Caroline Picard

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The Undead Tree of Charles Ray

This piece was first published on the Art21 blog on November 2nd, 2012: Charles Ray, “Hinoki,” 2007. © 2007 Charles Ray. Courtesy Regen Projects, Los Angeles. Charles Ray’s massive reproduction of a fallen redwood tree, Hinoki, fills one room in the Modern Wing of the Art Institute of Chicago. The room it occupies was built around the work. At 2,100 pounds and 38 feet long, it’s that big. The piece originated in California where the original tree died, sunk into the ground, and began to decompose. Allegedly the artist was so taken with the shape and form of the tree and its state of decompositi... [more]
Posted by Caroline Picard on 11/2/13

Centerfield | Embracing the Cliché: An Interview with Michelle Grabner

First published on the Art21 blog on March 26th, 2013  Michelle Grabner, “DRAFT,” Installation view, Autumn Space, 2013. Courtesy Autumn Space. Michelle Grabner exhibited at Autumn Space last month. Her show, DRAFT, ran the gamut of Grabner’s practical, visual, and material practice. A black and white print of two San Francisco 49ers hung in a frame by the front desk near a round, black field painting of white dots. One side of the grand warehouse windows were dressed with larger-than-life red and white gingham curtains. Across from this hung a white gessoed painting and beside that a t... [more]
Posted by Caroline Picard on 3/26/13


This article was first published on the Art21 blog on March 16, 2013. Ann Toebbe, “Death Beds,” 2012, mixed media on panel, 60 x 46 inches Ann Toebbe is well known for her stylized, architectural paintings — paintings of empty rooms occupied only by objects. These are rooms at rest, between uses, and the furnishings within them stand enigmatic and remote, at once pointing to a network of human relations while being simultaneously autonomous; it is as though these things are preoccupied with a non-human work. Toebbe’s chairs seem to be doing very well for themselves, even when not fulf... [more]
Posted by Caroline Picard on 3/16/13

Sorry for Being A Genius

"There is no more chastity in the Young-Girl than there is debauchery. The Young-Girl simply lives as a stranger to her desires, whose coherence is governed by her market-driven superego."—Tiqqun, Preliminary Materials for a Theory of a Young-Girl, 2012 Aida Makoto's retrospective exhibit, “Monument for Nothing,” is a stunning body of work, taking full advantage of its towering exhibition site. The Mori Art Museum sits on the 53rd and 54th floors of Roppongi Hills Mori Tower—a massive skyscraper built in 2003. It is the fifth tallest building in Tokyo. As part of one’s ticket price, visi... [more]
Posted by Caroline Picard on 2/28/13

Center Field | The Stage of Scientific Reproduction: An Interview with Jeremy Bolen

CERN, an exhibit of Jeremy Bolen’s documentary photographs, is on display at Andrew Rafacz Gallery until March 30. Here, Bolen presents a series of work that measures phenomena invisible to the human eye. Bolen has made a habit of such investigations. With a solid background in American landscape and survey photography, he has gone on to make the environment itself a lens for exposure, exposing film to bioluminescent plankton underwater by using the lake as a camera lens. He has buried film underground in order to capture traces of  buried radioactivity on photographic paper, and exposed film i... [more]
Posted by Caroline Picard on 2/26/13


Angela Ellsworth, (from Phoenix, Arizona) “Stand Back,” Sullivan Galleries until February 1st, 2013. We are in the midst of a winter festival. Its occasions take place at a variety of locations across the city, featuring a variety of performance artists from all over the world. In each case, the art work at hand is dynamic and ephemeral; the culmination of hours/months/years of work fit into a small, public window of time. Audiences come to experience that time-concentrate and in so doing are transported. Born in the UK, Chicago-based performance artist, Mark Jeffery, is similarly invested i... [more]
Posted by Caroline Picard on 1/26/13

Artist Profile: Laura Letinsky

The following artist profile was published in Art ltd, in January  2013: Laura Letinsky’s well-lit apartment draws you first into the dining room–a fitting entrance, given that so many of the artist’s photographs took place at this table. “I got a studio in 2006,” Letinsky says, at the table’s head. “Before that, I always worked out of my home. This table is where 90% of that work was made.” Surrounding cabinets contain countless ceramic dishes–satin, white painted bowls clearly made by hand. They stand in perilous stacks, both poised and ready to crash to the ground. While Letinsky isn’t known... [more]
Posted by Caroline Picard on 1/3/13

Goal-less Living Things: An Interview with Heidi Norton

The following interview was first published on the Art21 blog, on September 5th, 2012. “The crude solution to the problem of vegetative life, interpreted as qualitatively weak and as verging on inanimate existence, forces this life into retreat, puts it on the run, and so increases the distance between philosophy and the plant.” –Michael Marder, Plant-Soul: The Elusive Meanings of Vegetative Life Generally we think of plant life as a kind of fuel — a material vitality that exists to be consumed and transformed to a higher purpose: as food, medicine, paper, or housing. As such, vegetation is... [more]
Posted by Caroline Picard on 9/5/12

Kerry James Marshall Unzips Barnett Newman

The following article was originally published in Art ltd’s summer issue, in 2012. See below to connect to the original link.  Kerry James Marshall’s studio stands two-stories high in the Bronzeville neighborhood, on Chicago’s South Side. From the street, it is non-descript, more like a very tall, brick garage than anything else; there are hardly any windows. It boasts a green lawn and stands near a new crop of condos; down the same street are some old Victorian brownstones interrupted by empty lots. It’s a significant neighborhood in American history. Once known as the country’s “Black Metrop... [more]
Posted by Caroline Picard on 6/6/12

Field Static: Catalogue Essay

June 5th, 2012 Devin King and I curated a show at the Co-Prosperity Sphere in Bridgeport; it opened on June 3rd, 2012 featuring the  work of Rebecca Mir, Carrie Gundersdorf, Heather Mekkelson, Ellen Rothenberg, Stephen Lapthisophon, Christian Kuras and Duncan MacKenzie, as well as Mark Booth and Justin Cabrillos. We were trying to curate a show that might explore an object oriented ontology. We also printed a catalogue — the following essay, by Devin and myself, is from that book. You have entered the Co-Prosperity Sphere: a large corner-space on a neighborhood block in Bridgeport, five miles from the Loop’s chain shops. The... [more]
Posted by Caroline Picard on 6/6/12

The Energetic Persistence of Water: An Interview with Mary Jane Jacob

The following interview was first published on Art21, on February 28th, 2012 Mary Jane Jacob has long been established in the world of contemporary art. As a pivotal figure in socially engaged practice, she pioneered new ideas about public art, and the artists’ relationship to an audience. She continues to curate, teach and write about unconventional forms of aesthetic experience, forever probing the bounds of our expectations. Mary Jane Jacob, photo by Taikkun Li. Since 2004 she has been editing an on-going series of books on the subject of Buddhism and its relationship to contemporary art. Over the course of the following conv... [more]
Posted by Caroline Picard on 2/28/12

Flash Points: A Willing Girl

This article was originally published on the Art21 blog in January, 2012 Jeff Koons. "Hand on Breast," 1990. Photo courtesy of Luxembourg & Dayan, New York. For years, Jeff Koons (Season 5 Episode “Fantasy”) has been controversially appropriating dime store trinkets — kitschy souvenirs and ad campaigns. If it wasn’t for Koons, these once popular items would clog beaches and landfills as forgotten castaways of passing fancy. Koons “rescues” them, plucking them from the lowly world of dollar store giveaway bins and subway billboards, in order to reproduce them on a larger-than-life scale. Wi... [more]
Posted by Caroline Picard on 1/13/12

Hercules, History and Diamonds : A Little Bit of Bourgeois

This essay was originally published on Bad at Sports on April 6th, 2011. Mr Hirst spent the evening playing snooker, but on being told the sale figures, he pronounced: “I think the market is bigger than anyone knows. I love art and this proves I’m not alone. And the future looks great for everyone.” (Economist, 2008). 1. FOR THE LOVE OF GOD We arrived in Florence last February and stayed for about five days. It was cold and damp in the mid-50 degrees, reminding me of San Francisco. A friend we were visiting said the city was built on a swamp and we climbed up a hill to a Franciscan chapel where... [more]
Posted by Caroline Picard on 4/6/11