Lauren O’Neill-Butler

  • diary September 30, 2014

    Porto Entry

    TWO WEEKENDS AGO IN PORTO, I didn’t count how many times I heard the Serralves praised, in various ways, as a “place for artists,” but it became an unofficial slogan in my mind. As you might already know, the prominent institution, which is celebrating the twenty-fifth anniversary of its foundation and the fifteenth anniversary of its museum of contemporary art, sprawls across a massive estate including a sleek, modern museum designed by the Portuguese architect Ávaro Siza, a pink Art Deco villa built in the 1930s, and a nearly forty-five acre park, all impeccably maintained.

    “Part of the legacy

  • interviews September 01, 2014

    Jo Baer

    For the 31st São Paulo Bienal, Jo Baer is presenting “In the Land of the Giants,” 2009–13, a series that debuted at the Stedelijk Museum last year. Born in Seattle in 1929, Baer became associated with Minimalism in New York in the 1960s. In 1975—“due to Nixon”—she moved to the greener pastures of the Irish countryside, where she encountered the primary subjects of these works: ancient burial sites and Neolithic stones. Mapping and compressing various timelines and genealogies, Baer’s multifaceted, encoded canvases will be on view in the biennial from September 2 to December 7, 2014.

    THESE PAINTINGS

  • Jay DeFeo

    This exhibition—which focused on Jay DeFeo’s production following her three-year hiatus from artmaking after her completion of The Rose, 1958–66, her famous, one-ton painting of a burst of white light—gathered forty-nine pieces from the last fifteen years of the artist’s life, several of which were absent from her recent traveling US retrospective. DeFeo, whose early work was animated by jazz and Beat subcultures and by the varied frequencies coursing through the San Francisco Renaissance, was also well known for her round-the-clock, sedulous-yet-playful ingenuity. She worked quickly

  • interviews July 10, 2014

    David Diao

    Paintings by the New York–based artist David Diao were recently featured in the 2014 Whitney Biennial and were the subject of a colloquium this past March at the Université de Strasbourg. His latest survey exhibition, “David Diao: Front to Back,” curated by Richard Klein, is on view at the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum. The show, which coincides with the fiftieth anniversary of the institution, runs from July 13 to September 21, 2014.

    WHEN RICHARD FIRST PROPOSED THIS EXHIBITION, I thought we would focus on paintings I made in 2005 about the Glass House and architecture in New Canaan, Connecticut.

  • René Daniëls

    Foolish, it seems, to not begin with the bow ties when considering this rare US exhibition of René Daniëls’s paintings, drawings, and watercolors, as that motif is the most complicated (and celebrated) of his “architectures.” Rendered as a cartoony graphic—two receding rectangles joining at a small square, suggesting a perspectival view of a room—the form has nearly become a brand for the artist. Daniëls, who is based in Eindhoven, the Netherlands, began painting this icon in 1984 and stopped in 1987, when his career was interrupted by a brain aneurysm that led to a long hiatus from

  • picks May 20, 2014

    Sarah Charlesworth

    Polished pictures of a floating world, Sarah Charlesworth’s series “Objects of Desire,” 1983–88, once aptly injected beauty where it didn’t belong—deconstruction, postmodernism, Conceptualism—and inspired her peers and later generations to do the same. The images have aged very well. Today, these key works by the late artist come together as potent omens for our decontexualized image glut and herald her own long-standing interests—gender, politics, myth, and magic. Cut out from various books and magazines, the fragments are isolated on viscous, searing Cibachrome backgrounds and range from David

  • interviews May 12, 2014

    Lucy R. Lippard

    Lucy R. Lippard’s latest book, Undermining: A Wild Ride Through Land Use, Politics, and Art in the Changing West, pinpoints vexing environmental issues, such as gravel pits and fracking, and contextualizes them within a spectrum of larger problems, while also considering histories of the West, photography, adobe buildings, ruins, Land art, and more. Here she speaks about the origins and inspirations of her book—which was published recently by the New Press—and she reflects on the leftover questions that arose from the project.

    THIS BOOK began when the Tate Modern asked me to speak at a

  • interviews May 07, 2014

    Ben Kinmont

    Since 1988, Ben Kinmont’s work has often unfolded through real-time exchanges—over meals, in conversations, and through gestures. In 1996 he began his publishing project, Antinomian Press, which focuses on ephemera and archival material; he also has an ongoing antiquarian bookselling business, founded in 1998, that specializes in books and manuscripts about domestic economy and food. Here, Kinmont discusses the origins and evolution of Sshhh, which is currently on view in the 2014 Whitney Biennial. On Saturday, May 10, Kinmont will distribute part of this work to participants in the museum. He

  • Muriel Cooper

    “I have a profound disdain for answers,” Muriel Cooper once said. For her, there were only challenges—solutions were more like mistakes. A small gallery at Columbia University recently hosted an exhibition on Cooper’s influential life and work; the show will travel to the MIT Media Lab this fall, where it is not to be missed. Dubbed an unsung heroine, Cooper began her career as a graphic designer and ended it as a professor of interactive media design. Successes, and, as this show revealed, consistency marked her trajectory: She continually worked to collapse distinctions between design

  • interviews April 28, 2014

    Tauba Auerbach

    Tauba Auerbach is a New York–based artist whose debut solo exhibition in the UK will be at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London from April 16 to June 15, 2014. The show extends her interests in chirality and topology and takes up Martin Gardner’s book The New Ambidextrous Universe: Symmetry and Asymmetry from Mirror Reflection to Superstrings (2005) as a source for both the work on view and the exhibition’s title.

    ONE OF THE CONCEPTS that confounded me in Gardner’s The New Ambidextrous Universe is how, on a molecular level, asymmetry is a distinguishing feature of life. An asymmetric

  • interviews April 23, 2014

    Jeanine Oleson

    Jeanine Oleson is an interdisciplinary artist based in New York. This spring, the New Museum is hosting the first museum presentation of her work, which springs from her four-month residency at the institution and which will include an experimental opera, an exhibition, and a series of public programs and workshops. The exhibition, “Hear, Here,” is on view from April 23 to July 6, 2014.

    I’VE BEEN THINKING about the importance of the audience, and more specifically about what constitutes an engaged audience member. Fran Lebowitz once made a comment about the loss of artists, cultural producers,

  • interviews April 16, 2014

    Sam Pulitzer

    Sam Pulitzer is an artist and writer based in New York who works with a wide array of materials, from hand-drawn vinyl transfers to ear gauges. His current exhibition, “A Colony for ‘Them,’ ” features a complex architectural warren and numerous vinyl transfers of commissioned texts, signs, and slogans. The show is on view at Artists Space in New York from March 16 to May 18, 2014.

    LET’S START with the title, “A Colony for ‘Them.’ ” This is the third occasion that I have opted for a title that includes these cumbersome scare quotes—the first was in 2011 at Real Fine Arts in Brooklyn, with “Gauges

  • diary April 07, 2014

    Aim High

    IT’S NOT EASY TO GET TO CUENCA, and if you were going a few weeks ago it may have been under the guise of the Bienal—one of the more extrasolar on the circuit. But it’s also likely that you went for the Andes, the Inca ruins, the hot springs, the shamans, etc. The participating artists, curators, collectors, dealers, visiting journalists, and others in town for the opening of the show’s twelfth edition didn’t distinguish so much between spending time with art or with nature. And many—whether incoming from New York, Sydney, Paris, Mexico City, or São Paulo—logged at least three flights to arrive

  • Kazuko Miyamoto

    In 1969, Kazuko Miyamoto was working in her live-in studio at 117 Hester Street when the fire alarm went off. Congregating on the street below with other artists from the building, she met her neighbor Sol LeWitt, and soon after became his assistant. For several decades, she executed his wall drawings and oversaw the production of his modular cube sculptures. Today, the Japanese-American artist is best known for her signature post-Minimalist work, as well as for establishing Gallery Onetwentyeight, a Lower East Side storefront space, in 1986. Fourteen years earlier she had cofounded the feminist

  • Jason Dodge

    Critics of Jason Dodge’s sparse exhibitions over the past decade have frequently cited and relied upon the “narratives” and “poetry” bodied forth by his unassuming, enigmatically undated objects. Yet these oft-repeated terms have seemed increasingly facile in the face of his expansive output, with its sometimes radical testing of belief, fictions, and facts. Of the works in his recent New York show, take, for example, The mayor is sleeping. The mayor of Nuremberg is sleeping., a pillow the artist asserts has been slept on only by the mayor of Nuremberg. This backstory is fanciful, yes, but serves

  • interviews February 19, 2014

    Mel Chin

    “Mel Chin: Rematch,” a traveling retrospective organized by the New Orleans Museum of Art and curated by NOMA’s Miranda Lash, presents more than seventy works and documents related to Chin’s collective interventions. Chin is perhaps best known for Operation Paydirt, 2006–, a project that supports solutions to end childhood lead poisoning. As part of the endeavor’s ongoing efforts, in 2014 Operation Paydirt will host a “Make It Real” meeting, convening at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Community Innovators Lab (CoLab), which will bring together leaders in the effort against lead

  • interviews February 14, 2014

    Virginia Dwan

    In the second segment of this two-part series, Virginia Dwan addresses the closure of her New York gallery in 1971 as well as the bequest of her collection this past fall to the National Gallery of Art. In the first segment, Dwan discussed her life as an art dealer and philanthropist. “From Los Angeles to New York: The Dwan Gallery 1959–1971,” an exhibition curated by James Meyer, will open at the National Gallery’s newly renovated East Building in 2016.

    THE QUESTION of why I closed the gallery always comes up. I just ran out of energy to do it. I call it burnout. I liked having a gallery, though:

  • interviews February 11, 2014

    Virginia Dwan

    Virginia Dwan’s philanthropy was of another art world. In 1969, she financed Michael Heizer’s Double Negative and provided funding for the publication of Carl Andre’s Seven Books of Poetry to publisher and dealer Seth Siegelaub. A year later, she sponsored Robert Smithson’s Spiral Jetty. Also well known in the 1960s as a dealer, Dwan opened her first Los Angeles gallery in 1959, giving Yves Klein his debut West Coast solo show in 1961. In 1965, she opened a new space in New York with Ed Kienholz’s installation Barney’s Beanery and produced landmark Minimal, Conceptual and Land art shows. After

  • interviews February 05, 2014

    Beverly Semmes

    Beverly Semmes is a New York–based artist who has exhibited internationally since the late 1980s. Her latest shows span the US: Los Angeles’s Shoshana Wayne Gallery is presenting two of Semmes’s large-scale dress works, produced in 1992 and 1994, from January 11 to March 1, 2014. In New York, Semmes will show selections from her ongoing Feminist Responsibility Project, as well as ceramics, at Susan Inglett Gallery from February 6 to March 15, 2014.

    IN THE EARLY 2000S, I inherited a stack of 1990s-era porn magazines. It’s a long story in itself, but basically I was helping a friend in upstate New

  • Rosemarie Trockel

    Rosemarie Trockel’s exhibition at Gladstone Gallery appeared to encompass three distinct bodies of work: twenty-eight striped or monochrome “wool paintings”; six wall-based sculptures of meat cast in Acrystal and mounted on pieces of Perspex; and two pieces of furniture, including a long, modernist sofa made, cushions and all, from cast steel. Yet in spite of their apparent heterogeneity, these pieces were, in fact, closely interconnected: All engaged a slippery dialectic of aspiration and deprivation.

    Copy Me, 2013, the steel sofa, was draped with a thin plastic sheet, which both framed the