April Elizabeth Lamm

  • picks December 02, 2016

    Barbara Bloom

    In Barbara Bloom’s “The Weather,” eight monochrome hand-tufted carpets in a mood-ring palette that shifts from black to pale gray, green, and blue all hover slightly above the ground at different levels. Though each is peppered with a pattern of raised dots, even a blind person couldn’t interpret the Braille embellishments here, not even on the one carpet featuring the exact weather stats on the night of artist’s birth, at 2 AM with zero precipitation and “8.0 miles visibility”—Weather Statistics at Birth (BB), 2015. A booklet at the gallery counter reveals that the other unreadable texts—since

  • picks October 13, 2016

    Mike Nelson

    At first, the objects in the eight vitrines on view in Mike Nelson’s current exhibition appear to be souvenirs from an unsellable intervention—titled Space That Saw (Platform for a Performance in Two Parts)—that took place in 2012 in a derelict former variety theater a block away from the gallery. That installation—remarkable for its utter refusal to reveal its nature as an artwork—was more like a found site, or a haunted theater silently worked upon, reminiscent of Gordon Matta-Clark’s cut-open houses. In the artist’s current show, the work is metaphysically titled Tools That See (The Possessions

  • picks March 02, 2016


    Much has been made of Guy Debord’s 1967 text Society of the Spectacle, but few works of art successfully grasp the progress of an image’s historical state of being into the present. Susanne Pfeffer’s quietly titled exhibition “Images” fills this museum so sparingly as to give the spectator vast room for sparring thoughts. Artists are paired up in sometimes surprising configurations, as if thrown together to duke it out. Cory Arcangel and Michel Majerus are one such coupling, while others including Pierre Huyghe and Philippe Parreno or Seth Price and Wade Guyton seem more obvious. But when the

  • diary August 12, 2015

    Happily Ever After

    IT BEGAN with a lesbian descending the staircase. Fortunately, or not, he wasn’t nude.

    Douglas Gordon was only the first of a multitude of “lesbians” we’d encounter that sultry eve on boom-boom Balearic Ibiza. The man recently infamous for attacking a Manchester theater with an ax never fails to surprise. I’d been disappointed after reading a dramatic article in The Guardian about his exploit, which followed the premiere of his play Neck of the Woods, and then seeing a photo of a tiny bit of axed-out wall, outlined in a wolf’s paw. “It looked so, well, cute,” I complained, so utterly unsensational.

  • diary July 12, 2015

    The Twilight Zone

    THE PAY PHONE. Hardly is the word on paper and I cannot help checking to make sure that it is not one word, instead of two. It looks wrong. It’s so old, it feels brand new.

    There are two Doug Aitken pay phones in Europe right now and there should be more. We could have monuments of disconnect like this in every city across the world. Right now there’s one in Zurich (at Eva Presenhuber) and one here in Frankfurt at the Schirn Kunsthalle, which is celebrating an extensive survey of the artist. Their glow ebbs and flows in response to how the people in the room move. twilight, he’s titled the piece.

  • diary April 21, 2007

    Exquisite Corps


    Standing alone on Thursday evening, barefoot in the garden grass, I was giving my bloody blisters a rest from their hot-pink instruments of torture when Berlin dealer Burkhard Riemschneider approached. I asked: “Who’s the blonde babe whom I took a photo of earlier? Pilar something?” “She’s with Haunch of Venison in London,” said Riemschneider, then, throwing me a red herring: “The gallery that was just bought by Christie’s.” I jested that if he didn’t stop dragging that hard silver suitcase around there’d be rumors that he’d come to Milan to buy out Gió Marconi. But the real topic of the evening’s

  • picks February 21, 2007

    Peter Piller

    For the first time, Peter Piller has made a detour onto the road more traveled by: He is exhibiting his own photographs, in fine constellations of pure poetry, along with the anonymous archival shots painstakingly organized into categories invented by the artist. Piller is famous for his Blick (literally “view,” though not far from “blink”) and not for knowing the moment to press the button on a camera. He unerringly intuits when a found photograph becomes one worth exhibiting, when it makes a statement without ever having made a statement. In the series “Dauerhaftigkeit” (Permanence), 2005–2006,

  • picks January 23, 2007

    Andreas Slominski

    Devilishly delightful five-hundred-kilometer taxi rides are a dime a dozen in India. But taking a taxi from Hamburg to Frankfurt? Andreas Slominski did. Then he handed director Udo Kittelmann the bill. Even cheekier: With the cab parked at the entrance, a tire was removed and the meter kept ticking. The menacing metaphor was not lost on anyone; the driver had parked in front of a famed Hans Hollein building, which the artist had decorated with a billboard-size set of Christmas lights. A taxi without a wheel is, after all, like the left-behind suitcase at the airport, a ticking bomb, a concentration

  • picks January 02, 2007

    Wolfgang Winter and Berthold Hörbelt

    There are places in the world where “sightseeing” is largely in the mind of the beholder. Alexandria hosts several such “sights”: No ruins mark the city’s two great ancient, public spectacles, the library and the lighthouse. In inviting the German duo Wolfgang Winter and Berthold Hörbelt to construct one of their well-known walk-in sculptures—most famous of which are the “Cratehouses,” comprising stacks of bottle crates—the Goethe Institut and the Alexandria Contemporary Arts Forum (ACAF) sought to redefine the meaning of public art in Egypt. By placing this “Cratehouse” on the Mahmoudiya Canal,

  • picks December 11, 2006

    Simon Starling

    In a milieu of quiet Conceptualism, of thoughtful works in spaces so silent that whispering is par for the course, Simon Starling’s latest show heralds a booming departure. A mind-twisting work titled after its fabricator, Wilhelm Noack oHG, 2006, is both film projector and film projection. That is, the film projector itself is a strange work of art conceived of by Starling and produced by the Noack family firm, while the film is a four-minute history of the machine’s maker and makings. It's dark and loud; the clangs and bangs of industry pierce the room, the bass note simply the mechanic purr

  • picks December 05, 2006

    Matthew Barney and Joseph Beuys

    Nancy Spector’s pairing of Joseph Beuys with Matthew Barney might have been a curatorial swan dive. In Germany, the shaman artist who created the notion of “social plastic” and boldly proclaimed, “Everyone is an artist,” is bestowed with an untouchable aura. Whereas the legitimacy of creating a connection between the vitrines and drawings of the couldn’t-be-more-different artists is questionable—and possibly too literal—Spector’s juxtaposition of Barney’s Field Dressing, 1989–90, and Beuys’s Eurasienstab (Eurasian Staff), 1967–68, occasions a mind-spinning reevaluation of the odd couple. While

  • diary May 09, 2006

    Main Attraction


    Crossing the Old Bridge to an island in the River Main one discovers an oversize, rust-red shed, a medieval speicher. It’s the site of Frankfurt’s oldest rowing club, inaugurated in 1865, and now also of the city’s newest art house: Portikus, the gallery of the Städelschule and laboratory of curator Nikola Dietrich and director Daniel Birnbaum. As I made my way there last Friday, spring had sprung—just at the moment when it seemed as though we’d be sticking with winter. The meteorological surprise (which should have been par for the course) lent an idyllic tone to the evening – spectacular

  • diary November 30, 2005

    Uncertainty Principle


    Few of us have had occasion to visit Oslo before, but a Saturday seminar organized by Daniel Birnbaum, Hans Ulrich Obrist, and Gunnar B. Kvaran—the three curators of the show “Uncertain States of America” at the Astrup Fearnley Museet for Moderne Kunst—brought a boatload of American artists and three European journalists into Viking territory. After two weeks of pale-gray German skies that faded to black at half past four in the afternoon, traveling even further north to witness the spectacle seemed like a perverse crash-course in surviving the Prussian winter.

    My plane from Berlin was

  • diary October 03, 2005

    Never Mind the Bulloch


    I woke up Saturday morning to find red wine stains on a blouse I wore to the Tuesday night awards ceremony for the €50,000 Nationalgalerie Prize for Young Art—odd, considering that I thought I had only drank champagne. That was several nights ago, so heaven knows what blows my memory has suffered in the meantime. I vaguely remember a story the director of the Kunstverein Braunschweig, Karola Grässlin, was telling me about riding a hotel elevator up and down all night long—like a somnambuliste dangereuse—until her beau, gallerist Christian Nagel, came to her rescue. That was at