Archive for the ‘Exhibitions’ Category

It Depends

Saturday, March 8th, 2014

The fifth edition of Independent features 50 galleries from 14 countries, which already makes for greater international diversity than The Armory Show.  It’s also a more fluid and relaxed design than the Armory’s rigid booths.  Independent’s exhibitors unroll themselves among angled dividing walls, so the boundaries feel arbitrary and impressionistic.  There’s daylight in this former DIA home, and no hot lamps to make for the Armory’s panopticon anxiety.  It’s no wonder that Creative Advisor Matthew Higgs has called the site “among the most iconic and art-friendly spaces anywhere.”

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But get creative, artist friends, if you don’t have $20 to cover the deterrent ticket fee.  And your VIP connection can’t help; Independent is decidedly separate from the other concurrent fairs and doesn’t honor other passes, not even Diners Club International.  Still, a $20 ticket is closer to affordable than the $40 Armory ticket.  Is it a better deal?  There’s a greater density of relevant-feeling art at Independent, but Armory includes panel discussions and lectures, along with a greater range of modern and contemporary work.  So which ticket is more “worth it?”  There’s a debate to be had, but for now, let’s look at some art…

Photo and sculpture by Alexandre Singh at Sprüth Magers
Armin Boehm at Meyer Riegger

As in recent versions of the Independent, there’s an interesting strain of comics-derived art.  It involves either drawn or appropriated comic images, then often reapplies them with darker or ironic results.  From the slightly more “outsider” end of the continuum is William Crawford, whose 900 erotic drawings, with impressive perspective and architectural drafting, and adult film narrative (such as housewife-on-plumber action) were discovered in an Oakland home and may have been created in a prison, according to Galerie Susanne Zander.  More insider is Julia Wachtel, represented here by a Miley Cyrus/cartoon mash-up.  Dan Graham and Antoine Catala present a CGI love triangle involving a dolphin, presumably autobiographical.  ;)

William Crawford at Galerie Susanne Zander

Julia Wachtel at Elizabeth Dee

Dan Graham and Antoine Catala
Danny McDonald at House of Gaga

Reconstituted, recycled, and appropriated images pop up in works by Leo Gabin, Eloise Hawser, Josh Kolbo, Eva Kotatkova, John Stezaker, and Creative Growth artist John Hiltunen.

Leo Gabin at Peres Projects
Eloise Hawser at Balice Hertling
Eva Kotatkova tabletop fold-out photos at Meyer Riegger
Josh Kolbo at Société

John Stezaker at The Approach

 

Special adventures in materials are evident in a gunpowder abstraction by Tomás Espina, oxidized abstraction by Etienne Chambaud, and resin realism by Andras Ursuta.  Chambaud’s oxidized paintings are made from copper powder paint splashed with wild animal urine from jars; no paws or hooves touch the canvas.  Andras Ursuta presents blocks of resin embedded with resin-cast eggs, peas, and chicken legs – entirely inedible.

Etienne Chambaud at Labor
Adriana Bustos (l) and Tomas Espina (r) at Ignacio Liprandi
Andras Ursuta at Ramiken Crucible

Finally, there’s a semaphoric, geometric current encompassing David Diao, Paul Lee, and Richard Nonas.

David Diao at Office Baroque
Richard Nonas at McCaffrey Fine Art
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Paul Lee at Maccarone

Other works that stood out to me were the cheeky text paintings by Morag Keil and the Matthew Brannon book in a jaunty booth with “mise en scene” designed by his wife, Michelle Elzay, and featuring an elegantly curved table by Jacques Jarrige. I liked the surreal works by Ruth Nemet and Enrico David, an Angela Davis poster by the politically active and St. Petersburg-based collective Chto Delat?, and Mark Dion’s squirrel.  Artist’s Space had tempting boxed portfolio editions available, including Carol Bove, Joan Jonas, Lawrence Weiner, Cory Arcangel, Stewart Uoo, and more.

Morag Keil at Real Fine Arts

Limited Edition prints at Artists Space

Three Star Books, featuring Matthew Brannon and John Armleder

Matthew Brannon's limited edition book at Three Star Books
John Armleder and Matthew Brannon works at Three Star Books
It says, "Knowledge is Power": A "Learning Poster" by Chto Delat? at KOW
Mark Dion at Galerie Nagel Draxler
Creative Growth artist John Hiltunen at White Columns
Creative Growth artist John Hiltunen at White Columns
Martina Kubelk at Galerie Susanne Zander
Glib Reena Spaulings postcards of art dealers at Campoli Presti
Reena Spaulings postcards of art dealers at Campoli Presti
Frances Stark photo of her boyfriend at Artists Space

 

And everything at Broadway 1602 looked great, with a special focus on 1960s and 1980s works by Evelyne Axell, Sylvia Palacios Whitman, Rosemarie Castoro, Experiments in Art and Technology Archive, along with new paintings and a sculpture by Paul P., who also appears in the Whitney Biennial.

Rosemarie Castoro at Broadway 1602
Sylvia Palacios Whitman (l) and Evelyne Axell (r) at Broadway 1602
Experiments in Art and Technology Archive (Leon Harman and Ken Knowlton) at Broadway 1602
Paul P. at Broadway 1602

Of course, the best photo on view is Judy Linn’s portrait of the late Hudson, founder of Feature, Inc., to whom this Independent is lovingly dedicated.

Portrait of Hudson by Judy Linn

Back for More

Friday, March 7th, 2014

If you have a solution to the seemingly deterrent 40-dollar admission fee, the sixteenth edition of the Armory Show offers 205 galleries from 29 countries, including shows-within-a-show.  ”Armory Presents,” the renewed version of the former “Solo Projects,” highlights solo- or duo-artist booths by emerging galleries.  It looks excellent and even includes an OPEC gallery!  ”Armory Focus” is the red-labeled section (seriously!  Red China) curated by Philip Tinari that features 17 galleries from our great Eastern rival Republic, many of which will be exhibiting outside of Asia for the first time.

From the highlight reel, here are some memorable works at Pier 94, the contemporary wing of the fair.

A few glimpses of power (authority), power (energy), and technology are evident, especially in an infrastructure-in-drag landscape by David Lachapelle, constructed from drinking straws, hair curlers, water jugs, and cardboard – followed by an ancestral gas-guzzler by John Wesley and a miniature control room by Roxy Paine:

Daniel Rich at Peter Blum Gallery

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Detail, David Lachapelle, "Land Scape Castle Rock," 2013 at Galerie Daniel Templon
John Wesley at Fredericks & Freiser
Roxy Paine, "Maquette of Control Room Diorama," 2013 at Kavi Gupta Gallery
Joseph Kosuth at Sean Kelly

Here is a heartbreaking work by Colombian artist Miguel Angel Rojas at Houston’s Sicardi Gallery, which features a former Colombian soldier who lost part of his leg in a battle with FARC guerillas. Rojas asked the soldier to pose as “David;” the soldier didn’t know the work. Profits from sale of this work have supported the soldier and his family, where they own a farm in Colombia. Meanwhile, art insiders can pose for a full-body 3-D scan portrait by Karin Sander.

Miguel Angel Rojas at Sicardi Gallery
Karin Sander at Galerie Nachtst St. Stephan Rosemarie Schwarzwalder

Whitney Biennial co-curator Michelle Grabner has tons of work at James Cohan Gallery and women artists are a vital force in this fair.

Whitney Biennial curator Michelle Grabner, "Oyster #5" at James Cohan Gallery
Shingle rhymes with Stingel: Marianne Vitale, "Shingle Painting 7," 2013, at Zach Feuer
Nicole Eisenman, mostly 90s paintings, at Koenig & Clinton
Anoka Faruqee at Koenig & Clinton
Jenny Holzer enamel signs from 1981 at Spruth Magers

Some hotspots at Armory Presents include Hayal Pozanti’s pop-Stuart Davis abstract paintings, accompanied by animated gifs on iPads, some rigid retro-design abstraction by Thomas Raat, and documentation of urban growth in Saudi Arabia by Ahmad Mater.

Best gifs in show: Hayal Pozanti at Jessica Silverman

Saudi artist Ahmad Mater (also a doctor in real-life) at Athr Gallery, Jeddah

Saudi artist Ahmad Mater (also a doctor in real-life) at Athr Gallery, Jeddah
Thomas Raat at BolteLang, Zurich

William Powhida keeps subjects in perspective, while Charlie White flattens subjects against a grid.

Detail, William Powhida at Postmasters
Charlie White at Loock Gallery

Some vintage works snap us out of shiny bijoux worship.

David Wojnarowicz, Untitled (Man with Rifle)," 1983 at P.P.O.W.
Betye Saar, "Wizard," 1972, at Roberts and TIlton

Matthew Hale’s effusive collages also boast this forced-perspective frame.

Matthew Hale, "Page 9 of Miriam's Body," 2013 at Ratio 3

Sean Landers’ paintings look nicer every time I see them, especially with this plaid squirrel writing equations; hopefully, he will keep a distance from Kati Heck’s cat.

Super Sean Landers, "Golden Section," 2013 at Galerie Rodolphe Janssen
Super Sean Landers, "Golden Section," 2013 at Galerie Rodolphe Janssen
Kati Heck, "Deal!," 2014 at Tim Van Laere Gallery

Projects in “Armory Focus: China” feature a broken Roomba and retina-bending op art.

Nadim Abbas at Gallery EXIT, Hong Kong
Li Shurui at Aike Dellarco, Shanghai

After combing this show, you’ll more than satiated, ready to exit with Derrick Adams, retire to Urs Fischer’s bed, go thrash some public art, perhaps flee to the wild unknown captured in Robert Longo’s Burning Man tableaux, or move permanently to Bali, like Ashley Bickerton did.

Derrick Adams, "Welcome Back," 2014 at Tilton Gallery
Urs Fischer from 1997 at Eva Presenhuber
Still from Raphael Zarka, "Riding Modern Art," 2005 at Michael Rein
Robert Longo, "Burning Man," 2013 at Thaddaeus Ropac
King Ashley Bickerton at Lehmann Maupin

Seeds of Love

Wednesday, March 5th, 2014

Rachel Mason, the hardest working woman in the New York art scene, has a solo show up now at Envoy Enterprises.


Rachel Mason, "Starseeds," at Envoy Enterprises

Deeply personal, her show, Starseeds, builds on almost a decade of live performance, studio albums, video, sculpture, filmmaking, and political intervention. Starseeds channels Rachel’s vision of leading women in the art, music, and media worlds. A tiny queendom made from doll parts and mirror shards, the figures congregate throughout the gallery. Some are pinned to the wall like specimen samples, or suspended from the ceiling; others are perched, enthroned, or encrusted on custom pedestals.

Rachel Mason, "Starseeds," at Envoy Enterprises

These figures began to appear during Rachel Mason’s recent LMCC residency, when she decided to direct her ideas and dexterity toward creating likenesses of kindred artist elders. They include Frida Kahlo, Beyonce, Nina Simone, PJ Harvey, Madonna, Yayoi Kusama, Louise Bourgeois, Joan Jonas, Yva Las Vegas, and many more.

Rachel Mason, "Starseeds," at Envoy Enterprises

The sculptures are a direct result, and contradiction, of Rachel’s earlier The Ambassadors sculptures. Those works focused on dictators, mostly male, who launched atrocities during Rachel’s lifetime, including Saddam Hussein, Pol Pot, and more. Of The Ambassadors, Rachel writes:

“I wanted to understand how a small number of people could affect massive numbers of people so I had to stare them in the face. I had to get inside their minds. I wanted to understand how I am connected to these individuals because I believe that I am.”

The Ambassadors eventually expanded to include scores of other world leaders, then pointed Rachel toward The Candidate, a series of drawings of Democratic presidential candidates from 2007 to 2008. This political work took on another dimension when Rachel recently performed FutureClown Filibuster, a lip-synched performance of infamous Rand Paul and Ted Cruz filibusters, abridged.  In between these landmark exhibitions, Rachel conjured up autocrats and dictators through numerous live performances, videos, and original songs, some co-written by their subjects.

Rachel’s political artwork is rigorous and responsive, constantly refreshing itself to adapt to real-life and real-time events. But as an ongoing, durational reaction, it can appear to trail behind the events it addresses, inevitably forfeiting the opening argument. Which is why Starseeds is such a success. It enables Rachel to advance and propose an argument.  The Starseeds history, lineage, and canon are her original conception, her example, her model. Moreover, the Starseeds personae help us perceive where Rachel “is coming from” and begin to contextualize her outlook, or at least to paint a bigger picture of her worldview.

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Further context becomes available when Rachel immerses herself among her sculptures in a video downstairs.  Clad in her own mirror spacesuit, highly expressive performs Marry Me Mary, a synthpop spell with mythic, morbid lyrics:

“Stone will survive unless it loses the will to stay alive
and you pretend to sleep so heavy, like a saint sarcophagi
and your marble tomb is getting old and clinging to a strip of earth
that bears your name and holds your place.”

 

The place in question, at least for this show, is a wayward planet in need of the larger-than-life personae captured in Rachel’s Starseeds sculptures.  The practitioners she invokes offer redeeming qualities and cures for the hostile conditions propagated by the tyrants Rachel sculpted in earlier projects. Twinkling in shimmering mirror cocoons and armor, the Starseeds sculptures remind us to look up and away before getting down and dirty.

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Purple and Cold

Friday, February 7th, 2014

What happens when one of the world’s most corrupt countries hosts the most expensive Olympics?  You get bribery and embezzlement.  What happens when one of the world’s most homophobic countries bans gay expression?  You get creative resistance.

Resistance to Putin’s Olympics includes boycotts, demonstrations, kiss-ins, a Google doodle, and even nail polish.  And arrests have begun, too.

Russia has come close to ruining the Olympics.  It has sparked a toxic triangulation of progressives versus the Olympics and Russia.  But let’s take the Olympics back, and turn that triangle: progressives and the Olympics versus Russia!

So what should cultural producers do?  They should produce!  Here’s Purple & Gold at Louis B. James Gallery, a design project and one-night exhibition for which New York artists created a “capsule collection” of queer tracksuits.  The tracksuits will be available for sale via PRINTALLOVER.ME, the print-a-porter startup founded by Jesse Finkelstein.  Proceeds from sales will benefit the Russian LGBT Network.

Designs by Robert Melee (left) and T.M. Davy (right)

Purple & Gold is curated and executed by David Fierman and PRINT ALL OVER ME.  Participating artists include Aay Kay Burns, Jibz Cameron, Deric Carner, T.M. Davy , Christian Dietkus, Scott Hug, Casey Legler, Kalup Linzy, Michael Mahalchick, Ryan McNamara, Robert Melee, Lucas Michael, Wardell Milan, David Mramor, Jack Pierson, Colin Self, David Benjamin Sherry, and more.

Concept by Jibz Cameron/Dynasty Handbag

Project Miele

Monday, January 27th, 2014

SVA alumna Joan Di Lieto recently debuted Project Miele, her permanent painting installation at Mount Sinai’s new Hess Center for Science and Medicine.

Joan Di Lieto, "Project Miele," 2014

Project Miele is a triptych of eight-foot tall, abstract oil paintings that integrate into the south wall of the Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill-designed Hess Center. Like ceremonial scrolls, the paintings illuminate and preside over the open and transparent first three floors, with dramatic sight lines from any vantage point. They feel especially inviting when viewed from below, which maximizes their towering dignity.

Joan Di Lieto and "Project Miele," 2014

With richly textured surfaces and densely layered strata of abstract forms, the paintings emphasize a relationship with organic movement and geometric structure. They seem to freeze a moment within a process. Flashes of light burst from a connective honeycomb field, while spindly tendrils and effervescent vacuoles coalesce. Like Monet’s Waterlily paintings, the two outer paintings could continue beyond their edges; while the middle panel seems to draw its elements toward its center.

Joan Di Lieto, "Project Miele," 2014

Together, the luminous images invoke cellular biology and its applications. Indeed, Ms. Di Lieto is a cancer survivor. She writes, “Like the bonds in the double-helix structure, these works represent the complex and close relationship between physician and patient, combined with the green-gold healing properties of light.”