John Kelsey

  • Blue Noses, Little Men, 2004–2005, stills from a 10-channel color digital video projection.


    I am not complaining about anything and I like everything here, although I have never been here and know nothing about this place.

    —Collective Action Group, Slogan ’77, 1977

    Moscow mixes the surface energies of Las Vegas with pages from Kafka’s Castle. On the one hand, there is actual wildness and popular images of it: flashy casinos and raging discos, quasi-legal prostitution (the age of consent only sixteen), ever-flowing vodka, and the massive influx of luxury goods (Dior, Chanel, a block-long Rolex billboard across from Red Square), in addition to Russia’s mythic oligarchs and gangsters, who

  • Richard Kern

    Before becoming known as a photographer, Richard Kern was a director of short “death-punk” films, pioneering a post-Warholian B-porn aesthetic that made itself at home on Sonic Youth album covers and in East Village basement screening rooms at a time when it was still possible to call such production “underground.” In the meantime, Kern’s photographs have been widely published in books and magazines as various as Purple and Barely Legal. Kern does porn, art, and fashion photography, sometimes all in one day, but his singularity does not reside in this crossover potential so much as in the way

  • New York

    THERE WAS A KIND OF INTELLIGENCE IN THE WAY 2003 BLACKED out midstream. Some things thrive better in darkness; some things go to sleep. But this year was halogen lit, smooth as safety glass, and punctuated by ever-peaking terror alerts, no doubt manufactured by the Bush people in anticipation of their show of force at Madison Square Garden. The year may go down as the most managed in the history of New York, the year that so many potential and imaginary explosions were defused or diverted, the year that the wartime climate served as a consistent and dependable stabilizing device. It’s tempting

  • Rachel Harrison

    Unlike Rachel Harrison’s previous exhibitions, this one didn’t evade the fact that it was a showroom full of sculptures, autonomous things, standing there in plain view, whether openly embarrassed or glamorously opaque about their status as aesthetic commodities. Harrison’s best works seem to sculpturize an ambivalence about the job a work is meant to do: I show myself, you see me, value is in question, now what?

    Two works used video, one, Gray or Roan Colt, shot at a swanky horse auction in Saratoga Springs, New York, the other, Hail to Reason, at a backwoods auction of scarcely desirable junk

  • Gareth James

    Origami may seem a funny way to “articulate the persistence of the logic of capitalist property relations in the visual,” but Gareth James’s working concept here is topology, and what better way to visualize nonlinear space-times than via the fold? James folds paper in order to depict a world that operates through the managed undermining of fixed identities and once-stable borders. The topological fold—for James, a sort of upgraded analytical cubism—is also a means of deconstructing a received picture of the world in order to elaborate approaches equal to the conditions under which the artist

  • John Waters, Mark #12, 1998, color photograph, 14 x 19 3/4".

    John Waters

    In 1964, John Waters shot his first short film, Hag in a Black Leather Jacket, using shoplifted film stock and a Brownie 8 mm movie camera given to him by his grandmother for his seventeenth birthday. Thirty-three years later, while directing Edward Furlong and Christina Ricci in Pecker, he noticed that the tape marks his crew was using to position the actors on set looked a lot like abstract drawings, and decided to photograph and present them as art (Mark #1–Mark #15, 1998). Both Hag and the “Mark” series were included in “Change of Life,” Waters’s exhibition of photographic and sculptural

  • Michael Snow

    Though he’s best known for now-classic experimental films such as Wavelength, 1966–67, and La Région centrale, 1971, Michael Snow’s gallery exhibition “Powers of Two” revealed him to be a hyperprolific artist whose mad-scientist inventiveness has engaged a wide range of media, materials, and techniques over the past forty years. His recent videos, photographs, and photo-based sculptures and installations are brainy, playful performed investigations of the technical and cultural constructedness of modern perception. Snow’s latest work also exposes him as an obsessive archivist who recomposes

  • Alex Bag

    Alex Bag’s “Coven Services for Consumer Mesmerism, Product Sorcery, and the Necromantic Reimagination of Consumption” uses low-budget materials and DIY processes to transform the gallery into the corporate HQ of a sinister, world-dominating advertising agency/think tank/PR firm/witch cult. Coven Services’ clients include some of the key players in global capitalism today, notorious multinational corporations such as Monsanto, Bechtel, and AOL–Time Warner. The main wall—a sort of creative-visioning workshop in progress that also suggests the psychotic basement wallpaperings of TV serial killers—is

  • Chivas Clem

    By referencing the Mallarméan metaphysics of Yves Klein’s high-modernist “void” of 1960 in the title of his first solo show, Chivas Clem might be posing the possibility that a poetic revolution still lurks in the pornographic banality of today’s globalized, high-speed Spectacle. Or he might also be asking, skeptically: Is art even possible after Microsoft, after CNN? For “Leap into the Void,” Clem’s “material” of choice is the digital image—outputted onto glossy sheets of unframed photo paper and ink-jetted onto bare canvas. The content of these images is 95 percent the flimsy, flashy stuff of

  • Rita Ackermann

    Rita Ackermann is a painter who tends to put that talent in the service of a wider, more adventurous milieu-making activity, connecting with music, fashion, and other urban scenes in order to carry sensations from one place over into another, sometimes making us rediscover what painting is along the way. One example is The Deer Slayer, the shadow-puppet theater she produced in 1997. With live narration by Kim Gordon and music by members of the No Neck Blues Band, the show—combining painting and performance, improvised sound plus changing backdrops and the illuminated figures that moved across

  • Jack Smith

    The pleasure and the interest of this small exhibition of drawings, photographs, and ephemera from the collection of artist Edwin Ruda and Maria Antoinette, Smith’s former friend and superstar, result from its focus. These letters, sketches of costume designs, cut-and-paste flyers for midnight performances, etc., document a friendship and collaboration coinciding with the hyperactive years (1969–71) of the Plaster Foundation, Smith’s live-in, self-run theater on Greene Street. Antoinette, a Mescalero Apache who acted in Brassieres of Atlantis and other Smith shows during that time, embodies the

  • Oliver Payne and Nick Relph

    Creating a modest, more charming, and less tabloid-hungry brand of sensation with a series of short films they’ve made with friends and each other over the past couple of years, Londoners Oliver Payne and Nick Relph are the unanimously hailed first new kids of the post-YBA moment. In productions like Driftwood, 1999, and Mixtape, 2002, stylish, intimate, music-driven portraits of a generation under siege by youth culture intuit ways of being in a city (and on camera) where escape routes from corporate time and space seem less and less navigable. Their latest production, Gentlemen, 2003, inhabits