Lauren O’Neill-Butler

  • interviews June 10, 2009

    David Mazzucchelli

    Dan Nadel, owner of the Brooklyn-based publishing house PictureBox Inc., organized “Sounds and Pauses: The Comics of David Mazzucchelli,” the first US retrospective of Mazzucchelli’s twenty-five year career. The exhibition is on view at the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art in New York through August 23. Pantheon Graphic Novels will publish Asterios Polyp, Mazzucchelli’s anticipated new graphic novel, on July 7.

    I GREW UP WITH DAVID’S WORK. I first saw his original and groundbreaking drawings in the seminal Batman comic Batman: Year One in 1987. He made those drawings when he was in his mid-twenties.

  • interviews May 15, 2009

    Jennifer West

    In conjunction with “The Long Weekend” at Tate Modern, the Los Angeles–based artist Jennifer West will premiere a new piece, Skate the Sky Film. Here she talks about her practice of subjecting 16-mm, 35-mm, and 70-mm film to a wide array of substances and the new direction this work has taken her. The festival runs May 22–25; more information can be found here.

    THIS PROJECT IS DIFFERENT FOR ME because I’m working within a twenty-four-hour period in London, and part of it will involve a live audience. I’m also going to show a 35-mm print on a 35-mm projector (on a built platform), which is an

  • picks May 02, 2009

    Unica Zürn

    The black-and-white photographs of Unica Zürn’s body—bound by string, coiled, and reduced to a sack of bulbous flesh—are some of Hans Bellmer’s most admired works and, until recently, her mere cameo in art history’s canon. As a remedial course, perhaps, this elegant show offers a bounty of Zürn’s automatic drawings, a few shimmering paintings, and some brilliant pieces of her writing (for which she is most regarded). Although it reprises themes set forth in Ubu Gallery’s similar 2005 show, the Drawing Center exhibition thoughtfully and tenderly examines her short career and mental illness without

  • Xylor Jane

    Xylor Jane’s third solo exhibition at Canada, titled “NDE,” as in “near-death experience,” did not on first impression look to be about death. Products of a conceptual, task-based approach that Jane began developing in the mid-1990s, these new works, more explicitly than their predecessors, depict patterns through dabs of brightly colored oil paint. Some of these patterns have their origins in printouts of numbers from the Internet. Others are based in a system Jane has generated that links the seven colors of the rainbow to the seven days of the week. If their palettes were more consistently

  • interviews April 29, 2009

    Emilie Halpern

    The Los Angeles–based artist Emilie Halpern incorporates subtle explorations of time, memory, and longing into her films, photographs, drawings, and sculptures. Here she speaks about the new works that will debut at her solo exhibition at Project Row Houses in Houston on May 2 and the process of preparing for the show.

    I WAS VERY AWARE of the various parameters at Project Row Houses when putting together this exhibition. For example, the work typically isn’t for sale and the space is left unattended. It seemed like an opportunity to shift the way I was working, and the timing was ideal: I was

  • diary April 24, 2009

    Due East

    New York

    “I AM PARTICIPANT,” exclaimed artist Kathe Burkhart as we navigated the expanding crowd, a few hundred strong, at the nonprofit’s annual benefit on Sunday. “Well, really Lia is,” she finally allowed, giving credit to the institution’s founding director, Lia Gangitano. Burkhart gestured across the room toward the announcement card for her 2003 solo show, and I skimmed the crowd, spotting other artists who might also “be” Participant. The card, as well as some works by those artists, was amid a makeshift time line that stretched across one of the black-painted walls: the institution’s exhibition

  • interviews April 13, 2009

    Carol Bove

    Carol Bove is a Brooklyn-based artist known for incorporating made and found objects, primarily from the 1960s, into her works. Her solo exhibition at The Horticultural Society of New York opens on April 15 and features an accordion-fold book, which she discusses here. Her exhibition at the Tate Saint Ives will open on May 15.

    TWENTIETH-CENTURY NARCISSUS is a project that Janine Lariviere began in 2002 through her research on flower bulbs and their hybridization and registration. It is essentially a collection of daffodils (cut from catalogs) that are arranged on a time line according to their

  • picks April 13, 2009

    Jennifer Bornstein

    The set in Jennifer Bornstein’s 16-mm abstract film Phantom Limb, 2009, is the same one used in the television show Boston Legal, but you’d never guess it. The eighteen-minute black-and-white work unfolds slowly and silently and ends where it began, with the opening scene flipped backward and in negative. Superimpositions and mirror reflections are spread throughout, in homage, perhaps, to early Surrealist film, and these transitions seem to suit her subject: mirror boxes, traditionally used to treat phantom-limb pains. Bornstein’s work feels a bit like therapy, too: As the camera’s roaming lens

  • interviews April 01, 2009

    Mary Mattingly

    New York–based photographer and sculptor Mary Mattingly has designed The Waterpod, a floating eco-habitat that recalls the work of Buckminster Fuller, Andrea Zittel, and Constant Nieuwenhuis and that will launch this May in the East River. Here she discusses the evolution of the project. Mattingly’s second solo exhibition at Robert Mann Gallery in New York, titled “Nomadographies,” will open on April 2.

    THE WATERPOD is three years in the making. Prior to this project, I made wearable homes with three layers, fit for mobile people in different environmental conditions (arctic, desert/tundra, and

  • Keren Cytter

    Keren Cytter, who lives in Berlin, pulls from film history for her work, usually in service to video, the medium for which she is best known (though she redirected the practice to text in her novel from last year, The seven most exciting hours of Mr. Trier’s life in twenty-four chapters, which draws from Lars von Trier’s The Kingdom). The two short videos in her exhibition at Thierry Goldberg refer most directly to Blowup and Dial M for Murder, though they also bring to mind a range of other subjects: soap operas, reality television, Godard, Fassbinder. But while Cytter’s videos explore particular

  • interviews March 24, 2009

    Lisi Raskin

    Over the past ten years, the Brooklyn-based artist Lisi Raskin has explored fear, cold-war tensions, and sites that rely on nuclear power in her works. Here she speaks about the process of making Armada, a new installation on view until June 21 at the Blanton Museum of Art at the University of Texas, Austin.

    THE “MOBILE OBSERVATION” SERIES began over a year ago. The first part of the project, Command and Control, was commissioned by Bard College and was exhibited at the Park Avenue Armory for the ADAA fair in 2008. Following that, I was commissioned by Bard to take a road trip to expand the

  • diary March 12, 2009

    Family Circus

    Los Angeles

    NEARLY TWELVE THOUSAND PEOPLE were naturalized a fortnight ago at the Los Angeles Convention Center; meanwhile, four thousand were sequestered nearby in the dimly lit lecture rooms, present for the College Art Association’s annual conference. It was easy to get lost in the shuffle: Descending the escalators, I spotted ecstatic new citizens holding tiny American flags and frazzled art historians in casual-smart garb prowling the floors and pushing their way out into the upper-seventies heat, where vendors hawked picture frames, certificate holders, and street meat. The latter group wore name tags

  • interviews March 10, 2009

    Agnès Varda

    The inimitable director Agnès Varda is widely known for her films––the French New Wave classic Cleo from 5 to 7 (1961) and The Gleaners and I (2000) are just a few. Here she speaks about her exhibition at Harvard’s Sert Gallery in the Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts, which opens March 12. Concurrent with the exhibition, the Harvard Film Archive will devote a week of programming to her groundbreaking films, including her most recent undertaking, The Beaches of Agnès (2008), which opens at Film Forum on July 1.

    THIS IS MY FIRST INSTALLATION in the United States, and it makes me very happy.

  • interviews February 26, 2009

    Kerry James Marshall

    On the heels of Monuments for a New America, his conceptual two-page comic spread in the Washington Post, the Chicago-based artist Kerry James Marshall has created two large murals for the Haas Atrium at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Depicting Mount Vernon and Monticello––among many other hidden aspects––these works, which debut on February 26, continue Marshall’s investigation of history.

    THE CHALLENGE AT SF MoMA is to put something in the space that will not be overwhelmed by the architecture itself. Originally, I proposed to transform the atrium into a Garden of Eden with a stream

  • picks February 24, 2009

    Erica Baum

    The red-, blue-, and green-stippled book edges in Erica Baum’s new photographs bring to mind the paperbacks that encumber used-book stores, thrift shops, and family libraries: faded film adaptations, celebrity biographies, and the occasional art monograph. In this exhibition, she walks a fine line between documentation and concealment, presenting pictures of eight such books fanning out and close-up, open but not completely exposed. Fragments of text and cheaply reproduced images––Goldie Hawn in a scene from Shampoo (1975), Art Garfunkel, Richard and Pat Nixon––are evident between the bars.

  • Charlotte Posenenske

    In the May 1968 issue of Art International, the thirty-eight-year-old German artist Charlotte Posenenske published a manifesto lamenting the “regressed” utility of art and, by implication, the larger network of the art world. Her statements convey her concern with the social role of artists, and presage her decision later that year to become, perhaps unsurprisingly, a sociologist. Yet unlike other artists from the late 1960s and early ’70s who employed strategies of rejection or withdrawal—Lee Lozano comes first to mind––Posenenske was not concerned with blurring the boundaries between art and

  • interviews January 14, 2009

    Superflex

    The international projects by the Danish collective Superflex engage alternative-energy production, community organizing, and what they commonly term “countereconomic strategies.” For their first solo exhibition in London, opening January 16 at South London Gallery, they will present a new film, Flooded McDonald’s.

    THIS WORK IS one of our first forays into filmmaking. Although we’ve previously used film and photography to document our projects, Flooded McDonald’s incorporates a more general cinematic approach. It may at times seem like a documentary, because it follows the actual flooding of a

  • interviews January 06, 2009

    Alex Bag

    Since the mid-1990s, the New York–based artist Alex Bag has created a wide array of acerbic video art––by turns hilarious and horrific––that frequently features Bag herself. Her latest commission opens on January 9 at the Whitney Museum of American Art. Coinciding with the exhibition, Electronic Arts Intermix is expanding its catalogue to include all of Bag’s videos for distribution.

    MY MOTHER STARRED in two children’s television programs: In the mid-to-late ’60s she hosted The Carol Corbett Show on WPIX in New York City, and in the ’70s, in the tristate area, she had a show on WCBS called The

  • interviews December 23, 2008

    Sara Greenberger Rafferty

    The New York–based artist Sara Greenberger Rafferty has exhibited widely since 2001. Her latest exhibition, “Bananas”—exploring humor, performance, and everyday life—is on view January 9–March 7 at the Kitchen.

    I’VE ALWAYS THOUGHT of my work in the context of performance, so I was thrilled when the Kitchen, a long-standing nonprofit performance venue, proposed this exhibition. Even though I don’t make “performance art” as such, my work engages with that medium via more static forms. The exhibition space at the Kitchen is quite large, which has forced me to consider scale in this show more than

  • Chris Johanson

    Comprising paintings and one large installation, Chris Johanson’s second solo exhibition at this gallery was equal parts cryptic and clear-cut, lighthearted and sarcastic, comic and tragic. Most of the artist’s new works employ a Crayola palette and are composed of wood he gathered from Brooklyn Dumpsters and discarded art-shipping crates. While recycling and revitalization were evidenced throughout the show, Johanson did not apply such strategies to his own output. Indeed, the elements that one might most readily associate with the artist’s earlier work (cartoon thought bubbles, copious