Katherine Rochester

  • picks June 19, 2018

    Marilyn Minter

    Marilyn Minter’s new body of paintings, photographs, and videos seeks to subvert the classic image of the bather by shrouding it in steam. She succeeds, less by drawing our attention to the surface of the image—a strategy perfected by Degas—than by reaching back to Ingres and the tradition of Orientalist painting. It’s a leapfrog over the twentieth century that slaps sex back into the tableau.

    Degas neutralized flesh in a series of unimpassioned notations, an economizing retort to centuries of voluptuousness; Minter answers by fogging the mirror. In Big Mouth, 2017, gigantic pink lips hover in

  • picks October 01, 2016

    Shahin Afrassiabi

    Shahin Afrassiabi likes to start at a distance then crush in close. The photographs in his exhibition “Upgrade, Zoom, Beach” form a series of portraits culled from satellite imagery, enlarged and obsessively caressed. Together with minimalist sculptural elements that recall frames, they posit the equivalence of the fingerprint and the pixel by way of goopy, messy, digital painting.

    The title of the exhibition cites three separate series that Afrassiabi has here combined into triptychs arranged on the walls. Program, User, and Memo (all works 2016) each feature two digital photographs—one woman

  • picks May 17, 2016

    Tobias Zielony

    “Refugees as an object of contemplation,” reads the headline of a newspaper displayed in one of several wall-mounted vitrines. Is it a reproach or an invitation? This ambiguity gives Tobias Zielony’s exhibition its power, fixing viewers in a compromised position for a show against voyeurism.

    The newspaper hails from a project Zielony began in 2014, although the language is not his own. Compelled by refugees’ calls for political agency in Germany, the artist documented African refugees in acts of resistance in Hamburg and Berlin, then distributed his photographs to a range of African newspapers

  • picks March 20, 2015

    “Labor in a Single Shot”

    If Workers Leaving the Lumière Factory, 1895, synced the beginning of film to the end of the workday, then the four hundred commissioned videos at the heart of this project by the late artist Harun Farocki and the curator and artist Antje Ehmann rewind the clock to record the workday itself. The exhibition is divided into three sections, which breaks up the formal monotony of the videos (each is around two minutes and has no edits).

    Workers Leaving Their Workplaces in Fifteen Cities, 2011–14, is a semicircular installation by fifteen artists, wherein sixteen monitors screen contemporary reprisals

  • picks November 29, 2014

    Ryan Trecartin

    Featuring obscure symbols, bizarre rituals, and oblique language, Ryan Trecartin’s first solo exhibition in Germany draws heavily on the mystique of secret societies. Partially filmed at a Masonic temple in Los Angeles, the installation Site Visit, 2014, mixes hectic footage from handheld cameras and drones programmed by Trecartin’s creative partner, Lizzie Fitch, along with animated elements by Rhett LaRue in order to interrogate a fantasy about fitting in.

    The show feels designed to induct initiates by way of a series of three dim chambers fitted with reclining armchairs. Here, visitors are

  • picks July 16, 2014

    Nadia Hironaka and Matthew Suib

    At a time when the video loop is still a convention in moving-image presentation, it’s refreshing to see Philadelphia-based duo Nadia Hironaka and Matthew Suib demand more of it than sheer utility. Their six new video works pair masterfully written voice-overs with digital and documentary footage for an exploration of the loop as both time-saver and time traveler.

    The Continuous Moment Part 1, 2014, imagines a dystopia in which the proposal for a “continuous monument” by a 1960s radical Italian architectural collective has been realized on a global scale. The result is disastrous: Corporate-style

  • picks June 02, 2014

    Polly Apfelbaum and Dan Cole

    Polly Apfelbaum and Dan Cole’s exhibition carries on the legacy of its muse: a monumental expanse of colorful stripes by Gene Davis, painted on a parking lot next to the Philadelphia Museum of Art. A 1972 commission by the museum’s department of urban outreach, Davis’s Franklin’s Footpath established the spatialization of painting—or the painting of public space—as a Philadelphia tradition. (The Mural Arts Program was subsequently established in 1984 and, to date, Philadelphia boasts more murals than any city in the United States.)

    In Apfelbaum’s tribute to Footpath, concrete cedes to carpet.

  • picks March 10, 2014

    Michael Snow

    “Michael Snow: Photo-Centric” posits a decentralized notion of photography at the center of the Canadian artist’s oeuvre. Positioned on floors, mounted on walls, and hanging in installations, the photographs—which were shot between 1962 and 2003—reveal humor, narrative, and performance as correlates to Snow’s more widely exhibited exercises as a structuralist filmmaker. The exhibition reveals that some of Snow’s most structurally reflexive works are also his most ludic. For instance, the grid of sixteen photographs in Press, 1969, pictures various objects literally leveled by the flattening gaze

  • picks November 22, 2013

    Jason Rhoades

    “Jason Rhoades, Four Roads” covers a lot of ground without denying us necessary, numerous, and pleasurable pit stops. Conceived by senior curator Ingrid Schaffner as a road map for navigating Rhoades’s massively complex body of work in the wake of his accidental death in 2006, the artist’s first U.S. survey revolves around four major sculptures—conductors for the themes of Biography, Americana, Systems, and Taboo.

    One of the chief feats of the exhibition is creating the impression that even works that aren’t there actually are. Beginning with Garage Renovation New York (Cherry Makita), 1993, the

  • picks April 22, 2013

    “Lissitzky—Kabakov, Utopia—Reality”

    From the very dash in the exhibition’s title, “Lissitzky—Kabakov. Utopia and Reality” figures a generational gap as an impermeable spatial divide. On one side of each gallery are works by Russian Constructivist El Lissitzky that envision new forms for a Soviet future; on the other is the oeuvre of Russian-born husband-and-wife team Ilya and Emilia Kabakov, which reflects on that future’s catastrophic failure to deliver. Embracing binary concepts as its structural logic, the show (guest-curated by the Kabakovs) poses the question: Might confrontation, rather than conversation, be a productive

  • picks March 15, 2013

    Tacita Dean

    If film time offers a temporal alternative to real time, then Tacita Dean’s JG, 2013, returns film to its phenomenological density in order to pose a metaphysical question: How do our interventions into the natural landscape shape us in turn? In the spirit of its namesake, JG approaches the question with a Ballardian appreciation for the issue’s technical and metaphorical intricacies.

    Commissioned by Arcadia University, the film places J. G. Ballard’s short story “The Voices of Time” (1960) in conversation with Robert Smithson’s Spiral Jetty, 1970. Returning to the salt lakes of Utah and Southern

  • picks December 10, 2012

    “Sex Life”

    Sex magazine began as an online periodical in the fall, but in a few short months it has already come to inhabit a physical host. Or at least that’s one way of considering the exhibition “Sex Life.” Featuring twenty-five artists and one collaborative featured on the magazine’s blog, the show functions as an avatar, offering a much needed opportunity to consider the increasing crossover between online publications and gallery-based exhibitions. Lined up in Tumblr-esque succession, most pieces in the show hug the perimeter of the gallery, which begs the question: Is surveying work on the wall of

  • picks February 16, 2012

    “Five Acts: Chronicles of Dissent”

    “Five Acts: Chronicles of Dissent” brings together five artists who shrewdly deconstruct the language of revolt. In a baroque scene that animates aspects of Jacques-Louis David’s Intervention of the Sabine Women, 1799, Yael Bartana’s two-channel video and sound installation Wild Seeds, 2005, crafts a fable of displacement in modern-day Israel. Shot in slow motion with rich colors and suspenseful music, the work features pacifist teenagers enacting a game of evacuator and evacuee. The action is alternately ludic and demonic, with picaresque elements that are continually destabilized by captions

  • picks November 14, 2011

    here.”

    Detroit’s drastic population decrease; Phoenix’s vibrant Native American community; Raleigh-Durham’s legacy of Big Tobacco: These historical and social forces are bound to shape local artistic practices, or such is the reasonable claim of “here.”. Selected by six curators based in Cincinnati, Detroit, Kansas City, Philadelphia, Phoenix-Scottsdale, and Raleigh-Durham, the works in this exhibition present twenty-four artists and collectives invested in the topoi of their regional situations. Kansas City’s Whoop Dee Doo blasts forth with Untitleed, 2011, an installation abuzz with the irrepressible