Emily Hall

  • Mike Bouchet

    The press release for Mike Bouchet’s The New York Dirty Room (all works 2005) mimics the information sheet for Walter De Maria’s The New York Earth Room, 1977, that the Dia Foundation, which maintains it, makes available. It’s a brief tract that intones, in the same font, layout, and stately manner, the title of the work and its dimensions, provenance, and pedigree. Of course, with Bouchet’s brand-new work as its subject, much of this information feels cheekily presumptuous, but this is entirely in keeping with the spirit of the project.

    Dirty Room was a rank installation made entirely of dirt:

  • Robyn O'Neil

    The landscapes in Robyn O’Neil’s multi-paneled and intricate drawings are vast, barren, and populated by middle-age men in dark sweatsuits who appear very small against their immense and intimidating backdrops. Not much grows in them apart from a few feathery bushes and twisted trees, beyond which ominous mountains rise up out of nothing. One sky is blank, oppressive in its absolute featurelessness; others portend stormy weather. A puff of smoke on the horizon could be a mushroom cloud.

    In this inhospitable environment, O’Neil’s army of anonymous figures act out a contemporary Divine Comedy that

  • David Shrigley

    David Shrigley’s recent work feels like the result of a personality test administered by a not entirely benevolent authority. Some of his drawings seem like innocent doodles that have bubbled up from his subconscious: a set of mindless-looking circles with an ant traveling around the rim, for example. There are also more straightforward kinds of communication: lists, diagrams, conversations (either recorded or imagined), and meaningless adages. They have a slightly adversarial air—urgent, almost belligerent, and often reaching witty heights of passive aggression. A drawing titled Dear Neighbours

  • Zoe Beloff

    Zoe Beloff’s video installation The Ideoplastic Materializations of Eva C., 2004, in which the artist recreates a series of ten séances held in early twentieth-century Algeria and Paris, includes a four-channel projection in luminous black-and-white. This multiscreen, stereoscopic work requires the viewer to don 3-D glasses—a fitting accessory with which to search for mysterious presences that may or may not make themselves apparent. Seen this way, outlines shimmer unsteadily, and characters sometimes seem about to walk right through the furniture.

    In most scenes of the video, Eva is presented

  • “None of the Above”

    There were two ways to approach “None of the Above” at the Swiss Institute: You could study the checklist of the forty-nine works and diligently hunt for them all, or you could wander around the initially empty-looking gallery and find what you could find. Such was the nature of this exhibition—curated by John Armleder, founder of the Fluxus-inspired Geneva gallery Ecart—that you might emerge from it thinking that some ordinary objects in the space were art and overlooking some of the listed projects altogether. I was pretty sure, for example, that a regiment of out-of-commission poles linked

  • Victoria Haven

    With the droll title “Borg Drawings: Resistance is Futile,” Victoria Haven’s first exhibition at Howard House, in 2000, consisted of drawings and wall sculptures in which simple shapes proliferated uncontrollably. There, the basic three-dimensional box composed of twelve lines—built out of common office materials such as colored tape and rubber bands stretched over pins—assembled itself into a fantastic architecture. Corrals, ramps, tunnels, roller-coaster tracks, and scaffolding pushed and pulled the viewer between two and three dimensions. At times they were simply a series of flat

  • “Possessed”

    The conceit of “Possessed”—the overlap between the things that we own and the things that own us—is a common-enough curatorial theme, but this exhibition had no particular ax to grind. Neither explicitly anticonsumerist nor especially hostile to the notion of a controlling influence, it was one of those rare shows that allow a theme to refocus itself from work to work, reveling in the sly linguistic shift from physical to ethereal. “Possessed,” which was curated from the collection of Bill and Ruth True, did not force work into interpretive contortions but gently and persuasively framed and

  • Claire Cowie

    Though Claire Cowie trained as a printmaker, she’s best known for the figurine-style sculptures she assembles out of doll parts and animal knickknacks and then casts in resin. As much homely mutant hybrid as sweet keepsake, the figures, which are painted in runny watercolors, often seem to be struggling against their support, be it a dainty cupcakelike base or a wide, clear blue platform. The instability of horizons and frames is Cowie’s true subject and one within which her fine sense of sweet and cruel, and how they often resemble one another, is given full play.

    For her second one-person outing

  • Miranda July

    Miranda July, who came up through the Pacific Northwest punk-rock scene in the ’90s, is best known for performance and video; “Go You Good Thing” is her first gallery exhibit of nonvideo art. The works in this show are photographs marked with office-supply orange-dot stickers and blown up so that their imperfections are made plain and large. You see dots on faded, out-of-focus images of unidentified figures, torn and foxed at the edges with tiny hairs and dust flecks caught in the adhesive. You sense a set of rules at work—certain objects are covered, certain spaces revealed, as if the artist