Jeff Gibson

  • “Cosmic Communities”

    Like a magazine article come to life, this exhibition, enticingly subtitled “Coming Out into Outer Space—Homofuturism, Applied Psychedelia & Magic Connectivity,” existed primarily as illustrative accompaniment to a thought-provoking essay. In lieu of a press release, Berlin-based scholar and critic Diedrich Diederichsen—who organized the show in collaboration with Galerie Buchholz codirector Christopher Müller—provided a feature-length work of art-historical exposition drawing comparisons among historically and geographically disparate cultural phenomena, fleshed out by loosely

  • Peter Halley

    Peter Halley’s latest show—his first with Greene Naftali—was spectacular, though severely and queasily so. Setting the tone for severity, the artist commandeered the Brutalist ambience of the gray, cinderblock-enclosed courtyard adjacent to the gallery entrance with a prominently placed, bodily scaled, faux-concrete-and-asphalt work from 1994, Cell with Conduit, thrust several inches out from the wall by a hefty steel armature. A distilled (one-cell, one-conduit), quintessential Halley composition that signaled, as always, a core contemporary paradox—the isolating effect of mediated

  • Mark Mothersbaugh

    Best known as cofounder, singer, and keyboardist of archetypal art band Devo, Mark Mothersbaugh has cut a singular path through the intersecting margins of art and popular culture. Born (1950) and raised in Akron, Ohio, the artist spent his formative years, which were marked by creative inclination, subjected to the kind of banal cruelties routinely administered by boomer jocks to nerdy, bespectacled kids. (Mothersbaugh has severe myopia.) In a podcast interview with comedian Marc Maron, recorded on the occasion of this exhibition, Mothersbaugh describes his experience of kindergarten through

  • Erin O’Keefe

    More than a little of the considerable appeal emanating from Erin O’Keefe’s photographs lies in the difficulty we encounter deciphering them. With these works—razor-sharp depictions of abstract, brushily painted, sculptural tableaux, for the most part—not only does one struggle to identify the medium, but the compositions traffic in shadowy illusion and spatial ambiguity, making it hard at times to know exactly what is being portrayed. Consequently, the eye moves searchingly across the picture plane, propelled by the pleasures arising from the work’s bold construction and rich yet

  • Jeff Donaldson

    Jeff Donaldson (1932–2004) attained many distinctions in his lifetime. In addition to chalking up a highly impressive list of academic and pedagogical achievements, culminating in a Ph.D. in African and African American art history from Chicago’s Northwestern University and, later in life, a long-standing deanship at Howard University in Washington, DC, he played a defining role in the development of a “trans-African” aesthetic that endeavored to help shape attitudes toward the African diaspora via unifying signs of protest, positivity, and cultural pride. A founding member of the Organization

  • Theo Triantafyllidis

    For his New York solo debut, Theo Triantafyllidis, an Athens-, Los Angeles–, and Berlin-educated architecture graduate turned artist, presented one small sculpture; a medium-size wall relief composed of shape-fitted shards of colorful trash; two ink-jet-on-nylon wall hangings; and, most notably, three self-generating videos, two of which were accompanied by comical props and cosmetically augmented computer hardware. The sculpture, Mountain (Ceramic) (all works 2016), a piled-up mound of extruded white clay bearing splashes of color and bright plastic appendages, crowned a plain white plinth.

  • John O’Connor

    John O’Connor revels in schematic mutation. Ceding varying degrees of aesthetic agency to programmatic procedures that give visual and linguistic form to statistics, sociocultural phenomena, and chance operations, he is best known for large, labor-intensive, colored-pencil-and-graphite drawings that creep and sprawl across their supports in accordance with eccentric, self-imposed directives. Pertinent examples include A Recurrence Plot, 2013, in which economic data and markers of social stratification are gaudily plotted onto a cross-sectional chart of planet Earth’s geologic layers, and Cleverbot

  • Ross Knight

    One of my favorite Instagram feeds, going by the handle @techappeal, sifts for pictorial gold among athletic, medical, and technological product photography. Featuring such psychoactive eye candy as space-age sneaker soles set against ethereal gradients, flawless limbs sporting latex prophylaxes in antiseptic-blue environments, and spotless anatomical teaching aids shot against pastel infinity screens, its imagery is routinely airless and otherworldly yet grounded in an ineluctable mortality. The feed catalogues a nascent zone of our collective digital imagination, a creepy realm of artificial

  • Lauren Silva

    There’s something not quite right about the paintings in Lauren Silva’s second show at Zieher Smith & Horton. At first glance, they appear not so much off, as overly on. The best ones register immediately as implausibly charming, working a confectioner’s palette to recall such feel-good pop-cultural genres as vintage and contemporary comics and children’s-book illustration. Yet there’s something else. The paintings’ surfaces shimmer slightly, and as you draw near you’ll see that the softly hued, blurry grounds extend around the sides of the stretcher frames. You might then notice that the

  • “Double Standard: Ed Ruscha & Mason Williams, 1956–1971 (Part 1)”

    Legend has it that in 1956 an eighteen-year-old Ed Ruscha set out solo from Oklahoma City in a customized Ford, taking the fabled Route 66 to Los Angeles (passing twenty-six gasoline stations along the way), where he would study at the Chouinard Art Institute (now CalArts) en route to elevating urban graphic vernaculars to the status of art. It’s a tidy account of a no doubt messy affair. Of course, the factual distillations and narrative compressions enabling such myths of origin are, necessarily, founded on omission. Case in point: Riding alongside Ruscha on his move to LA was childhood friend

  • Pieter Schoolwerth

    Pieter Schoolwerth knows how to paint. In recent years, he turned his hand to no less daunting a task than the subjective reinvention of old-master iconography, which he deftly reconstituted via digital and analog overlays and abstractions—a contemporary remastering, if you will, of the compositional mainstays of Western figuration. Yet for his latest show, Schoolwerth put his considerable skills in the service of a throwaway gag: The press release informed us that while using a cheap, ineffectual vacuum cleaner, the artist blurted out, “This vacuum sucks!” and was so amused by the unintended

  • film September 28, 2012

    Permanent Thirst

    OUTBACK AUSTRALIA is an inhospitable environment. The light is blinding, the heat searing, and the arid, burnt-earth expanse goes on forever. Yet, ironically, it is the hospitality of those hardy souls desperate or crazy enough to live there that poses the greatest threat to civilized mind and body. Wake in Fright (1971) contrives to ensnare an educated city boy in the hard-drinking, hypermasculine pastimes of a fictional, but all-too-real, outback mining town named—as if to summon the Aussie drawl—Bundanyabba. A reasonably faithful adaptation of Australian author Kenneth Cook’s 1961 novel of

  • film July 28, 2009

    Exile and Exploitation

    VICE AND VULGARITY PLAY WELL IN AUSTRALIA. With the country's rum-corps origins and epic isolation, low-grade spectacle exuding illegality takes on a certain mythic quality. It’s hardly surprising then that the “great southern land” would have a rich and shameless history of bottom-line exploitation cinema, the glory days of which—the 1970s and ’80s—are affectionately chronicled in Not Quite Hollywood, a second-generation fan’s account of the rise and squall of the seedier side of the Australian film industry. Directed by Melburnian, gen-X music-video impresario Mark Hartley, NQH has no time

  • the Asia-Pacific Triennial

    BRISBANE IS BOOMING. Once a cultural and economic underdog, the capital city of the Australian state of Queensland has lately been giving Sydney and Melbourne a run for, well, their money. Skimming its take off the state’s thriving mining industry—currently enjoying an export bonanza to the Asia-Pacific region and beyond—the Queensland government is not short on funds with which to advertise its growing civic maturity and cultural sophistication. Departing Queensland Art Gallery director Doug Hall has marshaled these resources masterfully over the past two decades, steering the relatively young,

  • Asia-Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art 5

    Since its inception in 1993, the Asia-Pacific Triennial has been highly successful in charting vectors of cultural connection between formerly isolated nations.

    Since its inception in 1993, the Asia-Pacific Triennial has been highly successful in charting vectors of cultural connection between formerly isolated nations. Creating an alternate network to what is known colloquially as the Eumerican empire (i.e., the West), the forward-thinking APT has also become Brisbane’s greatest claim to museological fame. It’s not surprising, then, that the Queensland Art Gallery would use this event to launch its spanking-new expansion, the Gallery of Modern Art. Straddling both museums, the APT, an in-house curatorial affair led by QAG director

  • “Biennale of Sydney”

    Global fusion is the default biennial theme these days. But for Australian society—an international stir-fry in an Anglo-Celtic broth—blending flavors has been a way of life for most of the past century. Curated by intermittent Australian Charles Merewether, the fifteenth Biennale of Sydney, titled “Zones of Contact,” takes as its conceptual foundation the seemingly inexhaustible topic of sociocultural exchange. Merewether, an art historian who has taught at universities in Sydney, Barcelona, and Mexico City, is a senior fellow at the Centre for Cross-Cultural Research

  • Tom Sachs

    This show features the artist’s more megalomaniacal constructions, including a nitrous-powered police car and new works like a one-to-seven scale model of an aircraft-carrier control tower and a full-size replica of the blue whale that hangs in New York’s American Museum of Natural History.

    Mock-machismo American Tom Sachs is about to hit Europe with a double-barrel survey. The first assault, curated by Gunnar B. Kvaran, Grete Årbu, and Hanne Beate for Oslo’s Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art, launches mid-January with a broad selection of incendiary objects parodically misappropriating high- and low-class power signs (think Chanel value meal and Prada toilet). The second offensive, at the Fondazione Prada, features the artist’s more megalomaniacal constructions, including a nitrous-powered police car and new works like a one-to-seven scale model of an

  • “High Tide: New Currents in Art from Australia and New Zealand”

    Organized by the Zacheta’s Magda Kardasz and expat New Zealander Simon Rees (now curator at the Contemporary Art Centre, Vilnius), this binational survey features an even spread of early- to midcareer artists mining three thematic categories: indigeneity and local mythology, suburbanism (the human hatchery is a recurrent concern in art from the region), and a placeless internationalism.

    “High Tide” deposits the work of thirty-six Australian and New Zealand artists on the very distant shores of Warsaw and Vilnius. Organized by the Zacheta’s Magda Kardasz and expat New Zealander Simon Rees (now curator at the Contemporary Art Centre, Vilnius), this binational survey features an even spread of early- to midcareer artists mining three thematic categories: indigeneity and local mythology, suburbanism (the human hatchery is a recurrent concern in art from the region), and a placeless internationalism. No longer far-flung colonial subjects—though

  • the Biennale of Sydney

    Descartes was wrong: The mind/body split is bogus. With this as her hook for the 14th Biennale of Sydney, the director, Portuguese independent curator Isabel Carlos, won’t get much argument there. Titling her show “On Reason and Emotion,” Carlos has conscripted neurologist and compatriot António Damásio, author of such titles as Descartes’ Error and The Feeling of What Happens, to provide the theoretical ballast for floating the interdependence of thought and feeling in contemporary art. Looking to settle the score with “northern” (read: New York) intellectualism, her biennale gets behind the

  • the National Gallery of Victoria

    The Australian art world is having a growth spurt. In Brisbane, a $65 million museum is under construction, augmenting and vastly extending the reach of the Queensland Art Gallery, home to the Asia Pacific Triennial. Down south, a whole new commercial-gallery district has sprung up in Sydney, while, most auspiciously, in Melbourne an ambitious expansion of the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV), involving both a major renovation and a new museum building, is nearly complete. Reopening in December, the original NGV has been given a $100 million overhaul by Milanese design maestro Mario Bellini