In 1975, Vito Acconci installed his now classic piece Voice of America at Portland Center for Contemporary Arts. The piece was a love letter by way of a music lesson, according to the artist, an attempt at getting under the skin of the nation, and to speak to the inner spirit of the nation. “One kind of American music drifts into another: America presented in a music lesson, a geography lesson: from Ozark fiddle to California harmonica to New Orleans piano,” Acconci says. “My voice is the voice of a mythical Mr. America talking to Mrs. America: we’re giving voice to an American dream… There is a voice calling out from the wilderness, jabs of voice…here’s the response from the children of America.” (more…)
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Considering the canon of the conceptual movement over the course of the 20th Century, the work of artist Adrian Piper figures in a particularly resonant and explosive way. Working at the forefront of the conceptual project from the late 1960’s onwards, Piper’s work has long confronted and framed questions of race, identity and discrimination in ways that push the viewer into a deep, lasting engagement with concepts and structures of institutionalized racism. This mode of practice, and the artist’s gradual movements towards it over the course of her career sits at the core of her current career retrospective at MoMA, an exhibition that manages to frame the artist’s work historically and socially, while using its conceptual payload to push the viewer into that same sense of identification.
Currently on view at Mary Boone Gallery’s 745 Fifth Ave space, artist Math Bass has brought together a range of new sculptures and paintings that continue her equally meticulous and playful interpretations of the art object, twisting vaguely familiar forms and figures into foreign landscapes and minimalistic constructions. (more…)
Rose Painting, the second solo show of Norwegian-German artist Yngve Holen, was recently on view at Galerie Neu in Berlin through July 14. This exhibition presented a series of rims, ‘gutted’ from five different sports utility vehicles and then 3D-scanned, scaled to a diameter of two meters, and optimized to be milled in CLT (cross-laminated timber). The resulting objects are flower-like wooden constructions that feature symmetrical lines organized around a center point. Rose Painting addresses the formal design languages of a utility object, questioning the fetish object and psychosocial design that punctuate the objects that clutter wealth distribution.
The role of ornamentation in the above questions is central to this exhibition, which emphasized the process of creating the art object as much as the art object itself. The press release states, “Rims are typically made of aluminum, a material whose ambivalent value bears, on the one hand, the symbolic aura of modernity, while on the other, the ‘stain’ of a cheap substitute.” The artist’s choice to reproduce these rims in cross-laminated timber, this form is exaggerated in a form that is typically understood to be more valuable, traditional, and environmentally sustainable. In this way, these forms point to the symbolic and economic conditions of their proliferation, since the crisis of functionalism in the 1960s, and seek to “ride out the increasing aerodynamics of the contemporary chassis.”
The reimagined rims are products of technical woodcarving, a process that expose the milling traces, tears, and cracks of an industrially prefabricated resource sculpted by a machine. With their rescaled form, the rims present these blemishes as a ‘natural’ byproduct, pointing to the current schizophrenic relationship to automobiles that strives for optimized car use and reduced emissions, while continuing to fetishize and covet the SUV. In a sense, the SUV epitomizes the frenzied materialistic collecting of ornaments and materials behind car culture. The large-scale vehicles are extremely popular despite their high consumption of gas and the danger they pose to other drives and pedestrians, as well as their inutility in the suburban or residential contexts in which they are frequently found.
The design and possession of the SUV, like that of rims, illustrates the complex mechanisms of ornamentation, style, and economics motivating the circulation and production of automotive accessories. The title of this exhibition points to the function of the ornament to embellish an object, as well as invest it with value and suggestions of worth. The craftmanship implied in the title and objects of the exhibition stand in interesting and not entirely opposing relationship to the industrial processes of mechanical production implied by the rim.
Exhibition Page [Galerie Neu]
Prototypes of Imagination, an exhibition of new work by Katharina Grosse, is on view at the Gagosian Gallery through July 27, 2018. Grosse is well known for her in situ paintings that respond to the environment in which they are produced, typically with explosive color rendered directly onto architecture, interiors, and landscapes. Employing bold colors and ambitious movement, her works test the limits of boundaries and redefine space. Her mold-breaking paintings and intricate constructions have challenged the contained space of the canvas and, in this exhibition, the boundaries between imagination and reality.
The artist’s use of an industrial spray gun has provoked comparisons of her work with street art or graffiti, as she coats the objects in her path, at times the walls and windows of the exhibition space, with bright color. These works can be seen as a meditation on the subjective and immersive experience of painting, as Grosse integrates events and experiences that emerge during the construction process into the artwork. In Prototypes of Imagination, Grosse seeks to “try out—and dramatically compress—the characteristics of reality” by building prototypes that can be reenacted and applied to other endeavors.
As in prior shows, a single gigantic painting on loose cloth is at the center of this exhibition. The huge expanses of loose cloth that Grosse works on in the studio allow the artist to respond to the specific architectural conditions in which the work will be housed. Grosse can paint beyond and in response to the frame of the gallery, from the location of her studio. In this particular example, the work hangs from the ceiling, resembling a hulking organic form, almost breathing with vibrant, pulsating color and the spectral silhouettes that interlock and fade into each other. The work reveals inverted chromatic zones produced by stencils of vaguely biomorphic form, as well as painterly gesture balanced with a dizzying array of overwhelmingly vibrant layers that suggest spatial and temporal transformation.
The other works in this exhibition, oriented around this centerpiece, are presented on stretched canvas and reveal a parallel effect of layered or scrambled form that tessellate and slide into each other. These pieces are punctuated by shifts in chromatic temperature, as well as forms created by stencils, folds, or other tools. These spaces of opacity or negative space are interrupted by solid geometries or ambiguous transparencies, creating a kaleidoscopic experience of color and movement that possesses a rhythm all its own. As the press release states, “each composition bears intimate traces of its creation,” thereby acting organically upon the limits of pictorial logic and showing the viewer the potentially hypnotic power of an encounter in the field of vision.
Exhibition Page [Gagosian Gallery]
Tatiana Trouvé’s One Day for Eternity is on view at the König Gallery in Berlin through July 8. This is the artist’s third solo exhibition with the gallery. In this piece, Trouvé continues her exploration of memory, material, and space. The work is the most recent installation in a series entitled Les Indéfinis, which addresses the myriad transformations that an artwork undergoes, morphing from an idea into material, from material into an object of circulation. (more…)
Now through July 14, Blain Southern London presents America My Hometown, an exhibition dedicated to the formative years of Edward Kienholz’s career in mid-century America. The works in the exhibition span the years of 1954-1967, at which point Kienholz was living and working in Los Angeles. This historical period was hugely significant for the position of the United States and the spread of capitalism globally, to which Kienholz responded directly in his work. The pieces produced by the artist during this time reflect a concern with the political turmoil and social anxiety that marked the political and social circumstances in which he lived.
“The fantasy that reality is changeable: it’s what keeps us alive,” writes Melissa Brown in an anecdotal text for the press release of “Between States,” her first solo exhibition at Derek Eller Gallery in New York. Brown describes a road trip from Tennessee down south to Summerville, Georgia to visit outsider artist Howard Finster’s Paradise Garden, a kitschy wonderland of mosaics and mirrors, the folk art equivalent of Antoni Gaudi’s Park Güell.
New York – “Difference Engine” Curated by Cory Arcangel and Tina Kukielski at Lisson Gallery Through August 10th, 2018Friday, July 6th, 2018
Meandering into spaces of contradiction and surrealist juxtaposition, artist Cory Arcangel has put on his curator cap for a show organized in collaboration with Art21’s Tina Kukielski, organizing an exhibition of works centered around modernity and technology, and framed equally by ideas of potential and hazard. (more…)
Currently on view at Kamel Mennour’s Paris exhibition space, artist Anish Kapoor has brought a strikingly powerful body of works, mixing styles and forms through a range of pieces to explore a unique and detailed perspective on humanity. Much like previous works for the artist, twisting desire, power and image through rigorous visual systems, the show presents the viewer and work as inextricably linked, bound together through their shared states and momentary acts of convergence.
With another auction in the books, Phillips has rounded out a pair of high-profile evening sales in the British Capital of London this week, running through a well-managed auction that ultimately capped aa strong tally of £34,811,000, with all works selling. (more…)
Trumpeting the sale as a “vote of confidence” following an unsteady Impressionist Evening Sale the week prior, Sotheby’s concluded its Contemporary Evening Sale tonight, marking a more balanced, even-handed outing with a £110,239,550 final tally. Spread over 44 lots, the sale was a solidly-appointed affair, with only one work going unsold in an outing that aimed to put fears over market weakness to bed. (more…)
Following up on a set of sales that can best be described as unsteady last week, the London auction houses return again today for a trio of sales that will once again test the market strength for the upper echelons of the Post-War and Contemporary segment. Taking over the British capital for the last bout of auctions before a long summer recess, this set of sales should see an attempt to overcome sluggish interest and achieve a strong closing note for the first half of the year. (more…)
Naples – Thomas Dane – Glenn Ligon: “In Poetry, A Solution to Everything” at Thomas Dane Through July 28th, 2018Monday, June 25th, 2018
Glenn Ligon’s first solo show in Italy, on view now at Thomas Dane, translates the poetical image into pictorial figuration, taking form around a poem by Pier Paolo Pasolini, Ma Era L’Italia, L’Italia Nuda e Formicolante, in which the poet recalls Italy in the years after the war, the cries of his generation and of ancient children, obliged to face history, a mission not based on power but on civilization. At this time, the artist cannot only be who tries to revolt the repressive system of forces. The poet lives, more than others, the agony of modernity and art. His poetry is not born from a crisis; it is the crisis itself. (more…)
Painter Marlene Dumas’ show, Myths and Mortals, a return to David Zwirner‘s New York gallery space, comprises 22 paintings and 33 works on paper divided into three parts, showcasing the artist’s sense of narrative and interconnected meaning. The first series of works includes large scale and smaller scale oil on canvas paintings that explore the dynamics of love. The second part includes ink washes on paper depicting Shakespeare’s Venus and Adonis story, as translated by the Dutch Hafid Bouazza, and is constructed in a highly narrative style with the story moving chronologically with explicit references. The third returns to canvas and oil paintings and begins to explore the themes of Venus and Adonis although with the more general factors of romance, lust and true love. (more…)
The month’s Impressionist and Modern Evening Sales are now in the books, after the London headquarters for both Christie’s and Sotheby’s capped their sales in the British capital. Seizing on the recent and continued expansion of the market for works from this era in past months, the week’s sales were an often complex, confusing set of outings, as results fluctuated considerably and market health was perhaps painted as a bit unpredictable.
At Sotheby’s, nearly a third of the sale’s 36 lots went unsold (10), with the final tally capped at £87,496,600. Chief among the abortive works was a premier lot, Peinture, by Joan Miró, which stagnated on the auction block and missed its £8 to £12 million auction price, and ultimately contributed to the auction house missing out on its low estimate. The much-trumpeted Pablo Picasso portrait of Marie-Therese, however, performed admirably, making up nearly a full third of the auction’s value with its £27,319,000 final price. Also saving the sale was Alberto Giacometti’s Le Chat, which brought a strong price at £12,642,000.
A similar situation marked the sale at Christie’s the following evening, where a 45-lot sale achieved a final of £128,081,750. The sale was also marked by eight unsold lots over the course of the evening, but pushed through its offering on the strength of several strong works, chief among them Claude Monet’s La Gare Saint-Lazare, which reached a price of £24,983,750, as well as Picasso’s Femme dans un fauteuil, the Dora Maar portrait that performed to expectations at a final of £19,358,750. Another achievement came with the setting of a new auction record for Franz Marc, whose Drei Pferde easily hit £15,421,250, resetting his record.
With results like this, the market picture has grown notably cloudy, or perhaps the market is trending towards saturation, the frequent sales and frequency of blue-chip trophies changing hands making for a less appealing environment for collectors. No matter why, the major auction houses have only a few days to reflect, as the proceedings continue next week with the Contemporary and Post-War Sales.
— D. Creahan
Sotheby’s Impressionist and Modern Evening Sale [Sotheby’s]
Sotheby’s Fails to Reach Low Estimate at Modern Art Auction [Bloomberg]
Christie’s Impressionist and Modern Evening Sale [Christie’s]
With the bustling week of sales and exhibitions in Basel now capped, the final major auctions of the spring are set to take place in London, as two weeks of auctions will look to test the waters of a market seemingly on the rebound after a strong outing earlier this season in New York. Beginning this week with a pair of Impressionist and Modern Sales, the week’s proceedings should make for an intriguing wrap up of the first half of 2018. (more…)
It’s hard to estimate Leo Fitzpatrick’s impact on the course of Marlborough Contemporary’s programming. The director, who joined the gallery in 2015, has dipped his toes into any number of puddles over the course of his time with the gallery, yet always bringing an equally studied and adventurous approach to curation across the gallery’s two story exhibition space. The shows have twisted in and out of the gallery’s broader curatorial vision, pulling both from the deeper reaches of contemporary art history and from the gallery’s list of frequent collaborators. For his most recent exhibition project, BURNT, Fitzpatrick continues this trend, inviting a broad swath of artists to a show that manages to both unite diverse voices and focus them towards the modern American cultural landscape. (more…)
Sean Kelly’s exhibition of 180 small scale portraits by Chinese artist Liu Wei offers an intimate and thought-provoking survey into the psychological layers of portraiture, a genre almost as archaic as art history itself. Entitled 180 Faces, the exhibition of modest scale portraits of anonymous individuals are hung akin to the style of the salon, with a twist on the traditional display fashion as the frames’ sleek surfaces blend into the gallery’s contemporary white-cube interior. (more…)
Offering a fitting counterpoint to the expanses of the Messe Basel, Liste Art Fair has returned to Warteck, a former schoolhouse on the banks of the Rhine now serving as an exhibition and performance space, for another year of exhibitions showcasing adventurous and exploratory proects from a range of galleries around the globe. Liste continues to build on its position as one of the central hubs for the week of Art Basel, priding itself on a careful curation of young galleries, dynamic, forward-thinking works, and a roster of performances that remains one of the week’s main draws.
Art Basel has opened its doors, kicking off a marathon week of sales and shows in the Swiss city that marks another year for the landmark giant of contemporary and modern art selling. Marking the terminus for the first half of the year’s major primary market activity, the fair once again showed why its impressive scale and appointments makes it such a draw for collectors, artists and dealers.
Carol Bove at Unlimited (more…)
“Back in the day the club was my safe place-and losing myself on the dance floor has always kept me centered.”
The Let Go is artist Nick Cave’s new work at Park Avenue Armory, a multi-sensory performance using visual works, sounds, and movement to transform the Armory into a dance-based town hall aimed at bringing together visitors, performers, DJs, dancers and community members to participate in a collective act of catharsis. The audience is asked to let go of frustration and negativity, and to uplift one another as they participate in this powerful socially-engaged piece. Stringing together a series of interrelated works, The Let Go is bounded by the installation Chase, and where a performance titled The Up Right, featuring one of Cave’s signature Sound Suits, is activated by a jazz keyboardist, choir and opera singer. Concluding the performance, the “town hall” becomes a dance hall, complete with DJ. (more…)
The work of artist Charles Ray draws particular strength from its deliberateness and commitment to concept. The artist’s figurative sculptures are direct in their depiction, yet draw particular strength from the nuance of their subject matter, and the mastery of the artist’s hand. Returning to New York for a show of new work at Matthew Marks this month, Ray has once again cemented this reputation, bringing a small but powerful selection of works to bear on the gallery space, and once again underscoring why he is a living legend in the world of contemporary sculpture. (more…)