Angie Baecker

  • Jennifer Wen Ma, Hanging Garden in Ink, 2012, ink, plants, dimensions variable.
    picks May 05, 2012

    Jennifer Wen Ma

    Jennifer Wen Ma’s Hanging Garden in Ink, 2012, a site-specific commission, offers her latest experiment with the organic properties of mo, or ink. Inspired by the mythical hanging gardens of Babylon—King Nebuchadnezzar II’s offering to his wife who was homesick for trees and mountains—the work is a towering structure of ink-dipped foliage. The plants will continue to grow over the course of their installation in the long, narrow hall, with fresh green shoots sprouting beneath thick layers of black.

    Ma began working with mo several years ago and has now inked all manner of flora: At a solo exhibition

  • Hong Hao, As It Is—The Writings of a Hundred I, 2011, pencil on found paper mounted on aluminum, framed with wood and acrylic, 47 1/4 x 76 3/4 x 2 3/4".

    Hong Hao

    For the past decade, Hong Hao has made work that deals in the economies and aesthetics of accumulation. “My Things,” a photographic series begun in 2001, is made up of composite images derived from the scanned photographs of the artist’s possessions. The objects range from the mundane to the whimsical—books, toilet paper, passport, pens, wallet, toothpaste, letters, and so on. The effect is both intimate and overwhelming. At the time, the series was read as a statement on excess and contemporary China’s burgeoning material and capitalist culture. One piece in particular, My Things No.

  • Wu Shanzhuan and Inga Svala Thorsdottir, Sisyphus Rotation, 2011, airbrush ink on wall, 20 x 20'.

    Wu Shanzhuan and Inga Svala Thorsdottir

    Wu Shanzhuan and Inga Svala Thorsdottir’s latest exhibition at Long March Space was the couple’s most abstract yet; even the meaning of its title, “Kuo Xuan,” is ambiguous. Ostensibly the romanization of a two-character Chinese word (though the artists have declined to specify which two characters), the term is evocative—in Mandarin, it sounds something like “expanding choices”—but its meaning is unfixed.

    The gallery’s two main halls were given over to seven symbols mapped onto the walls in thin lines of various colors that towered over the viewer, mostly of cochlear spirals ricocheting

  • Zhou Zixi, Late Spring and Early Summer, 2011, oil on canvas, 31 x 39”.
    picks January 11, 2012

    Zhou Zixi

    Zhou Zixi’s “Late Spring and Early Summer” opened in Beijing in the middle of December, long after the warmth of both seasons had been forgotten. The exhibition features twenty-six new oil paintings by Zhou, many of which quietly depict the numbness of urban China’s lived environment.

    The paintings mostly show anonymous urban surroundings, plain enough to lack traces of cosmopolitanism but dense with infrastructure, suggesting the horror of modernization. It Is Said That We Should Look Up to the Sky, 2011, depicts milky sky, only a patch of it visible between the apartment buildings that tower

  • Chen Yufan and Chen Yujun, Mulan River Project, 2007–11, mixed-media installation, dimensions variable.

    Chen Yufan and Chen Yujun

    “Mulan River Project” was the first collaborative exhibition by the brothers Chen Yufan and Chen Yujun. It took the Mulan River, which runs through the artists’ native city of Putian, in China’s Fujian province, as its creative source. The Mulan is “mother river” to the Putianese, the source of their livelihood and culture, and it played a similarly central role in the Chens’ exhibition, with an installation representing the river made of cardboard and found materials forming the conceptual and architectural core of the show. But the artists’ ongoing “Mulan River Project,” begun in 2007, is more

  • Liu Wei, Merely a Mistake, 2010, door frames, wooden beams, acrylic paint, stainless steel, and aluminum, dimensions variable. Installation view.

    Liu Wei

    “Trilogy,” Liu Wei’s largest solo show to date, was an abstract but ambitious exhibition in which the artist presented a trio of major new works. Where his oeuvre previously leaned toward the conceptual, making sly critical jokes about the psychic state of society, the artist’s more recent works possess a dense aesthetic intelligence that represents a transformation in his practice.

    Each in its own room, the three works that made up the exhibition were Golden Section, 2011, Power, 2011, and Merely a Mistake, 2010. In Golden Section, pieces of furniture are enveloped by heavy sheets of metal,

  • View of “Automatic Writing,” 2011.
    picks August 08, 2011

    Marius Watz

    Marius Watz’s latest exhibition is titled “Automatic Writing,” and this is a good descriptor of his work and the subcommunity to which he belongs. Watz makes generative art, or visual works created on generative systems; he is the Norwegian ringleader of generator.x, an online platform for generative art and design. The show at Superfrog offers videos, sculptures made with three-dimensional printers, laser drawings on plywood, and software-designed patterns that have been projected and then rendered in tape on the walls.

    Each work is fabricated with semiautonomous software systems; the art is

  • Ming Wong, Angst essen (Eat Fear), 2008, still from a single-channel video, 27 minutes.
    picks March 02, 2011

    “Untitled”

    Positioning is essential to every major player in the international art world, and in China, Vitamin Creative Space has consistently placed itself on the periphery. The gallery’s newest Beijing outpost is located in the Central Business District’s Pingod development, far from the miasma of Dashanzi and a good twenty-five floors above the rapidly deteriorating “International Art Street” below. An untitled inaugural show features works by three artists—Cao Fei, Ming Wong, and Pak Sheung Chuen—all exploring the shapes, subjectivites, and legacies of the margin.

    Half-Soul, Half-Body, 2009, by Pak,

  • Sun Yuan and Peng Yu, I Do Not Sleep Tonight, 2010, still fro a color video, 15 minutes.
    picks May 06, 2010

    “Rem(a)inders”

    This exhibition takes “Rem(a)inders” as its title and curatorial concept, referring to the remnants of an original quantity as well as an evocation of memory. In fact, the show might just as easily have been called “Signified and Signifier”―each work traces the outlines of power and value structures, often beyond the material limits of the works themselves.

    Husband-and-wife duo Sun Yuan and Peng Yu target state power in I Do Not Sleep Tonight, 2010, a charged video work in which the artists install emergency lights on top of a standard white SUV. The automobile is meant to pass for a police

  • View of “Gu Dexin,” 2009.
 
    picks March 28, 2009

    Gu Dexin

    Gu Dexin made the pointed decision not to exhibit in Beijing in 2008, an abstemious promise that was kept. Released now from those self-imposed terms, he has chosen Beijing Center for the Arts as the site of his return to a city still quietly coming to terms with the extremes of 2008. Located in the Legation Quarter, a luxury retail and dining development itself located in the historic, cultural, political, and physical center of the city, Tiananmen Square, his exhibition is titled “2009.3.14,” as are all its pieces—Gu titles each of his works according to the date on which it is completed. The

  • Ai Weiwei, Williamsburg, Brooklyn, 1983, silver gelatin print, 20 x 24".
    picks February 23, 2009

    Ai Weiwei

    Ai Weiwei lived in the United States for twelve seminal years, leaving in his wake a prolific stream of photographs exploring zeitgeists both internal and external, Chinese and American. He arrived in New York in 1982 and quickly immersed himself in the scenes around the East Village, where his Renaissance-man-like activity laid the foundations for the career he’s built for himself since returning to China in 1993. An archive of nearly ten thousand photographs documents Ai’s time in New York, here distilled into a selection of nearly 230 images.

    There are pictures of the 1988 Tompkins Square Park

  • Sun Yuan and Peng Yu, Retirement Home, 2007, wheelchairs, fiberglass, silicone, and human hair, dimensions variable.
    picks August 11, 2008

    “Unmoved”

    In his introduction to Great Leap Forward (2002), architect Rem Koolhaas describes an Asia “in the grip of a relentless process of building, on a scale that has never existed before.” The statement speaks to the current state of Beijing, a city with its own Koolhaas project—the CCTV headquarters—and in the throes of the Olympic spotlight. Against this backdrop, the gallery has staged “Unmoved,” a group exhibition that investigates principles that are in direct opposition to those of growth and dynamism—namely stillness, stasis, and silence.

    On the ground floor, the show is anchored by two startling