Anthony Byrt

  • Phoebe Unwin, Swimmer, 2010, acrylic, pastel, and pastel ground on canvas, 67 x 47 1/2".

    Phoebe Unwin

    Something has been happening in the painting departments of London’s art schools in recent years. The Royal College of Art, Slade School of Fine Art, Goldsmiths, and the Royal Academy of Arts have all turned out young painters who have rapidly ascended into the city’s best contemporary galleries and collections. While it seems harsh to be so reductive, there is a common thread many of them share: a semi-naive, figurative approach that pays homage to Guston and early Picasso, often offering Dana Schutz a deferential nod too. The trouble is, not all of the members of this new “London School” are

  • Ted Willcox, Unitled (Pin-Ups), ca. 1940–60, tapestry, 21 1/4 x 45 5/8". From “Exhibition #3.”

    “Exhibition #3”

    Rooms filled with works by outsider artists in the first exhibition at the Museum of Everything in 2009–10 made the institution’s mission clear: This was a place dedicated to the self-taught and the strange. “Exhibition #2” was a three-day display at Tate Modern in May 2010 of the work of more than 250 undiscovered and untrained artists who had responded to a national open call. “Exhibition #3”—which is on view at the Museum of Everything’s home base of Primrose Hill, London, and based almost entirely on the artist Sir Peter Blake’s personal collection of curiosities—also celebrates

  • Carsten Höller, Soma, 2010, mixed media, dimensions variable. Installation view.
    picks January 13, 2011

    Carsten Höller

    At the center of Carsten Höller’s 2010 installation Soma is a raised circular platform where, over the course of eighty nights, paying guests will sleep in the Hamburger Bahnhof. On arrival, these visitors are greeted by a concierge who checks them in, hands them a flashlight and a walkie-talkie, and then leaves them to their own devices. Except that they’re not completely alone: Below the platform, in two identical animal pens, live reindeer roam about. And above, in identical birdcages dangling from scales, canaries chirp happily. A circular dais crosses over the two pens, adorned with giant

  • Katharina Grosse, One Floor Up More Highly (detail), 2010, mixed media, dimensions variable. Installation view. Photo: Christopher Grimes Gallery.
    interviews January 03, 2011

    Katharina Grosse

    The Berlin-based artist Katharina Grosse is known for her immense installations that examine how painting functions in an expanded field. Here, she discusses one of her most ambitious projects to date: One Floor Up More Highly, which opened at MASS MoCA on December 22. Grosse’s concurrent exhibitions of new paintings at Christopher Grimes Gallery in Santa Monica and Galería Helga de Alvear in Madrid are on view until January 8.

    THE BIG SPACE AT MASS MOCA IS VERY UNUSUAL. It’s very long and very wide. It also has windows on each side, so a lot of light passes through it. I’ve made a work that

  • Aernout Mik, Communitas, 2010, three-channel color video, 60 minutes. Installation view.
    picks November 23, 2010

    Aernout Mik

    Contested spaces are Aernout Mik’s stock-in-trade—from New York trading floors before 9/11 to the former Yugoslavia as it splintered. At his best, he suggests a polemical position without being didactic, and he turns media images blunted by their ubiquity into newly resonant contemporary visions. His latest video, Communitas, 2010, is among his best.

    Communitas unfolds inside Warsaw’s Palace of Culture and Science, which was built by the Soviets as a gift to Poland after World War II. Mik deploys his signature strategy: Through multiple views of the same events, he suspends viewers somewhere

  • Allora & Calzadilla, Sweat Glands, Sweat Lands, 2006, still from a color video, 2 minutes 21 seconds.
    picks November 23, 2010

    Die Natur ruft!

    The relationship between art and nature, the curatorial conceit for “Die Natur ruft!” (Nature Is Calling!), is about as open-ended as it gets. The fact that the artists included are all DAAD alumni gives the project a little more focus. But still, the setup is dangerously broad, so it’s a credit to curators Ariane Beyn and Raimar Stange that they’ve managed to assemble such an intelligent exhibition.

    The highlight of the show is the distressing barbecue portrayed in Allora & Calzadilla’s video Sweat Glands, Sweat Lands, 2006. In the work, a blistered and splayed pig roasts on a rotary spit attached

  • Yeondoo Jung, Cinemagician, 2010, two-channel video in HD, 55 minutes. Installation view.
    picks October 18, 2010

    Yeondoo Jung

    With Cinemagician, 2010, Yeondoo Jung is that guy––the party pooper who, when it comes to magic, seems intent on exposing the truth behind the trickery. Yet it’s hard to hold it against him. Cinemagician is a collaboration with the South Korean celebrity magician Lee Eun Gyeol that was first performed in New York at last year’s Performa. The two-channel video in this exhibition documents a recent incarnation of the work in a Seoul theater. On one screen, we watch Lee create a mesmerizing mise-en-scène: Through a combination of old-fashioned sleight of hand, clever angles, and subtle camera

  • Billy Apple, The Presidential Suite: J.F.K., 1964, Xerox on primed linen, 56 x 84”.
    picks October 03, 2010

    Billy Apple

    Billy Apple is arguably New Zealand’s most successful artistic export. Originally known as Barrie Bates, he left for London in 1959 and became a key figure in British Pop. While a graphic design student at the Royal College of Art, Bates incorporated all of mass consumerism’s shiny new techniques into his work, from typography and packaging to plastics and neon. Later, as Billy Apple, he moved to New York, where he was included in the seminal “American Supermarket” exhibition in 1964 at Bianchini Gallery, and showed at Leo Castelli on several occasions. In the late 1960s and early ’70s, he was

  • Karen Kilimnik, Degas Painting Hair Ornament Accessories Bag World, 2004, oil on canvas, 11 x 14”.
    picks August 02, 2010

    Joseph Cornell and Karen Kilimnik

    Joseph Cornell’s and Karen Kilimnik’s oeuvres seem light-years apart. And after viewing this exhibition curated by Todd Levin, viewers might still struggle to grasp how the two artists have been brought any closer together. Amid piped-in ballet music, glitter-spangled walls, and spotlights that cast heavy halos, Cornell’s semisurreal boxes and Kilimnik’s ethereal oil paintings are hung side by side at uneven heights. It’s a strange setup for an even stranger conversation.

    The exhibition’s premise is that a love of Romantic ballet informs the work of both American artists. This is undoubtedly

  • Hannah Wilke, “S.O.S.—Starification Object Series,” 1974–82, vintage silver gelatin print (detail), 7 x 5”. Copyright © Marsie, Emanuelle, Damon and Andrew Scharlatt/VAGA, New York, NY. Hannah Wilke Collection & Archive, Los Angeles.
    picks July 27, 2010

    Hannah Wilke

    Hannah Wilke’s premature death at the age of fifty-two can sometimes overshadow her work: While some people romanticize her as an artist struck down in her prime, others point to a one-dimensionality in her practice that, with more time, might have developed in a wider variety of directions. Whatever view one takes, there is little doubt that her focus on feminist issues was unwavering. This exhibition, though, clearly shows that her practice was much broader than it is often given credit for.

    The show includes several of Wilke’s most iconic photographs from her “S.O.S.—Starification Object

  • Gordon Matta-Clark, Office Baroque (view of second floor and removed section), 1977, black-and-white photograph, 10 x 8”.
    picks June 28, 2010

    Gordon Matta-Clark

    Coming just a year before Gordon Matta-Clark’s death, Office Baroque, 1977, was the artist doing, in Antwerp, Belgium, what he did best: slicing through an abandoned building to turn it into a monumental sculpture. This exhibition presents documentation of that work, sourced mainly from private collections. The photographs that make up the bulk of the show shed light on the brilliant, considered geometry of Matta-Clark’s intervention. Alongside these images, a forty-five-minute documentary presents a compelling, if slightly romantic, image of the artist creating the piece: young, good with a

  • Left: Michael Schmidt, Untitled, 1997–99, black-and-white photograph, 17 x 11 1/2”. From the series “Frauen” (Women), 1997–99. Right: Phil Collins, free fotolab, 2009, 35-mm slide projection, 9 minutes 20 seconds. Both works are in the Sixth Berlin Biennial for Contemporary Art.
    interviews June 08, 2010

    Kathrin Rhomberg

    Kathrin Rhomberg is the curator of the Sixth Berlin Biennial for Contemporary Art, which opens in various venues around the city on June 11. Here, she talks about the exhibition, her addition of the nineteenth-century painter Adolph Menzel, and why she’s staging most of the Biennial in Kreuzberg.

    THE BERLIN BIENNIAL is inspired by my observations of the past ten years, not just of the art world but also of the social and political developments in the region where it will occur. One of the dominant tendencies in the art world over the past ten years has been a kind of “new historicism”: a