Dan Adler

  • Laurie Kang

    In the kitchen, the shrine, and the scientific laboratory alike, new substances and insights can emerge from analog processes and the (mis)use, elevation, or preservation of materials that may lack value in the conventional sense. Laurie Kang’s sculptural installations for “Beolle,” her first solo museum show, fleshed out such processes and their latent potential within a light-filled former mansion on Lake Ontario.

    For one especially engrossing work, Mother (all works 2019), the artist arranged forty-one stainless-steel bowls—sourced from a restaurant-supply store in one of Toronto’s Chinatowns—on

  • Brian Jungen

    Brian Jungen’s long-awaited exhibition at the Art Gallery of Ontario—curated with great flair by Kitty Scott—began in a playful setting reminiscent of a basketball court, complete with multihued vinyl lines applied to black gym flooring, within which Jungen’s trademark soft sculptures were distributed like team members. Freed from the constraints of a vitrine, the series “Prototype for New Understanding,” 1998–2005, in which Jungen repurposes Nike Air Jordan sneakers as Northwest Coast masks, could be closely scrutinized. These intricately tailored works are feats of crafted composition, with

  • Huma Bhabha

    Drawing on more than two decades of work, “They Live” was Huma Bhabha’s largest survey to date. Curator Eva Respini deftly highlighted the artist’s remarkable range of temporal and spatial reference points—from the primeval to the present; from Cuzco, Peru, to Karachi, Pakistan—while focusing on her imagery of the body. Together, the selected pieces expressed complex critiques of what it means to become “civilized” and to civilize others—and attended to the damage inherent in both processes. Although Bhabha leaves her work open to multiple readings, Respini framed those questions, to some extent,

  • Valérie Blass

    Valérie Blass is perhaps best known for assemblage sculptures that reflect her long-standing interests in theater, dance, and fashion. This ten-year-survey show—elegantly curated by Matthew Hyland—focused on her uses of the figural form. To compose her bodies, Blass disjunctively draws together representational imagery with abstract forms and textures—such as a pair of shorts with a bar of polished metal—that resist cohesion, encouraging viewers to project, and to consider the contexts of the erotic, ritual, and commercial, in which we are all, in some way, participants.

    Often, Blass alters found

  • An Te Liu

    Recently, An Te Liu has been mining his dilapidated Honda Civic for material. One procedure yielded two elongated and pointed plastic forms from a headlight’s housing, which the artist cast with a concoction of polycarbonate, epoxy clay, wax, and granules of quartz. Hanging by a wire from the ceiling, Surfacing (all works cited, 2018) resembles a duo of motor blades (with holes for screws), and yet the forms have been modified and grafted to each other in ways that suggested organic tissue, perhaps a pair of wings taken from a creature of unknown origin. Also on view and suspended from above in

  • Shannon Bool

    While Shannon Bool’s show “Bomb. Shell.” featured many provocatively posed women, the images hardly qualified as pinups. Rather, they reflected Bool’s long-standing interest in combining the tactics of the historical avant-gardes (photomontage and Cubist collage) with unconventional materials and methods (wool and sewing) to slyly short-circuit (rather than explode, as the show’s title implied) masculinist mythologies of modernism. Bool’s subversions are playful yet satirical, and critical in ways that run deep, partially because of their compositional complexity. 

    Take the pair of striking

  • Zin Taylor

    “Cut Flowers,” Zin Taylor’s first solo show at Susan Hobbs Gallery, featured an inventive, intriguing range of sculptural statements: Works performed semantic slides between functional product and absurd abstraction. Incorporating Taylor’s trademark vocabulary of dots, lines, patterns, textures, and reductive shapes, the show playfully provoked speculation about how (and why) abstract elements can take on tentative character traits, sometimes striking notes of existential dread or whimsical wonder. Taylor’s approach is to arrange objects with particular qualities—the same scale or palette,

  • Kim Adams

    Since the late 1970s, Edmonton, Canada–born artist Kim Adams has been repurposing salvaged auto parts, hobby kits, and hardware varia to create hybrid vehicularesque sculptures. While many works are life-scale, appearing quasi-habitable—like Andrea Zittel’s Travel Trailers—just as many are toy-size, installed on shelves as though goods in a shop. At Diaz Contemporary, Adams showed a mix of ten works produced over the last decade, including large-scale structures based on two small-scale models that he made in the 1980s. While the artist has received a good deal of exposure over the

  • Lorna Bauer

    Humble and spare, yet offering surprising nuance, the video Four Glasses (all works 2010) is a typical Lorna Bauer production. It begins with a view of four wineglasses on a weathered plank, precisely lit so as to be surrounded by total darkness. Almost ecclesiastically poised, these vessels anticipate a narrative incident that eventually happens: The glasses—all four at once—explode, providing the only sound and the only motion of the ninety-second work. The action barely lasts a moment but effectively sparks a full spectrum of associations, from technical experiment (were the glasses rigged

  • Renée Green

    EARLY ON IN RENÉE GREEN’S WORK Wavelinks: A Different Reality, 2002, the artist Arthur Jafa is on camera, musing animatedly about his efforts to connect with the past, to establish a “felt relationship to something that has been done prior to your existence in the world.” Soon after, a man is hazily seen through a window, changing filthy filters for the air-conditioning unit of an office building. This mundane maintenance is accompanied by an audio track: two unseen conversants voicing their disbelief about the severe buildup of waste on the filters. What might seem like casual chatter may also

  • Hadley + Maxwell

    The gallery’s windows were covered with paper. But this was an artwork, not a signal that installation was in progress. Consisting of long, loosely applied strips of wallpaper—each with a distinct pattern of stripes, tree branches, or flowers—Returns Blind, 2010, may be read either as wrapping for retail items or as a signifier of the gallery worker’s labor. Like much of Hadley + Maxwell’s collaborative practice, this clever, Conceptualist gesture playfully resists being packaged as a discrete and marketable commodity.

    For The Jury, Like the Chorus, Draws Its Voice from the Thickness of the Air

  • Krista Buecking

    HURT ME NOW GET IT OVER; TOMORROW WILL BE TOO LATE; THERE GOES MY EVERYTHING: Such is the sad language of classic ballads that Krista Buecking employs, with characteristic Conceptualist rigor, in the drawing series “Love Songs for a Future Generation” (all works 2009). Rendered in tiny strokes of graphite, each statement appears sideways in vertical columns of italicized block letters and is paired with a pencil drawing of a battered piece of brick. Scanning each coupling slowly, one reaps rich rewards from the friction between these fragmentary bits of stone and syntax—forms that compete with