Saturday, February 29, 2020

Nicolas Ceccaldi at Meyer Kainer


Joker was happy to stick the multiple prongs of its fork into multiple political hot sockets and see sparks. For reasons seemingly not much more than to see those sparks; political hot buttons becoming their own form of Hollywood special effects. The film's patheticness against its grand ambitions seems to mirror the main characters own, a sort of filmic meta-pathos. Identifying not with the joker, but the losers who paint pictures of the joker.

"becomes impossible to imagine an identity outside of cultural signs."

Read all posts tagged Nicolas Ceccaldi

Thursday, February 27, 2020

Jordan Wolfson at Sadie Coles HQ


The success of a Wolfson artwork seems how effective the lures are in ensnaring us. The spectacle is always just the technologic bait for the game in which seemingly innocuous - but visually seductive - elements become easily quagmired in overlapped semantic dissonance. Even the James Lee Byars childhood works read like a technology for affective means, a product. This formalizing the world of course causes tension: "political trends and topics, but seemingly only for decorative purposes." Wolfson himself: “It creates a kind of poker face of absurdity to the artwork that negates meaning. They can’t load meaning into it, because it. Just. Doesn’t. Work.”  But we refuse to believe this, we can't believe something that could affect us could be meaningless. That Wolfson has become of the most famous of his generation is a case study in what the artworld demands from its artists. Attention without anything to attend to, a blank slate with bait. Wolfson seems have become a search for new technologic means to repeat the same fantasies.

See too: Jordan Wolfson at David ZwirnerJames Lee Byars at VeneKlasen/WernerBlankness
Past: Jordan Wolfson at David Zwirner

"Wolfson is a semio super-villain, weaponizing Naumanian irony to undermine affective means.  [using signs, objects] which establish identification-with (the artist's interest in the gaze and facial recognition tech as well as nostalgia and cultural mythos) only to systematically abuse and deplete that link through endless tonal dissonance and juxtaposition, e.g. playing saccharine love-songs while a boy who looks into our eyes is repeatedly dragged and dropped onto concrete from a steel marionette of the artist's hand, basically irradiating the gold underpinning our emotive currency, held hostage and tortured."

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Giulia Essyad at Cherish


Between libidinal corporeality on one end and cybernetic dislocation of consciousness on the other. Between concrete cake and blue screen fantasy. Between touch and imagination. The gulf between and its discrepancy we're all trying to currently deal with.

See too: Juliana Huxtable at Reena SpaulingsMaterialphilia

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Jon Pylypchuk at Petzel


What had been a more formal torture of our facial tendencies, is now a wanton mass, a poopy stuff. Pylypchuk had stretched pareidolia to absurdity; you can disfigure a face into extreme proportions and still see human. They were cleaner children then. Proportions were used with a comic's timing. The endless use little arms, doofy mouths, and hyperbolized eyes like a child aroused to Saturday morning TV. Affective little terrors. Infantile features triggering nurture responses in adults. And now I guess we deal with the nappies too, very pop-grunge.

Monday, February 24, 2020

Frances Stark at greengrassi


Country and date of US coups looming over pop songs from that year. The level of frission between the two varies.* Grand Funk Railroad's 1973 hit is pretty apt: "We're an American band / We're comin' to your town / We'll help you party it down." Others are less on the nose. The discrepancy provides the interpretability, that poetic fissure. The internal disjuncture on a semantic completion, allowing that sort of blank state that you dear viewer get to ink your own adventure into, wall text or otherwise.  This would be a much less interesting if Stark hadn't for a long time now been investing in bedroom posters as self-construction, adolescent in the good sense. The point isn't being political but in construction oneself as political.

see too: John Baldessari at Sprüth Magers
Past: Frances Stark

"They're her own bedroom posters. Pay attention, it's an outline of escape, that subjectivity can conform to the vessel without losing its shape, or so Stark would wager."

"Stark’s teenage formality, her posters and videos, though clean, contain a level of humanist existential goo. ... drawing from DIY-punk ethos letting it all hang out, a gesture towards admitting the cultural disposability of art practice based in images today that stands over the face of the Deep, Instagram. Artists can’t get over it, blasted in an unstoppable deluge of culture daily. With so many “dealing with it,” detourning it into art, [...] Stark’s insistence in the forms cheapness itself, its mixtape assemblage of a disposable music video, affirms her as one of the few who actually get it."

Sunday, February 23, 2020

Lina Viste Grønli at Christian Andersen


Attempting to short circuit the conduit/loop by placing tongue already in objects. The words inside my head are no longer mine. Someone sitting on your shoulder, expecting you. Common to Lina Viste Grønl.

Saturday, February 22, 2020

Dashiell Manley at Jessica Silverman


A lot painting today is excuses for getting bright striking colors onto canvas. Paint excused because we don't trust "expression." PRs become the spellcasting against anything that could be mistaken for irrational, and we spit-firing reasons, definitions, reference, backloading the work to look like weight. The compressive strength of bamboo. Excuses become important when we've conflated painting with its history. Both the history of the art-form, in which painting must become a marker for its own context, a placeholder of itself, for curators to elucidate, but also because of this the individual canvas must have a raison. This is the tension of all that neanderthal painting, of trying to make paintings so stupid it couldn't possibly be mistaken as reasonable. And yet here we are. Perhaps brilliance, like Grotjahn, in just not even excusing oneself. A confusion of whether or not these are dumb.

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Alan Ruiz at Bad Reputation


More art as the cargo cult, the displayed droppings of dominant culture, broken into artifacts, and presented it in our white altars to press heads against it. We used to draw aurochs on cave walls; we relocate the world into art, to make it manipulable in our realm, sandbox, aesthetics. To stand in for control. Aesthetics becomes the religion of fictionalized understanding. It substitutes its little problem for the one big problem. And therefore claims knowledge, and thus domain.
If the dominance of mass culture includes threat to diminish art, [a diminishing] that we could call castration, then art's transmuting that culture into fetish item is classic Freud: it is "a token of triumph over the threat of castration and a protection against it." i.e. You can't cut off what I own of yours.
Do the Gods know we exist?

Cargo cults: Sylvie Fleury at KarmaYngve Holen at Kunsthalle BaselYngve Holen at Modern ArtYngve Holen at Modern Art (2)David Lieske at MUMOKYngve Holen at Fine Arts, Sydney,  Rachel Harrison at Whitney MuseumSean Raspet at Jessica Silverman

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Kristy Luck at Philip Martin


More ambiguous abstraction. [T]rends of biomorphics, its use of vague forms, distributed referents, the sort of innuendo formation of meaning. Whats in your head may not lay in mine. Instead clouds to see objects in, named with the words that assign more meaning to us than the [paintings] which reflect them. Overlay information until it blurs, slips, spreads like inkblots. A cat butt appears but perhaps only in me.
This feels symptomatic of something.

See too:  Lucy Bull at High ArtAlice Tippit at Night ClubLui Shtini at Kate WerbleRon Nagle at Modern ArtVincent Fecteau at greengrassiNairy Baghramian at Museo TamayoNairy Baghramian at Marian Goodman Larry Poons at Michael Jon & AlanLucy Bull at High ArtOlga Balema at High ArtOlga Balema at High Art (2Miho Dohi at Crèvecœur

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Past: Kirsten Pieroth at Mathew

"Residuals, remains, ashes, essence, marks, history, artifact. Your own level of animism denies or allows belief in encoding memory into objects. Or be like an On Kawara painting, encapsulating the object by presenting its ghost. Our fingerprints are ours, but we cannot be created from them. We leave traces, deformations in the world in our shape. At the end, ashes; perhaps your name scratched in history, or a hint of your face in a generation of children, offspring who are getting the residuals. But the object is gone, and like all behaved conceptual art there is a story.

read full: Kirsten Pieroth at Mathew

Monday, February 17, 2020

An-My Lê at Marian Goodman


We killed truth in the documentary, so photographs now adopt a sort of totemic blank state, slow and brooding. The peppering of vast landscaps becomes ominous. Fruit trees come with our knowledge of their labor, the perhaps original sin [photographs] carry. We have come to, at root, fear photography. We have come to acknowledge that photographs carry a guilt. And when it's bigger it is worse because there is larger tray for it.

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Miho Dohi at Crèvecœur


Tuttle's never really resembled, their garbage was formal compositions from whatever looking like nothing more than art. They looked like art. Which was its own politics then. But Dohi's resemble, recall unplaceable things, which is our politics now. Resemblance was dirty back then, we wanted purity in forms, because clouded abstraction led to impure thoughts. Why do we desire allusive formalism now? Fecteau, Baghramian, Balema, Nagle, et al. Is still a latent surrealism? The shifting space of ambiguous "clouds" saying that one looks like a rabbit but never knowing it.

See too: Vincent Fecteau at greengrassiLui Shtini at Kate WerbleRon Nagle at Modern ArtNairy Baghramian at Walker Art Center?Nairy Baghramian at Museo TamayoNairy Baghramian at Marian Goodman Larry Poons at Michael Jon & AlanLucy Bull at High ArtOlga Balema at High ArtOlga Balema at High Art (2)

Saturday, February 15, 2020

Sam Lewitt at Miguel Abreu


Lewitt seems to invent covers for books, images that contain a promise, alluding to some deeper richer story. Instead we get a press release. The world and the processes that comprise these objects are interesting, in the future as the works become historical documents of these technologies possibly the art will become too. Not a book by its cover and all that.

see too: Sam Lewitt at Kunsthalle Basel

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Kim Gordon at 303


At a certain point you can cash in the cred you've made by pressing tokens of it. Baseball cards of your occasionally-sublimated visage. For the collector. This show isn't about surveillance or the "intimacy surreptitiously undermined by insidious, unseen forces", unless maybe about the fact that Gordon is famous and feels like people are constantly sticking a camera in her face. Where a gathering could actually feel like surveillance. Who would acoustically render Wonderwall there? Gordon has a different level of surveillance than the rest; which is why we're here. Which is why there's a campfire of monitors in the middle to remember why we are here. The most interesting works are the ceramics, in which we watch someone famous be sort of middling and naive at something, making them human sculptures. They're the only things not cool, cold and deflecting.

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Paul Mpagi Sepuya at Modern Art hosting Team Gallery


We call this "his exploration of the dynamics of intimacy." But here's the deal, this nudity rarely feels intimate; it is awkward, stiff, bodies look uncomfortable trying to bend a composition. 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.

See too: “Automatic Door” (Mark McKnight) at Park View / Paul Soto

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Hadi Fallahpisheh at CENTRAL FINE


Ah the virtualization of our white space made manifest with a blown out shutter. Letting the light in. That vertigo you feel when the floor falls out, little rooms traded for infinite white void, us floating. This is the world Fallahpisheh draws in photographically, would be the read here. But this is the world we all draw in, this is our world, this is just more literal.

Past: Andrew Norman Wilson at Futura

"It's seductive, the power of film, the strategies of advertising that is basically the solution film is now developed in. The way, remembered, a certain insurance commercial could make my mother weep and then laugh as quickly at the ridiculousness of her emotive connection to commercial effigies, fictionalized death's emotional wounding and immediately proffered palliative with horns soaring: 'AARP life insurance,'" "It is today's form of slapstick; physical comedy is replaced with emotional spanking, our weeping no use against a master's hand, he'll give you emotional candy when it's over. Buster Keaton on the piano."

Read full: Andrew Norman Wilson at Futura

David Snyder at Michael Benevento


We used to see work like this all the time, the rickety Oursler, Rhoades, Dave Hullfish Bailey, Michael Smith wet cardboard kinda humor assemblage.  But in an artworld that today attempts to find visual artifacts for touch and feel, we see endless sculptures instead fetishizing its own materialism with a sort of Carol Bove like cabinet of the past's material curiosities: The lumpy crusty and rough hewn, sanded and polished. Whereas the above instead sort of nihilistically hate-loves its own trashiness, self ironizes with its own crudeness. And in a world where everything is being virtualized and drywalled this ironic janky-ness feels cruel; it is the dominant situation. So today we find comfort in artists preserving little butterfly collections of the "real" that at once may have been considered "authentic." The above coagulates all the crap of the demolishing today. That this isn't fun anymore.
I think this worked in the past because we didn't actually fear it, it was titillating, and now it is real fear. Check out The Guano here.

See too: Materialphilia

Monday, February 10, 2020

Past: Ellen Gronemeyer

"Chagal for Dubuffet fans, smiling manically."
"Amy Sherlock in Freize relates Gronemeyer's anecdote, learning ballet: 'She didn’t know the steps, but something stuck with her: the teacher telling the dancers to "grin as stupidly as possible", to imagine they were totally idiotic. To be relieved of the tell-tale responsibility of her own expressions, to abdicate the need for the correspondence between outer appearance and psychological reality, was, Gronemeyer found, totally liberating.'"

Read full: Ellen Gronemeyer at Karin GuentherEllen Gronemeyer at greengrassi

Saturday, February 8, 2020

Dara Friedman at Kunstverein Harburger Bahnhof


Our documentation are starting to look like those bad architectural renderings, cardboard people pasted by their creator's magnificent invisible hand. The same god hand that conjures the condos for the cardboard people. Figurants whose job is to lack agency, to not revolt.

There was more film clips last time here.

Friday, February 7, 2020

Davina Semo at Ribordy Thetaz


Exercises in the statue-ization of materiality, to cast the lumpy is shiny permanence. It is at once a romanticization of the material world (which must be made monument) at the same time it treats it like a virtualization, as if you can clip out little sections of the world and freeze them with injections of liquid metal. I interminably think of the butterfly scientist, the artist who preserves his beloved by killing them. Isn't it enough to just play with clay, dough? Do we need to press them into coins with titles and dates beneath them?


Thursday, February 6, 2020

Caitlin Keogh at Bortolami


Illustration is meant to bring clarity, to denote, delineate, resolve. So when it draws surrealism there's a tension in the elegant lines not necessarily clarifying.* But what is important is that we feel something is being told, explained. Like if John Wesley designed Tarot cards, pearls for pentacles or whatever. The Tarot illustration provides its own oracle, meaning. I guess the illusionary orbs also serve to retension the flatness, "the roughly two inches of depth" that had become its own trend, "the depth of iPad" "Its less the digitalization of painting than its conversion to iOS. Then made surreal." Said before.
Clarity and "recognition is a visual strategy used by the advertorial (logo) or systems (icons) that has reached saturation with touchscreens, GUIs, facebook forums. Our brains, wired for recognition, are berated with this, icons forcing recognition of themselves. [Clarity and recognition become their own force, violence.] Painters begin adopting this as their history, the Magrittean version of objects as linguistic symbols. These paintings delay the force of recognition as a palliative, lessening the slap of apprehension by averting it."

*A similar tension when its clarity must wrest with the delicate complexity of a rose. The conversion of complexity to something digitally clear.

See too: Anne Neukamp at Greta MeertEmily Mae Smith at Rodolphe JanssenOrion Martin at Bodega Ray Yoshida at David Nolan, Sascha Braunig at Kunsthall Stavanger, Alice Tippit at Night Club, Lui Shtini at Kate Werble, Sascha Braunig at Rodolphe Janssen, Mathew Cerletty at Office Baroque,

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Tala Madani at secession


The sketchbook is the imagination's stage, so whatever wet sketches happen in Madani's abyssal paintings already makes sense, they are theaters for whatever projection is put in it. It's a sort of brilliant trick, capable of making them accept whatever, a stick figure becomes the thought/action of conjuring it, thinking it. The painting is the sketchbook drawing from the unconscious onto the theater - which is the virtual projection inside your skull - that is, again, the painting. Projected thought*. When Madani's brush smears shit it bears the shiver of actual, not because it is, but because it feels someone imagine doing it. Reading a story of a murder feels somehow less horrible than finding, even a fictional, scrawled notebook saying how they would murder. Watching someone imagine. The paint - which painting professors will be quick to remind you is just fancy dirt suspended in fats - equates to shit, or cake, or flesh. Light is sprayed like urine. Children bear the face of men, bear the brunt of Madani. Which seem, unsafe for art, being this literal. It is becoming more and more important to be dumb in art.

*So of course they became movies, they basically already were.

See too: Quintessa Matranga at Freddy, Read all posts tagged Tala Madani

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Contemporary Art Writing Quarterly: Modern Gothic

It is our pleasure to announce the release our first Contemporary Art Writing Quarterly archive documenting the trend of Modern Gothic.
The archive includes 8 artists: 14 exhibitions 2014 to 2020. Please enjoy the archive and look forward to the next Quarterly release coming this spring.

R.H. Quaytman at Museum Sztuki


Here's a bit of symptom diagnosis. When Quaytman broke out onto the screen, it was concurrent not only with CAD's rise but concurrent with the rise of images everywhere, foodporn or just porn, and our giddiness for this new instant image. This hi-def instantaneity was itself pleasing, interesting. This new retinal access and Apple was designing Retina Displays for. We were seeing everything for the first time coated in glass. Reviewing the iPhone 4 in 2010, Joshua Topolsky commented:
"to our eyes, there has never been a more detailed, clear, or viewable screen on any mobile device. Not only are the colors and blacks deep and rich, but you simply cannot see pixels on the screen…webpages that would be line after line of pixelated content when zoomed out on a 3GS are completely readable on the iPhone 4, though the text is beyond microscopic."
The internet at the time felt like so many keyholes to look through. Everything before was found in dusty libraries, had been stuffed into artist catalogs, piecemeal, the one "chapter" you saw in person at Abreu or wherever. And Quaytman's paintings magnified the pleasures of this, of a good mystery. Chapters like the catalogs which were being replaced by exhibitions online. The doors of new media opening along with the mystery of Quaytman; it provided its own meta-detective story.The new chapters becoming immediately available and better resolution with each one. Go look at 2008's documentation here. Compare it to today's. We see it all, now pornography is the mainstay, all at once as much as you want. There is little left to the imagination, to mystery. What we had all at the time been following in higher and higher resolution, eventually returned itself as an endless and inconclusive hall of mirrors. They revealed themselves as paintings.

Read all posts tagged R.H. Quaytman

Monday, February 3, 2020

Peter Fend at Museo Nivola


Art has been co-opted for worse things than environmental boostering. Fend's utopic aspects seem nice if not necessarily utilitarian, but since when has art been confronted with actualities. Art is a space without expectations of internal success, of even internal logic. Fend is capable of a grin, the plan involves "collecting hydroelectric energy with [...] waterwheels suspended from Duchamp-model bicycle-wheel forks." At best giving the boring problems of our coming environmental cataclysm at least ostensibly interesting solutions. Like Buckminster Fuller, and perhaps Obrist, ideas are less the feasible-solutions-for-actualization than they are acts of branding and dissemination, where being excited-for is itself the solution. Whether or not you feel excited is yours.

See too: Peter Fend at Embajada, Peter Fend's World Beach Party (Arts Magazine)

Sunday, February 2, 2020

Group Show at Group Show at Group Show at

Group exhibitions as a series of incomplete images. A false diaspora. The exhibition's arrangement promises to, if not resolve, at least route, provide semblance, movement, trajectory. But they begin more and more to feel like remnants, like rubble or partial artifacts. They're like flotsam of our wreckage, objects d'contemplation of our ruins, hung in altars. Our windows in have gotten so small. And we're asked to project worlds onto them.

see too: Group Show at Group Show at Group Show