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Reviews

In “The Wig Museum,” Jim Shaw Inaugurates An Institution For The End Of The World

by Michael Anthony Farley on July 18, 2017
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In the Marciano Art Foundation’s The Wig Museum, Jim Shaw combines theatrical sets, beauty culture, the suburban nightmare, apocalyptic imagery and more. It might feel like the end times, but it’s a promising start to a new institution.

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In “Mind-Controlled Sperm: Woman of STEAM Grabs Back” Ani Liu Flips the Script

by Michael Anthony Farley on June 23, 2017
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“Anti-disciplinary artist” Ani Liu has invented a device that allows women to control the movement of sperm with just their their thoughts. Really.

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The Venice Biennale Pavilions: Caged Dogs, Fallen Logs, and the Problem of Time

by Paddy Johnson on June 6, 2017
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Pretty much any traveler will end up thinking about time in Venice given the age of the city, but the Biennale amplifies this tendency. Even in thinly attended years, visitors to the Venice Biennale preview quickly get used to standing in long cues to see popular pavilions. As far as VIP events go, the pavilion previews aren’t the least bit exclusive, so wait times come with the territory. As a result art is often considered by whether or not it’s worth the time you budget.

A discussion of Anne Imhof at the German Pavilion, Geoffrey Farmer at the Canadian Pavilion and Mark Bradford at the US Pavilion after the jump.

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Angela Bulloch at Esther Schipper: When Three Sculptures Feel Like a Ballet

by RM Vaughan on June 5, 2017
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The following might sound like a backhanded compliment, but stick with me. Angela Bulloch’s gorgeous new sculptures, on view at Esther Schipper, are happily in sync with what we traditionally think of as summer fare: big, colorful, distracting and kid-friendly. All that’s missing is the popcorn.

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Three Shows: Beki Basch, Hein Koh, and “Photo Flesh”

by Michael Anthony Farley on May 19, 2017
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The next week is a good time to do some art-seeing on the westside of downtown Baltimore. Michael Jones McKean’s commission from The Contemporary has transformed an old department store into a dystopian museum and it’s teriffying and great. You can check it out by appointment until May 31st, when it will be deinstalled. Luckily some of the city’s strongest artist-run spaces are within a few blocks of the show and also tend to accommodate by-appointment viewings. I checked out three openings last weekend: Beki Basch’s trippy Vision Quest Lundi: Flush / Flood at Current Gallery, Hein Koh’s technicolor wonderland Joy & Pain at Platform, and the group show Photo Flesh at Terrault Contemporary featuring three international genre-bending photographers from the Birmingham School of Art.

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Michael Jones McKean Makes Museums Existentially Terrifying

by Michael Anthony Farley on May 19, 2017
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In Michael Jones McKean’s The Ground, presented by The Contemporary, the artist has inserted a dystopian anthropology museum in a long-vacant department store. It’s smart, funny, and just a little terrifying.

See it while you can.

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The Venice Biennale: An Orphanage for the Terminally Out-of-Touch

by Paddy Johnson on May 17, 2017
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It was close to midnight when my phone started lighting up last week. James Comey, the head of the FBI, was fired and the freak out was almost immediate. I felt lucky to be in Italy. A buffer from US news was necessary to maintain any kind of focus on the Venice Biennale, not to mention one’s sanity. And yet, even from this distance, the turmoil back home certainly drove home one point: Art isn’t going to save democracy. Art has no impact on Donald Trump’s actions, the FBI, or any of the Republicans in the senate and congress. People can call their representatives. Art cannot.

All of which is to say, the art professional who believes artists are magical unicorns who will save us all is looking increasingly silly. And so, visiting this year’s Venice Biennale Viva Art Viva curated by Christine Macel, which begins with the premise that artists will shape the world to come, felt a bit like walking through a United Way commercial. The upside of this: the 2017 Biennale more diverse than many of its predecessors. The downside: diversity isn’t of much value if the show is bad.

The Biennale fails both thematically and visually.

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The Last Day of Disco; DUOX4Odell’s: You’ll Know If You Belong

by Michael Anthony Farley on April 28, 2017
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When tasked with paying tribute to a long-shuttered nightclub, Wickerham & Lomax went an unusual route. Their ambitious DUOX4Odell’s: You’ll Know if You Belong, which closes tonight in Baltimore, speaks to loss and placelessness as much as glamour.

Closing Reception: April 28th, 7:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.
1723 N. Charles Street, Baltimore

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Three Shows: Olafur Eliasson, Alice Neel and Romare Bearden

by Paddy Johnson on April 26, 2017
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A few thoughts on Olafur Eliasson, Alice Neel and Romare Bearden. TLDR: See Romare Bearden at DC Moore Gallery before it closes this Saturday.

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California Dreaming: “Golden State” at Marianne Boesky Gallery

by Emily Colucci on April 7, 2017
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As a New Yorker, much of my conception of California is filtered through films and TV. At least recently with the popularity of HBO’s Little Big Lies and the continued guilty pleasure of the Real Housewives franchise, California looks like it’s made up of big houses, bigger drama and staggering affluence. But, in addition to the extreme privilege in Orange County, Beverly Hills and Monterey, the state, according to Census research, also has the highest poverty rate in the nation.

Curator Drew Sawyer takes aim at this divide through deceptively simple means in his group photography exhibition Golden State at Marianne Boesky Gallery. Sawyer juxtaposes both staged and documentary style representations of enormous wealth with lack to showcase both individual and communal aspirations. Now, this is a recipe for a pretty standard show, but what makes Sawyer’s approach stand out is how his juxtapositions give us greater insight into a less pictured part of California–not just lower income neighborhoods, but the social and governmental structures that support them.

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