From the category archives:

Reviews

We Went to North Carolina Part 1: CAM, Lump and Flanders Gallery

by Paddy Johnson and Michael Anthony Farley on October 27, 2015
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Two weeks ago Michael and I headed to North Carolina to visit a friend and do some studio visits at University of North Carolina Greensboro.  We ended up with an epic tour of North Carolina, from Raleigh to Winston Salem (for context, that’s about the distance from Philadelphia to Washington, DC). In part one, we’ll discuss our highlights from Raleigh.

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Marilyn Minter is the Windowlicker of Representation

by Paddy Johnson on October 23, 2015
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The show at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Denver is the visual equivalent of “Windowlicker” an album by the electronic musician Aphex Twin that Pitchfork describes as oscillating between “harsh, uncompromising noise and remarkably warm ambient texture.” In both cases, we are repelled by what we are drawn to—a tension that ensures you never forget the work.

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Highlights From PS1’s Greater New York, Part 1

by Michael Anthony Farley on October 16, 2015
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Much has already been said about Greater New York, PS1’s massive survey of over 150 regional artists that spans deceased pioneers who cut their teeth in the 1970s to young, contemporary fashion designers. With that in mind, we’re going to offer a couple of slideshows, each with personal highlights, recommendations, and commentary from a different AFC writer. There’s really too much great work (and bad work) to cover it all in one post.

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Learning to Love a Shit Show: Jim Shaw’s Americana

by Paddy Johnson on October 7, 2015
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The number of artists who make art from found imagery and objects is now too many to count. Tumblrs and blogs are full of it and so too are the annals of art history. From Surf Clubs and The Jogging to Haim Steinbach, Robert Rauschenberg and Llyn Foulkes there’s a near bottomless reservoir of work that was made in one world and plunked into a fine art context.

I thought about this as I walked around the New Museum, mostly in awe of Jim Shaw’s three floor survey exhibition The End is Here. It’s basically two stories of art stuff produced and assembled from 1973 on—paintings, and drawings on the second floor; other people’s paintings, drawings, pamphlets, t-shirts and religious banners on the third floor. The museum reserved the fourth for Shaw’s massive cut-out theatre sets and sculptures.

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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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