Monday, May 31, 2021

Anthony Olubunmi Akinbola at Night Gallery


A title that's compelling because it's honest - materiality, brought to Market, amass enough becomes quality, an aesthetic, of the marketplace. Hoist a table, your wares into space, for sale. Like we ever needed more. Expressionism's paint on a fine tablecloth, now durags. Mike Kelley's chintz glued critique to its cloth, but that was just what we liked then.

Sunday, May 30, 2021

Organic Music Societies: Don and Moki Cherry at Blank Forms


This is a crazy repository. Documentation that goes all the way down. In CAD's spectrum choice of editorial or vault, this is firmly in the vault territory - the whole catalog - more than your morning coffee can handle. This is not an exhibition but an archive. Which is good for the world, bad for dear CAWD reader.  This after all CAWD's endless whinging over exhibitions with 6 promotional stills. Now CAWD given the whole pack to smoke. Eat it and like it dweeb. Maybe this is way to get CAWD to shut up - sing its music of universal silence. Maybe this is pesticide to memetic insta-friendly aesthetics. But maybe excess might only eventually breed new editors, new mastheads to sort the mass, fear. 

Saturday, May 29, 2021

Past: Wolfgang Tillmans

"The promise of Tillmans' photographs is that maybe we too are lives worthy of documentation if only our own humdrum was given the micro-attention of such a lovely eye, then we too could be seen, could be seen as worthy, placed on walls, actually be seen. It's a base human impulse, the need to be recognized. Tillmans' eye fills with the promise of this possibility, of someone loving you no matter how banal, which is why all Tillmans' photographs seem to come pulled from a drawer in your parent's house and seeing yourself 30 years younger: the photos aren't great but they come with hammering benevolence attended to creatures we care for, a walloping nostalgia that Tillmans has found as immediate packaging: that the inherently elegiac medium also promises preservation of someone's sight of you. Which is maybe why Tillman's always evokes comfortable denim, this base advertorial promise of finally of someone finally seeing you because your butt finally looks good packaged by the right hand and someone will love you."

"Tillmans the great tenderizer"

"an offhand nicety whose cheapness and disposability Tillmans weights against all the other offhand 'cheap' snapshots of humans about their lives. Placing stake that you cannot dispose the saccharine abstraction without throwing out the people, humans. "If one thing matters, everything matters." And so they are like sunsets, both the near endless regurgitations of saccharine accident, cliche. Incidental returns of arbitrary conditions, completely unique and, like people, endlessly the same. A triple-point of beauty, arbitrariness, meaning. And perhaps meaning, our affection for the blushes, only appears as ward against inversion: If even one doesn't matter, nothing matters. Our fear."

Click for full:Wolfgang Tillmans at Galerie BuchholzWolfgang Tillmans at Daniel BuchholzWolfgang Tillmans at David ZwirnerWolfgang Tillmans at Maureen Paley

Friday, May 28, 2021

Katharina Grosse at Galerie nächst St. Stephan Rosemarie Schwarzwälder


Grosse is the most French painter alive. Which is impressive for a German. Deftly avoiding the historical German anxiety* to instead shoot acid rainbows, prep rooms to catch clowns exploding. The French taste for acrid color. Us all happy Bernard Frize hadn't thought of it. The mess was qualified by its scale, which felt like reason. Because it's hard to package both scale and mess. And this was its critical quality, "site specific" and unconsumable as anything but painting, no support for its sale, just paint, everywhere. Painting dirt was probably the crescendo of this. But now an attempt to package the ether, like Yves Klein's sponges, a structure to sop the aerosol, give perfume both air and object, like a misread jewel. 

*Though admittedly Richter too wiped the burden to freedom.

Thursday, May 27, 2021

Deborah Remington at Bortolami


A sci-fi abstract expressionism, an alternate universe. Not the thing one sees but a lush aluminum foil, accumulate reference like car accidents, tin that bleeds. Adamantium ribcages and space horizons. They are what J.G. Ballard was to modernism, an excess to an austerity, probably impossible not to read its wet heat as critique of then's plain steel composition. Which now we like. 

Contemporary Art Library

Is this the softening? Black becomes a hex #444444, white becomes #ebebeb. Anti-ligature Rooms: "It was a morphologic change stemming from and signalling the temperament changes within. Domesticated foxes developed spotting, resembled marbled dogs." Our bodies a surface display, openly communicating friendliness. Art - even 4 years ago - looked stark, the lighting for an autopsy, the art cold, and all displayed in the pristine white of online vitrines. Now, on the the anniversary of our nth reckoning, we're all trying to be better people, be nicer to each other, deburr the edges. Now galleries are turning to grey, getting the exposure levels correct:, a softening of the pornographic presentation with finer underlying bedsheets, a linen photography. This is the trend. A softening. You see it shown smiling in the new friendly paintings. A morphological change.

This was always an "educational" mission. And "Library" attempts a solution to the BC/AD split - After Daily and the dawning of image, outshines the much less illuminated past. Its solution: bring everything into its light. A monopolization that is less a power grab than the creation of the ark: megalomanic if it wasn't so necessary. Monoliths at least provide a common enemy. 

We stand corrected that this is not just CAD in a new skin. That over half the projects are not CAD. We got this wrong. But still standing proof of the occlusion of the past, because the growth rate is in 2000s, that the 90s didn't take place. This isn't CAD's fault, this is just the before/after split. But it is possible the Gulf War didn't happen. CAD is the network, not the warmonger, in this metaphor. A wish for a button that would make 1991 reappear, maybe close to inventing it. 

Correction: As noted above in the text above, CAD issued several corrections to our original text. We incorrectly stated that nearly all the exhibitions appeared from Daily. And though we did not mean to imply otherwise, its mission has always been educational. Our attempts at a hex probably remain wrong.

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Isabelle Cornaro at Galerie Francesca Pia


A grey that matches. Our new walls. The borders of virtual and real become porous, making the object float in virtual space, in their new home. You would almost think it wasn't coincidence. A gradientless lighting, the artist's overt concern with silvered surface. 

Monday, May 24, 2021

 Past: Jannis Marwitz at Lucas Hirsch

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

full: Jannis Marwitz at Lucas Hirsch

Friday, May 21, 2021

Ghislaine Leung at Cabinet


0465773005 is the title of this show, a glowing sign within the show, as well as an H&M "cashmere blend" sweater that is only 10% cashmere. This could be a coincidence (though the number itself sorta relays its odds) but Leung's sort of abide it, the gradual creep of its suspicion, the John Knight cold cut ominousness in staging. Why must the light be blackout? Why the floor silenced? Why does the carriage require staves? The creep builds suspicion: a house haunted under glistening sterile light. A crime scene scrubbed, we, detectives.

see too: Ghislaine Leung at Chisenhale & Essex StreetGhislaine Leung at Künstleraus Stuttgart

Thursday, May 20, 2021

Daiga Grantina at Emalin & Paul Lee at Adams and Ollman

(Emalin, AdamsOllman)

Are we getting theme days now? Yesterday's painterly auto-satisfaction and today is fishnetted TuttleWurtz? Which ostensibly allows experimental comparison: constants can be ignored, the variables leading to data - we determine difference. For the sorting of garbage. Like, while Hesse's materiality was more organizations systems to flaunt it, Benglis's excessed itself to monuments, less organized than amassed (what Donovan would later make spectacle). Chamberlain versus Nancy Rubins. Tuttle's accumulation was painterly, made formal, pretty for the pageants. And Wurtz... Wurtz more just the treating the refuse with a dignity - combing the child's hair for picture day. And Miho Dohi's fungi amongst. And here we have two somewhere in the field, picking up the remains, assembling a late assemblage. There's a joke in here about recycling, or upcycling, or maybe just "reduce, reuse, recycle" it'll always be a different product.

See too: Paul LeeB. Wurtz
Past: Paul Lee

"'These tambourines will not be touched'... 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."

"Lee all about towel's touch."

Read full: Paul Lee at David SheltonPaul Lee at MaccaronePaul Lee at Karma

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Michiel Ceulers at Island


Painting is a pornography and painters are the perverts, the press release says as much. Allow the painter to geek out and realize the depths of their depravity. Artists must choose how much exposure allowed. The painting's "inter-referential dynamics" could refer to masturbation or incest, it depends on the point of view. (Painterly masturbation is always incest?) And while, generally, paintings meta-game has become tiresome, it's more honest than most admitting to the game as an erotic self-pleasure. Denial, shame, release - this is the boardgames of the painter.

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Noel W. Anderson at JDJ


Because we need to turn images into tombstones. And the press release is the meaning giving prayer. And abstraction as a verb, an artistic technology for memorial. Processed pain. 

past: Noel W. Anderson at JDJ

Thursday, May 13, 2021

Sanya Kantarovsky, Camille Blatrix at Modern Art


Artists engaging in traditional crafts, marquetry and woodblock. But tradition was wiped out by the invention of capitalist plastic. Labor was reduced to work, and craft became manufacturing processes, became laser cut wood, CNC milled blocks, a thousand interns on call. Suddenly your dreams could be injection molded. Ostensibly. And these are two artists who's importance is the plasticity of style - the sort of whatever possibility of plastic goos, bent for artistic purposing. New images in old habits. So it's odd then to have a press release calling the whole thing into question, a excerpt from a 1906 book of traditional wood crafts lamenting novelty:

"If there is one quality which more than another marks the demand of the present day it is the requirement of novelty. ...the question is not, 'Is this fresh thing good? Is it well-fitted for its intended uses?' but 'Is it novel?' ... dispens[ing] with tradition, and ... set forth with childlike naïveté. Careful study of these experiments discloses the fact that .... the undigested use of natural motifs results not in nourishment but in nightmare"

This would all depend on whether we believe this art to be "undigested designs indifferently executed which have little but a fancied novelty to recommend them.” Not a "...a saner view of what constitutes originality by setting before them something of the experience of past times, when craft tradition was still living and the designer had a closer contact with the material in which his design was carried out than is usual at present." Surely this is not today. But there's something I'm not willing to throw away with the show. Somehow its uselessness seems the point, an abuse of interest. 

see too: Sanya Kantarovsky at Marc FoxxCamille Blatrix at Wattis

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Liz Larner at Regen Projects


"Painted trash" sounds like an insult, but it's what we have here. A decorate filth. Framing the more expensive. Does this imbue them a criticality they would lack otherwise? Connecting them to issues at hand? Or a self-inflicted wound, pointing out that the jewels too are just mud with a glaze. Eventually the plastic disintegrates, washes away, and inside the lumps remain. 

Monday, May 10, 2021

Frank Walter at David Zwirner


"the artist Frank Walter who died eight years ago. He lived in extreme poverty, was the child of a slave owner and a slave, a fragmented identity. He travelled extensively in Europe during the fifties and sixties, where he experienced extreme racism. Afterwards he lived in the Antiguan countryside, intensely interested in questions of ecology and agriculture. He was a pioneer. And he painted over 5,000 paintings! An unbelievable body of work, which has not been seen so far. He also wrote poems, worked in nearly all art disciplines. He was the Leonardo da Vinci of Antigua. " –Hans-Ulrich Obrist"

I wish we could stop picking up the bones and proclaiming vitality, picked from the wreckage, like an archaeological dig waiting on the culture to fall - waiting for hardship to patina into aura. Starts to feel like a celebration of pain. The skeletons are worth more to the natural history museum. "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 Hannah Hoffman

Past: Orion Martin at Bodega

"the roughly two inches of depth that Martin allows as pans for the sifting of images, cultural gold, and perhaps owing to Beckman's claustro-orgies, updating that era's expressionism is for this one's iPhone sheen, both's cultural unconscious brought up and pressed against the glass for our peering zoological efforts. ... the images we have internally seared into us, cultural echoes rattling around inside your head's quiet moments occasionally materializing from the noise of your brain a jingle from 30 years ago."

Read full: Orion Martin at Bodega

Thursday, May 6, 2021

Monique Mouton at Bridget Donahue


The fragments, clouds, poems on papyrus to be reassembled. "[Fragments] are wounded, ominous, their meaning is fractured, in ways that can't be put back together. We place these objects to our foreheads and ask for their secrets, contemplate their use, rotate them in our minds. [Their use is] to be pressed to ears, interminably silent, and hear the ocean in your head." Attempts to cage a cloud, the pleasured exhalation of your last cigarette, leave one wondering at the limits of repair. You can identify a world by its fingerprints, but you can't recreate it from. Think Lutz Bacher xeroxing the cosmos to noise that they were always planning on returning to already. The palimpsest that can't be regained. Bathrooms wiped of their graffiti would be a waste two millennia later but two millennia of graffiti isn't much better. Poor Smithson. Sand through fingers, the columns of society finding themselves into finer and finer granules.  For society was a fine dust, and a dust is what it will return. I say, stubbing out a cigarette.

See too: Nazgol Ansarinia at Raffaella Cortese

Monday, May 3, 2021

Jef Geys at Air de Paris


Images-forms which are shown in a certain way, i.e. in a studied “correct” way, under “correct” guidance, embedded in a “correct” strategy, are readily accepted, as if they have existed all the time. Repetition, while creating habit, nearly at the same time leaves a taste of déjà vu. The end is an accepted boredom. Images-forms, no matter how strong they are, may appear perfectly normal, submitted, tame, having reached the saturation point. The images are experienced as something “retinal,” which is also the experience one is looking for: the significance underneath is kept at a distance. We are inclined to dispose of any images which cannot be used to finish our homework, as mere scenery for more important things that we supposedly have on our mind. To demonstrate this obvious wearing out of images, I started looking for basic forms with a very simple structure but a heavily loaded content. 

If Geys' work is confusing, ever shifting, it is because it voids itself of the general markers that usually demarcate its sense/use/meaning.  Geys' don't necessarily ordain a use, something "used to finish our homework" but instead images which flight in and out of an ability to read them for information. A language we are not necessarily tasked with translating but ascertaining whether meaning at all. 

See too: Guy de Cointet at Museum Leuven

Sunday, May 2, 2021

Lewis Hammond at Casa Masaccio


Dark in amber, scenes held in brown glass. A "wine dark sea," a Homerian world devoid of azure. It seems less like we are seeing scenes than seeing them reflected in another substance, using a mirror to inspect the bathroom, a reflection to infer the world around you. An aberration in the glass or in you.