Astrid Wege

  • John Kelsey

    “How much of the painting is already in the TIFF?” With this query, John Kelsey—author, gallery director, and member of the art collectives Bernadette Corporation and Reena Spaulings—began his 2010 essay “100%.” The question hints at a larger concern that remains central to Kelsey’s work: In the current age of hyperactive networking, to what extent is painting, or art in general, already digitally encoded as soon as it enters the space of communication, even if it cannot be reduced to a purely communicative function? Or, as Kelsey himself put it in the catalogue for the 2012 Whitney

  • Henry Flynt

    The Kunstverein in Düsseldorf pulled off a coup with “Henry Flynt: Activities 1959–,” the “first institutional solo show” of the seventy-two-year-old artist, traveling from the kunstverein to ZKM | Center for Art and Media in Karlsruhe (March 2–May 19). Flynt, who coined the term concept art in 1961, is one of the “best-kept secrets of contemporary art history,” as Kunstverein Düsseldorf director Hans-Jürgen Hafner rightly says. Philosopher, mathematician, scientist, musician, and artist, Flynt has pursued “activities” that were underpinned by more than just a discipline-bridging approach. His

  • picks July 14, 2012

    Yvonne Rainer

    The question of how time-based, ephemeral art forms—such as live performance and dance—can be adequately exhibited in museum contexts has been intensively discussed in recent years, alongside an increasing number of retrospectives that have examined work by major figures of 1960s and ’70s performance art. In these shows, whether they are purely documentary or attempt to reenact live work, there is always an implied moment of translation. “Space, Body, Language,” the first European retrospective dedicated to Yvonne Rainer, one of the central artists of US dance and experimental feminist film,

  • Anna Jermolaewa

    Hung in a corner, the central picture in this show was easy to overlook. A small untitled black-and-white photograph, it shows five young women and one young man. Taken in 1986 at a high school for the arts in what used to be Leningrad, it shows Anna Jermolaewa with her classmates; the artist came across the picture years later on a social-networking site. In May 1989, shortly before the dissolution of the Soviet Union, she had fled Leningrad as an eighteen-year-old opposition sympathizer. Settling in Vienna, she later became known for video installations that on first glance seem to show a

  • Omer Fast

    Omer Fast’s film and video installations constitute one long reflection on media-based translations and abstractions of reality. Often he reuses motifs, producing variations on themes from previous works. His new two-part slide and video installation Her face was covered (Part One & Part Two), 2011, for instance, seems like an afterimage of another work from last year, 5000 Feet Is the Best, which stirred up a lot of excitement at the last Venice Biennale and was also shown here—along with Nostalgia, 2009, for which Fast won the Preis der Nationalgalerie für junge Kunst (National Gallery

  • Evelyne Axell

    Axell-eration is the title Evelyne Axell, who shortened her name to the gender-neutral Axell at the beginning of her artistic career, gave to one of her paintings in 1965, and now “Axelleration. Evelyne Axell 1964–1972” is the title of the first extensive solo show in Germany by this Belgian artist, who died in a car crash in 1972. The painting shows the pedals of an automobile being operated by a woman in red high heels. Several characteristics of Pop art come together here: the fascination with speed and the car as a symbol of a new modern lifestyle; bright colors and an emphasis on stencil-like,

  • Mel Chin

    “I was wondering, how do you get an idea into a system, and let it replicate within that system,” Mel Chin once remarked in an interview. He was talking about In the Name of the Place, 1995–97, a project for which, in collaboration with the GALA Committee, he “smuggled” art objects into the TV series Melrose Place as props. They conveyed messages you wouldn’t expect to find in a prime-time series: A takeout container, for instance, bore the slogan HUMAN RIGHTS/TURMOIL in Chinese. A similar strategy of using forms and ideas as viruses to infiltrate representational systems could be seen at work

  • “Stephen Prina: He Was But a Bad Translation”

    Stephen Prina’s work is constantly undergoing “translation”; his own projects often take on various aggregate states, just as works of art and music history can serve as points of departure for appropriation, reprise, and interpretation.

    Stephen Prina’s work is constantly undergoing “translation”; his own projects often take on various aggregate states, just as works of art and music history can serve as points of departure for appropriation, reprise, and interpretation. In Cologne, Prina will combine his filmic reflection on the architect, painter, and musician Bruce Goff (The Way He Always Wanted It II, 2009) with a series of watercolors whose motifs nod to art history and with a room-size installation of blinds (Blind No. 9–17, 2011), while in the theater, a continuous chromatic

  • Olga Chernysheva

    The title of this show, “In the Middle of Things,” reflected that this is where you inescapably find yourself when looking at Olga Chernysheva’s art. But the “things” commanding our gaze and attention are rarely spectacular. “I work quite consciously with unimportant things,” the artist said in 2009, “always drawn to places where an event either has already happened or has not yet begun.” In this way, Chernysheva—who sees herself as a collector of impressions and images in a Baudelairean tradition—uses her camera to record expeditions through the urban landscape of post-Soviet Russia:

  • Anri Sala

    Anri Sala became well known in the late 1990s for works that reflected on life in his native Albania, and he has had a remarkable artistic career since.

    Anri Sala became well known in the late 1990s for works that reflected on life in his native Albania, and he has had a remarkable artistic career since. His video installations capture allegorical moments, often casting the notion of time in a central role. This spring, the Musée d’Art Contemporain de Montréal is giving Sala his first solo show in Canada, with works made in the past eight years including the video installations Long Sorrow, 2005, Answer Me, 2008, and The Clash, 2010, and the percussive installation Doldrums, 2008, all of which foreground the experience of

  • KRIWET

    As Ferdinand Kriwet has often made clear, processes of reception rarely play themselves out in linear form.

    As Ferdinand Kriwet has often made clear, processes of reception rarely play themselves out in linear form. So perhaps it is fitting that the artist (known since the 1960s as KRIWET) would receive a major institutional retrospective in his hometown only after numerous substantial showings elsewhere. A pioneer of new-media art, this self-described concrete poet quickly expanded his range to involve explosive mixed-media image-sound collages in the public sphere utilizing mass-culture outlets ranging from wall painting, signage, and spoken word to radio, TV, and film. In

  • 1st Ural Industrial Biennial

    Sean Snyder’s film Exhibition, 2008, appropriates footage from the Soviet propaganda film Noble Impulses of the Soul (1965). We see Ukrainian agricultural workers standing before reproductions of paintings from Dresden’s Staatsgalerie in the 1960s; a group taking part in a seminar discussing art; the director of a provincial museum declaring that creating art institutions is “not less significant than the construction of a factory.” Snyder has, however, eliminated the original film’s didactic elucidations and edited the historical material, and his film thereby manages to offer a startlingly

  • Thomas Schütte

    FOR THOMAS SCHÜTTE, the architectural model functions as a prototype world, one in which ordinary notions of space and scale are subverted and the relationship between signifier and signified is offered up for interpretation. His models—like his sculptures, installations, photographs, and works on paper—display both an obscure taciturnity and a pronounced eloquence in their incorporation of seemingly explicit and literal titles, inscriptions, banners, and other lures. The title of his show at the Bundeskunsthalle Bonn, “Big Buildings—Models and Views,” combines the titles of two

  • “Public Service Announcement”

    A traveler arriving in Beijing in search of art is sure to be struck first by the size of the city’s enormous squares, temples, galleries, and museums—which corresponds in contemporary art to the prevalence of room-filling

    installations, large-format pictures, and, until recently, high prices paid for works of art. “Small Is the New Big” is the title curator Pauline J. Yao gave in 2009 to an article in which she differentiated the work of the Arrow Factory—a noncommercial exhibition space she has been running with artist colleagues Rania Ho and Wang Wei since 2008—from the hype of contemporary

  • Andreas Fogarasi

    In the 1880s, King Oscar II of Norway transplanted buildings from all the regions of the country; he had them dismantled and then rebuilt, stone by stone, on a plot of land just outside Oslo. This astonishing architectural “collection” forms the heart of the Norsk Folkemuseum, one of the world’s first open-air museums. With new buildings periodically being added, the collection bears witness to Norwegian folk culture from the Middle Ages to the present, contrasting the authenticity of genuine buildings with the fiction of their curated staging. In his own way, Andreas Fogarasi also amasses

  • Willem de Rooij

    “Slit or Gloved,” the title of Willem de Rooij’s recent show in Cologne, is an anagram of “Silver to Gold,” a series (created in 2009 for the Athens Biennale) of five canvases interwoven with carefully proportioned gradations of metallic silver and gold threads—a serial progression transitioning from silver to gold. In de Rooij’s new piece Vertigo’s Doll, 2010—yet another anagram of Silver to Gold—we find the same elements as in the earlier one; the anagram becomes a kind of artistic method. Vertigo’s Doll is a single canvas in a pronounced horizontal format, and its gradations from silver to

  • “Kudymkor, Engine of the Future”

    The full title of this show, “Kudymkor, Engine of the Future: Ekaterina Degot, Curator, and Leonid Tishkov, Artist, Tell the Story of Pyotr Subbotin-Permyak,” describes an unusual collaboration. Using various media—drawing, painting, documentary photography, and film, but also diary excerpts in the form of slogans as well as artifacts borrowed from Russian folk culture—the Moscow-based curator-critic and artist-writer relate the story of Subbotin (1888–1923), an artist who lived in Moscow from 1907 through 1919, placed himself at the service of the Soviet regime, and then decided, as a passionate

  • Charlotte Posenenske

    “The things I make are variable, as simple as possible, reproducible,” Posenenske remarked in the late ’60s.

    “The things I make are variable, as simple as possible, reproducible,” Posenenske remarked in the late ’60s. Emerging as a painter while American Minimalism was taking shape, the German artist (1930–1985) went on to develop an approach strongly influenced by architecture. Constructing objects from simple industrial materials like tin and corrugated cardboard, she tested the combinatorial possibilities of modular forms, delegating an active role to the viewer. In 1968, for political reasons, Posenenske stopped making art, and her work was largely forgotten. A

  • Mark Dion

    Mark Dion is seemingly unparalleled as an artist-researcher—his chosen métier of analyzing prevailing notions of nature and science and the ways in which they are represented. In particular, Dion subjects the processes of naming and categorizing—which are, of course, always also acts of control—to the same meticulous scrutiny he gives to their institutions, such as natural history museums. The results are often-opulent installations using a wealth of materials. Jungle Shop, 2008, for instance, draws its life from a profusion of goods of all sorts—groceries, tools, cigarettes, Coca-Cola, various

  • Sanja Iveković

    A PHOTO SHOWS a young woman in jeans pulling on a pair of boots. A photo beside it shows Marilyn Monroe curled up on a sofa, gazing toward the camera. The caption below her reads: A LONG WAY TO GLORY AND POPULARITY. The image of Monroe comes from a November 1975 special edition of the Yugoslavian magazine Duga, titled Tragedija jedne Venere (Tragedy of a Venus), and the juxtaposition of the two shots is taken from a series of twenty collages by Sanja Iveković bearing the same name. Each collage combines a captioned image of Monroe from Duga with a personal photograph of the artist from different