Eva Díaz

  • Antoni Muntadas

    A few years ago, the New Yorker started a weekly cartoon-caption contest. I can be trusted to draw a complete blank about how to caption each week’s illustration, and yet I am consistently impressed with wits in the general public knocking it out of the park with some seriously funny entries. A work by Antoni Muntadas stages a similar exercise, one whose high stakes reveal themselves only gradually. Part of a showing of seven new and old works organized by guest curator José Roca at the Bronx Museum, this iteration of the piece On Subjectivity, 1978, pre­sents a selection of five historic and

  • Rancourt/Yatsuk

    The commodity promises so very much. It beats a drum of necessity—fulfilling real requirements for food, housing, and clothing—yet it sings a cloying song of desires beyond need, converting ineffable longings into cold, hard cash on the barrelhead. Justin Rancourt and Chuck Yatsuk’s recent performances, including the ninety-minute live action Black Diamond, 2011, explore the commodity’s interpellation of subjects as buyers, probing the gap between its claims of pleasure and contentment and the struggle to find an identity outside of consumption. The show is about a pyramid scheme and

  • Keren Cytter

    Keren Cytter’s Video Art Manual, 2011, begins with the self-deluding slickness of an infomercial. From behind a glass-topped table in a generic office, a bearded man in a suit confidently addresses the viewer. He explains that new technologies enable the production of user-generated content, and that Cytter’s video will “reveal the utopian anxieties of the common man.” Midway through his portentous speech, the sound track switches from synched sound to a bad, hollow-sounding postproduction dub: His voice fails to match the movements of his mouth and becomes inexplicably loud and echoey. The man

  • Joe Winter

    You raise your hand in your intro-to-astronomy class. “Do the galaxies and nebulae really look as psychedelic as the posters on the walls? How do they know, if these are all radio telescope pictures anyway, that galaxies are color-saturated swirls of cotton candy?” The TA shrugs. “They assign colors to the images afterward.” “Arbitrarily?” you ask, choking back the word luridly. He nods. Suddenly you lose major respect for the whole field of astronomy. Who are these people determining colors? Do they have, like, staff colorists at the lab? Do they know about Delacroix, about Cézanne, about Albers

  • Dara Birnbaum

    How often has one sat on a subway next to a man sitting with legs spread wide enough to occupy two seats? He commands space by physical gesture alone—and women rarely adopt a similarly dominating pose. In Dara Birnbaum’s mid-1970s video explorations of social conventions surrounding women’s postures and self-presentation, she tests the long-accepted custom of “being a good girl and keeping your legs crossed.” Demure Birnbaum is not, in Chaired Anxieties: Abandoned, 1975, as she performs a sequence of movements in a simple wooden folding chair. With a fixed camera setup, the five-plus-minute

  • “Dario Robleto: Survival Does Not Lie in the Heavens”

    Known for redeploying obsolete technologies and precious artifacts in his elaborate sculptures and collages, Dario Robleto will reach far beyond the human memory bank in his upcoming show to address the extinction of various flora and fauna in global ice melts and other prehistoric natural disasters.

    Known for redeploying obsolete technologies and precious artifacts in his elaborate sculptures and collages, Dario Robleto will reach far beyond the human memory bank in his upcoming show to address the extinction of various flora and fauna in global ice melts and other prehistoric natural disasters. “Survival Does Not Lie in the Heavens” will feature thirteen works (all completed within the past four years) that use Robleto’s signature stretched audiotape and relics as varied as dinosaur fossils, volcanic ash, and a million-year-old raindrop as sculptural material. In

  • Catalina Parra

    During its exurban heyday of the early 1970s, Land art wasn’t known for political critique. But by the 1980s, artists such as Agnes Denes and Maya Lin were tracing a different trajectory of its co-option of Minimalism’s formal simplicity, understanding that Land art’s monumental scale and extreme geometricization occupied an uneasy relationship to memorialization, histories of territorial dispossession, and the unequal distribution of natural resources among global populations. Like Denes—and also of the same generation as artists such as James Turrell, Robert Smithson, and Walter De

  • Drawn from Photography

    In 1927, critic Siegfried Kracauer wrote, “Never before has an age been so informed about itself, if being informed means having an image of objects that resembles them in a photographic sense.” He didn’t mean it as a compliment. To him, the seemingly infinite archive of world events produced by photography conflates surface appearance with psychological depth, iconicity with memory, publicity with history. For the artists assembled in Claire Gilman’s kickoff exhibition as curator of the Drawing Center, the superficial mapping Kracauer warned of can be arrested only by a seemingly paradoxical

  • “Jack Tworkov: The Artist at Black Mountain College, July 1952”

    Jason Andrew’s exhibition will focus on Jack Tworkov’s summer at the college in 1952, a period that saw him developing his dynamic “House of the Sun” series.

    With all the on-campus Happenings, geodesic-dome constructions, and proto-Beat poetry hogging the art-historical limelight, it’s easy to forget that Black Mountain College was also a hotbed of painting in the 1940s and ’50s, when an illustrious faculty that included Josef Albers, Robert Motherwell, Willem de Kooning, Franz Kline, and Jack Tworkov espoused their respective approaches to abstraction. Jason Andrew’s exhibition will focus on Tworkov’s summer at the college in 1952, a period that saw him developing his dynamic “House of the Sun” series—a group of lambent

  • Dario Robleto

    For an “abstract” medium composed of invisible sound waves traveling through air, music generates a considerable number of fetish objects. The idea of performing can itself become a substitute for direct experience: Even the shyest individual may harbor secret fantasies of rock-star success, of driving countless fans to a near frenzy of adulation and identification. But as Houston-based artist Dario Robleto’s recent show, using records, audio tapes, posters, show flyers, and handwritten lyrics demonstrates, it doesn’t take a psychotherapist (or a semiologist) to explain that any projective

  • E’wao Kagoshima

    There’s nothing like a giant phallus poking out of a fruit bowl to complicate a dinner party. E’wao Kagoshima’s work taps into the anxieties—the social missteps and gaucheries—that haunt the nightmares of the overly refined among us. An untitled series from 1976 presents détourned House Beautiful tableaux rife with priapic forms sprouting from the tastefully arranged chintz. Joining this fauna are a cast of polymorphous cartoon figures, rendered in thin washes of pastel-colored oils, who simulate fellatio or otherwise erotically commingle with the erect penises. Lounging in negligees

  • Betye Saar

    On certain antebellum plantations in the American South, behind the magnolias and the majestic colonnaded verandas, is a covered walkway connecting the kitchen (kept far from other buildings for fear of fire) and the Big House. It is called the “whistle walk,” not for any leisurely strolls or romantic serenades that took place there, but for the prosaic reason that slaves were required to whistle as they carried platters of food to the tables of their masters, to assure they were not eating anything along the way.

    This and other perversities of human bondage may explain why the metaphor of the

  • Andro Wekua

    Watch any 1960s pulp film, Sam Fuller noir, or Kenneth Anger short, and you’ll draw closer to Andro Wekua’s world.

    Watch any 1960s pulp film, Sam Fuller noir, or Kenneth Anger short, and you’ll draw closer to Andro Wekua’s world. Georgian born, the Berlin- and Zurich-based artist loves nothing more than a tousle-haired, ennui-stricken cinema goddess, preferably one concealing a black eye behind huge glamour glasses. The exhibition in Vienna will be linked by a fairy tale to two coinciding shows (at the Kunsthalle Fridericianum in Kassel and the Castello di Rivoli in Turin, Italy) and will feature photocollages and installations of Wekua’s Bellmeresque mannequins cast

  • picks November 02, 2010

    “The Crude and the Rare”

    Shortly before his death in 1983, R. Buckminster Fuller proclaimed that transforming “weaponry” into “livingry” required “technologically reforming the environment instead of trying politically to reform the people.” How wrong he was! Almost as proof, in 1985 the architect-turned-artist Alfredo Jaar traveled to Brazil to document the appalling work conditions of a vast open-pit gold mine in the Amazon jungle. As seen in his video Introduction to a Distant World, 1985, he found a landscape teeming with thousands of mud-encrusted laborers, and he captured the men snaking up slippery slopes bearing

  • picks September 28, 2010

    Claudia Joskowicz

    Of his song “Live Fast, Love Hard, Die Young, and Leave a Beautiful Memory,” country singer Faron Young once remarked, “This was a tune I detested.” But it topped the charts: Outlaw legends rage in popular culture, fueling brittle fantasies of going out in a blaze of glory. Claudia Joskowicz has taken two of the most enduring of these events—the shootout that killed Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (Harry Longabaugh) in 1908, and the assassination of Che Guevara in 1967—and restaged them as eerie tableaux vivants. That these incidents took place in her home country of Bolivia has contributed

  • picks April 12, 2010

    “Your History Is Not Our History”

    In “Your History Is Not Our History,” two megasuccessful figurative painters juxtapose works by other megaprominent male figurative painters of the 1980s (Schnabel, Clemente, Fischl, Basquiat, Winters, and Dunham) with contemporaneous photographic and textual works by female artists (Lawler, Levine, Sherman, Simmons, Holzer, and Kruger). This awkward marriage explores, according to the exhibition’s curators, David Salle and Richard Phillips, the works’ shared concern with “the pictorial” whose “real subject is loneliness.” These and other claims presented are strange: Why, for example, reduce

  • picks February 28, 2010

    “#class”

    Mass education in the post–World War II period positioned pedagogy as a pivot between personal growth and wider sociopolitical transformation. Recent large-scale student protests against fee hikes and the profit-driven campus at the New School and throughout the University of California system can be seen as part of a larger reaction to how the prospect of education was subsequently instrumentalized as a consumer transaction. Similarly, a spate of artist collectives are reassessing how progressive pedagogical models can be employed as consciousness-raising tools. Joining related endeavors such

  • picks February 03, 2010

    PROW

    How might artists position themselves between entertainment culture and traditional techniques of representation such as drawing? How might those different possibilities map onto the display practices of commercial gallery venues or nonprofit art spaces? Peter Rostovsky and Olav Westphalen, collaborating under the name PROW, challenge conditions of spectacularization that entangle artistic practices, paradoxically by adopting elements of the most successful model of collective media production: cinema.

    In “PROW: The Prequel,” the foyer of Sara Meltzer Gallery contains a series of light boxes

  • picks January 08, 2010

    “Frottage”

    Leave it to Max Ernst to exploit the dual meanings of the word frottage by coupling artistic production and illicit sex: On holiday in 1925, Ernst was attracted to the worn floorboards of his pension. He remembered how, in his youth, shadows on a wooden panel near his bed triggered fantastic conjectures—mysterious creatures a sleepless child might imagine in the dim light of half sleep. Ernst made a rubbing of the boards and was struck by the ambiguous forms friction produced. “Images superimposed,” he recalled, “with the persistence and rapidity characteristic of amorous memories.”

    Revisiting

  • picks November 06, 2009

    Emily Jacir

    Famous aviatrixes stand you up, passenger planes mysteriously vanish midflight, and the elegant aerodrome is eventually stormed and conquered by hostile forces. Emily Jacir’s depiction of events in the former Lydda Airport of British-occupied Palestine, now Ben Gurion International in Israel, is significantly more baffling than contemporary travel conundrums, like why an unopened bottled water bought only five minutes ago must be confiscated. The missed connections, and the sense of preternatural coincidence Jacir captures, are due in large part to her use of an innovative technique of animating