• New post at artreview.com

    A first look at Eve Sussman & Rufus Corporation’s White on White: The Pilot (just like being there).  This is the first installment of ES & RC’s project White on White: A Film Noir.  In my opinion, it all looks very, very promising.  Have a read.

     

    Eve Sussman & Rufus Corporation, Yuris Office (2009); courtesy Winkleman Gallery
    Eve Sussman & Rufus Corporation, 'Yuri's Office' (2009); courtesy Winkleman Gallery
  • Podcast of Alice Aycock and Peter Macapia at TDC…

    Here is a podcast of Peter and Alice’s talks during ‘Information Architectures’ at The Drawing Center.

    Unfortunately, our Flip camera ran out of juice at the beginning so sound is all we can provide, but I’m planning to put the proceedings together for a volume of the Drawing Papers, which will come out in the fall; so we should be able to reconsititute the presentations (at least in some form) there.

    Peter Macapia & Alice Aycock at The Drawing Center for \’Information Architectures\’ (3/26/2009).

  • ArtReview.com teaser…

    Younger Than Jesus, The New Museum’s “Generational” opens this evening.

    The approach here is an interesting one, coming as it does on the heels of an art market that appeared to fetishize youth. But the curators of the new triennial, Laura Hoptman, Mas Gioni, and Lauren Cornell, assure us that what the show is meant to offer is a “snapshot” of a specific generation that for some time now has simply existed either as a catchphrase (“Millenials,” “Generation Y”) or as a demographic group for marketers. For Gioni, Younger Than Jesus is an attempt to show this generation of artists as “producers,” ones for which, as Hoptman noted, the curators have created “no ‘ism,” which is to say no conceptual corral that might makes sense of what it is that this generation of artists is up to. (That seems like a good idea, except when you remember that the very notion of a “generation” is itself a conceptual problem, though the curators and others unpack the idea in one of the shows two accompanying catalogs; more on the second one in a moment). Hoptman demurred that they (the curators, the Museum) would “leave the assessments to the sociologists, to the marketers, and to the future,” which is a nice way of confirming that they (the curators, the Museum) believe the show (and this generation) is worthy of assessments to begin with…

    Read the full post on ArtReview.com

  • Information Architectures at The Drawing Center…

    ‘Information Architectures’ just finished last night at The Drawing Center.  Here’s the official write up that went out:

    The Drawing Center is pleased to present Information Architectures, a series of talks and discussions in which leading philosophers, architects, designers, editors, and artists consider how information is diagrammed, modeled, structured and otherwise disseminated in the expanded field of drawing.

    As artists, designers, and intellectuals are increasingly regarded as “content providers” within the broader spectrum of our cultural interests, it seems increasingly necessary to consider not simply how certain forms-or “formats”-give this content shape, but how the entire form/content divide may be rendered irrelevant, or obsolete, by the mutability of information itself. From this perspective, drawing is not seen as an ancillary medium but rather as a privileged theoretical and practical tool with which to work out the tricky business of in-form-ing.

    The series was organized by myself and Brett Littman, and over the course of the last three nights, six very talented and interesting people gave presentations on their work.

    On Tuesday we had artist Danica Phelps and philosopher Alva Noë; on Wednesday, artist Nathan Carter and editor/designer/architect Jeffrey Inaba presented; and last night, my friend Peter Macapia and the formidable Alice Aycock spoke.

    Instead of offering any kind of afterthoughts on the three evenings (except to note that I think they went very well), I’m going to post the videos of the talks.  (Unfortunately, our camera died at the beginning of last night’s talks, so I’m going to have to cook something up for Peter and Alice’s presentations.  We have the podcasts, so perhaps with their permission I’ll lay that over their slide shows and capture it in Flash.  We’ll see.)

  • Catalog essay for Rosson Crow at White Cube…

    texascrude

     

    Check out my catalog essay, “Rosson Crow’s History Painting: Setting and Speculation,” for Crow’s show at White Cube, Texas Crude.  The show is excellent, and the catalog has great reproductions of the work, along with an excellent and honest essay by Crow herself; it far exceeds anything I have to say about the work.

  • Essay in the new Ryan McGinness monograph from Rizzoli

    mcginness_works

    Ryan’s new monograph has just been published by Rizzoli (Feb, 2009) and includes an interview with Peter Halley, an essay by Ryan’s former studio assistant, Greg Lindquist, a conversation between David Byrne and Ryan and my essay, “The Look of Looks, or Ryan McGinness’s Ontology of Color.”  Content aside, the book is really nicely done and offers a great view of Ryan’s studio practice(s).

  • The horizon in Sugimoto and Sandback…

    David Cohen convened the first of the spring’s Review Panels at the National Academy Museum on January 30th, and among the shows the panelists took to task was Hiroshi Sugimoto’s photographs at Gagosian (21st St.), 7 Days / 7 Nights.  An odd thing happened when the panelists–joining David were Elizabeth Schambelan, Ken Johnson and (my friend, the brilliant) Joan Waltemath–began talking about Sugimoto’s work: not a single panelist mentioned the one factor that organizes this series of Sugimoto’s photographs, and that is the horizon.  (In fact, only Joan actually mentioned the content of the images at all, noting the importance of the local weather conditions to the effectiveness of the photographs.)  Perhaps it is too obvious, but it seems to me that one cannot adequately get at what is interesting, or even important, about Sugimoto’s seascapes, without at least broaching the topic of the horizon–whether as a line or as limit of perception (both real and metaphorical) or as primordial condition of orientation.

     

    sugimoto_ionianseasantacesarea_1990
    Hiroshi Sugimoto, 'Ionian Sea Santa Cesarea' (1990)

    It’s not that Sugimoto’s seascapes are necessarily “about” the horizon (though they are this in many ways); rather, in the images, the horizon at once announces itself as the element that offers the internal formal logic of the pictures (Sugimoto photographs his seas such that the horizon always appears in the same place, bisecting the horizontal dimension of the image), while at the same time, that logic is consistently undermined, or challenged, sometimes by the starkness of the formal device itself (in pictures where the sea and sky are easily distinguished, the recession is flattened and the picture reads like a geometric abstraction) but often by the weather or lighting conditions that obscure the horizon’s very legibility.

    In short, what Sugimoto’s photographs of seascapes do is to assert and to negate the horizon at the same time; speaking phenomenologically, we could say that these pictures orient and disorient at the same time.  It is this sense of disorientation that Michael Fried, in his recent book, Why Photography Matters As Art As Never Before  (Yale, 2008), pushes to such a point that it underwrites the “ontological fiction,” so important to Fried’s thinking on absorption and theatricality, that the observer does not exist.  Here disorientation becomes a kind of a-orientation, a condition of being-in-the-world that has no need of one’s being-there, of a perspective that belongs to no one (and it is exactly in this sense that Sugimoto’s photographs are not exercises in perspective, even though they hinge on the horizon line, upon which all perspectival constructions must be built).

    I think there is something to this reading of Sugimoto’s seascapes, but I am not willing to give up the other side of the coin here; which is to say, in negating the horizon, Sugimoto’s photographs reassert or perserve it all the same.  Whether that horizon is “for us” or “for itself” is a subsequent concern.  And staying with this pairing of negation and preservation is exactly what leads me to Fred Sandback’s work.  Or rather, it is Sandback’s work that lead me, I think, to a better understanding of Sugimoto’s seascapes.

     

    Fred Sandback, 'Untitled' (1972)
    Fred Sandback, 'Untitled' (1972)

    It is pure conicidence that David Zwirner mounted an exhibition of Sandback’s work while the Sugimoto was on.  But these are the kinds of chance encounters the can be essential to thinking things anew.  Walking through the Sandback installation, one cannot but be struck by how the geometric layouts that one reads where the strings connect to the floor or ceiling become all but illegible when viewing the pieces straight on.  More technically, one would describe this as the conflict or the incongruity between the works’ plan an elevation, as Edward Vasquez did when he gave a walkthrough of the exhibition back at the very end of January.  Vasquez went on to conjecture, rightly I think, that what Sandback was doing in much of his work was engaging with the language of linear perspective, the mapping or translating of three-dimensional space through the use of a two-dimensional line, which, of course, Sandback renders three-dimensional once again.

    And if engaging with the language or vocabulary of  linear perspective is what Sandback is doing, then the horizon once again becomes paramount.  And yet the horizon in Sandback’s work is essentially nonexistent; or rather, Sandback’s work, as Sugimoto’s seascapes do, negates the horizon at every turn.  Not one piece of thread seems to take up residence or establish a horizon line for the viewer.  The one that comes closest, a corner piece of white and red thread, is more concerned with constructing the illusion of the piece’s connection to the walls–an act of experiential disorientation rather than perspecitival orientation.  But again, in denying the horizon, one becomes that much more aware of it.  In its absence, the horizon is preserved.