Andy Campbell

  • picks September 26, 2016

    Brian Paumier

    “Up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, b, a, start”—many who played console video games in the 1980s and 1990s will recognize this particular cheat code. Developed by a programmer at Konami who wanted to shortcut his game during testing, the sequence of buttons is now commonly referred to as the Konami code, and it has long been a source of jokes in the gaming industry.

    The title of Brian Paumier’s exhibition references this code but intentionally gets it wrong; the title begins “Up, Down, Up, Down.” This misstated sequence can be seen as a poetic enhancement of the code, conveying a

  • picks September 16, 2016

    Erika Vogt

    Four monumental knives line a long wall in the first room of Erika Vogt’s solo presentation “Eros Island: Knives Please Rise.” On one end is Dylan Knife (all works 2016) an enlarged outline of a pre-Inca ceremonial blade shaped like an arm—from the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s collections—while on the other end is Richard Knife, a nineteenth-century surgical saw for amputations. They are countered on an adjoining wall by three brown sculptures in the shape of protective vests (“Hex 1-3”); their open, latticelike, hexagonal array describes military and corporate innovations in ceramic body armor.

  • picks September 14, 2016

    Mira Schor

    Both writing about and painting language have been hallmarks of Mira Schor’s inventive practice for decades. Her latest solo show provides an opportunity to grasp the depth of this output vis-à-vis two large-scale accumulative series, separated by more than twenty years.

    Schor has described “War Frieze,” 1991–94, as a response to the 1990–91 Gulf War; and bits of language, such as “area of denial,” that appear in the eighty-canvas segment shown here are exemplary of the artist’s expert ability to massage the multiple meanings of words and phrases. She paints the line of this particular phrase as

  • picks August 16, 2016

    Betty Tompkins

    Two thick brown, purple, and green globs of oil paint are dolloped onto the top half of a small white canvas—the word “erotic” is outlined in red below. Next to it are similarly sized paintings emblazoned with the words “seiki” (“genitals” in Japanese), “weich” (“soft” in German) and “fanny flange” (British slang for “clitoris”), each painted with a different treatment. One riffs on the iconic, masculine-identified Jackson Pollock drip, while another suggests a labyrinthine pocket of vulvic space. These are just a few of the one thousand paintings that make up Betty Tompkins’s series “Women

  • picks March 04, 2016

    Edgar Leciejewski

    Made while Edgar Leciejewski was in residence at Fogo Island Arts in Newfoundland, Canada, the work on display in his exhibition “distant past / distant future” is cerebral in approaching sublimity. Of course, landscape is the overdetermined genre through which discussions of the sublime are usually circulated, but Leciejewski offers some novel escape hatches that don’t sacrifice topography’s potential for abstraction.

    Most of the pieces here are from a single series called “Rough Form,” 2014, in which black-and-white, matte photographs are concentrically collaged on top of glossy color photographs.

  • interviews January 22, 2016

    Jennifer Tyburczy

    Jennifer Tyburczy’s book Sex Museums: The Politics and Performance of Display (University of Chicago Press, January 2016) proposes that all museums have the potential to be sex museums—if a visitor approaches them right. An assistant professor of feminist studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara, Tyburczy was also the curator of “Irreverent: A Celebration of Censorship,” which was on view last year at the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art. Here, she discusses the genesis of her research and some of the unexpected surprises that come with doing work in sex museums.

    ONE OF

  • picks January 11, 2016

    Jennie C. Jones

    Amplification, absorption, reverberation, tone, displacement, diffusion—any encounter with the work of Jennie C. Jones demands that a viewer repeatedly wrestle with transmutation, the vocabulary from the science of sound doing double duty in the service of ekphrasis. And the rabbit hole goes deeper, as those keywords also describe the dynamics of social change and race. Indeed, Jones encourages such readings with her punning titles, Solo, Vertical, into Crescendo (Light), 2013, or Score for Sustained Blackness Set 2, 2014. Such is the sparkling noise of the artist’s first mid-career survey, as

  • interviews December 29, 2015

    Mario Gooden

    “How does it feel to be a problem?” So begins a chapter titled “The Problem with African American Museums” in Mario Gooden’s new collection of essays, Dark Space: Architecture, Representation, Black Identity. By repeating the question with which W. E. B. Du Bois launched The Souls of Black Folk, Gooden locates himself in an illustrious lineage while highlighting the stasis that lets the query resonate as profoundly now as it did over a century ago. What follows is a subtle reading of a number of African American cultural institutions, a consideration of the politics they spatialize (sometimes

  • picks September 22, 2015

    Harold Mendez and Ronny Quevedo

    A small copper reproduction of a pre-Columbian death mask rests inside a burned cardboard box. This tableau is the opening salvo of Harold Mendez and Ronny Quevedo’s collaborative installation, Spector Field (all works 2015). That the copper mask sits dumbly at the bottom of its fragile container, unlike the handsome case that holds the gold original at the Museo del Oro in Bogotá, Columbia—is a wry comment on the impulse to preserve precious objects even as the cultures who produced them are systemically smudged out.

    Mendez and Quevedo’s installation continues in this vein, turning the cavernous

  • Elizabeth Jaeger

    Characterized by an economy of form and material, the spare sculptural tableaux of Elizabeth Jaeger’s first solo exhibition in Texas are a meditation on physical and emotional supports. The slumped pinkish leather shape in the deadpanned Black Leather Bench and Pink Bean Bag (all works 2015), for example, is buttressed by a handmade modernist-style leather bench, from which the form casually cascades. This sack-like form, filled with dried peas, operates as both punching bag and body pillow. Denigrated and beloved, the bag is a fair approximation of what it’s like to be human most days.

    An equally

  • Angel Oloshove

    On her blog, Angel Oloshove describes her ceramic vessels and sculptures as “babes” and “cuties” (as in “new cuties,” and “I just got these babes fresh out of the kiln”)—and these terms of endearment couldn’t be more apt. Indeed, guilelessness suffuses the eight humble works that were on display in Oloshove’s first solo presentation at Art Palace. Striated with multicolored glazes that blend and bleed in an ombre pattern rather than define and delineate, sculptures such as Soft Fuzz, 2014, and Arc of Jah, 2015, are pillowy and fetchingly awkward. A curvaceous warmth renders these diminutive

  • picks March 12, 2015

    Mel Chin

    An aspect of Mel Chin’s work and personality crystallized for me as I watched him give a lecture at the Houston opening of his survey exhibition “Rematch”—the guy has a knack for dad jokes. Groaners, but nonetheless endearing, such as when Chin casually says “art hysterical” instead of “art historical” or suddenly stops his lecture to play guitar and sing. This ethos suffuses his work, as in the nightstick-cum-microphone Night Rap, 1994, displayed at the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston (CAMH), which cunningly plays on the two popular definitions of rap: to speak in syncopation or to hit.

    Spread

  • interviews March 09, 2015

    Melvin Edwards

    Over fifty years’s worth of work by sculptor Melvin Edwards is now on view at the Nasher Sculpture Center in Dallas. Well-known works from his ongoing “Lynch Fragments” series, 1963–, hang next to surprises—a roiling, hanging tumble of metal titled Cotton Hangup, 1966, for example, which was used as a prop in “Crazier than Cotton,” an episode of the anthology TV program Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theater. “Melvin Edwards: Five Decades” runs through May 10, 2015.

    BETWEEN THE AGES OF SEVEN AND TWELVE I lived in Dayton, Ohio, home of the Wright Brothers. In those years the headquarters of the

  • picks November 29, 2014

    Ana Maria Tavares

    One doesn’t walk through Ana Maria Tavares’s new solo exhibition so much as one wades through it. Twenty-seven metal and Plexiglas plinths are placed about the gallery, each containing gold, green, purple, or sometimes black woven sculptures that riff on the form of a Victoria Regia water lily. The story of this gargantuan plant is a synecdoche of a colonial encounter—plucked from Brazil’s Amazon river basin, it inspired both the US and Britain toward a rival pursuit of its cultivation in a nineteenth-century gardening equivalent of the space race. The Victoria Regia spawned ardent admirers

  • interviews September 30, 2014

    George Herms

    LOVE is not just the word with which George Herms signs his work but an expression of a particular ethos. Well known in Beat generation poetry, art, and 1960s-era California Assemblage circles, he was also involved with Wallace Berman’s influential publication Semina. Herms speaks here about a series of recent collage works exhibited in “LOVE George Herms” at testsite in Austin, Texas, which are on view from September 7 to October 19, 2014, as well as the recent acquisition of his archives by the Getty Research Center.

    IN THE BEGINNING WAS THE STORYBOARD—isn’t that how the Bible starts out?

  • interviews March 12, 2014

    Igor Siddiqui

    Croatian-born architect and designer Igor Siddiqui identifies with the “not everything” approach to architecture—the notion that architects can make small, incisive contributions to larger projects rather than focusing solely on the big picture. Siddiqui speaks here about his latest innovation, the use of bioplastics in creating his architectural work, which is the focal point of his latest exhibition, “Igor Siddiqui: Protoplastic,” on view at TOPS Gallery, Memphis, from January 31 to March 29, 2014.

    I COOK MY BIOPLASTICS at home, which might seem to be a domesticated way of producing work, but

  • interviews February 24, 2014

    Yan Xing

    The Beijing- and Los Angeles–based artist Yan Xing is known for creating intricately staged installations, photographs, videos, and performances that play on registers of high camp, melodrama, and sincerity. For his recent solo exhibition at Galerie Urs Meile in Beijing, he presented new works including The Collectress, 2013, which is based on the novels and paintings of Duan Jianyu. “Yan Xing: Standard Exhibition,” his first solo show in Switzerland, runs from February 14 to April 12, 2014 at Galerie Urs Meile in Lucerne.

    THE PHYSICAL FRAMING of my work—the way it is presented to a public—is

  • picks February 14, 2014

    Juan Capistran

    I AM HOPING TO SEE THE DAY reads the text spelled out in fist-size, chalk-white rocks on the floor of Juan Capistran’s two-part exhibition “What We Want, What We Believe: Towards a Higher Fidelity” at the Visual Arts Center. Nearby, a tidy stack of offset prints of a craggily textured surface is available for viewers to take and crumple, forming an ad hoc rock. This replica, which intimates revolution but materially lacks the heft, is an apt summa of the thin line that Capistran walks with aplomb. How to suggest revolutionary potential without controlling the conversation? How to find a model

  • interviews January 30, 2014

    Lauren Berlant

    Duke University Press recently published Sex, or The Unbearable, a long-form critical dialogue between theorists Lauren Berlant and Lee Edelman. Through a series of close readings addressing the work of Larry Johnson, Miranda July, Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, and the short story “Break It Down” by Lydia Davis, the book examines the often unbearable pressures and cleavages sex can produce—for good and for ill. Berlant and Edelman variously mitigate and amplify the theoretical, structural, and vernacular ambivalencies of intimacy, collaboration, and collective life. Berlant states in the book’s

  • picks July 03, 2013

    Alice Aycock

    Two monumental schematic drawings of hundreds of doorways, stitched together in neat adjoining rows, dominate Alice Aycock’s retrospective of drawings. In The New China Drawing: The World Above, the World Below, 1984, Aycock’s craggy forms evoke a map of Canton, China drawn by seventeenth-century Dutch explorer Johan Nieuhof following his fifteen-thousand-mile trek through China’s provinces. This journey was notably reproduced in social historian and curator Bernard Rudofsky’s seminal treatise on vernacular form, Architecture Without Architects(1964), Aycock, for her part, transforms this source