Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Art in America print review/John Houck

John Houck at On Stellar Rays 

For his second solo show in New York, "A History of Graph Paper," Los Angeles-based artist John Houck exhibited eight framed, medium-scale color images of artifacts from his youth, including shoeboxes, a stamp collection, crystal glasses and a beaded necklace. To make the works, Houck photographed one or more of the items in still-life vignettes arranged on sheets of paper in different colors. He then rephotographed the items, sometimes in several iterations, on top of their own images, often adding or subtracting other objects in the process. The results, which appear digitally altered but are devoid of postproduction interventions, are multilayered compositions in which figure and ground seem to continually shift, recalling Gestalt images. Houck's palette consists of charming, crafty-looking tones: robin's egg blue, paper-bag brown and soft red.
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The exhibition began with the appealing Pine Ridge (all works 2013), which shows what appears to be a handmade beaded Native American necklace dangling in front of layered images of a black shoebox with a piece of red calico fabric spilling out of it. The most attention-grabbing piece, Peg and Jon, was hung by itself on a wall directly facing the gallery's entrance. Distinct from the other works in its lack of overlapping images, it depicts an assortment of drafting tools (compasses, protractors, pencils) and shotgun shell casings against a sheet of graph paper. The tools seem to hover just slightly over the paper, appearing as though they could be physically swiped off the top of the image and into the actual gallery space. Houck was born in Pine Ridge, a Lakota reservation in South Dakota, and received a BA in architecture from Colorado University in 2000—two clues as to the provenances of the objects shown in Pine Ridge and Peg and Jon. Another work presents a white shoebox addressed to Sandra Houck, the artist's mother, and derives its title, Baby Shoes, Never Worn, from the famous line of prose that Ernest Hemingway reportedly devised as a six-word novel (the opening phrase of which is "For Sale").

The pigment prints in this exhibition expand upon the artist's 2011 series "Aggregates." To create the "Aggregates," Houck, who was trained in writing computer code, designed software that would produce intricate, multicolored grids. For each work, he printed out one of these digital compositions, manually creased the sheet of paper and photographed it, repeating this process multiple times to disturb the programmed perfection of the original grid. A publication accompanying the present exhibition featured images from both bodies of work as well as a transcribed conversation between Houck and artist Lucas Blalock, in which Houck reveals some of the interests that inform his practice: namely, the writings of Vilém Flusser (the Czech-born philosopher known for his theories on the digital avant-garde) and Tom Gunning's notion of the "truth claim" of photography (the belief that photographs accurately portray reality).

Houck, according to the show's press material, is currently in psychoanalysis, and these works toy with the central question of that discipline: how might the substance of one's childhood produce one's adult identity? The artist has here created an approach to self-revelation that is as layered as the images themselves; poised between abstraction and disclosure, the autobiographical content he depicts invites the viewer to delve further into the images' folds to uncover the works' veiled significance.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Art in America online/Dotty Attie


Behind the elegant appearance of New Jersey-born painter Dotty Attie, there lurks something less genteel—as evidenced by the skull-and-crossbones earring that hangs from her right earlobe. Attie will show a new body of work, her first in four years, at P.P.OW. Titled "The Lone Ranger" (Nov. 21-Dec. 21), the show comprises five works, each composed of a number of 6-by-6-inch oil paintings in gridded formations. Each small painting proposes a playful, delicately rendered riff on the idea of concealed identity. "All of my work is about our hidden selves, the part of us we don't want to share with others," said Attie, who spoke to A.i.A. recently at her East 22nd Street studio.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Art in America print review/Luiz Roque

LUIZ ROQUE at Phosphorus
For this exhibition, titled "The Last Day," Brazilian artist Luiz Roque showed three films and two photographs that he created while at artists' residencies in Brazil and abroad. The show began with a grainy, enigmatic still, The Golden Tower (2012), from Super 8 footage Roque shot of the soaring 63 Building in Seoul.Exhibited in an adjacent gallery, and also made in Seoul, was a 3-minute color video, The Triumph (2011)—a mock commercial for the 2076 Olympics, somewhat humorously imagining that North and South Korea have reconciled as the United Korea, and that the country is hosting the games. Themes involving national power, community, and public and artistic monuments ran throughout the show, but the works spoke less to an overarching curatorial premise than to the artist's engagement with, and experimentation in, various cities.
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Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Art in America online/Suzanne Lacy

by Aimee Walleston

The streets of New York fill one's ears with fascinating snippets of overheard conversation—it makes one greedy to hear the whole story, decorum be damned. Los Angeles artist Suzanne Lacy's performance this past Saturday, Oct. 19, Between the Door and the Street, was composed of many unscripted conversations, held by groups of three to seven, that were meant to be eavesdropped on. The piece was presented by the Brooklyn Museum's Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art and New York public art organization Creative Time.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Art in America print review/Simon Fujiwara

SIMON FUJIWARA at Andrea Rosen
For Simon Fujiwara's first solo exhibition in New York, "Studio Pietà (King Kong Komplex)," the British artist, who lives in Berlin, used his recollection of a photograph of his mother from childhood as the foil for a mixed-medium installation (first shown in March at the Sharjah Biennial). The show delved into themes of stereotyping, inchoate sexuality and the faulty rewiring of memory.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Art in America online/David Maljkovic

Croatian artist David Maljkovic's conceptual inquiries drive straight past questions of media specificity and directly toward the means of display of artworks. For his new show at New York's Metro Pictures (through Oct. 19), the artist presents works—composed, in part, of plinths and projectors—that consider the often-unnoticed formal properties of these commonplace objects.

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Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Art in America online/Mary Ellen Carroll

World On A Wire: Mary Ellen Carroll Creates New Connections in New Orleans

In Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness, Marlowe marvels, while positioned on a boat at the mouth of the Thames, that his current locale was once "one of the dark places of the earth." Our dark places—our instances of unmapped wilderness—take on a different form in 2013. Exchange the Thames for Lake Pontchartrain and the dark places for "TV white space" (the telecom industry's term for unused broadcast television channels), and one can begin to grasp the nature of Illinois-born, Texas- and New York-based artist Mary Ellen Carroll's latest endeavor-bringing Super Wi-Fi (a service that travels further and penetrates walls better than traditional 2.4 gigahertz Wi-Fi) to underserviced areas of Greater New Orleans.

Commissioned for Prospect.3 New Orleans (Oct. 25, 2014-Jan. 25, 2015) by artistic director Franklin Sirmans, a curator of contemporary art at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the project—under the working titlePublic Utility 2.0—is still in its planning stages. Its genesis began with a recent visit to New Orleans, where Carroll was struck by the I-10, an elevated highway that travels over the city, like New York City's Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, and splits areas like Tremé, a Créole and African American community known for its music culture, from other vital areas in the city.

Friday, August 9, 2013

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Sunday, June 23, 2013

Art in America online/Martial Raysse

So Nice in New York: Martial Raysse at Luxembourg & Dayan

Nice-born artist Martial Raysse began his career by making work that straddled American Pop and French Nouveau Réalismea movement that includes him as a founding member. Since then, his work has been categorizedby academics and criticsas French Pop, European Neo Avant Garde and the School of Nice (along with Yves Klein and Arman), to name a few, although, said Raysse via e-mail, "I do not think my work belongs absolutely inside any of these boxes."

Martial Raysse, Tableau simple et doux (Sweet and Simple Painting), 1965, paint, photo collage, and neon on canvas, 76 3/4 by 51 1/4 inches. Photo Martial Raysse/ADAGP.; Martial Raysse, Made in Japan, 1963, photo collage, oil, and wood on canvas, 49 1/4 by 75 3/4 inches. Photo Martial Raysse/ADAGP.
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Monday, June 17, 2013

Art in America print review/Mike Brodie

NEW YORK A photographer is compelled to relish the surface. An artist is obliged to transcend it. The recent exhibition "A Period of Juvenile Prosperity" by Mike Brodie, a 28-year-old self-taught American artist, presented 31 diaristic color photographs, made between 2006 and 2009, of contemporary train hoppers. The images seem to pick up the cause of American reportage photography by such practitioners as William Eggleston, Walker
Evans and Pirkle Jones, as well as the photo-essay storytelling of Life magazine.
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Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Art in America online/Jesper Just

Meet Me Someplace Else: Jesper Just at the Venice Biennale

By inviting individual artists to represent their native countries, the Venice Biennale presents a curious challenge to contemporary artists. How does an artist who exhibits and makes work in a globalized world adequately represent one relatively small nation? For Danish-born, New York-based Jesper Just, the answer lay in the challenge imposed by the Biennale. "I was very delighted to represent Denmark, but the idea of representing a country is a very strange concept," said Just, speaking to A.i.A. from the Danish Pavilion in Venice, "so I tried to think about how to put that in play."

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Art in America print review/Trevor Paglen


Do endless grids of Google images accurately describe our existence? And if so, will aliens like them? For his project "The Last Pictures" (2012), Trevor Paglen selected 100 images to represent our contemporary world. Teaming up with MIT, the artist had these images etched onto a silicon disc that was enclosed in a gold-plated aluminum container and sent into orbit on a satellite last fall.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Art in America print review/Aki Sasamoto

New York-based Japanese artist Aki Sasamoto gained attention for her multimedium installation/performances at the 2010 Whitney Biennial. More recently, her first solo exhibition in New York featured humble dollar-store materials in an expansive, ephemeral installation of sound and sculpture titled "Talking in Circles in Talking." The gallery walls were transformed into a climbing-wall-cum-whiteboard, creating a backdrop for several performances.
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Friday, April 19, 2013

Art in America online/Robert Longo

Drawing Democracy: Robert Longo at the Aldrich Museum

"Politics are something I'm interested in as an artist, because artists are the first people to get shut down when things get out of control," said artist Robert Longo, who spoke to A.i.A. recently at his studio in New York's Little Italy. Politics—and their attending monoliths—are endemic to a recent series of drawings by Longo, "God Machines." The newest addition to the series, which also includes depictions of places of worship, is Capitol (2013), an enormous seven-panel charcoal drawing of the U.S. Capitol Building.
VIEW SLIDESHOW Robert Longo: Capitol (installation view at The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, Ridgefield), 2013. Courtesy of the artist and Metro Pictures, New York.; Robert Longo: Capitol (installation view at The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, Ridgefield), 2013. Courtesy of the artist and Metro Pictures, New York.;

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Art in America print review/Jeremy Deller

NEW YORK According to British poet and critic Edith Sitwell, English eccentricity may be “the Ordinary carried to a high degree of pictorial perfection.” Fellow Brit Jeremy Deller’s recent show in New York riffed on this concept with a screening of three video documentaries sentimentalizing Britain’s most Sitwellian characters. Complementing these videos were two galleries featuring the artist’s text-based wall pieces.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Art in America online/Sharon Lockhart | Noa Eshkol

Steps Retraced: Sharon Lockhart and Noa Eshkol at the Jewish Museum

Entering the ground floor gallery of New York's Jewish Museum, one hears the rhythmic ticking of a metronome, knocking out a precise 120 beats per minute. This sonic shoulder tap leads one into a darkened room, where five large 35mm projections depict nearly life-size dancers performing five dances, titled Duet, Fugue, Landler, Walking and War Dance. Each involves a stark sequence of slow, heavy-footed movements to the sound of the metronome—no music. "Eshkol never considered herself a choreographer," explained artist Sharon Lockhart of Noa Eshkol, an Israeli artist who died in 2007 and whose work—which is focused on dance and textile design—has not been shown in America since the ‘60s. "She called herself a dance composer." Thus, the movement of the dancers is stirred not by music, but by the system and language of movement itself.
VIEW SLIDESHOW Installation view of Sharon Lockhart | Noa Eshkol exhibition at The Jewish Museum, New York City. Courtesy of Gladstone Gallery, New York and Brussels; Blum & Poe, Los Angeles; and neugerriemschneider, Berlin. Photo by Alex Slade.; Sharon Lockhart, Models of Orbits in the System of Reference, Eshkol-Wachman Movement Notation System: Sphere Seven at Three Points in Its Rotation, 2011, chromogenic prints, 20 x 16 inches. Courtesy of Gladstone Gallery, New York and Brussels, Blum & Poe, Los Angeles and neugerriemschneider, Berlin.  ;

Monday, January 28, 2013

Art in America online/Alexandre Singh

Alexandre Singh's Impossible Structures

"There's no real beginning or end, because the beginning is actually two ends. Does that make sense?" French-born, New York-based artist Alexandre Singh asked A.i.A. on the opening day of "The Pledge," his immersive new installation of wall pieces at the Drawing Center. This Cheshire Cat riddle establishes the tenor of the show from the start—whether entering from beginning or end, one is met with a vast, interconnected flowchart of small surrealist collages that fill the expanse of the gallery. Each collage is connected to the next with a hand-drawn dotted line. "I wanted people to think, ‘which way should I go?' And to be able to choose either right or left." This will not alter the nature of the work's narrative, Singh insists. "If people are just looking at the images, they may get lost. But if they are looking for answers, there are answers. They can find them, but they still have to use their minds."
VIEW SLIDESHOW Alexandre Singh, Assembly Instructions (The Pledge- Leah Kelly), 2011. Framed inkjet ultrachrome archival prints and dotted pencil lines, 18 x 24 inches, #6 from a set of 37. Courtesy Sprueth Magers: Berlin and London; Art: Concept: Paris; Metro Pictures: New York; Monitor Gallery: Rome.                                              ;