Angela Stief

  • Renate Bertlmann, Urvagina, 1976, mixed media, dimensions variable.
    picks April 20, 2016

    Renate Bertlmann

    In 1978, Renate Bertlmann, wearing a mask and veil, had herself pushed in a wheelchair around the Österreichischer Kunstverein. Extremely pregnant, she continued the endurance piece until she eventually gave birth and simply left her newborn lying on the floor. At that time, the artist garnered much attention for work that challenged the boundary between private and the public spheres, attraction and repulsion; she was censured and vilified as a psychopath. At the center of this oeuvre of social critique is an examination of gender stereotypes, an exploration of role-play, and a protest against

  • View of  “Hans Schabus: Autopsy with Forklift,” 2015.
    picks May 11, 2015

    Hans Schabus

    Among Austrian artists, Hans Schabus is the master builder of the guild. Now, in his current exhibition, “Autopsy with Forklift,” he has placed a large object in the gallery that, from the outside, evokes a DIY aesthetic—one similar to his earlier space-within-a-space works, leaving the modular wood components and functional construction exposed. The representative character of the exterior view shifts, however, in the silver-toned inner space. Every Wednesday at 7:00 PM, the artist opens the doors of Café Hansi, positions himself behind the bar, and serves his guests. He offers Hansa beer,

  • Milan Grygar, Tactile Drawing, 1978. Performance View, the OFF-OFF Festival, Ghent, 1987.
    picks February 17, 2015

    Milan Grygar

    The hands and legs of a seated performer burst through a wall of white paper, while a board balanced on his lap bore various utensils. Invisible to his view, his hands applied black paint to the paper’s surface within a constrained range of motion. The result: fingerprints, blurs, and smudges.

    Slovenian artist Milan Grygar performed this work, creating what he calls a “tactile drawing,” for the first time in 1966. In the ensuing half century, Grygar, who trained as a painter, has dedicated himself to the relationship between sound and image. He has replaced paint wherever possible with sonic

  • View of  “Thomas Zipp: A Psychophysical Basis for Utilitarian Comparisons,” 2014–15.
    picks December 19, 2014

    Thomas Zipp

    Resusci Anne, also known as Rescue Anne, is an emergency test subject. The Norwegian toy maker Asmund Laerdal, Norwegian anesthesiologist Bjorn Lind, and the Austrian-Czech physician Peter Safar developed the resuscitation doll in 1960. Now, the German artist Thomas Zipp has declared the dummy the central protagonist of his current exhibition, “A Psychophysical Basis for Utilitarian Comparisons.” Here, he stages the plastic figures within his two large installations—a kitchen and a dormitory with beds in which the dolls are resting. Classroom chairs are arranged in neat rows, a band’s musical

  • View of “Hermann J. Painitz: Self Evident,” 2014.
    picks July 08, 2014

    Hermann J. Painitz

    The extensive and extraordinary oeuvre of Hermann J. Painitz, which has hardly received attention in the past few decades, now shines remarkably in the Austrian province of St. Pölten. Since the 1960s, Painitz has been known for examining processes of translation between disciplines and for sketching the passage of time in motionless media such as painting and drawing. His art is deeply inspired by the Wiener Gruppe (who were in turn influenced by Wittgenstein) and was friends with the filmmaker Peter Kubelka, Kurt Kren of the Wiener Aktionismus, and the early media artist Marc Adrian, all four

  • View of  “Siggi Hofer: WOOF,” 2014.
    picks July 03, 2014

    Siggi Hofer

    The sculptures, drawings, and paintings on view in this exhibition by the south Tyrolean artist Siggi Hofer were produced in 2013 and ’14. They also feel brand new—fresh and lively, sparking any curious mind. They refer to key aspects of Hofer’s earlier periods of production, including drawing, text-image combinations, and distorted perspectives. For his works on paper and canvas, the master draftsman, who now lives in Vienna, makes use of simple means: He lays out a composition in pencil and then draws lines and planes that he later paints over with wax crayons. A lapidary metal rail and a

  • View of “Live Through That?!,” 2014.
    picks April 17, 2014

    Lili Reynaud-Dewar

    For the duration of her solo exhibition in Vienna, “Live Through That?!,” Lili Reynaud-Dewar presents herself naked and dancing in a silent looped video (all works 2014) that shares the title of the show—as do the rest of the works on view—and holds its own in a multimedia setting of moving images, sound, and sculptural elements. This diary-like video—an “homage” to dances performed by Josephine Baker—references Reynaud-Dewar’s training as a ballet dancer and was shot earlier this year at the Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts in Chicago as part of “The Fifth Dimension,” a group exhibition

  • Franz Sedlacek, Rest on the Flight Into Egypt, 1934, oil on canvas, 25 x 21".
    picks March 10, 2014

    Franz Sedlacek

    Large, bright windows and dim inner spaces, landscapes plunged in melodramatic light alternating between idyll and dystopia, isolated protagonists with grotesque features, and bleak images that anticipate the catastrophic political developments of the 1930s: In this overdue exhibition, Franz Sedlacek is fairly characterized as a “Chemist of the Imagination.” With a magic-realist, graceful brushstroke, he offers a view on a shadowy world, he exaggerates an oppressive present with dark tones, and he transforms the uncanny into the transcendental.

    Sedlacek, who was born in Breslau (then part of the