Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Past: Charlotte Posenenske at Konrad Fischer

" Scratched glass tends to reveal itself. This is the edge, the limit. Posenenske found it. And then Posenenske, tellingly, left the artworld. Yet we keep dragging her back, out. Why does art love and mythologize the people that leave it? As Herbert recounts one of her last acts was handing out broadsheets at Documenta stating 'You culture vultures, so here you are all gathered together to chat and lie and talk crap so as to gain the upper hand.' Us all loving our artists while not listening to them, an exhibition like a condescending smile."

Read full: Charlotte Posenenske at Konrad Fischer

Monday, August 10, 2020

AR: Solange Pessoa at Mendes Wood DM

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Originally Posted: March 23rd, 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.
Past: Kaoru Arima

"Drawing was at one time a knowledge. Sketching fetuses cut from cadavers were cutting edge science. The limits of knowledge were defined by looking at something really hard. When science and tech jettisoned oils and pencils from its repertoire modern artists got mad and crushed representation into something resembling a crumpled Coke can, seeing all sides at once, and this violence was lauded. "

"...human features bludgeoned to bloom bruise, bouquets, or apply rictus like geometries, portraits of a stroke. On and on painters rushing to injustice portraits... Here, the face is more figurative idea, an outline, a Jawlensky like framework for which to hang wanton libidinal paint. ...We find its horror almost playful, cute, even interesting, a learned tolerance for pain."

Read full: Kaoru Arima at Misako & RosenKaoru Arima at Queer Thoughts

Sunday, August 9, 2020

Rute Merk at Gallery Vacancy


Cue Radiohead, "Fake Plastic Trees," angst over our coming cling wrap lives. Emo polygon living. We spray representations of this anxiety in physical goo on material canvas. New style on old themes, as the world struggles to self-represent. Here's the process: the world, culture, attempts to manufacture a synthetic version of itself - CGI, video games, American cheese - and the artifacts, struggle, of this process is its own aesthetic, a sediment of its age. Eventually artists package this aesthetic, create 8 bit indie video games, airbrush paintings, Velveeta cheese product.

See too: Louisa Gagliardi at Open Forum

Friday, August 7, 2020

AR: Brandon Ndife, Diane Severin Nguyen at Bureau

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Originally Posted: Mar 10, 2019

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 6, 2020

Past: ektor garcia at Cooper Cole

"...a very modern problem, our world, mediated by screens, the totality of which becomes enshrined in gallery or touch screen glass, and art is the world's development project in all the ways to surmount it, a materiality so strong it visually empaths itself, that we could actually feel something through glass. A "supernormal stimulus," exaggerated materiality that begins to look like fetish for."

Read full: ektor garcia at Cooper Cole

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

AR: Guan Xiao at Antenna Space

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Originally Posted: June 12th, 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.
Past: Nancy Lupo

"Like eye goo, stuff's service is its waste, a continual sloughing, so we can remain fresh, clean. Stuff accumulates, piles, is shed. Stuff is quasi things, is transient, transactional. A disposable fork is, like, quintessential stuff.."

Read full: Nancy Lupo at Kristina KiteNancy Lupo at Swiss InstituteNancy Lupo at 1857Nancy Lupo at Antenna Space

Monday, August 3, 2020

AR: Maren Hassinger at Tiwani Contemporary

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Originally Posted: November 5th, 2019

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.
Past: J. Parker Valentine

"expectations of legibility, depictive of some tip-of-the-tongue subject within a library of means detailing the amorphous thing it circles but fails to produce. There is the lure of subject object, the thing that will at any moment manifest itself in the definitive lines of drawing"

"a viewer left to sort spaghetti formed lines like tea leaves that were inside you all along. Pareidolia."

J. Parker Valentine at Misako & RosenJ. Parker Valentine at Juan and Patricia Vergez CollectionJ. Parker Valentine at Park View

August Review 2020

Today we initiate our sixth annual August Review. Every year we reflect on the exhibitions that were especially memorable to us since the previous August. We will re-publish one show each day, marked by “AR:” in the title, while continuing to cover new exhibitions daily.

At the end of the month we will provide an “August Review Index.” The previous five seasons’ selections are available here: 201520162017 2018, and 2019.

Sunday, August 2, 2020

“A Love Letter to a Nightmare” at Petzel


Group shows always look like you blew up a shopping mall, like its reassembly after catastrophe, like hangers categorizing airline wreckage. Trying to make sense in debris. Us, a cargo cult. Us, a primitive culture, drawing aurochs on our white cave walls. With the debris of culture. Our Mystic auto-anthropology. Sexy legs made in wheat aren't surreal but reality when a world sells children cereal with fat assed bee, then sells adults figurines of that bee. This is reality, a sexy hotdog is practically a readymade. Merely exploded.

AR: Torey Thornton at Moran Bondaroff

Click here to read

Originally Posted:January 5, 2018

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.

Saturday, August 1, 2020

AR: Puppies Puppies (Jade Kuriki Olivo) at Balice Hertling

Click here to read

Originally Posted: July 26th, 2019

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.

Group Show at Kunsthal Charlottenborg


We all thought DIS was responding to the internet but were actually getting in line with the turn toward aestheti-tainment. Museums and galleries, no longer solvent on symbolic capital, with a relevancy we could call dusty, turned toward audience engagement, and realigned with missions with populist modes. They invited celebrities for ad campaigns, made memes and light of their own once stiflingly prestigious collections, having lost distinction between low and high the museums to middle brow with a budget, a sort of consumerist factory of light experience. A prediction for our future.

See too: “Stories of Almost Everyone” at Hammer Museum

Thursday, July 30, 2020

Past: Daniel Rios Rodriguez

"The crust laden and the spiritual, it's hard to do sentimentality in art without being an outsider. You can't paint a flower without ironizing its loveliness, your desire to impress this. Sentimentality drips into its performance, theatrical, a too-much-presence and we blush for the artist having fallen into the trap of their own subjectivity for them, too often. Thick paint helps. It alleviates with its own painterly over-presence, which provides, if not an ironizing, at least a solidarity. The paint expresses materially the same excess as the subject is. Confidence in clumsiness, endlessly endearing..."

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Past: Andrea Zittel

"... a vegetable with Star Wars adverts on it. A large anthropomorphic bumble sells cereal to adults. Fantasy is a strong force in the universe. "Smashes box-office records." Zittel is local science-fiction - ideas as propositions, viewing them you get to feel the utopian impulse - imagine a world where we haven't already welcomed the new insect overlord, rebellion against Empire.

Read Full: Andrea Zittel

Monday, July 27, 2020

KP Brehmer at Weiss Falk


Information displays appear authoritative, declarative, they are telling us something. Whether or not it does, it contains the look of content, and beyond that content brandishing the authority of science, facts, and data, all the power of a white lab coat, whether or not it does.

See too: Peter Fend at Museo Nivola

Sunday, July 26, 2020

Kaz Oshiro at Nonaka-Hill


The meta games of painting we play, teasing all the ontological buttons that make a show of its questions. When it's good it's hallucinatory; bad, it's Disney Land. "Removed from the packaging artworks and butterflies disperse, cling everywhere, etherealize into suspicion for them." Everything becomes corrupt, seeing suspicious butterflies everywhere.

See too: Michael E. Smith at 500 Capp Street Foundation

Saturday, July 25, 2020

Park McArthur at Essex Street


The world is mediated and there are no natural forms of that mediation. That forms of mediation appear to naturalize as similarities establish themselves throughout the artworld is as often the mere failure of art's imagination (and signals of its conformity) as it is one of the worst forms of normalization that make it seem as if a consensus has naturalized these forms. But you might choose differently if other options were available. The most basic boring forms of art's mediation are political choices, a system we choose and reinforce. You might choose to filter the world while for others it might not be a choice. Like when you buy another bad painting based on a JPG and CV.
Past: Park McArthur

We deform the world, adapt it to our bodies, sculpt it. Our world is its largest open-pit mine, dug out and backfilled with human scaled objects. The paver is the pillar to our locomotion, the lawn to our jurisdiction. It's hard to appreciate how manicured the world is, and how inhuman when it isn't. Walk off trail and encounter "terrain."
"a pathos in the materials we find to mediate our touch to the world. The objects here, designed for ourselves, infer something about the bodies which they govern. A way for an object to "speak" without resorting to symbolism or surrealism, but exist as a circumstantial evidence of a reality, the tragedies of a world we must continually attenuate..."

"Reading about all the elegant facilities of 53W53 feels like brambles."

Full:  Park McArthur at ChisenhalePark McArthur at SFMOMAPark McArthur at MoMA

Thursday, July 23, 2020

Past: Trevor Paglen at Metro Pictures

"The art trope of highlighting the discrepancy between surface depiction and the latent content; Paglen’s I-spy photographics, making spectacular-banal photographs that await the moment of their reveal: finding the tiny dot denoting drones that mar the expensive print of skies, or the anonymous building turning out to be a possible “black site” discovered by the artist, or nonsensical phrases revealed as government code names. ... Paglen’s photographs make visible something meaningful that is ultimately meaningless, there’s nothing to be done with this information, these absurd names, but watch them pass like a poisoned and interminable river, a discrepancy affective but belittling. Having more to do with art than politics. You’ve found Waldo, but you’ll never get to shake his hand."

Read full: Trevor Paglen at Metro Pictures
Past: Forrest Bess at Modern Art

" nothing worse than reading heaping praise on Bess, it doesn't work, the paintings deflect it like steel pans ... writing that resorts to retelling the life that was strange and mad and made for a script. The paintings just don't take it. Bess's paintings are artless, direct, and without affect. They are, as Bess stated, more diagrams than self-expression. He called himself a copyist, assuming a representational adherence to the forms. ... Explicitly drawing something but not necessarily what, we look at Bess's with all the perfect inscrutability of art, its search for meaning. A hurricane came through and blew away Bess's home late in his life and he was left to search through the Gulf's mud to find everything in it.

Read full: Forrest Bess at Modern Art

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Past: Karl Holmqvist at Sant’Andrea de Scaphis

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

"There's a panel discussion published 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

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Sterling Ruby at Xavier Hufkens


One of the last of phalloaggrandized, a dude in denim with big "objects." Ruby turned size into a quality, blasted with whatever goo could be pumped. Cady Noland with a better and less critically engaged budget. They're supposed to be dumb - this is their ostensible critique. And it is true, seeing sculpture bumped to 18 feet resolutely failing to signify or even really mean, this is affecting. It's watching the big meaningless be enacted like a mountain. Wasteland hippie at size. Selling the experience of Nihilism for those with too much money to experience it themselves. And now as always selling some of the rubble at more manageable scales, as souvenirs for your walls at the cottage.

see too: Matias Faldbakken at Astrup Fearnley Museet

Monday, July 20, 2020

Hélène Fauquet at Edouard Montassut


"There is nothing wrong with your television. Do not attempt to adjust the picture. We are controlling transmission.  We will control the horizontal. We will control the vertical. We can roll the image, make it flutter. We can change the focus to a soft blur, or sharpen it to crystal clarity."

And we get pristine jpegs of bad jpegs, printed. En abyme, we tumble.
Past: Monika Baer

"Baer playing her own game of painting, our fun is figuring out the rules. There are many ways to play painting acceptably - we, like canvas, can support both Merlin Carpenter or Caravaggio - ideologies that Baer seems to enjoy abutting in flat statements for all static they can generate. Mixed modes that present a sort of meta play of figuring out which boardgame entered. [...]Pleasures are denied and reinstated, the picture plane is mocked with cartoonified sweat but open to atmosphere, the viewer is asked to look in only to be pressed out by a little turd. I'm not sure how you win."

Read full: Monika Baer at Neuer Berliner Kunstverein

Saturday, July 18, 2020

Paul Kolling at Kunstverein Harburger Bahnhof


Visualization might be the shared space of science, art, and ad agencies. The ability to use information to affect. Tufte's Visual Explanations: Images and Quantities, Evidence and Narrative, etc. For art the importance is that "hardly any conclusions can be drawn" and that "What remains are questions."  Affect.

Thursday, July 16, 2020

Calla Henkel and Max Pitegoff at The Downer

"'I’m leaving because this is bad. Because it’s really bad, isn’t it?' At a performance of the play Apartment (Mother Courage) (2015) by New Theater at the Whitney Museum, this statement/question was thrown into the audience by critic Claire Bishop as she dramatically walked out halfway through. Bishop happened to be sitting in the row in front of me, before she exited with a group of friends and colleagues. 'Was that staged?' I heard someone behind me whisper. Later that evening I was at a friend’s birthday party, where one of the walkouts approached me, recognising that I had been seated behind him. 'Did people think it was staged?' he asked.
"The Whitney performance was to be the swansong for Berlin’s New Theater, a finale that was to draw to a close the activities of the artist-theatre project, run by Americans Calla Henkel and Max Pitegoff..." -Read full: Laura McLean-Ferris, ArtReview

see too: Calla Henkel & Max Pitegoff at Cabinet 
Past: Calla Henkel & Max Pitegoff at Cabinet

"Notable to the migratory flocking, Henkel and Pitegoff decamped to Berlin and opened a bar. In business it would be called a "blue ocean strategy," i.e. with Berlin's art party become more Donner than dance, the artistically snowbound cannibalizing, a bone thrown to waters bloodying was respectable way to neutralize hungry dogs, demonstrate oneself a source of sustenance, feeding the hungry with cocktails, was no small ingenuity. The theater that came next placed the bar's social capital in the spotlight, literally on view, staged, showcasing the finer patrons on a pedestal and lit to be gawked upon. Before exhibiting the bar itself. Whatever institutional critique it held was mostly in the fact that it could do it better, insinuate itself better, prove the sporting of it, point dull yellow lights at the gameroom of it. And here... continually furthering of the Berlin trope of artist diasporas of song and dance routines to attend the paintings and objects..."

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Yuji Agematsu, On Kawara at LA MAISON DE RENDEZ-VOUS


What is contained in a day, what does a date contain, etc. If you pressed anyone on these questions they would admit the hairiness of the situation. But that isn't how we act, when we write press releases the questions themselves are preventatives against answers. This because "raising questions" is, we are told, the power of art. But this makes actually answering its questions a loser's affair - the questions must be kept on life support; Art, for its shareholders, must be eternal. (And thus why thousands of artists continue redeploying On Kawara's essential question. It becomes a mannered tool for evoking, but not answering, a question.) This is one of the worst aberrations of art. There is no critique if that critique never cancels. "Our fingerprints are ours, but we cannot be created from them."

See too: Kirsten Pieroth at MathewSam Falls at 303 GalleryAlan Ruiz at Bad ReputationTrevor Paglen at Metro PicturesSarah Ortmeyer at Chicago Manual of StyleOn Kawara at the Guggenheim,
Past: Chim↑Pom at ANOMALY

"We have invented forms of wreckage we find enjoyable."

Past: Chim↑Pom at ANOMALY

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Past: On Kawara

"The dates point to a specificity that immediately is lost in largess and unknown, in the inability to circumscribe a date's entirety, or one man's marking of it. This distending distance between the signifier (the date) and its lost signified (the entirety of a day) is its affective pathos. .... The desire of viewers to find dates to which they can link "significance" eases the longing for the sign to conclude, to fill with meaning."

Read full: On Kawara at the Guggenheim
Past: Yuji Agematsu

"Our growing attraction to trash..."
"Like Tetsumi Kudo's radioactive ecology, or Thek's plexi-flesh, Agematsu's warm materials of human cast-offs reanimated... Agematsu's delicate compositions as ecosystems, precious, resituating the natural to include microplastics dissolved into heavy saturation islands in the great pacific beverage...bears witness to the beauty of Butterfly collections of petri dish human waste, packaged"

Monday, July 13, 2020

Paa Joe at High Museum of Art


Deploying Museological Context. On one hand all objects require information to mean within a history and context, and on the other the deluge of history can imply that these objects' interest is their illustration or worse, artifact, of that history. Implying at worst that the objects are less than commensurate with the history that wrought them. This conflict would seem less were it not that western objects were treated as not-necessarily-requiring didactics, that we still treat the modernist myths of abstract universality well-true-enough, get to hang a Jackson Pollock without explaining the history of sublimated dick-wagging.

Sunday, July 12, 2020

Felix Gonzalez-Torres at various places throughout the world


The contract for participating asks for images of the installations and that:
"It is understood that by providing these images, you are providing copyright-free permission for their use in online and print publications related to this exhibition, and for non-commercial use by the Felix Gonzalez-Torres Foundation, including on its website."
Which turns the cookies into machines for production, for producing the work, a system by which we all relate to each other through the image...

Joe Scanlan on FG-T in "Uses of Disorder":
      Most exemplary in this regard were the untitled paper and candy works, stacks and piles from which anyone could take a piece without returning it or diminishing the firsthand experience of anyone else. At the same time—and in apparent contradiction with that reception—this process of eternal deferral was a welcome panacea for a ruling class in need of a mechanism by which they could create the appearance of public generosity without having to disturb the supply chain of power....
     It demarcates a public site and then converts any events that transpire within the site into part of the work, into private property....
     But the most important characteristic of this dynamic is the refusal ... to appear powerful or acquisitive at all. This too is a kind of “wig,” a controlled ethos of casualness that conceals not only its intentions but also the act of concealment itself. The art and persona of Gonzalez-Torres thus mark an important transformation in the style and atmosphere of power, from the ordinal authority of modern capitalism to the pseudo-communitarianism of today. If the formal properties of 1960s Minimalism—hardness, geometry, impenetrability, silence—were aligned with those of the military industrial complex, then forty years later Gonzalez-Torres’s work exhibits precisely the inverse properties—flexibility, organicism, accessibility, eloquence—and yet aligns with the same thing: the dominant social order. Gonzalez-Torres’s signal accomplishment was his realization that the most expansive, pervasive way to amass power is to not seem powerful at all....
     These very features of Gonzales-Torres’s work parallel those of the Internet economy, where superficial, user-friendly atmospheres mask deeper emotional and psychological manipulations. In the startup days of any social network like BitTorrent, Facebook, or Twitter, part of the appeal is the excitement of feeling responsible for the construct by simply participating—and encouraging your friends to participate as well, since greater activity strengthens the construct and increases its functionality. How the construct can or will become profitable is a mystery to everyone involved, and this mystery is another part of its appeal. Everyone is free to pursue their own ends and these motivations are their own reward. Of course, joining the network requires surrendering your right to the value of any data your activities there might produce...
     ...although this production is mutual, the profits from it are not shared...
     One of the great unacknowledged truths in Gonzalez-Torres’s work, and in the chronic denigration of material pleasure in art in general, is that the call for nobler ambitions almost always comes from people with guaranteed incomes, of whom it can be said, if nothing else, that at least they know first-hand the evils of which they speak....
     ... who seized on the participatory aspects of his work as a kind of election to be won by the artist or curator who garners the most votes...
     That the political potency of Gonzalez-Torres’ work has atrophied but its beauty has not, however, demonstrates how timeless is beauty and how brief are notions of political access and cultural power in a technologically advanced society. It also confirms the class differences inherent in that inevitability—after all, Ars longa, vita brevis is rich people’s thinking. 
....it is dubious to maintain that Gonzalez-Torres’s sculptures are egalitarian or even generous in our time.
Past: Felix Gonzalez-Torres

"The now distance between becomes the very thing that is felt. [...] Time passes, causing eventual significance to rise and fall, events that become distant are felt against against the glaring alarm of today's violence, and the space between, the erosion and swelling of meaning, of emotion, like lungs breathing, like a tide going in and out... like candy refilling and taken."

Saturday, July 11, 2020

“Group Show” at Hussenot


Teenage and whether coy or sympathetic, not many want to prolong their teen proclivity, and here it is not only enshrined but endures, cast as art we don't grow out of but into. Comfort in not nostalgia but a return to adolescent states. What is true about our world is that the teenage years return as powerful forms of commodity.

see too: “Puddle, pothole, portal” at Sculpture Center

Friday, July 10, 2020

Kaspar Müller at Société


Because it stirs the pot, ripples the surface of mythos, of art, content. You cannot kill content if you tried because art is baggage, preloaded with a cultural et al. So make it look good on a wall, even toilet paper.

Read all posts tagged Kaspar Müller, Ripples in the Surface

Past: Kaspar Müller

"Not knowing is unacceptable, but outright rejection would prove viewer's impotence, thus created an environment where artists are able to produce further and further extremes of blankness, vacuums filled by refusals to not-know, whose sensory deprivation creates phantasms, see the abyss looking back because we are doing the projecting."

See full: Kaspar Müller at Société, Kaspar Müller at Federico VavassoriKaspar Müller at Museum im Bellpark
Past: Mai-Thu Perret

"at what point is it an "archaeology of modernism" "about its vanished, unredeemed visions" and at what point is it recasting its forms in more precious materials, as designer souvenirs of that history? "

"these still feel like the commodes of home catalogs and design-porn magazines. Souvenirs of a high-end experience. predicting the craft object trends. The pottery on everyones shelves, neon signs trending in summer cottages. Perret originally created a narrative of a fictional utopia which "produced" the artworks. All the funnier since the trends that look like hers all premise themselves on the selling of hopeful futures, the crafts we will all already be acclimated to post-apocalypse, raku firing our dreams. Perret eventually got rid of the utopia fiction, and then they became just art, much less utopic."

Read all posts tagged Mai-Thu Perret

K8 Hardy at Karma International


30 seconds of video, and images through glass, of a lifetime of outfits, enjoy your daily contemporary art.

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Rosie Lee Tompkins at BAMPFA


That paint has become the signifier of High Art seems arbitrary, a historical fluke, difficult to decide whether comical and infuriating. At different times tulips and tapestries were more valuable - commissioned paintings of tulips were mere souvenirs to the tulips themselves, etc. The shifting values of culture come with the ideological pretense that those values are either now ideal (progressive) or eternal (traditional), that painting, like diamonds, are and have always been, forever - the grand narrative hung in most western institutions. Greenbergian discussions of Painting in hindsight are comically infinitesimal  - Pollock's great breakthrough of image and object seems groundbreaking only in the history of paint, outside this very tight parameters the distinction is null. "Painting" becomes the history of paint, a substance as any other without the valorization of High Culture. And paint is dumb with that.

Monday, July 6, 2020

Jongsuk Yoon at Galerie nächst St. Stephan Rosemarie Schwarzwälder


Turning Frankenthaler into the cotton candy it's become for collectors, what was latent become libidinal. Stirring the surface into a delightfully consumable substance.

Sunday, July 5, 2020

Past: Mark Manders at Zeno X

"...This stasis, like a pause, blurs sculpture as its image, blur their bronze eternality with the fresh moment they inhabit. A moment replaced with its object. To be both an object and its ossification, the chair is still a chair even if it's a sculpture of it... It's a subtle thing treating the world as an image, masking the violence of our treatment of it as such."

Read full: Mark Manders at Zeno X

Saturday, July 4, 2020

Paul Lee at David Shelton


Composition is the stirred pot activating subterranean content. The dead drum highlights how far we've left the possibility of something, anything. Because nothing has become content.

see too: Paul Lee at MaccaronePaul Lee at Karma
Past: Paul Lee

"[PR:]'These tambourines will not be touched and will not make a sound—their potential for movement or rhythm is only possible through a pictorial plane.' ... like all handmade art eventually hung on walls, only ever now touched through gloves or sight, it is a sort of sad existence after all the grunting love of the painter stretching the canvas, rubbing it with oils, or whatever. Somebody cared once, paintings like ashtrays of that touch."

Read full: Paul Lee at MaccaronePaul Lee at Karma

Friday, July 3, 2020

Mark A. Rodriguez at Park View/Paul Soto


Too bad that "meme" came to mean the whatever-viral-image, rather than its original broader biological definition of any self-replicating social phenomenon. The specificization snipped a useful term for the reproduction/evolution of ideas/ideology, the way we pass along and create thought, deem it useful. Socrates' words living on in 2020 is a meme; Rupert Murdoch invented a memetic form of conservative dogma. The survivability of ideas. It's not propaganda but a much more supple thing, the ability to be not just striking images, but echoing on. To make ideology replicate, teach children thumbs up from thumbs down.

Thursday, July 2, 2020

Anna Zacharoff at Neue Alte Brücke


"...Drawing ripples in surface to activate the beneath, tap the vast depths of painting's cultural wealth"

Like cutting a rose from a watermelon, everyone wants the sweet fruit but we facet a composition. This is a metaphor for painting.
The watermelon in the metaphor is that essence "painting" - that unconscious object, myth, we all have some benign feelings towards, painting. And [Marlene] Dumas provides illustration: got famous for theatricalizing its juice struggling against the container, composition, corral.
Because it seems what we are actually pushing around on the canvas is the cultural object of painting. The canvas, support, oils, were long ago replaced by this mythos, the actual material, its signifiers, significance.
Paint becomes simply the candied shell to painting's cultural myth. Doesn't matter how thin because it's merely the container/shape of our love for "painting." As thin as marginally abstracted t-shirts. Drawing ripples in surface to activate the beneath, tap the vast depths of painting's cultural wealth, this the watermelon.

A lot of painting functions by tensioning the relationship between painting and its cultural myth - think the Neanderthalism of Joe Bradley, Krebber, or conceptually negated Sturtevant, the printer of Guyton, the signature of Josh Smith, the bruising history of von Wulffen, necrotics of Richter, the fordist production lines of Koons, Craven, Murakami, Kaws. Etc. Neurotic affairs with "painting." But occasionally painting succeeds by making us forget the relation to its myth, succeeds as a painting without history, paints something else and Painting we get to forget about.

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Josephine Pryde at Galerie Neu


Genre being the capsule that allows immediate swallowing: "They're about touch." What Isabelle Graw called "straightforwardly thematic." And so we understand them like a trojan horse, internalize with ease. Ostensibly later spring forths the latent soldiers, medicine. But it might be the gulping was the trick. Getting you to immediately get them. The cuteness of gerbils, the joke of consumption.
Past: Josephine Pryde at Arnolfini

"...People didn’t enjoy Lichtenstein they enjoyed comics, and within its soothing fantasy. Pryde uses Pop's function, the saccharine of instant recognition ... whose comfort allow defenses dropped and desire for disposable sweets, a populist bent to criticality ... a shutterstock imaging of normalized categories....  Pryde delivers within the pre-existent of Trojan genres..."
Read full: Josephine Pryde at Arnolfini

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Nazim Ünal Yilmaz at Exile


A lot of painting functions by tensioning the relationship between painting and its cultural myth  - think the Neanderthalism of Joe Bradley, Krebber, or conceptually negated Sturtevant, the printer of Guyton, the signature of Josh Smith, the bruising history of von Wulffen, necrotics of Richter, the fordist production lines of Koons, Craven, Murakami, Kaws. Etc. Neurotic affairs with "painting." But occasionally painting succeeds by making us forget the relation to its myth, succeeds as a painting without history, paints something else and Painting we get to forget about.

previously: (1)Julie Beaufils at Balice Hertling(2)Marlene Dumas at Zeno X(3)Svenja Deininger at Collezione Maramotti(4)Eliza Douglas at Air de Paris

Monday, June 29, 2020

Eliza Douglas at Air de Paris


Paint becomes simply the candied shell to painting's cultural myth. Doesn't matter how thin because it's merely the container/shape of our love for "painting." As thin as marginally abstracted t-shirts. Drawing ripples in surface to activate the beneath, tap the vast depths of painting's cultural wealth, this the watermelon.

Previously: (1)Julie Beaufils at Balice Hertling(2)Marlene Dumas at Zeno X, (3)Svenja Deininger at Collezione Maramotti
See too: Eliza Douglas at Overduin & Co.
Past: Eliza Douglas at Overduin & Co.

"...clever ideas for coating painting in a candy shell, creating frames that exist as excuses for painting. Like before's hands which cast spells for some "painterly moment." ... means to fill an exhibition."

Read full: Eliza Douglas at Overduin & Co.

Saturday, June 27, 2020

Svenja Deininger at Collezione Maramotti


Because it seems what we are actually pushing around on the canvas is the cultural object of painting. The canvas, support, oils, were long ago replaced by this mythos, the actual material, its signifiers, significance.

See previous: Marlene Dumas at Zeno XJulie Beaufils at Balice Hertling

Friday, June 26, 2020

Marlene Dumas at Zeno X


The watermelon in the metaphor is that essence "painting" - that unconscious object, myth, we all have some benign feelings towards, painting. And Dumas provides illustration: got famous for theatricalizing its juice struggling against the container, composition, corral.

see yesterday: Julie Beaufils at Balice Hertling

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Julie Beaufils at Balice Hertling


Like cutting a rose from a watermelon, everyone wants the sweet fruit but we facet a composition. This is a metaphor for painting.

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

John Miller at Schinkel Pavillon

"Veblen asserted that what so often passes for beauty is simply demonstrable wealth; our sense of an article’s superiority corresponds to its honorific wastefulness. Extravagance, the capacity to waste, signifies power. To the extent that waste implies a superabundance of wealth, and because power is measured in material acquisitions, the beauty of an article confirms the prepotency of its owner.
After late capital became a retardative force, the standard of beauty, according to Veblen, served to inhibit technical, social, and artistic progress by driving a wedge between the useful and the desirable: 'The principle in question is, in a certain sense, a negative rather than a positive law. It is a regulative rather than a creative principle'[...]
The hope of liberation in superior taste turned the dandy’s quest into a quixotic venture. In contrast, the post-Modern tropes of irony, quotation, and pastiche represent an attempt to reclaim beauty by negating its usual invidiousness. Yet this reclamation, like the dandy’s insolence, admits a painful gap between intentions and results, utopian longing and what ideology actually delivers. And so the promise of a better life lingers on in a highly mannered guise. Here the melancholic portents are unmistakable to anyone who cares to give them a closer look: it is the suppressed rage of those for whom beauty has been tainted forever. " - John Miller, Artforum

Past: John Miller

"There's Yves Klein blue and John Miller brown, a color so untranscendent as to castrate any pretense of art's higher plane, reminding us of our earthly rope tethering bowels to earth. Miller blockades, belittles, our azure sky fantasy with the lesser order, everything we would prefer to forget immortalized over what had been our vacations, from drudgery."

"flashy twinkling across televisual space frozen as the wallpaper of painting and hideous: television zazzle becomes the bad struggle to taxidermy it. The Price is Right ... a Vegas labyrinth watching guesses at the price of garbage, but Miller's focus on the chintz is as much an attack on painting as much as any politics of mass entertainment ... Because the television game is no different from the majority of dealers and collectors also guessing the eventual price or status of the painting before you...."

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Melanie Ebenhoch at Martin Janda


 no longer peering through neutral surfaces, a certain complicity in looking through. Ignoring, or looking past something, it isn't innocent.
Past: Melanie Ebenhoch at Galerie der Stadt Schwaz

"...Cast in cartoon stuf that feels like the rubber of current reality. The framing devices Ebenoch has us continually peering through, so you feel like you've entered, so you feel complicit, your eye looking."

Melanie Ebenhoch at Galerie der Stadt Schwaz

Monday, June 22, 2020

Simone Leigh at David Kordansky


"Not everything is available to everyone, not even to a privileged gatekeeper of culture such as myself. Such are the ongoing fantasies of the colonialist mindset. The museum, the Western institution I have dedicated my life to, with its familiar humanist offerings of knowledge and patrimony in the name of empathy and education, is one of the greatest holdouts of the colonialist enterprise. Its fantasies of possession and edification grow more and more wearisome as the years go by. Leigh’s work intimates the increasingly discomforting possibility that an overconfidence in the power of critique might itself be a vestige of privilege. I confess that more days than not I find myself wondering whether the whole damn project of collecting, displaying, and interpreting culture might just be unredeemable." -Helen Molesworth, Artforum

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Maria Wæhrens at Jir Sandel


Painting comes with a story, history attaches painters to moments and ideas, paint as reaction rather than paint, often rather rarely talking about painting at all. The relief of talking about history rather than art. Maybe someday this will change. Maybe someday we will have painting.

Friday, June 19, 2020

Allan McCollum at Thomas Schulte


Words becomes their blotted ink test: viewer create shape in them. For many, there is a lot to worry about; everything will not be okay. Saying otherwise is hard irony. You'll notice it's 90+% white people, a few police. Taking words and turning them to lip service. A dehumanizing project.

see too: Allan McCollum at Mary BooneAllan McCollum at Petzel
Past: Allan McCollum

"McCullom'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 Petzel
Past: Julia Scher

"The security camera, early exemplar of our proprioception lost to digital realms... your body could be distended in mirrors sent through ethers appearing before you, behind you, and Magritte's Not to be Reproduced no longer surreal but our reality, walking into department stores. On facebook you reach out to poke, instagram click to like, your body a ghost appearing in other's mirrors. You appear everywhere. Like deafferented monkeys in lab experiments we lose control of limbs at the researcher doing studies on our psyche attempting to maximize engagement, a word which now means clicks, their hands in our gloves. Animals living with open brains..."

Read full: 3 Shows, Julia Scher at DREI, Lin May Saeed at Studio Voltaire, Fernando Palma Rodriguez at House of Gaga

Thursday, June 18, 2020

Danielle Roney at Upfor


"Whispers are 3D printed sculptures formed by algorithmically interpreting vocal recordings of readings by and about migrants, intended to embody the physical intimacy of a whisper."
We took your pain and made it into an object! Took the story and made it abstract, silent, and finally beautiful. Abstraction is better when it's imbued with someone's soul, preferably yours.

See too: Dane Mitchell at Mossman

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Dominik Sittig at Nagel Draxler Kabinett


Perhaps both Miller and Sittig were about some radish cures, forcing the child to smoke the whole carton. A "too much" to taste. Sittig's had been so entrenched in their miasma (paintings that approached, but never quite landed on, hyperbolized mud) that no love for paint would save it, they were paintings dying in their own tar pits, unrescuable. But now we get gently rosed children, photographs yellowing. The turn came at least 2 years ago with a press release about Barthes own switch from semiotician to subjectives, his writing to reclaim his passed mother in the photographs of her, Camera Lucida. Which would seem to express a similar sentiment switch here. An attempt to pull and save something from, or in, mud. 

Monday, June 15, 2020

Past: Heimo Zobernig

"[The work's] banality incites questioning [as disinteresting objects must expel interest elsewhere], and exposes its stage to skepticism wrung [institutional critique]. The inanity of such an operation might seem at the limits of humane interest, but Zobernig's magisterial ability to continually wrest insipid rabbits from hats irrupts a comedy at the depths of that hat.

"The dizzying aspect of its practice: the ability to lack any particularness whatsoever, terrifying blankness as genericness as phantasmagoria, projecting ghosts of modernism on the backs of our brains."

Read full: Heimo Zobernig at Kunsthaus Bregenz, Heimo Zobernig at Simon Lee, Heimo Zobernig at Indipendenza, Heimo Zobernig at Petzel, Krupp, MUDAM
Past: Ann Veronica Janssens

"It isn't difficult to warp with human perception, our bodies create the world we perceive and many physiological rifts in its construction that create whole subgenres of "optical illusions" exploiting these glitches. But the simpler the construction of the exploit - the more minimal its resource to mine such faults - the more distrustful we become of our basic grip on reality, real trippy."

Sunday, June 14, 2020

Sean Landers at Le Consortium


A joke can only be told so many time. "A joke is spent and exhausted. So an artwork - with its requisite implicit promise of eternalness - can't really make a joke without implying that it too will one day be depleted. [Richard] Prince's real joke is that the paintings keep telling the same joke for years and years stupidly." Like a painting. And Landers finds a similar interest in defeat, once the comedy is depleted you have reckon with what remains. Which, what remains?

See too: Sean Landers at Rodolphe JanssenSean Landers at Friedrich Petzel
Past: Sean Landers

We identify with cuteness, with the interminable wet-eyed critters of Disney, Pokemon, whatever latest commodified and neotenic rodent. ... 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." ... The definition of bathos. Which Landers prances sad clown around. Landers paintings "arousing pity, especially through vulnerability or sadness," pathetic.

Read full: Sean Landers at Rodolphe Janssen, Sean Landers at Friedrich Petzel

Saturday, June 13, 2020

Dane Mitchell at Mossman


Poeticization a problem. It is the latent remains of conceptual art put on a carousel to come around forever on whatever new plastic horse. Not that "knowing" is all it's cracked up to be, but poetics is the forced lapse in reasoning, an artificial unknowing. Like holding your breath to find a profound experience. Conceptual art's interest in semantic rupture has metastasized into a set of materials, tools, into a genre itself. The forms of which are literal enough at this point to be made into a machine. Signs, signifiers don't inherently mean. We are so adept at pareidolia insight that any object stripped of context we endlessly backfill for. When it doesn't work, the loss affects profundity, that great gulf of something uninterpretable, getting smacked in the back of the head someone saying, "look, a 6 foot hole."

See too: John Baldessari at Sprüth Magers, On Kawara at the GuggenheimSarah Ortmeyer at Chicago Manual of StyleSimon Starling at Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Kirsten Pieroth at Mathew, Sam Falls at 303 Gallery, Alan Ruiz at Bad Reputation, Trevor Paglen at Metro Pictures, Sean Raspet at Jessica Silverman, Jason Dodge at Franco Nero

Friday, June 12, 2020

Guan Xiao at Antenna Space


The stuf of the world congeals a character to mock us. Art of the last 5(?) years has shown itself capable of treating the inhuman as human, pressing the inanimatcy to skull and hypothesizing vitality, and so these imagined ghosts stand up like Frankenstein's monster and mock us. A yoga cushion now seeking your advice on its object orientated analysis doctor. We did this to ourselves. 40,000 years from lion-man to capitalist-waste-man.

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Soshiro Matsubara at Croy Nielsen


Unlike Khnopff's Caresses there's no nuzzling here and there is something decidedly unerotic about all of Matsubara's. Nothing really sexy about disjointed mannequins which like the scratchy paint conjure all the rugburn the recumbent will endure. Like Lutz Bacher oversized sexual assault doll, or Charles Ray's endlessly genitaliad figures, there's something about mannequin sex that doesn't sit right. Like a kiss without wet, like paintings scratched at, there's something sorta dehumanized about it, more like fish kissing or gasping. Highlighting the strange butt that looks more like a shelf.
Past: Valérie Blass

"We aren't normally delivered the fantastical in such explicit forms. That tasteful hint of surreality mirroring our own world feeling deformed, malleable to invisible hands. Things feel pretty strange these days, so much so that fantasy surrealism almost feels quaint, safe. ... Spraying 5 million tons of acid into the sky as serious funded research, the world has become a cartoon where the actors wields huge mallets, and the world bends like goo to their violence."

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Marianne Berenhaut at Island


If the landfill is hell and the museum is hermetically sealed heaven, art is a practice of purgatorial attempts to suspend its items from the trash, place them onto the helmed cultural ships that navigate time, rather than fall to its bottom the whims and abject slaw of mud or whatever is at the bottom of the bin.

See too: B. Wurtz at Richard Telles & ICA LADylan Spaysky at Clifton BeneventoYuji Agematsu at Real Fine Arts,  Ser Serpas at LUMA Westbau

Monday, June 8, 2020

Mario Schifano at Gio Marconi


How many paintings can we peel from the skin of the monochrome and still call them distinct, still able to peel individuals off similarity, like one more rabbit out of the hat, one more clown out of the car. Still claim a new clown, monochrome. The white of Ryman was a constant to show what else was variable, and the monochrome is proof: there will always be something more, you cannot eliminate content despite trying, it will reappear bearing some distinction, some difference. If not merely any marker of its making*, then the projection screen of everything rolling around in the head of the viewer, the Pierre Menard of painting. Interpretation is interminable, invincible.

*These monochromes have a 60s materiality and a painter who "brought a rock’n’roll spirit to the art world .. He drove around Rome in a Rolls Royce and had countless girlfriends, the best-known of whom was the model-cum-actress, Anita Pallenberg, later the lover of both Brian Jones and Keith Richards from the Rolling Stones" making these party painted monochromes.

see too: Sarah Ortmeyer at Chicago Manual of Style, Kaspar Müller at Museum im Bellpark, Seven Reeds at Overduin

"The wider artworld came to know Abelow through his Art Blog which -coming to prominence against the sterile facade of CAD's hegemony - felt human, resistant, and no-qualms subjective key to a very specific NY scene, felt warm in reestablishing the local against the global, like grocery co-op charm to Walmart's efficiency. It felt NY again. And as interest increased for those looking for the freshest produce Abelow became, if a not a ringleader, then a purveyor of visibility, a figure of some small access in a scene, that everyone knew, all the while and for like ten years before making scruffy hamhanded paintings that purviewed the doubt of the painter, the doubt morphing over many years, the paintings changing over the course of Abelow's character development from unknown, from entendres of suicide ("HANG ME") to flat laughter ("HARHAR") and as the painter character grew to show himself, to paintings of a man running full speed with his erection before him, to today that same man cloaked in the facade of a powerful witch, and all lovely abstractions along the way, still running."

 Joshua Abelow at Freddy

Friday, June 5, 2020

Kiki Kogelnik at MOSTYN


Art doesn't quite buoy a mood, doesn't quite levity the situation. I suppose that's why we don't put cheery art at funerals - we wear black, play pipes. It would be absurd to do otherwise, to try "brightening the mood." Art isn't escapism, there's no suspension of disbelief, it just sits there in front of you. You see your face as some cartoon. You are left to sort it out. We pick up the pieces.