Chris Bors

  • picks May 12, 2017

    Will Eisner

    Will Eisner was one of the most influential and trailblazing comic-book artists in his field, and this retrospective underlines the power of his legacy. Stories about his costumed crime fighter, the Spirit, were published from 1940 to 1952 as a stand-alone comic-book supplement in American Sunday papers. The Spirit—a sophisticated narrative written for an adult audience—was acclaimed for its cinematic compositions (think Orson Welles, Fritz Lang) and innovative use of the splash panel, in which a single image takes up the entirety of the page. Eisner redrew the title logo frequently to fit the

  • picks May 05, 2017

    Aaron Johnson

    Aaron Johnson’s grotesquely distorted figures revel in working-class American pastimes—indeed, comparing them to Trump’s “deplorables” is inevitable. Johnson’s paintings are created with several different techniques: One uses a sheet of stretched plastic where images are painted backward with layers of acrylic polymer then peeled off and adhered to polyester knit mesh; another utilizes donated socks and acrylic paint to build up a three-dimensional surface. In Gone Fishin’, 2017, a man and woman ride a ramshackle canoe, dining on hamburgers, pizza, and red wine as hungry birds overhead grab both

  • picks February 03, 2017

    Carl Ostendarp

    Well known for his minimalist approach to cartoony graphics and text, Carl Ostendarp’s hand-painted work harkens back to the early days of Pop. For his first show at this gallery’s new location, he employs a tool associated with blue-collar labor to make the washed-out, earth-tone-gray backgrounds of his paintings: a mop. The result is an abstract surface that resembles a cosmic soup, or an eruption of lava, possibly signifying a return to the primordial—or the end of the world.

    Two types of acrylic-on-canvas work are present: long horizontal landscapes and word paintings. Unifying the first

  • picks January 17, 2017

    Zaha Hadid

    Titled “Early Paintings and Drawings,” this sizable collection of almost fifty two-dimensional works by the recently deceased starchitect Zaha Hadid is a celebration of her noteworthy contributions at the crossover of fine art and design. Housed in a building that Hadid expanded and remodeled with Patrik Schumacher in 2013, the exhibition highlights drawings, paintings, and notebook sketches initially created prior to the construction of her first building in 1993. Citing Kazimir Malevich as her main influence, Hadid’s output does take its cues from Suprematism. Constructivism, however, with

  • picks October 02, 2015

    Federico Solmi

    In his latest output, Federico Solmi scans hand-painted imagery and applies it to digital three-dimensional models of world leaders. He then imports each into a video-game platform and records their movements as if they were on a movie set. Titled “The Brotherhood” 2015, this series includes “video-paintings” of mostly infamous leaders with works that indict the viewer and society as much as the leaders themselves, as they flamboyantly posture like shallow celebrities. For example, The Invader (Christopher Columbus – Italy) (all works 2015), in which the titular figure struts, laughs, and

  • picks April 03, 2015

    Folkert de Jong

    Perhaps due to the popularity of Game of Thrones, Folkert de Jong’s “The Holy Land” seems topical, despite that three of the sculptures are made from three-dimensional scans of Henry VIII’s armor. Dispensing with his previous contemporary materials of Styrofoam and polyurethane, de Jong depicts three stages of Henry’s life and hints at current global conflicts, including the outright medieval beheadings perpetrated by the Islamic State, in these patinated bronze relics. The green, red, and blue patinas of the bronze remains consistent throughout the triad, but each sculpture retains a distinct

  • picks January 30, 2015

    Frank Magnotta

    Frank Magnotta’s previous corporate logo conglomerations, surreal architectural mash-ups of text and ornamental design, are impressive on technical merits alone, but have also raised issues with the global hegemony these companies wield. His figurative graphite drawings on view here hint at the controversial legal concept of corporate personhood, a theory that riled hecklers in 2011 at one of former United States presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s campaign stops when he said, “Corporations are people, my friend.” For these works, Magnotta uses an underlying collage of logos from the mid-1960s

  • picks January 21, 2015

    “Post Pop: East Meets West”

    While the term post-pop is not nearly as indeterminate as, say, the newly coined idiom post-Internet, this 250-work survey would be difficult to parse without its thematic groupings: habitat; advertising and consumerism; celebrity and mass media; art history; religion and ideology; and sex and the body. The 110 artists from China, Taiwan, the former Soviet Union, the US, and the UK have many commonalities and use similar strategies of the pivotal movement. Gary Hume’s painting Four Coloured Doors, 1989–90, alludes to popular culture with its minimal, schematic, and somewhat cartoony depiction

  • picks December 27, 2014

    David Lynch

    For a generation of David Lynch devotees that know him as the filmmaker of foreboding, surreal films such as Eraserhead and Blue Velvet, and of the cult television series Twin Peaks, it may come as a revelation that he has been making paintings since the 1960s. Since the outré is inherent in his widely known medium, it is of no surprise that his visual art follows suit, with many examples straddling the line between neo-expressionism and art brut. The unsettling Francis Bacon–esque Man Throwing Up, 1967, is quite restrained formally despite its subject matter, featuring a three-dimensional visage

  • picks July 14, 2013

    “Displays”

    A fresh perspective is taking place in an evolving exhibition of art on loan from the Cypriot State Collection of Contemporary Art. Chosen by twenty-seven participants from a range of disciplines, such as art history, archaeology, and dance, these works will be displayed in stages, forming a group exhibition with accompanying events to produce a lively discourse. The undated Gauguinesque painting The Two Orphans by Loukia Nicolaedes, with its earth-toned depiction of two young girls with distant gazes, might act as apt entrée into this multifaceted presentation. The painting’s subdued focus

  • picks July 12, 2011

    “Prix de Rome 2011”

    This exhibition brings together the work of the finalists and nominees for the 2011 Prix de Rome prize for visual arts, thus providing the audience a chance to judge for themselves. The jury for this year’s edition awarded first place to Pilvi Takala for her video installation Broad Sense, 2011, which documents her performative intervention at the European Parliament in Brussels. We see Takala sneaking her way around the building without proper clearance and attending various conferences, including one on human rights where a participant brings up the then detention of Chinese artist Ai Weiwei.

  • picks January 27, 2011

    “Audience as Subject, Part 1: Medium”

    Organized by Betti-Sue Hertz, this show, the first stage of a two-part exhibition, examines the identity and role of the audience with respect to live events, focusing on venues that restrict the number of viewers relative to the size of the space. This investigation is particularly relevant since it counters the hegemony of social media, where reaching a broad audience instantly is the foremost goal—a standard so pervasive that more intimate encounters are often overshadowed. The role of the spectator in small events is shown most effecitvely in the moving-image works on view, including Stefan

  • picks August 18, 2010

    Sarah Lucas

    Sometimes the simplest idea can be very effective. A case in point: Sarah Lucas’s “NUDS” sculptures: nylon tights filled with kapok stuffing, resting on cement blocks atop wood pedestals. Although made from materials similar to those in her earlier “Bunny” series, these new biomorphic forms are notably minimalist, alluding to the work of artists such as Louise Bourgeois, who has an exhibition running concurrently at the same venue. Resembling human skin with varicose veins, Lucas’s bulbous shapes invite multiple interpretations, evoking both autoeroticism and a clusterfuck of contorted bodies—or

  • picks August 06, 2010

    Kostis Velonis

    You say you want a revolution? Look no further than Kostis Velonis’s timely exhibition at the National Museum of Contemporary Art in Greece, opening just days after protests erupted in response to new economic measures. Velonis’s painted wooden assemblages combine references to world history and twentieth-century art movements that held hopeful, if idealistic, views of the political future. Taking formal elements from Russian Constructivism while at the same time mining his own heritage by espousing the ideals of ancient Greek democracy, Velonis carefully constructs both monumental and diminutive

  • picks May 06, 2010

    “I’m Not Here. An Exhibition Without Francis Alÿs”

    This group exhibition, organized by current participants in the de Appel Curatorial Program, features fourteen artists whose work captures the spirit of Francis Alÿs’s practice by confronting us with enigmatic objects and situations that prompt the viewer to fill in the gaps. In addition, it serves as an analytic examination of the solo show format. In a 2005 interview, Alÿs stated, “Maybe you don’t need to see the work, you just need to hear about it.” Accordingly, the exhibition riffs on Todd Haynes’s film I’m Not There (2007), wherein six actors portray varying aspects of Bob Dylan’s life,