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Matthew Metzger’s Sweet Peace

by RM Vaughan on November 28, 2016
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We live in terrible times. I need not explain that assertion. And while I do not subscribe to the reading of art as always and/or necessarily “therapeutic”, it would be silly of me to not acknowledge that art can be therapeutic, even healing. To wit, Matthew Metzger’s exhibition The Shade of a Line is the Xanax in my tea.

Metzger is a Chicago-based painter whose work tilts back and forth between neo-Minimalism and neo-Color Field. I normally have nothing good to say about Minimalist work, as I find such works have nothing to say (and, yes, that is reductive, but so is the style). However, in Metzger’s case, the paintings vibrate with buried colors and dreamy pools of semi-occluded light. They teem with an interior life that reminds me of staring into precious stones, of the first hues of the morning, of being less than lucid. Put plainly, Metzger’s paintings are pretty. Let us give thanks for prettiness in an ugly world.

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A Brief History of Autechre’s Album Covers

by Rhett Jones on August 5, 2016
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I’ve always hated minimalism. I don’t think that’s a blanket statement I’d make about any other artistic movement but I hate minimalism. From my perspective, it was audacious for like a year, and then it was decoration. This hatred even extends to minimalist design for the most part, though I can occasionally be persuaded to appreciate a nice, functional spice rack. But, I’ve always loved the tension between the experimental electronic music duo Autechre’s stark album packaging and dense, maximal music.

Throughout their 30-year career, the experimental electronic music duo Autechre (Sean Booth and Rob Brown) has been subverting expectations of what an album in the genre looks like. And as their music became more complex and structurally more in line with sound art and noise, they’ve crafted an uber-minimal visual identity.

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Alighiero Boetti at MoMA: From Sarcasm to Sap

by Corinna Kirsch on August 10, 2012
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Game Plan, MoMA’s retrospective of Alighiero Boetti, splices the Italian artist in two: there was the rabidly sarcastic pop-conceptual artist of the 1960s and the introspective dreamer of the 1970s onward who made big, furry wall hangings. Both of these Boettis produced a lot of art: Game Plan consists of hundreds of works produced from the 1960s through the 1990s and takes up room on two floors of MoMA and part of the sculpture garden.

Boetti started off his career on strong, if imperfect, footing, and like Piero Manzoni before him—the Italian artist who, in 1961, canned his own shit—he had flashes of sarcasm aimed at Anglophone pop and conceptual art. Later in Boetti’s life, the dreamer took over. The works became overly cryptic, based on personal systems and mythology, and they lost some of the playfulness associated with his earlier work.

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Bill Bollinger’s Wimpy Minimalism at the SculptureCenter

by Corinna Kirsch on June 12, 2012
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Bill Bollinger disappeared from the art scene in the mid-1970s and passed away in relative obscurity a decade later. A career retrospective at the Sculpture Center, up through the end of the summer, makes a convincing case for his reappraisal.

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The Show That Has Everything: The Language of Less at the Chicago MCA

by Reid Singer on January 16, 2012
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At The Language of Less (Then and Now), visitors get a well-balanced primer on Minimalism and Post-Minimalism with no glaring omissions or gaps. Like any greatest hits album, it aims to please, and it usually does. But it will never succeed in satisfying a true fan.

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