Kyle Bentley

  • diary January 04, 2011

    Making History

    DOHA, THE ISOLATED CAPITAL OF QATAR, is more a half-city than a city. Only partly built up. With a resort here and a luxury hotel there and long stretches of sand in between, the Persian Gulf lapping at its eastern side. I was there for the opening of the Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art, having landed a couple weeks or so after Qatar won the bid for the World Cup in 2022—an event that will quite literally make Doha. Over the next decade the workers will be brought in, the plots of land divided and subdivided, and this place at the end of the desert will materialize.

    The people were visibly

  • film April 16, 2009

    This Old House

    NEW YORK IS ABOUT NOTHING if not the gamble of promise, the stakes that can put people in the jackpot or in bankruptcy. Stories unfolding here, however many their convolutions and fine points, are mainly pulled along by that idea of possibility on which the city was founded. What the characters Edith Ewing Bouvier Beale and her daughter, Edith Bouvier Beale, play out is the fear, constantly bracing New York, that to move away is to cut oneself off from possibility, to leave the dream stunted. But that is only partially the truth. There is a greater fear the story taps: that the dream is only a

  • diary February 10, 2009

    Numbers Game

    New York

    TO A DISCOURSE often ranging between earnestness and dutifulness, Guy de Cointet’s nearly forgotten melodramas from a few decades ago sound new notes, but slip into the didactic key. At their best, they morph to the point of magic realism with a European playfulness and the tinny histrionics of Hollywood. (The late Frenchman lived in Los Angeles for the thrust of his career.) At their worst, they become language lessons the pedagogical insistence of which irritates in the manner of Sesame Street for grad students. The three performances staged Wednesday night at Greene Naftali, within an exhibition

  • Luis Gispert

    Luis Gispert's exhibition will trace a theme of “customization” through about thirty works made since 2002, many of which involve cars: photographs of tricked-out interiors, sculptures of lowriders, a film of a cheerleader lip-synching to an alarm.

    In the mid-1970s the US economy was collapsing; in Miami, however, where the young Luis Gispert lived, cars costing hundreds of thousands of dollars were being bought with abandon, and fitted with bulletproof glass. That insular boom, produced by the cocaine trade, and the concurrent rise of hip-hop culture meet in Gispert’s work, which captures all the distortions of a city in which Art Deco confections house Burger Kings. The MOCA exhibition will trace a theme of “customization” through about thirty works made since 2002, many of which involve cars: photographs of

  • diary December 06, 2008

    Fall from Grace


    GRACE JONES was the event that night. But nobody, it seemed, not the crowds who came from the Deitch party, not Jeanne Greenberg Rohatyn, not even Yvonne Force Villareal, her vintage Halston caftan notwithstanding, was being admitted to the Delano basement for the performance. “You reach an age when you just can’t deal anymore with capacity,” Villareal exhaled to a friend after being given that classic doorperson line. People had steadily been dropping away, and, when she and Rohatyn did, many more figured the cause lost. “Now if those two can’t get in somewhere . . .” Nadia Gerazouni from the

  • diary November 17, 2008

    Turin About


    THAT EVERYONE WOULD SOON TIRE of those baggy exhibitions and themes, those endless fairs and “satellite projects,” was predictable. That their attitude would shift right around when the market did was predictable too. What was hard to foresee was that the market shift would produce a tidal wave bringing an electoral landslide for Barack Obama and then a dopamine flood overcoming the art world, significantly softening the economic blow. Some new words one heard at the second Torino Triennale (known as T2, like Judgment Day) and the fifteenth Artissima fair were manageable, sustainable, and

  • diary September 24, 2008

    Doing Time

    Yokohama, Japan

    After a long silence, punctuated by nervous giggles from the audience, Beatrix Ruf—one of the five Yokohama Triennale curators working under artistic director Tsutomu Mizusawa—leaned in to her microphone and said carefully: “I think the quality of exhibitions in general is that you have to see them.” She was responding to an audience member’s charge, of the type often directed at these large international shows, that in necessitating being there—and perhaps more strongly than most exhibitions do, given the performance program spanning its eleven-week course—this third edition of the triennial

  • diary August 02, 2008

    They Shoot Horses

    Long Island, NY

    To get to the Watermill Center from the Montauk Highway, you head north at the house with the white picket fence—away, that is, from the sand dunes and shoreline—and westward at the miniature windmill where Head of Pond Road forks. To people disciplined by the grids of Manhattan neighborhoods, directions like this can sound foreign to the point of seeming fantastical; they might as well be for Gliese 581 d (which is why so many of these same people do venture to places like Long Island, to seek out that alien form called “quaintness”). But those of us from New England are accustomed to the rural

  • diary June 08, 2008

    Scandinavian Dasein


    People were growing impatient, waiting to deplane at Stockholm-Arlanda as a faded red carpet was being unrolled, laboriously, across the tarmac. The preview of the Moderna Museet’s exhibition “Eclipse: Art in a Dark Age” would soon be starting, and I should have been on my way to the hotel, but I was still in seat 14B. Outside rippled an American flag. Two snipers were positioned on the roof of Terminal Five. Eventually a reedy man descended the portable staircase, and the passenger seated next to me whispered, “It’s the what’s he called? Like the president of the UN. That Korean guy.” It was

  • Blake Rayne

    In planning the Blue Tower, a luxury-condominium complex on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, Bernard Tschumi Architects faced, according to the firm’s website, a particular challenge: “to create an original architectural statement while simultaneously maximizing the zoning envelope.” To meet this challenge, the architects designed the structure to cantilever over the commercial space to the south so that its upper floors are larger than its footprint but within its sanctioned “envelope.” The Blue Tower thereby redefines a squat tenement-building skyline by pushing up against its confines. In Blake

  • “After Nature”

    Bringing together roughly ninety works made since 1894 that similarly evoke entropy and ruin, “After Nature” both anthologizes prophetic visions and produces its own.

    Dystopian sentiments run through “After Nature,” a “visual novel” plotted around two other narratives: W. G. Sebald's 1988 prose poem that gives the show its title and Werner Herzog's And a Smoke Arose (2008), a reedit of one segment of his documentary Lessons of Darkness (1992), in which the Kuwaiti desert blazes in the 1991 oil fires like some strange planet. Bringing together roughly ninety works made since 1894 that similarly evoke entropy and ruin, the exhibition both anthologizes prophetic visions and produces its own. Here, marginal works come center: Eugene

  • Kehinde Wiley

    All the world's a stage, and Kehinde Wiley merely a player. For his exhibition at the Studio Museum, where he was in residence from 2001 to 2002, the Brooklyn-based painter presents ten canvases from his series “The World Stage,” 2006–, for which he casts himself as an anthropologist and moves to various cities in order to parse the local customs.

    All the world's a stage, and Kehinde Wiley merely a player. For his exhibition at the Studio Museum, where he was in residence from 2001 to 2002, the Brooklyn-based painter presents ten canvases from his series “The World Stage,” 2006–, for which he casts himself as an anthropologist and moves to various cities in order to parse the local customs. China was first, and now West Africa (India, Brazil, and other locations to come). The works in this show place young black males against richly patterned backgrounds, the artist's signature conceit, although here the subjects

  • Lutz Bacher

    THIS IS BIEN HOA LOOKING AT IT FROM THE AIR BASE. THIS IS A PRETTY GOOD PICTURE. NOW DO YOU THINK THAT’S BEAUTIFUL? These sentences, written in blue ink by a man named Walter (presumably a US Air Force serviceman during the Vietnam War), accompany a black-and-white picture of a cluster of ramshackle buildings in one work from Lutz Bacher’s series “Bien Hoa,” 2006–2007, one of this exhibition’s two focuses. In each Bien Hoa, Bacher displays the often-annotated back of one of Walter’s original photographs, a cache of which she purchased from a thrift store, below her own larger photograph of its

  • Luis Gispert

    A hand with pink painted nails reaches across a cluttered nightstand, pops open a pill bottle, then latches onto a glass of bourbon. And so we meet Nora, the overbearing mother of Waylon, an eleven-year-old who wets his pants (“four times this week”). Nora and Waylon are the main characters in Luis Gispert’s video Smother, 2006–2007, the centerpiece of the artist’s recent two-part exhibition at Mary Boone Gallery and Zach Feuer Gallery. In the film, which is set in 1980s Miami, mother and son inhabit a pastel palace decorated with etched mirrors, Art Deco sconces, and Patrick Nagel prints.

  • diary March 23, 2008

    Castles in the Sand


    Last Tuesday morning, during the Art Dubai press conference, I was thinking about the night before, when the New York air would have been cool and heavy, the US dollar worth a record fraction of the euro, and I had been in a cab doing 100 on Sheikh Zayed Road, where it was 77 degrees at 9 PM and money seemed to grow on hydroponic trees. Virgin, Canon, Crown Plaza, and the Metroplex streaked by. The Mall of the Emirates (“the world’s first shopping resort”) and the rising Burj Dubai (“the world’s tallest tower”) did the same amid light-box billboards of sheikhs and perfume and floodlit buildings

  • Lisa Sigal

    During Lisa Sigal’s fourth solo exhibition at Frederieke Taylor Gallery, two walls of the main space appeared to have gaping holes, outlined in blue painter’s tape, that exposed stacks of wooden beams. In the back gallery, Sheetrock boards, painted light blue, framed what looked like an opening onto the building’s brick infrastructure. Initially suggesting an ill-timed gallery renovation, these details were in fact part of works on view (That Wood Piece [all works 2007] and Two Shades, respectively). The wooden beams were not underneath but screwed onto the wall, the brick merely a trompe l’oeil

  • diary February 10, 2008

    Dance, Party

    New York

    Some people believe brown shoes and black pants should not be paired, but Mikhail Baryshnikov is not among them. In fact, Baryshnikov will also throw in striped socks that peek out when he crosses his legs, as he did last Tuesday night during the first of seven shows put on by the Trisha Brown Dance Company at the Joyce Theater, the Art Deco former movie house on Eighth Avenue whose marquee is now lighted mostly with names like Pilobolus and Momix. For the duration of the performance, “Misha,” Brown’s sometime collaborator, sat with crossed legs, his left foot dangling in the aisle between us,

  • Robert Beck

    Failure can be productive, Robert Beck’s most recent exhibition tells us. The drawings on view constitute the final installment of a body of work that takes as its point of departure “projective psychological testing”—the method of art therapy that requires patients to draw certain items (houses, trees, people) with a view to giving form to their subconsciouses. Beck’s latest works, like their predecessors, contain the artist’s (loose) re-creations of actual patient drawings and snippets of text from their doctors’ assessments, but they are distinguished by one salient detail: Each begins with

  • diary January 16, 2008

    Burrs and the Bees

    New York

    The chatter at the opening, on Sunday, of Tom Burr’s exhibition “Addict-Love” at the SculptureCenter in Queens concerned in part the three f’s of international art tourism—flights, fairs, and fatigue. Burr’s London dealer, Stuart Shave, for instance, shared with the group his smart new travel tactic: limiting trips to two days and never getting off UK time. Others predicted that Art LA 2008, which opens next week, would soon rival Art Basel Miami Beach. But while the list of talking points for the event may have been standard, there was one late addition, which visitors tossed around with

  • Oliver Payne and Nick Relph

    Those accustomed to Oliver Payne and Nick Relph’s early, collagelike films, in which images of life in and around London are set against documentary-style narration or music by (among others) the Sex Pistols and Terry Riley, may have been surprised to find that the artists’ most recent exhibition was slick, sculptural, and eerily quiet. The show did include four videos, but these are silent, and depict action that hovers in a perverse equilibrium imposed by corporate culture. Swoon Soon, 2006, for example, portrays a slinky, modish woman strutting through a primarily black-and-white realm of