From the category archives:

Reviews

The Benefits of Isolation: Mike Goodlett at Christian Berst Art Brut

by Paul Brown on October 2, 2015
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Weird dicks, dicks that might also be fingers, butts that resemble faces, faces that might be dicks, and sculptures that might be alien colons or might also be more dicks. These dicks and more are what you will find in Mike Goodlett’s first show in New York, HOMEBODY, on display through this Sunday at Christian Berst Art Brut on the Lower East Side.

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Four Photographs of Women in Masks: Chanel Von Habsburg Lothringen at Boyfriends

by Paddy Johnson on September 22, 2015
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CHICAGO – It didn’t take much to get a bunch of strangers at a press meet up to come to Chanel Von Habsburg Lothringen’s opening last weekend. One look at her invite for “Seduced and Abandoned” at Boyfriends, which leads with a photograph of a couple wearing lingerie and a creepy, featureless mask, and pretty much everyone wanted to get the story. What was that work anyway?

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Curating in a Loaded Void: Art in Berlin’s Vacant Communist Architecture

by Rea McNamara on September 18, 2015
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When I’m in Berlin, I often think about the city’s most oft told quote, “Berlin is a city that never is, but is always in the process being.” Art critic Karl Scheffler penned those words over 100 years ago and they still seem relevant.

It’s a city that has had to adapt to unfavourable circumstances: the end of the Weimar Republic, the rise of the Third Reich, the postwar allied occupation that led to building the wall separating East and West. The wall was a stark embodiment of the foundational clash between communism and capitalism: the East had its monumental Stalinist architecture, the West its modular concrete utopias. Post-reunification Berlin saw the slow merging of these separate ideologies, and the enduring spatial fiction is that of a city always under construction.

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On Militant Otherness: Can We Riot Now? XOXO

by Michael Anthony Farley on September 17, 2015
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In Elektra KB’s solo exhibition at BravinLee programs and Mario Pfeifer’s collaboration with rappers Flatbush ZOMBIES at the Goethe Institut, artists literally take up arms in increasingly militant performances of “otherness”.

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On Christian Falsnaes’s “Rea McNamara”

by Rea McNamara on September 15, 2015
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How does it feel to be an artist’s material? For me, it felt like crossing a boundary—or at least it did this afternoon when I was emailed a YouTube link documenting my performance in Christian Falsnaes’s “The Title Is Your Name”. The work is part of his contribution to the 2015 National Gallery Prize exhibition at Berlin’s Hamburger Bahnhof, which includes works from the other shortlisted artists Florian Hecker, Anne Imhof and Slavs and Tatars. (The prize winner will be determined by international jury on September 18th.)

When I watched the video “Rea McNamara”, then, I saw myself — the supposedly passive art viewer — as the protagonist of this work of art. I’m alone, in a curtained-off white room, watching at a desk with headphones a video on a iPad. Prior to entering, I was in a cordoned off waiting room; at the request of a docent in German, I turned off my iPhone. A distracted attention span would not be tolerated.

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An Incomplete History: Looking Back at Rhizome’s Professional Surfer

by Paddy Johnson on September 4, 2015
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In 2006, Rhizome’s “Professional Surfer” felt like an important show. Surfing informed the practice of most artists I knew, and seemingly countless artist run blogs existed for the sole purpose of collecting weird shit. This included material like an animated GIF of a flag made in ASCII, MS Paint software instructions, and the largest camera lens you’ve ever seen. It was fun to watch and those with a knack for finding the obscure and truly bizarre were followed religiously.

The online exhibition describes itself as a show that “considers web browsing, aka ‘surfing’ as an art form.” Practically speaking, that meant presenting six websites by artists including Olia Lialina’s Pages in the Middle of Nowhere, Travis Hallenbeck’s Cosmic Disciple, Joel Holmberg’s Chillshesh, John Michael Boling’s 53o’s, and the group blogs Supercentral and Nasty Nets. Each present, combine or recontextualize found material from the web.

Nearly ten years later, we’re still remixing, blogging and collaging material, only we’ve moved to different platforms. Which begs the question: Given the relevance of “Professional Surfer” to today’s online culture, does it hold up as an exhibition and a historical document?

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Is Site Specificity Relevant to a Generation of Nomads? Not Really.

by Michael Anthony Farley on August 28, 2015
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In Outlet’s group exhibition Sight | Site | Cite, “site specificity” seems to have lost its relevance. Instead, artists try their hand at nomadic placemaking through gregarious or personal gestures.

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Highlights from the Creative Capital Retreat: Part Two

by Paddy Johnson on August 21, 2015
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What were the craziest presentations at this year’s Creative Capital retreat in Troy? In my first installment I provided a brief overview of the arts granting agency’s conference—it’s several days in an auditorium listening to amazing artists give seven minute presentations on their projects—and discussed the work of three stand out artists: Lorraine O’Grady, Brittany Nelson and Narcissister. This week I highlight three more. Let’s get this started.

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Pastoral Romanticism for the Hashtag FOMO Generation

by Rea McNamara on August 21, 2015
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What does millennial cultural tourism look like? From the institutional standpoint, it’s about making exhibition and outreach programming more “social” and appealing to younger audiences with stuff they think they’ll like: “late night” events, live music, food trucks, booze. Publicly funded outdoor summer music festivals now come with visual arts programming; at last month’s WayHome Festival outside of Barrie, Ontario, a curator was hired to oversee interactive art installations scattered through the grounds, providing the perfect backdrop for festival goer’s selfie stick snaps.

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Checking in at DUMBO Newcomer Usagi NY

by Michael Anthony Farley on August 21, 2015
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A new exhibition space, which bills itself as a “concept store”, opened last month in DUMBO. Usagi NY combines a gallery, cafe, and library in a crisp and surprisingly functional 2,800 sq ft space designed by Sou Fujimoto. The cafe and reading area are quietly tucked in the back, resulting in a gallery that isn’t too cluttered but still manages to feel more gregarious than the average white-box space. It’s a rare example of a multi-use space where the artwork doesn’t feel like an afterthought, which is an accomplishment. Their inaugural show is organized around the Japanese designer Kenya Hara’s theory that the color white inspires creativity—along with a unifying thread of projects that involve commerce, research, or technology.

Some highlights after the jump.

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