• REVIEW: E’wao Kagoshima | Algus Greenspon | ArtReview

    E’wao Kagoshima, Monkey Smoking, 2007; image from Algus Greenspon

    Is the difference between eclecticism and pastiche simply a function of framing?  When an artist works in many different styles, let alone mediums, and the results are gathered together in one place, the outcome we regard as a kind of willed eclecticism.  When those styles all appear in a single work, or when their allusions to other works of art, or artists’ styles, are so strong as to be quickly recognizable, it’s pastiche.  But what happens when the frame that keeps eclecticism distinct from pastiche begins to slip, when we find ourselves caught in the midst of a search (for a style) and a comment (on “style” itself) without knowing which is which, or even if the question itself is valid (after all, who would think to talk about “style” anymore)? Valid or not, it is a question that will confront any viewer of E’wao Kagoshima’s output since 1976, which is when the artist arrived in New York and began the various artistic campaigns that are well represented at Mitchell Algus’s (and business partner Amy Greenspon’s) newest enterprise…

    Read the rest in the forthcoming April issue of ArtReview or on ArtReview Digital.

  • REVIEW: Planet of Slums | Third Streaming | ArtReview

    Lori Waselchuk, Slippery When Wet, 2008; Planet of Slums, Third Streaming, NY

    Mike Davis’s Planet of Slums hit the neoliberal consensus in 2006 like an earthquake hits a favela.  There it was, in Davis’s flamethrower prose, with numbers to boot: more humans around the globe now dwell in cities than not, and they do so increasingly in slums, not because of some inherent degeneracy or collective lack of will to better their lives, but because economic liberalization—deregulation, privatization, tariff elimination, etc., oft administered by the IMF and WTO’s Structural Adjustment Programmes—put them there.  “How the other half lives” has of course been of interest to activists and reformers since industrialization put slums on the map.  And mapping those slums, that is, making them visible, has been a central strategy of progressive social agendas ever since.  But how those slums are made visible—in reports, pictures, documentaries, fictions—is the founding question in the politics of representation, to which any exhibition that would take Davis’s title for its own must answer…

    Read the rest at ArtReview Digital

  • POST: VIP Art Fair | Artworld Salon

    Check it out here.

    The one thing I don’t mention or address explicitly there, which I will here, is that the VIP Art Fair’s capacity problems–slow loads and delays, choppiness, etc.–are both a mystery and not.  I’m not a tech guy, so I could be wrong, but can’t one estimate usage and buy capacity to handle it?  If so, the mystery is why VIP was not overly cautious with its estimates–i.e. why did it not buy more capacity at the outset?  This simply can’t–I hope–boil down to a money issue.

  • ESSAY: “The Currency of Kitsch” | Juanli Carrión | Kei-Seki

    Juanli Carrión, ogon-seki, 2010. C-Print on dibond. Image courtesy of the artist.

    Juanli Carrión just dropped off a pair of beautiful looking catalogues from his project, Kei-Seki, which was part of the Biennial Fotográfica 10 – Espai d’Art La Llotgeta, in Valencia, Spain.  I wrote a short essay—”The Currency of Kitsch”—for the book (the texts of which are available on Juanli’s website) and I’m told that there will be a launch party for it before the end of February; so more on that soon.

  • REVIEW: Carol Bove | Kimmerich | ArtReview

    installview3xlIt is tempting to say that Carol Bove’s show at Kimmerich’s new space in New York was, quite simply, beautiful, and leave it at that. It would not be wrong, either, to state as much, though it likely would be to leave it at that, not only because a show like this, with its conceptual underpinnings (Bove became known for her acute arrangements of historically symbolic items, such as touchstone books and photographs from the 1960s) and manifest attention to detail (no arrangement of things in a gallery has ever been more ‘acute’ than they are here) is after so much more than any mere pronouncement on what can count as beautiful, or perhaps ‘tasteful’, today, but also because one gets the sense that this is exactly what such beauty, or perhaps ‘taste’, is being asked to do – that is, to compel us not to go too far with any kind of enquiry…

    Read the rest at artreview.com

  • REVIEW: Otto Piene | Sperone Westwater | ArtReview

    Otto Piene, Lichtballett, 1961; and Electric Anaconda, 1965

    From ArtReview.com:

    Though Otto Piene’s Light Ballet works pick up from Moholy-Nagy’s Light Space Modulator (1930) and Fernand Leger’s Ballet Mécanique (1924), they have something to say about the ‘black box’ phenomenon which arose in the mid-twentieth century around the issue of radar.  This was a new kind of imaging technology, one whose inner-workings were no longer visible (a la the mechanics of film).  For Moholy-Nagy’s open and transparent structure Piene substituted the perforated drums and chrome globes of Lichtballett (1961) and Hängende Lichtkugel (1972) with their abstract magic lantern plays. One can still ‘get’ how they work, but the mechanism is no longer the point; ‘output’ is. The low violet glow of Electric Anaconda’s timed argon lights (the piece dates to 1965) attests to the presence of forces working behind the scenes, below the threshold of our senses, and beyond our control.

    The ‘raster’ in Piene’s titles for his late-’50s paintings—Rasterbild, Untitled (Raster-Rauchzeichnung)—means ‘grid’, but it opens the door to the raster of television’s cathode ray tube. ZERO, the group Piene co-founded with Heinz Mack in Düsseldorf, was billed as a reaction to Germany’s expressionist heritage, but it was more forward thinking than that, and less purely formalist. With fire, soot, and pigment Piene generated hazy screens and coronas of static, forging haunting material analogues for the new technology’s largely invisible vocabulary of form. His work offers a key to that troublesome lock between art and technology, and it’s only just beginning to turn.

    Image: Otto Piene, Lichtballett (1961) & Electric Anaconda (1965); installation view from Sperone Westwater

    Otto Piene
    Light Ballet and Fire Paintings, 1960-1967
    Sperone Westwater
    6 April – 22 May, 2010

  • REVIEW: Diana Thater | David Zwirner | ArtReview

    From the April issue of ArtReview:

    Just how many times can you watch a magician pull a rabbit out of his hat? This is surely not the central question asked by Diana Thater’s new film installation, Between Science and Magic (2010), but it is one that will certainly occur to most viewers, and in the end its answer will be seen to supersede the work’s more obvious concerns and conceits (which does make it central in some sense). For the answer to that question is ‘more than you would think’, and the reason is that Thater’s new work, for all of its self-reflexive exfoliations—perhaps because of all of its self-reflexive exfoliations—is an object lesson in cinephilia, both Thater’s and our own.

    The title of Thater’s piece is drawn from the late Claude Lévi-Strauss’s The Savage Mind, in which the father of structuralism, forever staking out the dyads of our understanding, describes art as halving the axis between ‘scientific knowledge’ and ‘mythical or magical thought’. For nearly two decades, Thater’s artistic province has been the camera arts, which have long enjoyed dual membership in the two societies of science and magic. It only makes sense then that Between Science and Magic is dedicated to filming a representative from the first while revealing the mechanisms of the second (and, if you’re paying attention, the first as well)—that is, what we see is a magician, decked-out in tux and tails, repeatedly perform the illusion of making a live rabbit (‘Josephine’ is her name) appear in what was his demonstratively empty top hat; we see him do this (‘Greg Wilson’ is his name) from two angles simultaneously: the first one fixed, and filmed by Thater, the second one from a series of clock-wise positions, filmed by Thater’s assistant. These two angles are then ‘screened’ side by side, so that we see Wilson both from the front and in the round (we catch glimpses of Thater and her assistant too); but what we are really seeing is the re-filming of a previous side-by-side screening of the same footage on the screen of the Los Angeles Theater (a Golden-Age-of-LA relic), all of which is now being re-projected in the gallery, split-screen-style, by two synchronized sixteen-millimeter projectors, replete with a soundtrack of the previous recordings and projection. So much for the exfoliation.

    Over and over again the rabbit appears, and with each iteration, with each successful conjuring of the illusion, we get a little closer to figuring out how the trick works—both the magician’s and the artist’s. The precision of the former’s choreography is matched by the mechanics of the latter’s apparatus. Each is exacting; both, we come to realize, are refugees from the era of what Hollis Frampton named the ‘last machine’ (a.k.a. ‘film’, when precise parts and movements could be ‘seen’). If we attend to science to figure out what the world is like, and we attend to magic to be amazed, then somewhere in between the camera arts let us do both, and we love them for it

  • Undergoing restyling…

    I’ve decided to simplify the theme here at consecutivematters.com.  Some things may work, others may not, and the look may continue to change over the course of the next few weeks.

  • Olaf Breuning | Museo Magazine

    A link to my interview with Olaf Breuning at Museo Magazine.

    It’s a bit lengthy, but the conversation was very relaxed and freewheeling; Olaf is a generous and gracious interlocutor.  The interview was conducted during the run up to his Metro Pictures show, which, as the record shows, was very well received.