Francesco Stocchi

  • Ragnar Kjartansson

    Ragnar Kjartansson is interested in bringing fairy-tale situations to life, creating dreamy atmospheres that cannot be defined as surreal because they emerge from the Nordic storytelling tradition grounded in the soil of Iceland. For his first solo exhibition in Austria, Kjartansson dug into his own past, down to the roots of his existence, to examine how life can be a magical itinerary far beyond fantasy. Imagine the impact of seeing the moment of your own conception—and then imagine that it was staged in public. Reshaping it into a poetic, social rendering is an inventive solution to such

  • Heinrich Kühn

    Conventional photography did not exist for Heinrich Kühn, an Austrian who was born in Germany in 1866. His experimentation with photographic technique was allied to an unrestrained and analytic observation of his surrounding reality. Yet Kühn’s work does not primarily address his own chosen medium but rather opens a dialogue with painting and drawing, as seen in the approximately 150 works in the retrospective “Heinrich Kühn: The Perfect Photograph” (currently on view at the Musée d’Orsay in Paris and traveling to the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston). His total experimentation, without preconceptions,

  • Nicola Pecoraro

    Visitors to “The Wandering,” Nicola Pecoraro’s third solo show but his first in Rome, ideally should have experienced the exhibition with a sound track in the background, perhaps of the sort of electronic genre one hears a lot of now, a mix of natural elements and cold, synthesized sounds typical of the hybrid culture of our time. Pecoraro’s exhibition was similarly hybrid, not so much because he uses various media (painting, sculpture, photography, collage), but rather because of the ways in which the works suggest personal narratives or metaphors without falling back on the convention of the

  • picks October 22, 2009

    Ariel Orozco

    Ariel Orozco’s first solo exhibition in Italy encompasses various socioeconomic concerns with objects and images that subvert the viewer’s initial impressions. While the artist’s early body of work was defined by public acts tied intimately to recurrent metaphors, the development of his practice has recently switched toward an emphasis on exhibiting the results of process-based works, avoiding documentation of the artist’s presence altogether.

    Personal memory confronts reality and social convictions, yielding fragile outcomes, in pieces such as Déjà Vu (all works 2009), an installation that

  • Piero Golia and Fabian Marti

    Italian artist Piero Golia and Swiss artist Fabian Marti conceived of their collaboration “Ruins, Regrets and Visible Effects” in an ingenious way: an exhibition on two levels, where the main attraction was the membrane joining the inner and outer areas of an elaborate installation—a liminal space reminiscent of a “third landscape,” a nether- world between natural environment and artificial construction, as formulated by landscape architect Gilles Clément. A twisting architecture of plywood arches, columns, and tunnels—designed by Marti in consultation with Golia—unraveled, like catacombs rising

  • Richard Prince

    I put Nabokov’s Lolita and Kubrick’s Lolita next to each other. The book is Monarch Select paperback, MS27. No image on the cover. All graphics. Just the name ‘Lolita’ in red, stenciled in longhand against two background bands of yellow and white. The movie is an MGM/CBS Home Video. It’s in a thin cardboard slipcase. On the cover is a pastel illustration of Sue Lyon as Lolita. She has orange, heart-shaped sunglasses on. There’s a lollipop in her mouth. “Black comedy,” “Tragic farce,” “Comic despair” are italicized to the bottom left of her head. On the back, small black-and-white stills of Quilty

  • picks January 23, 2009

    Diane Arbus

    Conceived by French artist Pierre Leguillon, this exhibition is a comprehensive retrospective of Diane Arbus’s photographs commissioned by American and British magazines during the 1960s. The show presents over 150 portraits that transcend the dichotomy between photography as an individual medium and as a mass medium. Arbus’s well-known investigative forays into diversity and everyday life stood out in magazines, which in the late ’50s began moving toward greater cultural diffusion. Although a large part of Arbus’s fame is posthumous, this show highlights the popularity and reception of her work

  • picks December 15, 2008

    Rachel Harrison

    Rachel Harrison’s seeming interest in relativity, wherein each medium she deploys is defined not in itself but rather in dialogue with another, echoes throughout her practice. This show is no exception and presents ten works from 2008 that combine photography, video, sculpture, and painting. Here, the viewer’s possible expectation––that all art has to be seen or stated in a singular way––is transformed into a sense of ambivalence that underscores the subjectivity of perception. Harrison’s Chicken and Bike Week at Daytona make one wonder: How do we classify painting or sculpture? In contrast to

  • picks October 15, 2008

    “Behind”

    If thematic exhibitions present and try to comprehensively illustrate the results of a curator’s vision or research, why not skip back a few steps and display what was in the artist’s mind during the creative act? Why not attempt to exhibit the process that generated an artwork? For “Behind,” curator Ilaria Gianni has done just that, inviting ten young artists to show the method each adopted for a specific artwork. Artists, of course, employ dissimilar creative processes. Some, like Nina Beier and Marie Lund, follow a didactic set of rules by displaying material inherent to their pieces (in this

  • picks October 08, 2008

    “I'm Never at Home”

    “I’m Never at Home” is a thoughtful exhibition inspired by the late, enigmatic Romanian philosopher Emil Cioran. Seven artists with very different approaches to artmaking were asked to respond to a paradoxical gesture employed by Cioran: To avoid being disturbed by visitors, he placed several door signs in front of his apartment, one of which stated I’M NEVER AT HOME. The most literal response to the exhibition’s conceit is Mircea Cantor’s outdoor piece, Eyes staring to my absence, 2008: an oak pole propped against a gallery wall (in rural Romania, a sign that no one is at home). This well-curated

  • picks July 24, 2008

    “Psycho Buildings: Artists Take On Architecture”

    Celebrating the Hayward’s nearly forty years of vibrant activity, this anniversary exhibition brings into focus the museum’s ferocious concrete architecture. The show, which takes its title from Martin Kippenberger’s 1988 book of photographs, is not only another study of the relationship between art and architecture. The large-scale architectural environments created by the ten artists (Atelier Bow-Wow, Michael Beutler, Los Carpinteros, Gelitin, Mike Nelson, Ernesto Neto, Tobias Putrih, Tomas Saraceno, Do Ho Suh, and Rachel Whiteread) reflect the building’s sense of space and the visitor’s own

  • picks July 07, 2008

    Letizia Battaglia

    Letizia Battaglia is known less as a fine artist than as a photojournalist devoted to capturing and chronicling the mafia’s undertakings in her hometown of Palermo, Italy, over the past thirty years for the independent newspaper L’Ora. Even the titles of her photographs are documentary in nature, comprising merely the dates and locations of the criminal activity or its consequences. Judges’ and politicians’ assassinations, Mafia-boss arrests, and the torment of victims’ families are the most common subjects of Battaglia’s images, many of which feature female figures. Though they conjure the grit

  • picks June 23, 2008

    Sam Basu and Matt Bryans

    Sam Basu and Matt Bryans’s project is an effective example of how two distinct artistic practices can combine serendipitously despite highly personal outlooks on the world. After Basu and Bryans discovered a shared sense of deep disorientation during a recent trip to Beijing—where they both performed at the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art—the two artists decided to collaborate on “The Melody of Youth,” which fuses Basu’s science-fiction interests wih Bryans’s questions about time, amnesia, and material deterioration.

    The exhibition is a single installation located in the darkened gallery’s

  • picks April 17, 2008

    “Coup de Grâce”

    Simon Preston Gallery’s inaugural exhibition, “Coup de Grâce,” is imbued with a sense of commotion and drama. The show brings together five artists and artist collaboratives (Touhami Ennadre, General Idea, Mary Kelly, Michelle Lopez, and Daniel Joseph Martinez) whose works, in various media and languages, communicate pugnacious, even violent, feelings. The objects express sorrow and pain and, given their tendency to conflate oppressor and oppressed, produce anxiety in the viewer. Martinez’s kinetic sculpture in which red paint sprays through a rabbit onto the wall, Ennadre’s somber black-and-white

  • Pieter Hugo

    In South Africa, the push toward engaged photography unites photographers of different generations, from David Goldblatt through Roger Ballen and Guy Tillim to Zanele Muholi and Pieter Hugo and, more recently, Mikhael Subotzky. Hugo’s photographic practice has its origins in the tradition of photojournalism with a humanistic focus; he was directly influenced by the work of Tillim and Goldblatt just as he in turn has influenced his onetime assistant Subotzky. Moved by the impetus to communicate the political reality of apartheid and its aftermath, Hugo does not eschew aestheticization, but his

  • picks February 01, 2008

    Ugo Mulas

    In one of the most extensive exhibitions to date of Ugo Mulas’s work, over three hundred photographs chronicle, with great clarity, three decades of the artist’s presence in Italy and then the United States. Documenting the art scene from the 1950s to the '70s, Mulas’s oeuvre embodies the shift from modern to contemporary art. The exhibited body of work switches its focus from reportage to new photographic languages, ending with the series “Verifiche,” 1970–72, an empirical verification—through repeated images of varying exposure, for instance—of the skills Mulas had acquired from instruction

  • picks December 03, 2007

    Ján Mancuska

    Ján Mancuska’s first solo exhibition in London erases the boundaries between filmic, performative, and sculptural practices, an endeavor that has characterized much of the Czech artist’s previous work. The installation, Sorry for being so late (all works 2007), comprises an oversize light box illuminating sixty-four filmstrips, hung vertically from a square grid of points. These 35-mm color strips depict part of a park in Prague frequented by the artist. Formally sophisticated although direct in its concept, the piece fluidly combines time, space, and personal experience. By incorporating

  • picks November 14, 2007

    Thea Djordjadze and Rosemarie Trockel

    Walking down Dover Street, one can see that the interior of this gallery, like its elegant, eighteenth-century facade, has been painted black, a darkness that makes the front window a play of reflections obscuring the show inside. The exhibition, which takes its title, “Un soir, j'ai assis la beauté sur mes genoux. And I found her bitter and I hurt her,” from Rimbaud’s Une saison en enfer (A Season in Hell), places Rosemarie Trockel and her former student Thea Djordjadze in a series of allegories together, a narrative technique that famously characterized the French poet’s work. Fundamental

  • Jorge Peris

    Spanish artist Jorge Peris is a tenacious vagabond whose intense and personal approach stands out within a contemporary culture marked by rapid and prepackaged tourist consumerism. His projects are created during long sojourns, where he becomes involved with his host environment, functioning as an invigorating force. The people of the island town of Nuoro apparently felt as intrigued with Peris’s Egitto in Luigi (Egypt in Luigi), 2007, the project recently on display here, as he was with them. The work was named for Luigi, a museum employee who played a sort of shamanistic role for the artist

  • picks September 24, 2007

    Marco Delogu

    Marco Delogu’s project of photographing shepherds—the first round of which he carried out in 1994, the second in 2007—converges in this show with the historical identity of the building in which it is exhibited. Designed as a fascist “home for youth” by Luigi Moretti, the 1933 building is currently in the midst of a renovation. Its elements are articulate, dynamic, and distinct, yet work harmoniously to create a building that is powerfully seductive from the outside and engaging inside with soft, gentle shapes intersecting rigorous lines (like those of the propeller-shaped stairway dominating