KLARA LIDEN (Reena Spaulings, New York):
ROBERTA SMITH (The New York Times):
In previous exhibitions at this gallery Klara Liden, a Swedish artist with a socioarchitectural bent, has built ingenious perches for people: things to climb into and look out from while ruminating on materials, meaning and space. In her third show — her first on the funky second floor to which Reena Spaulings moved in 2006 — Ms. Liden has once again rethought the gallery space. This time she has made two perches, with results that, while more ambitious, lack the clarity of her earlier shows. In a large, walled-off portion of the gallery Ms. Liden has built a small room accessible through a long, narrow hallway. The entry suggests a tenement apartment; the interior, carpeted and outfitted with a leather couch and tiny fluorescent wall light, is a dim, clubby hangout. The remainder of the walled-off space is for pigeons, lured from a park across the street with birdseed and a landing platform placed in a partly open window. If you’re inside the little room, you can sometimes, but not always, hear pigeons scratching around overhead, socializing, eating, possibly building nests as cozy as the little room. (In the dimness I found myself wondering how much light there is in a birdhouse.) But the piece clicks completely only if you request access to the larger space that the small room and its hallway penetrate, the roughly finished, light-filled terrain where the pigeons come and go. Splattered with droppings and strewn with seeds, it is both birdhouse and private park. This inside-out space can evoke Vito Acconci’s legendary, long-ago “Seedbed,” at the Sonnabend Gallery in SoHo, where the artist lay beneath a raised floor, attempting to masturbate while broadcasting his fantasies about the people walking overhead through a microphone. It is comforting to realize that this time no one has to be alone, whether inside the tiny room or out. The piece is titled “Elda for krakorna,” a well-known Swedish colloquialism that translates as “heating the crows” — as in having a house so wastefully overheated that it warms the birds outside. Ms. Liden adds another layer, offering comfort to pigeons while suggesting that humans use more space than they actually need. Also on view are two poster paintings, made by adding a sheet of clean white paper to rectangles of layered posters cut form the walls of Copenhagen. They sandwich fresh and recycled, pure and worldly into a wonderful solidity.
Andrea K. Scott (The New Yorker):
A narrow passageway leads to a dimly lit chamber with a leather sofa. It looks perfect for a meditative moment or a makeout session—but what is that noise coming from the ceiling? Liden’s white cube within a cube, constructed for this show, includes, unseen to the viewer, an entryway for pigeons and food to lure them in. Lurking in their own space behind and above the little room, they provide a subtle but uncanny soundtrack of scratching, pecking, and shuffling. Depending on your mood, you might find it soothing (a phenomenological reminder of a world outside our own) or infernal (like an audio outtake from Hitchcock’s “The Birds”).
SETH PRICE (Friedrich Petzel Gallery, New York):
1. A computer search for the most basic terms: 'eating', 'drinking', 'writing', 'touching', 'mother,' etc. The result might be a digital image, a "jpeg", for example. The image depicts human interaction: people kissing, someone being fed, a person laying a hand on another's shoulder. The situation is familiar, but not necessarily clear. At one point this was a photograph, now shrunken, squeezed through the eye of the needle, its information digitally compressed for easy circulation and distribution. It appears as a tiny, lapidary screen image, though we know that if enlarged it will slip away, its edges decaying as the effects of compression become evident.
2. This image is not used, in favor of the area around the image, the negative space, excess, that which lies between the figures.
3. Then, an industrial process: massive enlargement, computer-controlled cutting, woods, plastics, metal. A design process, the fabrication of a "look and feel" that had not previously existed.
A book will be published by The Leopard Press.
KEN JOHNSON (The New York Times):
Smart, lucid essays by the resourceful and influential young conceptualist Seth Price persuasively argue that the best arena for today’s avant-gardists is not the art gallery but the Internet. Mr. Price still produces gallery art as one dimension of his multifaceted conceptualist enterprise, but he is not as interesting an object producer as he is a writer. Intellectually mandarin yet flatfootedly literal, the works in this show are like illustrations for a thesis about the obsolescence of the human and the natural. They revolve around photographs of hands downloaded from the Internet — hands writing or holding cigarettes, people shaking hands and, most frequently, one hand dropping a key into another. The hands have been blown up and abstracted into empty silhouettes surrounded by areas of printed color or by laser-cut sheets of transparent plastic backed by exotic wood veneers. The pixelated contours of the silhouettes reveal their derivation from digital sources. The wood veneers mock consumerist nostalgia for things natural and exotic. The key might be for unlocking digital codes. Metal panels with the hand images printed on them resemble generic industrial signs. The larger, multipart, plastic works spread across the walls in vaguely maplike arrangements. Mr. Price’s message evidently is that in our computer-programmed world the human touch is history. In prose Mr. Price could expound on that and related insights to illuminating effect. The art objects that his ideas inspire, however, are at once bluntly obvious and irritatingly elliptical.