Sunday, October 31, 2021

Mark Grotjahn Backcountry Blum & Poe, Los Angeles


Probably one of the best parts of being crowned with the blue-chip, you get to start mass producing absolute eye-gougers and people accept it, are forced to take it, saying thank you thanks, asking for their slaughter. 

Alison Yip at Noah Klink


Art in becomes reading the tea leaves of abstraction. (Stated previously.) The viewer made seer. The point of art, seemingly, is to create stronger affect in said tea leaves. To make the more desirable lures. So Yip's reversal here, having her fortune read before making the painting here, is a literalization of art's more mythic, latent, process of viewer-seerization. Sort of like explaining the joke as the joke. 

Thursday, October 28, 2021

 Past: Mark Grotjahn 

"Production itself becomes interesting, massing it, output. As Bayrle, his own resurgence now, called it: 'The quality of quantity.' Remember Josh Smith hanging his name into our heads, how villainously insipid it seemed, and now here we are, assaulted again with a man hammering his signature at us. We're not even post-warhol ... the corpse artificially warm for all these artists to wring it for one more drop of blood, standing in his Shadows, except there aren't any here, instead how white those walls, how pushed to verge of overblown, photographically enhanced to candy. A Museum for Ice Cream. Neapolitan! Mint! The sugary libidinal to quench our thirst."

full: Mark Grotjahn at LACMAMark Grotjhan at Karma

Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Louise Lawler at Metro Pictures


It's lights out. The big sleep, render art in some purgatory, between the ghosts of artistic mythology, and their cynical corpse: "they are but objects." Render an inkblot: whether you see spirit or corpse depends on your personal faith in an afterlife. There are two types of art person, and the afterlife is a dividing idea of whether art's sacrificial Christ-like MEANING have intrinsic value/spiritual uplift to a culture, or whether it's just a story told for comfort against a great yawning cold. I.e. What you see in the shadows. An inkblot.

Night at the Museum would show that, at least culturally, we believe in some form of afterlife. Ben Stiller gesticulates. 

Sunday, October 24, 2021

Liao Wen at Capsule Shanghai


[H.R.] Giger for whom the mechanical and biological found a waypoint in the skeleton, the complex curvature of the arthropod's organic exo-shell, the crabs and muscle cars who share the PVC fetishist's interest in shiny hard bulges; it wasn't hard a move to the erotic.
And these find waypoint of flesh and bone in wood. A confusion of Ripley and her Alien queen, a newborn mess of biological scaffolding, saying "please kill me" and under flamethrower, flesh that burns like kindling. 

Thursday, October 21, 2021

Ghislaine Leung at Museum Abteiberg


The detective novel. evidence. monoliths. clue. diversion. Suspicion. Creep. examination under light. walls dusted for prints. reading for signs. to solve. to produce MEANING. a portrait, forensic psychology. But, you say, CAWD has railed against the viewer deputized as detective, making exhibitions as hunt for the story trailed clues. (i.e. That's a Kippenberger in a frame by Leung, the Beuys drawings have a history, the onions' backstory. The walls reveal writing.) And you, dear viewer, on the hunt. The goal of this art is to produce a meaning-like affect in objects. The greatest goal is a suspicion without end - a mechanized fount of art. On the other hand, It feels like we can get rid of all this, say these objects do not meaningfully add up, preferably, and still there is something here. A distinction important. What Hainley called "the affect and the sensorial in a tradition of conceptual or minimalist work." or question of "when is the smell coming from the item and when it is manufactured without the thing." Important:  a meaning not generally associated, a meaning dissociated. "an emotional response repeatedly evoked in situations in which the action tendency that is associated with the emotion proves irrelevant or unnecessary" causes desensitization. "WELCOME"

What Fatima Hellberg called Leung's "ambivalent logic spaces" - their care for us is dissociated- which is our general experience but which we are socialized to endure.  The replacement of [sensitivity, emotion, humanity, our utterance] with not necessarily colder forms, but more efficient. A provided more efficient sentiment. (A more efficient conceptual art? Museum space architecture as invisible socialization.) Made apparent by the continuous multiplying of forms, "Welcome", into a chorus of commodified sentiment. Signing "The Boss." Capital providing our utterances with balloons that kill turtles. ("The hospitalization of sentiment.") The socialization of space or more accurately that spaces are socialization. Now estranged. Ir-relational aesthetics?

Monday, October 18, 2021

Guillaume Bijl at Meredith Rosen Gallery


Wearing a mask of your own face. When does the movie set become actual?  An office attempts to represent an office. This nonfunctional office, dead, is the uncanny, painted corpse. A"transformation" of space in capitalism.The fun here is how easily it works, the distinguishing signs among commodities. The difference between a tarp, a trash bag and tent. Mere signs. Don't bring Baudrillard into this. This is not theory, but funhouse, fun. 

For many, a film's believability is important ... to maintain its dream-thrall and for its duration become real. We understand fiction as able to - even momentarily - become actual. And in [x's] work seeing false things we know have the power to become real is its humorous anxiety. The various distances from "realness" are its multiple punchlines. At what point are the arrangements are decor and at what point it is the authentic living room.... At what point does our decor function as a reflection of society and at what point do our living rooms produce their own image for Hollywood and your neighbors to reproduce, and at what point does suspension of disbelief just become permanent.

See too: Guillaume Bijl at Nagel DraxlerWilliam Leavitt at MAMCO


"Sign detached ever-so-slightly from its signified, like wearing a mask of its own face. Tableau in which the performers perform themselves. And question of, 'How could I ever possibly be not be myself?'"

Full: Guillaume Bijl at Nagel Draxler

Sunday, October 17, 2021


stonehengification - 

The "big dumb object." A more cartoon sculpture. Paleo-totemism. With a smile. 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 eyes.

As the world feels precarious, moves closer towards its end, we find solace looking towards the primitive we might find as our future, 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.

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

Friday, October 15, 2021

 Past: Huma Bhabha at Clearing

"sculpture's totemization ... the mystique of the runic object, stonehengification"

Full: Huma Bhabha at Clearing

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Altoon Sultan Paintings at Chris Sharp Gallery


I was told you have to see these in person, that they're on calfskin, that you're missing half of it, the dusty tempera, the supple egg. A shield against digital suck, prizing your IRL. The sensuous preserved from its extraction/production by image. Protected. It could feel a bit christian, chaste, the erotic guarding, what's not revealed. Which the compositions support, they are roadblocks, closed and hinting, like... O'Keeffe, but the pants stay on. Looking through the fence of your jeans, finding denim, seeking calfskin.

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Lynda Benglis at Xavier Hufkens


Everyone owes a big [x] to Benglis. The "unspecific objects." What made her outré from post-minimalism then is everyone's laurels today. The "theatrical," an excess of reference, too many things at once. I don't even mind the gold bronzini in the other room - sometimes you get to give yourself a trophy. 

See too: , "Bodily Innuendo"Nairy BaghramianRon Nagle at Modern Art

Monday, October 11, 2021


"... there's something about "mechanistic" and "shower" that will always dredge some historical subconscious. These are the afterimages of such. If Foucault were alive we'd already know the spa is a prison. But he's dead and these linger with some notion of. ..."

Megan Marrin at Queer Thoughts

Friday, October 8, 2021

Oscar Murillo at Taka Ishii Gallery


This is the fallout of On Kawara conceptual art. What he posed as a question - whether a sign can contain its moment - has metastasized into marketing strategy.* The PR tells you the locale of these paintings making - their "downloaded content." Against modernist universality, the big dumb abstraction of today localizes itself, we resurrect the author to make sure their symbolic laurel is branded into the painting by the press release, this is the On Kawara stamp. You don't contribute anything to geopolitics, the point is to chant it. 

*"While this was the central conundrum to conceptual art since its inception, the rupture and distance between sign and object (always at risk that its sign didn't actually contain its object) it has since been taken as granted, as a granting agency for value added. While On Kawara's July 21st 1969 poses the question of whether it actually contains the weight of a moon landing, the paint sprayed is given to absorb the history. If an artist goes into the woods and there is no cellphone service around to hear him, does it imbue itself into the copper objects as significant? Jason Rhoades built a career of mocking this value-added system, performing it under absurdly comical conditions, to create his referentially seminal signature: PeaRoeFoam, a mess of so much reference and history and jest that it self imploded. Or Seinfeldized by Arcangel. .. So a word for this value-added process based absorption/valorization of reference."

Past: Oscar Murillo at Carlos/Ishikawa

"like Water Lilies, spilled in crude oil. Painting history, a denim we distress. 'The hardship that is reclaimed like wood for collectors.' ... While the ultra-wealthy trade the scatalogic nappies of adult-child-brutes whose own naive styles self-declare their idiocy as avant and thus valuable as coins amongst collectors..."

"A distress we can apply like paint... "

"There's never been anything particularly subtle about Murillo's work... hulking metaphors writ in barn door sizes. A grandiosity that shadows whatever the work is "about," allowing a fleetingness, an evasiveness. ... The arrows are huge, blinking, blinding, cover for what-you-want-it-to-be-about aboutness."

Past: Oscar Murillo at Carlos/IshikawaOscar Murillo at David Zwirner

Thursday, October 7, 2021

Pentti Monkkonen at High Art


Life averts entropy, says the press release after a sorta synopsis of oil and marketing. Basically life is complexification, sews ornate carbon chains that we now crumble, burn to release their energy. I.e. we simplify life to power our cars, putting out chaos, exhaust, (traveling to a localized heat death before a later big one. (Plus your own personal.)) Returning to the dust we once were, without order, everything again sand. (See too: .) Your own personal dust machine. This would have the minorest semantic connection to the paintings on view, if it weren't that Monkkonen didn't seem continually hellbent on slicing container from content, brand from form. So the infra-thin PR addendum is just another onion skin peeled. It's the marketing, the butterfly preserve to pretend the rest isn't belching smoke. Painting as advert for its claim to avert chaos. Pretending, like me, to, against a law of the universe, produce order worth burning.

Everything Pentti Monkkonen

Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Merlin James at Kerlin Gallery


For all our interest in "pushing the boundaries of painting" or whatever, James shows how weird painting can actually be. So far outside current tastes that not even sure we like them, ugly as hell, but beauty is dead. These totally void the question of the painter alignment chart -  what did Hainley say about Dianna Molzan, they "vogue their structure"? These are like painting trying to turn itself into a car. Even the dumbly painted ones, paintings trying to pretend they're a cat. 

See too: Richard Aldrich at Gladstone GalleryTorey Thornton at Essex Street

Carlos Reyes at Soft Opening


It's about time the techno-conceptual and the surreal had their current vogues assimilated. Martin Creed's lights turning on and off with a more technically advanced press spanking.

 Past: Carlos Reyes at Waldo

"aboringdystopia or the Monuments of Passaic, New Jersey. A time machine built in Self-Storage by incompetent tech bros in Dallas. That vaguely sci-fi style of There's something that draws us to tech-fantasy in the ruins, the outskirts and desolation and the way capitalism inhabits it. ... Worth it for the photos alone.."

 full: Carlos Reyes at Waldo

Friday, October 1, 2021

Goutam Ghosh at STANDARD (OSLO)


Anyone spending anytime reading Tufte understands that information is more interesting than painting. (Tufte should be handed out in drawing/painting 101.) This because we are hardwired to seek and the roulette wheel of information skimming (more than actually discovering information) is what triggers dopamine reward centers. So when a painting lures a visual array that we might could process, there's an intrinsic nervous response to its search. Surely our rat brains will make some meaning of this. We're desperate to. Twombly or Griffa, yeah. Information age symbolism? But a bit yellower, warmer, threatening its loss. 

See too: Antek Walczak at Jenny’s, Jordan Wolfson at Sadie Coles HQ, Yellowing