Julian Elias Bronner

  • interviews March 17, 2014

    Katrín Sigurðardóttir

    Katrín Sigurðardóttir’s site-specific installations often address collective memory and architecture. For the Icelandic Pavilion at the Fifty-Fifth Venice Biennale, Sigurðardóttir debuted Foundation, 2013, a raised, decorative floor inserted into the former laundry of an eighteenth-century palazzo. The work is currently on view in her solo exhibition at the Reykjavik Art Museum until April 13, 2014, and will travel to New York’s SculptureCenter. She discusses the piece below.

    BY CONVENTIONAL LOGIC, you could say that floors don’t move. We think of the ground underneath our feet as the parameter

  • diary February 03, 2014

    Fair Exchange

    “I WAS WARNED not to dress too extravagantly!” cried a Parisienne collector sporting a bejeweled, Persian-green dress and floral-print overcoat. A black Mercedes pulled up to drive us the mere one hundred yards from the parking lot to Brussels’s Tour & Taxis building for last Wednesday’s opening gala dinner for BRAFA. Until recently, those letters had stood for “Brussels Antique & Fine Art Fair,” but this year it’s been updated to the more modish “Brussels Art Fair,” signifying that the organization has “also embraced modern and contemporary art” and “resolutely secured their position in the

  • picks January 03, 2014

    Philipp Fürhofer

    “On/off relations,” Philipp Fürhofer’s debut solo exhibition at this gallery, consists of eleven translucent Perspex boxes of varying dimensions, which the artist treats as supports for paint and as vitrines for displaying various objects. Resembling Minimalist sculptures turned neo-expressionist chimera, these cubic gestalts are wroth with the fracas of uneven drips and strata of paint. Some boxes are fitted with mirrors and items that are lit from behind, their silhouettes turning each painting into a platonic microverse of visual possibilities. Freischutz, 224 Watt (all works 2013), for

  • diary November 29, 2013

    Photo Finish

    IN PARIS, every other November is le mois de la photo, and although this year was not the official “month of the photograph,” those who make them, buy them, and pose for them could be found filling up the city’s art spaces for the seventeenth edition of Paris Photo. Metro Pictures and Cheim & Read were among the twenty-eight newcomers this year, adding to the list of international art dealers not specialized in the fair’s de rigueur medium. While most New York art dealers were obliged elsewhere (“Do you really think Larry would miss auction week in New York?” Gagosian’s Jean-Olivier Després

  • interviews October 28, 2013

    Athanasios Argianas

    Athanasios Argianas is an Athens-born, London-based artist whose work explores how rudimentary perception becomes formalized and how it is translated between sensory media. Here, he discusses “A Sequencer *,” his debut solo exhibition in New York, which is on view at On Stellar Rays from November 2 to December 5, 2013. Branching Music, one of the video projections in the show, will be performed live on November 16, 2013, as part of Performa 13.

    MY WORK tends to make use of situations that can collapse into noise but also those that can provide enough clarity so one can read the situation’s

  • picks October 15, 2013

    “Les Papesses”

    A medieval legend tells of Pope Joan, who hid her gender throughout her papacy only to be dragged and stoned to death after her secret was revealed when she gave birth. “Les Papesses” is a vast, bewitching exhibition, taking place in two sites, that conjures the ethos of this heretical heroine by uniting five artists (Louise Bourgeois, Camille Claudel, Berlinde de Bruyckere, Kiki Smith, and Jana Sterbak) whose roles as female creators might have provoked similar condemnation in a previous era. While parallels could be drawn between the misogynistic witch hunts in the Middle Ages and feminists’

  • diary September 17, 2013

    Days of Being Wild

    LIGHT AND EASY, the sixth annual Brussels Art Days—three days of openings, dinners, performances, and parties kicking off the Belgian art season—provided a smooth transition from les grandes vacances as collectors, artists, and dealers alike exchanged espadrilles for leather, python, and crocodile footwear. The first day’s temperatures reached upward of eighty-six degrees as galleries opened up their spaces (and champagne) to welcome and work that miraculous creature known, as one local artist put it, as “the legendary Belgian collector.”

    Our journey began at the preview of Petrit Halilaj’s show

  • interviews September 13, 2013

    Kees Visser

    Kees Visser is a self-taught Dutch artist based in Reykjavik who is known for his abstract and minimal works from the past four decades. In 1978, he cofounded the Living Art Museum in Reykjavik. His current exhibition, “Ups and Downs,” is on view at the National Gallery of Iceland until October 27, 2013. Here he discusses his fascination with the Icelandic landscape as well as two of his new series that debut in the show.

    I FIRST CAME TO ICELAND IN 1976. Back then it felt like an international place, and because the art world was so small here, it was very accessible. For example, I never met

  • picks August 06, 2013

    Driss Ouadahi

    In “Implosion,” 2013, Driss Ouadahi’s new series of paintings and debut solo show in Portugal, the Algerian-born, Düsseldorf-based artist depicts scenes of European cityscapes, replete with the grid scaffolding of construction sites. In Stepping Out (all works cited, 2013), for instance, an urban vista has been whisked onto the canvas in hues of violet and blue. High-rise buildings punctuate the background, coaxing the eye to recede into illusory distance, while four facadeless structures seem to levitate, ungrounded, with cubic frames exposed. The orthogonal forms of their innards contrast with

  • interviews June 28, 2013

    Jennifer Bartlett

    Over the past forty years, Jennifer Bartlett has explored the results that applied rules can yield in abstract and figurative painting. “History of the Universe,” a current survey of her work at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, consists of paintings and sculptures from 1970 to 2011 that are presented as key examples of her oeuvre. Here, she discusses the show, which is on view until October 13, 2013.

    IT WAS KIND OF A JOKE when I titled my 1985 novel History of the Universe. I was being ironic, since it would be very hard and perhaps nearly impossible to describe the history of the universe.

  • picks June 25, 2013

    Allan McCollum

    Over one thousand framed monoprints of polymorphic forms are arranged into nine rows that line the walls of this gallery, transforming it into a sort of wunderkammer reduced to a conceptualist aesthetic. These thousand some works are merely a small sampling from Allan McCollum’s ongoing and ambitious “The Shapes Project,” 2005–, the product of a combinational system the artist developed to create thirty billion unique shapes for each person on the planet, based on the estimated 2050 global population. Dark solids against a white background, the shapes’ anomalous contours resemble the silhouette

  • picks May 10, 2013

    “Paul Thek and His Circle in the 1950s”

    Three years ago, Paul Thek’s first American retrospective at the Whitney provided a comprehensive survey of his oeuvre, from his first exhibited “meat pieces” of the mid-1960s to the paintings he made just before his death from AIDS in 1988. The current exhibition, which features largely unseen early works by Thek, his lovers and his friends (Peter Harvey, Peter Hujar, and Joseph Raffael, to name a few), culls from a decade, 1954–64, directly following President Eisenhower’s 1953 executive order banning homosexuals from federal employment. Offering a glimpse beyond the thin veil of the McCarthy-era

  • picks December 12, 2012

    Kutluğ Ataman

    Turkish filmmaker Kutluğ Ataman’s first New York show in eight years begins with a cascade: Surging white rivers are projected silently onto four panels suspended overhead and askew to the ingress of “Mesopotamian Dramaturges,” creating a narrow passage of space. Titled Mayhem, 2011, the multichannel video sculpture calls to mind the perennial, life-sprouting waters of the Fertile Crescent as a site of cultural origin, advancement, and potential decay. It is an apt entrée to an exhibition that is focused on the “cradle of civilizations” amid the currents of modernization. The viewer is free to

  • interviews October 02, 2012

    Henry Flynt

    Henry Flynt’s long career spans many roles: mathematician, musician, artist, and anti-art activist, as well as philosopher. In 1961, he coined the term “concept art” (not to be confused with Conceptual art), ushering in a new form of work that exploits and undermines the tautological structures of perceptual logic. “ ‘Concept art,’ ” he wrote in 1961, “is first of all an art of which the material is ‘concepts’. . . . Since ‘concepts’ are closely bound up with language, concept art is a kind of art of which the material is language.”

    Born in Greensboro, North Carolina, in 1940, Flynt began studying

  • picks August 06, 2012

    “Sweet Distemper”

    The collectively violent and aggressive gestures against art’s traditional forms of display in this group show enkindle the works’ anarchistic commonality. Curated by Isaac Lyles, “Sweet Distemper” exhibits five artists who burn, shatter, erase, scribble, and nail their contributions into two of the gallery’s three rooms. Among the notable works is Davina Semo’s YOU SAID WE’RE SKIPPING THE PRELUDE; START THE INSULTS, 2011, which is composed of three contiguous concrete and smashed glass squares on the floor—a desecrated triptych of industrial refuse. On an adjacent wall, Anna Betbeze’s

  • picks June 29, 2012

    Stelios Karamanolis

    “Great Moments in History,” Stelios Karamanolis’s latest solo show, questions the effect images have on our consensus about the past while exposing our propensity to forget, alter, and mythologize historical narratives. The paintings, paper-stencil prints, and 3-D video game stills on view address the unreliability of both subjective and collective memory. Take Grace I and Grace II (all works cited, 2012), both paintings based on a photograph of the royal Monegasque family that was published in a 1960s French journal. Here, the artist presents two versions of the scene, blurring the lines between

  • picks February 14, 2012

    Rowena Hughes

    Rowena Hughes’s work addresses the infinite possibilities of chance within sets of predefined parameters. Her current solo show, “From the Slopes of the Curves,” incorporates pages with photographs from 1950s-era textbooks on architecture and photography, which she employs for their translative potential from object, to image, and to reproduction into academic volumes. With an eye toward the material reality of the books themselves––the paper is perceivably worn and used––the London-based artist layers the pages with drawings and screen prints; these abstract, geometric forms appear in dialogue