Charles Green

  • “HYPER REAL”

    Since the late 1960s, sculptors around the world, including John De Andrea and Duane Hanson, have been creating eerily lifelike simulacra of human bodies, first through traditional techniques of modeling, casting, and the careful application of paint, and later by learning from the film industry’s special-effects fabricators in order to generate utterly fantastic, often digitally assisted visions of alternative realities. Featuring a provocatively diverse assortment of practices, this traveling exhibition tracks developments in hyperrealism over the past

  • Patricia Piccinini

    Two decades ago, model making commanded considerable attention in the art world. Patricia Piccinini, along with Ron Mueck, Ricky Swallow, Sam Durant, and many others, went further than just making to-scale, postmodern simulacra of consumer objects and cardboard boxes. Each of them constructed labor-intensive, trompe l’oeil models of scenes or characters from imaginary worlds in place of the archiving and documenting that in other artists’ hands became the more familiar hallmark of contemporary art. Their painfully perfect works, marked by a spectacular degree of skill and effort, teetered on

  • Gareth Sansom

    Gareth Sansom’s extraordinarily eccentric paintings are composed of overpainted and underpainted images—palimpsests of body parts, numerals, words, cartoonish faces, collaged photographs, and feces-like smears. As they sprawl toward their edges, these agglomerations are beaten back by borders of precisely painted, brightly colored abstractions that look at first sight as if they’ve been carelessly assembled from a late-1960s mail-order catalogue of modernism’s formalist tricks. That’s exactly when Sansom started making paintings like this, which have earned him his position as one of

  • “Robert MacPherson: The Painter’s Reach”

    Since the 1970s, Brisbane-based artist Robert MacPherson has produced a diverse set of works that critically engage the materiality of painting, often employing a vernacular of the quotidian: Objects such as road signs, paintbrushes, shoes, and office stationery proliferate throughout his oeuvre. Over the years, critics and curators have cast MacPherson as an exemplar of Minimalism, abstraction, the archival impulse, and Conceptualism, but the meaning of his works has remained elusive. Perhaps answers will be found in “The Painter’s Reach,” MacPherson’s first major museum

  • “Benglis 73/74”

    Everyone who attended art-school theory seminars from the mid-1970s on, and everyone who reads Artforum, knows that in 1974, New York artist Lynda Benglis’s gallery purchased two pages of ad space in the magazine’s November issue. That advertisement is the basis for the recent three-gallery exhibition “Benglis 73/74.” Its curator, Geoff Newton, is an artist with a taste for the textual (he sometimes paints covers of art books or magazines). For this show, he assembled works by a long list of British and American artists, from Sarah Lucas and Cosey Fanni Tutti to Robert Mapplethorpe and Benglis

  • TarraWarra Biennial 2012

    For this carefully modest and constantly thoughtful biennial, titled “Sonic Spheres,” a focus on sound art means more than audio booths and noise spill. Exhibited work by twenty individual artists and one collaboration includes scores, drawings on top of scores, aural reinterpretations, and invented musical instruments. Indicating the conflicted and coveted currency of contemporary sound art, catalogue essayist and Sydney-based sound theorist Caleb Kelly disputes the terms of the art world’s current preoccupation with sound art altogether, questioning the very value of such a category and noting

  • Gabriella Mangano and Silvana Mangano

    Gabriella Mangano and Silvana Mangano are identical twins. This is not at all incidental to the hypnotic charisma of their videos, which have in the past often been documentations of joint actions. Among these is if . . . so . . . then, 2006, in which the artists, seated face-to-face, reach past each other and draw in unison. Their sheer physical similarity, calligraphic gestures, and muteness—plus the simple documentary cinematography—produce the overwhelming sense of a single artist doubled. Many of these videos were filmed in austere black and white. Indoors or outdoors, against

  • 17th Biennale of Sydney

    Veteran curator David Elliott disperses the Biennale of Sydney across several harbor-area locations, including the Sydney Opera House, the Museum of Contemporary Art, and the glorious Cockatoo Island.

    Veteran curator David Elliott disperses the Biennale of Sydney across several harbor-area locations, including the Sydney Opera House, the Museum of Contemporary Art, and the glorious Cockatoo Island, where disused industrial buildings and a former prison play host to a massive light-box installation by Hiroshi Sugimoto and the Tiger Lillies’ new “post-punk neo-Brechtian” opera, among other contributions by some fifty international artists. Ransacking both the recent past and the haunted present, Elliott has selected works with maximum iconic presence and acute historical

  • Len Lye

    In 1961 Len Lye wrote, “In tangible sculpture the aesthetic value of objects becomes secondary to that of their motion.” This just about sums up the message of this revelatory exhibition, almost entirely gathered from the encyclopedic holdings of the Len Lye Foundation at the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery (New Zealand’s most important museum of contemporary art), which, along with the New Zealand Film Archive, was given Lye’s work upon his death in 1980. Densely researched and beautifully installed by curators Alessio Cavallaro and Tyler Cann, this is the first comprehensive overview of one of

  • Tacita Dean

    Tacita Dean’s gorgeous documentations of the obsolete using recently outmoded media (she shoots in 16 mm) track the passing of the twentieth century. This survey—her first substantial Australian showing since 2001—will take into account the nostalgic trajectory of her recent output.

    Tacita Dean’s gorgeous documentations of the obsolete using recently outmoded media (she shoots in 16 mm) track the passing of the twentieth century. This survey—her first substantial Australian showing since 2001—will take into account the nostalgic trajectory of her recent output, including Kodak, 2006, a film portraying one of the last analog film factories in Europe, now limited to manufacturing X-ray material, and her luminous celluloid portrait of Merce Cunningham performing to John Cage’s 4'33", a dance that premiered last summer at upstate New York’s Dia:Beacon.

  • picks April 17, 2009

    Yang Yongliang

    Yang Yongliang’s eccentric prints, presented in this exhibition by Chinese Contemporary Art Consultants, are photographic composites that depict agglomerations of skyscrapers, railways, radio towers, power lines, and freeways. These futuristic architectural vignettes look as though they’ve been painstakingly assembled from an urban planner’s photographic archive of developers’ projects in Yang’s hometown, Shanghai. But the thousands of buildings here are digitally stitched together into their opposite: Panoramic black-and-white views of mountains, streams, and oceans that look at a distance just

  • Manuel Ocampo

    Mobile, menacing, messy: These are words that immediately describe Manuel Ocampo’s hit-and-run approach to painting and, ostensibly, to identity. Like the late German artist Martin Kippenberger, Ocampo presents a surplus of meaning but a dandyish deficit of definable intention. The artist’s articulate, carefully rehearsed, public disdain for the vocabulary of art criticism and theory (he has often selected the baroque titles of his shows and individual paintings from art critics’ and canonical artists’ utterances), combined with his predilection for artistic collaborations (not least with another

  • picks October 02, 2008

    “NEON”

    “NEON” is a compendium of neon in art ranging from Laurie Anderson’s famous Neon Bow, 1980, used in her early stage performances, to Lori Hersberger’s enormous neon-rectangle-and-shattered-glass installation Ghost Rider (Doors), 2008. Other works on view include Pierre Huyghe’s heartbreakingly simple but cryptic neon declaration I do not own Snow White, 2006, which evokes the chimera of the cartoon heroine at the same time as it ostensibly observes the Walt Disney Company’s ownership of that fictional character. Young Australian artist Brook Andrew’s Signal 2, 2008, consists of three dark, nearly

  • picks September 04, 2008

    “Klippel/Klippel: Opus 2008”

    Robert Klippel was the most important sculptor working in Sydney during the postwar period, but the key formative years of his career were spent in London (during the late 1940s), then in New York and Minneapolis (during the late ’50s and early ’60s, respectively). Thoroughly conversant with the artistic currents swirling around him during that time, he eventually returned to Australia having synthesized AbEx-sculptural and Pop-art influences into complicated, calligraphic assemblages made of found materials such as typewriter and machine parts. Later in his career, he typically assembled painted,

  • Ram Rahman

    A huge, buff bodybuilder flexes his muscles as three delighted, scantily clad female acrobats applaud: These painted figures hover on a billboard above a wall built of corrugated iron sheeting, across which are lettered the words GENTS URINAL. The scene is typical of Ram Rahman’s mostly black-and-white photographs, in which concatenations of representational codes—hand painted billboards and text, as in Gents Urinal, Delhi, 1991—mingle with banners, buildings, crowds, and resting figures so that perspective collapses. This maze of painted sign and intimate streetscape is not hard to find in New

  • picks December 14, 2007

    Shaun Gladwell

    Over the past ten years, Shaun Gladwell has shot from obscurity to preeminence in Australian contemporary art, a position underscored by this mammoth solo exhibition. It ends a twenty-six-year run for Sydney gallerist Gene Sherman, who will open, in 2008, a private nonprofit art foundation. Gladwell’s reputation and the sheer desirability of his work make him one of the most dramatic instances of a young artist benefiting from the current boom market. He is also an alert art critic’s dream. It’s easy to spot the generational markers: the recreational gear, the iPods, and, in Apology to Roadkill

  • picks November 09, 2007

    Jan Nelson

    Jan Nelson paints portraits of adolescent boys and girls. She pays as much attention to each kid’s carefully calibrated gear—the fur hats, bike helmets, faux-hippie T-shirts, sunglasses, and painstakingly chosen stickers and logos—as to individual physiognomy. Not one of these teenagers looks the viewer straight in the eye, and none is easy to read; all are turned partly away from the viewer, are hidden behind dark glasses, or look carefully down. The only concession they make to the communication of character, beyond a not completely hostile self-absorption, is via the semiotics of customized

  • Juan Davila

    Across a corner of Rat Man, 1980, Juan Davila spells out his early painting’s comic-strip intention in cursive script: A DISCOURSE ABOUT A DISCOURSE / ART IS MADE FOR THE RECOGNITION OF DESIRE. When he painted Rat Man, it seemed that Davila’s discourse of pornographic desire centered on a programmatic method of citation and viral perversion of modern and contemporary art. Twenty-five years later, this large and exquisitely curated survey makes it clear that Davila recognized that desire resides more in the vicious, willed malevolence of people toward one another than in the multiplicity of sexual

  • Zones of Contact: 2006 Biennale of Sydney

    At the start of his catalogue essay for the 2006 Biennale of Sydney, director Charles Merewether states that his exhibition “aspires to be about the ‘now’ of the contemporary, bearing the disjuncture and discontinuities as much as correspondences and transversal movements of encounter and exchange.” Because this is such an ambitious exhibition—the only Biennale of Sydney since 1992 to come with a decent intellectual underpinning, albeit one couched in convoluted prose—Merewether’s claim deserves to be examined seriously. But at a time when the Documenta 10 aesthetic of video and Photoconceptualism

  • diary June 11, 2006

    On the Waterfront

    Sydney

    “I can’t relax yet, I’ve got at least eight more venues to open,” confessed a grim-looking Biennale of Sydney director Charles Merewether at a chilly Wednesday-morning press preview as installers and electricians raced across the cavernous spaces of Pier 2/3. Set at one of the few nineteenth-century harborside warehouses not converted into condominiums, this has always been a spectacular but problematic setting for art. Here and slightly anxious artists crouched by their suddenly miniature works. A wound-up Merewether marched off to oversee the last touches: no labels or captions to identify