Thursday, October 20
The title of this show, which is borrowed from a painting by Caspar David Friedrich, is a testament to Rondinone’s affinity for German Romanticism’s blurred boundaries between reality and illusion and borderline worship of nature. Very much in this spirit, the Swiss artist’s latest sculptures featuring aluminum casts of weathered window frames are installed in front of the gallery’s actual windows. These ghostly and reflective silver blockades upend the cloistering aim of the exhibition space and turn the viewer’s perspective inside out.
Ugo Rondinone Two Men Contemplating The Moon 1830
Casting herself in the role of the “Bad Dad” painter—a title she used to assess Sigmar Polke’s legacy in 2014—Jutta Koether challenges the troubling male gaze that lurks in the controversial paintings of artists such as Lucian Freud and Balthus. Her response to Freud’s nude portrait of his daughter, Naked Portrait on a Red Sofa, 1988–91, for example, shows a similarly recumbent figure (here male) who is naked but also faceless and transparent—completely vulnerable, penetrable, see-through, and powerless.
Jutta Koether Zodiac Nudes
The Welsh Conceptualist’s latest neon sculptures stem from his ongoing inquiry into nuanced relationships between language and perception. Written in ghostly, glowing white letters, Evans’s overlapping and interrupted words are intentionally difficult to parseat once legible and unreadable.
Cerith Wyn Evans
Part portraits, part documentation of past performances, Donna Huanca’s vivacious “Skin Paintings” describe the body as both a passive object and an active subject. Similarly concerned with figurative plasticity, several sculptures on view made from articles of clothing and other cultural artifacts address the reciprocal relationship between dress and identity.
Donna Huanca Surrogate Painteen
Known for his site-specific interventions, Mike Nelson integrated a raised platform into the architecture of an old music hall in Berlin’s Mitte district in 2012. Four years later, the artist is using salvaged pieces from this platform as rugged plinths for a selection of his own tools, used in various projects over the past thirty years, creating something akin to a retrospective of his labors.
Mike Nelson tools that see (the possessions of a thief) 1986-2005
The New York–based artist’s latest portraits are humorously disturbing, mundane, and remarkable. In her characteristic blend of abstraction and figuration, Schutz depicts benign scenes like a schoolboy entranced by bubbles (Boy with Bubble, 2015), as well as more anxiety-inducing ones. Included in the latter array is a home birth, a shooting captured on live TV, and, at her most fantastical in Crawling, 2016, a desert landscape in which two figures are attacked by monstrous insects.
Dana Schutz Waiting for The Barbarians
Consisting entirely of mobile sculptures from Ruby’s ongoing “Scales” series, which he began in 2013, this exhibition hangs precariously from the gallery’s ceiling. The dense installation of brightly colored monochrome cutouts made of painted wood, steel, and bronze joined with ephemera from the artist’s studioincluding chains, steel fragments, buckets, and pipessuggests a weightless cloud of space trash.
Sterling Ruby The Jungle
Exploring femininity in terms of personal identification and as a social construction, Birgit Jürgenssen, Cindy Sherman, Katharina Sieverding, and Francesca Woodman helped define a new wave of photography in the 1970s. Focusing on groundbreaking works from that decade, the selection of portraits and self-portraits shown here is an empowering dialogue between various selves.
Jürgenssen, Sherman, Sieverding, Woodmann Die zu sein scheint, die bin ich
Michael Smith’s atmospheric multimedia installation comes with a video projection and is further accessorized by a disco ball, a fog machine, and colored lights. Tracing back to 1951—the year the artist was born—Smith creates a moody, personal timeline that blurs the boundaries between himself and performative alter egos such as “Baby Ikki” and “Mike.”
Michael Smith Timeline (1951 – 2016)
Among the works on view by French artist Sophie Calle are pieces from her well-known series “Prenez soin de vous” (Take Care of Yourself), 2007, a thorough analysis of a breakup e-mail the artist received in 2004. A less personal but no less affecting series combining text and photography, “Is It Better,” 2012, documents the reactions of Berliners who Calle stopped in front of the spot where the Palast der Republic—the GDR’s parliament—once stood to ask whether they find the now empty space “better.”
Sophie Calle View of My Life