John Pluecker

  • picks January 11, 2018

    Gabriel Martinez

    In Gabriel Martinez’s first solo museum exhibition, a polished veneer and meticulous structuring allow his beautiful objects to pass as Minimalist art––yet a deeper examination reveals biting commentary and sharp sociopolitical analyses of contemporary American urbanism.

    The artist’s practice is grounded in interventions he undertook on city streets over the past fifteen years. In one, Martinez cleared a delimited area of all paper trash and then re-created the refuse in white card stock in his studio, eventually returning the fabricated versions to the same location; in Ghost Trash, 2005–18,

  • picks November 15, 2017

    Héctor Zamora

    In “Re/Vuelta,” his first retrospective in Mexico, Héctor Zamora presents a selection of twenty-four works, including installations, architectural models, photographs, videos, a live performance, documentation of performances, and sculptures. The Spanish word revuelta refers to both a riot and a revolt, and—with the addition of the slash—to a “re/turn,” signifying a return for the artist to questions around labor that frequently emerge in his work and to his native country.

    By focusing on manual production, Zamora here proffers an incisive critique of the changes brought on by the expansion of

  • picks May 29, 2015

    “The One and the Many: A Self-Portrait in Seven Parts”

    With a quiet yet undeniable force, this exhibition provides the emotional sense of absence or yearning brought on by migration or displacement. Cuban-born artist Alexandre Arrechea exhibits three photos from his “Architectural Elements” series (all works 2015), in which he holds pillars of building materials in front of brick or stone walls, obscuring his own laboring body behind paper, cement, or metal. A steady pulsing sound in Ayanna Jolivet McCloud’s installation accompanies a text piece on borders, bridges, and the reverberations of violence for Score (How to Hold On to Chasms and Fill with

  • picks January 07, 2013

    “The Progress of Love”

    “The Progress of Love” is a set of three distinct, concurrent exhibitions—held at the Menil Collection in Houston; the Center for Contemporary Arts in Lagos, Nigeria; and the Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts in Saint Louis—that investigate contemporary notions of love in Africa, Europe, and the United States. The project draws its name from an eighteenth-century painting by Jean-Honoré Fragonard of a European couple in the throes of romance, in a garden; this painting has been reworked into a sculptural installation by Yinka Shonibare, The Swing (after Fragonard), 2001, which features a life-size,

  • picks June 18, 2012

    “It is what it is. Or is it?”

    Marcel Duchamp famously said that the readymade was “a form of denying the possibility of defining art”; in a similar way, this exhibition denies the possibility of narrowly defining the readymade. Nearly a century after Bicycle Wheel, 1913, we are still wrestling with the relevance of the readymade, particularly its critical power in our digitally saturated, perpetually remixed world.

    It’s daring of Dean Daderko, the curator of this exhibition, to wade into these deep waters. He has included a wide array of artworks, from Bill Bollinger’s Evergreen Joe Hemmis, 1970, to Rachel Hecker’s portraiture,