Monday, May 30, 2022

Allan McCollum at Galerie Thomas Schulte

This is perfect, exactly what we've been talking about, the interpretative box of art, a painting as tarot card, tea leaves, humans as meaning production machines. Make an object that performs it, dancing, meaning. 
Past: Allan McCollum

"McCollum's brute force attack on "creativity," ironizing uniqueness with its interminable variation, like 'try and stand out in this crowd kid,' pulling out the cornerstones of value with machine made uniqueness, the scary "algorithm," and handcrafted replaced with stand-ins, surrogates, and stage props. Making uniqueness bland. How cruel. Showing on the doll where the creativity hurt him. "

"...without rarity in their uniqueness, but a collector’s majority stake, hoarding wealth like diamonds, irradiating gold, that old Dr.No trick, a governed population, produces power. "

"A cold humanism, depressing individuality. The endgame summated in the center of far sides's black/white sea innumerate, an individual, a penguin, singing, “I gotta be me, Oh I just gotta be me.”

Read full: Allan McCollum at Mary Boone, Allan McCollum at PetzelAllan McCollum at Thomas Schulte

Friday, May 27, 2022

past: Julia Wachtel at Vilma Gold

"Wachtel's sign systems of the cultural meltdown, express the rupture, floating between Baldesarrian inanity and Wolfsonian semantic violence. Finding the tense middle ground where the inanity is the violence, of someone hitting you in the face with something so dumb."

Read: Julia Wachtel at Vilma Gold

Maryam Jafri at Kai Matsumiya


The schizo of culture is well stated; advertising diamonds next to atrocities is news. But rather than documents of raw schizophrenia, Jafri's ability to wrest visual homology in paradox makes the point both elegant and clear. Culture subjectification is a catch-22, no exit, mirror chamber. Jafri lays out a funhouse of our ourselves, cartoon reflections in warped media. Fun!

While this could be confused with cargo-cult droppings, with the compositionalized detritus of "interpretation box theory of art"- its important to note the distinction. The composition is not intended to hay-wire content. It isn't jumbled wreckage on altars, but clear and concisely packaged for its cataloging. Arguable. 

Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Danny McDonald at House of Gaga


This is the interpretation box of art. (see: yesterday) A object we can't see "inside," so place its empty vessel to skull, ask for clues. From the debris of culture. Making this cargo-cult art. The compostionalized altars of cultural refuse. We are welcome to interpret the reassembly of it. Assemblage meaning. Composition as a device we associate with art, and art with meaning. Therefore these edible arrangement of content makes "art" - which is meaningful, tautologically. Ostensibly. 

See too: Danny McDonald, Cargo Cult

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Yngve Holen at Spazio Maiocchi


No one really knows how the algorithm works, what happens inside the box is beyond attempts of research. We are told the machine is a conglomerate larger than any one person is capable of understanding. In it appears a larger entity. We are incapable to understand the monolith. Technology replaces the dark forest we once feared. This isn't a particularly modern feeling. The sublime is now stupid ungovernable boxes, those that dictate our lives. And we stand before them, cut in half, to expose that there is no ghost. Just an indifference that hurts, needs our thought as comfort blanket to wrap its vacuum chill. we hold object-like-skulls to our own crania, ask painting for meaning. Holen's techno-voids are merely translations of art's own interpretation-box attitude. This is art, altars. An interpretable fount, an empty skull that against all known understanding still feels to give back stupidly chills. 

Past: Danny McDonald

"- demolition of meaning - and the cargo-cult pickings arranged as totems: toys now bespeak a Pop-freudian analysis, a culture as its artifacts. the subconscious of culture - a C-3PO with robot tits, an Alien brain tumor, Schwarzenegger slurping a pink dick, the monster made to hold a mirror to itself..."

"semio-space is more and more dominated by cultural IP whose worlds are tightly closed by labyrinthian legal frameworks. What you can and can't do with Barbie on an advertisement is governed by at least 10 pages of legal, and 40 pages of 'best practices.' The mass majority of children learn of good/evil from summer blockbusters more than any Sunday doldrum. This is our culture's totems, gods, rearrange them on poles... converting to hieroglyphics a culture like we weren't already scratching our heads at it. The inkblot was deemed to have little psychologic validity. Yet here we are."

Monday, May 23, 2022

Past: Yngve Holen

"We treat objects as if they are magic, we acting like a cargo cult, arranging the droppings of the industrial gods like paganists worshipping more technically advanced nations. We place their refuse in our altars. Objects are designed to affect us, strangely adept at it, advertising like a massive psychologic program and objects are the sediment of its energies. But despite every attempt to make technical objects sympathetic to us, they are unfortunately cold and this is difficult for us."

"That terrible emptiness of objects, an indifference that hurts, and in Holen and other's objects we begin to see boogeymen that we assume must be there to fill the cold object with anything but a desolation. We exceed at inventing gods where there are none. What is behind it is only us. It is obvious at this point that objects we design are reflections of us, this is how the field of anthropology operates. We are designers of our world, of our water coolers cut in half in attempts to find its ghost. There is only us standing around it attempting the small talk of art writing."

"These insectile eyes we recognize is an anthropomorphism softening the blow of cold dead indifference."

Read full: Yngve Holen at Fine Arts, SydneyYngve Holen at Kunsthalle BaselYngve Holen at Modern ArtDavid Lieske at MUMOKYngve Holen at Modern Art

Thursday, May 19, 2022

Past: Max Neuhaus at Alfonso Artiaco

Here the invisibility of the works themselves present an overtly extravagant hyperbolization of its decorum framing images and sounds drawn to explicate another world entirely.

Full: Max Neuhaus at Alfonso Artiaco

Friday, May 13, 2022

Joshua Abelow at Baader-Meinhof


So I realized that being with my family is more important than being cool
Dad, what you just said was powerfully uncool
You know what this song says, it's hip to be square
That song is so lame
So lame .. that it's cool?
Am i cool kids
Good I'm glad. And that's what makes me cool? not caring right?
Oh how the hell do you be cool? I feel like we tried everything here.
Wait Marge maybe if you're truly cool you don't need to be told you're cool 
Well sure you do. 
How else would you know?

We're told there is a spectrum between "based" and "cringe." And also that binaries are insipid. That there is a third option, the only true "baseness" is through "cringe." A zoomer divide analogous to GenX's authentic/corporate divide (grunge fully Hegelianated into hyperpop, Pop 2.) But so, point: interest comes from synthesis. And here we have an emerging artist's retrospective. Artistic puberty as heralded mythos, before mythos. Most artists think its bad luck to say "Famous Artist" out loud but here we have all the credentials: the childhood drawings, 3rd place ribbons, rejections and recommendations - this is usually the post-mortem, the detritus for the historian's magnifying glass. Usually in the museum bearing your name. Here the receipts adorn a house gallery in Omaha. Which makes for exhibition as puffed as it is sniffling. It's intensely personal. Cardboard not corporate. The paradox of coolness is that one must "go one's own way" while maintaining sightlines with the status quo. Abelow has walked this tightrope exceptionally well. In a certain sense CAWD and Abelow are opposite mirrors to same problem: identity construction as aversion to Walmart purchased coolness. Whereas CAWD basically deleted self and thefted the corporate, Abelow and his (originally quasi-anon) projects have doubled down on exurban paths to cool, like rural even. It's what we euphemistically refer to as an artist "not impacted by current market trends." Because it's never true. They know, despite. If there is transcendence in Abelow's path, it is in happily showcasing underpants, saying out loud "famous artist," (as Oehlen put it, "really hanging your head out the window and letting it hit you") hanging out to dry your teenage self-portrait, basically exposing yourself for all to see, without real mythos armor, nothing more cringe than that. 

"The wider artworld came to know Abelow through his Art Blog which -coming to prominence against the sterile facade of CAD's hegemony - felt human, resistant, and no-qualms subjective key to a very specific NY scene, felt warm in reestablishing the local against the global, like grocery co-op charm to Walmart's efficiency. It felt NY again. And as interest increased for those looking for the freshest produce Abelow became, if a not a ringleader, then a purveyor of visibility, a figure of some small access in a scene, that everyone knew, all the while and for like ten years before making scruffy hamhanded paintings that purviewed the doubt of the painter, the doubt morphing over many years, the paintings changing over the course of Abelow's character development from unknown, from entendres of suicide ("HANG ME") to flat laughter ("HARHAR") and as the painter character grew to show himself, to paintings of a man running full speed with his erection before him, to today that same man cloaked in the facade of a powerful witch, and all lovely abstractions along the way, still running."

 Joshua Abelow at Freddy

Thursday, May 12, 2022

Ezra Tessler at Hudson House


Let's stop talking about surrealism, let's start talking about the new little crustie. Approaching, but never quite, shellfish. This is what we tried to describe as "Lulu-core," or "the crustables." A natural evolution of Materialphilia. See too:

Miho DohiIsabel Nuño de Buen at LuluSophie Barber at Alison Jacques, Zhiliang Zhao at Lulu & Hélène Fauquet at Édouard MontassutMiho DohiGina BeaversMaterialphilia

Tuesday, May 10, 2022


"...defeatist humor mocking not just the male tool but deflating the hard language of conceptual art: telling the joke over and over again on larger and larger sheets of paper, the high rhetoric of big egos reduced to a bad joke - Cue: Beyonce '♪♫ Cause he's got a big 'ego.' ♪♫' Bernstein: 'it wasn’t funny.'"

"Bernstein painting what had always been repressed as explicit - the large male "personality" embedded in art's very culture - of course couldn't be acceptable: art despises the frank open, [...] the great irony that Boone is showing these now: think of a giant crusty cock painting hanging in the same room as Schnabel, asserting maybe just where all that great thick paint on large canvases was coming from, the Yale professors of course uncomfortable by this exposing, like totally classic Freud. ..."

Read full: Judith Bernstein at Mary Boone, Judith Bernstein at Kunsthall StavangerJudith Bernstein at Studio Voltaire


"No one packs up a van without reason... precisely one car load, kept, allowed into the future. The amount one can carry. What can be preserved as our possessions-as-selves eroding in time streamlined against current's abrasion. Which amass more in new homes. What will be the last object of yours finally cast into waste by your children? Objects carry briefly into tomorrow, but the artist is allowed attempts to loft their objects onto the generational ships of museums, while entire histories of others are and have been lost. Like Dahn Vo's attempt to carry Martin Wong's possessions, or even Cianciolo's corrugate time vessels, we allow a certain amount of artistic provenance into the future, and all the hope for it."

"relevancy in the instant availability of the digital panopticon red water requires constant change, adapt or be obsolete, things lose whatever luster they had quick, and though not every exhibition is required to be a hit, everyone is immediately aware of a bunt."

Full: Ken Okiishi at Reena SpaulingsKen Okiishi at Reena SpaulingsKen Okiishi at Mathew

Ulysses Jenkins at Hammer Museum, Los Angeles


We're not meant to see these photos. Which explains their useless. (I mean the above image is a photo of a halo, not art.) They're meant for editorial, press photos, meant to accompany some review, to supplement what has become The Museum's online cavalcade of docents, saltzes, cheerleaders. Ostensibly me. Weirdly hard to view the work, and now words to stand in for; the foregrounding to replace ground. It's a strange turn for art. Reviews have become the information broadcast mechanism of the museum, its education wings. Which begins to eclipse the work itself: an artwork covered in newspaper clippings about itself. "We are just a mass of images you've gotten to know."

Monday, May 9, 2022

Omari Douglin at Theta

Blow up the pages of adolescent sketchbooks and access the id. Puberty in painting. The remains of a cultural explosion, TNT sears the shadows of coyotes into the walls our skulls. This is the imprint of culture, the massive hot branding of our brains. As you get older the projections get bigger, the canvas becomes a better receptacle. 

Friday, May 6, 2022

Shabahang Tayyari at Delgosha Gallery


Painting converts to interface, the iconization of content. The practice of stylization and production of  "series" become obvious. Content on the swirl setting. Information is converted to its image then compositionalized. But that doesn't nerf it. The interface is strong, it causes our reading which we cannot prevent. Icons are meaning even when they don't. and we are like hypnotized. We are made to read space, and here sign systems converted to labyrinth make puzzling. 

see too: Shabahang Tayyari at Balice HertlingMath Bass at Michael Jon & AlanAntek Walczak at Jenny’s

Past: David Lieske

"Lieske was of the first of the cargo cults reassembling the totems of meaning in the desert of it, picking detritus. The issue was resolved not by necessarily by making objects mean again - which they couldn't - it's hard to make an empty bottle mean in arid land - but by situating objects so that they connoted meaning despite whatever inscrutable blankness. Like hieroglyphs. What was important was exuding the affect of meaning, regardless of whether there was any and that it didn't matter anyway was what we were all beginning to pick up on and what the commercial world had known for decades (that you can create "meaning" at will with attitude, aura) which while Lieske pondering whether this was a problem was suddenly flooded and drown by more ephebic artists already having decided for him it wasn't and now this is the water we live in, a flooded terrain of objects imbued, over-saturated "meaning."

"If so much art looks like Broodthaers today, it is because Broodthaers was of the first invested in the arrangements of display as a credence to meaning, institutional or otherwise."

"An ambivalence at the heart of much of art today displayed as presentations of objects left to the viewer with a "deal with it" coolness, figurative sunglasses donned."

Click to read full: David Lieske at MUMOKDavid Lieske at Lovaas Projects

Thursday, May 5, 2022

Mohammed Sami at Modern Art


Painting is affect nailed to content. A vibe sewn to image. Internally, the content withdraws to mystery, creating a distending space where paint floats above a darkening void. An interface of brush and flowers, in foliage a search for clues, a search for where to lay meaning. This is what painting must tension as its interminable life support. This is what we prize painting for, the mud writ question

See: Shannon Cartier Lucy at Hussenot 

Tuesday, May 3, 2022

Hana Miletić at Basement Roma


Knitting being an embodiment of care. (Because knitting is so laboriously outmoded it can only be care, i.e. not capitalism, more love hours than can ever be repaid, etc. Knitting is the province of excess time, and attention, which translates to -anticapitalist- care) And so, now using knitting as a medium representing other forms of care/repair. Like hand grinding paint to depict a pencil sketch or whatever. A sort of redundancy, or analogy? Homology? Tautology? The point is there is effort-over-time in reproducing others attempts at care. Effort invokes effort. (The stitch marks time.)
"Why does "stitching" make a comeback? Impressionism's strokes showcasing its painterly labor. It had been that eventually genius embedded itself into the canvas, itself signifying "art," and blankness was fine. Does canvas no longer back painting's monetary value a priori? Do we need proof of work? Like the ornately etched lines of paper currency, making the labor of reproduction more expensive than the bill itself - proof of scarcity, value. Time equates to money. But now we have copy machines, CNC routers, childlabor and interns. Perhaps proof of work is just nostalgia for when there was infinite time, for when there was time. "
This separation of our social relations we've so completely assimilated that labor itself returns as a literal fetishism, stitches mark this labor, look compelling, can be brought out onto white walls, as aura, as artwork. Every cheap objects is an equal tapestry. The stitches in time are smoother, hidden. Hold up your child's plastic toy and feel another at its end.

see too: