Bean Gilsdorf

  • picks August 29, 2017

    Lutz Bacher

    A straightforward description of Lutz Bacher’s untitled installation belies the work’s understated complexity: The artist has enlarged Donald Trump’s famously jagged signature to almost four feet high and digitally manipulated it into a series of repeats. The resulting image, printed in black ink on approximately 110 running feet of white paper, is stapled to the wall at eye level in the gallery. That’s it.

    And yet the plainness of the material, and its matter-of-fact presentation, evokes other forms of visual evidence, such as a polygraph detecting physiological changes in a liar; a seismograph

  • picks August 20, 2017

    Sarah Lucas

    The second in an ongoing series of temporary projects at this museum, Sarah Lucas’s exhibition juxtaposes her recent work with sculptures by Auguste Rodin and paintings by canonical European artists from the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. Rodin’s bronzes and marbles once set the standard for emotionally expressive forms, and Lucas’s sculptures transform figuration into a contemporary exercise in psychology and materiality. Where Rodin is dignified, romantic, and tasteful, Lucas is crass, provisional, and hungrily mammalian. Together, they are sublime.

    Cannily installed, Lucas’s

  • picks January 23, 2017

    Jarosław Kozłowski

    Over the span of a mere fifteen years, Jarosław Kozłowski developed a vast body of work that stands as a testimony to the vitality of his artistic production under adverse social and political conditions. This survey exhibition, which contains more than sixty pieces, presents a compelling case for Conceptualism not only as a space of intellectual exploration but also as a bulwark against the repressions of the state.

    Kozłowski isn’t well known outside of Poland, though he ought to be. The artist’s early works, such as the mixed-media assemblage Present X, 1966–67, incorporate motifs of eyes or

  • picks June 22, 2016

    “The Travellers”

    With works by twenty-three artists from fifteen countries, “The Travellers” spans space, time, and media. Though its primary motifs may at first seem facile—postcards, trains, and islands all make repeated appearances—the subject matter is consequential. These works reckon with questions of mobility: How can an experience be captured? What constitutes authentic cultural representation? And who has the agency to wander?

    Most works are overtly political, like Sislej Xhafa’s Barka (Boat), 2011/2016, a fifteen-foot boat made from shoes found on the beaches of Lampedusa, Italy. The diversity of the

  • picks June 13, 2016

    Slavs and Tatars

    In Poland, pickle juice is traditionally thought to be an effective hangover cure; and if the nation’s extreme right-wing PiS party seems drunk on their newly acquired power, then Slavs and Tatars’ playful symbology suggests a remedy for their staggering nationalist rhetoric. In the center of the main gallery, a bar serves both juice and a dose of political commentary. Three varieties are offered: traditional cucumber, delicious mushroom, and a garlic so pungent that many might likely decline on the basis of scent alone. After downing a shot or two, visitors are free to take in the other works,

  • picks April 22, 2016

    Quickscan NL #02

    The second edition of the exhibition “Quickscan NL” brings together the work of sixteen photographers and one artist collective who reach beyond conventional strategies of image generation and presentation. Even the most traditional-looking compositions exhibited here have the potential to momentarily confound the viewer. Kasia Klimpel’s The Grand Tour, 2015, includes a suite of what appear to be four color-drenched, cragged landscapes. But upon closer inspection, they reveal layers of pigmented paper photographed in natural light. Rarely is deception so visually satisfying. Batia Suter’s Red

  • picks March 23, 2016

    Jens Fänge

    Jens Fänge’s oneiric assemblages don’t let the eye rest. The sharp angles, distorted views, dazzling patterned floors, and saturated colors of his interior spaces create the sense that every element must be seen at the same time. The mind doesn’t rest either—various art-historical references to the 1920s reverberate in each composition. Slanted walls and curved archways invoke the work of Giorgio de Chirico; layers of images and materials recall Georges Braque and Kurt Schwitters; and floating, embracing figures evoke Marc Chagall. These labyrinthine chambers are full of visual echoes, and like

  • picks March 21, 2016

    “Bread and Roses: Artists and the Class Divide”

    “Bread and Roses: Artists and the Class Divide” presents a spectrum of projects and practices that confront the economic paradoxes of the art world. In some works, the artists acknowledge their simultaneous membership in dominant and oppressed classes, as in the wall-hung printouts of Andrea Fraser’s essay “L’1% C’est Moi,” which focuses on art-market biases and income inequality, and in Cindy Sherman’s large-format photographs Untitled #471, 472, and 473, all 2008, in which the artist appears as three different stereotypes of a wealthy matron. Gerard Kwiatkowski’s Untitled, 1964, indicts the

  • picks January 29, 2016

    Anna Konik

    Anna Konik’s work operates within the psychological states of the afflicted: Refugees, schizophrenics, the elderly, and the infirm are all subjects of her video installations. Konik interprets their stories through fragmented, multichannel constructions where each part provides a different glimpse into the narrative. Shifts between abstraction and representation—and an indeterminate line between the real and the fictional—increase the dramatic tension. Our Lady’s Forever, 2007, for instance, is a seven-channel work shot in a defunct mental institution featuring footage of an electric fan; on