What To See Before Christmas

by Art Fag City on December 18, 2009 Reviews

Jacques Louis Vidal at Marc Jancou. Closes December 20th

Jacques Louis Vidal believes artists not only shape materials, but are shaped by them. The degree to which the latter ideology is made evident in his exhibition at Marc Jancou at times matches our tendency to overlook it. While a fair number of assemblage sculptures on the first floor suggest psychological transformation due to media with melty heads and layered magazine collages, there’s also an equal amount of straight up found material works. That’s fine with me; I don’t need the point beaten over my head to receive it.

That said, the gallery upstairs is presumably designed to do just this, as the room looks like some sort of weird isolation chamber for mind manipulation. A cork board-TV bunny ear assemblage sculpture hangs on the back wall with a student’s desk in front. To the side, a picture of a brain filled with magazine images suggests a desired end point, though it was simply the alluring V-shape of Vidal’s bunny ears that made me want to have my mind manipulated through art making. Vidal’s ability to make that process desirable — even with the results downstairs seeming grotesque — is a testament to the success of the show.

Ariel Dill and Christian Sampson at SouthFirst. Closes December 20th

Two days left to see Inglenook, if, like me, you haven’t made it out yet. Hosted by the underrated Brooklyn gallery, SouthFirst, Ariel Dill and Christian Sampson’s show has quietly been generating buzz within the emerging abstract painter community. Judging from Anaba’s pictures I can see why: The work is beautiful.

Mario Merz, Untitled, 1998, Buffalo head and Fibonacci numbers, Dimensions variable, 103 X 284 inches. Image Via: Luhring Augustine. Closes December 20th.

Luhring Augustine’s The Irreverent Object surveys European assemblage sculpture from the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s. I’m not a fan of each piece — Martin Kippenberger’s tedious de-mystification of art through beer cans and other such objects can get a little tiresome — but the show nonetheless provides much needed background for a lot of the sculpture currently being made. I recommend seeing this exhibition in conjunction with Jacques Louis Vidal at Marc Jancou.

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