Emily Hall

  • Ed Fornieles

    The Finiliars are awfully cute. Genderless, possessed of pastel-hued Teletubby bodies and gumdrop heads, they live in a verdant valley where they adorably play soccer, blow bubbles, and roll about in the grass. They also carry out more mundane (but still adorable) tasks, such as cooking breakfast and performing morning stretches.

    However anodyne their affect, the Finiliars, created by the artist Ed Fornieles, do not exist in a void but are tied to real, if abstract, things: Each one represents a world currency, and its behavior is determined by calculations that analyze the value of the currency

  • Susan Te Kahurangi King

    Susan Te Kahurangi King’s rich, strange drawings at Andrew Edlin Gallery fell into two groups: works from the 1970s and those from the ’80s. The works in the earlier group are kinetic: They evoke waves that surge and loom and fall from one side of a sheet to another, and that seem to have taken up—and then been taken over by—a mass of cartoonlike objects and shapes in their paths: spoonbills, Mickey Mouse hands, a pinwheel of legs, a curvy calf, and a foot in a Mary Jane–style shoe. Difficult, at times, to discern, these items appear and reappear in fields of soft pencil marks that

  • Ben Vida

    Midway through Beckett’s Endgame, the blind Hamm, agitated, asks his son/servant Clov, “What’s happening? What’s happening?” Clov responds, cagily, “Something is taking its course.” Later, Hamm attempts to identify this unspecified something, but his efforts—“We’re not beginning to . . . to . . . mean something?”—are unsuccessful, dismissed by Clov with a laugh.

    The spirit of Endgame is alive and well in composer Ben Vida’s “Speech Acts,” 2016–, a series of works that chart the ways in which sound and meaning work together or permeate each other, and the ways that they approach each

  • Rodrigo Valenzuela

    The photographic works in Rodrigo Valenzuela’s “Hedonic Reversal” (all works 2014) depict ruins, or representations of ruins, which have been constructed from stark white elements—lath, chalk, a crumbling material that might be drywall or polystyrene—and set against a saturated black background. They have the air of abandoned infrastructure projects, neglected social housing, or generic buildings that become visible only as they decay. The destruction seems to be ongoing. They are broken, disintegrating into white dust, worn away altogether, leaving only lines of chalk.

    Valenzuela

  • Alicia McCarthy

    Like the San Francisco Mission artists with whom she is often grouped, Alicia McCarthy makes art from pointedly unprecious materials: latex, colored pencil, or spray paint on wood panels. This gives her works the air of handmade signs; in fact, one very large piece at her recent presentation at Jack Hanley Gallery brings to mind a billboard. And like a sign painter, she relies on a restrained visual language—color arrays, woven lines, interlocking arcs—and she marshals these decorative elements toward ends that may have little to do with decoration at all.

    The billboard-size piece (all

  • Kate Shepherd

    The surfaces of Kate Shepherd’s paintings in “Fwd: The Telephone Game” are glossy, rich, and warm, even when the colors are cool. Made on large wood panels, the works feature compositions of thin white lines in oil applied to unmodulated fields of enamel. These lines appear chaotic at first—they form jagged angles, jointed curves, and sprays like fallen pins—but on sustained viewing, familiar shapes emerge: We recognize an angle as the bend of an elbow, a curve as the swell of a hip, and two or three quick, short lines as the outline of a nipple. Some works engender these flashes of

  • Marni Kotak

    This summer, Microscope Gallery presented Mad Meds, 2014, a work by Marni Kotak, who is perhaps best known for her infamous 2011 piece The Birth of Baby X, in which she gave birth to her son in this very same gallery before a live audience. As she did for that earlier work, Kotak here exposed the public to something that usually takes place in private, in this case the process of weaning herself from postpartum-depression medications—a strong cocktail of antidepressants, antipsychotics, and antianxiety drugs. During the run of the exhibition, Kotak made herself readily available to those

  • Alain Biltereyst

    Alain Biltereyst’s solo show this past spring was called “Geo Land,” as if inviting us into a realm of pure shape and color, a utopia of abstraction along the lines of what the Bauhauslers might have imagined. The exhibition, the Brussels-based artist’s first in New York, comprised twenty-seven small vertical paintings on wood, each more or less the size of a hardcover book, hung in single file along the gallery walls. Across the works, the basic building blocks of line and shape, in bright colors and snappy blacks, are deployed in a variety of ways: We find a stack of thick diagonal black

  • Peter Dreher

    In her recent collection of essays and interviews, Lynne Tillman filed her interview with German artist Peter Dreher in a chapter titled “U for Unheimlich.” This categorization rather marvelously signals the artist’s main achievement: his transformation of a perfectly ordinary object into something eerie. Dreher has painted the same glass on the same table in his studio every day since 1974, and in so doing, he has made this simple thing deeply unsimple; the recent installation of 134 of these paintings at Koenig & Clinton was nearly vertiginous in its suggestiveness.

    The premise of “Tag um Tag

  • Michelle Segre

    Michelle Segre’s sculptures have the feel of totemic objects assembled to ward off bad luck—or perhaps to draw in a thing intensely desired. Indeed, their spiritual and formal antecedents may be the God’s-eye and the dream catcher, two objects drained of much of their original power thanks to their appropriation by New Age culture and kitschy tourist shops. Segre’s works, however, suggest action, impulse, pulse—energy flowing first one way, then the other, intensities announced in the title of the largest work that was on view here, Self-Reflexive Narcissistic Supernova, 2013. The

  • Simon Evans

    THE AIM OF DRINKING IS PHILIP GUSTON, reads a tiny handwritten line in Simon Evans’s The Hell of Addiction,2013, BUT THE RESULT IS DENNIS QUAID. This strange, regret-filled assertion is but one among hundreds in a work that is at once a drawing, a collage, and a map, crowded with text imparting self-help advice (THE CENTER OF ADDICTION IS SELF-DECEPTION), messages of despair (OBSESSIVE NEUROTIC ACTIVITY KEEPS TRAUMA AT BAY. THIS IS NOT TRUE), and what occasionally feels like absolute truth (I FUCKING LOVE DRUGS, GIVE ME DRUGS). These wry statements flood the imaginary neighborhood that Evans

  • Alex Prager

    Alex Prager’s recent photographic works depict crowds on streets, on a beach, and at the airport, among other locations where humans find themselves in close proximity to other humans, sometimes unwillingly. In fact, the photographs were all shot on sets in Los Angeles, carefully staged to produce an elaborately cinematic atmosphere heightened by costumes, makeup, lighting, and a saturated palette that renders the works intense and alluring. They are scaled large enough to immerse or even overwhelm the viewer and were mostly shot from above, some from almost directly overhead, suggesting the

  • Franz Erhard Walther

    The first thing to greet viewers in this exhibition was an imposing gallery wall, appended to which was Franz Erhard Walther’s Vier Körperformen (Four Body Shapes), 1963, made when he was still a student at Kunst-akademie Düsseldorf and had just begun to work with fabric. Each of the work’s four parts, which are crafted from sewed and stuffed canvas and resemble sea creatures’ limbs, was mounted to one of the wall’s four corners, with plenty of space between them. Walther intended for viewers to hold these objects or attach them, like prosthetic pillows, somewhere on their bodies; they could

  • Wynne Greenwood

    If you’ve ever been lucky enough to see a Tracy + the Plastics show, you know that Tracy as well as the two Plastics are all played by Wynne Greenwood and that a show is not only about music but also these three characters, with Tracy appearing live and the Plastics—named Nikki and Cola—as video projections. The three chat, theorize, complain, and stand around in what critic and curator Johanna Burton called, in Artforum in 2005, a “split-personality hallucination,” or perhaps a kind of ventriloquism performed with the artist’s own body.

    For her recent exhibition at Soloway, Greenwood

  • David Gilbert

    David Gilbert is inspired by Brancusi, an artist who saw his studio as a dynamic place—a place with “nothing fixed, nothing rigid”—and who often photographed his sculptures there. Gilbert’s studio is also a vital site, but the studio is all there is. Gilbert takes the things that litter it and arranges them into tableaux that exist only in and for his photographs. Aside from the paintings and drawings that variously appear in these images, the materials that populate Gilbert’s photos are generally domestic: a lot of yarn and string, rolls of tape, screws, hooks, a bucket, and fabric.

  • Jane and Louise Wilson

    A yardstick lies beneath a desk in a destroyed schoolroom. Windows are blown out, notebooks are scattered, and rubble streams among the desks as though deposited by a glacier. The ceiling is pockmarked, the walls are crumbling, and paint peels away in great strips.

    This photograph, from the series “Atomgrad (Nature Abhors a Vacuum),” 2010, was taken in Pripyat, Ukraine, a town built for workers at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant and abandoned after the disaster there in 1986. Another work from the series shows a sort of amphitheater, austere in the Soviet fashion, with most of its light filtering

  • Meredith Danluck

    In Good News/Bad News (all works 2013), a two-channel video by Meredith Danluck, fifteen actors answer a telephone. The first channel, projected on one wall, shows the performers reacting to good news, while the second channel, projected on an adjacent wall, shows them reacting to bad. In each iteration, the script is roughly the same: A phone rings, an actor answers it, says “Hello?” and “Yes? Yes! Yes!”—or “No! Oh, no, no, no”—then, “Thank you,” and hangs up. After that, another performer appears, and it all happens again.

    The scenes take place in an anonymous room. It is dully

  • Arne Svenson

    Arne Svenson’s photographic series “The Neighbors,” 2012–13, offers glimpses of people going about their lives at home. Among the dozen large-scale images that were on view here, arranged singly and in pairs, are domestic scenes both quotidian and strange: of a woman holding a pair of red-handled scissors; a couple eating breakfast and reading; a man stretched out to sleep on a sofa, a large toy giraffe lurking in the shadows. A sense of calm, almost a sweetness, pervades the photos. The furnishings look upscale, the apartments clean and well-appointed. We are kept, however, at a distance: The

  • B. Wurtz

    The work of B. Wurtz, which returned to the attention of the art world in the late 2000s and early 2010s after flying under the radar for many years, reflects an austerity more pragmatic than visual. The artist recycles things ordinarily thrown away, but—as he laid out in the text of a 1973 drawing that has now taken on the power of a manifesto—he limits those materials to items related to food, shelter, and warmth: plastic lids of yogurt or hummus containers, bread bags, buttons, the plastic mesh sacks used for produce, shoelaces, ribbon, along with objects not so readily identified

  • Suzanne Treister

    The links between Ken Kesey, William Gibson, and Robert Oppenheimer are not immediately apparent; perhaps it is easier to understand the connections among Theodore Kaczynski, the Whole Earth Catalog, and Diogenes of Sinope—or maybe not. In Suzanne Treister’s “HEXEN 2.0,” her second solo show at this gallery, each of these is part of a network of thought and threat, of counterculture, conspiracy, and control.

    Treister represents such figures and ideas as tarot cards, each one a small, framed giclée print with watercolor additions. Arrayed in a long row around the gallery, the seventy-eight