sure these two processes are separate but it sure feels better to have something rather than the opposite.

Sunday, September 6, 2020


"... Reinke's videos are a methodical stress-testing of our emotional capacities through tonal short-circuiting. It's funner than it sounds submitting to psychological bondage. ... calming paternal voice leads through footage and images with jarring music, unexplained scenes, and philosophical manhandling as a bad-trip Nature film fritzing our relationship to its input, creating a helplessness at the hands of the torturer who remains in control of the sensory input.

"Desensitization that makes one impressionable to suggestion, coercion and inculcation. It's an interesting metonym for the suggestive function in the affectual-coercion of wider culture ...the socialization and replication of a normative culture we find inside us daily that Reinke seems firm in his odds against. When Reinke, in 'The Genital is superfluous,' says of the drunk shirtless men wrestling wetly on formica flooring that they 'want to go back to the placental state' it's been so pummeling getting there you submit to it, believe him."


Saturday, September 5, 2020

Pedro Reyes at Museum Tinguely


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Castrated and made to sing. Art never feels worse than in trying to poeticize a politics - its process of symbolization more important than its musically flat final existence. Conceptual art might actually be the process of creating myth. The objects are manufactured merely to gather the public around.


See too: Dane Mitchell at MossmanDana Hoey at Petzel
Past: Allan McCollum

"McCollum's brute force attack on "creativity," ironizing uniqueness with its interminable variation, like 'try and stand out in this crowd kid,' pulling out the cornerstones of value with machine made uniqueness, the scary "algorithm," and handcrafted replaced with stand-ins, surrogates, and stage props. Making uniqueness bland. How cruel. Showing on the doll where the creativity hurt him. It all ends in death. Did you think your bones were unique. etc."

"...without rarity in their uniqueness, but a collector’s majority stake, hoarding wealth like diamonds, irradiating gold, that old Dr.No trick, a governed population, produces power. "

"A cold humanism, depressing individuality. The endgame summated in the center of far sides's black/white sea innumerate, an individual, a penguin, singing, “I gotta be me, Oh I just gotta be me.”


Read full: Allan McCollum at Mary Boone, Allan McCollum at PetzelAllan McCollum at Thomas Schulte

Friday, September 4, 2020

Past: 

"Henrot's object incongruence: material tension whose fault lines irrupt laughter. It's a comedy, acting sculpturally stupid, where material images don't add up... stretches sculptural sense like a cartoon mouse avoiding the axe, inducing cackles in children, material truth replaced with a clown. Who represents us today."

"the viewer as a receiver, not cryptographer presented an object-code for contemplation. An "object" instead active toward the viewer as receiver, and a for once happiness to pacify audience that so much art wished to shake 'awake.'
"Nolan's Inception is the comic concrete (slapstick) version, a parable of the Hollywood model lulling viewer's into the theater's dream state, inserted with the various registries and synaptic firings of plot, awaking from a Hollywood feeling having somehow participated in it.  Entertainment the long thin wire pushed deep past cortex and pulsing.
"Anyway this entertainment has something to do with Henrot, the surface means, and the telephones delivering comic haywire monologues into a viewers ear, the carousel, the overabundance of registry..."


read full: Camille Henrot at Kunsthalle WienCamille Henrot at Metro Pictures,

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Contemporary Art Writing Quarterly: Material Porn


In case you’d like to spend a while absorbed in the universe of a single trend, you might like to visit Contemporary Art Writing Quarterly, where we publish deep archives of the trends of artists.

This week, we’re featuring the archive of Materialphilia, where you can find writing about the trend for material porn.

Elizabeth Peyton at UCCA Center for Contemporary Art


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The joy of an Elizabeth Peyton painting is its mess, the disservice done to her pictured the glee in leaving it wrong, sick.  They weren't so much "toggling between vapidity and sophistication" as realizing vapidity was sophistication: vampire, tuberculoid. People wanted "regal," men with red lips and blue blood. A sickness that was their allure. The beautiful young men are already a putty, a generic interchangeability of any of the men on The Bachelorette, and Peyton's just added apple cheeks, crimson lips, death, paint as a smear of affection on hollow containers.


See too: Sam McKinniss at JTT, "Watermelon Theory"

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Yan Xinyue at Capsule Shanghai

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Because our paintings should sweat - with heat we desire from them, from us, to condense on glass. So now there is proof of it, or at least we get to imagine it. The heat.
Past: Cosima von Bonin

"...having attempted and failed to peel the stubborn adhesive from the surface, [the critics] claim, "ah look how stuck together they are!" And admittedly von Bonin's adherence to the commodity - despite every critical attempt to remove it from - is sticky stuff, and eventually one wonders if there is a layer at all, or merely a patch drawn to appear such. And the whole critical art world grouped around attempting to pick quarters painted on the palatial shopping mall floors while above their bent necks the objects transact. The critical establishment hallucinate quarters because they are needed to eat."

"The commodity is the form we now think in, and these are the "good" commodities."

"but you are not any longer buying the sponge for its color, you're buying it for what it can accomplish in your home."


Read full:  Cosima von Bonin at Marianne BoeskyCosima von Bonin at House of Gaga & Magasin III JaffaCosima von Bonin at Friedrich Petzel

Monday, August 31, 2020

Pedro Wirz at Marc Selwyn


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Souvenirs of our demise!


See too: Pedro Wirz at LongtangCooper Jacoby at Freedman Fitzpatrick

August Review Index 2020



Puppies Puppies (Jade Kuriki Olivo) at Balice Hertling
Torey Thornton at Moran Bondaroff
Maren Hassinger at Tiwani Contemporary
Guan Xiao at Antenna Space
Brandon Ndife, Diane Severin Nguyen at Bureau
Solange Pessoa at Mendes Wood DM
Juliana Huxtable at Reena Spaulings
Sandra Mujinga at Kunstverein Hannover
Tishan Hsu at Hammer Museum
Bri Williams at Queer Thoughts
An-My Lê at Marian Goodman
Hadi Fallahpisheh at CENTRAL FINE
Ser Serpas at Karma International
Simone Leigh at David Kordansky
Past: Pedro Wirz

"We all fear for lumps inside us, unchecked growth, a malignancy, 'matter out of place,' 'the contaminated diversities that proliferate in the dump.' Fear of toxins, poisons, heavy metal build-up, of heavy concentrations of micro-plastics in the great Pacific beverage, in parts per million, in tumors, cysts, bio-cucumlative, they add up in sediments in your blood, fat, balls, monuments, these fears into nervous objects, art."


Pedro Wirz at Longtang

Sunday, August 30, 2020

Tetsumi Kudo at Louisiana Museum of Modern Art


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Before CAD the largest vault of images were catalogs, expensive, locked in coastal university libraries. Acquiring them you would get maybe one good image of an installation and a lecture, essay. This is how we learned about art. The "contemporary" you had walk to see. Sending it around meant describing it to friends. What was going on in Zurich was a faint smattering of bad images on a website like steam engines. Then, around the cusp of the 2010s, suddenly enough everything changed. The most ephebic artist's exhibitions were each documented in 40+ crisp images in pornographic lighting that could be sent instantly, everywhere. And in the center, in the palm of your hand, the campfire CAD. I have no hard statistics about actual numbers in the increase in documentation but the difference is total. There are more images of many 30 year old artists exhibitions circulating than Bruce Nauman's entire career. There is a Before CAD and an After Daily in this history of art. The deluge of contemporary images, simply by mere quantity, threatens an occlusion. Bruce Nauman or Eva Hesse is safe, but the early-career 90s artist might be completely lost. Early/Pruitt, or Art Club 2000, for ones we actually remember.

The Artworld has always been attempting "rediscovery."How many times is Kudo himself going to be "rediscovered." But the term seems more loaded now, like pulling things out of an oblivion. It had been that books rested on shelves for long terms next to each other, discovery was there, all lined up right next each other. But the attention economy changes the shelves' equalizing nature into a quicksand in which viewing must be continually renewed, pulled up into the top of the feed, refreshed at the top of the page, requiring a publicity, an action, a press. The ideology of the institutional acquisition gets replaced with the ideology of attention. "Rediscovery" might not be a limited action on historical subjects but the act that we are now engaging with constantly, eternally, daily, asking to be seen.

This was all originally to say thanks to the Louisiana Museum for putting the full catalog online, and to CAD for hosting it. Though PDFs are brutally cumbersome, they feel more sane than the disenfranchised images that circulate online. Hopefully someday the artworld invents something better.

Friday, August 28, 2020

AR: Simone Leigh at David Kordansky

Click here to read

Originally Posted: June 22nd, 2020

Note: This entry is part of August Review, our annual look back at this season’s key exhibitions. For more information, see the announcement here.

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

AR: Hadi Fallahpisheh at CENTRAL FINE


Click here to read

Originally Posted: February 11th, 2020

Note: This entry is part of August Review, our annual look back at this season’s key exhibitions. For more information, see the announcement here.


Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Jochen Lempert at Contemporary Art Centre


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When the new Planet Earth (II) came out there was a critique that the tiny slivers of the planet in exquisite 4k and presented on 70 ft screens made those tiny glimpses appear larger than they were. Most of "planet earth" didn't look like that, that most of the world burns. They were right, 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 ostracize to parks and behind 4k glass.
So maybe Lempert's moribund nostalgia is actually a sci-fi, of our present from the future, as it wrinkles and curls and blows out. Tragedy.


See too: Jochen Lempert at Between Bridges

AR: An-My Lê at Marian Goodman


Click here to read

Originally Posted: February 17th, 2020

Note: This entry is part of August Review, our annual look back at this season’s key exhibitions. For more information, see the announcement here.

Monday, August 24, 2020

Scott Benzel at Bel Ami

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Art's shared aspects with games manifested in tableaus. Think 3 Standard Stoppages: the arbitrary and the meaningful and the arbitrary-made-meaningful. This with all sorts of correlations to art. On Kawara's One Million Years versus here's dice roll over a Million Random Digits. You could write a paper on both books' similarities and differences . Thus art becomes the casino of picking digits, making meaning, manufacturing rarity.

Saturday, August 22, 2020

Carmen Argote at Commonwealth and Council


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Large Pepperoni Extra Cheese 2020, Pizza oil transfer on paper.
Oils weep, seep in our guts. Haunt our upholstery. Our intestinal distress. The contaminants of the human. The Turin shroud of gluttony. I think it's important that we hang our stains on the walls. (Art is a series of stains, tho a particularly peacocked version.) That we know ourselves. And we should know them all.


Friday, August 21, 2020

AR: Bri Williams at Queer Thoughts


Click here to read

Originally Posted: March 13th, 2020

Note: This entry is part of August Review, our annual look back at this season’s key exhibitions. For more information, see the announcement here.

Thursday, August 20, 2020

Derek Fordjour at Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis


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Maybe its people become decoration, subsumed to the overarching command of DESIGN.
There is a predicament of individuality, as people become uniforms, bodies become composition. Hands up comforts those in power. "The repair and disrepair of the canvas reflects the conditions of abandonment and scarcity present in the artist’s upbringing in the South." The hardship that is reclaimed like wood for collectors.


See too: Purvis Young at James FuentesDerek Fordjour at Night Gallery

AR: Tishan Hsu at Hammer Museum


Click here to read

Originally Posted: April 20th, 2020

Note: This entry is part of August Review, our annual look back at this season’s key exhibitions. For more information, see the announcement here.