Emily Hall

  • Althea Thauberger

    For her project Zivildienst ≠ Kunstprojekt (Social Service ≠ Art Project), 2006, Althea Thauberger collaborated with a group of young German men known as Zivis, participants in the titular program, which allows citizens to perform social work in lieu of stints in the military. This group investigation into issues such as mandatory service and national identity resulted in a series of connected works, including an eighteen-minute video. The latter features the eight young men pantomiming a series of social rituals and protocols—discussing, disagreeing, splitting into factions, reconciling, helping

  • Courtney Smith

    The double-edged title of Courtney Smith’s recent exhibition, “Build Up,” signals that we are entering a realm of multiple functions, of things seen as both themselves and something else. Smith’s primary material is furniture—sometimes she transforms vintage pieces into something new; sometimes she builds new pieces with something besides their traditional function in mind.

    The show was dominated by a room-size floor-based work, Paraparquetry, 2007, consisting of twelve hundred brick-size “furniture fragments” (per the checklist) arranged in the intricate tessellating design of a parquet floor.

  • Tim Hyde

    Tim Hyde uses video to examine architecture—a relationship between media that brings to mind Dan Graham’s ongoing investigation of public and private space, as well as Doug Aitken’s Sleepwalkers, 2007. But Hyde is less interested in contrasting the time-based quality of one with the space-based element of the other than in using these complementary practices to examine the psychological result of inhabiting a body inside a built space.

    These concerns are most profoundly explored in The Keeper, 2006, in which the camera focuses on an elderly woman’s back. Hyde set out to film the repeating concrete

  • Mike Kelley, Satanic/Pagan Indoctrination, 1995, collage on paper, 14 x 11".
    picks March 20, 2007


    As the title suggests, everyday materials—nail polish, cola, old clothes—unite the artworks in this exhibition. But there is more variety among the conceptual and sculptural approaches of the seventeen artists represented here than a simple junk-store aesthetic might suggest, not to mention the rather surprising appearance, in such an offhand-seeming show, of heavy hitters like Gabriel Orozco, Thomas Hirschhorn, Mike Kelley, and John Bock.

    Peter Coffin’s Untitled (Earth Resonate Frequency), 2007, an ordinary amplifier evidently tuned to the frequency of the earth, contributes to the show’s

  • Untitled (Stadium), 2002, digital C-print, 66 7/8 x 87 3/8".
    picks March 17, 2007

    Andreas Gefeller

    Andreas Gefeller’s large-scale photographs are in fact assemblages of many smaller images seamlessly tiled: The artist employs a camera, mounted two yards from the ground, that inches over terrain—a driving range, a stadium, a frozen surface in Berlin—and records it as systematically as the cameras that rumble over the moon. The results are large, disconcertingly shiny, and somewhat slick, but they offer the too-infrequent experience of real dislocation, of really not knowing, at times, what you’re looking at and how it has been achieved—even with full knowledge of his process. The scale created

  • Benjamin Edwards

    Benjamin Edwards’s new paintings depict landscapes of bland contemporary architecture seen from great distances: a convenience store at the end of a landing strip, a mall across a parking lot, a condo several unbuilt lots away. All is surface: The ground is a mosaic of vectors; corporate logos, streams of numbers, letters, and unidentified shapes whoosh through the air as if on their way to complete some other building somewhere else. The architecture feels provisionally assembled rather than solidly built—there is no heft, only planes that happen to pass each other or intersect in virtual space.

  • John Bock

    Gradually, the simplest things become exponentially more difficult for the protagonist of John Bock’s film installation Zezziminnegesang (Sissy Songs of Courtly Love) (all works 2006). After opening, with a chisel and mallet, a tin of ravioli, he must then contend with his eating implement: a spoon attached to the leg of an armchair. Eating requires that he turn the chair over, struggle to lower its bulk to the dish, then heft the spoon to his mouth. Small wonder that he takes only two bites before giving up.

    Much has been written about the echoes, in Bock’s laborious procedures, of Joseph Beuys’s

  • Valerie Hegarty

    The centerpiece of Valerie Hegarty’s recent exhibition at Guild & Greyshkul was a Federalist-era fireplace, but not one exactly redolent of comfort and home. This hearth, like the gallery as a whole, was stuck full of harpoons and spattered with all kinds of muck: tar, slime, mold, and seagull droppings, all of which appeared to emanate from the spot where a harpoon had pierced a grand seascape painting (a loose reworking of Frederic Edwin Church’s The Icebergs, 1861) hanging over the mantel. Hegarty’s show offered a retort to generations of artists who have sought to frame nature as something

  • Angels of Revenge, 2006. Installation view, “Us and Them,” The Kitchen, New York, 2006.
    picks November 15, 2006

    Christian Jankowski

    Christian Jankowski takes the opposite tack of those artists who elaborately stage reality using professional cinematic tools; he stages staginess, using amateurs and bystanders, and in so doing upends notions of performance and acting. For Angels of Revenge, 2006, one work in this exhibition, he engaged costumed participants from a horror-film conference to compose and recite revenge fantasies about people who had hurt or betrayed them. Each video segment follows the same format: The participants—in garish, bloodied costumes—emerge out of darkness into a harsh spotlight and then walk straight

  • Daniel Lefcourt

    A lot can happen in the gap between an artist’s initial inspiration and a project’s eventual outcome, and the objects in Daniel Lefcourt’s recent show dwell precisely, if opaquely, in that space. In his recent exhibition at Taxter & Spengemann, Lefcourt presented an array of Minimal-ish constructions, most of them assemblages of narrow strips of wood mounted on the wall. Many of these strips are covered in solid black acrylic, but narrow unpainted bands divide the surfaces of some into squares, while slanted lines crisscross others.

    The differences between the works lie, for the most part, in

  • Installation view of Sweet 16, 2006.
    picks October 19, 2006

    Cory Arcangel

    Cory Arcangel is well known for his video-game hacks (including serene Super Mario Bros. skyscapes free of characters) and, more recently, for works such as his reprogramming of a Simon and Garfunkel concert DVD to demonstrate his theory that the singers, at the time of their famous Central Park performance, hated each other—the disc’s chapters now begin at points Arcangel felt demonstrate how poorly the singers were getting along. The latter work, to my mind, more keenly embodies Arcangel’s talent: looking carefully into the media we so thoughtlessly digest for information that rides below

  • Still from Pregnant on the Couch, 2006.
    picks October 09, 2006

    Sarah Gregg Millman

    Sarah Gregg Millman’s videos use conventions borrowed from film and television to explore the inner and outer lives of women. Two of the four works in this exhibition, titled “The Milk of Human Kindness,” are interior monologues presented as voice-overs: In one, a woman muses on her desire to be pregnant while stroking her swollen belly, which is almost certainly due to a pillow stuffed under her dress—you can see what might be striped ticking through the cloth. (In the end, she decides, it’s more about the longing for the magic of pregnancy than it is for a child; “perhaps women would give