New York, Mar. 2014: Before Jeff Koons, Thomas Ruff, Terry Richardson and their raffish ilk appropriated porn for high-art settings, Betty Tompkins was meticulously reproducing scenes of heterosexual penetration in pencil, acrylic, airbrush and ink. Her monochrome images make it clear that porn, not real-life sex, is her subject and underscore the harsh binary responses to her controversial subject and artwork, and to her identity as a woman artist.
Tompkins’ large-scale images of furry, s... [more]
New York, Mar. 2014: Elijah Burgher and I were at Sarah Lawrence College together. I remember sitting outside the cafeteria when someone asked for the definition of the word “puckish.” With Katharine Hepburn cool, Melissa Bent, later the founder of Rivington Arms Gallery, instantly replied: “Elijah.”
I use “puckish” often and I always envision Elijah’s playful sexual spirit crouching over the word. Even if he weren’t part of my vocabulary, he’s bee... [more]
Los Angeles, Feb. 2014: We begin with color, the composite of visual reality, refracted through a camera lens, a computer screen; its possibilities seem almost limitless in what it can capture, manipulate, reveal. But not its colors. The combinations are limited, it can be coded. And John Houck has. The combinatorics, a four square of color possibilities reiterated in grids, make for a string of chromatic hieroglyphs, a novel of what’s possible, titled Digital Guides for Conceptual Photograph... [more]
Helsinki / Paris, Feb. 2014: It's quite strange meeting someone for the first time via Skype; I think it's something to do with the intimacy of being suddenly projected into a stranger's kitchen and they into your living room. This was how I met Elina Brotherus: we sat in Paris/Helsinki and shared a cup of tea. My intention was obviously for this to be an interview, however it seems like a conversation broke out, the outcome of which being that the questions aren't particularly well phrased. I'm s... [more]
Providence, RI, Feb. 2014: We are seeing the re-emergence of a decidedly generational narrative of feminism. In a recent article-turned-book for The Guardian, Kira Cochrane outlines what she calls the “fourth wave” of feminism. “What’s happening now," writes Cochrane, “feels like something new again. It's defined by technology: tools that are allowing women to build a strong, popular, reactive movement online.” The idea that contemporary engagements with feminism mar... [more]
Amsterdam, Feb. 2014: You could see almost all visitors of Hauptbahnhof Kassel do a double take when confronted with Kudzanai Chiurai’s contribution to dOCUMENTA(13). Is it a photograph or did I just detect motion? No, yes, no, there’s definitely something stirring, very much slowed down but alive it is. And then the quaintness of what is being shown kicks in. It’s a contemporary African version of The Last Supper with witchdoctors, machine gun wielding rebels, and cool urbani... [more]
Los Angeles, Jan. 2014: The figurative sculptures of Los Angeles-based artist Ruby Neri appear as if they rose from the deep corners inside earth with exaggerated proportions and colorful surfaces. Some figures have stubby arms open wide in a welcoming gesture; others are more slender with long, tubular noses. A solid head rests alone and another stands limbless with a vase-shaped frame. Neri’s society is truly individualistic by anatomical distortion and there also exists an optimistic air –... [more]
New York, Jan. 2014 - Celia Gerard is an artist for whom two sticks of charcoal, a bit of white paint, and a strong sheet of paper is plenty of material. “Line Quality” could be her mantra, and looking at her works one can see why. Gerard’s abstract compositions are built on geometric foundations of linear marks that may be subtle or bold but are always decisive. While her solo exhibition, “Lost at Sea,” was being hung, ArtSlant editor Charlie Schultz paid Gerard a... [more]
Amsterdam, Jan. 2014: Few contemporary artists are as productive and versatile as Michael Tedja. The speed at which he paints and draws is nearly frantic; his output is enormous in quantity and size. But that’s only one aspect of his artistry. He has recorded music and lectures, published two novels and regularly submits essays to national and international magazines. Besides this he is active as a curator, runs a publishing company (DFI Publishers), and has over the years become a fixtur... [more]
Berlin, Jan. 2014: If you venture up to the second floor of the Bode Museum in Berlin, tucked behind in a small exhibition space in one of the back rooms, you will see an unlikely product of history. The piece is relatively simple – a marble bust of the same scale you often find in museums, but it is clear that the statue has withstood a state of catastrophe. It is a damaged relic that was important enough to preserve, but is also far from the quality of the other pristinely conserved pie... [more]
New York, Dec. 2013: Raven Schlossberg’s collages are comprised of images cut from vintage magazines and lacquered on birch panels. Like Richard Yates, Richard Hamilton, David Lynch and Gregory Crewdson, Schlossberg peels away the airtight plastic wrap around America’s fantasy iconography. Her glossy surfaces highlight the seductive power of slick magazine paper to blind readers to the social injustices and manipulative messages imparted through mass media. She assembles her images i... [more]
Chicago, Dec. 2013: David Corbett is a Portland, Oregon based artist whose current solo exhibition Old Order is on view now at 65GRAND gallery. It’s full of animated, often raw-edged and pop-y colored pieces, all engaged in serious play. Although there are works on paper and sculptural objects, each piece functions as a sort of hybrid sculpture/painting, comically messing with one’s spatial perception.
Corbett was kind enough to take time to discuss it with me below, and our conversatio... [more]
Berlin, Dec. 2013: Ulrike Theusner paints monsters, beasts and brutes that are most frightening for being familiar. Her luscious watercolors, ink drawings and oil paintings are juicy with pictorial depth and detail while her characters burst and bubble with energy. Yet, despite these surface delights, her content is serious, dark and timely. Theusner’s images recall Goya’s grotesqueries and Otto Dix’s brutally seductive social caricature. Many of her characters wear historical costume,... [more]
Philadelphia, Dec. 2013: It could be considered that one of Song Dong’s most important collaborations was with his mother. In 2009, Song arranged the entire contents of his mother’s house, along with the house's small wooden frame, throughout MoMA’s expansive atrium. The installation, Waste Not (2009), revealed in its precise organization – neat rows, stacks and stockpiles of bowls, suitcases, plastic buckets, clothing, shoes, boxes, small scraps of fabric – his mother&rsq... [more]
New York, Nov. 2013: The digital age is currently facing certain adaptations that bring into question the modern’s faithfulness to understanding the past; texting incoherent typos being confused with Freudian slips was not considered by the original teacher and therefore could nullify the slip of the tongue theory. Psychological models in human development did not anticipate dualism in identity formation: the physical being and the digital projection of it via an online profile. Jacolby Satter... [more]
New York, Nov. 2013: John O’Connor is known for his colorful, intricately patterned drawings, often structured by a series of chance operations and other times informed by found text and data. Recently, O’Connor has added appropriated text from spam email and chatbots into these systems. We met on the occasion of his fourth solo exhibition at Pierogi Gallery, “The Machine and the Ghost” and his recently released catalogue featuring essays by Robert Storr, John Yau, Rick Moody, and Susan Swenson.
A devoted professor, O’Connor had invited his students fr... [more]