From the category archives:

Reviews

In the Ring: Paul Pfeiffer at Carlier/Gebauer

by RM Vaughan on April 6, 2016
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At least half the fun on any spectacle is the after-chat: the armchair philosophizing, the intention guessing, the interpretation, the endless acts of interpretation. The ancient Romans knew that much.

For instance, think of Beyonce’s recent Super Bowl performance, which is now generating MA theses, or Taylor Swift’s over-discussed Grammy speech, or, even more fleeting but just as worthy of spin-offs, that moment during the Golden Globes when Lady Gaga bumped into Leonardo Di Caprio – memes sprung up like freshly watered Sea Monkeys. (And, no, I hardly think it accidental that these three examples are all centred on people who present as female – women are still watched far more closely than men, because men still run the shows).

Paul Pfeiffer’s tri-part video installation, “Three Figures in a Room”, digs into this watch-analyse-watch again circle by distilling one world media event (a televised boxing match) to its core elements – sights and sounds.

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When Facts Become Art: Alison S.M. Kobayashi at Gallery TPW

by Rea McNamara on March 23, 2016
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History needs historians. They chronicle the past, poking and prodding at the accumulated details that ultimately defines public record. What’s perhaps less obvious, though, is that history needs artists too.

At least that’s the conclusion I drew after visiting Say Something Bunny!, Alison S.M. Kobayashi’s solo show at Toronto artist-run center Gallery TPW. Having received from a friend a 64 year old wire recording purchased at an estate sale, the Toronto and Brooklyn-based artist manages to unspool a multigenerational yarn of Rothian heights. The audio, augmented by Kobayashi’s rigorous and thorough research, uncovers the trials and tribulations of a middle class Jewish family from Long Island. Throughout the installation, Kobayashi renders the facts that define the lives of these idiosyncratic cast of characters deeply felt and most remarkably, close and real.

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Simultaneous Sensations at Red Bull Studios’ BIO DIP

by Rob Goyanes on March 22, 2016
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In which Rob Goyanes drinks a 10-year old energy drink to prepare for his art viewing at Red Bull Studios. The work by artists Nicolas Lobo and Hayden Dunham is better than the drink.

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“Tierra de Esperanza” Is Yoko Ono Done Right

by Michael Anthony Farley on March 21, 2016
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Last year, MoMA’s Yoko Ono retrospective bombed by taking the fun (and guesswork) out of her work. But in Tierra de Esperanza at Muso Memoria y Tolerancia, Yoko Ono shines with work that’s interactive, alternately playful and political, and sometimes bizarre.

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Send in the Clowns: Ugu Rondinone at Boijmans Van Beuningen

by RM Vaughan on March 10, 2016
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After tip-toeing through the trash at Charlemagne Palestine’s toyland next door at the Witte de With, I braced myself for another smarmy, high-concept dose of infantile and over-determined abjection before wandering into Ugo Rondinone’s “50 clowns in a big room” installation Vocabulary of Solitude. Well, face paint me surprised! I loved it.

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Filthy Toys Aren’t Subversive Anymore: Charlemagne Palestine at Witte de With

by RM Vaughan on February 29, 2016
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Respect and admiration are very different forms of devotion. To wit: I respect Charlemagne Palestine’s long career as a sound and performance artist and his pivotal position in the emergence of spoken word/noise art in the 1970s. I do not, however, admire his visual art: maximalist assemblages of stuffed toys, found fabrics, and other clumps of tat. I wonder if I, or anyone else, is meant to?

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Revisiting “Powers of Ten” After Almost 50 Years

by Michael Anthony Farley on February 18, 2016
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At the Museo Jumex, Andrés Jaque / Office For Political Innovation mine the Ray and Charles Eames classic for content to politicize in the exhibition Superpowers of Ten. It is mostly a big stretch.

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SET: An Art Show in a TV Studio

by Michael Anthony Farley on February 12, 2016
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Last weekend I attended a pop-up group show from Public Art Projects on a quiet industrial block of Juarez just south of the Material Art Fair on its last day. The group launched a pop-up exhibition that mischievously embraced site-specificity in a venue that is by nature the most mutable of non-places: a television studio.

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Katherine Bradford and Drawing for Sculpture: Swimmers and Gender Politics

by Paddy Johnson on January 22, 2016
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With a snow storm threatening the weekend gallery goer routines of most New Yorkers, perhaps only the most intrepid will make out tomorrow and Sunday. But for those who haven’t yet seen today’s recommended shows—Katherine Bradford at CANADA and Drawing for Sculpture at Tiger Strikes Astroid (Bushwick) I have good news: both run through February 15th. You’ve got time.

And that’s a good thing, because pretty much any serious art lover in the city needs to see CANADA’s Katherine Bradford show, “Fear of Waves”.

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In Review: American Realness at the Abrons Art Center

by Paddy Johnson on January 22, 2016
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Once a year “American Realness” takes over the Abrons Art Center to present two weeks of new and experimental dance-cum-performance. Last year, the pervasive theme running through the festival told a story of survival. It’s hard out there for an artist. This year, curator Ben Pryor assembled a group of performances focused on identity and institutional critique with a bit of self-reflexive formalism thrown in.

I saw too many performances to review, so what follows is a brief recap of my viewing, along with a few thoughts and reflections.

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