Monday, March 1, 2021

R. H. Quaytman at Serralves


Quaytman is forebear to today's painting puzzification. Like any good mystery, it's rife with clues. Painting becomes signs and signals, turn painting into information, the little motifs become points of reference, repetitions to build resonance. A resonance that feels like meaning. They are endlessly elsewhere. We are told "every detail... is subject to careful control." Careful control presuming purpose for such, but surely there can be anality without purpose. Or, anality itself is the purpose. The careful control of avoiding anything so specific as to be finally graspable, a very very finely tuned house of mirrors. "a novel without conclusion." Already in 2014, Quaytman asking "What are they adding up to—or, to put it bluntly, what is the “book” about?" The question becomes that of all painters, painting, how long can Quaytman keep the mystery without end interesting. How long can one delay? How to resist saying anything while still appear to be speaking. Enough mirrors and the ventriloquist need not speak at all?

...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 Quaytman "chapter" you saw in person at Abreu.. And Quaytman's paintings magnified the pleasures of this, of a good mystery. The doors of new media opening along with the mystery of Quaytman; it provided its own meta-detective story. ... 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. ... in higher and higher resolution, eventually returned itself as an endless and inconclusive hall of mirrors. They revealed themselves as paintings.

See all R.H. Quaytman

Saturday, February 27, 2021

Group Show at Tanya Leighton with Sadie Coles


...exhibition most interesting for its documentation which turns to documentary. The work no longer accruing laurels through rent-space but argued in cultural speech. This is a subtle but powerful shift. Looking for new ways to internet its object. The press release becomes narrative voiceover. History becomes filmic juxtaposition. We've always had the accrediting power of Art21, or whatever mini-documentary, but now its put out in an exhibition, in place of it. That open headspace of clicking through images we can't let go uncapitalized, that's free real estate. Let the voiceover soothe. This might become a thing. At the time I had thought Leckey's Proposal for an Exhibition was the way forward, maybe this is what will come - Advertisement/documentary.

Friday, February 26, 2021

Bradley Ertaskiran [Bunker] at Contemporary Art Daily


It's generally frowned upon, the extolling/photography of your own bellybutton. Navel-gazing's "self-indulgent or excessive contemplation of oneself or a single issue, at the expense of a wider view."
But when has art ever been above its own self-aggrandizement, mirrored-auto-pleasure. (We've practically turned that itself into an art.) (This the obvious fallout of institutional critique.) The mirror becomes shinier, more pixels added, until someday hopefully the functions themselves become visible. We ascribe great power to a room that is the ostensible factory of our meaning. Painful to find to only rooms. Go into a church and find the basement's folding tables, plastic conference rooms for the glory of God. They are but rooms. The phantasm of nothingness. 

Ala Bourdieu, the real consecration is getting people to believe. 

 Past: [Adam Feldmeth] at Contemporary Art Daily

"...Like fish bumping into glass, attempt to seek the limits of our experience, our aquarium of fantasy..."

Read full: REDCAT at Contemporary Art Daily

Thursday, February 25, 2021

Hend Samir at Real Pain & Sophie von Hellermann at Larsen Warner

(Real Pain, Larsen Warner)

..trends for a sort of hyper-liquidity - hyperbole of the painterly... exaggerated to jest. ...the painterly involves a framework, a subject that bleeds. The painterly requires an object for the brush to caress. 

"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, its signifiers, significance."

("Paint becomes simply the candied shell to painting's cultural myth. ..Drawing ripples in surface to activate the beneath, tap the vast depths of painting's cultural wealth, this the watermelon.")

We want the painterly because this is painting's bright jewel - the more painterly it is the more undeniably painting it is, tautologically as symbol. In times of crisis we seek comfort in the familiar - put our money in what's safe. Is this why impressionism is coming back? When painting tends towards its hyperbolization - the ability to be more painterly, more Painting. We see time move in reverse, is this already impressionism?

See too: "Back to the Future impressionism" Genieve Figgis at Almine Rech, Ambera Wellmann at LuluNicola Tyson at Friedrich PetzelNicola Tyson at Nathalie Obadia, "Watermelon TheoryTala Madani

Past: Sophie von Hellermann

"Such softness, it's abject. Saccharine. Like walking around with cotton candy between toes, sugary resolve to true grit. Till your teeth fall out your head. But softness something of a ruse, a narrative lacking definition..."
"We look through the paint at some cloudy apparitions like a Renoir got wet. For all their candy von Hellerman's aren't all that appetizing; Suzanne Hudson called their characters etiolated, plants grown leggy in darkness, a feeling of being deprived of crucial nutrients..."

Read full: Sophie von Hellermann at Office Baroque Sophie von Hellermann at Greene Naftali

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Olaf Breuning at Metro Pictures


The big dumb. A more cartoon sculpture. Ironic paleo-totemism. With a smile. Breuning's interest in our connection to laughable things. The cruder it is, the more archaic it looks, the more permanent we perceive it. Interminably stupid rocks last an unfortunate forever. So paintings like pictograms, petroglyphs. Give a rock some doe eyes.

"As the world feels closer and closer to destabilization, isolationism, far-right tolerance, moves closer towards its end, we find solace looking towards the primitive technologies we might find as our future, and the deities we will worship in the trees we once had."

"we find some comfort in dirt smeared not because of its primeval "truth" but because it seems like it can't obsolesce, it can't be superseded, blown away as dust, which we mistake for being eternal."

See too: Olaf Breuning at Metro PicturesSolange Pessoa at Mendes Wood DMAaron Angell at Koppe Astner

Past: Olaf Breuning

Clownic terror is emotional indifference to our own, irony as slapstick, forcing a replacement of our feelings with manic versions, to feel better. Happy or sad, the clown face draws its emotion as large as possible, overpowering the nuanced plane of facial expression, overshadowing our own, powerless and impotent. ... Breuning a villain swaddled in fun that is no fun at all.

Read full: Olaf Breuning at Metro Pictures(1)

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Past: Tobias Kaspar

Past: Tobias Kapsar

"Folding fashion into art should seem to cause a nebulous hole to erupt, a singularity, the whole thing en abyme and vertiginous, distinctions collapsing and the thing torn open for questioning. But it just looks like art."

"None of this is lost on Kaspar who has been gliding between fashion-as-art and just-plain-art [...] fashions which for the moment the flash can be frozen"

Past: Tobias Kaspar at SilberkuppeTobias Kaspar at Peter Kilchmann

Monday, February 22, 2021

Abraham Cruzvillegas at Chantal Crousel


According to the PR, the works in the exhibition "are the result of a long term reflection" on the Las Limas Monument, "Señor de Las Limas."
"Made from materials picked up around the city ... they are all put together to be carried and carry something else... based on scientific proposals as to the transportation techniques the Olmecs used for the Señor de Las Limas... Abraham Cruzvillegas completes his sculptures by a hybrid activity: strapped to his body, he embarks each one on a journey between the gallery and a place of personal importance in this day-to-day life."
According to wikipedia page for the 1000BCE Señor de Las Limas: "What these sculptures symbolized to their culture is not clear." Which is true now too. What do these sculptures symbolize to our culture, chairs in the air. We can't even figure it out now. "examines the notion of labor" or more specifically the valorization processing labor into art through myth.  

Saturday, February 20, 2021

Harry Gould Harvey IV at Bureau


Not sure what multiplier of neo-neo-gothic we're on. As early as 2001 artists already mocked the gothic vacancy with felted craft projects of black metal's "Norwegian Romanticism" or New Gothic, Southern Gothic, before the "Digital Gothic" Modern Gothic- etc. - etc. People want the Gothic. Want the look. We reclaim it like wood. The above sculptures claimed from a Gilded Age Gothic Revival mansion. Wealthy 19th century Americans who "admired the estates of the European nobility" and saw themselves as nouveau-nobility, wanted it, recreated it. Reflected and distorted enough times, the gothic becomes a signifier without origin. Which like neoclassicism whose attempt to affect stateliness becomes McMansion Hell, the gothic becomes the safety scissors of edge. The affect of brooding power. "language that was once living and ephemeral turns from undulating patterns and waves of frequency into physical declarations that simultaneously attempt to solve social ills while imposing structural violence on those who may be marginalized."

Attached to real history to add some new bells, whistles, lockets, an affect on an affect. A look. A whole history of burning architecture to be dark and look cool. anachronism, an implicit nostalgia for the past's future, rather than our own. What the Victorians had imagined as horror, pools of blood and pendulum cuts, is far more genteel than what is our current madness. This is the pleasure-saftey of genre, it has rules.

For more conceptual wood: Venice 2019, Danh Vo, & at kurimanzutto

Friday, February 19, 2021

Erdem Taşdelen at Mercer Union


Painting's trend for clue boards maybe has its precursor in installation art - the arrangements compositioned to heighten the details, give aura to clues - you see it in the particular way things are placed, casually, but in concrete, casually, but forever - this makes the mundane appear meaningful.  Which is important for art.

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Past: Charline von Heyl

"What Kelsey called Big Joy could also be a state of mania, or anxious outburst, like seeing your friend on amphetamines and wondering what about his personality you liked in the first place. Abstraction is the friend in this metaphor. Because these paintings are brutal."

"trading the devotional for the more transactional address of advertorial cymbal crashing, of images striking"

"like being struck, designed with the force of icons and logos, instantaneous recognition, the paintings connect with a speed prophetic of the contemporary / understandable that her rise delayed would coincide with that of digital networks: von Heyl's paintings turn composition into a kind of semio-transaction of consumption"

"painterly recognition that is particular, depleting, and manic"

Click for full:
Charline von Heyl at Petzel & Deichtorhallen
Charline von Heyl at Gisela Capitain
Charline von Heyl at Capitain Petzel

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Past: Francis Alÿs at Museo Tamayo 

"Alÿs's politics begin to look more and more like children's book fantasy; images as dreams as solutions, poetics attached ever so lightly to horrible quagmires."

Monday, February 15, 2021

Lucy McKenzie at Museum Brandhorst


Displays and information, the stuff always embedded in other systems - legal grey areas because the signifier is always a bit ...removed. Inhabited. It's all fake. The painting above left is her own copy of the 2005 original. Which is not a forgery, but it is something. Slippery. In the style of. From which era are we looking. Is this mis-en-scene or are we actors? Who's thought bubble is this. 

Past: Lucy McKenzie

"Different from other representational returns prizing the awkward and cartoon, Mckenzie's representation is surreal exactly for its literalness, a directness almost vertiginous in our distrust of it. [...] the modern question of whether we should believe in the sign or not, the surface or not, like clue boards we're not sure to trust, as the PR states: presenting legal grey areas in culture’s appetite for the genuine."

Read full: Lucy McKenzie at Daniel Buchholz

Saturday, February 13, 2021

Jay Chung & Q Takeki Maeda at Essex Street


CAWD, previously: 
Artists continually forcing a reading between the lines they force distinctly apart. So that the blank white space feels ominous and full, like a detective novel, figure it out, Jay Chung & Q Takeki Maeda adept at objects in aura of evidence or clues. In dark forests we imagine predators, in confusion invent gods, or artists.
And this exhibition showing why "reading between the lines" is so precarious, from the preface:
 "Bad Driver is a work of post-truth conceived in this post-truth era. It is a collection of historical writings that constructs a generalized picture of “Asians,” following an outline made up of a constellation of fixed racial stereotypes. ... The authors have “done the research”—as conspiracy theorists say—and uncovered factual evidence that support these preconceived notions. ... a portrait of “Asians” that rely on the reader’s presumptions and internalized prejudices far more than the materials cited within." "...the fact’s factual quality was dependent on the surrounding details of its original context. Once severed, the fact immediately lost its verisimilitude as a fact."

Making interpretation a matter of delicacy. I want to say I feel vindicated for previously not wanting to enter into JC&QTM's game - this artifactization for anyone's interpretation clue boards - i.e. not become the detective - but there is something enjoyable in reading these, in playing this one's game. You feel the process of your brain latching onto fact - "connecting the dots" -  despite being forewarned how worthless these contextless facts are. It still works. Chapter 4 for instance we are shown the questions on a Chinese driving test with their obvious dogwhistle possibility, but JC&QTM casual bypassing of the correct answer suddenly allows all the answers their possibility, reaffirm the racist cliche. This would be stupid if you didn't feel how incredibly effective it is in building an insidious implication. It is like a cliche in reverse, watch it be structured, maintained. The wellspring of implication, aura, that functions no matter how many times we say it's just Disney magic. This has obvious parallels (and critique) for any art that apparels itself with the "serious look" - the ominous monolith - the blankness for projection - allows unconscious thoughts to fester - the actor that claims innocence. 

See too: Heji Shin at Reena Spaulings 

Friday, February 12, 2021

Trevor Shimizu at Misako & Rosen

I enjoy late Monet, before his cataracts surgery, the rusting of his pastiche into yellow lumps, all but blind. Their gross mismanagement of color failing to materialize his prettiness. You watch a master, hampered, fail. Like Soutine painted a colonoscopy. Shimizu's, ditching the coprophagia, have almost the opposite but equally compelling problem, a prettiness for which there is no reason - you watch failure produce horrible beauty. 

Past: Jay Chung and Q Takeki Maeda

"In the smoke of Matias Faldbakken's rocketship ascendancy the artworld was left blind scrambling to adhere a politic for it, to make a critical foundation for the artworld's hot new power iconography, unable to accept that how it looked, rather than any little content it contained, was its appeal. ... Issues of interest for Jay Chung and Q Takeki Maeda, ..."

"Artists continually forcing a reading between the lines they force distinctly apart. So that the blank white space feels ominous and full, like a detective novel, figure it out, Jay Chung & Q Takeki Maeda adept at objects in aura of evidence or clues. Bits of knowledge that are brought up in the PR, starting with the failure of the cult to deliver its prophecies, its promised cataclysm falling to a gaping white nothing burger, a lot like the art's lines. "

"These photos tell you nothing, give you no information but they connote an affect, one of literal and metaphorical velvet ropes. What, after all, is this photograph of? Of the air, in the impressionist sense. That emptiness they love. ... Or maybe there is just that much air. Like John Knight, the strategies of withholding generate power. In dark forests we imagine predators, in confusion invent gods, or artists."
Past: Trevor Shimizu

"satisfying like a sign painter's numbers, a dumbness relieving against the muddled intentions of more artistic means."
" long as it is painted, so long as it is painting, it is already done."
", which the inept can be lovable or painful, the bumbling either funny or eye-rolling, and Shimizu's an extended question of which.

Thursday, February 11, 2021

Emilie Louise Gossiaux at Mother Gallery


Emilie Louise Gossiaux is blind. And in front of you, sighted person, is a sculpture you can see. Or perhaps it was described to you. It is passed between us. (To paraphrase someone else) "The primary purpose of the [sculpture] is to allow both the audience and the artist to have a relationship through the art that is valid and unbreakable." Objects are merely a myth, we construct them for each other.

Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Michael Armitage at Haus der Kunst

(Forgive some of the indelicacies on timing; Jana Euler was already Artforumly connected to social realism already in 2012, etc. The oh so spooky Zombies already labeled by 2014, etc. etc. Party's party began years ago. etc. etc. etc.)

Every hypothesis needs an experiment. And so if you see impressionist painting in the next year, know that it was hypothesized here first.

Monday, February 8, 2021

Nandi Loaf at King’s Leap


Cycle the artist back into itself, reroute it into content. The number of followers become auto-content for said followers. So they can follow it. Bruce Nauman stated it succinctly: “If I was an artist and I was [on the internet], then whatever I was doing [on the internet] must be art. At this point art became more of an activity and less of a product.” Because activity is now the product, it is the social internetted object, keeps the generator of art whirring: visibility. Eyes/views are the underpinning. Fame is only predicated on sight, not value: eventually a critical mass of people know you and then you are famous. Think of Bickertons paintings that also LCD their price-value - here becomes the social, the eyeballs. DJ Khaled yells, "Nandi Loaf is the [best] artist of the 21st century." Its truth does not matter, the truth value is less than it having been spoken. "Everybody going to say something - the worry is if they said nothing." The point is claim that speech. Follow @Nandi_loaf. Get in early. Pre-IPO. Watch the line go wee.

See too: Petra Cortright at Société

Sunday, February 7, 2021

Gordon Parks at Jack Shainman Gallery


This is a good exhibition. I'm going to cast aside all critical -cynical- impulse and just state the fact that this exhibition should exist and glad its here in one place. It should be bigger, it should be huge, put every single portrait from Parks' Chicago portrait studio up on the walls - even if it's all for sale - it will at least be here archived under the painful white light of contemporary art. Make it hurt. I am reminded of Ruby Frazier, because they "confuse time and conflate eras, make chronology slippery, and deny a continuum of progress, inherently anti-nostalgic" - a question of why today can look like 30 years ago, and  30 years ago look like today. Antidote to nostalgia photography. "We have facial recognition tech in the palms of our hands and water we can't send through pipes."

Past: Tam Ochai

"Ochai's painting collect their painting like a window sill collects dust. The only requisite might be time passing and its loss sedimented of whatever accumulate. You might write your name in the dust, but these collect places as their dust. We could just be happy it doesn't look like painting."

Friday, February 5, 2021

Lawrence Abu Hamdan at Secession


It's days like this when you realize you are just looking at promotional vehicles, you haven't left the house in days, the world being advertised to you.  There's no content here, just a dark room for your projection of how interesting this could be. The advertisement.

Wednesday, February 3, 2021

Marieta Chirulescu at Plan B


Against the stunning orgies of cartoon extremes, a painting that is vague feels like relief. Surrealism becomes the inability to distinguish - to even parse what is and is not content - painting a sponge for it. 

Tuesday, February 2, 2021

Jameson Green at Derek Eller


...which, maybe the point is that there's no aversion to reference - but that its actually the adornment to your figuration, the value added, the decomposition of the cultural cache into kitsch. Grows mushrooms. A Hellraiser Pinhead Guston type of fungus. 

Saturday, January 30, 2021

Marte Eknæs at Efremidis & Sam Lewitt at Z33 House for Contemporary Art, Design & Architecture


Spooky object scary time. Ominous, cold. An emptiness we the viewer backfill with projections for what could be. See apparitions. See ghosts in the machine. Invent spirits in the trees, gods in the heavens that care about us. Artists as shamans show us the way, the truth, the light, the emptiness. 

Thursday, January 28, 2021

Past: Marte Eknæs

"Safety products not only abating hazard but highlight its possibility. A potentialized air of drama that we'd love to accumulate on art's stage: at any moment calamity, at any moment circumstance. There is said to be "a situation." Sort of like an "experience." Even this weak force in the real Painting wishes it could hold such potential. Some previously invisible thing be felt.  The "layers of infrastructure that determine experience."

"And Fight Club turned the 'Calculation of Negligence' into nihilistic mantra for millions of angst ridden boys, finding solace for their jade in a new schizo-sado-masculinity, solace in a brutality ending in terrorist fantasies of high-rises burning. It felt like relief. The main character's lavish condo exploding from a gas leak was ostensibly the best thing that ever happened to him. The non-accident we later learn is a symptom stemming from the very repressive bourgeois lifestyle it destroys. That the terrorist act was itself an expression of late-capitalist detachment, the same thing that Baudrillard would later claim in his "The Spirit of Terrorism" that capitalism expressed a sort of auto-terrorism, boredom itself bringing the towers down. The Pop success of both at least clarifies the latent cultural desire we have for the fantasy of watching the world burn so long as they are sublimated (make us able to believe we would never actually desire to see them enacted) through the filters of acceptable and neutering forms, pop-film or philosophy, and here art."

Full: Marte Eknæs at A MAIORMarte Eknæs, Sean Raspet at Room East

 Past: Sam Lewitt

It's impossible to be certain whether the new techno-conceptual isn't anything more than a refurbished arte-povera, in which its spirituality and metaphysics is replaced with a ghost in the scary looking machines of a predestined future come to haunt us menacingly, like cultures assigning gods and poetry to corral phenomena we are at a loss to control. Representations of our current boring dystopia, both artists reaffirming the callous concrete conditions of the world, its artificialness and austerity, a coldness we begin to find somehow pleasing, enjoying our pleasure denied by assertions of power, warmth in the current that designates our capitalist life, comfort in our mastery by others as we acclimate and absorb the cold conditions of our world, artists thinking in the master's voice.

Read full: Sam Lewitt at Miguel AbreuSam Lewitt at Kunsthalle BaselSam Lewitt, Lucy Raven at Pilar CorriasSam Lewitt at Miguel Abreu

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

 Past: Liz Magor

"Tomorrow, April 23rd, 2016, there is an Estate Sale at 1344 Lambert Cir in Lafayette, CO. A pause before an objects moment in the world is scrubbed. Green Rayon pantsuits laid out on floral polyester bedspread. Ornately bezeled mirrors. Rusting jewelry in teal ceramic clam shells. A deflated donut cushion. Faint Naphthalene smells. Black velcro shoes. Frames with their contents removed. Objects whose sentiments evaporate along with the those who left them to become voids of that sentiment. Staged for a purgatorial display between vintage reincarnation and garbage. Threshold worlds. The trivial difference between a trash box and moving. And this last transitional moment Magor extends indefinitely, embalmed to pay respects, injected with formaldehyde to plasticize body without warmth."

Liz Magor at Catriona Jeffries

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

 Past: Dorothy Iannone, Juliette Blightman

"...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...."

Read full: Dorothy Iannone, Juliette Blightman

Tom Allen at Air de Paris


...more Berghain than cottagecore - to paraphrase the press release. The pleasure here seems in twisting the dial to the humming point between saccharine pleasure and spoiled overripeness - between day and night - a painting your mother "likes" with uncertainty. Allen seems to find pleasure in this sweet spot hum.

Tastes change however, but let these be a marker of 2020s - that this was the edge, the waver between sickness and wealth. Painting as stakes planted, this was the limit. So if you start to love these, see how far we've moved.

See too: Tom Allen at Lulu

Monday, January 25, 2021

Past: Tom Allen at Lulu

Flowers are the lighted landing strips of insect air travel. The Vegas sign advertising sex and nectar to bees, birds. What did Zizek say about tulips, "an open invitation to all insects and bees, 'Come and screw me.'"

And perhaps this crass evolutionary productivity might be why flowers are called "the lowest of the genres," gaming the system with hardwired desire. However what artist has ever been above cheating?

Flowers are 'an experimental-constant through which an artist may perform tortures on a cultural concept of beauty.' Vegas; Zizek again: "I think that flowers should be forbidden to children."

Sunday, January 24, 2021

Marie Angeletti at Édouard Montassut


The Rorschach inkblot is the ultimate symbol of art. It is exactly what we now demand: an interpretable stain, an endlessly inscrutable fount for "meaning" generation. The point is to see something, anything. That is really just handing the viewer back to them, what they see is what they see, valid and inconsequent. They are but shaped mirrors. 

see too: Marie Angeletti at AtlantisMarie Angeletti at Beach Office

 Past: Tishan Hsu at Hammer Museum

"For years smartphones pressed to be seamless, this was the pinnacle of technologic interface, to lack the orifice that Hsu keeps pressing. A phone shouldn't look like it might drool, Instagram icons shouldn't look like a dank bathroom. Like Thek, or Lynch, the campiness is part of the grotesque. You take your phone away from face, a smear of your human grease marring its perfect black pool. We don't like our tech to feel like us. The more we interact with it, the more it becomes us, the most we want it not resemble us.

 Full: Tishan Hsu at Hammer Museum

Saturday, January 23, 2021

Past: Marie Angeletti

"exacerbating all the annoyances of images today, Angeletti's are always claustrophobically opaque, too close, dim. Not quite sure Angeletti has ever shown in a completely lit space..."

"which, in an era of almost total fuck-all of images our cognition is molested by daily, could make an art practice mirroring such seem a brutal finger but at some point we have to be trained for this, we could attempt to make sense of, it all, if we wanted to start lifting."

see too: Marie Angeletti at AtlantisMarie Angeletti at Beach Office

Alvin Baltrop at Hannah Hoffman


These photos are lovely now as Baltrop receives his late laurels. It wasn't laureled then. A suffering that is made into "authenticity." Pain as sales value added. The valorization process of art. "hardship reclaimed like wood by collectors of such." Dominant culture lays the concrete of its social conditions, proclaims "look a dandelion has grown," hangs its photo in our halls as testament to humanity. But it can seem like a testament to the concrete. A mythos of suffering starts to feel like instructions for it.

See too: Alvin Baltrop at Daniel BuchholzPurvis Young at James Fuentes

Past: Alvin Baltrop at Daniel Buchholz

"His situation's precarity is expressed on the surface of the photographs themselves, in its tentativeness, his body's extreme vulnerability. These people were killed, ostracized, displaced to the corners, to escape the purview of a society disavowing them. You see it in the photo's trembling hand."

Read full: Alvin Baltrop at Daniel Buchholz

Friday, January 22, 2021

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."

"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."

See full: Kaspar Müller at SociétéKaspar Müller at Société, Kaspar Müller at Federico VavassoriKaspar Müller at Museum im Bellpark

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Isa Genzken at Galerie Buchholz

Mernet Larsen at James Cohan


Low poly people, decidedly clear, in disorientating perspectives. The perspective always rigidly inscribed and then denied, aloft. That nauseous feeling is intentional. A painting that elicits seasick. We consider this modern.

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.."

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

 Past: Peter Fend

"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 ... At best giving the boring problems of our coming environmental cataclysm at least ostensibly interesting solutions. ... 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."

"It feels good to send out the rhetorical curses of the protest sign's curtness. ... How can one invest in getting Musk to stop? To take a break. How could we invest in shutting off the wheels for a day, and we could all go outside. The internet shuttered. The lights dimmed, the rare earths would stop being mined, iPhones depleting their charges, and the capital would be stored in whatever vaults they now use for dust. The fossils we burn as fuel could be temporarily cooled. We could stand blinkered at the sun we haven't seen. For a while, we could erect giant balloons, for the firefighters to watch the world be set afire. It feels good to take down, to erect fingers."

Read full: Peter Fend at Museo NivolaPeter Fend at EmbajadaPeter Fend at Essex Street

Monday, January 18, 2021

Chadwick Rantanen at STANDARD (OSLO)


The PR opens with a scene of torture. And which, these are torturous objects. They are the cutoffs, the excess of standardized goods, the bits that exist because it is cheaper to produce excess and waste it than to produce exactly what is required. A quirk of capitalist efficiency, physical hiccups. They are waste, and this is upcycling from hell. This is trash into an agnostic crucifix, into a "devotional object," something the PR hints we may supplicate to... Which there is a read here that capitalism is religion (or god) and the waste is the new christ on the cross, sacrificed again and again for everyone's sins. But that smells bad - that's just appending symbology to make your fetish seem rational. Rantanen just seems to love torturing the stuf of capital. Pretend to asphyxiate it. These are a kink, and we don't shame for that.

See too: Chadwick Rantanen at Essex Street“May the Bridges I Burn Light the Way” at STANDARD (OSLO)Chadwick Rantanen at Team (bungalow)

Past: Chadwick Rantanen

"...intentionally crafting kawaii critters to abuse in the circuits of his machinery. The gestures seem less absurd than frustrated, Rantanen's exacerbation of late-stage-capital's more aggressively abject objects. Self-inflicted. 
"The director of fetish "crush" films Jeff Valencia speaks of desiring to be the subject under the feet of the crusher, identifying with the object/animal being crushed."

Click for full: Chadwick Rantanen at Essex Street, “May the Bridges I Burn Light the Way” at STANDARD (OSLO), Chadwick Rantanen at Team (bungalow)

Saturday, January 16, 2021

Alice Tippit at Nicelle Beauchene


Ambiguity becomes the new force, rupturing our ability for exchangeable shared common experience, unsure whether you see a penis or if that’s just... So we get quiet. “What do you see” becomes a loaded question. The schoolgroup is led elsewhere. Nudity we can bear, it’s natural, but here the penis may be inside your head. The big red thing was a sunset always.

Past: Lena Henke

"...apparent in those like Henke for whom physical things act as moments of duplicity, locus for multiple apparencies... There is too many things to say about these things, ... their genericsm becomes strength. A low poly mesh provides metaphorical possibility [precisely because of] its low resolution. The harder it is to define things the larger their aqueous potential..."

"Ambiguousness as a means for the simultaneity of image, of surrealism. A tree sort of looks like a horse so we can put them together; a cloud can look like anything, much like a turd, some will see interest."

"Because the turd is a form morphing in a viewer. The dimensional Rorschach, the sculpture everyone makes to turn down and see themselves reflected in the water at, a picture of you for your interpretation. Even looking digested, worn at by smooth muscle of artistic intestine."

Click: Lena Henke at Bortolami Lena Henke at Kunstverein Braunschweig & Louise Bourgeois at Cheim and ReadLena Henke at Kunsthalle Zürich,
Past: Alice Tippit at Night Club

"Between the anthropomorphic and the pareidolia is the seeing ghosts in images that contain a sort of liquid content, innuendo, form to the container-viewer"

See full: Alice Tippit at Night Club

Friday, January 15, 2021

Tatjana Valsang at Konrad Fischer


because there is coldness at the heart of big beautiful dumb paintings, a thing that exists without us, the way rocks are fascinating and inhuman. Ostensibly art would be the human ability to create their own rocks, plinths, and means for, but it's still not human's, still not ours, it's still always some nebulous swirling thing that hints at being ours, aromas ours, but its not, its cold, inhuman, spiteful.

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Howie Tsui at The Power Plant

There's no actual video included but eventually institutions will provide so much documentation you'll can assemble the film yourself, frame by frame, just like the artist, fill the missing pieces with frog DNA, reading between the lines, enough lines, eventually document a blank screen to create your own projector, eventually you will be the artist.
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."

Souvenirs of our demise!

Pedro Wirz at LongtangPedro Wirz at Marc Selwyn

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Kim Jones at Bridget Donahue


We, cargo cult, attempt to reassemble meaning in the wasteland, our culture. The artists become shamans, build totems, we look to them to create something that we could relate. Finding some lovely in the filth over here. Jones is proof that these inclinations are not recent trends, the muck has been around a long time, and the senselessness we attempt to coalesce otherwise in. Was going to say Jones is the missing link in lineage from Keinholz or Bruce Connor to the psychic mire of Rachel Harrison (the above was made somewhere between 1973-1999) - and then today's David Lieske and the Berlin ontologists - but you start to worry that artists are proleptic, that this is some time continuum goof, because while Jones is obviously working out some trauma of his time in Vietnam, unfortunately, trauma is intergenerational, actually encodes itself in DNA, at least in rodents, which Jones has a uncomfortable history with. So it tends to reappear. And you worry it will in the future. Heading towards mud.

Monday, January 11, 2021

Shannon Cartier Lucy at Hussenot


Painting is a cultural structure such that painting's prize is "what it is about." Rather than creating meaning within a culture, the object itself is said to mean. Whether it's painting containing "truth" or a mysterious set of eyes that follow you, there is something to be unlocked, understood. There is something to be won. This is the belief. Even the hardest attempts to slap the viewer with just fucking looking at the thing are always already subverted into questions of what this visceral slap means. Painting begins to be prized not for painting but for this mystery. And a mystery, should it not spoil itself, cannot tell you its answer. A mystery instead must load its objects with intent, clues, an ambrosia of noir, an affect of meaning. Thus the puzzification of painting. Symbolist clue boards. "Colonel Rublev in the museum with a candlestick"

See too: Matte RepresentationMathew Cerletty

Sunday, January 10, 2021

Mariana Castillo Deball at Modern Art Oxford


Devices for the torturing of craft, a carousel for flaying, spread it open, craft wounded and open for art "interrogation." The fine line between torturing to gather truth, or just enjoy distribution of pain. Fucking the "kill hole" over and over, no longer useful, just a beautiful bloody mess. 

Saturday, January 9, 2021

Eleonore Koch at Modern Art


An almost modernist press release - understated, distant - a life scraped, condensed.  And paintings like de Chirico meets Goodnight Moon - emptiness at twilight. Stilted. A world barren, devoid. In the absence of god we, painting, look to make things mean. Because the abyss is worse. Which these paintings dangle objects over - so latch onto them, find something to mean in them, because otherwise it's waste. 

The Wasteland: Gertrude Abercrombie at KarmaAlexandra Noel at Freedman Fitzpatrick, AtlantisAdrian Morris at Galerie Neu

Friday, January 8, 2021

Bradley Davies at Clages


Cartoon pastoral peasantry, and the like. An ever so slight hallucination.

Thursday, January 7, 2021

Tyler Vlahovich at Lulu and Marc Selwyn

...perhaps impressive deftly avoiding any specific painting reference - not quite any particular - but being obviously loaded with it... Kaledioscopes of image that sift though. They accumulate reference and abandon it, as if the abstraction of reality wasn't enough, we're abstracting the abstraction. ... seems to have something to do with our current phantasmagoria. On a day of images. The battle for who controls the fantasy.
Past: Bri Williams at Interface

What a time for an exhibition about soap. Soap we consider clean but we wouldn't want to touch a bar found on the floor of a public shower. If I covered you in lye, your body would turn to soap, a simple process of an alkaline solution mixing with fatty tissues. Your body itself is barely not-soap, and soap opens your body to becoming not body, cleanses you by blurring self with soap, which goes down the drain..."

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Philip Guston at Hauser & Wirth


That belabored plodding brushwork that conjures and sediments its act, painting - the stress and sweat of it. You can practically see the anxiety in the glass of it. Which is why everyone been so thievery with Guston - at a moment when self-consciousness in painting was hot (the Krebber vs Barre 2008 World Championship moment) - people were looking for ways to display that anxious hesitation and still have their painting too. Guston had self-consciousness, and painting, in spades. Thus a corpse was looted. And we looked at goopy tenuous abstraction for 5 years until someone invented a figure again and everyone lost consciousness again and now here we are. Guston again.

Anyway someone should really curate an exhibition of Guston's early pre-abstract figurative work, the real de Chirico meets Ensor moody mirror shit. That's the rare stuff, give us that stuff. 

Monday, January 4, 2021

Frida Orupabo at KOENIG2 by_robbygreif

Better than most instagrams curating an [a e s t h e t i c] - Orupabo's @nemiepeba seems actually haunted, everything pulled from lead or poisoned. The trend for a "cursed aesthetic" usually provides the relief of first world absurdity - Wonderbread loaves smeared Crest toothpaste, at the bottom of a pool - allowing both the balm of capitalist recognition and absurdity. Orupabo's curse, lacking the palliative of small humor, instead threatens misrecognition and loss (the subjects always on that cusp of being blown out, periphery, but most importantly frozen - almost embalmed) and the relief valve long lost. Which feels like true curse, hints at the actual possibility of a curse carried.
The difficulty of transferring the accumulative/sifting force of Instagram to a gallery is obvious, and Orupabo's seem like attempts at a medical and forensics means to make something of them.

This seems less an exorcism than an attempt to wire the instagram force of the punctum into the extended life of the studium. To ask us to do something with these images that while affective we pass through with an ease. Into the ashes we pretend is "history." There's something Frankensteinian about it, electrifying it to dance over and over, not allowing to pass into death. Make it do it again. Make it haunt. 

Friday, January 1, 2021


 So what happened this year. 

Painting got worse. The techno-conceptual gasped its dying crescendo of interest - but likely not money -in lavish SciFi fantasy film sets sprawling across gallery floors - Matthew Barney excess without its libidinal bucket. (This will probably get worse.) The bodily lumpen material thing continued its trench. Jordan Wolfson didn't release anything interesting. Pantone colors still reign in young painting - Duplo colors in adult.  Painting continues to treat bodies as rebar, maybe more-so. (Atomically correct would look refreshing.) We continued rearranging our museums to pretend they were like this all along. "Better late than never" became the only phrase we could scrape together. Still couldn't muster that often. Petzel gave a solo show to a black artist for the first time in their 25 years? (Still can't believe this is true, is this true?)  Teenage bedroom motifs still an undercurrent not quite peaking and poor Rob Pruitt. I thought about Park McArthur's foam a lot. "Online viewing room" an immediately stale punchline, people saying it with straight face insulting, serving it like we'd continue to love gruel. Art publications all too happy to repeat it. Everyone immediately bored with it, digital fairs just like why - Essex Street said something like "no limits on space, size, or shipping, and this is what we get?" The most transgressive art continues to be photos of Kanye. (This is fine.) Ser Serpas. More documentation of people wearing VR gear, lol. Paintings like Tarot cards on an iPad, still. Zwirner's PR for Josh Smith's rooftop won the award for full self-ass-suck. Trevor Shimizu started making pretty paintings, instead of kitty coprophagia. Salman Toor today, so Salman Toor tomorrow. I can't tell if neo-primitiv-animism is on the way out or way in.  Less surrealism, but still way too much. Everything boring in comparison to the news, like an eclipse, and art like roaches scrambling in confusion to exposure. 


"so Humphries' drip, brushstroke, mark, neither expressive nor quotational of expression, paint is instead already perfectly dumb. This separates them from the hordes of zombies: no search for brains. 

"The thin distinction from the song and dance of all those other abstractionists is that the well worn jazz hands of "expression" aren't, for Humphries, totally choreographed yet by Dr. Frankenstein... the corpse may have its fluids replaced in technicolor, paraded around in chromes and newfangled chemiluminescence ... not just silver paint but making the silver paint shine like candied yams."

"the more vulgar excesses of Humphries's paint always excused by its obliviousness to the demands of "making a painting." Humphries's almost without-composition but still composed, paintings like an accident, car or bed sheet."

"Instead the cannibal-without-purpose seems pleasant after so many decades of painting's conceptual juicing."