Lauren O’Neill-Butler

  • Left: Sara Greenberger Rafferty, At the Table I, 2008, archival ink-jet print with silk-screen and albumen printing, 14 1/2 x 20“. Right: Sara Greenberger Rafferty, Frog in the Pond, 2009, color photograph, 16 x 20”.
    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

  • Ken Jacobs, Blonde Cobra, 1959–63, stills from a black-and-white film in 16 mm, 35 minutes. Jack Smith.
    film December 18, 2008

    On a Hunch

    IN 1963, KEN JACOBS received a postcard requesting his presence as a guest on a daytime NBC television show. The honorarium—a “much-needed” twenty dollars—along with the chance to present his films to a broad national audience, seemed like an appealing, if unusual, arrangement, and Jacobs accepted. He decided to bring along Saturday Blood Sacrifice (1956), his black-and-white slapstick comedy featuring his friend Jack Smith.

    Arriving at the studio, Jacobs learned that he was to appear alongside Carolee Schneemann on . . . a quiz show. Broke and game for practically anything, the artist

  • 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

  • Carol Rama, Feticci (Fetishes), 2003, watercolor and pastel on found paper, 9 1/4 x 13 1/8".
    picks November 22, 2008

    Carol Rama

    At ninety, the self-taught Italian artist Carol Rama is a beacon of change. This long-overdue miniretrospective makes a strong case for resistance—to a specific movement (such as Surrealism or arte povera), to any one medium, and to a particular iconography. As writer and poet Edoardo Sanguineti aptly noted in 1965, Rama’s art is “refined brut and cultured naïf,” and all of the thirty-six works in this exhibition, which date from 1943 through 2005 and range dramatically from hard-edge abstraction and drawings laced with erotic symbols to bricolage and mixed-media sculpture, showcase this

  • Left: Frances Stark, The New Vision, 2008, collage on paper, 29 x 24". Right: View of Frances Stark, “The New Vision,” 2008, Portikus, Frankfurt. Photo: Katrin Schilling.
    interviews November 21, 2008

    Frances Stark

    Los Angeles–based artist Frances Stark is widely known for combining text, image, and literary sources in her collages, which often include thoughtful though tenuous self-referential links to her roles as artist, mother, woman, and professor. “The New Vision,” an exhibition of new work, opens on November 22 at Portikus in Frankfurt.

    THIS EXHIBITION WAS quite a surprise. Although I had been planning to do it for at least a year, before I was able to start on my original plans an opportunity arose for another show, which took up a tremendous amount of energy. That large-scale exhibition, at the

  • “Quiet Politics”

    The terms quiet and politics usually have very little to do with one another, yet this group exhibition attempted to reconcile them, to demonstrate in a sense that still waters can run deep. While the show proposed that even the simplest gesture can be an act of political resistance, the works by twelve artists here were mostly either restrained or offered only loose ties to activism, with standouts by Rosemarie Trockel (one of just four women in this show, a bothersome disparity) and David Hammons. More regrettably, however, it failed to address, either directly or obliquely, the significance

  • Peter Fischli and David Weiss, The Right Way, 1983, still from a 16-mm color film, 55 minutes.
    film October 16, 2008

    Creature Feature

    Six years before their best-known work, the film Der Lauf der Dinge (The Way Things Go) (1987), was completed, the Swiss artists Peter Fischli and David Weiss created their first, equally charming and humorous films: The Point of Least Resistance (1981) and The Right Way (1983). These 16-mm gems make plain the correspondence between their collaboration, which began in the late 1970s, and the broader teamwork necessitated by the medium. Yet one wonders what the production managers must have thought of the footage, since what characterizes Fischli & Weiss’s work has been its eccentricity, its

  • Danica Phelps

    Danica Phelps’s fifth solo show at this gallery marked a watershed moment in her career. Although Phelps has blended art and autobiography for the past decade, her new work is more ambiguous, selective, and, at times, abstract. Take her previous two exhibitions here as points of departure: For 2003’s “Integrating Sex into Everyday Life,” the artist recounted her sexual awakening as a lesbian; in 2005’s “Wake,” she detailed her daily routine of waking up in the morning. Both of these shows featured works on paper that—bearing handwritten itemized lists and painted stripes, which represent

  • Christian Marclay, Memento (Danny Davis), 2008, cyanotype, 51 1/2 x 99".
    picks September 19, 2008

    Christian Marclay

    One can barely think of Christian Marclay without thinking about music (hip-hop and punk rock come to mind first), as for over thirty years he has created smart visual and conceptual works that play against the ephemeral nature of sound and the fragility of its media. Although Marclay has tended toward deconstruction, destruction, intervention, and manipulation, the new works in this exhibition appear to be threnodies for two outmoded media: cyanotypes and cassette tapes. The gallery’s largest room features nine large cyanotype prints that the artist produced this year at the GraphicStudio at

  • Tomory Dodge

    When I think of the Los Angeles–based artist Tomory Dodge, a specific painting comes to mind: Weekend, 2005. Titled after Jean-Luc Godard’s 1967 film, the canvas depicts a red drum kit amid a thicket of loose yet perfectly restrained gestural marks suggestive of a chaotic, trash-strewn forest. Weekend was featured in Dodge’s first solo show in New York at CRG in 2006 and encapsulates the narrative themes he developed between 2002 and 2007 in works that portrayed haphazard disasters, debris, and the type of destitute terrain found just off the highway. In the six new paintings that made up his

  • View of “Constraction.” From left: Tauba Auerbach, Untitled, 2008, and Untitled, 2008; Xylor Jane, 16 Days, Untitled, SWAGGERDAM, Dance Floor, and Brood, all 2007. On floor: Tauba Auerbach, Untitled, 2008.
    picks July 20, 2008

    “Constraction”

    Hot on the heels of “Substraction,” a group exhibition that featured gritty, street-inspired abstractions by six young painters, this show, organized by Kathy Grayson, presents a focused selection of artists using conceptual and minimalist approaches. The earlier exhibition posited the gestures of Yves Klein and Jackson Pollock as primary influences on the likes of Sterling Ruby and Kristin Baker. Here, references are also easy to find. Ara Peterson’s wall-based sculpture of laser-cut patterns, and the conceptual schemes deployed in paintings by Xylor Jane and Tauba Auerbach, for example, all

  • Marion Cajori and Amei Wallach, Louise Bourgeois: The Spider, the Mistress, and the Tangerine, 2008, still from a color film in 16 mm, 99 minutes.
    film June 25, 2008

    Spider Woman

    Louise Bourgeois: The Spider, the Mistress, and the Tangerine (2008) tenderly untangles the personal and public lives of the esteemed artist, and clocks in at just over an hour and a half—as if to offer a minute for each of her ninety-six years. The film is the third and final production by the Art Kaleidoscope Foundation, a nonprofit established in 1990 by Marion Cajori (1950–2006), who began work on this film in 1993 with codirector Amei Wallach and editor Ken Kobland. Its premiere at Film Forum precedes a presentation of Bridgette Cornand’s documentary video trilogy at Anthology Film