James Yood

  • Dianna Frid

    Botanical gardens are to nature what art museums are to culture, highly selective showcases in which materials are forcibly recontextualized and arranged in hierarchies for public consumption. They speak about power and hubris, with the quasi-colonialist assumption that nature is ultimately subject to human will, that people in Stockholm or London or Chicago should be able to see exotic tropical plants all year round. Dianna Frid’s installation of four works, part of the Museum of Contemporary Art’s ongoing “12 x 12” series surveying emerging local artists, relates a lissome narrative about palm

  • Larry Bell

    Larry Bell has been making glass cubes for over forty years, continually refining and adjusting an already classic, pristine form. His work has come to embody a summa of West Coast Minimalism—crisp and rigorous, spartan and geometric, yet touched with a subtle ambient light and color that makes it a platform for surprisingly delicate and emotive nuances. Bell’s cubes, along with the work of California colleagues including Robert Irwin and James Turrell, offer softer gradations than Minimalism’s seemingly inflexible profile, deploying natural light to inject perceptual poetics into what otherwise

  • Ken Fandell

    On the Lawn at Graduation 2001, a seven-minute looped video of a woman’s high-heel-shod foot swinging aimlessly to and fro, assumes added interest when accompanied by the martial rat-a-tat-tat rhythms of Gustav Holst’s “Mars: The Bringer of War,” the opening section of his suite The Planets (1918). In his recent exhibition, Chicago-based artist Ken Fandell set seven short, silent, single-shot videos to this modernist orchestral gem, variously adjusting and editing each one into evocative intersection with its seven sections. If we could free the term of its vernacular cultural baggage, Fandell’s

  • Lisa Caccioppoli

    Lisa Caccioppoli paints owls. Sometimes there’s just one large owl on her smallish white canvases, but more often there’s a large group of them, containing a dozen to forty or more members. The eight untitled paintings shown at ThreeWalls were executed in September and October 2005, while Caccioppoli was in residence at the gallery. She uses a generic silhouette of a perched owl throughout, presenting the bird as sign and rarely articulating individual bodies other than as variously sized patches of solid color, a few of which incorporate slight tonal shifts. Caccioppoli also eschews any spatial

  • Bruce Nauman

    Bruce Nauman as Midwestern artist par excellence? He was, after all, born in Fort Wayne, Indiana, and graduated from the University of Wisconsin, but the heartland has rarely been noted as an influence on his practice. However, a degree of independence from modernist isms, an idiosyncratic agenda, a wry and iconoclastic sense of humor, and an occasional fetish for highly crafted objects link some of Nauman’s concerns to the culture and traditions of the area. While the artist doesn’t often wax nostalgic or engage in overt autobiographical rumination, he does acknowledge that his One Hundred Fish

  • James Drake

    Like a latter-day Bernini lost in the deserts of the American Southwest, James Drake, in his recent work, explores the stark and savage milieu of West Texas while assembling a romanticized allegorical overview of his life and oeuvre, treating both with an effusive period sensibility. Selected from his series “City of Tells,” 2001– (shown earlier in 2005 at SITE Santa Fe, in the city where Drake now lives and works), this video and sequence of large charcoal drawings are reminiscent of the Italian high Baroque in their extraordinary lushness. Drake uses charcoal in a broad and almost painterly

  • Michael Schmelling

    In 2003, photographer Michael Schmelling began to accompany crews from the private hygiene task force Disaster Masters as they blitzed the homes of obsessive- compulsive hoarders in New York City and Yonkers with the aim of sorting through and reorganizing or disposing of mountains of accumulated trash. Sometimes invited in by the hoarders themselves, but also by loved ones, social workers, co-op boards, or landlords, Disaster Masters launches fast, immediate assaults on chronically overstuffed domestic environments, and offers counseling and aftercare. Schmelling photographed some of the places

  • Magnus von Plessen

    This modest overview of twelve paintings executed by Magnus von Plessen since 1999 was a thoughtful reinvestigation of traditional easel painting and an unexpectedly intense reinvigoration of genres and emphases sometimes considered exhausted. Portraiture, allegory, still life, anecdotal figure painting, architectural studies, and even equestrian imagery were investigated anew—not in a mocking or dismissive manner, but rather as still-potent types, the collective weight of which it now seems impossible for a contemporary painter to transcend or otherwise escape.

    The uncomfortable sense of the

  • Tracy Nakayama

    Vintage porn might be the last place one would expect to encounter Arcadia, but Tracy Nakayama unequivocally positions it there. Her seemingly endless series of sepia ink drawings on paper (twenty-three were shown here) are taken from the erotica of what seemed a simpler and more innocent moment of staged intimacy and are so sympathetic to their source that they approach homage. Nakayama focuses primarily on images from sex magazines whose purpose was often speciously presented as sociological, and whose softcore aesthetic is adaptable to her feminist approach (male models, for example, are

  • Susan Giles

    The recent appearance of endless hours of amateur video documenting last year’s Southeast Asian tsunami has provided numerous examples of precisely the kind of imagery that fascinates artist Susan Giles—not for the firsthand encounters with destruction but for the boring and generic moments that drift by immediately beforehand, the kind of casual establishing shots that vacationers seem compelled to record (and which they usually accompany with inane commentary).

    For her video projection Glitches, Hitches, and Hiccups 2, 2004, Giles extracted a few minutes from over fifty hours of such material,

  • Troy Brauntuch

    There’s a curious intimacy to Troy Brauntuch’s recent output that feels both mysterious and cozy. Derived from sequences of shots of his studio and domestic life, these works are a confluence of allusive subject matter and scrupulously refined technique. Insinuative and elusive, precious and odd, even their medium can be read equivocally. Is a work made with conté crayon on black cotton a drawing or a monochromatic painting? Either way, Brauntuch’s application is extraordinarily skillful, with the subtlest pressure delicately evoking a cat sprawled across a snakeskin chair, a pile of gloves

  • Peter Gallo

    Peter Gallo has all the (slow) moves of a neoslacker: an apparent disdain for materials; an alert scavenger’s attitude toward culture; an eye for the poignant frailties of the vernacular; and an occasionally breathtaking ability to evoke issues of great import. His work is, inevitably, a mixed bag, because he treats the world and his mind as jumbled compendiums, filled with little connections and bursts of revelation that his seemingly slight but actually pointed interventions reveal. It amounts to a kind of grunge arte povera, a witty and instinctive immersion in the stuff of the world that is