Jeffrey Kastner

  • View of “Walead Beshty,” 2017. Photo: Christopher Burke.

    Walead Beshty

    With an intermittent soundtrack provided by the futile jittering of wrecked office equipment displayed like broken bodies skewered on pikes, and colossal flat-screen displays that had been mortally injured and then strung up in the fashion of cold-room carcasses, the opening rooms of Walead Beshty’s recent exhibition at Petzel suggest a Dr. Moreau–style project updated for the digital age—a ruthless program of mechanical vivisection designed to forcibly bestow an organic bearing on a set of captive entities. Yet if this ambitious show initially seems to wear its high-tech-abattoir vibe a

  • Morgan O’Hara, LIVE TRANSMISSION: movement of the hands of JONAS MEKAS performing at the Fluxus Festival / Anthology Film Archive / New York City / 30 October 1994, pencil on paper, 11 × 14".

    Morgan O'Hara

    Across the past three decades, Morgan O’Hara has produced more than five thousand examples of what she calls her Live Transmission works, a strand of her practice situated between performance and drawing. These renderings are the product of a process whereby O’Hara “records” movement—of musicians, orators, actors, and fellow artists; of workers of all sorts, from gardeners to bakers to stonemasons; of bees and carp and turtles—in real time with only pencils and paper, tools that function for the septuagenarian artist as a mediumistic interface between herself and the world of space

  • “99 CENTS OR LESS”

    The largest municipal default in US history occurred when the city of Detroit, roughly $20 billion in the hole, filed for bankruptcy in the summer of 2013. In the years before and after the municipal wipeout, a deflated real estate market made the metropolis a low-cost Shangri-la for artists and artisans looking for space on the cheap. This socioeconomic background provides the context for MoCAD’s sprawling group show, which proceeds from the idea of giving ninety-nine American artists $99 each to spend at 99-cent stores to create new works, which will then be sold for

  • Richard Mosse, Idomeni Camp, Greece, 2016, digital C-print on metallic paper, 40 1/4 × 120". From the series “Heat Maps,” 2016.

    Richard Mosse

    Susan Sontag wrote that “photography implies that we know about the world if we accept it as the camera records it. But this is the opposite of understanding, which starts from not accepting the world as it looks.” Richard Mosse’s unorthodox approach to recording the world—beginning especially with his photo series “Infra,” 2010–15, and its related six-channel video, The Enclave, 2012–13, and continuing with his new body of work, “Heat Maps,” 2016–, recently on view at Jack Shainman’s Twentieth Street space—engages with some of the central notions underlying Sontag’s well-known dictum,

  • Marianna Simnett, The Needle and the Larynx, 2016, HD video, color, sound, 15 minutes 17 seconds.

    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, Untitled (Morgue), 2011, mixed media, 11' 3” × 15' × 7' 1 3/4”.

    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, Thigh Gap, 2016, enamel on metal, 72 × 86 1/2".

    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

  • Two self-adhesive name tags from Paul Ramírez Jonas’s Hello I Am, Hello I Was (detail), 2012.

    “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, Untitled (a table that looks like a sculpture), 2016, enamel on aluminum, eastern maple, plywood, 44 × 31 3/4 × 21 3/4".

    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

  • View of “Andrea Zittel,” 2016. Floor, from left: Linear Sequence #2, 2016; Linear Sequence #1, 2016. Photo: Pierre Le Hors.

    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, Ribbons, 2014, three-channel HD video, color, sound, 13 minutes 18 seconds.

    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