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Annual Art Reviews Compilation


  • Date: 2013-05-20
  • Title: Screens at Murray Guy

Screens The exhibition entitled ‘Screens’ at Murray Guy comes too close to ogling and fawning over new technologies in its press release but fails in its conservatism and execution. It is true that digital media and technology will be and has been integrating its presence in many aspects of our lives. But in Murray Guy’s attempt to position the difficulty of this media in an art context and exhibition is confused when the work is distinctly placed. It is the overlaying and overlapping of these moving images upon themselves and our daily lives that generates meaning for us. ‘Screens’ feels very much like an art exhibition and does not want to struggle with this difficulty. I think it is not the physical object of the screen that Murray Guy wants to contemplate but the interaction and production of content that these physical objects can have. These are artists that involve the screen physically not an engagement of content through a screen. There is no awareness of our physical interaction with a screen but simply the voyeur, the watcher. Today there seems to be a reflexive, nostalgic run at how digital media and technologies are changing our lives. Well its producing more content to sift through but reducing the amount of space it takes up. A hoarder with infinite-like space. Can art become a collection of online content with worth? How can this be valued? Art will always want and does incorporate new media. But the difficulty really falls on galleries’, museums’ and collectors’ idea of worth for these objects because they can not give these things away for free or so it seems. Much like the neglect the music industry had for digital music, how will this evolve?

Gedi Sibony

  • Date: 2013-05-20
  • Title: Gedi Sibony at Greene Naftali

Gedi Sibony The line of phenomena, poetry and philosophy can be so faint. Perhaps it is defined in Gedi Sibony’s objects, his titles and the installation of these things in space. The intrigue of “Eight More Petals” fascinates with a sculpture seemingly facing backwards, and when one shifts to the proposed front, one is disappointed by pixel bleed printed objects. And a large wood sculpture painted white, a half circle stage, sighs in the middle waiting to be sat or climbed upon but remains untouched. Sibony’s new work has this quality of “let down” throughout the installation at Greene Naftali. A struggle to instill the fragmented, scraps and taped ephemera with a poetic language has proven to be a niche. But this exhibition has a lightness and depression that reflects upon his past work. There is a slight evolution in the quality of the work in the main space where there is an acceptance to this whiteness, a specific type of emptiness to the work in contrast with the silly framed taped blank pieces of paper in the smaller space. Between these two spaces it is like adolescent Sibony versus adult Sibony. The facade, the ‘Wizard of Oz’ treatment, tricks the viewer into believing that there is more to this but it solely remains as what one sees. After seeing Sibony’s work for a number of years, this exhibition has been the most direct in giving the viewer what Sibony really wants and feels. It is not ephemeral phenomena but the disenchantment of the phenomenal.

Michael Riedel

  • Date: 2013-03-18
  • Title: Michael Riedel: Powerpoint

Michael Riedel Michael Riedel’s art cannibalism is evident throughout his work at David Zwirner, creating a space filled with html and transitions. A digital digestion. It appears, he uses the convenience of painting stretchers, posters, and the walls themselves (wallpaper seems to be a trend these days) to hold his appropriations of powerpoint transitions forced upon combinations of his previous work. The work tries to manifest physically an ineffable digital documentary of process. Where his own history of making, art awareness and web development churn out an industrial-designed and well packaged exhibition, theme song included (on David Zwirner’s website and as a physical CD at the front door, attached to a reproduction of a powerpoint transition). Riedel’s observation and own admittance of his naiveté (in a previous interview) of the software and code developers use to create our digital tools give the sense that there is something lacking in criticality. But with such an absence we find curiosity, humor and enjoyment out of the slight absurdity of the work, and our willingness to admit our own lack of knowledge in such things. It reminds me of the continuous speech I tell myself: I was born on the cusp where personal computers started to make it from the business headquarters into everyone’s home. Where typing on a computer was a class in elementary school. I didn’t have to type papers out on my dad’s electric IBM typewriter, so I watched the personal computer grow and develop in my house from a Gateway 2000, to a Dell to an Apple. I have always believed that the computer was a tool to be used but as I grow older it also has become a habit, a lifestyle, and place of fantasy. And I can’t imagine how young people who have had it all their lives feel about it. Before reminiscing too much about computers, the exhibition Powerpoint leaves these clues but in the end Riedel is just clueless as what to do with the things he discovers about these technologies and the languages they produce. And that is ok. He is a user like many of us, not a maker. The stalemate of the imagination in trying to design, make, shape the future in Riedel’s work beyond smart appropriation, perhaps could look towards the word innovation to help speculate on a future. The work isn’t “pure” digital art but is a reflection of that world and maybe art is no longer in the gallery but somewhere else.

William Cordova

  • Date: 2013-03-13
  • Title: William Cordova: Yawar Mallku: Temporal Landscapes

William Cordova There is a cultural gap that I feel when witnessing William Cordova’s work. Maybe it is my own ignorance, unworldliness or perhaps the work wants to be culturally and conceptually driven but in reality it just wants to rock out. Constricted to art forms and norms, Cordova’s work has manners- giving us framed scrappy sketchbook-like pages, miscellaneous footprints on his underdone swatch collages and a lampshade ode to Brancusi’s Endless Column. The scraps on the floor and around the gallery reflect the bits and pieces in his collages of fragmented satellite dishes and cell-tower constructions. The thing that is most striking is his notes, his writing on those collages. They are exciting and point to a culture that he is interested in tapping into. He is looking, listening and actively participating. Quotes from Pearl Jam, lists of artists, here is what interests Cordova; thinking about art, influences and quoting them. He paints brown around these notes singling them out. I asked him what is that balloon-ish thing with a light blue circle up in the corner of the gallery, he said (I am paraphrasing here) Its an inflated car airbag, referring to Yoko Ono’s Cloud Piece. The visual aesthetics, formality and its life in the gallery mislead Cordova’s work into feeling adolescent having a nostalgic angst. When I look back at a piece he has done like laberintos (after octavio paz), it gives me the “rock ‘n’ roll-headbob” in appreciation and understanding. The silence of these temporal landscapes at Sikkema Jenkins & Co. feels lost without the wandering lust and has a deadened energy of appropriation with no self-awareness, criticality or humor.

Henri Matisse

  • Date: 2013-03-11
  • Title: Matisse: In Search of True Painting

Henri Matisse It feels understood that “true” must have been used by Matisse to describe his pursuit in art and it sounds like a word he would utter along with the word “painting”. The journey towards “truth” or “true” is an attempt at failure, a chance to be false. To do it again, to bring one’s self to the plane with color, and scribble a black line to indicate inside and outside, perhaps guarantees removing the doubt of that stroke. Learning to bend the table top to where it could no longer hold anything but still it holds apples - painting for Matisse settles not into a conceptual statement but a vision quest of the ineffable. Much like Cezanne, he eyeballs fruit, landscape and people at leisure, but stealing the attention from these things is the open window. The darkness of a room colored in black paint because the window is immersed in light. Matisse looked out his window intently to see the world. Interior and exterior next to each other. Overlapping and engulfing the other. In an issue of Verve magazine, titled “The Color of Matisse”, a collaboration with his friend Teriade, this struggle and jockeying of the nature of indoors and out is depicted in the paintings illustrated between the pages of ink leaves. Matisse consistently allows his vision to do a double take, returning to the same subject and painting it again with refreshed eyes. Often creating two paintings at the same time, one for each eye. Our eyes, much like the camera obscura delivering the unprocessed image before our brain has a chance to correct the the image; Matisse foregrounds familiar things unprocessed, unfiltered, to be seen again and again.

Zarina Hashmi

  • Date: 2013-03-03
  • Title: Zarina: Paper like Skin

Zarina Hashmi The curiosity of translation, points to Zarina’s traveled life. Trying to understand language, trying to understand the home, the root. Her prints manifest this difficulty by working through a frontality unconcerned with composition. Simply put, it is the act of reading, from left to right of English, right to left of her native Urdu. The frontal and forwardness exists like a book, not concerning itself with artistic style or troupes. Bypassing the traditions of Eastern or Western, finding its place alongside hieroglyphics. A line that holds both depiction and text. The making sense of image and language, together. Found in her prints of building blueprints with excerpts of letters from her sister, Rani, occupying them. The struggle of the image and word on the same page without one illustrating the other building tension and repulsion. The pressure of the press, forcing the both to coexist. Specifically the page that holds language, where language rests, where the eye travels, a horizon of possibilities. It is the limits of paper that try to confine this unlimitedness of a horizon. And for Zarina it is further than the edge of the paper but the edge of the printing block or plate. Creating its own confines embedded in the page. Only when the paper is submerged in sumi ink and black obsidian, like Dark Nights a piece of a triptych does, it turns illuminative. No longer a word defined.

Trisha Brown

  • Date: 2013-02-02
  • Title: Trisha Brown at BAM
  • Tags: dance, BAM, Trisha Brown, art, review

Trisha Brown The details in the hand turning, interlocking gestures of hand to neck, foot to butt, gorgeous rocking. Rigorous casual movements - an improvised activity, that is memorized. It brings fun, play, bodies interwoven, being near to each other. Man or woman has no need to be a dominant dancer - to hold one another up above their heads or spin them round and round. Each dancer seems to be doing their individual dance while utterly present and aware of those other dancers. Coming together to form something larger than themselves on the stage.

Donald Judd’s sounds and stage design for Newark (Niweweorce) 1987- constantly reframed the dancers pushing them forward, with each curtain downed, narrowing the amount of stage. Then drawing the curtains back up freeing them. The curtains, neon red, yellow, blue, blaring bag pipe sounds, vibrating the audience - bass for eyes.