Issue 42 £5.00 ‘It’s like having a portrait done. You feel regal, like a Pope – with that red robe your ordinary clothes disappear’ – Juergen Teller
Sum mer 2010 Falke Pisano: The art of conversation 100 Acres: Of land. In Indianapolis. Filled with sculpture Pompidou Metz: The new Tate or ten years too late?
Matt Mullican: Where is his mind?
Your essential guide to a fun-filled
Jeff Koons toning mist, Bret Easton Ellis novels, Vanessa Beecroft cocktails, Alan Moore CD collection, Mark Dion croquet set… and plenty more where that came from Plus Warsaw
4 June — 12 SepteMber 2010
23 June — 26 SepteMber 2010
anselm KieFer 10 SepteMber 2010 — 9 Jan 2011
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A unique collaboration between the Port of Rotterdam and Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen. An abandoned 5000m2 Submarine Wharf in the port of Rotterdam serves as the location for a thematic exhibition by Atelier Van Lieshout. Infernopolis deals with themes such as life and death, the recycling process, autonomy, self-sufficiency and power. www.submarinewharf.com
Infernopolis 29 May – 26 Sept 2010
Nationalgalerie 29 May – 22 Aug 2010
Olafur Eliasson developed the installation Notion Motion specially for Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen’s large exhibition spaces. Central to the installation is the visualisation of ripples of light. The monumental work, made up mainly of water and light, consists of three installations measuring a total of 1500 m2.
Notion Motion 22 May – 17 Oct 2010
Summer at Boijmans This summer Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen is presenting three exhibitions by contemporary artists. Not only in the museum, but also in a submarine wharf in Rotterdam’s harbour.
Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen is staging a solo exhibition by the artist Thomas Demand. ‘Nationalgalerie’ takes Germany as its theme and is being shown outside the country for the first time. Staged in a different historical context, the show will certainly not be received in the same way in Rotterdam.
Photograph Sam Brody © Estate of Alice Neel
In the Company of Alice Hernan Bas · John Currin · Verne Dawson · Peter Doig · Marlene Dumas · David Harrison · NS Harsha Boscoe Holder · Chantal Joffe · Karen Kilimnik · John Kørner · Yayoi Kusama · Wangechi Mutu Alice Neel · Chris Ofili · Jacco Olivier · Philip Pearlstein · Grayson Perry · Elizabeth Peyton · Tal R
22 June – 30 July 2010 Concurrent with Alice Neel: Painted Truths, Whitechapel Gallery, London 8 July - 17 September 2010
Victoria Miro www.victoria-miro.com
Bettina Pousttchi, Basel Time II, 2010, Photograph, 180 x 225 cm
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HUMAN 12 june - 30 october 2010
Robert Longo : â€œUntitled (Men in the Cities)â€? 1976 / 2009
Marina Abramovic Vito Acconci Bas Jan Ader Giovanni Anselmo Keith Arnatt John Baldessari Chris Burden Sophie Calle Luis Camnitzer Sarah Charlesworth Braco Dimitrijevic Valie Export Hans-Peter Feldmann Tom Friedman Dan Graham Scott Grieger John Hilliard Kirsten Justesen Robert Longo Paul McCarthy Duane Michals Ana Mendieta Dennis Oppenheim Gina Pane Robert Rauschenberg Charles Ray Allen Ruppersberg Ha Schult Stan Shellabarger Harry Shunk Jemima Stehli William Wegman Gilberto Zorio
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Yang Zhenzhong On the Pillow (part) C-print 115×183 cm
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The Exchange, Penzance 10 July–18 September 2010 Permanent, Brighton (Offsite Project) 2 October–14 November 2010 A Foundation London 15 October 2010 (Performance) www.afoundation.org.uk
Tatsumi Orimoto From the series ‘Breadman Son + Alzheimer Mama’ 1997/2008, Courtesy of the artist and DNA, Berlin
Tatsumi Orimoto Live in Translation
A Foundation Liverpool 3 July–14 August 2010
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on the cover: self-portrait by Juergen teller
Sum mer 2010
DISPATCHES 31 Snapshot: Heidi Specker Now See This: Alice Neel, Paul McCarthy, MAXXI museum, Keren Cytter, Bettina Pousttchi, Ian Kiaer, Steven Shearer, SITE Santa Fe, Goldin + Senneby, Zhang Huan, Columns: Paul Gravett on the memories of Strip artist Dave McKean; Joshua Mack in an Empire State of Mind; Axel Lapp on Berlin’s weirdest sculpture park; Marie Darrieussecq unveils Majida Khattari in Paris The Free Lance: Christian ViverosFauné on how to kill a vampire London Calling: It’s back to (art) school with J.J. Charlesworth The Shape of Things: Sam Jacob makes it to the airport chapel on time Consumed: Phaidon’s Creamier, Liam Gillick’s shoes, Avalanche’s archive boxset, GRAFT’s Phantom, Katy Dove’s Audio Visual Musical Forms, Karol Radziszewski’s pants, Ringier’s annual report, Graeme Todd’s River Flowers Design: Hettie Judah gets some money shots in Milan Behind the Lines: Charles Darwent on the truth about art critics An Oral History of Western Art: Pablo Picasso tells Matthew Collings how to get ahead Manifesto: Ben Cain
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It’s three months till the next ArtReview (stop crying! – people with red eyes never get photographed for On the Town), and in order to prevent summer brain fry, management have generously provided a useful guide to things that will occupy your mind, body and liver. Plus the 10 best summer shows as recommended by Christine Macel and Stephanie Rosenthal
FEATURES Juergen Teller 84
He’s his family’s pride and joy, his mother’s little golden boy: Helmut Teller meets his perfect cousin
REAR VIEW Reviews 131
John Smith, Jacqueline Humphries, Jennet Thomas, Jean-Luc Mylayne, José Damasceno, Dexter Dalwood, Glasgow International, Wilhelm Sasnal, Leslie Hewitt, Robert & Ethel Scull: Portrait of a Collection, Alix Pearlstein, Carroll Dunham, Carla Herrera-Prats, Angela Bulloch, Lili Reynaud Dewar, Kelly Nipper, Gerard Byrne, Mandla Reuter, Dawn Mellor, Self-Consciousness, Disorientation II: The Rise and Fall of Arab Cities
Falke pisano 92
matt mullican 96
THE STRIP 158
Laura McLean-Ferris on the Dutch artist’s art of conversation
The American artist puts Oliver Basciano in the picture
100 acres 102
Indianapolis Museum of Art goes to the wild, and comes back with a redefinition of public art. Jonathan T.D. Neil reports
a new pompidou 106
Christopher Mooney meets Laurent Le Bon, for a tour of the Pompidou Centre’s outpost in Metz
When Marina Abramovic Dies; Tiepolo Pink; How to Do Things with Art; On Evil
ON THE TOWN 160
The Big Rip Off! at Camden Arts Centre, London; Nairy Baghramian and Phyllida Barlow at Serpentine Gallery, London
OFF THE RECORD 162
Gallery Girl ruminates on what she knows best: block-heeled, square-toed shoes with big buckles and the chitter chatter of gossip columns 160
Art pilgrimage 110
Laura McLean-Ferris sees a new kind of art scene unfolding in Warsaw
Editor Mark Rappolt Executive Editor David Terrien Associate Editors J.J. Charlesworth Martin Herbert Editors at Large Laura McLean-Ferris Jonathan T.D. Neil Assistant Editor Oliver Basciano firstname.lastname@example.org
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Contributors Contributing Editors Tyler Coburn, Brian Dillon, Hettie Judah, Axel Lapp, Joshua Mack, Christopher Mooney, Niru Ratnam, Chris Sharp Contributing Writers Chris Bors, T.J. Carlin, Barbara Casavecchia, Matthew Collings, Martin Coomer, Marie Darrieussecq, Charles Darwent, Rebecca Geldard, Gallery Girl, Paul Gravett, Jonathan Griffin, Sam Jacob, Lyra Kilston, Quinn Latimer, Coline Milliard, Neil Mulholland, Sally Oâ€™Reilly, Steve Pulimood, John Quin, Ed Schad, Helmut Teller, Jennifer Thatcher, Christian ViverosFaunĂŠ, Murtaza Vali
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Paul McCarthy Pig Island Palazzo Citterio Milan, Via Brera 14 May 20 â€“ July 4, 2010
Paul McCarthy, Pig Island, 2003-2010 Mixed materials, 10.67 x 9.14 x 5.18 m Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth
recently upped sticks from her base in Brooklyn to settle in Los Angeles. She is managing editor of East of Borneo, an online publication launching out of California Institute of the Arts this summer, and is also working at the Getty Research Institute on a survey exhibition of Los Angeles architecture from 1940 to 1990. She was previously senior editor of Modern Painters.
was born in Bubenreuth, in Bavaria, into a violin-making family, and raised in the area with his cousin Juergen, whom he writes about in this issue. He studied medicine and started working as a surgeon in the late 1980s, while also running a gallery for contemporary furniture design in Nuremberg, where he organised exhibitions with Ron Arad, Tom Dixon and other architects and designers. After moving to Hamburg in 1991 he began working in psychiatric hospitals and became trained as a psychotherapist and psychiatrist, his current occupation.
is a critic and art historian based in New York. He has contributed to numerous publications, including Art in America and The New York Times Style Magazine. He was educated at Columbia and Oxford, and is currently a faculty member of the Sotheby’s Institute in New York.
is a poet and critic based in Basel. Her poems have appeared in Boston Review, The Paris Review and Prairie Schooner, among other journals, and she regularly writes about contemporary art and literature for Art in America, artforum.com and Frieze. She is currently finishing her first book.
is an artist and photographer. He recently spent a lot of time driving around his home city of Warsaw with ArtReview’s Laura McLean-Ferris and photographing the art scene (see this issue’s Art Pilgrimage). Roginski often creates sculptural apparatuses with photographs to break up the image and will be exhibiting a solo project at Paris Photo later this year. He has recently begun working with Warsaw’s Czarna gallery.
Katy Baggott photographed by Juergen Teller
pictured arm-wrestling Japanese photographer Nobuyoshi Araki, represents Juergen Teller and was instrumental in coordinating and facilitating the artist project that accompanies this issue, as well as a number of other projects on which ArtReview and Teller have collaborated over the past five years. During the production of this issue of the magazine, Katy suddenly passed away. Her great humour, professionalism and outlook on life will be missed by many and matched by none.
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CORNELIA PARKER Doubtful Sound 19 June – 19 September 2010
Exhibition supported by:
Cornelia Parker Perpetual Canon, 2004. Silver plated brass band, metal wire, light bulb. Courtesy of the artist, Frith Street Gallery London and Collection of Contemporary Art Fundación “la Caixa”, Barcelona.
Snapshot Now See This The Free Lance London Calling The Shape of Things Consumed Design Behind the Lines An Oral History of Western Art
31 32 34 40 46 48 52 56 58
Wrestlers, 2010, taken in May in Rome, where photographer Heidi Specker is on a yearlong residency at the German Academy, Villa Massimo. ArtReview
now see this words
a world where humans behave like pigs; maybe not quite our planet, but not very far off. Backing up this porcine purgatorio is a selection of McCarthy’s work from 1978 to the present: here, in short, is an
Alice Neel (Whitechapel Gallery, London, 8 July – 17 September, www.whitechapel.org) A retrospective of paintings by
might spell bad news for young practitioners of slantwise figuration: it’ll outgun them in ways they can’t easily learn from while making them look like throwbacks. But the American painter’s first European retrospective is glad tidings for the rest of us. Here, more than 60 canvases – primarily invitation to wallow. Slide down Italy’s boot to Rome, and in an area that once housed a barracks, Zaha Hadid has masterminded the ravishing, lowslung, sci-fi architecture for the just-opened
MAXXI museum (Rome, www. maxxi.beniculturali.it). ‘A campus dedicated
to culture’, ‘a laboratory of experiment’ and ‘the cultural space for the 21st-century arts’, according to the website, it’s actually two venues: a museum of architecture (apparently Italy’s first) and a museum of art. A quartet of kickoff shows finds room for solo presentations by Gino De Dominicis (to November) and Kutlug Ataman (to September), and a selection from the institution’s art and architecture collections. Nobody really needs a reason to visit Rome, but here’s another one anyway.
portraits – will reconstruct the demimonde Neel moved through (her subjects included Andy Warhol, Frank O’Hara and legendary Manhattan bum/raconteur Joe Gould) while being painfully underappreciated until the age of sixty. Mostly, though, Alice Neel: Painted Truths stands to demonstrate in depth Neel’s enduringly fresh mode of confession-by-proxy similitude, a sort of loving distortion in which features are exaggerated yet still feel true, bodies bulge with weird life and every gaze pierces. Neel died in 1984, as old as the century; these days, the artistic warping of American life takes
Paul McCarthy (Palazzo Citterio, Milan, to 4 July, www.fondazionetrussardi.com), whose less composed forms. Just ask
Pig Island project (2003–10) premieres in one of Milan’s grandest chunks of architecture. Pig Island, as readers of ArtReview will know from our supplement dedicated to it earlier this year, surveys a squelchy, debased amusement park of
A prospective laboratory of experimentation for contemporary art might usefully set up an Annex of Unreason, for the safe practice of going knowingly off the rails. The headlong video production of
clockwise from left: Alice Neel, Hartley, 1966, oil on canvas, courtesy National Gallery of Art, Washington; Paul McCarthy, Pig Island, 2003–10, mixed media, 1100 x 1000 x 600 cm, courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth, Zurich, London & New York; Gino De Dominicis, Untitled, 1985, Collezione Jacorossi, Rome, courtesy Zaha Hadid Architects, London
from top: Keren Cytter, Untitled, 2009 (video still), courtesy Pilar Corrias, London; Bettina Pousttchi, Basel Time II, 2010, photograph, 180 x 240 cm, courtesy Buchmann Galerie, Berlin
Dave McKean It’s been more than 20 years since Dave McKean and Neil Gaiman’s debut graphic novel, Violent Cases (1987), a meditation on the elusiveness of memory. And yet McKean is still probably best known for his fruitful collaborations with the British fantasy author, such as their children’s books and graphic novels, their flawed but visually arresting movie MirrorMask (2005) and McKean’s covers for Gaiman’s Sandman series. McKean has a real knack for collaborations, shaping a true meeting of minds into extraordinary results. (For a sense of his range, consider that as a designer and illustrator he has visualised the autobiographies of the Velvet Underground’s John Cale and techno-chef Heston Blumenthal, complete with recipes.) McKean lost his father when he was fourteen and brought his sensitivity regarding the subject to his 2008 adaptation of The Savage, a short story by David Almond, author of Skellig (1998). Part picture book, part comic, part prose, the one-off collaborative project is growing into a trilogy, with Slog’s Dad this coming autumn, again about a son’s loss of his father. “It’s an odd one, comprising just one scene and an event that at face value is a supernatural, return-from-the-dead story”, writes McKean in an email. “I just couldn’t accept it as such, so the comic sections offer several alternate readings. By the end, you are not really sure what happened, you just know that the book is about a boy who really misses his dad.” A third Almond-McKean project is under way. McKean is tackling some of our world’s most foundational beliefs in a huge book with outspoken scientist and atheist Richard Dawkins entitled The Magic of The Real. “We take 13 questions about the world and answer them initially in the ways we have in the past – myth, religion, folk stories – and then present our best scientific answer, which hopefully proves to be even more astonishing and magical than the others.” McKean is a gifted complete storyteller too, ever since his first full-length graphic novel, Cages, in 1998. He is now embarking on his second long-term solo opus, Caligaro, and continues to craft shorter stories for his second Pictures That Tick compilation, such as this issue’s strip, The Weight of Words. “It seemed for a year or two that most of my friends and parents at my kids’ school were going through life-changing upheavals, which my wife would tell me about while we were making pizza or drinking wine. I started to think about how these tragedies became dissipated as they were passed on from those in their epicentre, out to family, close friends, acquaintances, friends of acquaintances.” A new site-specific piece will fill one floor of the exhibition Hypercomics at the Pumphouse Gallery, London, this August. “It will take a confessional story and follow three possible paths in this man’s life: how they take him in very different directions and how they inevitably lead to his involvement in the same event.” McKean continues to unlock the possibilities of comics. words
Keren Cytter (Moderna Museet, Stockholm, to 15 August, www. modernamuseet.se), to take one example,
has stacked up episodes of narrative collapse laced with references to cinema (Polanski, Cassavetes) and frequently centred on acidulous relationships: her characters recite elliptical, disconnected phrases, routinely break the ‘fourth wall’ of suspended disbelief and slide in and out of character. The irony is that the Tel Aviv-born, Berlin-based artist’s limning of an anomic world that makes
little sense in fact makes sense aplenty – because it reflects the world we live in. To understand that there is, furthermore, a politics of obliquity, consider the videos, photography and sculpture of
Bettina Pousttchi (Buchmann Galerie, Berlin, 11 June – 31 July, www. buchmanngalerie.com). The German artist’s photographs frequently resemble CCTV grabs, but set up stammering narratives; elsewhere she’s deployed mutated crowd barriers and made videos which both use the signifiers of state control (sniffer dogs, police) and request that the viewer puts their scattered parts together. Here interpretation becomes an act of agency, against a state authority that would use paranoid uncertainty to ramp up control.
THE FREE LANCE
Twilight Zone Submitted for your approval: the Whitney Museum of American Art, a venerable arts institution, forges ahead with a gazillion-dollar campaign to build an absurdly expensive New York satellite. A split in the museum’s board follows, pitting the director against the institution’s largest donor. The rift mirrors a recent conflict at the neighbouring Guggenheim Museum – that one also between the director and the man who was the museum’s biggest trustee. A case of bilocation or mere coincidence? Beware: you are entering a place where the recession is as publicly unacknowledged as Zaha Hadid’s tent dresses. Hypocrite lecteur, mon semblable (says the ghost of Baudelaire), you’ve arrived at the Museum Twilight Zone. Strange things are happening in American museums today – stuff that would make Rod Serling gnash his sibilant teeth. Just as deep-pocketed collectors have realised that they are recession-proof, so art institutions – which only yesterday bludgeoned budgets and slaughtered staff – are once again overreaching for the favourite trickle-down institutional model of the Reagan-Bush era: the outsize, architecturally branded, art-devouring museum Moloch invented by that fine-art Frankenstein, Dr Thomas Krens.
accepted his $77m), Lauder considers the Whitney’s expansion sheer adventurism. For those who cannot yet spy the similarities, I give you baseball great Yogi Berra: this is a case of déjà vu all over again. If, on the face of it, the numbers are ridiculous – and they are, $680m being far more than many large banks received in Obama’s bailout – so is the fact that the Whitney’s expansion disinters caskets of questions many thought dead and buried along with a sullied past: to what purpose monumental architecture? Must every museum in America adopt the motto of The Six Million Dollar Man – ‘better, stronger, faster’? Why not build a museum for less? (The New Museum managed construction from scratch with only $50m.) Does the Whitney words
In museum expansion, as in politics, there is nothing so useful as a short memory. It’s no surprise, then, that the Whitney’s plan to break ground on what was once the western edge of Manhattan’s downtown – an area so overrun with bridge-and-tunnel folks, it must soon change its name from the Meatpacking to the Meathead District – echoes some of the worst excesses of corporate museum culture under Krens’s 20year Guggenheim tenure. Like Krens’s pie-in-the-sky plan to site a Frank Gehrydesigned behemoth at South Street Seaport – Manhattan’s tackiest tourist trap – the Whitney’s Renzo Piano model calls for the construction of a 185,000-square-foot building near New York’s ickiest outdoor retail mall. More than twice the size of the Whitney’s Marcel Breuer fortress on Madison Avenue, and coming in at a staggering $680 million (not counting the estimated $60m a year it will take to run both spaces), the plan has met with disbelief in the person of Leonard Lauder, whose lump gift of $131m in 2008 presently bankrolls the museum. Like insurance tycoon Peter Lewis before him (the Guggenheim
– or, say, the transparently speculative Rubell Museum planned for Washington, DC – have to continue to read from the same real estate-obsessed hymnal? One thing is clear: since the age of Krens, palaver about museum expansion has rarely been accompanied by talk about art. The point of all those failed McGuggenheims – New York, Salzburg, Guadalajara, Rio de Janeiro, Hong Kong, Taichung, Las Vegas – was to plunk down spectacular cornerstones for runaway urban development, not find superior digs for the museum’s best works. No wonder painting looks so bad inside the Guggenheim Bilbao. Putting Pollock or Rothko inside that carnivalesque monstrosity is like driving Nelson Mandela to the Mall of America. Hark! The undead yet speak from beyond the grave: ‘Show me the art that’s quiet and reserved’, Krens told a Bloomberg reporter shortly after stepping down at the Guggenheim in 2008. ‘Jeff Koons, Damien Hirst and Richard Serra are not worrying about spaces for contemplation.’ Earth to Krens: after the world’s worst economic crisis in half a century, not so many people want their art supersized. So, if you don’t mind, do the Whitney’s trustees, Director Adam Weinberg and all other naive museum victims-in-waiting a favour – crawl back into your pine box and zip it. Now, where did I put that wooden stake?
Sketch of the Whitney Museum of American Art expansion, 2009. Courtesy Renzo Piano Building Workshop in collaboration with Cooper, Robertson & Partners
Why, in the midst of economic turmoil, are American art institutions still obsessed with ridiculously expensive building projects?
Several times recently I’ve been floored by homesickness and home-team pride upon hearing Alicia Keys’s Empire State of Mind (2009) playing in the background. As a native New Yorker, I recognise the myth and the fact in this paean to poverty and potential which energises the “concrete jungle where dreams are made…” It’s a sense of possibility that’s been around since the first immigrants took Manhattan from its native inhabitants. Like a swamp, New York sucks everything into its fecund mix of idealism and money in all its necessity, luxury and corruption. Long before Edith Wharton began chronicling the play between the city’s staid upper crust and the nouveau riche supplanting it, this was a place where waves of filthy wealth overwhelmed fortunes made proper by time. That rough-andtumble, the absorption and co-option of the old by the new, the shifting generations of immigrants and the rise and vitiation of fortunes defines the cultural ethos of the place, with its seemingly relentless focus on the trendy and the expensive, and, on the other hand, its endless calls of foul and exclusion. In the summer – when Manhattan becomes truly fetid, money leaves for the country and the rest obsess over air conditioning – the cultural tension between cash and ethics lessens. It’s the season of the summer show, wherein galleries try out new artists or look to outside curators for a change of vision or a ramp-up in reputation. Cynically speaking, they can afford these test drives: the market dozes and price points are expected to drop. It’s like a sundress in lieu of a ball gown. This summer also brings the third version of P.S.1’s Greater New York, a selection of young artists working in the city. Group extravaganzas like this are usually royal messes, and no less than Klaus Biesenbach, director of this MoMAaffiliated space, is on record as saying that we don’t need another survey of this type: hence his call for those included to innovate by ‘owning the building’. But it’s the sheer number of people – like most, of average gifts – working here that creates our urban culture. Each one of them is part of the next wave transforming the city. If you come to see the gritty, the good and the shitty as part of the great swamp, then, to quote Keys, “these streets will make you feel brand new”. words
dissolve into restless mutability, advertising shortfall while again promoting the viewer to chief navigator. Hugging the floor and lower regions of wall, his ad hoc-looking mixed-media arrangements are as much about the uncertain relations between objects and images – and the flickering presence of a proud Modernism amid them – as about what draws them together. Here the English artist shows six new pieces drawing on the institution’s nineteenthcentury archive, apparently leveraging that archive’s limitedness and lacunae, and revolving around ‘landscape and still life painting as a minor form’.
JOSHUA MACK The nineteenth century has remained in intermittent anachronistic attendance, too, in the shapeshifting
Steven Shearer (Galerie Eva Presenhuber, Zurich, 5 June – 31 July, www.presenhuber.com): the American work of
artist’s oil and pastel portraits of lankly centreparted heavy-metal kids being indebted to a Munchlike pictorial style that joins dots between eras (and styles) of alienation. The big sculpture that Shearer showed at Art Basel in 2009, however, gave notice that he is a stranger and more substantial
Ian Kiaer, Endless House Project: Ulchiro Endnote, Pink (detail), 2008 (installation view, GAM Turin, 2009). Courtesy the artist and Alison Jacques Gallery, London
Ian Kiaer (Kunstverein Munchen, 10 June – 15 August, www.kunstverein-muenchen. de) interacts with utopian concepts in ways that Comparably fighting shy of coherence,
A collaboration between GALERIE PETER ZIMMERMANN and FRED (LONDON) LIMITED
THE SUN DOES SET 15- 29 June 2010
Air Gallery, 32 Dover Street, London W1 Gallery hours: Daily 10am-6pm GALERIE PETER ZIMMERMANN, MANNHEIM T. +49 (0)621 419 031 firstname.lastname@example.org www.galerie-zimmermann.de Royal Skullduggery (2010) “To bear the light of Christ west to the heathen undiscovered lands.” Polymers and stainless steel on embedded wood frame 140 x 100 cm
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artist than his play with fashionable subcultures suggests, or is at least evolving into one. A jungle gym remade in black sewer pipe, emitting chiming bass and guitar sounds, it seemed designed to lure the young, energetic and disaffected like the monolith in 2001 (1968) courted ancient apes.
I’m shattered! Hundreds of openings, screenings, breakfasts, lunches, parties: Gallery Weekend Berlin was truly impressive, if exhausting and unmanageable. Yet Berlin’s art market is seemingly doing what market economies are meant to do: growing. Some of this might be subsidised, but overall it was impressive to see what and who was brought together by the event, organised by 40 blue-chip galleries and already (in its fourth year) causing most other galleries and private and public institutions to programme around it. It is all trickling down. And so, on 1 May, on the Potsdam side of Glienicker Brücke, a new sculpture garden quietly opened to the public. Here, where the West meets the former Eastern Bloc, a beautifully landscaped garden surrounds the privately owned Villa Schöningen, a self-described Cold War Museum. Photocopied announcements stuck to the fence tried to market the event to passing tourists, as did €1 bottles of beer in the café. In keeping with the discount theme, the illustrated exhibition list was a bound collection of photocopies. The list of artists is extraordinary: Bruno Gironcoli, Uwe Henneken, Thomas Kiesewetter, Maix Mayer, Jonathan Meese, Anselm Reyle, Thomas Schütte and more. The choice of sculptures, however, is rather literal and fitting the traditional form of a sculpture garden: a cheerful, and very pink, plough by Reyle (no date, that page was missing), a rusty Fountain (2000) by Katja Strunz, and other works presumably chosen for historic resonances, from colourful casts of historic howitzers by Henneken (2008) to Don’t Call Us, We Call You (2007), a gruesome execution scene by Meese The second thing of note is Villa Schöningen itself. It belongs to Mathias Döpfner, CEO of Axel Springer AG, one of Europe’s largest multimedia corporations, and Leonhard Fischer, CEO of RHJI, an international holding company. It was inaugurated by German chancellor Angela Merkel, in the presence of George H.W. Bush, Mikhail Gorbachev and Helmut Kohl. Clearly this isn’t your ordinary local museum; it’s an institution at the heart of the political establishment – one in which art has a role to play. The first floor is devoted to contemporary art, the current show (until the end of June) being the second part of the exhibition 1989, initiated in the Kunsthalle Wien last autumn – though the hanging of pieces by, among others, Harun Farocki, Boris Mikhailov, Martin Parr and Susan Philipsz feels rather arbitrary. Villa Schöningen is curated by Lena Maculan, of Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac; the sculpture garden was developed ‘in collaboration between Mathias Döpfner and artist friends and gallerists’ (CFA and Eigen + Art seemingly prominent among them). Schirn Kunsthalle director Max Hollein gave a supportive opening speech. With all these diverse forces congregating around it, this is unquestionably a space to watch, even if Berlin’s local history is not your cup of tea. words
Headed down (New) Mexico way? After 14 years,
SITE Santa Fe (18 June – 2 January, www.sitesantafe.org) apparently still
lacks solidity: its eighth edition, curated by Sarah Lewis and Daniel Belasco, is entitled The Dissolve. That rubric most likely refers, however, to the type of media they’ll distribute across 15,000 square feet of David Adjaye-designed exhibition space, and its melting of barriers between high and popular art. Tracking ‘a new sensibility in the art of our time’, the show focuses on moving-image techniques, emphasising animation (hence the presence of William Kentridge and Paul Chan alongside a flotilla of younger artists), but also operating as a parahistory, tracking back to early cartoons and forward to a live Bill T. Jones performance and a rendering of an earlier performance as 3D computerised drawings.
from top: Steven Shearer, Improved Geometric Mechanotherapy Cell for Harmonic Alignment of Movements and Relations, 2009 (installation view, Art Basel Unlimited, 2009), polished ABS plastic, bolts, acoustic equipment, 278 x 278 x 278 cm, © the artist, courtesy the artist and Galerie Eva Presenhuber, Zurich; Bill T. Jones and OpenEnded Group, After Ghostcatching, 2010, virtual dance for stereoscopic display, SITE Santa Fe commission, courtesy OpenEnded Group
Goldin + Senneby (Kadist Art Foundation, Paris, 4 June – 25 July, www.kadist.org) have been
Goldin + Senneby, The Decapitation of Money Press 1: Site Visit, Forêt de Marly, les Yvelines, 2010
Since 2007, Swedish duo
working on Headless, a project ostensibly founded on an investigation of Bahamas-based offshore finance company Headless Ltd. So far, they’ve commissioned documentary filmmakers to interview investigative journalists on how to document the investigation of the company; instigated an ongoing novel around the theme, Looking for Headless; and booked curators and set designers to brainstorm a display introducing viewers to the novel’s protagonists. (At Christie’s in March, the pair auctioned off Fiction on Auction, 2010, which comprises the right to appear as a named character in their book.) Life folds relentlessly into their work, which displaces itself in a slippery fashion analogous to that of offshore trusts: here, our spectral financial moment might have found the art that mirrors it.
The Moroccan artist Majida Khattari has been presenting her fashion shows of veils since 1996. This one, entitled VIP (for voile islamique parisien), is in the reception hall of the Paris Cité Universitaire, a building full of woodwork, moulding and gilding. Suddenly a silhouette walks in, tall and heavy. It’s covered with large patches of sewn, heaped-up, pulled-back, folded material… You can’t see a face. The form moves forward like a ghost, a gripping apparition, to gloomy music (a DJ is at his decks). At the same time, coming from another door, an almost naked creature enters. She’s wearing glitter-dusted buskins, which oblige her to shuffle slowly across the wooden floor. With her extravagant turquoise wig, her face and body covered with makeup, and her breasts thrust forward, she represents the Western woman, a skinny model sold to advertising. Another veiled woman slowly follows the first one. This time, her veil is a patchwork of oldlooking clothes and underwear, heavily bunched up and masking her completely. Then a final model with a turquoise wig walks in, looking wild-eyed and as blind, it seems, as the veiled women. Khattari tries to renew the way people view the veil in a secular country where it is massively rejected. Secularism, this extremely French concept, rejects open displays of religion on public property, particularly when it comes to the dress code of citizens. However, crosses, kippas or Hindu signs, although officially forbidden in hospitals, in schools and on public transport, are tolerated more than Muslim signs, which are often perceived as threatening. The Islamic veil, combining secular and feminist issues, crystallises this rejection. Khattari brings nuance to the vision of the veil. There are different types: a light flowery hijab is not like a heavy burqa. I am less convinced by the message of her fashion shows, that being locked up in the body of a Barbie doll is the same thing as being locked up in a veil. But the veils themselves, seen as sculpture, sometimes strike lightning. The first two in this fashion show bring to mind Etienne Marcel’s sublime Manteau (1962): both house and prison, made of fabric, rope and leather (to my knowledge one of the first sculptures in material). The other veils Khattari presents are more anecdotal, such as the ‘identity card’ prints, the veil for two and the female lawyer’s veil, which are all quite funny; or the veil printed with the face of the woman wearing it. They don’t make you forget the grasping vision of the first silhouette, more powerful than any message, which remains solemnly engraved on my retina. words
We don’t need no...
Why innovative art education is happening everywhere except art colleges
sway in the majority of art schools, with their emphasis on individual practice and a persistent division between studio practice and theoretical activity. The current interest in all things pedagogical outside of teaching institutions represents an increasing lack of certainty over what art and its institutions are for, now that a certain version of contemporary art has expanded to fill every corner of the biennialised globe. And this words
when the authority of teaching and of the art-market system were first challenged by the counterculture, and when ideas of self-organisation and collective, nonhierarchical teaching were originally mooted. What’s characteristic of the current trend is how it has sprung up through other forms of institution: public galleries, independent networking organisations, nonprofits and curatorship courses – not art courses themselves. And what this suggests is not a crisis within education as such but, instead, an evolving and real disconnection between attitudes and interests in the broader artworld and those modes of teaching that hold
might explain why it is often hard to distinguish many para-art school projects from activist forms of political organisation, or from a sort of ‘alternative network’ of artists, curators and critics seeking institutional influence (e-flux journal and Texte zur Kunst are good examples of this). Critically, this is happening at a time when the commercial market is at a low ebb, when teaching institutions are facing financial cuts and when there are more ex-student artists than ever to experience such limitations. Witnessing the dated output of the current Goldsmiths and Saatchi contenders, one wonders whether the growing noise around alternative modes of education is set to renew the art school scene or is instead only the symptom of the art school’s terminal decline, and a shift towards a wholly different type of art production.
Blue Curry, Roisin Byrne and Ian Gonczarow, participants in Goldsmiths: But Is It Art? Courtesy BBC/Dragonfly Film & TV/Emma Tutty
Art schools, eh? Who needs them? Well, loads of people, apparently. Right now you can’t check your email without someone advertising another conference on art education or launching a new book about radical teaching models. In late April, the Hayward and Serpentine galleries threw a big twoday conference in London titled ‘Deschooling Society’, while in New York in May MoMA came up with ‘Transpedagogy: Contemporary Art and the Vehicles of Education’. All the while, ex-art students are banding together to create networking associations so that they can extend the art-school ‘crit’ experience long after they’ve handed in their student ID (see www.q-artlondon.com for a good example). Experimental artschool projects are popping up with increasing regularity in noncommercial galleries, such as the recent Artschool UK at Cell Project Space in London. And British TV keeps burping out deranged reality-docs with an art school-ish angle: first there was BBC2’s grimly hilarious School of Saatchi, where collector Charles Saatchi drove a bunch of young art grads through a Fame Academy-style series of tasks and tests, and then, er, chose the prettiest one; and in April we were treated to BBC4’s Goldsmiths: But Is It Art?, which charted the rites of passage of four smart, jumpy young MA students as they completed their final year at the London art school where the whole YBA phenomenon kicked off (and not without a little help, remember, from Saatchi). What’s interesting in this growing tumult of activity is how it’s occurring during a period in which art schools themselves (at least in Britain) are hardly innovating, having stumbled along on a watered-down version of the Goldsmiths model for far too long, and being now exhausted by our government’s insistence that colleges should take ever-increasing numbers of students, while facing an impending funding crisis once publicsector debt finally catches up with public spending (already the university sector is straining to raise fees to market rates). But while there are plenty of ex-art students around, this explosion of art education self-criticism is being driven by a broad community of theorists, para-academics and artists for whom the ‘pedagogical turn’ is an opportunity to radically overturn the traditional orthodoxies of the teaching academy as well as to resist the supposed evils of the art market. Much of the current language concerning the radicalisation of art education harks back to the rhetoric of the late 1960s and 70s,
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the shape of things
Up in the Air The transcendent banality of airport chapels
Being in an airport is as close to weightlessness as you can get while keeping two feet on the ground. As you check in and pass through the barriers and systems that verify your identity, your earthly being falls away. Everything you are is compressed into your passport’s biometric chip, something you can tuck into an inside pocket while you drift past all those blinding arrays of backlit sunglasses. It’s so boring that it becomes sublime: a yawn is the only possible response to this overwhelming wonder of the modern world. Airport space is what you get when you cross border controls, security procedures, international logistics and taxfree shopping. Airports have got so big that they don’t behave like normal buildings anymore. Architecture’s ordinary spatial logic collapses as corridors, ramps and travelators lead you on till you’ve no idea which way is up, down, left or right, where you came in or where you’re going to. An airport is no longer a building, it’s a landscape. In the midst of this giant slippery, postarchitectural infrastructural environment, you’ll find something signposted by a pictogram of a kneeling man. It suggests the familiar ‘toilet man’ is getting in touch with something more than an intolerable buildup of urea, salts and organic compounds. He’s not indicating that it’s OK to vomit if we aim it into the bowl; he’s contemplating the divine. An airport chapel – or what’s often awkwardly described as a multifaith room – is a strange place in which the banalities of suspended ceiling tiles and contract furniture are elevated to a supernatural state. The modern generic airport suddenly intersects with thousands of years of spiritual ritual. Sometimes it’s pathetic. Let’s say you find yourself in times of trouble at Heathrow Terminal 4 or Detroit Metropolitan. At your moment of need, you’ll find yourself in a windowless room off an obscure corridor – what anywhere else would be the
Other times, they are a more elaborate affair. In Brussels, for example, there are three rooms – a Catholic, a Protestant and an Orthodox chapel. In the Catholic room, a piece of aeroplane wing has been refashioned into a techno-pulpit. An EU-blue Madonna is set against a rag-rolled curving screen. Over in the Orthodox room we’re struck by an elaborately carved wooden altarpiece. It’s so big that it must have been carved out of a tree in situ. This overwrought medieval handicraft, touched with gilding and draped in embroidery, floats in a field of generic modernity. But there’s a third type as well. Here religious traditions smear into something less specific. The act of prayer becomes abstracted into the kind of meditation that means whatever you want it to mean. There’s a room like this at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport: glass-walled like a corporate office but also decorated so that, if you squint, you could be looking at a stained-glass window. It’s coloured in a hazy way, all its narrative evacuated, just the sensation remaining. Maybe we are witnessing, in embryonic form, the development of original airport rituals and acts of faith: cargo cults of the globally mobile, where passing through a metal detector is a kind of electromagnetic baptism, where the allclear from a body scanner articulates a state of purity and where the accumulation of air miles models the progression to higher words
cleaners’ cupboard. Inside, the ritualistic requirements of varied faiths are present in their most reduced form. All you’ll find is a stack of prayer mats, a sign fixed to the ceiling pointing towards Mecca and a table with a Bible. Its crappiness hardly sits well with some of the pinnacles of human achievement – Chartres Cathedral, the Blue Mosque and so on. All you get here is an assemblage of generic building products and furniture ordered from a stationery catalogue.
echelons of faith. It’s a technological act of ascension. You are purified by metal detectors and X-ray machines which look deep into the heart of your wash bag – whose personal intimacy is as close to a soul as some of us have – before you ascend (in the plane) into the heavenly cloudscape. Is it that the contemporary airport’s boring-sublime is as close to the transcendent spatiality of the most significant religious structures humanity has constructed? Or maybe these spaces are an adjunct to the ever-present possibility of disaster that ghosts an airport’s glossy calm, alongside those armed police, fire trucks, situation rooms and emergency procedures that wait for the next tragedy.
The pick of things you didn’t know you really needed. Words Oliver Basciano
£24.95 01 Phaidon’s Cream series started in 1998 with the aim of providing a litmus for current art trends through the simple premise of asking ten curators to choose ten artists to profile. Creamier is the fourth edition, presented in the graphic format of a newspaper, further proclaiming its zeitgeist ambition. It’s a tough project they’ve set themselves, but by pinning down an international panel of nominators, they’ve given it a fair crack.
02 Liam Gillick’s text Discussion Island/Big Conference Centre (1997) ruminates on how to plan for the future in a world so lacking in consensus. The writing juxtaposes the enormity of the subject with the mundane location of the discussion, an anonymous conference centre. It is perhaps with some self-deprecation, then, that Gillick describes Left Shoe!!! Right Shoe!!!, designed for nomadic fashion label Clemens en August, as the choice footwear for such an occasion.
03 Published from 1970, Avalanche magazine’s sole content – aside from a small news section – consisted of interviews conducted by its founders, Liza Béar and Willoughby Sharp. It lasted only 13 issues, published over six years, but in that time earned itself a reputation as covering artists that were to define the era, Vito Acconci, Bruce Nauman and Lawrence Weiner included. Facsimiles of the entire back catalogue are now available as a limited edition of 100, the price ascending as availability drops.
www.clemens-en-august.com www.specificobject.com 48
04 One of GRAFT Architecture’s frequent clients is Brad Pitt. The firm are heavily involved in the actor’s New Orleans rebuilding project, and Pitt will be acting as a ‘design consultant’ for an environmentally friendly resort they’ve been commissioned to build in Dubai. It’s not unlikely that the actor will snap up one of the nine Phantom tables the firm have created to mark the launch of their exhibition at the new Stilwerk design gallery in Hamburg. So you’d better get in quick. www.stilwerk-designgallery. com
£25 05 Dundee Contemporary Arts’s editions studio has released a suite of four prints by Katy Dove (in an edition of 20, though some can be bought individually as well). The suite takes its title, Audio Visual Musical Forms, from a 1967 text by legendary animator Norman McLaren. McLaren developed a visual language to ‘translate’ sound, materialising it as animation. Dove’s work does not strictly conform to McLaren’s original index, producing instead two-dimensional forms which are slighter, more architectural.
06 ArtReview’s Laura McLeanFerris gets back from Poland – having completed her Warsaw pilgrimage for this issue – and I find my desk swamped with publications of nude men. Turns out it’s the output of Karol Radziszewski, the Polish artist, publisher of gay fanzine DIK and curator of Warsaw’s first queer art exhibition. In addition to the prolific output, Radziszewski has taken his bold line drawings and started a new design collaboration, Marios Dik, creating a diffusion fashion range. Pictured are Marios Dik pants.
07 Corporate annual reports are normally dull affairs, enlivened only by the odd pie chart. Not for Ringier AG, the Swiss media conglomerate, however. Each year they get a different artist to produce a design concept to enliven the figures. Fischli/ Weiss, Liam Gillick and Aleksandra Mir are among those who have taken on the task previously, and for the 2009 edition, just published, John Baldessari has turned the whole thing into something akin to an album of evocative retro found photographs.
08 Graeme Todd’s recent exhibition at Mummery + Schnelle – who are offering a series of prints (among them River Flowers, shown here) – took its title, Blank Frank, from a track on Brian Eno’s Here Come the Warm Jets (1973). The song is musically chaotic: a perforating drumbeat barely steadying a raft of psychedelic multiinstrument noise and chanted lyrics. Likewise Todd’s application of paint skids out across the canvas, with only the occasional discernible motif reining the chaos into the frame.
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What’s the relationship between the price of a design and its value? Our columnist seeks answers – and beverages – at Milan design week
themselves for a year. If enough orders come in, the design goes into production. If not, it slides back out of the catalogue. By and large, the more mass-produced a product is, the lower the value of each individual item. Those individual unrealised prototypes in storage – the failures – are individually worth a great deal more than the mass-produced successes. Price is not linked to merit in the same way that we imagine it to be in the art or fashion worlds: the most successful designs are usually those with huge uptake, the most successful designers often those producing the most financially accessible products. Late in the week, as European transport gridlocked under a cloud of Icelandic cinders and most sane beings channelled their energy into screaming at their iPhones for standing room on the last bus to Calais, a London dealer sat on the steps outside the Fendi show space and entered into equally fiery negotiations over a table that was ‘aggressively priced’ at circa £75,000. No mention of whether the table was dining or coffee size, but I’m guessing that it probably didn’t come flatpacked. It’s hard to know what kind of sliding scale exists in pricing between such top-end collectibles and the stuff most of us end up living with. Radical Dutch producers Droog attacked the subject head-on this year, showing a collection designed to expose the entire cycle of production and consumption with extreme transparency. The company purchased batches of unsold stock at liquidation sales – everything from packets of ugly handkerchiefs to dog baskets – then offered them to 14 designers for repurposing. The adapted objects – embroideryour-own-handkerchief sets, say, or fun-for-dogs trolleys with castors – were necessarily limited editions, made only with the items of that auction lot. Laid out in massed batches on a platform, the Saved By Droog items were priced for immediate sale, and as they went, the company photographed each piece with its new owner and pasted the image and item details outside and on the walls of their space in the hip Lambrate district. It seems astonishing that someone would want to pay €2,500 for a pair of unwanted chairs that had been stuck together and painted white, but it certainly answered the question of where value comes from (rarity + celebrity + provenance + hype, in this instance). While it was a cute idea for a show, it’s hard to tell whether Droog words
You can spot the Brits at Milan openings – we’re the ones with a glass in each hand, pretending we’re holding one for a friend while surreptitiously taking alternate slugs from both left and right before the free bar closes. As we mustered near the caterer’s entrance at the Swarovski party, watching, with the eagerness of tweenage girls craning for a glimpse of Robert Pattinson’s incisors, for fresh waiters to emerge, the chatter turned to the question of money. Around us, crystal-encrusted furnishings competed for attention with expensively hand-carved, teak-stained Italian trophy wives. Someone, somewhere, evidently had cash to spend; yet the price of objects is rarely mentioned during Milan design week. In part this is because Milan is a game of illusions. The products launched at the fair are generally prototypes, unveiled to much popping of corks, then left by the producers to prove
was really undermining the system or just perpetuating it in a particularly clever way. The London dealer turned up again later in the evening, drinking what appeared to be Negroni out of a pint glass. Who knows whether this was a good or bad sign – I guess no dealer ever likes to look overtly cheerful lest someone suspect him of making an obscene profit – but he was a Brit with a large drink in his hand, so on some level he must have been happy. Perhaps he’d sold the table. Perhaps he’d bought a fun-for-dogs trolley at Droog. Or perhaps he’d just secured standing room on the last bus to Calais: by that point easily the most valuable commodity in Milan.
Saved By Droog, glass arrangement no. 9, purchased by Olivier and Alex. Photo: Stefanie Grätz
In a new column, our man from the newspapers examines what being an art critic is all about For half a century or so I’d had no strong views on the sculptures of the Kingdom of Ife. No, let’s try that again. For half a century, I had had no thoughts at all on the sculptures of the Kingdom of Ife, largely because I’d never heard of them or, come to that, of it. Now, in a day, I have views and they are marked. (Loosely, Ife art is not as interesting as Fang, despite late Eurocentric bigging-up.) And all this because I’ve broken my own first rule of criticism: never read the critics. In my early critical career, I was working on a (hugely unfinished) PhD. The two occupations played off against each other nicely. Try to get by on style – bullshit, that is to say – in a doctoral supervision and your tutor will fix you with the kind of stare deployed at Chinese passport control. Ideas must be rooted in primary sources, be provable as fact and, in appearance at least, be all your own. And then there was newspaper criticism. My background is in eighteenth-century French painting, a subject on which I have written, as a critic, precisely once in 11 years. During the other 10 years and 51 weeks, I have dallied with Russian Constructivism, polychrome wood-carvings of the Spanish Golden Age, more conceptualists than you can shake a stick at, Rogier van der Weyden, Banksy, ceramics, Caspar David Friedrich, guerrilla knitting, CoBrA, Braque and video. You get my drift. The week before I wrote on the Ife sculptures, I reviewed a show of Michelangelo’s presentation drawings; next Sunday, I’ll do the canvases of a neglected English surrealist. How, you might ask, can anyone be an authority on Renaissance
are other areas – late Mondrian, say – on which I can now write with some authority. You learn as you go along. But largely it is a matter of staying a step ahead of your audience, swotting up the stuff they won’t have time to swot, asking questions they won’t be able to ask of people they will never meet. Being authoritative, in other words, is less important than sounding authoritative. The trouble is that all critics are in the same boat, and deal with their jobs in the same way: by convincing their readers that they really are experts in Surrealism, Michelangelo and tribal ethnography. Merely knowing that this is not true of oneself and, words
works on paper, avant-garde British painting of the 1930s and Yoruba tribal bronzes? And the answer to that, whatever Brian Sewell may say, is that one can’t. It took me years to realise this was so, and that, critically speaking, it was good. The arts pages of a Sunday newspaper, even one as excellent as my own (new proprietor, please take note), are not there to push the boundaries of scholarship. They exist, like Lord Reith’s BBC, to entertain and instruct, not necessarily in that order. Yes, experience adds up, and there
ergo, of one’s peers, does not help. The bastards are so plausible. Two days before your rave review of a Dutch sound artist runs in your paper, an expert critique damns the same show in the paper of your rival. You know that he’s winging it, but… And so, if you are sensible, you don’t read him. To do so is asking for trouble. Thus Ife. Just after I started my review, I stupidly glanced at The Guardian’s weekly digest of critics: every single one had, with a suspicious unanimity of voice, given the exhibition nine out of ten. One, if memory serves, called the show ‘life-changing’. What was a boy to do? I quickly downgraded Ife to a four. It may not have been fair, but at least it was original.
Head with thick vertical scarifications and cap with side tassels, Ife, terracotta, 12th–15th century. © Karin L. Willis/Museum for African Art, Long Island City/Nigerian National Commission for Museums and Monuments, Lagos
behind the lines
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AN ORAL HISTORY OF WESTERN ART In this ongoing series, the real people who created the historic styles give their eyewitness testimony
Pablo Picasso was born in Málaga in 1881. He had an academic training in Barcelona. He moved to Paris in 1901 and spent the rest of his life in France. In the early years of the twentieth century, with the painter Georges Braque, he invented Cubism, perhaps the most influential and far-reaching modernist style. Throughout his long career he worked in many modes, including painting, sculpture and printmaking, but he remained a figurative artist, rejecting abstraction. He died in the South of France in April 1973. interview by matthew collings
Pablo Picasso, Still Life with Chair Caning, 1912. © estate of the artist and RMN / René-Gabriel Ojéda. Courtesy Musée Picasso, Paris
ARtreview What do you think about sexism? Pablo pICASSO Well, there are two aspects to male–female relationships, I suppose: social and biological. And when I paint a sexy woman and people believe it’s actually sexism, they are maybe only seeing the biological aspect. They don’t see that the social is there too. All those etchings of old wrinkled monkey men staring at big open vaginas on busty big-bottomed young women with little waists and fluttering eyelashes and lustrous hair – they’re very well designed, and there’s a lot of really good spontaneity about them. As for that masculine twitch, yes, it’s a bit narrow. But you know, there’s a lot of satire, too. The satire is about looking, about art, about ‘genius’, about creativity, about what people think art is. And I think that’s the social side. I know what things are. I’m interested in definitions and in categories of experience. I look for visual compressions, one thing standing for another, and I look for the same thing in the intellectual realm. AR Hmm, that’s very thoughtful. What is Cubism, then? Pp You mean like the illustration on the facing page? AR Yes. Pp I hardly even remember putting that one together. But if I paint a cubist picture and it’s about a hundred years ago, well, it’s a record of sustained intellectual engagement with the object of representation. And it’s the same when I’m doing erotic lithographs. But they’re much quicker, so there’s not so much of a buildup; it’s not like in a Cézanne, where you see the record in the one thing. It’s more the culmination of buildups that have taken the form of other works I’ve done, maybe that same day, certainly in the weeks and months before. AR Did you get that phrase in the third line from Michael Baxandall? Pp Yes, that’s very good ears you’ve got. So when you do these interviews you actually listen to what we’re saying? AR I’m interested in how artists from history explain themselves. Pp I like that one you did with the cavemen at the beginning of the series, and the one with Jesus. AR Ha, ha, thank you. I love your pictures, of course. They’re fantastic. Do you like George Condo? Pp Yes, he’s great, very funny. AR John Currin? Pp No, he’s a bit more boring. AR Anyone else of today you like?
Pp Not really. I hate praising anyone unless it’s a sideways explanation of what’s good about me, to help my publicity. I work very hard at that. I’m very driven – partly to combine forms in new ways and partly to make sure everyone’s paying attention. I don’t compromise. AR And being a monster, treating the women badly, treating them like doormats, all that? Pp My personal life is the same as my work life, yes. I see what you’re getting at: business, art, the home, it’s all united. And what is the aim, the end product? Invention, I’d have to say, putting a lot of energy into inventing serious new things. I don’t think it’s so monstrous to be selfish. You’ve got something you’ve got to do, art. And all things considered, it would be better not to have children. Because you haven’t got the time or the personality that can ever allow you not to be self-involved. But a life without relationships and love, and so on, is impossible. It’s not a life. So you have to accept there’s going to be a bit of deformation. Some poison to existence. A very grim, sad, pathetic but very inventive and good self-portrait in a wobbly pencil line emerges on practically my last day of life – the artist who was very selfish and died without any love, because he was unable to give love. It’s pretty tragic, yes. AR What do you think about that picture of Marie-Thérèse Walter, Nude, Green Leaves and Bust, selling for $106 million the other day? Pp There are many good paintings from then that look like that. Very good shapes – positive and negative space – and it’s always good to keep the prices ahead of everyone else. AR What’s your favourite work by you? Pp I like all the work to do with process in the 1950s and 60s, and up to 1973, streams of pictures, each one a variation on the ones leading up to it, each about a few repetitive shapes, three uprights, three circles, three triangles, that kind of thing, a set of stripes, say. It might be the bars on a chair, or stripes on a T-shirt, or the lines of a set of drawers. Or the circles might be breasts or clumps of branches on trees, or knobs on furniture. AR No single iconic masterpieces? What about Yo Picasso, or Les Demoiselles d’Avignon? Pp Oh yes, they’re all pretty good. But you’re always hacking away at the next thing. I envy de Kooning for not being able to recognise Woman I after a certain time, because his mind was both partly gone and incredibly focused – focused on what to do next. He’s working in his studio in the Hamptons in the 1980s, looking at a reproduction of The Attic, say, from the 1940s. And he uses that reproduction as an armature for a painting that’s done very differently to how The Attic was done. He starts in the top-right corner of the new canvas and slowly fills up the painting, like Stanley Spencer stroking and knitting a paint surface. It’s a
AN ORAL HISTORY OF WESTERN ART totally different energy to Abstract Expressionism. Today nobody can see those de Kooning 1980s paintings. There are no eyes to see them, because those paintings haven’t been culturally assimilated yet. That’s still to come. Maybe it will take a return of aestheticism, and less emphasis on everyone being allowed to have a go at creativity in a sort of socially apologising as opposed to artistic sense, or a sense of art where there’s a visual tradition that’s being meaningfully engaged with. I mean, with the Turner Prize announcements each year, it’s always about an averagedout idea of art between the people on the judging panel. There will be someone profoundly ignorant about art who’s good at writing cookery books, say; a missionary type who’s a curator; someone daft who’s a collector; someone a bit sexless, or perhaps oversexed, from an art magazine. And the nominated efforts will have to fit with that social average, but not with a tough tradition of some kind, more a tradition of people coping with each other’s nonsense and alien mindsets at an awkward gathering. That’s the show every year, for people on Radio 4 to huff and puff about, and say the equivalent in modern radio-speak of someone in the old days saying something kitsch about a portrait, that the eyes really follow you round the room, for example. AR What were you saying about de Kooning again? Pp At the end of him copying that reproduction of The Attic, in the 1980s, and painting in this very unspontaneousseeming way – and yet really it is spontaneous, because he’s inventing something new out of no other impulse than to spontaneously reinterpret a tradition – at the end, it’s definitely a de Kooning, by the artist who painted The Attic and Woman I, but he doesn’t really care about those pictures any more, because he’s already done them. That’s how I feel, too. AR What do you think about the Turner Prize? Are you saying it’s good or bad? Pp I like the curators today being missionaries, steeped in the creed, a bit out of their depth as far as substance goes, not always first-class brains, explaining the new religion to people who’ve only recently got access to art, and haven’t got any knowledge of it to tell if it’s good or bad or anything else about it, really. And the art is mostly the same as the people looking at it. Of course not all of it. Dexter Dalwood is nice. I like his copies of me. AR What about African masks? What do you think about all that being revised, and that we can’t say ‘African masks’, we have to say what tribe it is? Pp I agree with that.
A very grim, sad, pathetic but very inventive and good selfportrait in a wobbly pencil line emerges on practically my last day of life – the artist who was very selfish and died without any love, because he was unable to give love. It’s pretty tragic, yes AR Yes, but we can’t like you and Matisse and Derain doing primitivism and not being self-conscious about it; it’s a blind spot for us now, like Matisse’s sexism, and yours. Pp You can’t use the social changes of today to attack another time when those changes hadn’t yet happened. AR You can’t logically, but the attack goes on anyway. Well, we’re getting to the end: is there anything else you’d like to say? Who are your favourite artists of all time? Do you read ArtReview? Pp I do read it, yes. There’s nothing in it I like. I find all the writers very philistine and transparently careerist, as at the other art magazines. But I still read these magazines, because I think it’s good to keep up with what’s happening, and you don’t really read an art magazine like reading James Joyce – it’s more to read through the posturing, to the picture of what’s going on now. With James Joyce of course there isn’t really any posturing at all, but if he was, the posturing would be great, you’d be clapping. But he isn’t, he’s creating something, reinterpreting the forms, putting in fresh energy. You don’t expect that from an art magazine. AR OK, well thanks a lot, Picasso. I know a lot of students will have got a lot from this, and it’s helpful for new Phaidon and Taschen books, and the people who write the wall texts at Tate Modern, so thank you for your generosity. Next issue: Andy Warhol finishes this great series!
Art Galleries | A | 303 Gallery New York | Acquavella New York | Air de Paris Paris | Aizpuru Madrid | Alexander and Bonin New York | de Alvear Madrid | Ammann Zürich | Andréhn-Schiptjenko Stockholm | Andriesse Amsterdam | Anhava Helsinki | Approach London | Artiaco Napoli | B | Baronian Francey Bruxelles | von Bartha Basel | Benítez Madrid | Benzacar Buenos Aires | Béraudière Genève | Berggruen San Francisco | Bernier/Eliades Athens | Beyeler Riehen | Bischofberger Zürich | Blau München | Blum New York | Blum & Poe Los Angeles | Boesky New York | Bonakdar New York | BQ Berlin | Brown New York | Buchholz Köln | Buchmann Agra, Lugano | C | c/o – Gerhardsen Gerner Berlin | Campaña Köln | Capitain Köln | carlier gebauer Berlin | Carzaniga Basel | Cheim & Read New York | Coles London | Contemporary Fine Arts Berlin | Continua San Gimignano | Cooper New York | Crousel Paris | D | Daiter Chicago | De Carlo Milano | Dvir Tel Aviv | E | Ecart Genève | Eigen + Art Berlin, Leipzig | F | Feigen New York | Fischer Düsseldor f | Foksal Warsaw | Fortes Vilaça São Paulo | Fraenkel San Francisco | Freeman New York | Friedman London | Frith Street London | G | Gagosian New York | Galerie 1900-2000 Paris | Galerist Istanbul | Galleria dello Scudo Verona | Gelink Amsterdam | Gladstone New York | Gmurzynska Zürich | González Madrid | Goodman Gallery Johannesburg | Marian Goodman New York | Grässlin Frankfurt am Main | Gray Chicago | Green London | Greene Naftali New York | greengrassi London | Greve Köln | Guerra Lisboa | H | Haas & Fuchs Berlin | Hauser & Wirth Zürich | Hetzler Berlin | Hopkins-Custot Paris | Houk New York | Hufkens Bruxelles | Hutton New York | I | i8 Reykjavik | Invernizzi Milano | J | Jablonka Berlin | Jacobson London | Janda Wien | Rodolphe Janssen Bruxelles | Jeffries Vancouver | Johnen Berlin | Juda London | K | Kaplan New York | Kargl Wien | Kelly New York | Kerlin Dublin | Kern New York | Kewenig Köln | Kicken Berlin | Kilchmann Zürich | Klosterfelde Berlin | Klüser München | Knoedler New York | Kohn Los Angeles | Christine König Wien | Johann König Berlin | Koyama Tokyo | Koyanagi Tokyo | Kraus New York | Kreps New York | Krinzinger Wien | Krugier Genève | Krupp Basel | Kukje Seoul | kurimanzutto México City | L | L & M New York | L.A. Louver Venice | la Città Verona | Lahumière Paris | Lambert Paris | Landau Montreal | Leavin Los Angeles | Lee London | Lehmann Dresden | Lehmann Maupin New York | Lelong Paris | Linder Basel | Lisson London | Löhrl Mönchengladbach | Lorenzo Madrid | Luhring Augustine New York | M | m Bochum Bochum | Maass Berlin | Magazzino Roma | Mai 36 Zürich | Marconi Milano | Marks New York | Marlborough London | Mathes New York | Mayer Düsseldor f | Mayor London | McKee New York | Meert Bruxelles | Meier San Francisco | Meile Luzern, Beijing | Mennour Paris | Metro Pictures New York | Meyer Riegger Karlsruhe | Millan São Paulo | Minini Brescia | Miro London | Mitchell-Innes & Nash New York | Modern Art London | Modern Institute Glasgow | Mot Bruxelles | Müller Zürich | Munro Hamburg | N | nächst St. Stephan Wien | Nagel Köln | Nagy London | Nahem New York | Helly Nahmad London | Nature Morte/Bose Pacia New Delhi | Nelson-Freeman Paris | Neu Berlin | neugerriemschneider Berlin | New Art Centre Salisbury | Noero Torino | Nolan New York | Nordenhake Berlin | Nothelfer Berlin | Nourbakhsch Berlin | O | OMR México City | Obadia Paris | P | Pace New York | Painter Santa Monica | Paley London | Pauli Lausanne | Paviot Paris | Perrotin Paris | Persano Torino | Petzel New York | Pia Zürich | Podnar Berlin | Prats Barcelona | Praz-Delavallade Paris | Presenhuber Zürich | R | Raucci/Santamaria Napoli | Rech Paris | Regen Projects Los Angeles | Denise René Paris | Reynolds London | Riis Oslo | Ropac Paris | Rosen New York | S | Sage Paris | SCAI Tokyo | Scheibler Berlin | Schipper Berlin | Schöttle München | Schulte Berlin | Seroussi Paris | Shafrazi New York | ShanghART Shanghai | Shugoarts Tokyo | Sies + Höke Düsseldorf | Sikkema Jenkins New York | Silverstein New York | Skarstedt New York | Skopia Genève | Sperone Westwater New York | Sprüth Magers Berlin | St. Etienne New York | Staerk Copenhagen | Stampa Basel | Starmach Krakow | Stein Milano | Strina São Paulo | T | Taka Ishii Tokyo | Taylor London | Team New York | Tega Milano | Templon Paris | Thomas München | Tschudi Glarus | Tucci Russo Torino | U | Ubu New York | V | van Orsouw Zürich | Verna Zürich | Vitamin Guangzhou | W | Waddington London | Wallner Copenhagen | Washburn New York | Jamileh Weber Zürich | Weiss Berlin | Werner New York | White Cube London | X | XL Moscow | Y | Young Chicago | Z | Thomas Zander Köln | Zeno X Antwerpen | Zero ... Milano | Ziegler Zürich | Zwirner New York Art Edition | Alexander New York | Artelier Graz | Borch Jensen Berlin | Cristea London | Crown Point San Francisco | Fanal Basel | gdm Paris | Gemini Los Angeles | Item Paris | Klosterfelde Edition Hamburg | Knust München | Lelong Editions Paris | mfc – Didier Bruxelles | Nitsch New York | Pace Prints New York | Paragon London | Polígrafa Barcelona | Two Palms New York Art Statements | A Gentil Carioca Rio de Janeiro | Abreu New York | Arataniurano Tokyo | Balice Hertling Paris | Bartlett London | Boers-Li Beijing | Chatterjee & Lal Mumbai | Cortex Athletico Bordeaux | de Bruijne Projects Amsterdam | Dépendance Bruxelles | Freymond-Guth Zürich | Hollybush Gardens London | Hunt Kastner Prague | Kadel Karlsruhe | Kamm Berlin | Kordansky Los Angeles | Lett Aukland | Lullin + Ferrari Zürich | Monclova México | Monitor Roma | Neue Alte Brücke Frankfurt am Main | ProjecteSD Barcelona | Rokeby London | SKE Bangalore | T293 Napoli | Trülzsch Berlin Art Feature | Bize Nancy | Bortolozzi Berlin | Breeder Athens | Casas Riegner Bogota | Chemould Mumbai | Chouakri Berlin | Cohan New York | De Cardenas Milano | Flor Düsseldor f | gb agency Paris | Gray Assoc. New York | francesca kaufmann Milano | Mezzanin Wien | Sakshi Mumbai | Schwartz Melbourne | Standard (Oslo) Oslo | Stigter Amsterdam | Vilma Gold London | Wien Lukatsch Berlin | Wolff Paris | Art Unlimited | Art Public | Art Film | Art Basel Conversations | Art Salon | Art Magazines Catalog order | Tel. +49 711 44 05 204, Fax +49 711 44 05 220, www.hatjecantz.de Vernissage | June 15, 2010 | by invitation only Art Basel Conversations | June 16 to 19, 2010 | 10 to 11 a.m. The International Art Show – Die Internationale Kunstmesse Art 41 Basel, MCH Swiss Exhibition (Basel) Ltd., CH-4005 Basel Fax +41 58 206 26 86, email@example.com, www.artbasel.com
s i h t r e m m Su
t a h t r e m m u s
Let me take you to the place Where membership’s a smiling face, Brush shoulders with the stars. Where strangers take you by the hand, And welcome you to wonderland – From beneath their panamas… Whether you’re at Art Basel or the Berlin Biennale, or have simply blagged your way into the Serpentine Gallery’s summer party as Gallery Girl’s ‘friend’, you know what George is talking about. But have a care: the drinks may be free; the books, croquet sets, trainers, exhibition entry, one-on-one art history tuition so you can do better than second-to-last in the next art-themed pub quiz you accidentally enter, and other holiday entertainment come at a price. All that stuff about fun and sunshine being ‘enough for everyone’ is lies. That’s why you need to read ArtReview’s guide to this summer’s distractions before you part with any of your hard-earned cash. (Unless reading doesn’t come into your idea of fun, in which case you don’t need to read it at all and might as well hop off to the features section right now.) Right, where were we?
Pack your bags…
Le Bateau-Usine By Takiji Kobayashi I have just finished reading a book known in English as The Cannery Boat (published in 1933) or, as a 1973 British translation titled it, The Factory Ship. Kobayashi was a Japanese Marxist writer, tortured to death by the police in 1933 at the age of twenty-nine. The Factory Ship has just been republished in Japan, where it was an unexpected bestseller. The description of exploited sailors, in the infernal confines of a vessel off Kamchatka, spoke to Japanese youth. I personally prefer Moby-Dick (1851) and those other great messagebearing metaphysical novels of proletarian literature, but I must admit that this book, in spite of rather explicative moments, has a universal force. It has left me with strong images: the movie session onboard, the chief engineer’s lesson, the cruel character of the steward, the destroyer’s attack, the men covered with crab juice… Marie Darrieussecq Editions Yago (French edition), €18 (softcover)
A New Literary History of America
Edited by Greil Marcus & Werner Sollors
a pair of Keith Haring / Tommy Hilfiger trainers The commercial diffusion of an artist’s work has become quite routine, as readers of Consumed will have noted. The Pop Shops Keith Haring opened in the 1980s have since closed, but the late artist’s estate still licenses all kinds of merchandise, in line with the artist’s original intention of getting his work seen by all, ‘kids from the Bronx’ included. This suite of trainers is a collaboration with Tommy Hilfiger and is getting a prerelease at London’s Dover Street Market boutique. Oliver Basciano www.doverstreetmarket.com, £90
Somehow I missed this 1,100page chronicle of American language and letters (including several essays on art, film and music) when it was published last year. It should last the summer, and is worth it just for Dave Hickey on the ‘hooked-up’ prosody of Hank Williams, Luc Sante hymning the blues, David Thomson tracing Chaplin’s decline and Marcus himself on Moby-Dick and its ‘free-swinging slang’. There are lapses – any survey that elides the brilliance of Donald Barthelme and (except fleetingly) David Foster Wallace is sorely wanting. I suspect some animus of Marcus’s in both cases. Brian Dillon Harvard University Press, £36.95 (hardcover)
A Grasp of Kaspar By Michael Baxandall If you know anything about the late Michael Baxandall, it probably involves his being one of the preeminent art historians of the postwar era. Now it turns out he was a novelist as well. A Grasp of Kaspar’s core themes are laid out during historian Will Biggs’s drive from Munich to St Gallen (where the author taught in 1956 – also the year in which this novel is set). Along the way, that region’s haunted roads are transformed into an endlessly overwritten palimpsest of trade routes, power dynamics and shifting boundary lines spanning from Roman times to the Second World War. The present, you see, is shaped by the past. The novel goes on to record Biggs’s investigation, on behalf of an American investor, into the affairs of a former Wehrmacht officer, now running a south German textile mill. It’s all a ruse for a meditation on the elusiveness of truth, albeit with a little bit of John Buchan and Ian Fleming-flavoured sauce. More stimulating, however, is the notion of the space of the novel offering a ‘real’ testing ground for theories normally confined to the academy’s ivory tower. Mark Rappolt Frances Lincoln £10.99 (softcover), £14.99 (hardcover)
Five shows to see this summer
selected by Christine Macel Curator, Centre Pompidou, Paris
Gil J. Wolman
Born in France at the end of the 1920s, Gil J. Wolman is – as this 200-work survey should demonstrate – one of the most important artists to emerge from Lettrism and Situationism. First he was a Lettrist poet, then an important filmmaker: his film L’Anticoncept (1951), a white film, was very influential on people like Cerith Wyn Evans (who has presented the film in an installation). Later, in the mid-1960s, Wolman, excluded from Lettrism by Guy Debord, turned to making complex mixed-media ‘Scotch art’ collages, and in 1977 formed the Separatist Movement, of which he was the only member. He’s an enigmatic artist, but a major one.
Curator Kathrin Rhomberg has oriented the 6th Berlin Biennale around the concept of reality – specifically, the belief in reality. I’m particularly keen to see the work of two artists I like: Petrit Halilaj, a twenty-something Kosovan, who has made work between Kosovo and Berlin about his own family; I think he’s going to do a big installation in the KW Institute, concerned with constructing a house. The other, Marie Voignier, is a young French artist who has only shown in one space in France; even for her home public, she’s not well known. I like also the plan to extend the biennial into the Alte Nationalgalerie: new spaces, a new challenge.
I expect that they’ll show the Dreamachine – Gysin’s kinetic light sculpture designed to create flickering visions on closed eyelids – but this show, which features some 250 works, is a big survey of his work in general and his first in the US. He invented the cutup method, creating new meanings out of collaged texts, and was friends with William S. Burroughs; he also did very interesting drawings and sound poetry. Like Wolman, he influenced Wyn Evans (who has made his own version of the Dreamachine). Again, he’s a very interesting figure from the 1950s–60s and after.
MACBA, Barcelona 4 June – 9 January www.macba.es
Various venues, Berlin 11 June – 8 August www.berlinbiennale.de
New Museum, New York 7 July – 3 October www.newmuseum.org
from left: Gil J. Wolman, Métagraphie, 1954, collage on paper, 68 x 51 cm, Musée d’Art Moderne, SaintÉtienne Métropole, photo: Yves Bresson, © the artist, VEGAP, Barcelona, 2010; Petrit Halilaj, Untitled, 2009 (installation view: Chert, Berlin, 2009), wood, plastic, water pipes, yellow light, various materials, courtesy Chert, Berlin; William S. Burroughs and Brion Gysin, The Third Mind, 1965, crayon, gelatin-silver prints, letterpress, offset lithography and typescript on graph paper, 31 x 24 cm, Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Monika Sosnowska, Krata, 2009, Bródno Sculpture Park, Warsaw, photo: Bartosz Stawiarski; Francis Alÿs, Le Temps du Sommeil, 1996–, finite series of 111 paintings, dates stamped on each painting to indicate the different stages of retouching, oil, encaustic, crayon, collage on wood
Brodno Sculpture Park Warsaw www.artmuseum.pl
I’ve seen the first display here, which included sculpture by Monika Sosnowska, an installation by Olafur Eliasson and a garden by Pawel Althamer (who co-initiated the project, in Warsaw’s Targówek district, in association with Warsaw’s Museum of Modern Art). I’m very much looking forward to seeing the project’s next stages!
Tate Modern, London 15 June – 5 September www.tate.org.uk Francis Alÿs’s exhibition of paintings, Le Temps du Sommeil, at IMMA, Dublin, earlier this year was a very subtle, very interesting show. Back in 2004, I saw the Belgian artist’s big survey exhibition at Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg: I think that this exhibition, which also includes the work from Dublin, is his first major retrospective since then, and is the largest of his career so far. I’m very curious to see what Alÿs can do in such a big gallery space.
…and leave tonight
Anachronic Renaissance By Alexander Nagel & Christopher S. Wood
Why did Renaissance writers, scholars and artists fake, forge and make obvious and absurd historical mistakes? Nagel and Wood argue – very convincingly – that they didn’t. To date, we have simply only got the Renaissance half right – ie, its logic of ‘performance’, which tied cultural work to the accidents of time, place and the conditions of its making, and gave us the concept of ‘style’. The other half works according to a logic of ‘substitution’, persisting from the late Middle Ages, whereby conviction in the referential chain reaching back to antiquity is what mattered. Here, what was once the problem of anachronism becomes its own solution, a key to understanding rather than an obstacle to thought. Jonathan T.D. Neil Zone Books, £29.95 (hardcover)
When You Travel in Iceland You See a Lot of Water By Roman Signer & Tummi Magnússon
Bouvard and Pecuchet By Gustave Flaubert
Having read this years ago amid a Flaubertian fringale (extreme desire), I recently returned to the master to see if his final, unfinished work was as great and laugh-out-loud funny as I remembered it. It is. What’s more, it could hardly be more relevant to the current moment. Describing the high jinks of two incorrigibly quixotic and curious self-educators and their hapless and precipitous attempts to try their hands at everything from farming to physics, this beautifully written farce foretokens our postconceptual era and the practices of a myriad of artists, not to mention curators and critics, working today. Chris Sharp W.W. Norton & Co, £10.99 (softcover)
Roman Signer has been credited with opening up Iceland’s native creativity to the international artworld (said creativity credited in this text as a consequence of remoteness: boredom = artmaking). It seemed only a matter of time before he would write a text about art and the volcanic island. Except this is not it. Despite the book’s pleasing aesthetics (clothbound, requisite landscape photography, maps, etc), it is hard to see the exact point of When You Travel… It’s billed as ein reisebuch – they’ve been adventuring round the country for a few days – yet we learn little about that from Signer’s transcribed conversation with fellow artist Magnússon. Instead we find out that Signer prefers Appenzeller Alpenbitter to Jägermeister, stuff about their childhood memories of spotting a jeep for the first time and an enquiry as to what the job of a ‘waterfall puller’ might be. Much more informative is a volume in a similar vein dating back to 2006 in which Olafur Eliasson and Hans Ulrich Obrist take their own journey through Iceland’s interior. Throughout their ruminations on landscape and art, Eliasson keeps secret from Obrist their treacherous, and possibly fatal situation, as, lost, they chance precarious ground over the country’s many hidden glacial rivers. OB Scheidegger & Spiess, £19.99 (hardcover)
Hocus Bogus By Romain Gary writing as Emile Ajar At the centre of a 1970s Parisian literary scandal was Emile Ajar, a mysterious writer who won the Prix Goncourt for his second novel, A Life Before Us (1975), but who refused to come forward. He was the already successful (and already Prix Goncourt-winning) author Romain Gary, who had become ‘burdened’ and ‘tired of being nothing but myself ’, and wanted to start from scratch once more. As journalists began to put two and two together, Gary wrote a ‘confession’, supposedly by a mad second-cousin, Paul Pawlovitch, a raving man caught in the headlights of white-hot visions, subsequently recorded in frenzied detail in this text. Available for the first time in English, it is also something of a lonely creative suicide – a murder of the creative identity that had allowed new life – from one who would take his own a few years later. It’s always difficult not to muddle a work with its maker – here you might find more of the maker in the muddle. Laura McLean-Ferris Yale University Press, £16.99 (hardcover)
Kraken By China Miéville
Koons skin Ever wondered how Jeff Koons maintains his supersmooth complexion and that boyish bounce in his step? Well, perhaps all is revealed with this Açaí Damage-Protecting Toning Mist from Kiehl’s that sports, for a limited time and in America only, packaging designed by the artist. The Peter Pan of the artworld has gone for a kind of nature-meets-psychedelia vibe in the collaboration, the proceeds of which will go to the Rainforest Alliance conservation charity. OB www.kiehls.com, $26
China Miéville’s latest work of ‘weird fiction’ picks up where Baxandall’s novel leaves off. Not in a way the art historian would instantly recognise, of course; he’d be thrown by the fact that Miéville’s journey through the historical unconscious is animated by large doses of, well, witchcraft. And museums that come alive, magical familiars with labour-relations issues: stuff like that. But don’t let that prescribe the limits of your interest as well. The plot concerns the disappearance of a giant squid, the discovery of its godhead and the hidden, magical underworld in which its veneration takes place; a clash between forces of state control and more organic, haphazard forms of negotiated corporatism; and the ultimate crisis provoked by the collision of all these powers within the psychogeography of London’s streets. History, in other words, as Baxandall would understand it. What makes it all worthwhile, apart from the weirdness, is the way in which the author reflects almosttomorrow’s world of intelligent objects and avatared lifestyles, but nevertheless argues for the fascination of the tangible real. Awww, alright, that and the healthy steampunked-Doctor Who-meets-Harry Potter-starring-the-Cenobites-from-Hellraiser-on-aset-designed-by-H.P.-Lovecraft-in-a-movie-directedby-Jean-Pierre-Jeunet vibe. MR Macmillan, £17.99 (hardcover)
Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Gallerists But Were Afraid to Ask By Andrea Bellini Until recently Andrea Bellini was director of the Artissima art fair in Turin, and this is his collection of interviews with gallerists (or clients) from around the world. It’s pocket-size (if not of pocket thickness), and perfect hand luggage for the plane trip to Basel or some other summer art event. ‘From the outset this [being a gallerist] was more than just another profession’, says Bellini in his introduction. You know what kind of comments to the various dealers will follow: ‘You are considered one of Europe’s most interesting gallery owners…’, ‘You have one of the most impressive private contemporary art collections…’, ‘You’ve always put on interesting art exhibitions…’, ‘You have an incredible story…’ You get the drift. There’s no doubt that this book contains some useful information for anyone wanting to know more about the history of commercial art galleries, and for anyone wanting to start up one of their own. But you’ll need that aeroplane sick bag while you tease it out. If you can’t be bothered, the book’s main message seems to be: quite incredible fawning coupled with aggravated toadying is the secret to artworld success. MR JRP|Ringier, £7 (softcover)
Five shows to see this summer selected by STEPHANIE ROSENTHAL Curator, Hayward Gallery, London
Museum Langmatt, Baden Until 14 November www.langmatt.ch This was the home of Sidney and Jenny Brown, who collected French Impressionism; here, Pipilotti Rist uses the rooms’ objects and paintings as video projection screens, creating a parcours that leads to a final, light-and-mirrors installation. Rist has quite a painterly approach, even though she doesn’t paint; she activates her surfaces in a haptic, sensitive way, so I think it’ll be fantastic to see her work in conjunction with Impressionism. She’s also combining the existing collection with her own collection of white plastic objects – confusing high and low, contrasting market value against personal value. Most of all, Rist really invites visitors to use their imagination. One’s mind feels extended; in her spaces, you can feel like you’re walking through yourself.
Sarah Lucas / Louise Bourgeois
Museum of Cycladic Art, Athens Until 12 September www.cycladic.gr Sarah Lucas’s recent Nuds sculptures, stockings filled with furniture stuffing and structured with wire, suggest two bodies connected or one folded into itself; they’re about the female and the male; they could read as both female and male at once. One might see echoes of Barbara Hepworth, Hans Arp, but the bodily reference is always there. There will be a Louise Bourgeois exhibition at the same time, of sculptures from 1947 to 1953, totemlike wood pieces originating in Surrealism. Though the artists are of different generations, overlaps between male and female are a shared concern: I think it’ll be inspiring to see these bodies of work one after the other.
Less is More: Pictures, Objects, Concepts from the Collection and Archive of Herman and Nicole Daled 1966–1978 Haus der Kunst, Munich Until 25 July www.hausderkunst.de
These Brussels-based collectors prioritised conceptual art, particularly Marcel Broodthaers – they have more than 80 of his works – alongside Byars, Weiner, Darboven and more. Their whole approach is atypical: they see themselves as communicators and producers, asking artists to realise works, and have a huge archive of artistic ideas as well as artworks. A substantial catalogue will unfold the archive and the collection, itself going on show for the first time. The Daleds were very publicity-shy as collectors, so it’s great that someone has managed to show this work.
from left: Pipilotti Rist, Good morning, fingers stroking, the humility! 2010, video still, courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth, Zurich, London & New York; Sarah Lucas, Nud Cycladic (15), 2010, photo: Julian Simmons, © the artist, courtesy Sadie Coles HQ, London; Marcel Broodthaers, La Robe de Maria, 1966, mixed media on canvas, 120 x 100 x 12 cm, Daled Collection, © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2010; William Forsythe, City of Abstracts, choreographic object, video software development: Philip Bussmann, production management: Julian Gabriel Richter, courtesy the Forsythe Company, Frankfurt
Musée Fabre, Montpellier 22 June – 4 July museefabre.montpellieragglo.com William Forsythe’s term ‘choreographic object’ describes how choreography can find autonomous expression in an object outside the body: I’m interested in that because a lot of installations from the 1960s onwards ask viewers to perceive with our bodies, choreographing us. Among his installations and videos here, coinciding with the Montpellier dance festival, are City of Abstracts, wherein viewers make ‘drawings’ by moving in front of a camera, blurring into lines on a projection screen. Art and dance are intertwined, asking how we can use choreography to consider visual art and the world, and how we’re defined through movement.
Have A Look!, Have a Look!
FormContent, London Until 11 July formcontent.org A sound-art exhibition that includes live performances, prerecorded works and events, Have a Look!… features some 30 artists, ranging from Fiona Banner to Roberto Cuoghi to Dora Garcia. According to the curators, the project ‘explores the existing relationship between the physicality of an object and the possibility of its oral transmission’. It takes place in lots of different venues, and looks really interesting.
Don’t take your time…
A summer cocktail I don’t know whom we’re trying to kid with all these enriching recommendations for the summer months. Everybody knows that on a Venice Biennale off-year, the artworld gets as far away from culture as is humanly possible. So why don’t you go find yourself a quiet spot, mix a… Negroni • 1 part gin • 1 part sweet vermouth • 1 part Campari (with limited-edition labels designed by Vanessa Beecroft, hers pictured; Tobias Rehberger; and Assume Vivid Astro Focus) …and relax in the sun, sending all thoughts of September off into a delightful haze. www.campari.com, £17.49
How to Talk to Children About World Art By Isabelle Glorieux-Desouche Skulls, demons, two-headed pigs, hermaphroditism – if you (like me) are thinking this world-art stuff sounds like a fun summer day out, then think again. Colonialism, cultural rape, heritage theft, wholesale nudity, cock rings: what kind of parent who wanted to be admired by friends and Oprah as both politically correct and responsible would bring their pesky, inquisitive kids into a world like that? But now you’re being racist and not politically correct at all. That’s why you need this book – to even your karma out. Consequently, when your offspring, confronted by a Punu Okuyi mask at the Smithsonian, enquires, “What a good hairstyle. Could you have that for real?”, you’ll know that the answer is not “Don’t be ridiculous, your mother’s father was bald, so you will be too”, but, as Isabelle tells you, ‘Of course; hairstyles can be very sophisticated for both African women and men whose hair naturally lends itself to styling like this’. MR Frances Lincoln, £12.99 (softcover)
Ed Ruscha’s Los Angeles By Alexandra Schwartz In her foreword Alexandra Schwartz notes that Ed Ruscha’s Los Angeles stems from a doctoral dissertation, and this plays out in the densely researched, heavily footnoted text. Readers looking for an artist’s tourist guide to the city’s landmarks should go elsewhere. Instead, Schwartz presents a surprisingly straight scholarly biography of Ruscha and his work, albeit framed by various LA-related chapters. So we learn about the underdog feel of the West Coast art scene circa the mid-1960s, compared to its booming New York counterpart, something the author puts down to the separation of LA Pop from the European tradition. Suggesting a Hollywood effect on Ruscha’s painting motifs, the forays the artist made into Hollywood society via his friendship with Dennis Hopper are also covered. Here Schwartz is guided by Ruscha’s 1983 work Hollywood is a verb and goes some way to happily dividing Hollywood, the mythic construct, from its host, the geographic LA. Where the book really comes alive though is when Schwartz goes beyond mere historical documentation and addresses the artist’s relationship to the vernacular modernist urbanism of the sprawling city. The links Schwartz traces between Ruscha’s photographic work and architects Denise Scott Brown and Robert Venturi’s formative writing on the subject are persuasive and, to this reviewer’s knowledge, new. OB MIT Press, £22.95 (hardcover) ArtReview
gotta move your feet… Even the Dogs
By Jon McGregor
World Cup 11 July
For many, this summer means, quite simply, football World Cup. And as the artworld winds down for some well-earned rest before the season starts again in September, we’ve decided to host a little (art)World Cup of our own. With generous sponsorship from Nike (supporters of both the game and the arts), matches will feature customised kits, respirators and professional referees and coaches – there to ensure that things run smoothly and that we all shake hands after the games. Postmatch awards and alcoholic cooldown will take place at 1948, Nike’s temporary store/hangout in East London, where we can all settle in to watch the official FIFA World Cup final with friends, family and the curator you nutmegged on the way to scoring your hat trick. Our talent scouts are out there as we speak, so get training. Tom Watt More details to come on www.artreview.com
a Croquet set in a coffin The summer croquet games of my imagination – mainly fuelled by BBC costume dramas set in large country homes – are not quite so morbid as those in Mark Dion’s mind. Cumulus, a firm who fill the hitherto unprobed niche of artist-designed outdoor furniture and games, are offering, in an edition of ten, a full set of mallets, all carefully secured in a coffin-shaped trolley. Odd, but we like. OB www.cumulus-studios.com, $6,600
Our Tragic Universe By Scarlett Thomas You spend all your time thinking about complex art theory and curatorial strategies – give it a rest! What you’re looking for is a novel to read on the beach – something light and a bit trashy, but with a dash of theory to keep you on your intellectual toes. Our Tragic Universe is a novel with ‘big ideas’ – Baudrillard, quantum theory, Lévi-Strauss, narrative theory, Propp, Chekhov. In it, we follow Meg, a novelist who’s trying to finish her unwritten masterpiece while making a living ghostwriting formulaic sci-fi and obsessing about story structure in Devon. Thomas is skilled at breezily surmising theory, but if you’re familiar with any of these ideas, then passages where people sit around and exchange them at dinner parties will make you wince like you’ve just caught your fingers in the cheese grater: ‘Yeah, you’ve heard about the “death of the author”, right?’ – ‘Is that the one where…’ I hate to say this about an ambitious novel with some complex ideas, but there is a spectre haunting this book, and that spectre is chick lit. That said, if you’re part of that niche audience and have been searching for the holy grail of chick-lit/literarytheory fusion, then search no more. Laura McLean-Ferris Canongate, £14.99 (hardcover)
When packing the holiday reading, I always reach for something depressing: there’s only so much frivolity I can take, you see. I first read Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949) in Fiji, before my sister’s wedding, and the counterbalance was much needed. Consequently, I would happily set Jon McGregor’s third novel, Even the Dogs, in the suitcase. It’s the Leicester-based author’s darkest work yet, centring on the homeless drug users of an unnamed town. He shapes the characters – and their fairly hopeless circular situation of waking up, finding drugs, taking drugs, finding a bed, waking up – with a poetic descriptive spirit. The result, a sad, nonjudgemental portrait of England’s grey, drizzling nowhere-towns, a motif that runs through McGregor’s previous titles as well. OB Bloomsbury, £16.99 (hardcover)
Imperial Bedrooms By Bret Easton Ellis
By Peter Sutherland
and 1920s to body art in the 1970s y of performance art is seemingly ech, the body, transience, audiencend for a definition of a genre, which . aces such as the ones collected by s were left of this art: artists also us once the action is over, as well as n a performance. same title curated by Marie de nd the relevance of these objects in the curators as well as by Arnaud Catherine Wood, and Julien Bismuth, ese issues between the 1960s and duced in performative context by Kelley, Franz West, Jim Shaw, and hetwynd, Catherine Sullivan, and king? Can they reactivate their initial ance to the streamlining of art or mere
D & JOHN RuSSELL, CK, SPARTACuS CHETWYND, RGER, éRIC DuYCKAERTS, CKSON, MIKE KELLEY, quES LIzèNE, éRIC MADELEINE, AILHAu, SOPHIE PEREz RAMETTE, JIM SHAW, IVAN, JEAN-LuC VERNA,
not to play with dead things
villa arson nice
not to play with dead things
Not to Play with Dead Things
Edited by Eric Mangion & Marie de Brugerolle So what immediately follows a resurgence in performance art? As the 1970s knows, its the problem of what to do with the relics and remnants of performance – treasured by certain curators as sculptural or archival gold, and trashed by others. Not to Play with Dead Things follows an exhibition of the same name at Villa Arson Nice, which, taking a lead from Mike Kelley and Paul McCarthy, thoroughly considers how we look at costumes, stage sets and all, as though they have been charged or charmed by performance art, and how playing with dead things can be taken as a metaphor for what the artworld is up to now. LMF JRP|Ringier and Villa Arson Nice, £17 (softcover)
Some books make you laugh, some make you cry. Smoke Bath makes you want to take your clothes off, run naked to the nearest outdoor lido, jump the barrier, dive in, evade the clutching lifeguards, scale the wall, thrash through the nettles and up to the swings… oh dear… limp to the wildflower area and lie low for a few hours till sunset. Such is the lure of the wild that Smoke Bath evokes. This collection of photographs and artwork – a catalogue of sorts to an online exhibition curated by photographer and filmmaker Peter Sutherland – is loosely based on the themes of camping, nature, exploration and the creativity they can inspire. All proceeds go to the Fresh Air Fund, an independent, not-for-profit agency that provides free summer vacations to New York City children from lowincome families. TW www.smokebath.com, $25
Imperial Bedrooms, Bret Easton Ellis’s sixth novel, is a sequel to Less Than Zero (1985), his first (and like the latter, takes its title from an Elvis Costello song). In it we rejoin Clay, Blair, Julian and their gang a quarter of a century down the line – an interval that mirrors the gap between the publication of the two novels. Once the spoiled children of the people who ran Hollywood, now they’re the spoiled people who run Hollywood (in as much as they ‘do’ anything at all). Cue Ellis’s signature form of psychotic almost-factual fiction about psychotics with almost-factual lives. ‘They had made a movie about us’, Imperial Bedrooms begins, before Clay (now a scriptwriter by trade) describes what it was like to have an anonymous friend write about him in Less Than Zero and then to watch the movie made about that book (Ellis’s novel was filmed by Marek Kanievska in 1987). ‘The movie was begging for our sympathy whereas the book didn’t give a shit’, he opines. So Julian dies in the film (Hollywood’s onscreen morality demands that he be punished for his sins), but not in the book (beyond morality and more real). Imperial Bedrooms is the story of how Julian is chased by that movie death. And about how Clay begins living his life as if it were a movie script. ‘This is the way I always wanted the scene to play out’, Clay says as he prepares for another bout of violent sex with a wannabe actress. ‘It doesn’t really work for me unless it happens like this.’ Egged on by Google, Facebook, chatrooms and text messaging (which join the lists of designer goods and the pop-musical soundtracks to people’s lives as surrogates for personality in Ellis’s novels), the twenty-first-century society of Imperial Bedrooms is shrieking, ‘Fuck Plato, we’re going back to the cave’. You won’t read a better book this summer. Nasty but nice. MR Picador, £16.99 (hardcover)
The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine By Michael Lewis
Involved in the artworld but don’t understand where the money went? Read The Big Short. Michael Lewis has an absurd gift for narrative flow, buoying intricately transaction-heavy storylines with inflated personalities (see also Liar’s Poker, his 1989 exposé of Wall Street, and Silicon Valley travelogue The New New Thing, 2000). Here the journalist not only dismantles the towers of ingeniously concealed bad debt that caused the crash, but animates the farsighted geeks who short-sold them in advance: somehow these savants (whose talents, Lewis suggests, relate to their being one-eyed or bereaved) come out fairly heroic. Scariest of all, you can’t help expecting the whole hubristic mess to happen again. ‘Something for nothing’, Lewis concludes while grabbing a ruined trader’s devilled egg, ‘never loses its charm’. Martin Herbert Penguin, £25 (hardcover)
…don’t you miss the flight THE CONCISE
J UDI T H CLAR K
Clark is a curator of dress and exhibitionShe is Reader in the ﬁeld of Fashion and logy at London College of Fashion, where co-Director (with Amy de la Haye) of MA n Curation. She is also on the faculty at Venice University). Clark opened the ﬁrst ndent gallery of dress (Judith Clark me Gallery) in 1998, and has since curated exhibitions at the V&A (Spectres; Anna Fashionology); ModeMuseum, Antwerp n Muses), Palazzo Pitti, Florence (Simonetta: ma donna della Moda Italiana) and ans van Beuningen, Rotterdam (The Art hion: Installing Allusions).
ADAM PH ILLI PS
Phillips, formerly Principal Child otherapist at Charing Cross Hospital in n, is a psychoanalyst and writer. He is the of 14 acclaimed books, most recently ffects, and On Kindness written with the an Barbara Taylor. He is the Editor of the enguin Freud translations and a regular er for the London Review of Books.
1 The fold ﬁxed. 2 The line designed by use. 3 Spread for conservation, sometimes with laughter.
NORBERT S CHOER NER
DICTI ONA RY OF
Y OF DR E S S
rt Schoerner is a photographer and ﬁlmwhose fashion campaigns include Comme rçons and Prada; his editorial work has een in The Face, New York Times magazine, and many other titles. Schoerner’s work en widely exhibited, including shows at Cube, Chapman Fine Arts and the 10th ational Architecture Exhibition of the Venice ale (2006).
J U D I T H C L A R K & A DA M P H I L L I P S
P H O T OG R A P H Y BY
NOR BERT S CHOER NER Violette | Artangel
e Editions ington Street n W1F 9AG violetteeditions.com
978-1-900828-35-2 d in Italy
Violette Editions | Artangel
The Concise Dictionary of Dress By Judith Clark and Adam Phillips
T H E C O N C I S E D I C T I O N A RY O F D R E S S Judith Clark & Adam Phillips Photography by Norbert Schoerner
In this idiosyncratic collaboration between a psychoanalyst and a costume curator, Adam Phillips re-describes dress in terms of anxiety, wish and desire, while Judith Clark’s installations visually redeﬁne Phillips’ deﬁnitions and bring garments and other items from the Victoria and Albert Museum’s archive to life in unexpected ways. Published in parallel with an Artangel commission at Blythe House, location of the V&A’s vast reserve collections, The Concise Dictionary of Dress examines the nature of dictionaries, archives and dress curation and adds stunning photographs recording two overnight tours through Blythe House by renowned photographer Norbert Schoerner. Phillips’ deﬁnitions for words commonly associated with fashion and appearance – such as armoured, conformist, essential, provocative – were paired with eleven installations created by Clark on a walk through this vast building, from its rooftop to an underground coal bunker. Here in print, extending beyond the works at Blythe House, Phillips adds more words, more deﬁnitions and a covering essay asking broader questions about what dictionaries are, how we use them and why they matter. Judith Clark also presents a written analysis of the Dictionary in response to questions posed anonymously by authorities in ﬁelds as varied as cultural theory, fashion history, arts curation and architecture, as well as a comprehensive illustrated catalogue of references used in creating the installations.
This book is a catalogue of and expansion on the collaboration between psychoanalyst Adam Phillips and costume curator Judith Clark that’s being presented this summer in London as an Artangel commission at the Victoria and Albert Museum’s storage facility at Blythe House. The game is this: Phillips provides definitions of a series of fashion terms while Clark creates installations that do the same (represented in the book by Norbert Schoerner’s photographic record). Naturally it’s a stunningly elegant production, but there are times, particularly during Phillips’s introduction, when you wonder if this is a triumph of style over substance. Although in a way that’s the point. The project is all about moving away from the traditional dictionary system and the ‘corrupt’ way in which a bunch of words define themselves. MR Violette Editions in association with Artangel
Holiday listening There used to be a terrible radio jingle advertising a dance music show as the ‘soundtrack of your summer’. Sun-lovin’ clubbers would then leave messages as they roadtripped to their two weeks by the sand. Well turn that crap off, and let legendary comic-book author Alan Moore take centre stage on the dashboard controls with his ambitious project Unearthing. Moore, the man behind Watchmen (1986–7) and V for Vendetta (1982–5), narrates a self-penned narrative epic, which is scored by a roster of topnotch musicians, including Adam Drucker (aka Doseone of cLOUDDEAD), Stuart Braithwaite (of Mogwai) and Mike Patton (of Faith No More). The album comes as a boxset, which also includes a full instrumental version of the project, a transcript and photos by collaborator Mitch Jenkins. OB www.lexrecords.com, £50
Violette Editions, £25 (hardcover)
The Craftsman By Richard Sennett It’s hardly cool to admit to being radicalised by a book. Normally I leave that to Relate counsellors and Dan Brown freaks, but The Craftsman has me scuppered. Having cited it by name in half a dozen articles, and taken it as inspiration for a dozen more, I still find myself pushing it, a year after it came out in paperback, on students, young designers, curators and random strangers with an enthusiasm that borders on the obsessive. A former pupil of Hannah Arendt, Richard Sennett opens his work by revisiting his old tutor’s celebration of man the thinker at the expense of man the maker. Rationalising the devastating curiosity of Robert Oppenheimer, Arendt portrayed making man as so consumed by research and discovery for its own sake that he failed to examine the consequences of his exploration. In his rehabilitation of man the maker, Sennett gallops through the workshops of Stradivari, the kitchen of Elizabeth David, modern Japanese auto plants, the development of Linux, surgical scalpels, brick manufacture and lens grinding to find glory in the skill of the hand, the use of minimum force and pride in a well-made thing. It’s an intense work: well read, omnivorous in its rich experience of life and as invigorating in its detail as it is persuasive in its philosophy. Hettie Judah Penguin, £9.99 (softcover)
dR. FOuRQuet 12, 28012 MadRId. tel:(34) 91 468 05 06 FaX:(34) 91 467 51 34 e-mail:firstname.lastname@example.org
May 27 – July 31
D Ü S S E L D O R F
22 May – 8 August 2010
M A N N E S M A N N U F E R
Wang S huti ng, Movi ng A gai n, 2 0 0 8
Demolition Milk II
The exhibition is supported by :
June 16 – 20
art basel Stand M8
CentRO de aRteS VISualeS FundaCIÓn HelGa de alVeaR
mÁrGeNes De sIleNCIO Works from Colección Helga de alvear 1963 – 2009 Opening First Phase June 4th and 5th 2010 Cáceres, Spain
KIT – KUNST IM TUNNEL Mannesmannufer 1b, 40213 Düsseldorf
Open daily 10am–6pm
Di–So 11–18 Uhr www.kunst-im-tunnel.de KIT - KUNST IM TUNNEL is funded by:
Burlington House Piccadilly London W1J 0BD
Model Kits. thinking latin America from the MUsAC Collection. 26/06/10 – 09/01/11
Erick Beltrán. Modelos de Construcción del Objeto, 2010 Courtesy of the artist
Carlos Amorales, Alexander Apóstol, Julieta Aranda, AVAF, Fernando Bryce, Erick Beltrán, Iñaki Bonillas, Tania Bruguera, François Bucher, Luís Camnitzer, Raimond Chaves, José Damasceno, Dr. Lakra, Matías Duville, Leandro Erlich, Sandra Gamarra, Carlos Garaicoa, Mario García Torres, Diango Hernández, Juan Fernando Herrán, Federico Herrero, María Teresa Hincapié, Leonilson, Jorge Macchi, Gilda Mantilla, Teresa Margolles, Hernán Marina, Ana Mendieta, Mujeres Creando, Óscar Muñoz, Rivane Neuenschwander, Damián Ortega, Álvaro Oyarzun, Nicolás París, Jorge Pineda, Caio Reisewitz, Rosângela Rennó, Pedro Reyes, Miguel Ángel Rojas, Martín Sastre, Melanie Smith y Rafael Ortega, Valeska Soares, Javier Téllez, Meyer Vaisman, Carla Zaccagnini
Activities in relation to exhibitions
Para ser construidos (to be built) Marcelo Cidade, Marcius Galan, André Komatsu, Nicolás Robbio, Carla Zaccagnini 26/06/10 – 12/10/10
Alexander Apóstol Tropical Modernity 26/06/10 – 12/10/10
Symposiums, Lectures, Forums thinking latin America symposium
Pulgar Editorial Project 23/10/10 – 09/01/11
Forum of Artistic Publications in latin America
CGeM: Notes about emancipation Carolina Caycedo, Carla Fernández, Adriana Lara, Judi Werthein 23/10/10 – 09/01/11 Sponsored by
Workshops Raimond Chaves, July, 2010 Carolina Caycedo, September, 2010 Carla Fernández, October, 2010 Tania Bruguera, December, 2010
Fore more information about our Educational and Culture Programme: publications, seminars, symposiums, lectures, workshops, grants, audiovisuals, visit our site www.musac.es; suscribe to our bimonthly newsletter. Free entrance. Avda Reyes Leoneses, 24. 24008. León, Spain.
Ju Ming Exhibition Exchange Square The Landmark iPRECIATION Central Hong Kong
Taichi Series- Bronze L:265.5 x 180 x 161 cm, R:202 x 230 x 156 cm, 1995
Living World Series- Painted Wood 99 x 144.5 x 81 cm, 2009
Living World Series- Swimming Stainless Steel, 84.4 x 59.6 x 52 cm, 2008
Living World Series- Painted Stone 71.8 x 29 x 31.3 cm, 2009
Exhibition from June 1 to 20, 2010 - 10.00am to 7.00pm daily For information or to acquire, please visit ipreciation.com ‘Exhibitions’ for this exhibition and ‘iGALLERY’ for other artists.
Our Galleries are located: Shop LG3, Jardine House, 1 Connaught Place, Central, Hong Kong T 852 2537 8869 F 852 2537 8386 The Fullerton Hotel, 1 Fullerton Square #01-08, Singapore 049178 T 65 6339 0678 F 65 6438 2080
EDGE OF ARABIA BERLIN GREY BORDERS / GREY FRONTIERS 10 JUNE - 18 JULY TORSTRAßE 1
by Ben Cain
In this issue’s Manifesto, Ben Cain reacts to the political uncertainty that followed the UK general election in May. In its immediate aftermath – the result a hung parliament, indicating that all other manifestos had been rejected – Cain created a series of images that act as a form of mournful document to the campaigns. He has drawn a series of motifs that suggest action – hands holding objects or implements – but with unclear intentions. ‘If this is at all a manifesto’, writes the artist, then it is one which ‘carries a demand for a newly appropriate manifesto – a momentary space of no manifestos or mandates or directives’. The implication is a back-to-thedrawing-board moment, in which elemental shapes and ideas can be moved around as though they are base materials, so many sticks and stones. As with some of Cain’s previous work, there is a combination of direction and vagueness – he describes it as ‘a call for action alongside a declaration of ideological bankruptcy… the indication of something forming, arriving out of indeterminacy, out of stalemate and disappointment’. Ben Cain was born in Leeds and lives and works in London and Zagreb. In recent years he has exhibited at the Slought Foundation, Philadelphia; Garanta Perform, Istanbul; Wiels, Brussels; the ICA, London; and Lenbachhaus, Munich.
Bubenreuth, Germany, summer 1971. I â€™m standing on a stack of wood three metres high.
Te l l e r
is right behind me.
I jump and land, my legs trembling, in one of the small circles we have marked out with sharp, pointed stakes â€“ uninjured and relieved. Juergen, two years younger than me, jumps next, not far enough, and sustains a deep, tearing f lesh wound. We stare at each other for a moment in sheer horror, before he rushes into the house.
wo r ds : h e l m u t t e l l e r
feature: JUERGEN TELLER
Hamburg, October 2009. The latest issue of the French magazine Self Service has just come out, with Juergen’s photographs of Schloss Thurn und Taxis. I leaf through it until my eye is caught by an article, ‘102 Questions for Juergen Teller’. Helmut Lang asks, ‘What do your parents or childhood friends think of your work?’ The publisher Gerhard Steidl, who has known Juergen for many years, wonders, ‘What did your family in Bubenreuth say about Raquel Zimmermann standing naked on their dining room table?’ I’m a member of that family: I’m Juergen’s cousin. When we were young, we had adjacent rooms. We lived in the same house, with our parents, my two older siblings and our grandparents. The adults all worked in the family business, making bridges for stringed instruments: for Juergen and me, this was a crucial factor in our childhood and identities. Juergen has shown pictures of the workshop in various exhibitions. It’s a recurrent theme in his work, an anchor, but also a springboard to elsewhere. He was well on the way to becoming a bow maker for stringed instruments, but had to give up his apprenticeship because of an allergy that affected his breathing. The workshop left him no breathing space. Like Juergen, I also moved away a long time ago. He has been living in London since 1986; I’ve lived in Hamburg for many years now, where I work as a psychiatrist and psychotherapist. Tragically, shortly after my mother died at a young age in 1987, Juergen’s father committed suicide. Now only my father and his mother still live in our shared parental home. Our rooms are just as we left them. The times we shared together as boys are preserved within them. Although we went such different ways, photography has constantly reestablished the bond between us. I was always obsessed with collecting pictures, but put the camera to one side as it became increasingly important to Juergen. I know almost all of the pictures he has published; sometimes they have bothered me and unsettled me, but they have often filled me with pride. Torn this way and that, I glance yet again at the first Märchenstüberl photographs, from around the turn of the millennium, with which he wrenched our parental home into the public eye. It’s his view of a world we shared, yet a different world to mine. It is all so familiar to me that it’s hard to imagine how it strikes the outsider. Juergen’s photographs are merciless, but never mocking, and they are full of humour. I can laugh about anything with him. We even laugh when I’d maybe rather be serious. Juergen has always gone further than other people. He never stops at the point where I, for one, have reached my limit. Sometimes it seems to me as though the terror of that childhood dare is still in my bones. But Juergen goes on jumping, as though he has nothing to lose, or everything. He never complains – not about his injuries, a difficult childhood or having to sleep in an old Mercedes in London when he was penniless. He’s always kept going, and it’s still the same. I’m sitting at the computer clicking my way through the pictures Juergen has sent me, a selection for an exhibition catalogue. I find myself stopping at a photograph of Kate Moss in the 1990s, when she was still with Johnny Depp. It’s so familiar to me, as though it were a picture from my own childhood. For years there was a photograph of Kate – taken by Juergen for a Katharine Hamnett publicity campaign – hanging above my bed. It was her longing gaze, into the distance, that helped me find my way into sleep. Juergen has put a picture of my father and Irene, his mother, next to a photograph of Kurt Cobain. These early pictures were 86
shot in 1991 on the same roll of film. I still remember Juergen’s excitement over his meeting with Kurt Cobain. He felt that they were connected by something that he had difficulty putting into words. And although he spent several days with Cobain’s band, Nirvana, he took very few photographs. Something seemed to be holding him back. After that there are pictures from the series Ed in Japan (2006). These fill me with delight. Juergen is so proud of his son in these pictures. The portraits and landscapes are untroubled, sensitive; they radiate joie de vivre. The Throne, the Robe, the Haircut (2010) is another set of pictures of his son. And for me these pictures revive that awful feeling of helplessness and exposure I remember from childhood. Get home, wash your hair, turn back into your old self as quickly as possible, render null and void what someone else has done to you. The next set is Louis XV (2004) with Charlotte Rampling. An awkward series, highly charged emotions. Whenever I look at these shots I get goose pimples and feel a certain tension that is a mixture of shame and arousal. When Juergen was preparing to show these pictures at Contemporary Fine Arts in Berlin, a largerthan-life invitation card for the opening fluttered into our house. This card, without an envelope, memorably showed Juergen’s backside on a grand piano with Rampling sitting at the keyboard, utterly unimpressed. Grinning to myself, I imagined our postman in Bubenreuth handing Irene this invitation card from her son. Juergen takes delight in that kind of adolescent provocation. Later he told me that an art collector had contacted the gallery to enquire if he could buy the sculpture on the piano. If it weren’t for my wife’s ambiguous, amused look as she pointed out the physical similarity between myself and Juergen, I would definitely have used photographs to illustrate a psychology seminar on narcissism. They blatantly reflect a person’s undisguised lust for himself, his vanity and a delusion of omnipotence – sometimes childlike and playful, sometimes condescending. And then of course there’s also the wonderful Charlotte Rampling, without whom this narcissistic mise en scène would not be complete. Sometimes she is the lover, sometimes an attentive mother who knows all about the fragility
Maybe that’s what drives him on: the feeling of so of ten being on the brink of losing his grip and his footing yet still being in command of the situation
and sensitivity of the other. The feelings repressed by the actors in this display – shame, disgust and envy – all surface in the beholder, slipping into the picture through the back door but leaving the protagonists unsullied. Juergen has gone further than before in these pictures. He has very deliberately used himself as a model in a manner that he would only ask of himself. The first time I saw the Bubenreuth photographs of Raquel Zimmermann (2009), I thought, ‘Oh no, not the Märchenstüberl again.’ Rather uneasily I looked at the picture of Raquel naked on our dining table. The phrase ‘neurotic, compulsive repetition’ shot through my mind. The scene in this picture looks like a game devised by a child that is completely out of control and knows no bounds – until someone bursts into tears. Why isn’t anyone shouting “Stop!”? The whole family is joining in the game. And that’s another enviable feeling – Juergen is the great seducer; we do what he says. It’s a phenomenon that we know from countless talent shows, and yet Juergen never exposes anyone, he doesn’t make fun of other people, he’s always one of us. We laugh when my eighty-three-year-old father proudly announces to friends that Eva Herzigova and Raquel Zimmermann have both spent the night in his bed on visits to our house. In his column in Zeit magazine, Juergen wrote that he loves losing control. Maybe that’s what drives him on: the feeling of so often being on the brink of losing his grip and his footing yet still being in command of the situation. Perhaps that’s also what he saw in Kurt Cobain, and what inhibited him. It’s the feeling of desiring yet dreading to see others in this situation that spurs him on and ultimately casts a spell over the beholder. Many of Juergen’s conceptual works, such as the GoSees (1999) or the Tracht (2001) series, about the Miss World >
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competition, may superficially adhere to the expected format, yet his internal motivation is very much his own. It has to do with his search for boundaries, for weak points, for wounds and for the tension between the surface and what is beneath it. Juergen captures a closeness that often only exists for a matter of seconds. Sometimes he uses the camera like a machine gun, sometimes there are just a handful of shots, almost as though taken in passing. And the type of photograph makes no difference – fashion photography or pictures of his family, it’s all the same. I have never seen a lovelier picture of Linda Evangelista than the one Juergen took in Central Park in 1993. She never looked so young, vulnerable and shy in any other photograph. And then I also find myself thinking of the photograph My Mother, Father and Me (1998), with Juergen’s mother at his father’s grave. Juergen is named in the title but only as the person contemplating this scene. His own deep hurt, his sense of separation and his longing are all palpably present. Psychologists would refer here to the individual’s search for what has been repressed, and it’s the difficult feelings that then come to light. That is the strength that forms and sustains his work. Juergen’s pictures are always emotional. Some make me laugh, some rile me, and I never know what’s coming next. Last year, besides taking pictures of Raquel Zimmermann in Bubenreuth, Juergen photographed Charlotte and Raquel in the Louvre and made a series on a joint exhibition by Matthew Barney and Elizabeth Peyton on Hydra, an island not far from Athens, which was also illustrated in Self Service. In this set of almost painterly photographs, Juergen has managed to arrive at a synthesis of very different artistic works. A similar level of painterly expression is also seen in some of his more recent photographs, such as the nude shots of Vivienne Westwood and a magnificent portrait of Lily Cole. With her marble-white skin, she looks like a vision of Venus painted by Lucas Cranach. These photographs are presented with obsessive attention to detail. Juergen takes great care over the colour of the background, suitable accessories and the composition as a whole; yet I still wonder how he achieves this expression. After all, these are only photographs, not painted with a brush, mainly taken with a small-format camera – and yet they seem timeless and somehow not of this world. If you regard Juergen’s artistic work as a form of therapeutic self-confrontation, then steps backwards – as in the new Bubenreuth photographs – are necessary to build up sufficient momentum for the next step forwards. In a therapeutic process, this sometimes leads to uneasiness and impatience. However, as a therapist, I know that you constantly have to seek reassurance, make for firm, ‘old’ ground, in order to work up the courage to go on. So I have great respect for his work and the course he is pursuing. Juergen is my cousin, only he’s more than what a cousin is to most people, and everything is more complicated, too. My world is about talking, and although Juergen talks effortlessly through his pictures, it’s often difficult for the two of us to talk to each other. He asked if I would write something about him. He wants to hear what I’ll say – which is, after all, how all the best conversations start. This text has been translated from the German by Fiona Elliott Calves & Thighs, a major exhibition of work by Juergen Teller, is on view at Photo España, Madrid, 9 June – 22 August
works (in order of appearance) Stalagmite 2, Fränkische Schweiz, Germany, 2002 Sigmund Freud’s Couch (Malgosia), London, 2006 Vivienne Westwood No.1, 2009 Lily Cole, Dominica, 2009 Octopussy, Rome, 2008 My Mother, Father and Me, Bubenreuth, Germany, 1998 all works courtesy the artist
Save the date
Preview September 30 and October 1 2010 Opening Evening October 1 2010
La Bienal Europea de Arte Contemporáneo Región de Murcia (España) en diálogo con el Norte de África The European Biennial of Contemporary Art Region of Murcia (Spain) in dialogue with northern Africa
In a precise and seductive practice exploring speech and ar tistic agenc y,
inhabits the ar t of others, mapping out the conditions of its existence. But when asked to explain herself, she insists on the work doing the talking wo r ds : L au r a Mc L e a n - Fe r r i s
I didn’t interview Falke Pisano? Well, perhaps I should leave it to Paolo Virno – whom the artist has quoted at length – to offer a hint. ‘Every utterance is a virtuosic performance’, writes the Italian philosopher in A Grammar of the Multitude (2004). ‘And this is so, also because, obviously, utterance is connected (directly or indirectly) to the presence of others.’ In Pisano’s work, interpersonal speech is taken seriously, given primacy. And when you frame speaking in terms of art, a discussion isn’t just a discussion: it is something else, something more. Imagine that human speech were transformed into tangible form. Imagine that someone said something which had effects – on her own ability to speak, on that of others, on the future – and that you could see these effects, like a perfectly formed, beautifully crystalline schema spilling forth from the speaker, mapping out all future potentials. Imagine this was a sculpture. Mapping and materialising characterises the kinds of propositions Pisano puts forward via diagrams, sculptures, writing, lectures, interviews (for she has done them, when she has elected to) and books. The visual aspects of Pisano’s art frequently involve flat blocks of colour and complex constellations of primary shapes. In one of her diagrams, for example, ‘Position A’ might be a drawing of three squares and three triangles based on Josef Albers’s Structural Constellation, Transformation of a Scheme No. 23 (1951), yet it will also represent the position of something called an ‘I-machine’, a concept Pisano has developed to try to understand changing forms of possible artistic agency – how one artist creates a set of possible futures for another, whether by speaking or producing. Her installation in Daniel Birnbaum’s 2009 Venice Biennale exhibition Making Worlds, for example, was a large floor-based sculpture of flat primary colours and shapes, each with a black frame atop it.
This sculpture was also, if seen from above, a diagram of different speaking positions, so that when a viewer stood in a particular position, she faced a piece of text attached to the black frame that explained her speaking position. Part of a series entitled Figures of Speech (2007–9), the work attempted to enact the transformation of a sculpture into a conversation; more specifically, it investigated the formation of individual agency as it relates to speech acts, and moreover, aligned them with acts of artistic creativity. Those textual directions are perhaps where we hit our first sticking point, like toffee in the mouth or coke spilled on a keyboard. Pisano’s writings, lectures and signs are so very precise, employing such a strict philosophical vocabulary, that her recently published artist’s book, also called Figures of Speech (2010), came with a glossary. Pullout, for ease of use. The dryness of some of her texts is striking, detailing points such as: ‘10) The Complex Object is constructed around the problematic proposition – indicating an impossible or problematic event – on which its internal logic is based. 11) Because the proposition is transferred from its original context to a context that is based upon it, its problematic nature dissolves; as the object is constructed the “taking place” of the event is enabled and written.’ Trying to change the foundations of logic, it seems – to perform the magician’s trick of transforming thought or speech into object and back again – means that the forbidding empirical language of logic itself is the only one that can be afforded. And yet, this description doesn’t do justice to how seductive the combination of these sculptures and ideas can be. The first element at play here is the latest manifestation of art’s seduction by theory and reference. Many artists now acknowledge that their art plays within modernist ruins, destined to repeat and reconsider the art of a certain period in the past. It is also widely acknowledged that there are many artists who build their work out of references as though they were a plastic material. For her part, Pisano has gone so far as to collapse the relationship between text, reference and work entirely, creating installations of open book pages such as Object Construction Number 1, Reflective Abstraction (Mishima) (2007), in which the artist’s circling around a particular paragraph from a
Yukio Mishima novel explores sculptural shape in its presentation – a set of open books as sculpture – and in the selection of severe geometric forms and sculptures pictured in the pages of some of these books. The second element resides in Pisano’s abstract imagery, if it can be called that. This is drawn from some of the most diamondhard condensations of modernist art and design, those moments in which utopian ideas and deceptively simple constructions of shape and colour collide, and continue to subtly reverberate throughout our art history. A case in point is Pisano’s ongoing O Eu e o Tu/The I and the You (2008–), a series of works based on Hélio Oiticica’s tropicalist installations and specifically his Penetráveis (penetrable structures). Like Oiticica’s, Pisano’s constructions are made of soft, colourful hanging fabric and bamboo, and manage to seem both modernist and extravagant, hot and cold. Inside these constructions (‘inside’ the sculptures or paintings, as it were), one can hear Pisano’s voice, reading a fragmented text, which occasionally addresses the listener, inviting her to play a part in or adapt the sculpture in which she now finds herself: to use her own agency. Yet there is something of a betrayal in attempting to reconstruct and repurpose the work another artist, which Pisano perhaps obliquely acknowledges in other works. How does one truly get inside the work of other artists without abusing or destroying it? Object and Disintegration (The Object of Three) (2008), which references Le Corbusier’s fixation on and interior ‘defacement’ of Eileen Gray’s E-1027 seaside home, subtly mocking the former’s personal disintegration as he attacked the work of the latter, provides Pisano with another model of an agent inhabiting a work of art. In approaching and remaking Oiticica’s sculptures, and in essence sitting inside them, Pisano has torn through them – destroyed them to an extent – removing them from their original context to be used for her own means. If Tropicália was itself rooted
feature: Falke Pisano
in anthropophagia (here referring to the cannibalising of other cultures for Brazilian ends), then Pisano has recannibalised Oiticica’s works in her investigations of the relationship between speech, the individual and artistic agency. A series of her works titled The point of view for my work (non-understanding within understanding) (2008) feature framed black-and-white found photographs of baboons appearing to converse and of a parrot, referencing both the idea of the ‘tropical’ and of the mimic – a creature that repeats but is not sure what it says; inhabiting language, but not living in it. It is Oiticica who perhaps provides the ultimate point of reference for Pisano’s interest in the relationship of an art/object to a speaker or an agent. This is borne out by her recent use, in the exhibition Figures of Speech (Formation of Crystal) (2009) at London’s Hollybush Gardens, of wall-hung fabric sculptures that also act as potential costumes. While Oiticica’s costumes were designed for dancing in, Pisano’s are designed to depict four different speech models (context, for example, or collaboration). Each fabric element of these sculptures is ascribed a particular meaning, and is taken from existing elements within her own work. One of the sculptures, Figure 3 (Conditions of Agency) (2009), borrows its form from O Eu e o Tu, and each piece of fabric represents a different position with potential agency. In another sculpture, Figure 2 (Collaboration and Subjectivity), three sticks and three pieces of coloured fabric appear to be laid out in separate parts on a table, waiting to be made, worn and brought to life. For an artist so interested in understanding conversation and collaboration, perhaps Pisano’s works that perform collaboration 94
best (rather than suggest a potential collaboration on the viewer’s part) are those conceived with long-term accomplice Benoît Maire. Their two most recent collaborations were Organon and The Wave (both 2009). Organon features several tables with small anonymous objects placed upon them: pieces of paper, mirror, cardboard and plastic in a variety of pale colours together with a wall text that appears to fathom how the viewer’s interpretation of these objects may change as they are moved around the table. The small objects cannot help but have a relationship to one another – we are programmed to see a language in their placement, though it is language full of physical and spatial nuance that we can’t completely articulate. Any attribution of artistic intention is thwarted by the fact that the objects are rearranged daily by gallery or museum staff as they please. The Wave is a 16mm film made in three sections. The first is an audio description of a shape; in the second we see a man and woman arranging objects on a beach, making meaning from physical and referential glamour; and finally we see a park with public sculpture and statues – people taking shelter beneath a sculpture suggesting that we question how objects really function in history, how they affect the ways people behave and genuinely ‘enter’ a sculpture or a dialogue with it. For all Pisano’s attention to how people can enter and inhabit art, precisely this engagement can occasionally be the most difficult aspect of her own work. One is attracted visually by the objects, but somewhat rebuffed by the text. Pisano has discussed her ‘end products’ – objects, performances, texts, interviews, etc – as ‘moments of communication, constituting entrances to a structure that is activated through an investment in it’. But does this mean that every time an artist speaks, it is an artistic speech act that opens up an entrance into her work? When she speaks as Falke Pisano about her work, must it become her work? After reading her email to me, in which she explains why she cannot take part in an interview, in part because she views the interview as a crucial part of her own practice, and not a side product, one can only surmise that it must, and that this piece of writing is not an entrance, but the words of someone waiting outside.
works (in order of appearance) Falke Pisano, Object Construction #1: Reflective Abstraction (Mishima), 2007 (installation view). Courtesy Grazer Kunstverein Falke Pisano, Figures of Speech (Diagrammed), 2009 (installation view, Venice Biennale, 2009) Falke Pisano, O Eu e o tu / The I and You, III, 2010 (installation view, Berlin–Paris 2010, Balice Hertling c/o Galerie Neu / MD72, Berlin, 2010), mixed media, dimensions variable. Courtesy Galerie Balice Hertling, Paris Falke Pisano, The point of view for my work (non-understanding within understanding) (detail), 2008 (installation view, Modern, Modern, Chelsea Art Museum, New York, 2009), nine framed c-prints and photographs, dimensions variable Falke Pisano and Benoît Maire, Organon, 2008 (installation view). Courtesy Grazer Kunstverein
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Prior to an international quar tet of sur vey shows,
Matt Mullican explains what makes
his mind tick
wo r ds : o l i v e r b a sc i a n o p o rtr a it: h e j i s h i n
i can see how some of the work could be considered a little bit psychotic”, Matt Mullican confides. And as he unpacks his work for me, a purposeful – and powerful – separation between it and material reality can be perceived. In a wide-ranging practice that incorporates performance under hypnosis, lectures, sculpture, installation and acres of drawn cartoon hieroglyphics, the American artist has taken on the personalities of people who might actually live in heterotopic nowhere space, including ‘That Person’, the name he has given his hypnotised alter ego, and ‘Glen’, a stickfigure motif that recurs throughout his drawing practice. Still, ‘psychotic’ is not how Mullican himself explains his ongoing investigations into alternative states of being, particularly the geography and architecture, imagined or otherwise, that exists within the flat surface of an image. In fact, the artist describes the psychological ‘space’ of his pictorial worlds with such evident assurance that they are transformed from something conceptual, almost fictional, into a more tangible, if alternate, reality. The direction has been fruitful for the artist: he has four museum shows to look forward to, stretching consecutively from this summer into 2011, all of which build on a long career, that has seen solo shows at venues including the Centre Pompidou in Paris, MOCA LA and the Drawing Center, in New York. Mullican first became interested in issues of perception while studying (under John Baldessari) at the California Institute of Arts during the early 1970s. “All I see are light patterns”, the artist explains. “And when I say ‘all I see are light patterns’, it puts tremendous distance between you and me. Everything becomes an illusion in which there is no difference between anything: soft and hard, big or small, life and death. It’s all been equalised in the psyche.” This interest had a catalytising impact on his work as an artist, when, in April 1973, Mullican drew a car wheel in his now standard pared-down style – akin to a newspaper sketch – tightly framed to give no hint of anything other than the wheel. “The wheel was of a car that never existed”, says the artist. And neither the act of making it nor the final drawing itself held Mullican’s interest; rather, it was the way in which the drawing – and those in the same style that came after it – acted as a generator for a series of verbalised questions concerning the circumstances of the crudely depicted subject. “I asked myself: what kind of car is the wheel on? Who’s driving the car? Where is the car? Is it raining outside?” he says. There is a logic to these questions, the artist reasoned, as the drawn wheel is no more unreal than a material counterpart: both are constructions of light. Yet the unquestionably fictive nature of the drawing allowed the artist to push things further. “[It is] the issue of neuropsychology and how it affects how we engage socially with our surroundings. I am trying to understand that response by isolating it, by putting myself into a fiction so that one might become aware of that projection.” By drawing and ‘entering’ a room, Mullican believes he can embody the idea of ‘person in a room’; a person who could never be in anything other than what is drawn on the paper. Consequently, because the image depicts the iconic ‘person in a room’, stripped down to just the essential representational elements, Mullican – and indeed the viewer – is able to metaphorically assimilate himself into the situation, divested of personality and baggage. The same motivation lies behind the ongoing series of performances that the artist has staged since the late 1970s while under hypnosis. Mullican disconcertingly separates the self-
feature: Matt Mullican
generated identity that emerges through the performance – given the formal moniker ‘That Person’ – from his normal personality. The former is personified by wild and exaggerated actions and the repetition of certain phrases, and frequently becomes fixated with everyday acts, particularly coffee drinking. ‘That Person’ is, the artist explains, the iconic person, an abstraction of a person, inhabiting the same role in life as the man depicted on toilet signs or street crossings. “‘That Person’ is tortured because he’s trying to become real. When we see a picture of somebody, we can’t help but identify with them – we project ourselves into the picture. ‘That Person’ is that projection making big efforts to become real. But he will never become real”. Watching the performances is undoubtedly an uncomfortable experience for the viewer, but this is also the case for the artist: “I do these performances less frequently now because it is painful and mentally exhausting for me.” If Mullican’s project was started some time ago, it has nonetheless proved to have particular resonance in the present. The artist is quick to identify the analogies that contemporary life, so frequently mediated by virtual space, provides. “When my kids are on Facebook or playing their skateboard game on the Xbox, they are truly involved in this virtual context. They’re in a trance, in this other place.” Indeed, the artist collaborated with Digital Productions, a computer-graphics firm that was experimenting with the possibilities of a Cray Supercomputer, to create The Computer Project (1989–90), an early virtual world that can be seen as a precursor to the online gaming phenomenon of Second Life. The work allowed him physically to enter the (virtual) picture world that the pen-drawn cartoons could only offer a window on. That world, which the artist inhabited through virtual reality goggles (and which a gallery audience could simultaneously experience on a big screen), was based on a complex cosmology the artist had created previously. It is one that mimics the heaven and hell of the Christian construct but fails on a vital point: “A cosmology is a social agreement made between people. There is no social agreement behind my cosmology.” It is not, however, an unfamiliar one, despite The Computer Project’s alienating, flattoned landscape. Each area of the world is colour-coded, tying in with a similar practice devised earlier for his 2D models of the cosmology: red for ‘the subjective’, black and white for ‘the zone of signs’ (dealing primarily with language in its abstract form), blue for actual empirical reality, green for ‘the elements’ and finally yellow acting as a microcosmic representation of the whole thing. The colours map out the human subconscious, allowing Mullican not only to enter the frame of the picture, but consequently the
generator of that picture, his own mind. Indeed, Mullican makes a passing reference to the comedy sci-fi caper Innerspace to me. The 1987 film sees a miniaturised spaceship injected into a human body, and Mullican’s cosmology does seem a neuropsychological, conceptual version of that film’s plot. “The cosmology has been around for quite a while now and is growing, getting more sophisticated. In my cosmology there is a heaven and hell, but they are removed from the religious ideas of heaven and hell. In my cosmology the heaven is the subject of a picture and the hell is the picture as object. It’s not so much about good and evil, and more about these two realities.” If the whole idea of a redundant ideology, only fully known to one man – the personification of a stick figure and the separation of a hynotised self – seems comedic, Mullican sees the funny coming not from the work’s intention as from the subject-medium it inhabits. “The work has two meanings – the meaning of form and the meaning of subject. When you have two meanings, it’s a pun. That’s what a pun is. So it becomes automatically funny. What makes a pun funny is the crossing of two realities; the comedic for me, in my work, comes from the crossing of the reality of form and the reality of subject”. Work by Matt Mullican can be seen in exhibitions 12 by 2, at the Institut d’Art Contemporain, Villeurbanne, from 3 June to 29 August; The Glass Delusion, National Glass Centre, Sunderland, through 3 October; Work in Residence, at Jan van Eyck Academie, Maastricht, through 21 May 2011; and Haus der Kunst, Munich, opening summer 2011
images (in order of appearance) Three views from The Computer Project, 1989/1990, digital environment created via Cray X-MP Supercomputer, produced by John Whitney, Jr, of Digital Productions with programmer Carl Simms of Thinking Machine, exhibited at MoMA, New York, and supported by NYNEX, New York Gallery installation, 1978–9. Courtesy the artist Stick figure drawings, 1973–4, pen and pencil on paper. Courtesy the artist Performance under hypnosis, 2007, Tate Modern, London. Courtesy the artist
21-24 octobRE 2010 grand palais & louvre, paris
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Who says change can’t come from the hear tland? Indianapolis Museum of Ar t’s
rethinks the role of openair ar t and sets aside traditional models of public ar t commissioning in favour of a ‘collective ar tistic practice’ wo r ds : J o n at h a n T. D. N e i l
lisa d. freiman, the senior curator of contemporary art at the Indianapolis Museum of Art and the artistic director of the IMA’s new 100 Acres: The Virginia B. Fairbanks Art & Nature Park, is betting that the Midwest, and Indianapolis in particular, can change the way both artists and the public think about, make and engage with the tricky category of public art. Indeed, the premise of 100 Acres is to transform something of the idea of what we mean by ‘public’, both in itself and with respect to the art made and presented in its name. That a Midwestern museum might be at the forefront of trying to rethink public art should not be surprising. One of the first major pieces of modern public art in the US that was not intended as either a monument or memorial, an untitled 50-foot-high Picasso sculpture (usually referred to as the Chicago Picasso), was installed on Chicago’s Daley Plaza, just 180 miles north of the IMA, in 1967. The ‘public-ness’ of this piece stemmed nominally from its setting – the urban plaza that would front the city’s new Civic Center (urban plazas were all the rage after Mies completed the Seagram Building in 1958) – and commissioner: Chicago’s Public Building Commission (even though the project architect, William E. Hartmann, largely controlled the show). The fabrication of Picasso’s piece was largely paid for with private money, and the Spaniard famously refused the fee offered him by Mayor Daley, stating that his work would be a gift to the city. The public reception was largely positive. That year also marked the birth of the National Endowment for the Arts’s Art in Public Places programme, the first grant of which went to the city of Grand Rapids, Michigan (180 miles northeast of Chicago), in 1969, for a large public stabile by Alexander Calder titled La Grande Vitesse (a play on the city’s name). Here the $45,000 grant had to be matched by the community, but when the ‘public’ found out that it would have no say in the selection of the artist or the work, it was not pleased, and vocally so. Letters to the local paper dubbed the choice of Calder as ‘unpatriotic’ (he’d spent too much time in France, apparently) and ‘undemocratic’, which led the painter Adolph Gottlieb, who
served on the selection committee, to note that ‘artists and the public are seldom in rapport. What is important is that an artist make a creative statement, which, if it is worth anything at all, will become accepted in time.’ Call it public art paternalism. Save for ‘performance’, today there are few more enlisted and debated terms in the discourse of contemporary art than ‘public’, ‘community’, ‘participation’ and ‘collaboration’. Theories of and commentaries on these ideas have come fast and furious, and practitioners are ever vigilant against the kind of paternalism Gottlieb advocated. For example, we have long been disabused of the notion that a work’s site is simply its physical setting, and so any art that may be ‘specific’ to such a site (or ‘responsive’, as the IMA is touting, ‘specificity’ perhaps being too freighted, too ‘modernist’) must not only acknowledge its particular locale but also take into account the people, politics, histories and prospective futures that code and constantly recode the meaning of any given place. Rather than essentialise such ‘communities’ by calling on (or inventing) some shared trait, interest or identity, the point, according to theorists such as Miwon Kwon, is to go for ‘collective artistic praxis’, which ‘involves a provisional group, produced as a function of specific circumstances instigated by an artist and/or a cultural institution, aware of the effects of these circumstances on the very conditions of the interaction, performing its own coming together and coming apart as a necessarily incomplete modeling or working-out of a collective social process’. One could hardly find a better description of the manner in which the artist collaborative Type A’s Team Building (Align) (all works 2010) came into being. One of the eight ‘inaugural commissions’ for 100 Acres, Align consists of a pair of metal rings, each 30 feet in diameter, suspended parallel to the ground at 15 and 25 feet by cables attached to telephone poles and offset from one another such that their shadows will align on each summer solstice. It’s a simple, elegant and ‘responsive’ proposal – but it was not always thus. Its genesis lies in the ‘team building’ and ‘experiential education’ training that Adam Ames and Andrew Bordwin (the members of Type A) underwent at High 5 Adventure Learning
feature: 100 acres
Centre in Vermont in 2007, and in the extensive team-building sessions that the pair then held with staff members from every part of the IMA, from groundskeepers to curators, security guards to conservators. As Freiman explains it, “Once our meetings began, we interspersed various games and initiatives with long conversations that addressed the purpose of 100 Acres and questioned the role of the Team Building project. We agreed that the projects needed to relate specifically to the site and should somehow take into consideration the relationships between art and nature. No one knew how the artwork was going to turn out.” Type A began to zero in on the idea of a suspended climbing tower for which all of the handholds would be moulded from the grips of the IMA staff. Type A liked the idea of the tower; it manifested the kinds of challenges that the expanded group had faced, but it could also stand as an implicit critique of the institution and the kind of inaccessibilities inherent to it and to contemporary art in general. Members of the IMA ‘team’ disagreed. And because, in this instance, Type A had grown to encompass this larger provisional community, their ‘greater public’, those disagreements could not be swept aside in the name of individual artistic agency or Gottlieb-style paternalism. Pressure mounted. Discussions ensued. Then one day Freiman received a text message from Ames: ‘The tower is dead’, followed by one from Bordwin: ‘Long live the tower’. Align would not be far behind. Not every project slated for 100 Acres can claim such ‘collective artistic praxis’ as Team Building (Align). Many of the pieces unveiled this year remain what we might call more ‘relational’ in character, seeking ‘integration’ rather than ‘intervention’ (Kwon again), such as Atelier Van Lieshout’s Funky Bones or Jeppe Hein’s Bench Around the Lake or Alfredo Jaar’s Park of the Laments, all of them offering visitors places of play or repose of one kind or another. The residents from the local Herron School of Art & Design inhabiting Andrea Zittel’s floating Indianapolis Island in the middle of 100 Acres’s 35-acre lake and serving as de facto park rangers or refugees will likely have more to say about ‘communing’ with their art and the surrounding nature than with any ‘public’ that may come calling. But Team Building (Align) demonstrates the distances these artists (Type A) and this institution (100 Acres and the IMA) are willing to travel in search of the kind of collective artistic praxis that promises to keep the question of what is ‘public’ in public art open, and perhaps radically so. Change does come from the Midwest; perhaps it’s time to expect it. 100 Acres: The Virginia B. Fairbanks Art & Nature Park, Indianapolis Museum of Art, opens 20 June
Works (in order of appearance) Atelier Van Lieshout, Funky Bones, 2010 (two views), Indianapolis Museum of Art Andrea Zittel, Indianapolis Island, 2010, Indianapolis Museum of Art Tea Mäkipää, Eden II, 2010, Indianapolis Museum of Art Type A, Team Building (Align), 2010 (project and exercise), Indianapolis Museum of Art all images © the artists. Courtesy Indianapolis Museum of Art
c. morey de morand rewired
poussin 19th May–26th June Wednesday–Saturday 11.00am–6.00pm block k 175 bermondsey street london se1 3uw www.poussin-gallery.com +44 (0)20 7403 4444 tube: london bridge
THE MECHANICS AND MYSTERIES OF PERCEPTION featuring MATTHEW HINDLEY JUNE/JULY 2010, SOUTH AFRICA iArt Gallery
71 Loop Street, Cape Town / +27 (0) 21 424 5150 / www.iart.co.za
The original destination museum may be late to the franchise par t y, but
still replicate the Guggenheim Bilbao ef fect? wo r ds : c h r i s to ph e r m oo n e y
is standing on the walkway outside the Centre Pompidou-Metz’s top-floor gallery, staring down at the spectacular spaces that he, as the new art centre’s director, helped design. He looks – rumpled suit, bleary eyes behind spectacles, combed-over hair – more than a little careworn. It is rare for the head administrator of an art institution of this stature to also be its curatorial head; Le Bon has been entrusted with both positions, having proven his capacities during a decade-long tenure as curator at the Pompidou mother ship, in Paris. There he organised supersized shows such as the 1,000-piece Dada (2005), which he later helped install at the National Gallery of Art in Washington and MoMA in New York. In 2008 he cocurated the colossal Jeff Koons show at the Château de Versailles. Those assignments, however, are dwarfed by this giant site-specific sculpture doing double duty as the Pompidou’s new outpost in eastern France. Forty-one years old and stooped beyond his years, Le Bon is no doubt dead tired, but also dead chuffed, and understandably so. After seven years of economic and political struggle (not to mention a raging fire last September), the new centre – a ‘decentralising’ satellite whose revolving exhibitions will be drawn chiefly from the 60,000 works in the Paris Pompidou’s collection – is ready for business, on time and on budget. At €70 million, most of it from civic and regional coffers, the Pompidou-Metz is a bargain: 10,000 square metres of eye-popping architecture by Shigeru Ban, fully half of the space devoted to viewing galleries, making it the largest temporary exhibition space in France, with one of the best logistics-to-exhibition-space and cost-per-square-metre ratios of any major-league museum in
laurent le bon
the world. And all for less than what Giacometti’s L’Homme Qui Marche (1961) got at auction in February, notes Le Bon. The inaugural show at the Pompidou-Metz, Chefs-d’Oeuvre? – a look at the idea of the masterpiece, past, present and future – contains five Giacomettis of comparable value. The 780 pieces in the show, 700 of which are drawn from the Pompidou, have an insurance value of €2 billion. Still, something is displeasing the director. Above our heads is an undulating weave of wooden beams covered with a white membrane of fibreglass and Teflon. Gathered in four pillars that tether it to the ground, it rises – thanks to a flagpole cum lightning rod – to a height of 77 metres, in honour of the Centre Pompidou’s opening in Paris in 1977. The Chinese-hat roof is an architectural marvel only equalled within our immediate ken by Metz’s other cathedral, the Gothic one perfectly framed in a giant window at the far end of the long gallery next to us. Our present attention, however, is focused on the rooftops of the obliquely stacked galleries below: two 1,100 square-metre concrete tubes identical to the one next to us, angled towards other picture-postcard views of this town of 125,000 inhabitants – the neo-Romanesque railway station, for example, built in 1908, when Metz was inside Germany. Farther below, the ground floor of the glass-walled forum opens onto the surrounding gardens – five acres of white birch and flowering cherry, with stretches of grass and rock gardens to catch rainwater runoff. From inside or out, you can see the building’s glassed-in nave, a 1,200-square-metre exhibition space rising to a height of 18 metres. A brand-new TGV train station gleams on the
near horizon: Paris is only 82 minutes away. A pedestrian bridge leading from the station angles towards a sloping terrace of the same dimensions as the one in front of the Paris Pompidou. This one conceals a giant, multistorey car park. Farther out, a broad, flat ring of fallow urbanity awaits renewal. “Based on the advice we’ve received from other institutions, there’s only one method that really works”, says Le Bon, peering down. “And that is to bang them on the head.” He is talking about the roosting pigeons whose shit covers the gallery-tube rooftops, not the 200,000 humans he hopes will visit each year. The strategy, however, could be said to apply to both, and to the present-day museum experience in general. Open since 12 May, ten years to the day since the Tate Modern opened it’s doors, The Centre Pompidou-Metz presents an opportunity to reexamine the various head-banging methods currently used by the world’s major art franchises. Though the last to join the expansionist scramble, the Pompidou was the first to go funhouse. Eccentric, starchitectural, populiste and polydisciplinaire, the brightly coloured, guts-out building by Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers was the first destination museum of the modern age, an antielitist hangout with a standard museological mission to collect, preserve, conserve and educate, but also to entertain. Love it or loathe it, its artworld-altering influence is undeniable. The Pompidou-Metz is as iconoclastic as its high-tech Paris headquarters. Depending on the light and time of day, it looks like a polar research station, a new Dyson vacuum cleaner or a giant squid devouring shoeboxes. Its landing in Metz, however, has not ruffled local feathers the way the original’s did. It is not in the
centre of the city, for one thing. Second, it is 2010, and what was revolutionary about the Pompidou 33 years ago, its sore-thumb architecture and mixed-bag programming, has become artmuseum orthodoxy. Third, Bilbao. L’effet Bilbao. Bilbao, Bilbao, Bilbao. You hear it whispered everywhere, a mantra of hope, redemption and reinvention. The Guggenheim’s star satellite, visited by 1.3 million people last year, casts its wowfactor shadow over Metz as it does desperate ‘second-tier’ towns everywhere. Dundee, Vilnius, Las Vegas, Pittsburgh, Manchester, Helsinki, Indianapolis, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Milwaukee, St Louis, West Bromwich. The list grows yearly. Factor in the wow, duplicate the effect. Metz feels the promise, and yearns for it. A garrison town increasingly abandoned by its army, in a moribund mining region no longer fuelled by coal, iron and steel, and undernourished by tourism, its citizens view the Pompidou understandably as a potential saviour. Le Bon is careful to avoid the comparisons. “Our model for Metz is more the Tates in Liverpool and St Ives than the Guggenheims.” By which he means: no permanent collection, so not technically a museum; and publicly owned on the owner’s own turf, so shorter supply lines and less complicated administrative relationships. In short, more modest, despite the shock-and-awe architecture. Unlike the Guggenheim and the Louvre, the Pompidou does not appear to be incrementally moving towards ever-larger and more ambitious projects. It is participating in the Louvre’s big Abu Dhabi project, and stands to gain a chunk of change from the billion-euro deal, but its involvement is unnamed and unbranded. It has explored other far-flung franchising projects – in Brazil, China, the US and elsewhere – but these now seem officially shelved. In their place are plans to launch a mobile Centre Pompidou later this summer. The 300-square-metre travelling exhibition, a modular structure designed by Patrick Bouchain, will pick up and plonk down in rural and suburban parts of France like a visiting circus. The Pompidou-Metz represents a similar goal of publicspirited and public-funded fraternité. Unlike the Guggenheim, whose franchising efforts are cash and land grabs intended to increase the size of its collection and the number of its endowments, the Pompidou is not so much expansionist as redistributive: spread the wealth, share the culture. The Pompidou collection, already Europe’s largest of modern and contemporary art, does not need to grow so much as be housed. The Metz performs this function impressively. It is a stunning storage locker, so spectacular that it just may fulfil its larger Bilbao-esque ambitions – to be, as the magnet of Metz, a supercharged engine of urban renewal. Chefs-d’Oeuvre? is on view at the Centre Pompidou-Metz through 29 August images (in order of appearance) Louise Bourgeois, Precious Liquids, 1992 (installation view), mixed media, 427 cm x 442 cm (diameter), collection Musée National d’Art Moderne, Centre Pompidou, Paris. Photo: Philippe Migeat. © ADAGP, Paris, 2010 and Centre Pompidou, MNAM-CCI, Paris Centre Pompidou-Metz, 2009. Photo: Olivier H. Dancy. © Shigeru Ban Architects Europe et Jean de Gastines Architectes / Metz Métropole / Centre Pompidou-Metz Centre Pompidou, Paris, 2009. Photo: Philippe Migeat. © Centre Pompidou, Paris
Warsaw Let â€™s star t with a communist joke, if you can even call it that: under communism, Polish dogs dreamed of going to Czechoslovakia so they could eat; Czechoslovakian dogs, meanwhile, dreamed of coming to Poland so they could bark. A canine metaphor for saying that in Warsaw contemporar y ar tists were freer to experiment than in other communist countries, but didnâ€™t have many resources to do so. wo r ds : L au r a Mc L e a n - Fe r r i s ph otog r a phy: Sz ym o n Rog i n s k i
WARSAW #07 by Szymon Roginski
Art Pilgrimage: warsaw
And while the situation has now dramatically changed, part of that legacy – of using the stuff that is cheap or already around you as a conceptual material – has had an indubitable influence on the generation of Warsaw-based artists that has emerged since the millennium. Wallpaper, furniture, architecture and performance feature heavily – artists making work out of the city, objects and history that they have been left with. How else can you explain Jan Mioduszewski, who greets me at his studio in Praga, an eastern district of the Polish capital, wearing a yellow suit that he has painted with a brown wood-grain pattern? And who then proceeds to put a wearable trompe l’oeil painting of a wooden cabinet over his head, and stand stock-still in the corner, his suit matching the fur of the studio tabby cat that stalks past. Mioduszewski, a painter, has done several such performances: curling up in a cabinet, camouflaging himself inside it and drawing attention to the relationship Poles have to the types of standard-issue furniture that at one time could be found in every home, while also forcing an aesthetic appraisal of them. Upstairs I find Karol Radziszewski, artist and founder of DIK Fagazine, who often deploys wallpaperlike murals in apartments, tower blocks and subways. Radziszewski’s humorous take on homophobic fears in this conservative country is manifested in Fag Fighters (2007–), a series of installations and videos featuring a group of macho men in fluorescent pink balaclavas – knitted by the artist’s grandmother – fighting and sexually attacking straight men. The phobia is amplified to the point of absurdity and neutralised along the way. Contemporary Polish artists are prominent in the international artworld: Miroslaw Balka, Paulina Olowska, Pawel Althamer, Monika Sosnowska and Artur Zmijewski are just some of the names you’ll find displayed on banners outside many of the world’s leading art institutions. But where might you find contemporary art in the Polish capital? There’s the CCA Ujazdowski Castle, a slightly beleaguered yet high-achieving institution with a dizzying number of exhibitions from international and national figures. There’s also the Zacheta National Gallery of Art, a stunning historic building that survived the city’s near-obliteration by bombing. It has a surprisingly risky programme, which last year included an annual art prize, an exhibition from the collection curated by Karol Radziszewski, a Paul McCarthy and Benjamin Weissman show, an exhibition investigating performance and a Zbigniew Libera retrospective. Agnieszka Morawinska, the outgoing director of the gallery, was appointed because she was a specialist in historical art and therefore presumed to be too conservative for this kind of thing. “I hope I proved them wrong”, she says, winking. On her appointment ten years ago, she promptly handed the bulk of the responsibility for the programme over to a group of young, ambitious curators, and now, seeing that the museum’s progressive reputation is secure, is voluntarily stepping down to let a new director take over. It’s the capital’s artists, foundations and commercial galleries, however, that have been driving the Polish art scene into the international spotlight. The so-called Grupa Ladnie (‘Pretty Group’) of artists who came of age during the 1990s, the best known of whom is Wilhelm Sasnal, were distinctive for their paintings of flatly banal beauty and everyday life in Poland, which subtly ridiculed their art-school education and its focus on the production of ‘nice’ paintings. These artists emerged in tandem with the magazine Raster, run by Lukasz Gorczyca and Michal Kaczynski. Notable for its irreverent tone and dressed-down language, the magazine eventually became Raster gallery, one of Poland’s first and most important commercial galleries, now located on the fourth floor of an old building in the centre of the city. It doesn’t feel like a standard commercial gallery, however, as artists and visitors sit around the apartmentlike space chatting and drinking coffee. The gallery, which represents Libera (an artist most 112 ArtReview
famous for his LEGO Concentration Camp, 1996) and conceptual painter Zbigniew Rogalski, among others, is hosting its annual display of affordable artworks when I visit. Along with the gallery’s domestic atmosphere, it’s part of an attempt to develop a local culture of collecting, Kaczynski explains, but it’s proving no easy task in a capitalist economy that’s still only two decades old. Art fairs have made international connections easier, and Raster is notable for its collaborations with other commercial galleries, such as the 2006 Villa Warsaw programme, in which ten galleries, including Milan’s Zero, Jan Mot, from Brussels, and London’s Hotel, spent a week, together with their artists, collaborating on events, performances and discussions. A similar project is planned in Reykjavik this summer. Two of the gallery’s artists – Rogalski and Oskar Dawicki – are there when I visit. In his performances and videos, Dawicki plays the part of the tragicomic stand-up, always dressed in a blue-and-purple-sequinned showman’s jacket. He has created several works in which he apologises for his bad performance (he has not prepared, he is late, he is not very good, he is sorry for making the museum staff work), which seem like a hilarious, yet moving relief from the often unbearable burden of expectation that’s placed on an art performance. Dawicki has a flat, deadpan sense of humour, also evident in Everything Has Been Done (2003), a work he produced with three other artists as part of the Azorro Group. I see it later at the nearby Museum of Art, in Lodz: the group sit around trying to come up with ideas for artworks, only for the ideas to be shot down on the basis that someone else has done it first. “We could shoot ourselves?” “That’s been done.” “We could do nothing?” “Been done.” Before I leave, Dawicki draws me a little picture in pen of a work he would like to make: it is of himself, wearing the sparkly jacket and hanging from a noose, but supported by a bunch of helium balloons. If Raster can be characterised by its affable humour, then at first glance Foksal Gallery Foundation, Warsaw’s other big commercial gallery – austere website, minimal information and a crisp bright space high in a communist block – appears somewhat standoffish and serious. It was established in 1997 by three rather inspired curators – Adam Szymczyk (now director of Kunsthalle Basel), Joanna Mytkowska (now director of the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw, of which more in a minute) and Andrzej Przywara – in order to preserve the archive of the Foksal Gallery, an avant-garde public gallery set up in Warsaw in 1966 that managed to operate with a highly conceptual programme throughout periods of communist repression. Confusingly, the foundation operates in a manner you’d associate with a commercial gallery, representing curatorial favourites such as Althamer, Sosnowska, Anna Molska and Robert Kusmirowski. “Warsaw now has the chance to be an important city for art, like Berlin”, says Przywara, its remaining director. “We don’t want this chance to pass us by.” The gallery is showing a particularly graceful exhibition from Thea Djordjadze, a Georgian-born, Berlin-based artist, who has chosen to respond directly to the gallery’s architecture and in particular a row of windows that offer views of the Palace of Culture and Science, a huge neoclassical tower imposed by Stalin on the city during the 1950s, which dominates the skyline. Despite the fact that it doesn’t exactly invite visitors in, many of the projects carried out by the gallery take place in the city – oddly, it seems more ‘public’-minded than many public galleries. Indeed, Foksal also programmes and administers the Avantgarde Institute, the former studio of artists Edward Krasinski and Henryk Stazewski. Located at the top of another tower block, the artists’ studio houses an installation by Krasinski created after his studio-partner’s death. Foksal has left it in situ, adding a pavilion and a series of conferences, events and artistic interventions made in collaboration with students. The studio is a ruin, punctuated throughout by Krasinski’s signature blue Scotch tape line dividing the >
Nicholas Grospierre in his installation The Glass Trap (2010), created with Raster gallery in an empty, soon-to-be-demolished office block
Raster galleryâ€™s Lukasz Gorczyca and Michal Kaczynski Artist Jan Mioduszewski wears his painting of a wooden cabinet
Jan Mioduszewski in his Praga studio
Stanislaw Drozdzâ€™s Miedzy/Between, 1977, installation, CCA Ujazdowski Castle
Artist and magazine editor Karol Radziszewski in his studio in Praga Artist Zbigniew Rogalski
Art Pilgrimage: warsaw
Monika Sosnowska installation, the Avantgarde Institute
Ripped images left by students following a lecture at the Avantgarde Institute
Thea Djordjadze, Capital Letter, 2010, installation view, Foksal Gallery Foundation. The Palace of Culture and Science is visible in the window
Monika Sosnowska stairwell installation, Foksal Gallery Foundation
Henryk Stazewski pictured on the door to his old studio at the Avantgarde Institute
Edward Krasinski installation in his former studio, with signature blue Scotch-tape line, left in situ and made public by Foksal Gallery Foundation
Neon volleyball player restored by Foksal Gallery Foundation as part of an exhibition by Paulina Olowska Maurycy Gomulickiâ€™s Oranzada neon
Andrzej Przywara, director of Foksal Gallery Foundation
Artist Oskar Dawicki
Kamen Stoyanov, Plaster Me, 2010, installation view, Lokal 30 gallery
Museum of Art, Lodz
Olaf Brzeski, Ears have grown all over his face, like oysters on a bottom of a boatâ€Ś, 2010, installation and detail view, Czarna Gallery
Agnieszka Czarnecka, director and founder of Czarna Gallery
Joanna Warsza, founder of the Laura Palmer Foundation
Joanna Mytkowska and Marcel Andino Velez, director and deputy director of the Museeum of Modern Art in Warsaw
Rirkrit Tiravanija, Untitled (Tilted Teahouse with a Coffeemachine), 2005, Brodno Sculpture Park
Art Pilgrimage: warsaw
space horizontally. Daniel Buren, who visited the studio apartment in 1974, stuck stripes of tape on the windows, which continue to rot and peel with each passing day. The pavilion, when I visit, also houses a temporary installation by Monika Sosnowska – a carpet with lumpy piles of rubbish underneath, virtually impossible to traverse without violently wobbling. Visiting students have left a pile of photographic scraps in response to a lecture. It is caring for this small fragment of avant-garde history, and continuing to make it vital – ‘vivid’ is the term that those involved seem to use – that puts the current Polish art boom within the context of its history. It’s impossible to escape the conditions of living and making in this space. Foksal also recently rehabilitated a huge neon sculpture of a female volleyball player on top of a tall building in the city at the behest of Olowska, who showed paintings based on her research of the city’s neons at the gallery, on the condition that any proceeds from sales be used to refurbish the neon. Warsaw was once a city of neons – meant to prove that one doesn’t need capitalism to have a bright and beautiful city of modern light. Now, however, most are broken. Reignited, they seem, like the volleyball player, distant and unfamiliar – the wholesomeness of sport, health, colour and movement occupying a space normally reserved for brand logos. There’s another neon in Kepa Potocka park, a small patch of green in the middle of several noisy roads, surrounded by the ubiquitous Soviet tower blocks. This is artist Maurycy Gomulicki’s homage to Oranzada, the only fizzy drink available in Communist Poland; my friend describes the special bubbling feeling of Western glamour this drink offered her and her friends as children. Two other particularly interesting galleries have emerged in recent years: Lokal 30 and Czarna Gallery. The former, run by curator Michal Suchora, artist Zuzanna Janin and writer Agnieszka Rayzacher, is staging a solo show by Bulgarian artist Kamen Stoyanov when I visit. There’s a growing international remit for the space, including the opening of a UK outpost in East London last year. And for a relatively young outfit, they have scored some big hits beyond the Warsaw base: they work with Ming Wong, who represented Singapore at the Venice Biennale in 2009 (and took the cover of ArtReview’s April issue); and gallery artist Agnieszka Kurant, together with architect Ola Wasilkowska, is working on a project for Poland’s pavilion at the Venice architecture biennale this summer. The gallery also represents Karol Radziszewski and Jan Mioduszewski. Czarna, meanwhile, situated in a hundred-year-old tenement building, is exhibiting work by Olaf Brzeski, who has painted nightmarish plans for some of his most bizarre, surreal projects (some unrealisable, such as crashing huge carlike sculptures into lakes and letting strange liquid forms drift out of them) on porcelain plates. So if it’s got established commercial galleries, emerging ones and public art galleries, is there anything else that might make the Warsaw art scene complete? The missing piece is a permanent home for the Museum of Modern Art, and the perfect place is a troubled plot, empty for 60 years, in front of the gigantic Palace of Culture and Science. Discussions about a modern art museum have been going on for decades, but a seemingly concrete (ahem) plan came into being after the millennium. And by 2007, following an arduous architectural competition involving several high-profile spats, Swiss architect Christian Kerez’s plan was selected by an international jury to fill the site. His proposal appears unassuming and minimal from the outside (starchitecture it’s not), though it contains extravagant undulating domelike ceilings for the gallery spaces within. The Polish media initially rejected the plans, printing an image of the museum design with the logo of French supermarket chain Carrefour on it, and the museum’s director, also turning his back on the winning proposal, resigned. According to reports from the time, many Warsaw
residents, considering their city to be ‘ugly and dull’, didn’t want more of the same – concrete blocks. Kerez, for his part, claimed to find the city inspiring, adding that he was responding to its space rather than its history. And slowly, as Kerez spoke more about his idea in public, the city came round to the idea. A new director has been appointed: Foksal’s Mytkowska, who has created a museum programme that is as inventive as you might expect. Currently operating out of an old furniture shop (Kerez’s project is scheduled for completion in 2014), the museum has already begun collecting and exhibiting. Shows range from rehabilitating important historical figures in Poland, such as the late Alina Szapocznikow (whose 1960s and 70s bodily sculptures of mouths and stomachs in polyurethane and latex are starting to be rediscovered internationally, after her inclusion in Documenta in 2007), to inviting the public and artists to come and present their plans and ideas for Warsaw and the museum under the rubric Warsaw Under Construction. The museum has also taken account of its complex emergence, displaying a film by Artur Zmijewski, showing traders being sometimes violently removed from the museum’s site, in the exhibition Early Years at KW Institute in Berlin this winter and spring. A different market site, Warsaw’s 10th-Anniversary Stadium, was the inspiration for another recent set of projects, conceived by Joanna Warsza, who runs a tiny, difficult-to-categorise art organisation called the Laura Palmer Foundation (yes, after you-know-who from Twin Peaks). Warsza, herself difficult to characterise, in her facilitation of itinerant projects that might be termed dance, performance or curatorship, investigated the stadium as nonplace, probing, as she puts it, “shifts in the real” – broadcasting in Vietnamese for the usually invisible Vietnamese traders at the local market, or calling for a botanical analysis of the stadium. A spectacular example of these interventions was her 2007 restaging of a 1982 World Cup match in Spain between Poland and Belgium, at which Solidarity flags were seen on television. The new version features only one player, the Polish star Zbigniew Boniek, his 90 minutes of movement memorised and performed by a solitary dancer. Warsza worked in collaboration with Bogna Swiatkowska, who has begun running another foundation, the Bec Zmiana Foundation, out of a shopfront (interestingly, it’s one of the only contemporary art organisations that has a presence at street level), from which they facilitate projects that are “fully experimental… with public money”. Last year Bec Zmiana asked artists to investigate the idea of disappearance, creating several sculptures and projects that, in effect, came to nothing except a guide to the act of disappearance. There are many more things about Warsaw that I could try and squeeze into the little space that’s left – I could tell you about the vodka, the architecture, the communist milk bars, a delicious and mysterious ‘white cheese’, strangely helpful people assisting my companion and me (“a hangover from Solidarity times?” she suggests) as we stumbled around the Brodno Sculpture Park looking for a broken Olafur Eliasson sculpture – but none of them would be as important as the sense of excitement you get from a smaller art scene whose structures are still being invented. With no inherited system of dichotomies along the lines of public/private or museum/commercial gallery, everything seems available to be built anew. Many of the key figures in Warsaw’s artworld, previously operating at the fringes, now find themselves at the centre, in positions of power. “This is what is unique about Warsaw”. Swiatkowska tells me as I leave. “It was taken over, and I’m not really sure if people realise it yet.” Perhaps that’s Poland’s best postcommunist joke.
The International Center of Tapestry and Woven Art in Aubusson is organizing a contemporary art competition for the production of original works of art, specifically models for weaving, according to the technique of the Aubusson drop-wire men. The international competition is open to artists, designers, architects, illustrators,... and students of these disciplines in their final year. 1st Prize: €60,000 (VAT incl.) 2nd Prize: €25,000 (VAT incl.) 3rd Prize: €10,000 (VAT incl.) Applications must be submitted by July 27, 2010 at the latest For further information and to download the application form: www.cite-tapisserie.fr *listed by UNESCO as Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity
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1-3 October 2010 The Sage Gateshead www.ngartfair.com T: 0191 241 4523
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VOLTA 6, stand nr B30, Basel Tomek Mroz, solo show,Warsaw Krystian TRUTH Czaplicki, solo show, Warsaw Les Frerres Chapuisat, solo show, Warsaw
Intervention of artist Olaf Brzeski into gallery owner Aga Czarnecka photographed by Lechoslaw Kwiatkowski ÂŠ 2010. marszalkowska st.4 d.3 (2nd floor) 00-590 warsaw, poland t. +48 601 46 19 90 m. firstname.lastname@example.org www.czarnagaleria.net
Austria: Andreas Huber, Vienna. Layr Wuestenhagen, Vienna Belgium: Office Baroque, Antwerp. *Elisa Platteau, Bruxelles China: *Platform China, Beijing France: Bugada & Cargnel, Paris. *Carlos Cardenas, Paris. Chez Valentin, Paris. Lucile Corty, Paris. *Gaudel de Stampa, Paris. Schleicher + Lange, Paris Germany: Sandra Bürgel, Berlin. *Chert, Berlin. Circus, Berlin. Croy Nielsen, Berlin. Karin Guenther, Hamburg. Tanya Leighton, Berlin. *Lüttgenmeijer, Berlin. Peres Projects, Berlin/Los Angeles. Micky Schubert, Berlin. Sommer & Kohl, Berlin. *Supportico Lopez, Berlin Great Britain: Ancient and Modern, London. Sorcha Dallas, Glasgow. Fortescue Avenue/Jonathan Viner, London. Carl Freedman, London. Herald St., London. Hotel, London. *Limoncello, London. Mary Mary, Glasgow Greece: Loraini Alimantiri Gazonrouge, Athens Hungary: Kisterem, Budapest Ireland: Mother’s Tankstation, Dublin Italy: *Fluxia, Milan. Fonti, Naples. Francesca Minini, Milan Lithuania: Tulips & Roses, Vilnius Mexico: *Labor, Mexico D.F. Netherlands: Wilfried Lentz, Rotterdam. Juliette Jongma, Amsterdam. Martin van Zomeren, Amsterdam. Zinger, Amsterdam Norway: Lautom, Oslo Poland: lokal 30, Warsaw. Raster, Warsaw Romania: Andreiana Mihail, Bucharest. Plan B, Cluj/Berlin Spain: NoguerasBlanchard, Barcelona Sweden: *Johan Berggren, Malmö. Elastic, Malmö Switzerland: BolteLang, Zurich. Claudia Groeflin, Zurich. *Karma International, Zurich Turkey: Rodeo, Istanbul USA: *Altman Siegel, San Francisco. Bureau, New York. Elizabeth Dee, New York. Foxy Production, New York. James Fuentes, New York. Harris Lieberman, New York. Overduin and Kite, Los Angeles. Daniel Reich, New York. Taxter & Spengemann, New York. Wallspace, New York.
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Contemporary Sculpture in the West Garden, Hatfield House
ANTHONY CARO LYNN CHADWICK TERENCE COVENTRY CHARLES HADCOCK PETER HIDE PAUL MOUNT 3rd April - 30th September 2010 11 am to 5.30 pm Wed – Sun & BH Mon www.hatfield-house.co.uk Tel 01707 287010 Hatfield House, Hertfordshire, UK. AL9 5NQ
Rugby Art Gallery & Museum 22 June to 22 August 2010 Featuring six major innovative textile artists from Japan and Norway.
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Jun 16-20, 2010 Factory Chen Chieh-Jen Booth: R1 (Hall 2.1) Sakshi Gallery / Synergy Art Foundation Ltd. 1F, No. 33, Yitong Street, Taipei, 10486, Taiwan T: +886 2 2516 5386 / +886 2 2517 7660 F: +886 2 2516 9209 www.sakshigallery.com.tw
Listings Museums and Galleries United States, New York DOOSAN Gallery 533 West 25th Street NewYork, NY 10001 email@example.com Open Tue–Sat 10–6 Osang Gwon to 5 June The Pace Gallery 32 East 57th Street T+1 (212) 421-3292 Open Tue–Sat 9.30– 6 Summer hours 21 Jun- 7 Sep: Mon–Thu 9.30–6 Fri 9.30–4 Closed Sat/Sun thepacegallery.com Antoni Tàpies: Recent Paintings and Works on paper to 12 Jun Please contact the gallery for details relating to the summer show. The Pace Gallery 534 West 25th Street T +1 (212) 929-7000 Open Tue–Sat 10–6 Summer hours (21 Jun–7 Sep): Mon–Thu 9.30–6 Fri 9.30–4 Closed Sat/Sun thepacegallery.com Carsten Nicolai: moiré to 25 Jun Please contact the gallery for details relating to the summer show. The Pace Gallery 545 West 22nd Street T +1 (212) 989-4258 Open Tue–Sat 10–6 Summer hours (21 Jun–7 Sep): Mon–Thu 9.30–6 Fri 9.30–4 Closed Sat/Sun thepacegallery.com Kiki Smith: Lodestar to 19 Jun Please contact the gallery for details relating to the summer show.
UNITED KINGDOM, LONDON Albemarle Gallery 49 Albemarle Street, London W1S 4JR T +44 (0)20 7499 1616 albemarlegallery.com Pablo Atchugarry to 19 Jun Alexia Goethe Gallery 7 Dover Street London, W1S 4LD T +44 (0)20 7629 0090 alexiagoethegallery.com Nick Hornby Atom vs. Super Subject 21 May - 9 Jul Summer Group Exhibition 16 Jul - 10 Sep Christopher Crescent Gallery 24 Tudor Grove, London, E9 7QL T +44 (0)7901 603 085 christophercrescent.co.uk DAN SHAW-TOWN Retro Modern to 26 Jun FRED [London] Ltd 45 Vyner Street London, E2 9DQ firstname.lastname@example.org T +44 (0)20 8981 2987 NINA CHANEL ABNEY GO BERSERKER to 20 Jun Simon Lee Gallery 12 Berkeley Street London, W1J 8DT T +44(0)20 7491 0100 email@example.com simonleegallery.com Barbaric Freedom: Curated by Anne Pontegnie 9 Jul – 18 Aug Timothy Taylor Gallery 15 Carlos Place London W1K 2EX T +44 (0)20 7409 3344 timothytaylorgallery.com SEAN SCULLY to 3 Jul Victoria miro Gallery 16 Wharf Road, London N1 7RW T +44(0)20 7336 8109 victoria-miro.com In the Company of Alice 22 Jun – 30 Jul
UNITED KINGDOM A Foundation Liverpool 67 Greenland Street, Liverpool, L1 0BY afoundation.org.uk Tatsumi Orimoto Live in Translation 3 Jul–14 Aug BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art Gateshead Quays South Shore Road Gateshead, NE8 3BA T +44 (0)191 478 1810 firstname.lastname@example.org CORNELIA PARKER Doubtful Sound 19 Jun - 19 Sep Ikon Gallery 1 Oozells Square, Brindleyplace Birmingham, B1 2HS ikon-gallery.co.uk T +44 (0) 121 248 0708 Madelin: Seeing One’s Own Eyes to 11 Jun ISENDYOUTHIS.COM Lamper Head, Conworthy, Totnes T +44 (0)1364 653 208 Art slideshow, artist portfolio gallery guide, exhibition guide & artist directory Lokal 30 / London 29, Wadeson Street London, E2 9DR lokal30.pl Zuanna Janin invites 3–27 Jun Malgorzata Szymankiewicz: Paintiings 1 Jul - 1 Aug New Art Centre Roche Court, East Winterslow Salisbury, Wiltshire, SP5 1BG T +44 (0)1980 862244 email@example.com sculpture.uk.com Richard Deacon:The Inside to 25 Jul Newcastle Gateshead Art Fair 2010 The Sage, Gateshead firstname.lastname@example.org ngartfair.com T +44(0)191 241 4523 Open: Fri/Sat 10.30-19.30, Sun 11:00-17:00 1 – 3 Oct
The Modern Institute 14 - 20 Osborne Street, Glasgow, G1 5QN T +44 (0) 141 248 3711 themoderninstitute.com MARK HANDFORTH 12 Jul - 24 Aug WILKINSON 50 to 58 Vyner Street London E2 9DQ T +44 (0)20 8980 2662 wilkinsongallery.com Room Divider 1 Jul – 15 Aug AUSTRIA Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac Mirabellplatz 2, 5020 Salzburg T +43 662 881 393 ropac.net Farhad Moshiri to 17 Jul Daniel Richter/Richard Deacon/ Andy Warhol 24 Jul to Aug Mumok Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig Wien, MuseumsQuartier, Museumsplatz 1, A-1070 Wien mumok.at Changing Channels Kunst und Fernsehen to 6 Jun KunsthaLLE WEIN halle 1, halle 2 Museumsplatz 1 A-1070 Wien Keith Haring 28 May – 19 Sep Galerie Hubert Winter Breite Gasse 17 A-1070 Wien T +43 (0)1524 09 76 galeriewinter.at Ingo Nussbaumer From 10 Jun Belgium Galerie Almine Rech 20 Rue de l’Abbaye B-1050 Brussels T +32 26 485 684 alminerech.com Sylvie Fleury 6 Jun to 24 Jul Galerie BaronianFrancey 2 rue Isidore Verheyden 1050 Brussels T +32 25 12 9295 baronianfrancey.com Xavier Mary 8 Jun – 17 Jul
Galerie Rodolphe Janssen 35, rue de Livourne 1050 Brussels T +32-2-538 08 18 galerierodolphejanssen.com Le Faux Miroir (group show) 5 Jun – 17 Jul think.21 Rue du Mail 21 Brussels 1050 T +32 2 537 87 03 think21gallery.com Tim Van Laere Gallery Verlatstraat 23-25 2000 Antwerp T +32 (0)3 257 14 17 timvanlaeregallery.com Nicolas Provost Tomasz Kowalski 9 Sep – 16 Oct Xavier Hufkens Rue Saint-Georges 6–8 1050 Brussels T +32 2 6396730 xavierhufkens.com Jan Vercruysse to 17 Jul ZENO X GALLERY Leopold De Waelplaats 16 B-2000 Antwerp T +32 32 161 626 zeno-x.com Raoul De Keyser 9 Sep – 16 Oct FRANCE Cité Internationale de la Tapisserie et de L’art Tissé Aubusson cite-tapisserie.fr Contemporary Art Competition Applications by 27 Jul FIAC Grand Palais & Louvre Paris Oct 21-24 fiac.com Fondation Cartier 261 Boulevard Raspail 75014 Paris T +33 1 42 18 56 50 fondation.cartier.com Beat Takeshi Kitano to 12 Sep Galerie Almine Rech 19, rue de Saintonge 75003 Paris Tel +33 1 45 83 71 90 galeriealminerech.com Barbara Kasten/Matthias Bitzer to 22 Jun
Galleria Continua Le Moulin (Paris) 46, rue de la Ferté Gaucher 77169 Boissy-le-Châtel Seine-et-Marne T +33 1 64 20 39 50 galleriacontinua.com Idoles” (group show) 26 Jun – 3 Oct Berlinde de Bruyckere/ Urs Luthi/Serse 26 Jun – 3 Oct Galerie Laurent Godin 5, rue du Grenier St Lazare 75003 Paris T +33 1 42 71 10 66 laurentgodin.com Rabus et Fils to 26 Jun Univers Paralleles (group show) 30 Jun – 31 Jul
MYWORLD > PIA MYRVOLD 15 rue Sambre et Meuse 75010 Paris T +33607968552 by appointment pia-myrvold.com Galerie Nielsen Skagen, Denmark to 11 Jun GERMANY 6th Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Auguststr. 69, 10117 Berlin T: +49 30 2434590 berlinbiennale.de
Galerie Olivier Houg 45 Quai Rambaud 69002 Lyon T +33 4 78 42 98 50 olivierhoug.com
BUCHMANN GALERIE BERLIN Charlottenstrasse 13 / 10969 Berlin Germany buchmanngalerie.com BETTINA POUSTTCHI 11 Jun - 31 Jul
Galerie Lelong Paris 13, rue de Téhéran 75008 Paris T +33 1 45 63 13 19 Open Tue–Fri 10.30–6.00 Sat 2.00–6.30 galerie-lelong.com Jane Hammond/Jaume Plensa to 10 Jul
GALLERY CAPRICE HORN Rudi-Dutschke Strasse 26, 10969 Berlin, Germany T+ 49 (0) 30 44 04 89 29 Open Tue–Sat 11-6 email@example.com capricehorn.com WHAT GOES AROUND COMES AROUND 7 Jun - 17 Sep
Galerie Emmanuel Perrotin 76, rue de Turenne 75003 Paris T +33 1 42 16 79 79 galerieperrotin.com Peter Coffin, Daniel Arsham to 7 May Peter Zimmerman to 30 Jul
DEUTSCHE GUGGENHEIM Unter den Linden 13/15 10117 Berlin T +49 (0)30 20 2093 deutsche-guggenheim.de Wangechi Mutu to 13 Jun
Galerie ThaddAeus Ropac 7, rue Debelleyme 75003 Paris T +33 1 42 72 99 00 ropac.net Ramin & Rokni Haerizadeh/Bita Fayyazi 5 – 30 Jun Jack Pierson 6 Jul –Aug MAMAC Promenade des Arts 06364 Nice cedex 4 T+33 (0)4 97 13 42 01 mamac-nice.org Human 12 - 30 Oct
EDGE OF ARABIA BERLIN Torstrasse 1, 10178 BERLIN T +44 (0) 7762 054 991 Open Tue - Sun 10- 6 firstname.lastname@example.org edgeofarabia.com GREY BORDERS / GREY FRONTIERS 9 Jun - 18 Jul Kunst- und Ausstellungshalle der Bundesrepublik Deutschland GmbH Museum Mile Bonn Friedrich-Ebert-Allee 4 D-53113 Bonn T +49 (0)228 9171 200 bundeskunsthalle.de Liam Gillick Ein langer Spaziergang... Zwei kurze Stege... to 8 Aug
Greece Frissiras Museum 3 Monis Asteriou Plaka, Athens T +30 2103 234678 or +30 2103 316027 frissirasmuseum.com Grzegorz Wnek to 30 Sep ITALy Alfonso Artiaco Piazza dei Martiri 58 80121 Naples T+39 0814976072 alfonsoartiaco.com Ann Veronica Janssens ARTISSIMA 17 International Fair of Contmporary ArtTurín artissima.it Lingotto Fiere Nov 5-7 Collezione Maramotti via fratelli cervi 66 Reggio Emilia T+39 0522 382 484 collezionemaramotti.org Jacob Kassay: Untitled 23 May - 3 Oct Galleria Continua Via del Castello, 11 53037 San Gimignano T+39 0577 94 31 34 galleriacontinua.com Galleria dello Scudo Via Scudo di Francia 2 37121 Verona T +39 045 59 01 44 galleriadelloscudo.com Galleria Franco Noero Via Giolitti 52A 10123 Turin T+39 011 - 88 22 08 franconoero.com Galleria Francosoffiantino Artecontemporanea Via Rossini 23 10124 Turin T +39 011837743 francosoffiantino.it Galleria Massimo De Carlo via Giovanni Ventura 5 20135 Milan T+39 02 70 00 39 87 massimodecarlo.it
Galleria Massimo Minini Via Apollonio 68 25128 Brescia T +39 030 363034 galleriaminini.it Galleria Lorcan O’Neill Via degli Orti D’Alibert, 1 00165 Rome T +39 06 68 892 980 lorcanoneill.com GALLERIA PACK Foro Bonaparte, 60 20121 Milan T +39 02 86 996 395 galleriapack.com Alberto Di Fabio 4 May - 11 Sep Enel Contemporanea enelcontemporanea.com The 4th Enel Contemporanea Award 2010 Fondazione Nicola Trussardi Palazzo Citterio Via Brera 14 fondazionenicolatrussardi.com Paul McCarthy - Pig Island to 4 Jul
Riccardo Crespi via Mellerio n° 1 20123 Milano T +39 02 89072491 riccardocrespi.com Stéphanie Nava to Jul 30
Laboral Centro de Arte y Creacion Industrial Los Prados, 121 33394 Gijón T +34 985 133 431 Open Wed–Mon 12–8 laboralcentrodearte.org
Manifesta 8 The European Biennial of Contemporary Art Region of Murcia in dialogue with Northen Africa Oct 2 2010 to Jan 9 2011 manifesta8.es
GRIMM FINE ART Keizersgracht 82 1015 CT Amsterdam T +31 (0)20 422 7227 grimmfineart.com Ciaran Murphy to 19 Jun poland Czarna Galeria marszalkowska street 4 door 3 00 590 Warsaw Lokal 30 / Warszawa ul. Foksal 17 b/30 00 – 372 Warszawa Raster Gallery ul. Hoża 42 m. 8 00-516 Warszawa Poland
Federico Luger Via Domodossola 17 Milan 20145 T+39 02 67391341 federicolugergallery.com
Villa Reykjavik Exhibitions: 9-31 July 2010 Week of events: 9-16 July 2010
MAXXI- Museo nazionale delle arti del XXI secolo Via Guido Reni, 4A 00196 Rome T +39 06 32101829 maxxi.beniculturali.it
ARCOmadrid Madrid Feb 16-20 2011 ifema.es
Monica De Cardenas Via Francesco Vigano’ 4 20124 Milan T+39 02 29010068 monicadecardenas.com Peggy Guggenheim Collection 704 Dorsoduro 30123 Venice T+39 0412405411 guggenheim-venice.it Utopia Matters from Brotherhoods to Bahaus Prometeogallery Via Giovanni Ventura 3 20134 Milan T+39 02 2692 4450 prometeogallery.com
CAC Malaga C/ Alemania, s/n 29001-Málaga T +34 952 12 00 55 cacmalaga.org Galeria Elba Benitez San Lorenzo 11 28004 Madrid T +34 91 308 0468 elbabenitez.com GALERIA HELGA de ALVEAR c/ Doctor Fourquet 12 28012 Madrid T +34 91 468 0506 helgadealvear.com James Casebere to Jul 31
MUSAC – Museo de Arte Contemporaneo Castilla y Leon Avenida de los Reyes Leoneses, 24 24008 León T +34 987 09 00 00 musac.es Model Kits. Thinking Latin American from teh Musac Collection 26 Jun - 9 Jan 2011 SWITZERLAND Dara gaollopin email@example.com Hoverboard Galerie Bertrand & Gruner 16, rue du Simplon 1207 Geneva T +41 227 005 151 bertrand-gruner.com Tom Fuin, Gandalf Gavan, Jonathan Harthorn, Hankang Huang, Richard Kern, Mustafa Maluka, Schandra Singh, Storm Tharp, Sage Vaughn, Cynthia Westwood, Yarisal & Kubitz Galerie Guy Bärtschi rue du Vieux-Billard 3a 1205 Geneva T +41 (0)22 3100013 bartschi.ch Kunsthalle Zürich Limmatstrasse 270 CH-8005 Zürich Rosemarie Trockel Verflüssigung der Mutter MIGROSMUSEUM für gegenwartskunst Limmatstrasse 270 Postfach 1766 CH-8005 Zürich migrosmuseum.ch
South Africa iart gallery 71 Loop Street, Cape Town 8001, PO Box 16191 Vlaeberg, 8018 T+27 (0) 21 424 5150 firstname.lastname@example.org iart.co.za The Mechanics and Mysteries of Perception 11 Jun - 16 Jul Goodman Gallery 3rd Floor, Fairweather House, 176 Sir Lowry Road, Woodstock, Cape Town, 7925, South Africa T+27(0)21 462 7573 email@example.com goodman-gallery.com KENDELL GEERS : Third World Disorder 9 Jun - 10 Jul MICHAEL STEVENSON Ground floor, Buchanan Building 160 Sir Lowry Road, Woodstock 7925, Cape Town, South Africa T +27 (0)21 462 1500 michaelstevenson.com Forex: This is our Time 3 Jun – 24 Jul Turkey Sakip Sabanci Museum Sakıp Sabancı Cad. No:42 Emirgan 34467 İstanbul T +90 212 277 22 00 muze.sabanciuniv.edu United Arab Emirates Carbon 12 Dubai A1 Quoz 1, Street 8, Alserkal Avenue, Warehouse d37 Dubai T +971 50 464 4 392 carbon12dubai.com info@ carbon12dubai.com Open Sun–Thu 12–7 SHARJAH FOUNDATION P.O. Box 19989, Sharjah United Arab Emirates Open Sat–Thu 8–8, Fri 4–8 T +971 6 568 5050 sharjahart.org China Ov gallery 19C Shaoxing lu, Shanghai,China,20002 Tel: +8621 5465 7768 firstname.lastname@example.org ovgallery.com
listings: museums and galleries
Shanghart Gallery 50 Moganshan Rd., Bldg 18, Shanghai, 200060 Open Daily 10AM-6PM email@example.com T +86 21-6359 3923 shanghartgallery.com Yang Fudong, Xu Zhen and Yang Zhenzhong 5 Sep–5 Nov HONG KONG 10 CHANCERY LANE GALLERY G/F, 10 Chancery Lane, SoHo, Central, Hong Kong T +852 2810 0065 Open Tue – Sat 10– 6 firstname.lastname@example.org 10chancerylanegallery.com Solo exhibition by Li Wei to 12 Jun iPRECIATION Modern Shop LG3, Jardine House, 1 Connaught Place, Central, Hong Kong T+ 852 2537 8869 ipreciation.com THE BIRCH FOUNDATION ArtisTree, 1/F Cornwall House, TaiKoo Place, Island East, Hong Kong T +852 2810 0065/852 6280 2309 email@example.com Open 10 – 8 thebirchfoundation.com Korea 10,000 LIVES: THE EIGHTH GWANGJU BIENNALE 149-2, Yongbong-Dong, Buk-Gu, Gwangju, Korea T +82 062-608-4114 Open 9–6 firstname.lastname@example.org 10000lives.org / gb.or.kr 3 Sep – 7 Nov KIAF ( Korea International Art Fair) O-won bldg. 901, 198-36, Kwanhun-dong, Jongro-gu, Seoul 110-300 T +82 2 766 3702 - 4 email@example.com kiaf.org Guest Country: UK Venue: COEX, Seoul 1 9–13 Sep
TELEVISION12 GALLERY & BYUL COLLECTION 2F Television12 BLDG. 360-12 Seogyo-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul, Korea T +82 (2) 3143.1210 Open Mon-Sat 12-9 Sun 12-8 firstname.lastname@example.org television12.co.kr Bae, Yoon Hwan, -Drawing Mhz 18-30 Jun 3F Star BLDG. 405-1 Seogyodong, Mapo-gu, Seoul, Korea T +82 (2) 568-4862~4 Open Mon-Fri 10-6 email@example.com byul-collection.com japan KAIKAI KIKI GALLERY Motoazabu Crest Bldg. B1F, 2-330 Motoazabu, Minato-ku,Tokyo 106-0046 T +81-(0) 3-6823-6039 gallery.kaikaikiki.co.jp/jp/index.html Exhibition details and dates: twitter.com/G_Kaikaikiki_Jp TAIWAN Da Xiang Art Space 15 Boguan Road, North District, Taichung, Taiwan T +886-4-2208-4288 firstname.lastname@example.org daxiang.com.tw Zhang Yu: Diffused Fingerprints at National Dr. Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall (De Ming Gallery) 24 Jul- 1 Aug SAKSHI GALLERY Taipei 1F, No. 33, Yitong Street, Taipei, 10486, Taiwan T +886-2516-5386 Open Tue-Sun 13.30-21.30 email@example.com sakshigallery.com.tw Art 41 Basel (Art Feature, Booth No. R1) 16 – 20 Jun Mayet & Wu Chi-Tsung 17 Jul – 15 Aug Taiwanese Contemporary Painting 21 Aug – 3 Oct TAISHIN BANK FOUNDATION FOR ARTS AND CULTURE 15Fl., No.118, Sec. 4, Ren-ai Rd., 106 Taipei T +886 (2) 3707 6955 Open Tue–Sun 9-5 firstname.lastname@example.org taishinart.org.tw The 8th Taishin Arts Award Exhibition to 6 Jun
SINGAPORE iPRECIATION Singapore 1 Fullerton Square, #01-08 The Fullerton Hotel T+ 65 6339 0678 ipreciation.com Austrailia Anna Schwartz Gallery 245 Wilson Street, Darlington NSW 2008, Sydney Australia T +61 2 8580 7002 annaschwartzgallery.com Anthony Gormley: Firmament IV to 3 Jul BRAZIL Galeria Fortes Vilaca Rua Fradique Coutinho 1500 05416-001 São Paulol T +55 11 3032 7066 fortesvilaca.com.br Galeria Luisa Strina Rua Oscar Freire 502 01426-000 São Paulo/SP T +55 11 3088 2417 galerialuisastrina.com.br Casa Triangulo Rua Paes de Araujo 77 04531-090 São Paulo T +55 11 31675621 casatriangulo.com Galeria Nara Roesler Avenida Europa 655 01449-001 São Paulo t +55 11 3063 2344 nararoesler.com.br Galeria Leme Rua Agostinho Cantu, 88 05501.010 São Paulo T +55 11 3814.8184 galerialeme.com Luciana Brito Galeria Rua Gomes de Carvalho, 842, Vila Olímpia, São Paulo T+ 55.11.3842.0634 lucianabritogaleria.com.br Galerie Vermelho Rua Minas Gerais, 350 01244-010 São Paulo T+ 55 11 3257-2033 galeriavermelho.com.br
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Rear View Summer
Reviews Books The Strip On the Town Off the Record
UK John Smith Solo Show
What’s the usual mark of the seriousness of an artist’s reputation? A big solo show at a major institution, perhaps? Although isn’t it slightly gauche to then go and call your solo show Solo Show? Surely you can’t be serious. Seriousness and flippancy, rigour and self-deprecation, turn at the heart of British filmmaker John Smith’s work, and the staging of this, the largest-ever retrospective of his work in the UK, is rich with institutional irony and critical self-consciousness. For this Solo Show is also the graduation show of the 14 students of the Royal College’s masters programme in curating, and their choice to commit all their resources to the celebration of a much underseen and undervalued artist (one who was once a student at the same college) deftly exposes the process of validation that a major show deploys. And in response, Smith’s precise, modest and wryly comic excursions into the structural and narrative artifices of filmmaking never disappoint. What distinguishes Smith’s early films, from the 1970s (when he was still at the RCA), is their clear engagement with the structuralist approaches to filmic form that had emerged in the independent film movement of the late 1960s and early 70s while redirecting them towards a less austere, more humanised and playful encounter with everyday reality. Unlike the often grindingly sober, emotionless and self-referential early structuralist experiments in film and video (the kind of works where a video camera might point at a video monitor of its own feedback, or in which the optical soundtrack of film would be transferred to the visual frame, matching the technology of the image with that of its sound), Smith’s films always appear rooted in the homely banality of everyday suburban experience, which makes his impish short-circuiting of narrative and documentary modes all the more effective. In The Girl Chewing Gum (1976) a camera films a street in Hackney; off-screen, a voice appears to direct the actions of the various pedestrians and vehicles as they come into view, until it becomes ludicrously apparent that this voice is only narrating the actions that it pretends to direct (Smith’s geekishly nasal London accent demanding that birds fly across the shot, or instructing the hour hand of a clock to make one revolution every 12 hours, and so on). Another classic is the 1975 Associations, in which a voiceover reads Herbert H. Clark’s staggeringly boring essay ‘Word Associations and Linguistic Theory’, while a series of odd images flash up in rapid sequence, tracking the repetitive key phrases of the essay. It’s only after a while that the repeated sequence of a donkey, a sewing machine, the sea and a group of Indian people triggers the realisation that the images correspond to homophones in the spoken text (‘associations’: ass-sew-sea-Asians, get it?). This gets particularly funny when the text hits the word ‘responses’ – an image of a group of Ron Burgundy-like moustachioed 1970s hipsters corresponding to the diverted homophone ‘ponces’. It’s this mixture of conceptual interest, cultural informality and subversive scepticism towards narrative orthodoxy and authorial subjectivity that allows Smith’s work to endure past the period trends from which it emerged. Smith’s works from the 1980s further problematise the division between documentary and fiction, especially in The Black Tower (1985–7), where an increasingly unbelievable narrator explains a growing obsession with a building that can be seen in the distance but never found, while in Slow Glass (1988–91), Smith fashions an ode to memory, transience and passing, moving from dramatic recreations of his own childhood memories to the apparently documentary mode of oral history, in which a narrator describes the disappearance of glassblowing craftsmanship, over deft time-lapsed scenes of 1980s urban decay and the emerging landscape of postindustrial London. Smith’s work in the last two decades marks the general shift to digital video, and while this means that the more technical-formal materiality of cine film no longer commands the theoretical urgency it once did, Smith takes up video with relish. If Handycam amateurist authenticity would seem to be the antithesis of cineediting artifice, Smith develops forms of self-narration – talking off-camera while filming live – that complicate the naive assumption that greater technical transparency equates greater realism. In Home Suite (1993–4), the biographical commentary accompanying a tour of a house he inhabits verges on the improbable, while in Hotel Diaries (2001–7) Smith’s political and cultural musings fuse weirdly with his bored roaming of the various hotel interiors the travelling artist finds himself in. Ordinary life, Smith continuously points out, only looks banal and indifferent because the forms by which it is represented are often banal and indifferent; by attending to the artifice of image and narrative, Smith suggests that ordinary life is always as extraordinary as the representations by which we give shape to our understanding of it. J.J. Charlesworth
The Girl Chewing Gum, 1976 (film still), 16mm film, 12 min (B/W, sound). Courtesy the artist, LUX, London, and Tanya Leighton Gallery, Berlin
Royal College of Art, London 19 March â€“ 13 April
Majestic and apparently alchemically assisted, Jacqueline Humphries’s new paintings are manna to those who like their art to seduce and enthral before revealing what it knows (a minority in London, I fear). Humphries, released from the serial experiments in geometry versus gesture that made her last show at the gallery a more explicable but less exciting affair, has lightened up considerably, retaining the metallic silver pigment that lends her work a natty, post-Pop sheen while opting for an array of off-kilter and seemingly off-the-cuff gestures that create a heady atmosphere of supersophisticated nonchalance. Masked-out fan and collar shapes provide the cursory central motif for a number of these paintings, the forms enfolded within or partly obscured by fields of rapid-fire brushstrokes, spray-paint doodles and occasional Twombly-esque Stuart Shave/Modern Art, London flourishes. The results crackle with confidence. 25 March – 24 April Not that the paintings are blind to their own dilemma. Titles such as The Enactor and Narcissus (both 2010) indicate an awareness of abstract painting’s current (eternal?) predicament. Yet it is abundantly clear that these canvases are more than just seductive arenas for rehearsing that hoary problem of how to unpack Abstract Expressionism’s baggage. If the incomplete or self-erased marks that give Humphries’s recent work its scintillating, vaporous quality also wed it to debates about contemporary abstract painting and the rise of the so-called readymade gesture, the artist’s dramatisation of the indeterminate reveals as questionable and passé any thesis that overstates the meaning of a particular style or, worse, the validity of one type of art over another. Vagueness is Humphries’s greatest weapon. It’s worth remembering that Humphries’s initial investigations into the potential of the drip and zip grew out of what was, in the early 1990s, a continuation of a pragmatic interrogation of Abstract Expressionism’s legacy that gained political traction in the hands of women painters like Moira Dryer, Shirley Kaneda and Mary Heilmann, all at least a few years Humphries’s senior. Over the years, Humphries has become loquacious and relaxed, turning her findings into mercurial, pop-cultural-inflected spectacles that reflect their shifting points of view right back at the viewer. The apparent ease of this work serves to remind us that much contemporary painting-sort-of-about-painting, especially when delivered by a haul of youthful artist dudes like Tomory Dodge (whose self-conscious, self-explanatory offerings suffer the misfortune of almost direct comparison by being on show at the nearby Alison Jacques Gallery), can feel like a drag. Humphries, like her near-contemporary Charline von Heyl, plays fast and loose with all kinds of painterly conceits, about touch, content and authenticity, expressing doubt but doing it anyway. She operates in a highly synthetic, cerebral realm – choosing artificial colours to spotlight the limits of a received language. Her visual intelligence, however, is indisputable. It can’t be faked. Martin Coomer
Narcissus, 2010, oil on canvas, 203 x 221 cm
All Suffering SOON TO END!
Matt’s Gallery, London 14 April – 6 June
The purple doorstep evangelist of Jennet Thomas’s film installation All Suffering SOON TO END! (2010) puts heat under the old saying ‘never trust a man with a beard’, for this preacher proves a caution in every sense. This new work may be based on a pamphlet, albeit one printed by Jehovah’s Witnesses (whence the statement of the exhibition’s title), but the referential map Thomas creates out of fundamentalism is vast and frighteningly relevant to the everyday. And like much of the London-based artist’s film output to date, it’s peculiarly British. Thomas’s cartoon-styled religious antihero situates one in the midst of many test-card era and contemporary references, for he appears the unlikely humanoid amalgam of familiar beardy types (from Matthew Corbett to Simon Pegg via Robin Cook and Derren Brown), topped with Mrs Slocombe’s violaceous barnet. Thomas’s solo project follows several other important film installations at Matt’s, by artists she has very likely influenced, such as Nathaniel Mellors, Lindsay Seers and Paul Rooney. Its timing, though, couldn’t be more perfect, arriving in London just as the general election becomes a budget hybrid of the US-style presidential campaign and a phone-in gameshow. Thomas uses performers and borrowed visuals to reframe facets of British society and popular culture, her absurdist approach and precise modes of sampling serving to release stereotypes or ‘harmless’ data from the contexts one associates with them; here the contrasting ideals of Middle England and organised religious groups are brought into hideous alignment via the music video, the evangelist workshop, kids-TV symbolism and the suburban soap opera. The exhibition space has been divided in two: one side a spartan cinema playing Thomas’s 30-minute film, the other a disco-style diorama of related props and motifs. The Purple (more Teletubby Tinky Winky than papal) Preacher attempts the religious conversion of an elderly suburban couple (with the help of a Wicked Witch of the West taxi driver-cum-nun). They knock him off with a spade after his repressive and gruelling marketing routine (so that they can get back to the telly), only for him to return again (and again) to spread the word of humankind’s undoing and salvation, at the generous behest of “GAA” – an implied Wizard of Oz presence encapsulated within business presentation graphics and spiel. The couple’s ordeal includes the rebirth of a lifesize Adam and Eve in their bathroom and a hallucinatory trip to a model village during which the tiny scenes of pastoral England-past appear fractured by images of war and destruction. Thomas steers in and out of good and bad taste with the charm and ease that comes of a thorough understanding of the content and contexts she purloins. However fake or throwaway the inferences, Thomas’s purposely handheld camerawork, outlandish plot and dialogue appear as tightly sewn as the OCD interiors she films in. Moments of tension, humour and even seduction arise from the incongruous union of acutely observed details: how the ‘tree of knowledge’, for example — a pendulous talisman worn around the green nun’s neck, a logo on the front of kids’ workshop T-shirts and a sculptural centrepiece within the ritual circle of the gallery — might convey the absurdity of extremes; the political distance between Pat Butcher’s earrings and modernist designs for a better life. Rebecca Geldard
All Suffering SOON TO END!, 2010 (film still). Courtesy the artist and Matt’s Gallery, London
No. 507 Février Mars Avril 2007, 2007. Courtesy the artist and Sprüth Magers, Berlin & London
The contextual shift – this wasn’t art, but now it is – has underwritten artistic practice for a century now, and it would be easy to think that it’s what Jean-Luc Mylayne’s art hinges on. Thirty-four years ago, the Frenchman sold almost everything he owned, moved to the US with his wife and collaborator, Mylène, and started obsessively pursuing and photographing birdlife, recently narrowing his focus to Texas and to three species of North American bluebird. In No. 507 Février Mars Avril 2007 (2007), one of these alights momentarily on a rotted wooden post. “It took three months”, the gallery tells us, “to set up Mylayne’s equipment and capture this one image of a bird”. If you recognise the please-be-impressed tone (catnip to collectors, surely), maybe you’ve watched some of the making-of documentaries on David Attenborough’s Planet Earth DVDs (2006). But Mylayne isn’t simply using the gallery as a reframing device, and it isn’t Sprüth Magers, London meretricious to emphasise the time aspect. These are images of birds, true, but wildlife is not precisely their 16 April – 29 May subject. The bluebird in No. 507 only takes up a small part of the photograph’s lower corner, the rest of the large-scale c-print occupied by blurry landscape backdrop: scrub-covered mountains topped by three defocused white shapes, presumably buildings. Even here, the bird is a larger presence than the (assumedly, though I’m no ornithologist) hummingbird in No. 298 Mars Avril 2005 (2005), which skims the image’s base while, above it, a mountainous backdrop seems to zoom towards the viewer across an expanse of barren land. Both foreground and background enjoy some degree of focus, but the middle ground is a greenish haze. Different yet contiguous timeframes are flattened on the surface of the photograph: the eternity of rock, the momentary passage of the bird past Mylayne’s unwieldy 8x10 camera’s lens, the midpoint that is the artist’s own patient waiting. The photograph ends up, unexpectedly, being an excursus on how these temporal dimensions coexist and how, as sentient beings, we position ourselves in relation to them. But while the bird is a motive, it’s also a prize. Consider Mylayne’s work as musings on a large humanist scale, and the avian trophy functions as some kind of barely reachable, unpredictable epiphany: the redbird in a dark-shadowed tree in No. 302 Mars Avril 2005 (2005) is a burst of zesty vermillion that won’t be there in a second, and simply asks to be appreciated, chased and then cherished. The two birds sporting around the base of a silhouetted trunk in No. 267 Février Mars 2004 (2004) are barely visible in low, late-afternoon light; the photograph sustains the hushed glimpse, apparently caught after two months. Again the birds are bigger than birds. Such is the spell of Mylayne’s ascetic yet sumptuous art that they feel like anything one chooses to devote a life to: emblems of a pragmatic philosophic system which argues that, in the apparent absence of any higher purpose, it might be worth exchanging hours of nothingness for milliseconds of soul-radiating transport. And that photography, while only a shadow of the experience, might articulate what that means. Martin Herbert
José Damasceno Integrated Circuit
Integrated Circuit, 2010 (installation view). Courtesy Thomas Dane Gallery, London
Thomas Dane Gallery, London 1 April – 1 May
When so many artworks are weighed down by the desire to make sense, to deliver content or to create ‘meaning’, encountering José Damasceno’s work is a refreshing experience. The Rio-based artist revels in meticulous but often humorous arrangements of shapes and materials. In his hands, formalism is not something to be dismissed (which seems to be the contemporary art-critical consensus) but sought. Damasceno invites his viewers to rediscover the pleasure of the primarily sensual: his work, in Susan Sontag’s formulation, demands not a hermeneutics but an ‘erotics of art’. On a pristine snooker table, spheres of milky pink quartz, crimson red dolomite and glistening black jasper map a celestial system in precarious balance (Integrated Circuit, 2010). It could be interpreted as a game played by God, the balls awaiting the strike of a divine cue, another Big Bang. The symbols are plentiful, and deeply rooted in ancient cosmologies. In this instance, though, it is rewarding to follow Sontag and envisage the piece not for what it could signify, but for what it is: a splendid display of semiprecious stones, polished to perfection. Testifying to an infinitely slow formation, the layers of sediment appear on the spheres’ surfaces as intricate patterns of lines and dots which contrast with the lawnlike smoothness of the tabletop. Integrated Circuit is infused with the legacy of minimalism and relies on a viewer’s physical presence to fully function. Each step brings another perspective, another partial view of an artwork that remains, like the universe, ungraspable all at once. Hanging on the wall, a small abstract tapestry picks up the startling colours of the table’s baize. It’s a fuzzy, disquieting tangle of stitches, unsettling the room’s peacefulness. Its title, Monitor (2010), suggests the TV screen of some amusement arcade, the first hint of Damasceno’s characteristic humour that runs throughout the rest of the show. The artistic references soon become too evident to ignore. In his ongoing series ProjetoObjeto (2006–), Damasceno uses, like a contemporary Joseph Cornell, the framed box as a template, a set space of freedom. The two examples on display here are lined with graph paper. Inside one is a second frame, its side cut open by a small arch; the shape brings to mind a mouse’s hole or the entry to a doghouse. A second look confirms this impression: a bronze dog sits defiantly atop the piece, as if showing off its canny escape from a geometric maze. While this first box is an unlikely blend of nineteenth-century animal sculpture, Art & Language and Surrealism, the second, with its small slab of marble, nods towards classical statuary. This modest rectangle also introduces Eraser Sculpture (2010), a rendition of an oversize eraser in veined marble and precious wood, sat directly on the floor. As in many of his previous works (including the well-known pencil installations), Damasceno employs the apparatus of monumental sculpture – its proportions, or as here, its techniques – to foster another type of encounter with the mundane, where wonder supplants convoluted interpretations. Coline Milliard ArtReview 137
‘Too much good taste can be boring’, said Diana Vreeland, possibly (hopefully) while reclining in the red ‘garden in hell’ living room she had the designer Billy Baldwin make her. In Dexter Dalwood’s painting Diana Vreeland (2003), part of the artist’s ongoing series of absentee portraits, the oracular fashion editor’s Manhattan lounge is indeed a garish hue. Dalwood, in trademark art-historical-sampling mode, has taken Matisse’s The Red Studio (1911) for a spin, keeping the architecture and certain elements of Matisse’s radically decorative picture but adding a few Park Avenue flourishes, such as a ritzy fireplace and plush seating in clashing magenta. In an interview with Tate St Ives artistic director Martin Clark, Dalwood explains that, inspired by Vreeland, he had ‘wanted to do the most extreme, over the top lush painting that I could do’. And coming about halfway through this surprisingly thorough midcareer survey, the canvas represents a crescendo of sorts. But here’s the rub. When compared with the diabolic floridity of Vreeland’s chinoiserie crib – to which any search engine will direct you – Dalwood’s painting is downright sober. Too tasteful? Possibly, but before we summon Vreeland to dismiss Dalwood’s efforts, we should examine what makes his art successful. Dalwood sports an odd bunch of credentials. Chief among them is evenhandedness. As much as they make a virtue of compositional fissures – usually faithful (almost pedantically so) to initial collages from art history books and magazines, a great number of which are on show here – Dalwood’s paintings are unified by their constancy of touch and tone. Whether he’s doing de Kooning gesturalism for a patch of pavilion in Birth of the UN (2003) or hot-stuff Cold War Picasso for Yalta (2006), Dalwood’s painterly impersonations are always characterised by the calm efficiency of their delivery. Such economy perplexes and disarms, especially given his oft-chosen subject matter of the places where rock stars die or societal discord erupts. In place of passion, torture or fervency, Dalwood gives us ease, lightness, impartiality… a plethora of words from the dictionary of faint praise. In doing so, he tricks us into thinking of his work as being slight. In fact, Dalwood is a contemporary history painter fully aware of the prejudices that apply to the genre – that it is populist and therefore not quite serious, that it flies in the face of ‘progressive’ art. With his designer’s eye, finding just the right arthistorical reference, just the right hue, Dalwood flaunts these supposed weaknesses, courting accusations of triviality while, increasingly, alighting on events that trouble the collective psyche – as in The Death of David Kelly (2008). A painting of a lone tree in the moonlight, it uses the absent figure to draw attention to both the fate of the former UN weapons inspector and the fact that, thanks to the Hutton Inquiry, evidence related to Kelly’s death will remain out of sight for decades to come. Serving up the very recent past for aesthetic consideration feels like a brave move for an artist more used to working from safe distances, not least because the issue of taste, in a wider sense, becomes truly provocative. Dalwood, never boring, is really hitting his stride. Martin Coomer
The Death of David Kelly, 2008, oil on canvas, 203 x 173 cm, private collection, Lake Forest. Photo: Dave Morgan. © the artist. Courtesy Gagosian Gallery, New York, London, Rome & Athens
Tate St Ives 23 January – 3 May
Glasgow International encompasses a gamut of arts venues, public spaces, bars, former factories and homes snowballing around Glasgow’s City Centre, West End, East End and Pollokshields. The festival is bigger than ever. It takes several days just to get round the venues and much longer to attend its many events. The GI hub sports NVA’s White Bike Plan, a reenactment of the Dutch Provos’ Witte Fietsenplan programme from the mid-1960s, enabling visitors to cycle freely around town. A deliberately loose theme – past, present, future – is all that binds the myriad projects. Given GI’s bottom-up style, it’s remarkable how many of the exhibitions engage with this leitmotif. At the Modern Institute Jim Lambie crushes various metal objects, including stepladders and suits of armour, laying them into concrete plinths set on metal and mirror floors. The assemblage is mesmerising, squashing the gallery into a suffocating plenum of premodern future. Another man-at-arms stands guard in David Shrigley’s vitrine at Kelvingrove. Shrigley makes inspired use of some of the museum’s Glasgow International dustier collections, transforming the archive with some witty cabinet reshuffles and the introduction of Festival of Visual Art homespun relics (I don’t recall Kelvingrove having a stuffed Jack Russell or a gargantuan tooth). The result is one of the few corners of Scotland’s most popular art venue not murdered by the dead hand of overinterpretation. Shrigley should be let loose to work his magic on the whole museum. Street Level Photoworks hosts Lost and Found, a scholarly show of videoworks dating from the 1970s and 80s, reminding audiences of how videoworks were introduced to Glasgow by the then-radicalised Third Eye Centre and Transmission. Sorcha Dallas presents Linder Sterling’s King’s Ransom (Hybrid Tea), images of her new fashion designs and collages remixing 1970s soft porn with images of cakes. This invocation of time-as-texture infuses other shows in GI, such as David Noonan’s hessian fest Spiel at the Mitchell Library and Corin Sworn’s object biography Prologue: An Endless Renovation, both curated by Washington Garcia gallery. There is a parallel fin de siècle aesthetic in Alice Channer’s Inhale, Exhale at Glasgow School of Art, in the cavernous folds of the group show Turn It On Again at SWG3 and in the Ubu Roi qualities of Fiona Robertson’s film Paraphernalia in Osborne Street. Like any other biennial, GI has its requisite blockbuster shows, most notably Jimmy Durham’s Universal Miniature Golf (The Promised Land) at Glasgow Sculpture Studios and Christoph Büchel’s Last Man Out Turn Off Lights at Tramway, easily the most ambitious show Scotland has hosted in decades. Büchel’s mise en scène is the Isle of Man prison in Jurby, here dramatised as a Euro-Guantánamo wherein inmates are indentured to piece together a bombblasted jet. It’s an impressive spectacle, albeit one whose denouement comes prematurely. The déclassé Rangers and Celtic bars at the entrance have no place in the Manx narrative, and so come across as a trite attempt to patronise the natives. Durham plays the parochial hand more successfully – jovially pointing the postcolonial finger at the Teflon-coated Scots – but still doesn’t quite manage to pull off a genuine connection with the city that lies beyond the GI imaginary in the way that, say, Shrigley does. The grassroots credentials that GI dines off, not to mention the financial problems associated with hosting large international biennials at a time of public-sector crisis, keeps the vital spectacle of festival culture healthily in check. Neil Mulholland
Various venues, Glasgow 16 April – 3 May
Stephen Littman, Overseen… Overheard… Overlooked, 1986–2010. © Street Level Photoworks, Glasgow
Had the tragic crash of an aeroplane carrying many of Poland’s political elite, including its president, the head of its national bank and numerous other parliamentary and military leaders, occurred 48 hours before it did, the opening of Polish artist Wilhelm Sasnal’s latest exhibition would have been suffused with a sense of loss. And when writing about the paintings in the aftermath of the accident, it is hard not to associate the pervasive palette of blues and greys with solemn contemplation, nor to deny a sorrowful air as prophetic for an artist who has explored both the history and politics of his homeland. But coincidence must not be confused with circumstance, and moreover, for this show Sasnal has curated an apolitical selection of recent paintings (2004–10) that focus on the fashioning of memory and the challenges of painterly representation. For example, Skeleton of Water (2008) was created in response to Sasnal’s son asking him to draw a skeleton of water. Despite the question’s innocent confusion, Sasnal took the enquiry seriously. The resulting large canvas shows a flotilla of rickety bones spread out on an implacably flat, teal-coloured ocean that is at once mournful and full of mirth. In Untitled (Kacper) (2009), the artist’s son appears to be futilely crying out to his father from ashore while a white cloud looming above him appears so flat that it seems as if it were cut out of the composition. Untitled (Anka) (2010), which depicts the artist’s wife lying on the beach in a bikini, is one among the few sexual episodes of the exhibition. Another is Untitled (Scooter) (2009), which renders a collapsed scooter curiously phallic. Hardship 1–4 (2009) is a suite of four canvases (two of which are attempts at the same composition of Sasnal’s wife and child lying in repose) that addresses the difficulty of imbuing painting with the right balance of compositional and emotional immediacy natural to a passing moment. The dominant mood of the show is embodied by a large untitled painting of a man bathed in soporific calm; he lies on his back under the shade of a tree whose leaf-laden boughs drip paint languorously down the surface of the canvas. There is a psychological disconnect between the subject of Anton Kern Gallery, New York the painting and the object of the artist’s vision, insofar as the man’s view of the world is less apparent than the 8 April – 15 May sense that his mind is at ease. We see this again in A Gynecologist (2007), a portrait of a doctor who wields a blurry sonogram machine. For an artist who paints from photographs and who is also a filmmaker in his own right, Sasnal’s interest in the indirectness of vision and his emphasis on painting optical aberrations is fascinating. Is painting Sasnal’s sonogram? By eroding details from memory, he muddles the emotional capacity of painting, making it roughly comparable (or variously incomparable) to human memory and its inherent degradation. Steve Pulimood
Untitled (Anka), 2010, oil on canvas, 70 x 90 cm. Courtesy Anton Kern Gallery, New York
On Beauty, Objects, and Dissonance
A Series of Projections, 2010, chromogenic prints, 79 x 104 cm each
The Kitchen, New York 27 March – 10 May
Leslie Hewitt, like many of her peers, has delved into the legacy of the civil rights and Black Power movements in her photographs and sculptures, but she has done so obliquely, through a challenging practice that subverts collective history through recourse to individual experience, blurs boundaries between photography and sculpture, and, as the title of her solo at the Kitchen indicates, skilfully balances aesthetic composure with the indeterminacies of time and memory. Like their musical equivalents, the works in the series Riffs on Real Time (2008) are improvisations on a standard, in this case iconic photographs from recent African-American history. Each photograph shows a fading snapshot placed on top of a suitably antique artefact – a weathered book; a page from an old magazine – arranged on a hardwood floor. Here, personal and public archives are intertwined, the former filling in and adding texture to the latter. For example, in the series’ final image, a colour snapshot of a forested hillside obscures most of the face and body of a suited man on his way to the office, picturing his interior state and privileging it over his public role. Though these banal everyday images are visually embedded in and framed by the collective, they assert their primacy in the construction of history. Conceptually driven, Hewitt often works in series. Midday (2009) consists of large-scale photographs of temporary arrangements of objects, books and photographs presented inside sculptural wooden frames that, in sitting on the floor and leaning against the wall, echo elements within the images themselves. In Untitled (Connecting) (2009), a square wood panel leans against a wall, propped up on a stack of two paperbacks, one of which is a worn copy of Claude Brown’s Manchild in the Promised Land (1965), an autobiographical coming-of-age tale set in mid-twentieth-century Harlem. An orange sits on the floor in front of it, a wry nod to Dutch still lifes and the neighbourhood’s namesake town. Untitled (Seems to Be Necessary) (2009) repeats these elements with subtle shifts in position and some additions: the spines of both books face away, and two photographs and a swathe of teal-striped cloth à la Daniel Buren are positioned above the panel, the latter’s colour repeated on the cover of another paperback wedged behind it. As the images vacillate between appearing carefully composed and completely incidental, so do our attempts to draw meanings from them. Also inspired by Brown’s book, the dual-channel video projection Untitled (Level) (2010) mines Harlem’s streets for their historical traces through pairs of short, silent and almost photographic clips that tremble just slightly with life. Recognisable landmarks are avoided, while an African-American man wearing a period-appropriate grey pageboy cap, often facing away from us, is the only obvious link to the book. But in some pairs, Hewitt varies focus and camera position slightly between the two clips, literally making the scene fuzzy; the site becomes harder to resolve but easier to project into, creating space to recall fading personal memories. Murtaza Vali ArtReview 141
Robert & Ethel Scull Portrait of a Collection
Acquavella Gallery, New York 12 April – 27 May
I think it’s safe to say that, among most of us who attend to these things, Dan Graham’s Homes for America (1966–7) is widely acknowledged as one of the first pieces to have made explicit the affinity between the look and logic of minimalism, then very much in vogue, and the look and logic of the US’s commercial expansion in the decades following the Second World War. That is to say, between something like Donald Judd’s wall-mounted serial progressions and all of those ticky-tacky tract homes that began to multiply in the suburban hills around cities such as New York and Los Angeles. Though Homes is important for this fact, it is not exactly revelatory. Malvina Reynolds wrote Little Boxes in 1962, after all (and the Oxford English Dictionary now lists ‘ticky tacky’ and credits her with its coinage). Whatever ‘America’ might have been at the time, its art was increasingly reductionist and its aesthetic increasingly banal. As evidence, we need look no further than the collection that Robert and Ethel Scull amassed, and parts of which they then infamously auctioned, over the two decades prior to 1973. From their de Koonings to their impressive array of Johnses to their quintessential Stellas, the portions of the Scull collection on view at Acquavella show — among many other things — painting as a fugitive, dropping all its baggage and escaping into the anonymity of prepackaged emblems — Johns’s Map (1961), Warhol’s Red Airmail Stamps (1962) — and the promise of armchair comforts in such self-satisfied tautologies as Stella’s ‘what you see is what you see’ (only a subtle variation on Yahweh’s slightly earlier and a bit more spiritual ‘I am that I am’, and really the best modernist credo to date). None of which is to suggest that banality wasn’t big time at the time. Warhol made a lifetime of – and as – art out of it. Robert Scull, much to his credit, made money out of it: both out of Pop Art’s flat stylings — Rosenquist is king here with Above the Square (1963), and Scull helped crown him — which Scull capitalised upon in that 1973 sale, and out of the taxicab business Ethel’s father gave young Robert to ensure his daughter could live the way she deserved. As they say, it takes money to make money, and family money makes it easy; there’s a reason Ethel, or ‘Spike’, as she was familiarly known, looks so pleased, selfpossessed and entitled in Warhol’s Ethel Scull 36 Times (1963). And what could be more banal than a New York City taxi? Divorce. And a protracted one at that, which ended with the remainder of the collection going on the block in 1986, following Robert Scull’s death. For all of the posturing nowadays about the ‘real’ America (where is it? who lives there? how can I find it?), I don’t think too much gets more American than the Sculls’ story and their 30-year stint as collectors of perhaps the most distinctively American art that this country has ever produced. Jonathan T.D. Neil
Andy Warhol, Ethel Scull 36 Times, 1963, acrylic and silkscreen on canvas, 254 x 366 cm, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (jointly owned by Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; gift of Ethel Redner Scull, 2001). Photo: © 2001 Metropolitan Museum of Art / © 2010 Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Alix Pearlstein Talent
Watching Alix Pearlstein’s videos feels a bit like having to hold someone’s hand during a field trip at summer camp. You’re both hyperaware of your own body and repulsed by the sticky hand of your neighbour; at some point you can’t quite tell where your malaise ends and the other person’s grossness begins. This is particularly true for Talent (2009), one of the pieces in the artist’s new two-work show at On Stellar Rays. Using a cast of many of the same character actors she has solicited in the past to perform in her works, Pearlstein has orchestrated a set of ritualistic scenarios based on actors’ warm-ups. Talent takes place in several ‘movements’ based loosely on what look like acting class icebreakers or audition tropes. The first scene sees the assembled participants lined up in front of a mirror, passing the limp body of a compatriot from one set of arms to the next; at a certain point, someone in the chain walks away and the rest follow, leaving one man holding the collapsed blonde. This gesture of abandonment sets the tone for a pervasive low-level tension among the actors, who seem by turns impassive and edgily competitive as they perform for the camera with strained grimaces and contorting postures. After one of the actors throws himself across the room in front of the group, it is unclear whether the sarcasm in the subsequent applause has been assigned or is naturally assumed. The obviousness of the shooting — much of it taking place in front of a mirror that partially reflects the camera crew, with Pearlstein herself occasionally seen walking slowly across the studio — allows us to factor in acting as message in addition to medium, and points us towards a questioning of sincerity. In Finale (2009), the camera remains in a fixed location, turning around and around to get a full picture of the studio. The visuals are more careening and less rigid, focusing On Stellar Rays, New York in and out on the faces of the members of the same group, who are now travelling freely instead 11 April – 23 May of executing movements as a group, and the lack of structure makes it more difficult to grasp the deliberate compositional hinges that let the doors in these actors’ brains open and close to our own. It is the conflation of what might be acted with what might actually be felt by the subjects, in combination with the mildly repugnant physical details of many of these slightly ageing thespians (the fraying jean shorts of one small woman, the sagging craggy face of another), that leaves us caught in the space between our own ego and that of the actors, with a heightened awareness of our own bodies as locales of mortality and transparent emotion. It is at once an uncomfortable and scarily riveting place to be. T.J. Carlin
Talent, 2009 (video still). Courtesy On Stellar Rays, New York
Carroll Dunham states, simply, that ‘the idea of making a picture that could allude to more exalted states of mind is as interesting as one that alludes to more base states of mind’. All told, Dunham might be considered a secular Hieronymus Bosch, painting the horrors of a disenchanted world that is total and comic. Rightly so, the fascination with Dunham’s work owes nothing to a contemporary destruction fetish or well-rehearsed imaginings of the apocalypse. Instead, Dunham increasingly meditates on the base, and the base for him is no extraordinary thing – the base simply is. Consciousness is never as wild as our imaginings; it’s only as wild as our circumstances. The base for Dunham is a primal but formal and ordered exercise, an aesthetic biological culture that bubbles below and before rationality or intention. Considering his last five years of work, especially his 2006 show at London’s White Cube and his current show at Blum & Poe in Los Angeles, Dunham can finally be taken seriously when he downplays the imagery and narrative impulse of his works and claims that mostly formal concerns push his practice. The events on his older canvases – usually heralding aspects of abject human existence involving bodily secretions and colourful sexual organs – have decreased, while the formal punch of the work has expanded. He is painting better than he has in years. The Blum & Poe show roughly divides in two, with several works focused directly on trees in isolation and a series showing an exaggerated female figure, outlined in black, flashing her parts in sparse but vibrant landscapes that recall the wordless comics of Jim Woodring. Small details of certain works become the focus of others – all the paintings picture the same land from varying distances and angles. For instance, an upturned breast/kidney in Hers/Dirt/One becomes the entire composition of Hers/Dirt/Two (both 2009). The scrolled, decorative trees found in the background of the Hers paintings become the specific subject and focus of Time Storm Three (Tree of Life) (2005–10) and other tree works. The trees are sober bushes of hatches and washes while the women are built from solid blocks of brushy pinks, browns and greens. Earlier blizzards of swirls, lumps and soupy primal colour have contracted into confident, strident statements, graphic displays of his favourite images – anuses, phalluses and pudenda – now served straight up. Critics are familiar with the darkness of Dunham’s work, finding the relevance of his practice by linking his dissolving primal oddities with a fractured contemporary self that is fuelled primarily and wantonly by the chaotic underbelly of the unconscious. The critical inverse of this thinking, however, is the idea that Dunham simply revels in the abject like a man-child still clinging to the comedy of bodily fluids and fart jokes. Certainly both Dunhams do exist, and both are present in the Blum & Poe presentation. However, Dunham gets stronger with age, increasingly surehanded, like a late Philip Guston, and less prone to being juvenile and distracting, meditating on the base that achieves civilisation and less on the base that simply refuses it. Ed Schad
Time Storm Four, 2009-10, mixed media on canvas, 198 x 168 cm. Photo: Josh White. Courtesy the artist and Blum & Poe, Los Angeles
Blum & Poe, Los Angeles 9 April – 15 May
Test Scoring Machine, Type 850, first model, IBM Corporate Archives, Central Services Building, Somers, NY, 2008, inkjet archival print, 76 x 102 cm. Courtesy the artist
In one corner, a manual slide projector screens photographs of red fill-in-the-bubble standardised tests. These images are about as banal as you can get: straight shots of the dreaded paper documents that vie to measure our intelligence and determine 18th Street Art Center, Santa Monica our numerical worth. Yet in each of the 40 slides, the 1 April – 25 June bubbles are filled in differently, and begin to resemble Prep Materials neat grid paintings marked by LeWitt-like variations. Man meets machine. The remainder of Carla HerreraPrats’s exhibit consists primarily of photographs and digital scans depicting early test-scoring machines, article clippings and documents from the artist’s visits to three archives — IBM, the Educational Testing Service and Iowa University — which hold information on the genesis of electronic test-scoring machines. Interspersed with the photographs and scans are two lifesize wall drawings, one of a row of voting booths and the other depicting an outdated test-scoring machine. It turns out that these early machines were the predecessors for ballot machines and the desktop scanner (the artist’s turn to drawing amid the presentation of so much data seems an incongruous and almost romantic gesture). The small survey of obsolete technological design (clunky desks with dials, giant wall-size computers) shown in the scanned images is quite engaging; nothing looks as strikingly archaic as recently outmoded technology. The artist has also produced four large-scale original photographs of the innards of old machines: wires, bulbs, plugs and motherboards displayed neatly on polished wooden library tables. The Mexican-born Herrera-Prats regularly mines libraries and archives to unearth little-known histories or reveal peculiar chronicles of representation. For Official Stories (2004–5), the artist displayed two contradictory versions of Mexico’s Pre-Hispanic culture: the children’s textbook version and the story told in internationally circulated government-sponsored exhibitions. But as is the case with many exhibitions of archival matter, the materials often seem better suited for publishing than for walls. Indeed, the framed documents on display feel like a compilation of research notes for a term paper — the ‘prep materials’ of the exhibit’s title? This work is perhaps best assessed as a backdrop for the public dialogues the artist has organised with educators from colleges and test-prep institutions, such as Kaplan and the Princeton Review. Footage of these discussions will be added to the exhibit over time, aggregating perspectives on the issue of standardised testing — a controversial method that has dramatically increased in the US since George W. Bush’s No Child Left Behind Act of 2002. But when research-as-practice is an artist’s mode, we hunger for a bit more conclusiveness, or even opinion. Is the artist critiquing the twentieth-century development of standardised testing as a mechanic system that whittles knowledge and creativity? It’s hard to discern. On one wall, vinyl lettering reads ‘Everything measured is everything done’. It’s the only bit of the artist’s perspective given, though a fitting one. One hopes her continued collection of documentation will coalesce into a meaningful whole. Otherwise, it’s just constant research for a thesis that never appears. Lyra Kilston
Europe AJ Royal and Holey Riley Mahogany, 2010 (installation view). Photo: Carsten Eisfeld
The light pours out of Angela Bulloch’s constructions: one thinks of Belisha beacons, giant pixels and the starry, starry night. Here the London- and Berlin-based artist delivers something of a compilation, filling Esther Schipper’s compact space on Linienstrasse with a mixture of new pieces and works from 1993 to 1998. Berlin, of course, loves artificial illumination – witness the extreme variety of streetlamp designs; the pharaonic immensity of Behrens’s AEG electric dynamo factory, the Osram Höfe; and the annual Berlin im Licht evenings, where, as Richard and Linda Thompson once sang, you’ll want to see the bright lights tonight. Enjoying Bulloch’s chosen works together is like feeling safe and sound in some groovy spaceage bachelor pad. Imagine it as Stanley Kubrick’s living room in the great beyond; the stereo perhaps oozing To Rococo Rot jamming with Faust’s Jochen Irmler: the new meets the old. Move around and a discombobulated voice from one construction asks you to “come up and see me sometime” and utters other Mae West wisecracks (Karl/West, 2010). Some tables might feasibly hold a plateful of nibbles, Bulloch’s signature illuminated-cuboid ‘pixel boxes’ could support a cocktail, the beacons light up the gaff – a dining room for postconceptualists who dig Ellsworth Kelly and Mondrian. Instead of wallpaper, meanwhile, there’s Triangulation Remix Esther Schipper, Berlin (Wall Painting) (2010), an example from Bulloch’s ongoing Rules 20 March – 17 April Series (1993–) to entertain the guests. There are references in these Redux wall texts to triangulation as it relate to mathematics, family dynamics, chess, trading and politics: that should keep us chattering-class types gibbering away throughout the night. Then there are rules relating to an understanding of certain types of conceptual art. Some are risible, eg, ‘conceptual artists usually had beards’. Re-doo or re-ducks? Well, how do you pronounce it? It might be interesting to compare Bulloch’s development with her erstwhile (and bearded) collaborator Liam Gillick, who almost certainly knows how to correctly pronounce ‘redux’ and other big words like ‘arbitrageur’. While Gillick’s current Bonn retrospective sports a catalogue which is a pantechnicon of overladen syntax that rendered this reader as angst-ridden as a rabbit in its headlights, Bulloch’s work bears more humour, less ambiguity, is more informative and intelligible. Hers is the type of good conceptual art that is unsentimental but can provoke emotional responses. In the case of Redux, these include a jaunty levity crossed with curiosity – a triangulated position, if you like, a sweet spot. Or a zugzwang – give up your resistance, the show implies, and have your entrenched positions on cerebral art attacked. In the words of another conceptual-art rule listed on Triangulation Remix, she avoids being ‘longwinded, pedantic’ – the language she uses is not deliberately obfuscatory; clarity and indeed transparency are sought. Veils and meanderings may be necessary in art, but they need to be perceived, followed, explicated, understood; knight’s-move thinking requires some directiveness to delineate the tangents, a torch flare, otherwise we are in the dark. Here, by crossreferencing earlier works, Bulloch allows them to synchronise and become a ludic participatory environment where light is let in. Angela Bulloch remixed, then, the pale blinds opened: sit right down and enjoy her gifts of sound and vision. John Quin
“Dressed in a long robe of shiny silk, he is impressively serene. A black king, a Roman emperor, an Egyptian god, an Intergalactic Pope. […] Images flash on a screen: planets, satellites, black children in the streets of American cities, Indians, protestors. Suddenly a ball of fire rises up to the ceiling of the little chapel. Two saxophonists converge symmetrically at the centre of the stage. Sun Ra welcomes them with the sound of […] waves crashing furiously. A woman in the audience stands up and starts shouting: ‘What is this? What is this?’” At this point in the monologue – recited dramatically and decisively by a striking older woman with a Dada-ish raven-black bob and an exuberant carnivalesque costume – you might be thinking the same thing. In an elegant white gallery within Kunsthalle Basel, a geometric wood-and-mirror structure – recalling both a modernist spaceship and a Suprematist monument – rises improbably from the floor, a glenlike opening at its centre. Against one of the tall mirrored interior surfaces, a video projection offers up the actress, seated on a thronelike chair covered in African-patterned fabrics, as she relates the story of the Sun Ra concert she attended in Saint-Paul de Vence in the summer of 1970. As the narrative ends, she begins to slowly dance around the throne to the freaky, frenetic sounds of the Sun Ra concert itself, which approximates the sound of glass shattering, images fragmenting. The actress at the centre of this bewitching mise en scène is Mireille Rias, the mother of Lili Reynaud Dewar, the French artist behind the installation and the constellation of works that support it. These include three huge stencilled pencil-on-cardboard drawings that recreate, word for word, Sun Ra pamphlets like ‘I Don’t Give a Hoot’ and ‘A Spook Sho Is a Dragg Man, He’s a Dragg’; the impressive throne itself, which nods to both Sun Ra’s stage design and Ettore Sottsass’s Memphis Group furniture; and a series of screen prints on paper, artfully heaped on the floor, that contain Rias’s monologue in full. The strange and masterful magnetism of this arrangement of works is difficult to describe. If Sun Ra occasioned the show, Reynaud Dewar takes care not to replay his brilliant, bombastic aesthetics, which have all too often been cribbed and unimproved upon by contemporary artists. Instead, it is the speculative fervour and ardour of his political and aesthetic ideas that she invokes, as channelled by her mother, in a kind of inspired seance that they create together. In the video, as in the proplike works that support it, a myriad of forms (visual, political, musical, social) and ethos play off each other like the crazy-quilt of fabrics that adorn her throne. What results is not a melting pot but its very opposite: each form’s contours distinct and definitive in their Interpretation difference, even as they rub up against their opposite. When Rias states, “We were starving for the art of the times, for contemporary music, for jazz. New jazz. Free jazz,” she echoes the hungry clarion call of Sun Ra’s project, its demand for freedom of expression and being. Reynaud Dewar and her mother, despite the difference of race and nationality, expertly and critically echo that call. Quinn Latimer
Lili Reynaud Dewar
Kunsthalle Basel 18 April – 6 June
Interpretation, 2010 (installation view). Photo: Stefan Altenburger. Courtesy the artist, Kamel Mennour, Paris, and Mary Mary, Glasgow
Galleria Francesca Kaufmann, Milan April – May
Kelly Nipper’s opening took place on the evening after the volcano on the Eyjafjallajökull glacier in Iceland erupted, releasing clouds of ash that brought Europe to a standstill and turned atmospherics into the talk of the day (and also cut net CO2 emissions by around 2 million tonnes in a week, a result of the flight ban). The title of the American artist’s exhibition, Weather Center (2009), couldn’t have been more apropos, unless it was translated into Italian, where tempo stands both for ‘weather’ and ‘time’, and defines the speed and mood (adagio – slow; agitato – hurried; allegretto – fast, etc) of a musical composition. Tempo, in all its multiple acceptations, is indeed at the core of Nipper’s oeuvre, as much as it was for the ‘activities’ of Allan Kaprow, for whom she worked as an assistant in Encinitas, CA, for a decade. Where Kaprow named one of his happenings Meteorology (1972), Nipper has spent five years working on the different stages of an ongoing dance/performance/video project called Floyd on the Floor (2005–), after the eponymous hurricane; a visual parable on the attempt to control the realm of physics as much as that of physicality, to dominate the unruly bodily deeds that a trained dancer (or yoga practitioner, for instance, like Nipper, who never studied dance) can spend an entire life trying to domesticate, polish and refine, inch by inch. The same exactitude that musicians find in metronomes, Nipper found in Labanotation: a standardised system for recording and scoring motion in space created by Rudolf von Laban. In a manner that brings to mind Tacita Dean’s Merce Cunningham performs STILLNESS (in three movements) to John Cage’s composition 4’33’’ with Trevor Carlson, New York City, 28 April 2007 (2007), her dancers enact a cyclical quest for the perfect, stylised position as a way of measuring time. Though the exhibition (Nipper’s third solo at Kaufmann since 2002) marks the European debut of the video she presented at the Whitney Biennial, it isn’t to be seen right away. The small room at the entrance hosts instead a selection of ten unframed lo-fi video stills of varying sizes (from 30 x 36 to 76 x 127 centimetres, all titled Weather Center), which feels like a statement: Nipper, who emerged in the late 1990s with photoworks, says she is still fascinated by the possibility of isolating single unities of immobility in a flux of movements – from Muybridge to Laban, and back again. Furthermore, a ‘camera’-shaped set (the outline of a box with a lens/hole aside) is a recurring presence in her recent performance studies, like Shifting Shapes (2009), staged at the last Art Basel Miami and, in an updated version, in Zurich (just two days before Milan), as part of the group show While Bodies Get Mirrored, at Migros Museum. The video, also entitled Weather Center (2009), is loop-projected in the second space, across the cortile, with its loud soundtrack of counting reverberating under the vaulted ceiling. For five minutes, the dancer Taisha Paggett, wearing a mask and a costume designed by Leah Piehl, slowly and powerfully executes a personal variation on the Witch Dance (1914) by Mary Wigman, a student of Laban at Monte Verità in Ascona. But while Wigman (see it on YouTube) accentuated gesturing with a ritual mimicry recalling Noh and danced to the sound of cymbals, Paggett revolves, rises and swirls in total silence, accompanied only by the numbers of her inner tempo, breaking down the distinction between ‘doing’ and ‘performing’, and possibly between art and life. Barbara Casavecchia
Weather Center, 2009 (installation view), performance study video still, single-channel video projection, 5 min 11 sec (looped, B/W, sound). Photo: Roberto Marossi
The sensation of standing in total darkness is a contradictory one. On one hand, it can almost amount to an out-of-body experience: a feeling of floating, of being outside time. On the other, one becomes acutely aware of one’s own heavy and fragile physicality, as the seconds tick slowly past. At several points in Gerard Byrne’s filmworks A Thing Is a Hole in a Thing It Is Not (2010) and Untitled Acting Exercise (in the Third Person) (2008) a shutter moves in front of the projector lens, punctuating the luminous narratives with passages of purest black. It is through this device that Byrne jerks us back and forth between the present and the past, between the temporality of the exhibition space and the layered temporalities of his filmed restagings of historical moments. The main, long gallery of Lismore Castle Arts is given over to A Thing Is a Hole in a Thing It Is Not, an ambitious new work cocommissioned with the Glasgow International Festival of Visual Art, where it is concurrently on display. The four-screen installation takes Michael Fried’s 1967 essay ‘Art and Objecthood’ as a lens through which to examine not only our contemporary conception of 1960s minimalism (the object of Fried’s criticism) but also film, the apparatus with which Byrne conducted this investigation. Two sections of Byrne’s installation – reconstructions of a radio interview with Frank Stella, Dan Flavin and Donald Judd, and a revelatory nighttime car journey to the New Jersey Turnpike described by Tony Smith – spring directly from quotations in Fried’s essay. The former is shown as a montage of period details drifting in and out of focus: brown knitwear, cigarettes, recording equipment, a cigar, brandy, more cigarettes. The actors’ handsome faces subtly mismatch the original, faltering, audio recording of the conversation. Elsewhere, fantasy, diligent recreation and contemporary reality collide when a suave, grey-haired man in a flared suit (and he’s smoking, of course) reads newspaper reviews of exhibitions by ‘Donald Judd, 41’ in the gleaming interior of the Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven. His cameraman, however, wears Diesel jeans, and a few shots later, a cleaner enters the frame to sweep around a Robert Morris sculpture. Lismore Castle Arts This interplay between ‘onness’ and ‘offness’, and presence and absence, is further borne out in the 24 April – 30 September super-high-definition video used by Byrne, and in the installation of the four screens with exposed backstage sections of wood panelling between each one. Filmic verisimilitude leads to absorption – another Friedian term – which is then whipped away in an instant. The work is accompanied by a series of black-and-white photographs, the ongoing Images or Shadows of Divine Things (2005–), taken in the US by Byrne and the photographer Matthew Bakkom. The images – street scenes, interiors and portraits – look as if they were taken in the 1950s or 60s, although their date says otherwise. A final film, shown in a church hall in Lismore itself, pulls Byrne’s interest in historical construction into sharper focus. Untitled Acting Exercise (in the Third Person) shows an actor performing transcripts of interviews given by German POWs prior to their trials at Nuremberg. When the film cuts to pure black, and we hear the director suggest “more intensity!” or “with disgust!”, Byrne reveals how we remake the world each time we try to record it. Jonathan Griffin
Untitled Acting Exercise (in the Third Person), 2008 (film still). Courtesy the artist and Lisson Gallery, London
It’s rarely a good sign to be disappointed before even setting foot inside a gallery. Yet there I stood, on sunny Hedemannstrasse, with none of Mandla Reuter’s boulders or brick walls blocking my entrance to his first solo exhibition at Croy Nielsen – a waste of a cat-burglar outfit assembled for the express purpose of backdoor manoeuvring. And once inside, as if adding insult to injury, I found no takeaway set of hanging keys, as with past works BG (2007) and DKH (2008), to grant entry to the gallery on an as-needed basis. Such exaggerated scenarios of obstruction and access have famously constituted the poles of Reuter’s artistic register, running twisty and surrealistic plots across the well-worn pages of institutional critique. For Here Is a Picture the artist instead works from his midrange, and the resulting show offers a well-tempered though somewhat sedate investigation of the parameters of image making. Reuter centres his exhibition on two improbably grand but economical reconfigurations of Croy Nielsen’s architecture. For the eponymous installation (2010), the artist has sliced a 16:9-proportioned vertical swathe of the wall separating the back gallery from the office and tilted it against the opposing wall. A mediumformat slide projector, perching on a rock in the office, shoots a tonally distorted image of a cloudy sky onto this makeshift screen. Reuter succeeds in gracefully directing attention to the hidden apparatus of the gallery staff as a byproduct of an excision that here primarily serves to produce a cinema-style scenario, in which analogous circuits of projection apparatus and projected image – and of real and manipulated nature – transparently play out before the viewer. Notwithstanding its gestural force, the installation fast treads into a conceptually thin (if cohesive) structuralism, with the signifiers of nature performing in surprising muteness, given the weight Reuter usually affords to the content, contexts and production methods of many of his source objects and images. That said, proper analysis of any work in the exhibition obliges mention of Fridge (2009), comprising circuitry Reuter has laid to connect a seemingly innocuous Bosch refrigerator in the front gallery to the overhead fluorescents. This work forgoes the sado-absurdism of Frederick Kiesler’s directional lighting system for Art of This Century gallery, cycling through an ever-changing but systematic set of on–off combinations that ensures frequent and varied changes to the visibility of the clouds. Building on his past projects involving the manipulation of gallery and museum lighting systems (most amusingly in group exhibitions), Reuter requires viewers to manually open the refrigerator door to see its internal light operate within the gallery-wide sequences. There’s really no avoiding this sore thumb of a tall white readymade, even if we acknowledge its proportional similarities to the cut of drywall or consider the formal and metaphorical parallels to be drawn with the white cube. This awkward object may be too stubborn a commodity to be cleanly absorbed into the artist’s lexicon – more so than the liquid barrels and electrical cables and hoses of past projects. Reuter has an impossibly elegant touch that he could easily stretch across a career, and these rough edges suggest, if anything, a self-critical, transitional moment for a promising artist. Tyler Coburn
Mandla Reuter Here Is a Picture
Croy Nielsen, Berlin 19 March – 2 May
Here Is a Picture, 2010, slide projector (Götschmann 8585 AV 67), slide, stone, dismantled wall, dimensions variable. Courtesy Croy Nielsen, Berlin
Like fellow painters John Currin, Lisa Yuskavage and Don Doe, London-based Dawn Mellor has a penchant for representing the figure in extreme and provocative situations. Mellor, however, goes for the jugular and tears apart flesh in a violent, disturbing fashion more akin to some strains of punk rock, such as the band the Misfits; the horror novels of fellow Briton Clive Barker; or much of Francis Bacon’s output. For her first solo presentation in Amsterdam, she depicts female actresses from film stills in extreme states of disfigurement or with violent alterations. As in her ongoing Vile Affections series (1998–), where Mellor takes both popular and political icons (including Mother Teresa) and subjects them to all sorts of nasty interventions, here she uses black humour and satire like a graffiti artist who is willing to transform public figures into public property ripe for tagging. In a show installed quite sparingly to make the imagery more jarring, it’s hard not to laugh at over-the-top depictions such as Laura Dern (all works 2010), the image sourced from David Lynch’s 1986 movie Blue Velvet, with a bloody eyeball dangling from the actress’s eye socket. Some works go beyond mere shock value, though, such as Hanna Schygulla, based on a still from Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s The Marriage of Maria Braun (1979). Here Mellor portrays a severely beaten Schygulla with a swollen eye and bloody lip. On top of this disfigured visage, she uses marker pen to write a list of things to attend to in her daily life, as if the canvas is a Post-it note on a refrigerator. Phrases such as ‘cancel flight’ and ‘send CV’ float on top of Schygulla’s face, questioning the power these actresses have on an audience and why they are so revered. Clearly Mellor gives her subjects little or no respect, and if painted by a male artist these Galerie Gabriel Rolt, Amsterdam works would probably cause a ruckus. Mellor straddles the line between realism and a slightly 10 April – 15 May cartoony style, forming her figures with loose brushstrokes and unfussy rendering to mixed result. Not all of the works measure up equally in terms of their execution, but some are homeruns, such as Mia Farrow in a view adapted from Roman Polanski’s Rosemary’s Baby (1968), Farrow’s distant gaze and blood-spattered body relating to Polanski’s own wife, the actress Sharon Tate, who was murdered by Charles Manson’s followers in 1969. The lyrics to the 1982 Laura Branigan song Gloria are written on top of Farrow’s chest in marker pen, with lines like ‘I think you’re headed for a breakdown’ having particular resonance in relation to the nightmarish plot of the film. Here and elsewhere, whether Mellor herself gets off on the savage manner with which she treats her subjects while revelling in the power of being an artist or is challenging the viewer to think about her theme in a new way by making a statement about women, society and fame is unclear. If anything, it seems like a combination of both. Chris Bors
Meryl Streep, 2010, oil on canvas, 122 x 76 cm. Photo: Peter Tijhuis. Courtesy Galerie Gabriel Rolt, Amsterdam
VeneKlasen/Werner, Berlin 30 April – 26 June
“I’ve spent so much of my life being sexy that I haven’t got anything else done.” So complains Jason Holiday, the extraordinary subject of Shirley Clarke’s Portrait of Jason (1967), as he performs his life to camera, getting intoxicated and emotional, and letting his myriad psychological masks slip up and down. He may not have planned to do so, but in a way Holiday strikes to the heart of the paradox of portraiture: that in a terrible quasispiritual, hippyish way, we generally accept that there’s a difference between how a person appears and the secret inner self that’s ‘who he really is’, while at the same time we understand portrait painters to be using the former to reveal the latter. And of course, that a person is other and more than just his good looks is generally what we want the portrait maker to reveal to us, because we want to know that other people think the same about us. Of course, it can work the other way as well: intriguingly, Félix Vallotton, another of the artists included in this show, once claimed to have encountered the most striking and sensual example of ‘sexy’ in paint: ‘Nothing made me feel more clearly the warmth of a female body and the weight of a breast than Ingres’s manner of contouring a form with the brush’, the poor man wrote in his autobiography. Ah, this selfconsciousness – it’s a tricky, many-headed beast. That’s something that the cocurators of this exhibition – painter Peter Doig and critic Hilton Als (whose memoir The Women, 1998, touches on some of the territory explored here) – clearly understand. SelfConsciousness is a sprawling collection of portraits produced by a rather eclectic bunch of artists – including Alice Neel, Giorgio de Chirico, Markus Lüpertz, Marsden Hartley, Glenn Ligon, EMBAH and Doig himself (in collaboration with fellow Trinidad resident Chris Ofili) – who’ve been operating during the last 150 years or so. It’s also a miniretrospective of works by Trinidadian artist and dancer Boscoe Holder. It’s also possibly a ‘compare and contrast’ between the black subject and the white subject: it’s hard to think otherwise if you move from, say, Vallotton’s La Chevelure Blonde (1915) – what looks to be a mug shot (‘he paints like a policeman, like someone whose job it is to catch forms and colors. Everything creaks with an intolerable dryness… the colours lack all joyfulness’, the Neue Zürcher Zeitung famously observed of his work) of a rather sulky, manly, red-knuckled, dishevelled and seemingly available blonde – and one of Holder’s sleek, lithe dancers. Finally, Self-Consciousness incorporates a small film festival as well. The last being where you get to meet Jason Holiday. Ironically, while Jason is whining about how he could have been so much more than he is, you, the viewer, find yourself battling to reduce this show to a core theme. For one of its triumphs is that it’s not simply about black subjects and painters versus their white counterparts. And in a funny way, it’s only incidentally about painting – for starters, you’d be hard-pressed to say it was an overwhelming brilliance of style or technique that provided the Doig–Als selection criteria. Rather, it’s about what we expect from portraiture and what portraiture expects from us. During one of his gibbers, Holiday recalls a teacher friend explaining herself to him thus: “Everyone has a gimmick and mine is teaching school”. It’s part justification, part dismissal, part assertion and denial – I am this, but this is only a slight and superficial portrait of me, she is saying. “And I found out that mine is hustling”, says Holiday, the self-confessed ‘stone whore’, when it comes to explaining himself. “And I have more than one hustle.” Portraiture, on the evidence of this exhibition, is much the same. Perhaps being likened to a policeman is no great insult to a portrait artist after all. Mark Rappolt OQBSFBT
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reviews: abu dhabi
Small in scale yet remarkably thought-provoking, Disorientation II subtly probes the crushing failure of Pan-Arabism – the movement espoused by Egyptian president and strongman Gamal Abdel Nasser in the 1950s and 60s – as the cause and symptom of continuing traumas within the Arab world. Writ large, these traumas are: political repression, economic stagnation, the marginalisation of Palestinian refugees within ‘brother’ countries and Israel’s continued repression of national aspirations within the Occupied Territories. Indeed, the definitive moment of rupture in Nasser’s messianic dream of socialist Arab union was Israel’s victory in the 1967 Six Day War; in this 16-artist show, though, this conflict remains unmentioned, with the strongest works suggesting that it is dysfunction Disorientation II: Arts Abu Dhabi Gallery within Arab societies that damned the Nasserite vision The Rise and Fall of Arab Cities 22 November – 20 March and engendered the subsequent decades of drift. The potently satirical collages of Egyptian artist Ali Jabri, realised in the 1980s and included as historical grounding, combine images of politicians at banquets and sporting fashionable suits with adverts for Western consumer products and scenes of soldiers and ordnance torn from vintage magazines. While the images skewer Arab leaders as stuffed shirts atop militarised societies, it is Jabri’s exploitation of the poor quality of his printed sources, his keen formal use of roughly torn paper and his ironic appropriation of a 1960s Pop idiom which exposes the phoney Modernism and empty populism of the time (Jabri died in 2002). The ongoing legacy of political sclerosis, meanwhile, is most subtly evoked by Hrair Sarkissian’s 2008 series, Execution Squares, which depicts public spaces in Damascus, Latakia and Aleppo where prisoners are put to death. Photographed in the early morning, empty of people, they appear quaint and peaceful. Sarkissian’s images play off the slightly exotic contrast between contemporary billboards and heroic posters of late Syrian dictator Hafez al-Assad and the shabby, decaying facades of banks, apartment buildings and public monuments, chillingly evoking the result of the violence and repression practised by the state. Other work, however, remains obvious and overly documentary. Ayreen Anastas and Rene Gabri’s 16-video What Everbody Knows (2006) is exactly that: a video catalogue of the miseries endured by Palestinians in Israel and the Occupied Territories which adds nothing to the standard tropes of occupation and the litanies which blame the Israelis for all the ills of the region. This stance reflects the easy embrace of progress which served as a justification for corruption and dictatorship under Nasser. In a further, and unintentional, irony, the show takes place on Saadiyat Island, where branches of the Guggenheim, NYU and the Louvre, designed by prominent American and European architects, are now under construction. Will this latest adoption of the foreign and the seemingly new prove as empty for the region as it did in the LK>