Eva Díaz

  • Keren Cytter, Video Art Manual, 2011, still from a color HD video, 14 minutes 42 seconds.

    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

  • View of “Joe Winter,” 2011. Foreground: A Record of Events (II), 2011. Middle ground: The Stars Below, 2011. Back wall: Untitled Model for a History of Light (Void), 2010.

    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, Chaired Anxieties: Abandoned, 1975, still from a black-and-white video, 5 minutes 15 seconds.

    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, Candles Un-burn, Suns Un-shines, Death Un-dies (detail), 2011 wallpaper composed of stage light images taken from the covers of live performance albums by now deceased musicians, 10' x 21' 6".

    “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, Diario de Vida (Diary of Life), 1977, El Mercurio newspapers, thread, Plexiglas, metal bolts, metal nuts, 12 x 6 x 16".

    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

  • Andrea Bowers, Nonviolent Protest Training, Abalone Alliance Camp, Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant, and San Louis Obispo County Telegraph-Tribune, September 14, 1981 (detail), 2004, graphite pencil on paper, 38 x 49 3/4". From “Drawn from Photography.”

    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, Untitled (House of the Sun), 1952, oil on paper, 25 1/2 x 19 1/8"

    “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, Candles Un-burn, Suns Un-shine, Death Un-dies, 2010, digital composite on photographic paper mounted on Sintra, 46 x 65 1/2 x 2".

    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, Libidoll No. 1, 1985, oil on shaped canvas, 48 x 42 x 2 1/2".

    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 or sometimes

  • Betye Saar, Globe Trotter, 2007, mixed media, 32 1/2 x 18 1/4 x 14 1/8".

    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, Get Out of my Room, 2006, installation view at Kunstmuseum Winterthur, Germany.

    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

  • Alfredo Jaar, Introduction to a Distant World, 1985, still from a color video, 9 minutes 30 seconds.
    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