While the year 1993 may be historically arbitrary, what this art world cross-section offers instead is a turning point. “It’s a moment in which you can see the 80s coming to an end and a new era, for better or for worse,” said curator Massimiliano Gioni.
For Charles Clough, a solo show that raises the question: What was the 'Pictures Generation' really?
"There were so many dogmas involved," Clough told me at Saturday's opening. "There was [Clement] Greenberg’s dogma and then there was Michael Fried’s dogma, and then there was the conceptual artist with their rules. Everybody’s got their rules and my critical position is more of affirmation and inclusion. And so I’ve always retained a painterly approach—throughout storms of dogma and various points of view."(1)
All those moments, taken from film and television, are now on view in Suspicious of rooms without music or atmosphere, the duo's latest exhibition at the Cheim and Read gallery in Chelsea. That exhibition title—theatrical, even melodramatic, a little sad and quite funny—tells you a great deal about McDermott and McGough’s work, which is, in its latest incarnation, a superrealist assemblage of juxtaposed '60s movie stills. (“Suspicious” brings together scenes from several films released in 1967.) Even before they trained their exacting eye on the cinema, the pair’s work has been cinematic, in the sense of immersive, sweeping mythmaking.
“We shared and offered spare generators, gloves, masks, suits, headlamps etc during it all,” Wallspace's Nichole Caruso told me last week over email. “The camaraderie in Chelsea has always been incredible, to say the least, and during this time it was no different. Everyone banded together and helped one another where and however they could.” The gallery re-opened its show of Gaylen Gerber’s 20th-century minimalist art and African sculpture painted white and gray. A block and a half east on 10th Avenue, though, recovery seems farther down the road. Printed Matter reported having lost 9,000 books from its basement and $200,000 in damages. Nonprofit spaces the Kitchen and Eyebeam reported having lost hundreds of thousands of dollars in equipment, and 80 percent of Eyebeam's 15-year digital archives were damaged by corrosive flood waters.
I think that's something that's a thread: collecting, I suppose. Collecting in relationship to found material…. But also, something that's quite specific is that many people are showing work by other artists. Jason Simon, for instance, is showing his collection of Chris Marker material. And Julie Ault, we're showing some material related to Theodore Kaczynski [the Unabomber]. There's a thread going through the show of artists who have responded to something interesting in the world, I suppose, and have translated that into the process of collecting and representing. I guess that goes hand-in-hand with the idea of the White Columns Annual, which is essentially that you're representing things that you saw elsewhere. It's almost more a form of collecting than curating.
Although any award (the film has won a few, including the Sundance Special Jury Prize) is noteworthy, Klayman says that international recognition from the Academy would take the conversations around the film to a different level. “Everyone in China has heard of the Oscar,” she said, “and if it were to reach that level it does open up conversations.”
Forty-two swings are attached with chains to the incredibly high ceiling of the armory’s Wade Thompson Drill Hall; each is also rigged by wire and pulley to a lightweight, silk curtain at the center of the hall, which oscillates as participants thrust themselves higher and higher on the swings. Overhead lights punctuate all the action. Situated above each swing, they create dramatic shadows below. Even though Hamilton’s installation defies strict genre-casting, it’s clear that the work is concerned with the ephemeral moment, and with the work of art being put into motion—made real—only with the participation of the visitor who mounts a swing and pushes off.
The next few performances were a bit of a blur, either incredibly short or incredibly subtle, which meant coming across like background noise amid the din of the crowd. At one point, in a strikingly good imitation of Ben Stein, actor Elliot Brown read some comedic poetry composed by Zach Steinman and Ben Tear. There was a lot of talking as he did so. “Some people listened,” he said to me later. “It’s a tough crowd. Poetry is tough.”(2)
Had Rosler, she asked, drawn any new conclusions on her idea of the garage sale as a self-image? “Well, the artist is always the last to know!” Rosler joked. “But I have to say, it’s remarkable—I’m not that surprised—but it’s remarkable to me to see an active resistance of people to thinking of this as anything other than a space in which they get to buy something they want, and in which we are here to serve them. And who are quite grumpy about the possibility that something else might be infusing it with what it is.”
In Walker’s handling, “tell me what you’ve bought, and I’ll tell you who are” is less accusation, more intellectual puzzle, an investigation into the various ways the marketplace of products is also a marketplace of selves: “Branded material culture is something we tend to take for granted and don't think about very seriously,” Walker explained in an email exchange on the eve of the show’s opening. “And it's a pretty constant goal of everything I do to try to prod people to see something new in what's previously been overlooked.”
Memo from the Baikonur Cosmodrome: Artist Trevor Paglen writes in about launching 100 photos into outer space
The launch, which was broadcast live on EchoStar's website, had been delayed after a rocket failure in August. As he watched the rocket ascend, Paglen expressed some amazement that the project had finally come to fruition. "Technically, it really is rocket-science," he said.
The Morgan show epitomizes the artistic movement known as mannerism, of which Rosso is a celebrated practitioner. Derived from the Italian word maniera or “style,” mannerism burst forth in Florence and Rome in the early 1500s. Encompassing some 30 cannily selected objects in a single gallery, Fantasy and Invention exemplifies mannerism’s hermetic quality and its delight in erudition and exquisite detail.(2)
Gagosian said in its release that Dylan has “transformed popular design elements—from Bondage Magazine to Babytalk—by reconsidering the purposes of each: the graphics, syntax and chromatic content.” Further, Dylan “combines a wide range of popular styles, the sources of which he has reshaped to produce new conflations of image and meaning.”
When the lights and elevators turned back on, the company decided to devote 15,000-square-feet of the space for a set of conservation labs called Art Crisis Solutions. Dozens of distraught artists, gallerists, and collectors from around the city flocked to the space, carrying their waterlogged and potentially mold-infused art objects in tow. “We basically created a M.A.S.H. unit,” said Leslie Gat, the director of the Art Conservation Group, which is based out of a light-filled studio on the third floor with enviable views of Manhattan. “We’re putting all our efforts into stabilizing the effects of the flood.”
Employing such a loose curatorial approach, any similarities in artist styles emerged on their own. And the curatorial mission sought not so much to identify trends in contemporary black art practice as to find possible through-lines from prior emerging-artist shows. Fore is the fourth such exhibition presented by the Studio Museum, following Freestyle (2001), Frequency (2005–06) and Flow (2008). Not many of the works in Fore are tied to black culture or even to Harlem, a cultural touchstone for the museum, but if they were, assistant curator Naima J. Keith felt the expressions were complicated or reoriented in some way.(2)