vendredi 22 août 2008

Sights From a Steeple (IBID Projects, London)

Skafte Kuhn, Vergagen ist das firmament (The sky's gone out), 2007

Ulla Von Brandenburg, Geist, 16mm film (2007)
‘Sights from a Steeple’ deals with issues such as a romance that has failed, a Poe-esque approach to the subject of the night or attitudes of austerity and self-restraint. The exhibition takes its title from the chapter of a book by the Nineteenth-century novelist Nathaniel Hawthorne. Each story in the book had previously been published or told before. In the chapter ‘Sights from a Steeple’, an all-seeing narrator surveys the world around him from the heights of a church tower. His reflections create a sense of dizzying vertigo but also relay a sense of liberation that can come from looking at an environment from a distance, whereby the past and future can be seen together in one moment. In a similar way, many of the artists in the exhibition can appear forward-looking in their vision whilst equally sharing a fascination for pre-Modernist canons. Through multiple references from Post-punk music to Nineteenth century literature and scientific photography, each have found similar possibilities in the past in the way that music groups such as The Cure or Joy Division explored Nineteenth century links between disaster and romance, and saw them as closely related; or, looked at recent subcultures that are still somehow unknown or have already been claimed by others. Additionally, the show can be described as an antidote to the traditional summer exhibition. Some of the works are moody and foreboding, black and monochromatic, contain obscure references, or are formed purely from text and diagrammatic structures. (...) Because of, rather than in spite of, this aesthetic sensibility that could be described as shadowy or austere, displaying an almost Protestant attitude to materials, these practices suggest a richness of content that is borne from studious research, that invites a certain level of engagement from the viewer and has an expectation of investigation.
Dan Kidner:
The summer has arrived at last so instead of complaining about the fact that it hasn’t we can now complain about how ‘muggy’ it is. Another thing usually worth complaining about at this time of year are the ‘summer shows’ put on by commercial galleries. Always hit-and-miss affairs, these are normally either filler whilst the gallerists go to wherever they go in the summer, or a chance for someone at the gallery (or a hired freelancer) to stretch their curatorial muscle with a thematic group show. Ibid’s summer show, ‘Sights From the Steeple’, falls into the latter category. The works presented, according to the press release, take their cue from late-Romantic views on love and loss, as well as ‘attitudes of austerity and self-restraint.’ The title, taken from a short story by Nathaniel Hawthorne first published in the collection Twice-Told Tales (1837), gives some sense of what is on offer here: the works, imbued with gothic wistfulness, will constitute an ‘antidote to the traditional summer show’. But all is not lost. Two works in particular, by Karl Holmqvist and Ulla Von Brandenburg, make the trip worthwhile. The other artists in the show – Gregor Hildebrandt, Jorinde Voigt, Barbara Wolff and Skafte Kuhn – are too easily packaged and explained away by the theme. Kuhn’s diptych, an etching on glass, Untitled (Hervor aus Gebrigen des Nichtmehr / Coming from the mountain of the bygone) (2007), depicts English goth rockers Bauhaus alongside a sampling of their lyrics, translated into antiquated German. Referencing the collision of ‘80s pop music with gothic imagery is well-trodden ground. Von Brandenburg is represented by a film, Geist (2007), in which a figure draped in a white sheet activates a 16mm camera, aimed at an area of park land with trees in the distance. As the figure nears the trees, moving almost out of view, the reel finishes and the film loops. This pastische of Victorian quasi-scientific recordings of paranormal phenomena juts uncomfortably – or maybe all too comfortably, which is of course the point – against the form of performance-based video from the late ‘60s and early ‘70s. The fact that the theoretical underpinnings of conceptual and post-conceptual practices can be mapped to certain tropes of late-Romantic thought and art is by no means revelatory, but in this context adds a touch of critical sophistication. Holmqvist accompanies a small photocopied book of his poems (available to peruse, but not to take away) with a manifestation of a work that has been recycled several times since its first outing in 1991, and which normally accompanies a performance. It consists of three empty wine bottles with simple orange labels emblazoned with the title of the work: Give Poetry a Try (1991–2008). Behind these, on the wall, there is a framed list of handwritten instructions encouraging viewers to make candle holders out of recently emptied bottles and to write their own poetry. The last two read: ‘4. Read poem out to yourself and/or someone else’, and ‘5. Ready.’ Holmqvist humorously punctures the Romantic view of poetry as a privileged, exulted form, while simultaneously casting doubt on the contemporary dictum that everyone has ‘talent’.
Martin Herbert:
On the face of it, ‘Sights from a Steeple’ shamelessly bundles together several recent curatorial trends: the doomy summer show, the fixation on the gothic and pre-modernist in general and post-punk music. Actually, it’s a tiny bit subtler than that. Drawing on a Nathaniel Hawthorne story, the show themes itself around a dual orientation: looking backwards and forwards simultaneously. That’s true enough of Karl Holmqvist’s installation of three empty wine bottles and a text, the latter inviting one to participate at home by drinking a bottle of wine, sticking a candle in it, writing a poem and performing it – a sort of democratisation of the Romantic impulse. Meanwhile, both Ulla von Brandenberg and Gregor Hildebrandt consider the affective potential of foregrounded – and outmoded – technologies. The former does so through her scratchily evocative, eerily self-contained 16mm film showing a ghostly figure switching on the camera that’s filming a shiny bauble, in which is reflected the recording device itself. Hildebrandt, for his part, appends a Cure song title to a black abstract canvas made from neat rows of cassette tape. Elsewhere, we get intermittent sparks amid chaotic, would-be obsessive diagrams of songs (‘loop’ and ‘volume’ being among the categories), dangling sculptures combining dreamcatcher-like forms and pot plants and texts translating Bauhaus lyrics into German. As long as artists and curators remember their miserable adolescences, it looks like this stuff is here for the duration.

Painting Now

Kai Althoff et Erin Allen, Moving Circus, 2008 (à droite), Cosima von Bonin, Straight, No Chaser, 2007 (à gauche)

Kelley Walker, Untitled, 2008, four-color silkscreen on canvas with USA TODAY

Anne Truitt, Primrose, 1972 (premier plan), Blythe, 1998 (au mur)

Painting Now and Forever, Part II
(Greene Naftali + Matthew Marks Gallery)
Avec Kai Althoff, Cosima von Bonin, Merlin Carpenter, Mathew Cerletty, Wojciech Fangor, Katharina Fritsch, Gelitin, Isa Genzken, Poul Gernes, Daan van Golden, Jack Goldstein, Rodney Graham, Wade Guyton, Richard Hawkins, Mary Heilmann, Sophie von Hellermann, Charline von Heyl, Ull Hohn, Sergej Jensen, Mike Kelley, Ellsworth Kelly, Karen Kilimnik, Martin Kippenberger, Michael Krebber, William Leavitt, Michel Majerus, Bjarne Melgaard, Laura Owens, Blinky Palermo, Stephen Prina, R.H. Quaytman, Ugo Rondinone, Paul Sharits, Josh Smith, Reena Spaulings, Lily van der Stokker, Atsuko Tanaka, Paul Thek, Anne Truitt, Kelley Walker, Christopher Wool, Katharina Wulff

Roberta Smith:
“Painting: Now and Forever, Part II” exudes enough skepticism to evade the Valentine sincerity of its title. Ranging through several generations and numerous styles and methods, it includes works by more than three dozen 20th- and 21st-century artists, living and dead. For what it’s worth, the show’s news release notes that none of them, except Mary Heilmann, were in the first version of this show, organized 10 years ago by the Matthew Marks Gallery and the late, lamented Pat Hearn Gallery. This time the Marks gallery has teamed up with Greene Naftali. Both are filled to the brim with what might be called “painting and its discontents,” and although they form one exhibition, the displays are as different as the galleries themselves. The arrangements at Greene Naftali, especially, convey the impression that the only way to take painting seriously is to treat it as some kind of joke. The show’s first small gallery can be read as a playful ode to early Modernism, beginning with a small, Fauve-like landscape by Paul Thek, which has a gold frame that includes a little lamp, and proceeding to the pure early-1970s abstractions of Poul Gernes, a Danish painter, designer and teacher who thought art should improve everyday life. The main gallery presents a version of the continuing free-for-all between figurative and abstract, and between paint on canvas and something else. Figuration and canvas are in the minority. A rectangle of carpet brushed with fluorescent orange by Mike Kelley stands out, as does Kelley Walker’s optically and physically odd four-color silkscreen. It presents a triptych of red and white brick walls whose cement interstices have been masked with cut-out newsprint: ephemeral life lived in the cracks, or perhaps a reversal of Jasper Johns’s use of newsprint in his early paintings. Even more reduced is R. H. Quaytman’s tightly wound moire bull’s-eye (also a silkscreen), which hangs next to Sergej Jensen’s Minimalist “Werewolf,” in which little threads of saffron suggest scattered whiskers. In additional tiny galleries three terrific, suppurating versions of the Mona Lisa by the Austrian collective Gelitin grab the eye by its lapels; Stephen Prina, Isa Genzken and Ugo Rondinone make varying use of spray paint; and finally, Ellsworth Kelly, a Marks artist, adds a dose of Mandarin rigor with “Green Relief,” a 2007 work that hangs in splendid solitude. Despite opening with a wall painting by Lily van der Stokker, things are considerably more hushed at Marks. The large gallery mixes usual and unusual suspects. Abstraction dominates, as do canvas and other stretched fabrics, along with an air of studied nonchalance, especially in works by Michael Majerus, Michael Krebber, Blinky Palermo and Reena Spaulings (spots of red wine on a tablecloth — how daring). Rodney Graham’s little confectionery abstractions remind us how many nonpainters end up painting (as does a work on canvas by the structuralist filmmaker Paul Sharits at Greene Naftali). Fuzzy rings of color by the Op artist Wojciech Fangor counter the bright burn of late work by Jack Goldstein, which is in turn reflected in a painting by Katharina Fritsch that is really a mirror. Three smaller side-chapel-like galleries are devoted to a progression of artists with Minimalist leanings: the colored steles of Anne Truitt, the slathered process paintings of Ms. Heilmann and finally a series of big, stuttering black inkjet X’s on white linen by Wade Guyton that pledge allegiance to painting while crossing their fingers behind their backs. His attitude is seconded in more Expressionist terms by a separate display of 14 new paintings by Josh Smith in the adjacent Marks space.

Daniel Kunitz:
"Painting: Now and Forever, Part II," a group show occupying both the Matthew Marks and Greene Naftali galleries, refers back to a survey of contemporary painting (Part I) held a decade ago at Marks and the now defunct Pat Hearn Gallery. At the time, when painting was considerably more embattled and the market for it much smaller, the show's title rang defiant; today, it sounds ironic. Part II explores a medium — or approach, since the paint is often absent here — in a state of productive entropy; it is painting that pushes at whatever limits are left. The show pushes harder against those limits at Greene Naftali than at Matthew Marks, though both venues offer a mix of the very contemporary with a few historical works that continue to exert an influence. At the former, a small, ugly mishmash of red and purple and green called "Towards an Abstract Icon" (1980), by Paul Thek, prefaces the current naïve style. To establish a suitably tongue-in-cheek context for this canvas, Mr. Thek set it in a gold frame, replete with a viewing light. This sort of wide-angle art, in which the frame as well as the canvas constitute the work, took hold in the early '80s and, by our time, has generated enough branches of ironic painting to fill out a bush. So in 1981, William Leavitt hung an intentionally pedestrian painting of a blue sea creature on a wall of faux-wood paneling, left a potted plant on the floor in front of it, and called the whole thing "Manta Ray." In 2003, Mike Kelley reversed the procedure. Instead of calling the room with the painting the work, he made a little piece of the room his focus, framing a square swath of carpet doused in orange acrylic and calling it "Carpet #2." Cosima von Bonin dispenses with the paint altogether in her wonderful "Straight, No Chaser" (2007), in which patterned pieces of fabric, affixed to a canvas, form a hard-edged abstract background for a small drawing sewn with white thread. "Moving Circus" (2008) retains the paint but removes the canvas and stretcher. This flag-like work, by Kai Althoff and Erin Allen, consists of interlocking "L"s of blue and red fabric decorated with tempera paints as well as strips of gauzy gray fabric. Unlike the Bonin, the effort in this one seemed as limp as its materials. Among the best of the unpainted paintings is Kelley Walker's untitled screen print on canvas, in which convincing brickwork floats atop images of USA Today pages, from May 27, 2008. Among the blandest are the gloppy versions of the Mona Lisa done by the art collective Gelitin, heavily built up in plasticine on wood. The world might still need to investigate the limits of painting, but it surely doesn't need another Mona Lisa joke. And what is Ellsworth Kelly's elegant "Green Relief" (2007) — an allover green canvas askew atop an allover white one — doing in such raucous company? Although the work here is recent, Mr. Kelly represents a historical precedent for two current, and at times related, tendencies in painting. One is toward treating the picture as an object, like sculpture, as in the Althoff and Allen contribution. The other is toward hard-edged abstraction drained of its Modernist theoretical justification, as in Sergej Jensen's "Werewolf" (2003), a brownish allover rectangle with a bespeckled (the work uses oil paint and saffron) yellow oblique triangle at the left side. At Matthew Marks, the Reena Spaulings piece "Enigma 15" (2008) gestures at both tendencies. It offers a square swath of white tablecloth from a recent art-world dinner with the leftover stains as its "imagery." But on the whole, the work at Marks seems quieter, and certainly more blue-chip. The precursors here are not seldom-seen artists' artists, such as Thek, but names bloated with market value, such as Martin Kippenberger, here representing naïve-style "ugly" painting, and Blinky Palermo, who's on the abstraction-without-ideas team. Recently made pretty, or not so pretty, abstractions — by Daan van Golden and Charline von Heyl, among others — outnumber the limit-testing works. And when they are included, the more challenging pieces at Marks are likely to seem declawed for fine living rooms. Thus, Katharina Fritsch's "Picture with Mirror" (1998), a rectangular mirror in a gorgeous frame, seems more decorative than daring. Ditto "Boston Store" (2008), a throwaway by the talented Mathew Cerletty, in which an abstract logo atop the title words are carefully rendered in oils. Wade Guyton's untitled black "X"s and arrows, all ink-jet prints on linen, retain their house-kitty claws, but do not necessarily require a room of their own, as they're given here. Still, the theme of paintings prodding the notion of painting holds up sturdily in both venues. And for those who wonder why such ironic works stand for painting now, there's another, less impish way to read this show's title: Painting is now and will forever be going through some point in the cycle of destruction and rebuilding. Artists always destroy what was with what is. If the territory of "Part II" is by now well trodden, the vistas offered are, at least, sufficiently exciting to justify the trip.

A Rictus Grin (Broadway 1602, New York)


Commissariat: Christopher Eamon and Anke Kempkes

A rictus grin connotes a communication that does not express interior emotions. Instead, as a metaphor, it can be said to summarize a particular state of affairs such as paralysis or rigidity and yet the grin is received affectively as a smile none-the-less. The artists grouped in this exhibition have each created incisive positions in, and attitudes toward the milieux that they have chosen to inhabit, using public space and the symbolic sphere of mass communications as their media. Changing circumstances in the current art world in relation to the broader culture suggest a need for a return to historical forms and artistic approaches, today, in more subtle and fragile ways than ever. The contemporary world cast as a seducing cadaver is dealt with in this exhibition by artists who have worked with mass media and publicity in the past in intuitive if not analytical ways and by younger artists who relate specifically to the space opened up by artists of the 60s and 70s, while managing to escape the pitfall of an exhausted nostalgia. Public space and institutional politics or, the street as a target, have been notoriously exploited as a site by artists throughout the decades since 1968. In the course of this evolution art as “intervention” has become yet another form of the acceptable in art, or even an ultra-sophisticated pastiche. How do artists today approach the political sphere through public space? How do we look back at artworks that dealt with these issues in the first wave of the genre from the distance of today’s vastly more commercial context? Should we be fulfilled merely by a sentimental look back? Is our longing for the (politically) relevant in art to be satisfied only by a nostalgic return to the 1970s, via black and white footage, documentation, cinéma vérité, etc? And can, or should we, fully and seriously resist this embrace? How much should we ‚forgive‘ this ‚innocent‘ material by historicizing it as the primary effort of a previous avant-garde, thus unwittingly emphasizing its potential lack of relevance today as a cultural expression? Artistic and intellectual sentiments for historicism is all around us now, at times unchallenged and/or uninspected. At the same time as there seems to be strong urge to reassess work of the 60s and 70s among younger artists. Just as there are, and have been, artistic moves in the area of mass media and other public spheres, some attempted, as they now do, to deal simultaneously with the doublebind of avoiding nostalgia while retaining an urgent sense of engagement. (...) An outright criticism of nostalgia and sentimentality for the past as cultural regression may at times seem short-sighted, since there is a reason for the intensity with which contemporary artists address these forms with a silent urgency of their own. One of the subjects of this exhibition is a need for further interference in this zone—a knowing one—an insightful look into practices at times when they were not fashionable. Many of the artists included here look back to art forms created for the first time while at the same time test new forms adequate to expression today. The reflex by some artists may be at once fairly formalistic and yet, on another level, acts on the psychological behind the political, being more than a literal take on former or even current political agendas.

Holland Cotter:
Webster’s defines rictus as a grin or grimace, and it usually implies an expression that’s fixed, as in paralysis. This serious little mystery of a summer group show, organized by Christopher Eamon and Anke Kempkes, touches on all of this in an oblique, conceptual way. Its essayistic press release is framed as a series of questions that are being asked about art today. Like, how do we revisit and reuse avant-garde art of the recent past — the 1960s and ’70s — without dropping into nostalgia or turning into archivists or copycats? How do we make an art engaged with ideas that can maintain rigor under the softening, flattening, cute-ifying, but here-to-stay pressure of the market? And how, while pondering such matters, do you prevent yourself from coming to a dead stop, thinking, “Well, I guess the only future is figure painting after all,” and then heading in that direction? This show has no answers, which may be the best thing about it. When you talk of the past, you talk about time, as several artists here do. In a strange, choppy, abstract, four-minute video, “1933,” the interesting Canadian artist Joyce Wieland (1931-1998) goes back to that year, for no apparent reason except that film allows her to, over and over again, though she never stays there long. A 1966 video by Oyvind Fahlstrom records a fictional demonstration he staged in New York that year with “protesters” carrying pictures of Bob Hope and Mao, and a “newscaster” asking passers-by if they were happy with their lives and why. The British artist Duncan Campbell sends us to the late 1960s and early ’70s in his 2008 documentary about the Irish activist Bernadette Devlin; and it’s great to see her, so unpretentious, fearless and smart. Eustachy Kossakowski’s photographs of defaced street posters in Paris that leave film stars and pop singers grinning and grimacing takes us to 1976; and Miklos Onucsan’s framed poster of an art exhibition derailed by right-wing popular politics in Bucharest, Romania, lands us in 1990. Work by other artists — a necklacelike sculpture by Maria Loboda, and carefully marked-up photographs by Haris Epaminonda — are less date-referencing. But Sam Lewitt’s funereally dark 2007 print of ads for designer watches brings us back to the show’s starting-point themes: time, market, pleasure, inertia, forward, backward, and how art can partake of, and stand back from, all of these.

T. J. Carlin:
The various pieces in “A Rictus Grin” highlight the struggle artists often face in pitting revolutionary spirit against the constraints of media; much of the work in the show engages the problematic of documenting or archiving public gestures of dissent. There’s no better example of this than the exhibition’s centerpiece, Bernadette, Duncan Campbell’s assemblage of documentary clips about ’60s Irish activist Bernadette Devlin, the youngest woman ever elected to Parliament, at age 22. While the discrepancy between the woman’s impassioned speeches and the distance imposed by time, the technical imperfections of archived film, and the artist’s hand in editing the footage all make it difficult to allow her fiery vision to fully resonate with the viewer, there’s inspiration aplenty in Devlin’s story. This work is the most resonant item in the show; some of the other pieces are effective though a bit lacking in emotion. Sam Lewitt’s offset print of magazine watch ads is a reminder of the onslaught of time; his obsessive visual repetitiveness recalls Quentin’s in The Sound and the Fury. Eustachy Kossakowski’s photos of defaced Parisian posters of cultural icons from the ’70s highlight one of the more immediate methods of response against the tyranny of cultural pressure. Overall, the unflagging attempts to manipulate popular means of communication in service of expression are admirable.

Andrea K. Scott:
Expressions devoid of emotional content—like the eerie fixed grin on a corpse or the insincere smile of a glib politician—inspired this intriguing sleeper of a show, curated by Christopher Eamon and Anke Kempkes. A cynical world view predominates, as seen in Öyvind Fahlström’s delightfully unsettling 1966 film, in which bystanders watch fake demonstrators parading by with posters of Bob Hope and Chairman Mao. But some works break ranks. Duncan Campbell’s Godardesque video portrait of the feisty, cigarette-wielding Irish activist Bernadette Devlin, who was elected to parliament in 1970, at the tender age of twenty-one, is surprisingly poignant.

vendredi 1 août 2008

Some Thing Else (Peter Blum Gallery, New York)

Mika Tajima, Installation view with the following works: I Can't Feel My Face, 2007; False Positive, 2007; Free We Said, 2007; Untitled (Slow Video), 2008

Mika Tajima, Untitled (slow video), 2008.80 slides in carousel

Nin Brudermann, Das Patent, 2008

Erin Shirreff, Knives, 2008

Julien Bismuth, A Specific Object (Version 2.1- Builds and Lapses), 2008. Felt, wood box, ink jet print, audio equipment variable dimensions (image is detail of poster)

David Adamo, Anniversary Waltz, 2007

David Adamo, Untitled (Margret), 2007. Mixed media installation with 17 bronze tomatoes, 6 sledgehammers, wood shavings, wood stage, painting, sparkling red shoe, violin case, bow, pair of socks and plywood floor

Charles Goldman, SIGN.SC/PRO.PTG, 2008. Wood, plastic, hardware, found photograph (reversed and laminated)

Commissariat: Simone Subal
David Adamo, Julien Bismuth, Nin Brudermann, Charles Goldman, Erin Shirreff, Mika Tajima

Some Thing Else features six New York-based artists who probe the definitions of an art object by expanding its vocabulary with music, text, video, and performance. The formal issues explored in these works build a platform for unexpected narratives and compositional variations. These gestures open up the function and meaning of sculpture, while also creating a context for reconsidering the visual and conceptual possibilities of formalist objects.

Julien Bismuth works in the space between visual art and literature. In Specific Object, Bismuth combines a cut felt carpet and an empty pedestal, from which plays an audio recording of a text written by the artist. The viewer is invited to become part of the sculpture by sitting on either the carpet or the base, while listening to the text—a multi-layered description that encircles different qualities of the object itself. This fictitious description animates the object but also raises complex questions about how one should name a work of art.
In Sculpture Park, Erin Shirreff is interested in the experiential and durational difference between looking at a sculpture and looking at a video. Over the course of 11 minutes, four models of Tony Smith sculptures (i.e. Spitball, Amaryllis) slowly emerge from a black screen. The pixilation of the digital image gives way to fake falling snow, which gradually defines and makes visible the outlines of the sculpture. The result is a hybrid between video and sculpture that makes viewers aware of their own perceptual assumptions.
David Adamo’s installation Untitled (Margret) consists of a stage-like platform on which an empty violin case, two stripped socks, and squashed tomatoes cast in bronze sit forlornly. This composition is contrasted with a group of sledgehammers with most of their handles hacked away, leaning against the wall. This metaphorical setting alludes to the absence of a performance and the performer, emphasizing a durational quality only present in the interpretation of the work.
Mika Tajima integrates a range of disciplines into her artistic practice: sculpture, painting, music, performance, graphic design, and architecture. Her installation here comprises double-sided silkscreen paintings mounted on plywood and set on wheels, with a loop of images of past performances (often with her minimal noise band New Humans) projected on one of the panels from a slide projector. These movable modular architectural structures (their color and pattern drawn from late 1960s design) reference sound barriers in recording studios and allow for a synergetic flexibility in the installation.
Charles Goldman is invested in what he calls “concretized experience.” In 24/24/24/24, he explores distance and time as containers for individual experiences. The sculpture consists of four 24 feet “distance paintings” (exactly 24 feet of paint was used in the creation of each) and a fiberglass object resembling a natural rock that in fact contains a speaker playing four different ambient sound pieces, each six minutes in duration and adding up to 24 minutes total.
The starting point for Nin Brudermann's installation is a functional garment—a body suit that she invented and for which she holds the Austrian patent. This ready-made object provides the framework for investigating the absurdities of governmental patent language as well as the theatrical and practical permutations of the object itself. A live performance featuring the body suit take place during the opening.

Jerry Saltz:
In the group show she organized here last summer, gallery director Simone Subal seemed to predict all the “Unmonumental,” piece-by-piece, “lessness” that cropped up in galleries and museums all this season. This show’s another real keeper. The work is more thought-out, organized, and formal, and explores narrative and self in cryptic ways. There’s Nin Brudermann’s invented unitard for women, which can be taken off while going to the bathroom, without the person getting naked (think M.C. Escher). Erin Shirreff presents a brilliant slo-mo journey into the heart of minimalism, as well as a large book, Knife, which showcases homemade Paleolithic-type art infused with Robert Mapplethorpe’s sexiness, danger, and elegance. The works by David Adamo, Charles Goldman, Mika Tajima, and Julien Bismuth are also noteworthy.

Andrea K. Scott:
A violent performance with no actor (an installation by David Adamo), a protest sign with no message (an absurdist sculpture by Charles Goldman): this witty, intelligent show, organized by Simone Subal, presents works in which absence activates form. Sit on Julien Bismuth’s carpet-covered cube and feel an audio text rumble up your spine. In Erin Shirreff’s moody video, the planes of a model Tony Smith sculpture are visible only when covered in snow. Mika Tajima’s high-design prints on wheels, which double as a screen for a slide show of past performances, evoke a missing figure, a theme reiterated by Nin Brudermann’s wacky project, centered on a patented bodysuit.