Brigitte Huck

  • Vienna Biennale 2015: “Ideas for Change”

    Christoph Thun-Hohenstein, the director of MAK, the Austrian Museum of Applied Arts in Vienna, has conceived a biennial that will engage art, architecture, and design. Pointing to premodernist Vienna’s experiments in form and reform, Thun-Hohenstein suggests the Austrian capital might be the ideal interface for fostering interdisciplinary approaches to social change in the context of “digital modernity.” Seven exhibitions will be featured in this inaugural iteration, among them a group show foregrounding contemporary practices

  • View of “Josef Dabernig,” 2014.

    Josef Dabernig

    For his exhibition “Rock the Void,” Josef Dabernig—a Conceptual artist and filmmaker with a master’s degree from the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna—cleaned out and tidied up MUMOK’s spaces. His display negotiated between the format of the museum and that of the movie theater—in other words, the white cube and the black box—in an exhibition architecture extending across two floors, an arrangement of staggered cubes placed before empty walls, their edges aligned with crisscrossing oblique visual axes, and lined with twenty-one sparsely stocked glass cases and a half a dozen

  • Geta Brătescu

    Romanian artist Geta Brătescu, the golden girl of Eastern European Conceptualism and a legendary figure in Bucharest’s art scene, has only recently come to the attention of the international art world. Born in 1926, she launched her career in the liberal-minded 1950s, and her work matured (largely away from the public eye) amid the social upheavals that followed—decades of totalitarian repression under Ceauşescu followed by the collapse of Communism. Her long-overdue first American museum show, the 254th edition of the Berkeley Art Museum’s renowned MATRIX Program

  • View of “Roman Ondák,” 2014. From left: Third Way, 2013; Mailbox, 2013.

    Roman Ondák

    Art lovers expecting the unexpected were amply rewarded by Roman Ondák’s recent exhibition “Erased Wing Mirror.” The Slovakian artist is a master illusionist; he famously made an entire Venice Biennale pavilion vanish into thin air, and once organized a fake queue to make it seem as if a vast public were waiting to view his work. This time he unsettled visitors with a nimble sideways move that took him beyond the bounds of such immaterial artistic gestures.

    Mailbox, 2013, a large-format oil painting on the gallery’s main wall, depicts a radiant, lushly green landscape: mountains, a river, and a

  • Maria Lassnig, Selbstporträt expressiv, 1945, oil and charcoal on fiberboard, 23 5/8 x 18 7/8".

    Maria Lassnig

    Austrian-born Maria Lassnig traveled from Paris to New York in 1968, in midcareer, to leave behind not only the continent of Europe but also its fundamental misunderstanding of her “body-consciousness paintings” as a form of expressionism. Embraced today for her defiant attitude, Lassnig garnered a Golden Lion at last year’s Venice Biennale for a lifetime of work that cuts to the bone. Assembling some fifty paintings from private and public collections as well as from the artist’s studio—together with a selection of her watercolors and rarely screened experimental

  • Thomas Locher, GIOTTO.2.G-W-G, 2013, digital C-print, Acryla, aluminum frame, 66 5/8 x 69 3/4 x 4 3/4".

    Thomas Locher

    The Berlin-based turbo-Conceptualist Thomas Locher has explored the rules that govern language since the late 1980s. His credo: Art is a matter of the text. In his recent show “Homo Oeconomicus,” Locher (always an advocate of strict order) lined up his works along the right side of the room, where one could scan them right to left; the remaining walls were bare. This exceptionally disciplined gallery installation reflected Locher’s commitment to rigorous formal consistency—a real case of bullheadedness, the easygoing Viennese would say. As suggested by the title, the works on view examined

  • gelatin, Loch (Hole), 2013, mixed media. Installation view.

    gelatin

    Once again, Austria’s leading art collective created a piece as magical as it was precise. Having come of age in the era of punk, gelatin (or Gelatin or, sometimes, gelitin)—Wolfgang Gantner, Ali Janka, Florian Reither, and Tobias Urban—avail themselves of provocative attitudes, nonconformist behavior, and gently buffered rebellion to pull unprecedented stunts. They use any means available; gelatin loves cross-references among painting, sculpture, and rock music, between architecture and sports, between performance and fashion, between event and discourse. As a result, they are probably

  • Andrei Monastyrski, Self-Portrait 2001, 2012, C-print, 14 3/4 x 19 5/8". From the series “Self-Portraits,” 2012.

    Andrei Monastyrski

    All day long and half the night, Andrei Monastyrski and his dog wander through the city. It’s cold in Moscow, the ground covered with snow. To make his photo series “Self-Portraits,” 2012, the charismatic cofounder (with Nikita Alekseev, Georgi Kizevalter, and Nikolai Panitkov) of the Collective Actions (Kollektivnye deistviya) group inserted his own image into random urban settings, posing as stiffly as Pinocchio. In Self-Portrait 2001, he’s flipped up the visor of his fur cap and stares into the camera with wide-open eyes. Generically the gesture signifies fear, horror, or surprise, but

  • View of “Christian Mayer,” 2012–13.

    Christian Mayer

    What the golden records launched into the unknown with the Voyager spacecraft in 1977 have in common with Andy Warhol’s cardboard boxes of ephemera is that they exemplify the mid-twentieth-century craze for the time capsule. No foundation could be laid, no international exposition opened, without some message being left for the future. Christian Mayer’s exhibition “prezjnt” (present, in the sense of now) was an exploration of the category of the time capsule through various media—video, photography, collage, and sculpture. In this work, the artist stands in the midst of an ongoing flow of

  • View of “Markus Schinwald,” 2011–12.

    Markus Schinwald

    It was only last year that Markus Schinwald transformed the Austrian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale into a labyrinth open to the feet and closed to the gaze, but the Lentos Kunstmuseum in Linz recently also put on a compelling exhibition of this artist’s work. The exhibition hall, a heroically scaled space of 8,600 square feet and a good eighteen feet in height, is like the parking garage for the Batmobile, and it suited Schinwald’s purposes perfectly. The pathology of uncomfortable spaces and the syntax, emotional undercurrents, and psychological aspects of empty interiors have often given

  • View of “VALIE EXPORT / Archive,” 2011. From left: . . . Remote . . . Remote . . . , 1973; Gedichte (Poems), 1966/1980; Splitscreen—Solipsismus, 1968.

    VALIE EXPORT

    VALIE EXPORT’s trailblazing work has long been considered central to contemporary art history. It is characterized by her militant stance, her penetrating analysis of society, politics, and culture, and her fundamental belief in the alterability of prevailing power relationships. Provocation, the eternally young artist insists, moves things forward. The results of her practice of resistance are incunabula of feminist art—works such as Tapp und Tastkino (Tap and Touch Cinema), 1968, Aus der Mappe der Hundigkeit (From the Portfolio of Doggedness), 1968, and Body Sign Action, 1970.

    For her

  • Walter Pichler, Schlafender, Grundkonstruktion (Sleeper, Basic Construction), 2011, wood, glass, 11 3/8 x 13 3/8 x 37 3/8".

    Walter Pichler

    It’s a good time for old dogs in the art world; suddenly we’re interested again in hard-working figures who have stayed the course. The Austrian sculptor Walter Pichler is one such artist. Throughout his career he has ignored the marketplace and media culture: He neither sells his sculptures nor allows himself to be lured into the public eye any more than absolutely necessary. Pichler is a man completely engrossed in his work, undistracted by external pressures, uncompromising in every way. “I am a sculptor,” Pichler says. “There are very few. It’s a job that creates distance, requires time,