Lauren O’Neill-Butler

  • 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

  • Robin Bruch

    Over the past forty years, Robin Bruch’s facture has remained constant—unwavering, even—while the simple shapes she sets in non-illusionistic space have been anything but. Her quivering and shivering forms refuse to be pinned down; some of her best paintings have a biomorphic quality that recalls cells mutating under a microscope’s lens. This recent, fifteen-work show consisted mostly of canvases made in 2012 and 2013, with a handful of works on paper from the 1970s and a single painting from the mid-’80s.

    A motif Bruch returns to again and again is the triangle. Take, for instance,

  • Amie Siegel

    Provenance, 2013, Amie Siegel’s new video and the linchpin of her recent exhibition in New York, focuses on furniture pieces designed by Le Corbusier and Pierre Jeanneret for their utopian building project in the northwestern Indian city of Chandigarh, tracking these sofas and stools as they travel from India to the high-end homes of collectors in Europe and the United States. The video progresses in a counterintuitive fashion. Rather than start with the furniture’s origin, Siegel begins with its destination, and then moves backward in time through each stage of the voyage. The work’s first

  • interviews November 26, 2013

    Eleanor Antin

    Throughout her nearly fifty-year career, Eleanor Antin has played many roles, from artist to filmmaker to author and beyond. Antin was born in the Bronx in 1935 and moved in June 1968 to Southern California, where she embarked on her early conceptual works and fictional personas, including the King of Solana Beach, Eleanor Nightingale, and Eleanora Antinova. “Multiple Occupancy: Eleanor Antin’s ‘Selves,’ ” a survey exhibition of her videos, photographs, performances, and films is on view at Columbia University’s Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Art Gallery until December 7, 2013, and highlights these

  • “La Poussière de soleils”

    Borrowing its title, which translates as “the dust of suns,” from a 1926 play by Raymond Roussel, the influential beau ideal of the Surrealists, Olivia Shao’s curatorial venture at Real Fine Arts this past summer was a tone poem on myth: from the myth of time as vast continuity to the myths that often surround obscure artists. The carefully planned installation of tight corridors and intimate galleries in some ways recalled a line from a 1963 study of Roussel by Michel Foucault: “La Poussière de soleils is constructed like steps descending down a well to the treasure.” Yet the dominant feeling

  • diary October 08, 2013

    Kid ‘n’ Play

    EAGERLY ANTICIPATED, the 2013 Carnegie International is a down-to-earth, homegrown affair. Without a title, a theme, or any kind of tagline, it’s a special show that doesn’t put on any special airs, which is no small feat given the International’s status as the oldest, grandest, most august exhibition of contemporary art in the US. (For contrast, dial back to the 2008 edition “Life on Mars,” which pondered, Do aliens exist?) The 2013 CI curators—Daniel Baumann, Dan Byers, and Tina Kukielski—are likewise unafraid to speak candidly about their project: “We love art because it is a troublemaker

  • Barbara Bloom

    This past spring, Barbara Bloom reimagined the installation of five galleries at the Jewish Museum in New York, crafting a suave, literary exhibition that set objects from the institution’s holdings in dialogue with her own words and site-specific assemblages. No stranger to working with museum collections, Bloom is well known for her permanent intervention at Vienna’s Museum für Angewandte Kunst (MAK) from 1994, for which she placed the institution’s display of Thonet bentwood chairs behind a translucent wall, illuminating the objects from behind so they are visible only as shadows. At the

  • picks September 21, 2013

    Paul Elliman

    Paul Elliman’s Untitled (September Magazine), 2013, the centerpiece of his debut and long-overdue solo exhibition in the US, is a copy full of copies without an ounce of copy, more or less. Mimicking a hefty high-gloss fashion periodical, the majority of its 592 pages features a lone image of cropped body parts from a similarly sleek advertisement or editorial feature, yet without any accompanying text. But stick around to flip through the entire book: Page by page, the work produces an assembly of letters, symbols, and other glyphs—abstracted limbs as found poetry. Elliman’s unusual wordplay

  • interviews September 10, 2013

    Ashley Bickerton

    After graduating from CalArts in 1982, Ashley Bickerton spent twelve decisive years in New York before relocating to Bali, where he currently lives and works. For his fourth solo show at Lehmann Maupin Gallery in New York, Bickerton is presenting new pieces that strive for an “overlay” among painting, photography, and sculpture. The show runs September 11 to October 26, 2013.

    PARODY HAS ALWAYS BEEN IN MY WORK. In the 1980s, I was parodying Judd’s boxes, making them into slick consumables covered in logos—which were the iconography of that era, just as they are the iconography of our present

  • Constance DeJong

    This past May, Contstance DeJong delivered twelve performances of SpeakChamber, 2013, a nearly hour-long narrative recited from memory. The gallery’s intimate space was swathed in dark gray soundproofing foam, with a spotlight illuminating a chair where DeJong sat adjacent to a table supporting an iMac and a few books. Five simple wooden benches could accommodate a maximum of eighteen people per show. Unsurprisingly, all spots were claimed quickly by RSVP—DeJong, a beacon of video and new-media art, known for her collaborations (notably with Philip Glass for the 1979 opera Satyagraha), had

  • interviews August 27, 2013

    Jason Dodge

    Jason Dodge’s first permanent installation is located in the tower of a former MaxMara electrical factory, adjacent to the Collezione Maramotti in Reggio Emilia, Italy. A permanently open window consists of a window that is perpetually ajar, two cedar doors, and a sculpture titled Alphabet. Dodge is known for works that poetically defy everyday perception, and here he discusses the specificities of transforming this window into a “beacon.”

    FUNDAMENTALLY, I’m interested in abstraction, and presence. I was thinking about how I wanted to make an abstract body that is not obviously detectable but

  • picks August 26, 2013

    Tomoko Yoneda

    Tomoko Yoneda’s somber miniretrospective traces a taut chronology in a selection of sixty-seven photographs culled from eight clinically cool series, mostly made in Asia over the past decade. Near the entrance, a wall text trumpets that the exhibition aims to introduce her work “in the present progressive tense,” a tactic that gathers momentum room by room as the Japanese photographer continuously examines collective memory and the interstitial zones where cultures intersect and overlap.

    Yoneda’s focus on materials and texture in the first few galleries is impressive: The colors in a fading

  • diary August 23, 2013

    General Electric

    A SHINKANSEN FROM TOKYO TO NAGOYA, the fourth-largest city in Japan and the capital of the Aichi Prefecture, speeds along at 200 mph for nearly ninety minutes southwest, briskly passing houses, factories, and fields. As your eyes lose focus, the view transforms into broad basics: horizons, striations, and soft earth. Landscape, abstraction, landscape, abstraction.

    The Friday before last, Nagoya was hosting the opening of the Second Aichi Triennale, a sprawling, multisite festival spread over traditional exhibition spaces as well as a former bowling alley, a train station, a dusty department store,

  • interviews August 21, 2013

    Sakiko Sugawa

    Social Kitchen is a small but industrious social and cultural center in Kyoto. Founded in September 2010, the center has initiated a variety of participatory projects, often involving local communities—from supporting emerging artists to selling rice, and from engaging citizens to participate in a mayoral election and raising awareness about nuclear energy to reading books on relational art. Here Social Kitchen cofounder Sakiko Sugawa talks about the origins of the project and some of its work.

    SOCIAL KITCHEN BEGAN after five successful years of working on the project Kissahanare, a weekly

  • interviews August 06, 2013

    Hong-Kai Wang

    Hong-Kai Wang is a Taiwanese artist primarily working with sound. Two of her projects are concurrently on view in New York this August. For “Soundings: A Contemporary Score,” MoMA’s first major exhibition of sound art, which is curated by Barbara London, Wang is presenting Music While We Work, 2011, a two-channel video and multichannel audio installation that will be on view from August 10 to November 3, 2013. For “The String and the Mirror,” a group show organized by Justin Luke and Lawrence Kumpf at Lisa Cooley, Wang is contributing the performance The Musical Condition of Reasonable Conspiracy

  • interviews July 17, 2013

    Lucy Dodd

    Lucy Dodd is an artist based in New York. Her latest exhibition, “Foss,” opens at Blum & Poe in Los Angeles on July 20 and remains on view until August 31, 2013. Here Dodd discusses the origins of the eight new paintings on view in the show, as well as a tale she cowrote in 2004—a chief source of inspiration for this project.

    IN 2004, Jason Rhoades, Paul Theriault, and I began a project in LA called the Foss. It’s hard to explain how the project started or what it was because none of us knew at the time. Foss was the word to describe this dilemma and in the beginning it was also the acronym for