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

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

Saturday, January 23, 2021

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

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)

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.

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.

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

Jill Mulleady at Gladstone Gallery


Narrative/figurative painting is so encumbered with its history that starts with phantasmagoria, with ghosts. Painting is its ghost - not so much has cultural baggage as is cultural baggage. A history paintings stir reflections on its surface. And you see something in it.

See too: "Watermelon Theory"

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... Kaleidoscopes 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.

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.