Christopher Bedford

  • View of “Perspectives in the Crowd.”
    picks August 02, 2007

    “Perspectives in the Crowd”

    “Perspectives in the Crowd” is a large-scale video projection comprising over fifty DIY audiovisual accounts of Daft Punk’s raucous 2006 performance at the Coachella Music Festival, all gathered from YouTube and spliced together by artist Tucker Neel. The effect of this unlikely project is mesmerizing and variously suggestive. Like much of the best performance documentation—think of Chris Burden’s early performance photographs or the Viennese Actionists’ fastidiously composed performance stills—this video compilation immediately establishes itself as ontologically distinct from the live source

  • View of “Chris Burden: Yin Yang.” Foreground: Lotus (detail), 2006. Background: Bulldozer, 2007.
    picks July 16, 2007

    Chris Burden

    The concept of this exhibition is as straightforward as it is hubristic: Quite simply, Chris Burden has installed two vehicles from his “personal collection” in the pristine main vault of the gallery, accompanied by salable ephemera in the form of “signed, dated and titled” color Polaroid photographs that show the artist standing proudly beside his vehicles, smiling sheepishly at the camera. One of the vehicles is a 1973 Lotus Europa sports car and the other an International T6 crawler bulldozer. The conveyance in Lotus, 2006, is comically compact, palpably quick even at a standstill, and

  • Alexandra Grant, let's (after Michael Joyce's “ladders,” 2004), 2005, mixed media on paper, 120 x 80".
    picks June 28, 2007

    Alexandra Grant

    Too often, theoretical approaches to looking at art interfere with the viewer’s ability simply to see; theoreticians go looking for objects sympathetic with their framework of choice. Alexandra Grant’s text-based paintings, sculptures, and installations complicate this procedure a little. On one hand, her work is so theory laden that it would be disingenuous to ignore the relationship. On the other hand, the debt to theory is so patent that it challenges the viewer to think beyond one-to-one text-image correspondences and to consider instead how visual art extrapolates or perhaps even departs

  • The Weight of Relevance, 2007, still from a three-channel color video with sound, 26 minutes 15 seconds.
    picks May 18, 2007

    Andrea Bowers

    Andrea Bowers’s desire to assume the considerable burden of social pertinence is announced by the declarative title of her latest exhibition, but the actualization of this desire in the show itself is an astringent jolt nonetheless. The nineteen objects that compose this exhibition each take as their subject the AIDS Memorial Quilt, which was conceived in 1987 and now comprises more than forty thousand three-by-six-foot panels made by people from all over the world. Significantly, the quilt has not been exhibited publicly since it was installed on the Washington Mall on October 11, 1996. In her

  • Hinoki, 2007, Hinoki cypress, 5' 8“ x 31' 10” x 20'.
    picks May 14, 2007

    Charles Ray

    Charles Ray’s hulking new sculpture—thirty-two feet long and ten years in the making—is based on a decaying, hollowed-out log the artist happened upon off Highway 1 on California’s central coast. Casting about for a way to reanimate the log, Ray traveled to Japan to consult Yuboku Mukoyoshi, a master wood-carver from Osaka. Returning to his studio, Ray cut the timber into hundreds of pieces and took silicone molds of each section. These molds were then shipped to Japan, where Mukoyoshi and his team reproduced each segment in carved Hinoki cypress. The resultant sculpture, Hinoki, 2007, extends

  • Disco Dancing, 2006–2007, oil and charcoal on canvas, 56 x 72".
    picks March 27, 2007

    Nicola Tyson

    Painting should be easy to describe by now. However, to capture the damaged, feral character of Nicola Tyson’s figurative paintings is a tall order. Darkly sexual fetish portraits, stripped-bare psychoanalytic expositions, or records of physical deterioration, these works draw on the inheritance of Francis Bacon and Leon Golub to present the human body as a site of trauma and resistance. If Tyson’s paintings have any relationship to the disciplinary languages of art history and art criticism, it is only to draw attention to the radical incommensurability of art writing and its object—in fact,

  • View of “Robert Russell: Scattershot,” 2007. From left: Timothy McVeigh, 2006; Artificial Arrangement, 2006; Arrangement 3, 2006.
    picks March 14, 2007

    Robert Russell

    Like fellow Los Angeles–based painter Steve Hurd, Robert Russell has an unerring eye for inflammatory material. Unlike Hurd, however, Russell often juxtaposes such images with apparently benign still lifes and saccharine pastel portraits; the effect is manifestly unsettling. The gallery begins to feel a little like a warped, modern Kunstkammer or perhaps a perverse suburban living room indiscriminately stuffed with public and private memorabilia. By virtue of proximity, associations inevitably develop between Russell’s images, and the viewer is left to grope for links that are tenuous at best.

  • Black Line, 2007, VHS cassettes, tape, and screws, 4 1/2 x 48'.
    picks February 20, 2007

    Mounir Fatmi

    The centerpiece of Moroccan-born Mounir Fatmi’s exhibition is Black Line, 2007, a forty-eight-foot-long wall-mounted panorama composed of 998 VHS cassettes. From a distance, the simple modular design reads as a clever (if elegant) optical trick, but closer scrutiny reveals a work that is as conceptually polyvalent as it is visually straightforward. Adhered to the gallery wall such that we see only the back of each cassette, the geometric cutouts in the molded plastic casings cohere en masse into a captivating pattern suggestive of a cityscape regularly punctuated by angular spires, or a darkness

  • Delta, 2006, oil on canvas, 84 x 96".
    picks January 25, 2007

    Tomory Dodge

    The stout, deliberate passages of thickly applied, vigorously manipulated paint that compose Tomory Dodge’s oil-on-canvas works inevitably recall Gerhard Richter’s early abstract paintings. But unlike Richter, whose abstractions feel photographic and mechanical even without discernible imagery, Dodge’s work answers to a more whimsical, capricious logic, one opposed to the methodical processes of erasure and reconstitution Richter employs. His paintings most often arise from either memory or imagination, and consequently we are presented with bold, Technicolor fragments of a visual imprint

  • Against the Wall, 2006, oil on panel, 2 x 3 3/4".
    picks January 15, 2007

    Amy Bennett

    Though Brooklyn-based painter Amy Bennett works in the most conventional fine-art medium, in her synthetic realist manner of painting, choice of subject matter, and freeze-frame treatment of dark, dramatic narratives, she draws deeply on popular filmic conventions, in particular sinister accounts of suburban disturbance. Like Little Children and The Truman Show, which traffic in a baleful, unreal vision of suburban life scrupulously crafted by careful directors, Bennett deftly manipulates her sets and characters to yield arresting, often disquieting oil-on-panel paintings. Much like the German

  • Installation view, 2006.
    picks December 14, 2006

    Ryan Gander

    The undeclared meta-theme of Ryan Gander’s complex, opaque, and at times perspicacious show is the nature and value of the conventional art object in contemporary practice. More than thirty years after the dawn of Conceptual art, this may seem a rather passé preoccupation, but since it has recently become apparent that we are in the midst of another “fine art” renaissance—witness the swift ascent of anyone who can draw decently—his question is timely (again) if not exactly radical. Gander is not interested in presenting the viewer with dematerialized objects that teeter on the cusp of nonexistence.

  • Slow & Easy, 2006, gold and silver leaf, acrylic, paint marker, spray paint, and Mean Streak on six wood panels, 72 x 96".
    picks December 11, 2006

    Gajin Fujita

    Many of Gajin Fujita’s recent paintings appear to disclose their concerns—both conceptual and formal—far too eagerly. His meticulously executed tableaux juxtapose erotic geisha imagery, explosive graffiti, lustrous lowriders, careful gold leafing, detailed samurai armor, and fantastical creatures with riotous abandon and seem—superficially, at least—to tame and resolve these elements into happy, heterogeneous images that loudly declaim their multicultural stripes. Closer attention to these multimedia-on-wood works, however, reveals agitated, uneasy relationships between Fujita’s pictorial elements