Claire Barliant

  • picks April 13, 2017

    Tommy Hartung

    Tommy Hartung is one of a number of artists—including Huma Bhabha, Ry Rocklen, and Allyson Vieira—who assemble scavenged materials to make sculpture that evokes ancient civilizations. Hartung sets himself apart largely through his use of video and animation. The centerpiece of this compact overview, which also includes a selection of sculptures resembling African or Phoenician statues and a series of dreamlike Polaroid photographs, is the twelve-minute video King Solomon’s Mines, 2017. The video is the second installment in a three-part series inspired by Solomon, the biblical figure of vast

  • interviews November 22, 2016

    Wendy Jacob

    For more than two decades, Wendy Jacob has been steadily building a practice that manages to intertwine ideas of care, architecture, and transgression. From her days as a cofounder of Haha, the collective that contributed Flood, 1992–95, a hydroponic garden, to Mary Jane Jacob’s Culture in Action project in Chicago, to her collaboration with animal scientist Temple Grandin in the early ’90s on an armchair that would gently squeeze users, Jacob has continually looked beyond conventional structures. For her current exhibition at the Radcliffe Institute’s Johnson-Kulukundis Family Gallery in

  • picks October 11, 2016

    Frances Stark

    “Concealing what is shameful to you will never lead to anything of value,” Norwegian diarist Karl Ove Knausgaard told the Paris Review. Uninhibited, soul-baring autobiography has never been more in demand, and the demand has never been easier to fulfill. Which makes Frances Stark, whose recent videos incorporate dialogue plucked from her online sex chats, possibly the most representative artist of our navel-gazing age. This retrospective, which originated at the Hammer Museum, in the artist’s hometown of Los Angeles, attempts to encapsulate Stark’s rambling, passionate career but fails to capture

  • PROW

    We all now know better than to believe in the myth of the artist working alone in her studio. But what of the supposed alternative, the idea of a collective happily plugging away on a shared project? prow, a collaborative entity whose name is a combination of the initials of the group’s primary constituents, Peter Rostovsky and Olav Westphalen, staged two separate exhibitions in New York this winter. Both shows were produced by, and dealt with, cooperative enterprise. But whether they were promoting or satirizing it remained intriguingly ambiguous.

    PROW claim that they are modeled after a Hollywood

  • Saul Fletcher

    “But what does the painter think about his work—which in itself appears to be unresolved—being framed, enclosed, placed in an interior?,” a journalist wrote in 1920, after visiting Piet Mondrian’s Paris studio. “His studio answers for him. The walls of the room . . . are hung with painted or unpainted canvases, so that each wall is actually a kind of larger-scale painting with rectangular fields.” Saul Fletcher’s photograph, Untitled (Fog and Rain), 2005, which shows a loose pattern of black vertical lines on a roughly painted surface, recalls Mondrian’s 1915 Pier and Ocean, but a comparison

  • picks May 25, 2006

    Terence Gower

    Raul the fun-loving bachelor has a series of madcap adventures in Terence Gower’s must-see 2004 video Ciudad Moderna. He gets into a scrape, dances in his chic apartment clad only in his underwear, executes a mean pratfall, dives into a pool, and, naturally, entertains a variety of beautiful women—all within the span of six minutes. Yet his exploits are secondary to the video’s primary function: It is a valentine to Mexico City’s modernist architecture. Gower is a serious scholar of Mexican modernism, and this is one in a series of works on the subject. To make it, he pared down a 1966

  • picks May 08, 2006

    Jason Dodge

    For all that modern amenities such as telephones and airplanes mitigate the difficulties of maintaining long-distance relationships, the miles that separate us from our loved ones can still feel bitterly vast. Leaning on little more than a few rich details and the viewer’s imagination, Jason Dodge’s latest work deals with this very topic and conjures a Chekhovian sense of drama and narrative besides. “Into Black” (all works 2006), a series of eight monochromatic grayscale photographs, turns out to be the results of “undeveloped photo paper that was exposed for the first time at sunrise on the

  • Pawel Wojtasik

    The statistics that inspired Pawel Wojtasik’s twenty-two-minute video, The Aquarium, 2006, according to gallery literature, are so predictably depressing that they might seem to barely warrant repeating: The normal life span of a beluga whale in the wild is between twenty-five and thirty years while in captivity it is a mere seven; Rincon Beach, in Santa Barbara, is frequently closed due to elevated levels of bacteria from sewage and “urban runoff”; 65 percent of the coral reefs in the Gulf of Mexico have been destroyed. But as climate change increasingly makes headlines, and scientists warn

  • Mika Rottenberg

    The blood-chilling term efficiency expert was coined in the early twentieth century by mechanical engineer and management consultant Frederick Taylor, who famously timed factory employees to encourage them to work faster. Mika Rottenberg’s videos of women performing mindless, repetitive tasks might do Taylor proud if they didn’t also reveal his system’s utter lack of humanity. In Rottenberg’s latest video, Dough, 2005–2006, a six-minute loop, the eponymous product is manufactured via an obscure and complicated process that requires the use of a fluorescent lamp and an inhaler, as well as an

  • Bruno Peinado

    Having landed simultaneous exhibitions in Manhattan and Brooklyn, French artist Bruno Peinado took advantage of the geographical opposition to launch a site-specific investigation of duality, reflection, and inversion. Although the two shows were discrete entities, they became decidedly more interesting when viewed in relation to one another.

    “Why Style,” Peinado’s exhibition at the Swiss Institute, riffed on Wild Style, Charlie Ahearn’s 1982 docudrama about the budding hip-hop movement in the South Bronx. Untitled, Vanity Flight Case, 2005, loomed totemically at the center of the pitch-black

  • picks February 09, 2006

    “Do You Think I'm Disco”

    With a nod to the ’70s, when disco music stood for the rising influence of gay culture on the mainstream and elicited extreme reactions (such as the infamous 1979 “Disco Demolition” at Chicago’s Comiskey Park), curator Edwin Ramoran has put together a lively if somewhat uneven group show that is as much about endurance and resistance as it is about shiny mirror balls and funky music. The long list of participating artists includes marquee names such as Carrie Moyer, represented here by a painting and Rock the Boat, 2005, a terrific series of posters depicting a disco ball/bomb, and Phil Collins,

  • Lamar Peterson

    In Lamar Peterson’s painting Michael Jackson in Winter (all works 2005), the self-anointed King of Pop is portrayed in a wintry landscape with paper snowflakes fluttering around his bewildered face. The world’s most visible outsider, Jackson has tried without success to find any group that will have him as a member (his relationship with the Nation of Islam is the latest to have come to an acrimonious end), and now fumbles along in his own lonely, freakish way. All of which makes him a fitting subject for Peterson, whose paintings are populated by lost-looking figures, usually black, who almost

  • Ann Lislegaard

    “The miracle of order has run out,” a woman says in mellifluous tones, “and I am left in an unmiraculous place where anything may happen.” The sentence occurs in the voice-over of Ann Lislegaard’s computer animation Bellona (after Samuel R. Delany), 2005. The eleven-minute loop depicts a series of interiors that seem to fulfill Italian designer Joe Colombo’s 1960s vision of a domestic future in which “furnishings will disappear; the habitat will be everywhere.” The rooms are almost entirely empty, save for a few doors that lean against the walls and some hanging globe lamps that give this strange

  • Robert Melee

    Channeling the spirits of Jackson Pollock and Martha Stewart, so he claims, Robert Melee drips and spatters enamel onto a variety of surfaces, usually linoleum, but sometimes the naked body of his mother. One of the more interesting artists to emerge from “Greater New York 2005” at P. S. 1 Contemporary Art Center and “Make it Now” at SculptureCenter, Melee is best known for trashily glamorous installations. At P. S. 1, he built an entertainment center out of faux wood paneling and old television sets, each of which showed a different video. In one, Marbleization of Mommy, 2002, Melee is shown

  • picks November 28, 2005

    “Spanglish”

    Originating in South Texas, Spanglish is a hybrid dialect that provides the title and concept for an exhibition, deftly curated by Kate Green, that features eight San Antonio-based artists. The works on view address ways in which geographical barriers are regularly transgressed, not only by illegal immigrants, but also by American culture's gradual infiltration of the rest of the world via mass media and consumerism. Sin Cuenta (all works 2005), one of the more arresting pieces, uses three freestanding sections of chain-link fence. By inserting plastic cups into the fence holes, artist Gary

  • Mary Ellen Carroll

    Billowing American flag

    Bus deposits people

    Birds squawk and chirp, jets fly overhead

    The urban haiku above was pulled from my notes on Mary Ellen Carroll’s Federal and is a fairly complete summary of its action. Shot in real time on July 28, 2003, this two-part video (the halves were shot, and are screened, concurrently) is a twenty-four-hour record of the northern and southern facades of the federal building in Los Angeles, and was shown exactly two years later at Cinema Village in conjunction with an exhibition of twenty-four photographs of the northern facade at Storefront for Art and

  • picks October 23, 2005

    Laleh Khorramian

    Laleh Khorramian’s animated film Chopperlady, 2005, opens with the outline of a woman, her hair pulled back into a chignon, who reaches into her belly and pulls out a baby—only to promptly toss it away. The nonchalant matricide marks the beginning of a surreal nine-minute journey that the woman embarks on, traveling through mottled, watercolor landscapes. Chopperlady rides in a helicopter (hence the name), which appears to be no more than a flimsy bit of paper, but moves with ease over rocky cliffs and oceans. Small, dark figures occasionally appear and sometimes perform acrobatics. At the film’s

  • picks October 12, 2005

    Patrick Martinez

    Do the ends justify the means? This question, which must plague many if not all artists, was neatly rendered moot by French artist Patrick Martinez’s second New York solo exhibition, titled “The Ends.” Here ends became means: Martinez used either markers or ball-point pens on the verge of expiration to execute his drawings. The almost-dead markers lend a feathery lightness to his lines, so that the drawings made with that unusual implement, such as Poisson Fakir (all works 2005), possess an airy delicacy. In contrast, two works done in ballpoint pen have a kind of ferocity; Untitled, rendered

  • Banks Violette

    In a single, melancholic afternoon, I recently saw Gus Van Sant’s latest film Last Days, and the Robert Smithson and Banks Violette exhibitions at the Whitney Museum of American Art. Though unplanned, the itinerary made sense: Each presentation was haunted by the theme of early death, a fate that has long been a trigger for cultish devotion. As Shelley wrote after Keats died at twenty-five: “He is secure, and now can never mourn / A heart grown cold, a head grown grey in vain.” Or, in the words of Neil Young, quoted memorably by Kurt Cobain in his suicide note: “It’s better to burn out than to

  • picks July 01, 2005

    “We Could Have Invited Everyone”

    Would-be potentates unite for this cohesive and absorbing group show about micro-nations. Cocuraters Robert Blackson and Peter Coffin assembled its contents—a mixture of art and non-art—with geeky obsessiveness, focusing on fascinating details such as stamps, currency, passports, and surprising secession trivia. Who knew, for example, that Ernest Hemingway’s younger brother once tried to create his own nation on a raft off the coast of Florida? (He didn’t want to pay taxes.) The non-art complements actual artworks such as Yoko Ono’s Nutopia, 1973/2005, a map by Nina Katchadourian, and a bomb by