Eugenia Bell

  • Aaron Spangler

    In the contemporary art world, work featuring (or even originating from) the prairie states is about as popular as wood carving, but both figured prominently in Aaron Spangler’s recent exhibition. While there have been fitful creative explorations of Unabomber Ted Kaczynski’s Montana cabin by Seth Weiner (in faithful reproduction; Hermitage, 2007), Constantin and Laurene Leon Boym (in souvenir mode; Souvenirs for the End of the Century, 1998), and Richard Barnes (in crisp color photographs; 1998); and while Catherine Opie has captured the languor of Minneapolis’s ice-fishing huts and Habitrail

  • Wijnanda Deroo

    Between 1988 and 1992, Dutch photographer Wijnanda Deroo trawled New York City’s Lower East Side for fragments of the not yet gentrified neighborhood’s Jewish history, photographing its obscured and crumbling synagogues. In 2004, she was commissioned to document the Rijksmuseum’s prerestoration state, arriving at a sequence of desolate interiors that reflect a century of wear and tear. Considering these two projects, made more than a decade apart, simultaneously is to be struck by how unerringly Deroo has managed to invest empty spaces with emotional authority. The artist’s recent exhibition

  • Karl Haendel

    Private thoughts and public images are rendered starkly in black and white in Karl Haendel’s first New York solo appearance. Three photographs and forty-six labor-intensive, mostly large-scale drawings, depicting everything from Kenneth Noland–esque concentric circles to headlines clipped from the New York Times to iconic photojournalistic images, were arrayed around the gallery walls in a way that verged at times on the ludic (as with one work consisting of the repeated phrase BUSH, PLEASE BUY RUBBERS) and at times on the melancholy (as with elegiac renderings of moments from Haendel’s ’70s

  • picks April 13, 2007

    Mary Lucier

    The Plains of Sweet Regret, the treacly title of Mary Lucier’s latest work, dovetails seamlessly with the plaintive wail of the country classic “I Can Still Make Cheyenne,” which lilts through the gallery during this ambitious and oddly poignant installation. In the first half of Lucier’s work, commissioned by the North Dakota Museum of Art and first presented in 2004, five screens each detail a slightly different iteration of the Great Plains’ slow, gothic decline: The abandoned farmhouses, fallow fields, vacant paddocks, and echoing silos are scattered amid the desolation like the ruins of a

  • “Spank the Monkey”

    It’s fitting that on the exhibition floor beneath Baltic’s big show of street art—loosely ranging over two floors of the former flour mill—was a small display of early Keith Haring drawings. Haring, along with Jean-Michel Basquiat, was the first street artist to jump the curb and enter the gallery; since then graffiti and other work that falls under the catch-all label “street art” has—at least according to Pedro Alonzo and Baltic director Peter Doroshenko, the curators of “Spank the Monkey”—not only transcended the street to take up residence in the white cube but become the wallpaper of any

  • picks February 16, 2007

    Josef Kramhöller

    It seems that seven years after his death by suicide, the cult reification of Josef Kramhöller is beginning—and perhaps none too soon. This selection of drawings and photographs seems a representative overview of his obscured, somewhat sad time in London—yet exhibits a sly appreciation of his adopted home. A series of small photographs from 1995 (all Untitled [fingerprint on window of luxury boutique]) are blurry evocations of shiny baubles and glad rags sullied by the mark of the commoner. Examples of Kramhöller’s writings from the mid-'90s are laid out in a vitrine: “the problem with space,”

  • picks February 15, 2007

    Peter Coffin

    Peter Coffin, whose earlier work investigated the naive sincerity behind bad science and the paranormal, who established his own “micro-nation,” and who has been known to play music to plants, presents here something slightly less outcast. But it’s no less ambitious and, typically, somewhat playful. On entering the gallery, dimly lit by the large video screen at one end, a haunted prop house of modern sculpture’s greatest hits emerges from the gloom: Brancusi, Giacometti, Rodin, Miró (Around, About Expanded Field [Sculpture Silhouette Props], 2007). There must be two dozen outsize figures from

  • Alvar Aalto

    Finnish architect Alvar Aalto said that “the Lord created paper for drawing architecture. Everything else is . . . misuse of paper.” So it is perhaps a grand irony that Japanese architect Shigeru Ban, recognized almost exclusively (albeit inadequately) for his innovative use of paper as a building material, is co-organizing (along with Tomoko Sato) the first British retrospective of Aalto’s work.

    Finnish architect Alvar Aalto said that “the Lord created paper for drawing architecture. Everything else is . . . misuse of paper.” So it is perhaps a grand irony that Japanese architect Shigeru Ban, recognized almost exclusively (albeit inadequately) for his innovative use of paper as a building material, is co-organizing (along with Tomoko Sato) the first British retrospective of Aalto’s work. Intended in part as a conversation between the two architects, the exhibition will not only present Aalto’s pioneering Nordic Modern work—which, it has been said,

  • picks November 30, 2006

    Charles Avery and Keith Wilson

    This two-person exhibition primarily features the drawings of the young Scot Charles Avery. Exquisitely detailed, yet with a sense of the incomplete sketch about them, Two Hunters (all works 2006) and Eternal Forest No. 7 especially call out his proficiency and near-obsessive fascination with the line. Two sculptures also on view (Untitled and The August Snakes Stand Erect as That Is How Their Beards Best Be Admired) utilize effects seen in the artist’s earlier work. Untitled uses a two-sided mirror standing vertically on the middle of a table to reflect the image of the silver candelabra on

  • picks November 28, 2006

    Stef Driesen

    While Belgian artist Stef Driesen claims he’s referencing old-master themes and color palettes, the smallest painting in this group of new canvases (all Untitled, 2006) echoes Magritte’s surreal empty faces. Two trees—mere stalagmites in pink and the verdigris of corroded copper—claw up from the perspectival void above the chin. Another painting features a head with a mane of black hair, prominently parted, obscuring a face one can only assume is blank, a presumption supported by the faceless lovers elsewhere in the gallery. Across the room, a supernatural landscape is steadfastly held to some

  • Silke Schatz

    “The New Architecture,” a movement based on a sociopolitical awareness of the built environment, dawned in the early 1920s. Central to its cause was the improvement of housing through the provision of natural light and fresh air and the creation of outdoor space. German architect Otto Haesler ranks among the most significant proponents of the movement, but while no other architect in the ’20s was as committed to the modernist claims of efficiency and rationalism as he, Haesler remains virtually unknown despite his vital contributions to the modernist canon.

    Haesler’s practice in the small Saxon

  • picks September 25, 2006

    Richard Galpin

    It seems appropriate that Richard Galpin apprenticed to a relief woodcarver as a teenager. Since 2001, he has made an intriguing career of chipping away at the urban environment, creating new cityscapes out of panoramic photographs of urban settings (in this exhibition, titled “Revisionary,” that setting is London). The wholesale erasure in his “peeled photographs” belies the delicate nature of the scalpel work that leaves entire blocks of office buildings not just unidentifiable but entirely unrecognizable as photographs. The result, in some cases, is delicate, as in Cluster VII (Globopolis)

  • picks September 11, 2006

    Stephen Vitiello

    Night Chatter, 2006, is part of a series of field recordings made in Virginia by former musician Stephen Vitiello, who has recorded in locations as diverse as the World Trade Center and the Brazilian rainforest and collaborated with Nam June Paik, Scanner, and Tetsu Inoue. Here, Vitiello is interested in examining organic sound vis-à-vis the terrorist “chatter” so talked about by the intelligence services in residence in the state.

    The work is broadcast in the gallery’s small rear room, which is hung with six speakers. The effect of the surround-sound forest is patently unreal and somewhat

  • picks August 14, 2006

    Ahlam Shibli

    Entering Max Wigram’s new, discreet Bond Street space, the visitor is confronted with a regal three-quarter portrait of an Israeli Defense Force soldier. Or is he? Despite the endless wave of news out of the Middle East over the past three weeks, indeed over the past three decades and longer, one sector of the Israeli army gets precious little coverage. The soldier in the photo is a “tracker,” one of hundreds of Israeli Arabs (mostly of Bedouin descent) who, every year, volunteer for service in IDF units that patrol the Israeli border and the Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories.

    Ahlam Shibli’s

  • Kaye Donachie

    In 1973, Harald Szeemann—while working on his Museum der Obsessionen—became himself obsessed by the Swiss utopia Monte Verità, near Lake Maggiore, and eventually a museum was established to celebrate the site’s history. The mountaintop retreat—nominally founded by the anarchist Mikhail Bakunin (at a time when it was still known as Monescia) in the 1870s—flourished between 1900 and 1940, when it attracted anarchists, nudists, and Theosophists alongside such figures as Martin Buber, Hugo Ball, Tristan Tzara, Rudolf von Laban, Isadora Duncan, Hermann Hesse (who famously had his alcoholism treated

  • picks February 06, 2006

    Dryden Goodwin

    On entering Chisenhale’s vast space one encounters five stark white display boxes set on trestles. Each contains an agglomeration of small illustrations, thickly penned and in various states of completion and perspective. They will resonate with anyone familiar with Dryden Goodwin’s thoughtful cityscapes and portraits, and while they don’t stand alone the way his earlier “Plot” or “State” series (both 2004) do, this mass of drawings is effectively and dramatically displayed. It isn’t until one is drawn by a roaring sound track behind a curtained-off portion of the gallery and into Flight, 2005,

  • picks October 04, 2005

    Tom Gallant

    Brussels-based artist Tom Gallant’s second exhibition of kirigami pieces reveals not only a vast improvement in his paper-cutting skills—the simple flowers and birds of his last show are nowhere to be found here—but also a broadening of his interests. Meticulously crafted from the pages of porn magazines (as was his earlier work), these new pieces draw inspiration from nineteenth-century British designer/poet/idealist William Morris—indeed, some are conscious imitations of Morris designs. While the obsessive nature of his craft is intended to reflect the popular fixation on

  • picks October 03, 2005

    Clare E. Rojas

    San Francisco-based singer, filmmaker, and painter Clare E. Rojas’s talents come into sharp focus in her first U.K. exhibition of paintings. Rojas’s visual vocabulary draws from Pennsylvania Dutch hex signs, Hopi kachina dolls, and Russian matryoshkas, and proliferates across the walls of the gallery’s vast new room in dozens of preciously small gouaches. These new paintings depict scenes from naive yet somewhat dark fables: childlike, but not for children. Mythical, matronly babouschkas commune with costumed bears; couples dance around lily plants sprouting small men; and wooden boards covered

  • picks June 26, 2005

    Dayanita Singh

    The photographs on view in Dayanita Singh’s current show are culled from a larger exhibition at Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, which commemorated her residence there in 2002. Drawn to the chairs in the museum’s incomparable decorative arts collection, and having recently photographed the interiors of her family’s homes in India, Singh continued her domestic documentation. The results, pictures of chairs from three countries—India, America, and Italy—demonstrate Singh’s comfort with the quiet lives of uninhabited rooms and with, as she puts it, “conversing with chairs.” They also

  • picks June 17, 2005

    Dan Holdsworth

    This small show concentrates Dan Holdsworth’s latest group of photos, “The Gregorian,” 2005, into only three representative works, and is a graceful distillation not just of the larger series, but of his work to date. The 2001 Beck’s Futures finalist has always observed the marginal spaces between the natural and the constructed and the peripheries of time and place. In the process, Holdsworth manages to eliminate almost all evidence of context, making the banal abstract: Dislocated mall parking lots and roadside billboards are barely recognizable. For “The Gregorian,” Holdsworth traveled to