Andrew Berardini

  • Michel Auder, Chelsea, Manhattan–NYC, 1990 (edited 2008), Hi8 video transferred to digital video, color, sound, 6 minutes 21 seconds.

    Michel Auder/Józef Robakowski

    I can see you. Perched near a window, looking down on the heat and honk of the sun-bright street or out to the night windows beaming like magic lanterns, you are easily observed. Looking out from their windows, Michel Auder and Józef Robakowski, who record private lives unwittingly played out in public, can see you, too. Close in age but shaped by dramatically different social and political contexts, these artists, perfectly paired by Fahrenheit director Martha Kirszenbaum, keenly observe others with a speculative, subjective eye. Under another’s lingering gaze, your most mundane acts acquire

  • Charles Gaines, Numbers and Trees II, Spike #4, 1987, watercolor, ink and pencil on masonite and acrylic sheet. 48 × 391⁄2".
    picks February 23, 2015

    Charles Gaines

    In his early work, Charles Gaines pursued a cool hunt for the unknown at the far end of the hyperrational. Sol LeWitt claimed that Conceptual artists were mystics rather rationalists, but his branch of the movement certainly employed the most rational means possible to reach their spiritual ends. With correspondence between Gaines and LeWitt on view in this early-career survey, “Gridwork 1974–1989,” the elder artist’s gnomic utterances function almost as geometric postulates, but Gaines takes that Conceptualist affection for algorithmic indices to their logical conclusion and beyond.

    Staring down

  • Mike Kuchar, Liquid Dreams, c. 1980-1990, pencil, pen, felt pens, ink on paper, 26 1/5 x 20 1/5”.
    picks January 29, 2015

    Mike Kuchar

    Burnished bubble butts beam with unholy light. Cut and uncut, huge, veiny cocks blossom from every angle. Angels and gods, gladiators and cavemen, street hustlers and bodybuilders, S-M beltings and four-way pirate fuckfests are all drawn with the bright hues and hard lines of comic-book superheroes. The Los Angeles debut of underground-film hero Mike Kuchar (best known for collaborations with his brother, George) hangs and screens five decades of lusty illustration and delightfully schlocky film. Kuchar creams and colorizes a tradition set by Tom of Finland’s pencil drawings of leathered men

  • Mira Dancy, Isis, 2015, acrylic on canvas, 66 x 55".
    picks January 28, 2015

    Mira Dancy

    Under shadowy neon and nighthawk noir, the lithe limbs and strong bodies of Mira Dancy’s numerous psychic ladies, perfume models, and mixed deities invitingly odalisque. This normally coy pose carries here a decidedly intense authority, more Marlene Dietrich than Marilyn Monroe (or perhaps more Siouxsie Sioux than Debbie Gibson). Dancy’s loose lines never goop into impasto in her paintings, but possess the super flatness of advertisements, which are clearly mimicked in her composition of elements and bold headlines for rhymable aromas (“Herfumes Perfumes”) and pawnshop clairvoyants. With allusive

  • Helen Johnson, Product Plural, 2015, synthetic polymer paint on canvas, leather, 120 x 72".
    picks January 26, 2015

    Helen Johnson

    With gossamer lyricism and cartoony glee, Australian artist Helen Johnson paints her meandering mediations in layers of figure and material, wit and research. Loose papers blow over goofy patterns and comic clips, swirling globs of paint cloud scraps of figuration, while actual clouds hide all but the pointed fingers of lithe hands with painted nails pointing out into the misty void (I opened my hand, 2014). Notes and observations are written in a loopy black cursive, mostly on the back of long, loose, unframed canvases hanging from chains. And besides the literal presence of words here, her

  • Alma Allen, Not Yet Titled, 2014, bronze, 17 1/4 x 18 1/2 x 7".
    picks January 19, 2015

    Alma Allen

    These sculptures bend, loop, puddle, swirl, and arch in ways that are both exquisitely crafted and weirdly natural. Once I heard an earful of Alma Allen’s story, plump with struggle and shitty luck, his artwork beginning as a homeless street hustle, I understood how his gentle and enduring will shaped these works with their sensual skins and gravitational force.

    For years, starting in 1993, Allen made diminutive and odd shapes carved from wood and stone, only recently adding bronze to his materials and scaling up to the multiple-tonnage range. Easily plunked into a tradition of manufacturing

  • Jonathan Horowitz, 590 Dots, 2014, acrylic on canvas. Installation view.

    Jonathan Horowitz

    The dot is a black hole and a simple mark, an infinite void and an eternal asshole, a pregnant period or simply a circle. This figure, which featured centrally in Jonathan Horowitz’s project, was first mentioned by omission—a classified listing in Night Papers’ Sex Issue that read simply, “SEEKING PARTICIPANTS for JONATHAN HOROWITZ PAINTING PROJECT . . . 30–60 mins, $20 PAID.” An odd and intriguing opportunity at first glance: Your everyday hustler might spot an easy mark and a quick Jackson, while the savvy economist might wonder about the exchange value for that labor. Animal-rights

  • Left: Artist Martha Wilson. (Photo: Sarah Bodri) Right: HotNuts cofounder Produzentin Proddy and Das Hussy. (Photo: Josh Chong)
    diary November 27, 2014

    Pole Position

    “ART CAN BE TRICKY in Toronto,” said art critic Bill Clarke. “Once you find it, it’s incredibly vibrant. But you have to find it.” We were standing in the VIA Rail Panorama Lounge in the Great Hall of Union Station during the cocktails and dinner for the fortieth anniversary of Art Metropole. Founded by artist collective General Idea in 1974, Art Metropole has for decades, with resolute passion and meager resources, distributed artists’ editions and publications, as a nonprofit bookshop, lending library, gallery, publisher, and most simply a center. The group who assembled for Thursday’s event

  • Left: Eric Doeringer's The Hug at the opening of Artissima. Right: Artissima director Sarah Cosulich Canarutto with artist and curator Maurizio Cattelan. (Photos: Giorgio Perottino/Artissima)
    diary November 12, 2014

    Close Calls

    ONLY MINUTES INTO THE OPENING and the palace was packed. Just after 6 PM, on the wet streets of Turin, a suited and heeled mob pushed at the doors of Palazzo Cavour for SHIT AND DIE, Artissima’s inaugural event. Artissima is owned by the region and is as much festival as fair; its off-site exhibitions, falling under the umbrella “One Torino,” and on-site prizes are as much a draw as the commercial galleries boothed in the Lingotto Oval event center. Curators Maurizio Cattelan, Myriam Ben Salah, and Marta Papini culled the title from a work by Bruce Nauman, waiting until the last moment to announce

  • Left: Curator Ximena Caminos with Venice Biennale curator Okwui Enwezor. (Photo: David Prutting/BFA) Right: The Assume Vivid Astro Focus roller disco. (Photo: Carolina Bonfanti)
    diary October 22, 2014

    Roller Models

    AFTER TWENTY HOURS of cramped airplanes and layovers, moving gradually from stark Los Angeles freeways to the leafy boulevards of Buenos Aires, I found myself sitting next to Ximena Caminos, director and chief curator of the Faena Art Center in the baroque interior of El Mercado restaurant. Caminos was helping to host the tenth anniversary of the Faena district with a celebratory roller disco by the ever-energetic Assume Vivid Astro Focus and a coterie of international travelers to show off the charm of Argentina’s capital. Perpetually clad in all white with a variety of cowboy hats sporting a

  • View of “A Book and a Medal: Disentanglement Equals Homogenous Abstractions,” 2014.
    picks September 30, 2014

    Edgar Arceneaux

    More than a few tales tangle and collide in the hallowed half-light of Edgar Arceneaux’s Gesamtkunstwerk about the depths and vanity of human endeavor. All the disparate elements coalesce around Martin Luther King’s life and death. Amid theatrical tableaux walled by wood palettes, translucent mirrors, sundry wall works, and a feature-length video, Arceneaux’s installation pivots conceptually on the last major speech King gave against Vietnam and the perilous power of technology. This premise unfurls to include the coincidence of his assassination two days before the premier of 2001: A Space

  • Left: Artist Rashid Johnson with collectors Mera Rubell and Don Rubell. (Photo: Stefanie Keenan) Right: Artist Aki Onda. (Photo: Andrew Berardini)
    diary September 18, 2014

    Islands in the Stream

    AMID THE CONFLAGRATION of bright new spaces and fall premieres, hardly anyone talks about closings. In the courtyard of the Hammer Museum last Wednesday, I waited for the twilight event of Made in L.A. 2014. The localist biennial divides the past few years’ time of alternative spaces and communitarian flux from the recent burst of commercial galleries expanding, warehousing, and franchising into the city. In the courtyard of the museum, I stumbled into the going-away party for Sarah Stifler, the Hammer’s now former director of communications en route to her new gig as chief communications officer