John McKinnon

  • Nick Mauss

    Starting with AD, a mere syllable, followed by APPROACHED ONLY BY INTUITION AND PIECEMEAL, the second line of the card for Nick Mauss’s “Perforations” gave the first impression of the detachment that characterized his solo show in Minneapolis. The cropped line of text was taken from a book on the French painter Édouard Vuillard (1868–1940) and aptly pointed to the fractional understanding with which most viewers likely engaged this exhibition, as well as to the fragmented nature of the exhibition itself: two rooms featuring ethereal abstract drawings and a reverse slide projection separated by

  • picks August 01, 2007

    “The Lath Picture Show”

    “The Lath Picture Show” pits itself against exhibitions about representational imagery and photographs under similar titles. The exhibition originates from the definition of the word lath, a fitting description of its understated sculptures, which range from the 1960s to the present. Each tiny aesthetic decision is emphasized in the unadorned artworks—from a Formica cabinet to a stack of plywood to a hockey stick casually inserted into a bucket. While the ambitiously titled show may not provide a full-dress survey of this aesthetic’s proponents (Gedi Sibony and others are noticeably missing),

  • picks June 07, 2007

    Joanne Greenbaum

    Deliberately abandoning the austere weightiness of heroic gestures and emphatic expression, Joanne Greenbaum’s new paintings consciously use understated, illogical patterns of comically misshapen grids, flattened cubes, and scrawled doodles. Subtle drips and washes provide small evidence of lofty painting materials, while her mark-making resembles that of a child’s marker set. Dots, squares, and circles in off-key colors playfully converge in outlandish latticeworks, diminishing the iconic scale of the roughly five-foot-square paintings. As patterns twist across the canvas, new idiosyncratic

  • picks March 27, 2007

    “Pass It On”

    Several months ago, Time magazine unexpectedly announced: “For seizing the reins of the global media, for founding and framing the new digital democracy, for working for nothing and beating the pros at their own game, Time’s Person of the Year for 2006 is you.” The magazine cover featured a reflective Mylar “mirror,” providing anyone with the opportunity to occupy the space once reserved for luminaries such as Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Pope John XXIII, and Martin Luther King Jr. The individual was honored because of the heightened level of user control in popular, malleable media such as

  • picks February 05, 2007

    “Like, Resembling, Similar”

    “Like, Resembling, Similar” features the understated work of Christine Frerichs, Ryan McLaughlin, and Luke Stettner, each of whom attempts to recapture emotional states accurately through coolly Conceptual processes—among them a collection of texts scattered by helium balloons and repetitious drawings of a portrait. Methods of representation and translation tie the work together, and so does an undercurrent of mournfulness reminiscent of the work of Felix Gonzalez-Torres.

    The lone sculpture in the show, a cassette player housed within two soundproof boxes, looms as an unorthodox centerpiece. In

  • picks February 05, 2007

    Sam Durant, Robert Heinecken, Lee Lozano, Cady Noland, and Richard Prince

    Newcomer Rowley Kennerk has unlocked the vaults of private collections for the third exhibition at his gallery, filling his diminutive space with gems by Sam Durant, Robert Heinecken, Lee Lozano, Cady Noland, and Richard Prince. Much of the art riffs on the cultural climate of the ‘60s, including Lozano’s drawing that emblematically reads “DON’T TREAD ON ME.” Others wistfully channel the turbulent decade through manipulations of print media: Durant’s flipped, reversed, and negatively exposed digital images of hippie concerts provide a new generation’s answer to the appropriation techniques

  • picks December 11, 2006

    Rick Gribenas

    Rick Gribenas’s Take me in., 2006, involves the literal comparison of two light sources: a gleaming yellow-orange illumination flooding the area above a gallery wall, and seven LCD screens, hung on the opposite wall, depicting outdoor daylight. The digital representation is created with small sensors that capture the shifting emanations reflected on a nearby white-painted windowsill and translate them to pale hues of white, yellow, and pink. As daylight fades and the doors of the gallery close, the monitors darken, but the sodium fixtures remain lit. Asserting the presence of the gallery throughout

  • picks November 15, 2006

    Mel Bochner

    A temporary, site-specific piece by Conceptual artist Mel Bochner demarcates the future site of the Spertus Institute of Jewish Studies. Commissioned by the Spertus Museum, The Joys of Yiddish, 2006, boldly displays twenty-four Yiddish words of communal self-criticism such as KIBITZER (a wise guy), KVETCHER (a chronic complainer), and SHVITZER (a show-off). Asserting itself from within a busy construction site, the sharp-witted installation exudes Bochner’s critical disposition on a fifty-foot-long wall. The yellow-on-black text is positioned at street level, amid pedestrian traffic, emphatically