Jeffrey Kastner

  • Marianna Simnett

    Among the various forms of affectual experience typically available to gallerygoers—from dead boredom to rapt fascination and many more between—genuine fear remains a rarity. Part of the reason for this is that it’s actually pretty difficult to induce the emotion amid the anodyne precincts of the white cube, an environment that tends to disrupt the usual mechanisms and thwart the requisite level of empathy necessary to generate true dread. If the work of the British artist Marianna Simnett doesn’t entirely sidestep certain familiar sorts of scare tactics, it does vividly recast them,

  • Elmgreen & Dragset

    Across twenty-odd years of collaboration, the artist team of Michael Elmgreen and Ingar Dragset have created a rangy, often memorable body of sculptural and installation work that oscillates—perhaps too freely for some tastes—between the melancholic and the glib, the subtle and the slapstick. All in all, they’re probably better known for the latter than for the former: for works such as Prada Marfa, 2005, their winking dig at the cultural gentrification of the art-saturated West Texas town, or Van Gogh’s Ear, 2016, a charmingish public-art non sequitur—amputated body part as

  • Marilyn Minter

    Anyone with even a passing acquaintance with pornography—which, given its utter digital ubiquity, is pretty much anybody who’s ever turned on a computer—will know that the contemporary taste in female pubic hair (certainly, at least, among the largely male producers and consumers of erotica) has for some time been decidedly on the side of less is more. And so it probably shouldn’t come as a surprise that a few years ago, when Marilyn Minter was commissioned by Playboy’s creative director, curator Neville Wakefield, to produce a project for a special issue of the magazine, her photographs

  • “Paul Ramírez Jonas: Atlas, Plural, Monumental”

    An artist for whom audience participation is at the very conceptual—and ethical—core of his practice, Paul Ramírez Jonas creates work that is not simply for civic spaces but also interrogates how such spaces and the publics they serve are constituted. Over the past decade, the artist’s engagement with the mechanics of sociospatial interaction has become increasingly physicalized—whether involving the distribution of keys that offer individuals access to (alternately) a single tiny park or a city’s worth of museums and other culturally notable sites, or the

  • “Moving Is In Every Direction: Environments, Installations, Narrative Spaces”

    Installation art’s ability to produce, or disrupt, narrative experience—to alternately conjure and complicate linearity through interventions in spatiotemporal conditions—is central to its effects on the activated, decentered spectator it proposes to produce. Taking its title from a comment made by Gertrude Stein on the state of narrative in a lecture at the University of Chicago in 1935, this exhibition represents the largest consideration of the genre’s postwar history ever mounted in Germany. The show is slated to include some

  • Roy McMakin

    The dozen or so objects—call them sculpture, furniture, or something poised indeterminately in between—included in Roy McMakin’s recent exhibition at Garth Greenan Gallery for the most part proceeded from a superficially simple line of inquiry: What happens to a conventionally functional artifact when that artifact has its conventional function tampered with? It’s a question with which McMakin—a Wyoming-born artist and craftsman who studied at the University of California, San Diego, in the late 1970s and early ’80s with teachers such as Allan Kaprow and Manny Farber and who today

  • Andrea Zittel

    It’s been twenty-five years now since Andrea Zittel initiated her eponymous “A–Z” enterprise, the generative Gesamtkunstwerk that has become, for all intents and purposes, indivisible from her life. Run out of a complex she’s built over the last decade and a half in the desert a couple of hours east of Los Angeles, the artist’s “institute of investigative living” has grown to encompass furniture and home design, as well as clothing, textiles, food, and more. Descended from both Donald Judd’s experiments in Marfa, Texas, and such counterculture-era utopian communities as Paolo Soleri’s Arcosanti

  • Ed Atkins

    Pixel-thin in aspect but frequently profound in effect, the disturbingly polished motion-capture video works of British artist Ed Atkins engage, and complicate, the sensory-emotional space known as the “uncanny valley.” First limned in the world of early robotics, the concept was an attempt to describe the disorienting feeling of revulsion that one experiences as artificial life forms approach—but do not quite achieve—exact human likeness. Obviously motivated in its formulation by modern techno-formal concerns, the idea is indebted to Sigmund Freud’s decades-earlier consideration of

  • “The Artist’s Museum”

    It’s hardly surprising that the art museum, with its deeply ingrained protocols of accumulation and display, has frequently been the subject of artistic (and curatorial) interrogation. Such institutional ambitions would seem to lie on the side of practices Walter Benjamin famously aligned with the impulses of “the collector”—one who “brings together what belongs together” and who “by keeping in mind their affinities and their succession in time . . . can eventually furnish information” about those things. But artists whose programs are based on strategic accretions of

  • Tim Hawkinson

    Arguably the most talented bricoleur of his generation—resourceful and inventive, a maestro of the giddily improbable—Tim Hawkinson has produced a deeply peculiar, genially sprawling body of work across his more than three-decade-long career. Marked by a garage-tinkerer’s ingenuity and a wicked obsessive streak, his working methods and their off-kilter products suggest an artist constitutionally allergic to restraint. No gesture is seemingly too big (or too small), no material or form off-limits. His recent show at Pace—a mini-survey mounted to coincide with the debut of a third

  • “Kienholz: Five Car Stud”

    The work of Edward and Nancy Reddin Kienholz is by now so deeply ingrained in the contemporary art world’s collective consciousness that it’s easy to forget just how profoundly strange and unrelentingly thorny it is. Riotous, excoriating, and often brutally blunt, the Kienholzes’ oeuvre—comprising everything from scabrous riffs on racism, sexism, and militarism to more subdued takes on loneliness and ennui—remains surprisingly, and lamentably, as relevant to American culture today as it did at the time of its initial conception.This show will bring more than

  • Ann Veronica Janssens

    A whisper of a show, spare to the point of near-disappearance, Ann Veronica Janssens’s recent exhibition at Bortolami—the Belgium-based artist’s solo debut at the gallery, timed to coincide with the first American museum survey of her work, at the Nasher Sculpture Center in Dallas—provided a modest glimpse into her range of sculptural, spatial, and atmospheric concerns, and a sense of both the strengths and limitations of her practice. Though obviously a temperamental descendant of the Light and Space artists, Janssens, who has shown widely in Europe, also derives formal strategies

  • “The Wolfpack Show”

    Across the more than forty years of his art-world career, Jeffrey Deitch has rarely been shy, and has always been canny, about liberally leavening the blue-chip with the offbeat. And the shows he’s mounted at his old Grand Street space since returning to New York following his stint running the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles—the first featuring the outré midcentury LA artist and occultist Marjorie Cameron, and now a second, devoted to the Angulo brothers, six charismatic young isolates whose years-long confinement in their Manhattan apartment was documented in Crystal Moselle’s

  • Trevor Paglen

    Curious viewers looking for advance information on Trevor Paglen’s recent exhibition at Metro Pictures in the run-up to its opening probably encountered a rather unusual promotional tease created by the artist, an obliquely ominous “trailer” of sorts advertising the show, posted on the gallery’s website and picked up by numerous other online outlets. Clocking in at just over a minute, the video features only the names of the artist and gallery and the dates of the show interspersed among a sequence of loosely related images—a placid seascape, a scuba diver descending through murky water,

  • Philippe Parreno

    “I wonder which is worse. To feel too busy or not busy enough.” This wistfully introspective not-quite question—included in a monologue delivered by a series of child actresses as part of Tino Seghal’s contribution to Philippe Parreno’s H {N)Y P N(Y} OSIS, 2015, a two-hour-plus-long multimedia scenario that was on view at the Park Avenue Armory this summer—had a very specific contextual function in the show’s overall scheme, but it also stood out for the way it cut to the heart of the conceptual and structural ambivalences that shadowed the project, and Parreno’s practice in general.

  • “Christopher Knowles: In a Word”

    Christopher Knowles’s remarkably elastic practice—ranging freely across painting, sculpture, sound, performance, and poetry both spoken and concrete—has for more than four decades produced a jubilant array of lo-fi investigations into systems, especially into the operation and architecture of languages, linguistic and otherwise. A brilliantly eccentric detective, the Brooklyn-based artist has trained himself to find potentially significant patterns in the data stream of everyday life. Evoking Gertrude Stein, Frank O’Hara, and Daniel Johnston, his

  • “Ragnar Kjartansson: Seul Celui Qui Connait Le Désir

    Weaving together forms of production so diverse and interpenetrating that they defy almost any attempt at categorization, Ragnar Kjartansson has developed one of the least self-serious and yet most profound practices in contemporary art. Equally at home behind the camera and in front of it, painting a portrait, fronting a band, or acting as impresario for a range of inexplicably affecting scenarios, this Icelandic heir to Kippenberger makes work whose central themes—joy, empathy, embarrassment, boredom, failure—gather slowly, but arrive with the force of

  • Tomi Ungerer

    Anyone who’s ever had occasion to care for kids knows that there are certain books you read with them that are just as much for you as they are for them, perhaps even more so. In our house, we turned to the authors of these books—Hans Christian Andersen and the Brothers Grimm; Seuss, Dahl, Sendak, Gorey—not just because they were more fun to read than the usual children’s fare, but also, I suppose, with the idea that our children would detect in their work, however informally, traces of complexity and nuance, of genuine artistry. Among the volumes by these familiar figures we also had

  • Judith Scott

    The effects of an artist’s biography on his or her reception may be uncertain but they are hardly insignificant, and “Bound and Unbound,” the outstanding survey of the work of the sculptor Judith Scott at the Brooklyn Museum’s Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art, brings crucial questions about the relation of artmaking to language, affect, and intentionality—the very sort of phenomena that underpin the character of our intersubjectivity—into disorienting focus. Organized by the Sackler’s Catherine Morris and White Columns’ Matthew Higgs, the show comprises several dozen of

  • Marina Abramović

    The two trajectories that perhaps best describe the last half decade or so of Marina Abramović’s career converged almost too tidily in Generator, the artist’s recent installation/performance at Sean Kelly and her first solo show in the city since her blockbuster 2010 retrospective at New York’s Museum of Modern Art. There’s no question that that exhibition transformed the estimable performance pioneer into arguably the art world’s biggest pop-culture celebrity. Yet the emergence of her new identity as crossover diva/consciousness-raising guru—complete with an OMA-designed “institute” and