Lillian Davies

  • picks August 21, 2006

    Mike Kelley

    Mike Kelley's multimedia installation, nestled amid the remnants of the Louvre's medieval foundations, resurrects two prominent American paintings that the artist discovered during his youthful forays into the Detroit Institute of Art. Immersing audiences in atmospheric sound and luminous film projections, Kelley revisits the formal compositions of John Singleton Copley's Watson and the Shark, 1777, and Thomas Wilmer Dewing's The Recitation, 1891. Animating these historic works, Kelley's films zoom in on the paintings’ details, exaggerating Copley's vicious shark jaws and Dewing's haughtily

  • picks July 27, 2006

    “Undercover Surrealism”

    Guided by Georges Bataille’s avant-garde journal Documents, Dawn Ades has orchestrated an exhibition that hews close to the publication’s diverse range of playful, often subversive content. Published in Paris from 1929 to 1930, Documents juxtaposed reviews of contemporary art, music, and film with academic studies of numismatics and linguistics. Ades has picked up on the political resonance of the journal (expressed by the dissenting voices of Bataille, Robert Desnos, and Joan Miró, among others). For example, André Masson’s painting The Abattoir, 1930—reproduced in the journal and included

  • picks July 18, 2006

    Mike Nelson

    Invoking his mythical biker gang, the Amnesiacs, to help with his latest installation, British artist Mike Nelson has created a sparse, imposing structure of chicken wire, wood, and plaster. With just one tightly sprung door allowing both entrance to and exit from this flimsy cage, Nelson’s “amnesiac shrine” offers little choice in movement through the space. The transparent structure directs visitors along a spiraling path through a series of passageways and triangular rooms littered with a series of pyres, brittle and charred wood, and five lumpy white plaster globes, each with a gaping hole

  • picks July 18, 2006

    Nayland Blake

    In artworks both brutal and tender, Nayland Blake puts his personal relationships, emotions, and anxieties on display, linking his own memories to a range of popular references. Blake’s drawings, sculptures, and manipulated photographs included in this show, titled “The Expulsion from the Garden,” seem like the lonely traces of a tormented nightmare. At times, Blake’s work is present and tactile, as in the enormous swath of plush fake fur slung on an oversize towel rail in Endless Comfort, 2006. Elsewhere, works are distant and enigmatic, as in the film Cruise/Blue, 2006, which combines elements

  • picks June 20, 2006

    Liz Craft

    Acutely aware of the eccentricities of Californian alternative lifestyles, Los Angeles native Liz Craft playfully infuses the tacky implications of bronze figurative sculpture with the quirky charm of flea-market kitsch. In these new works, Craft recalls objects once abandoned in empty lots or dusty junk-shop corners, whimsically embellishing both composition and surface with details that flash back to hippie culture and rock ’n’ roll. For Tire with Bird, 2006, Craft balances material solidity against fanciful superficiality as she softens an encounter between the detritus of an urban wasteland

  • picks May 31, 2006

    Armando Andrade Tudela

    Peruvian artist Armando Andrade Tudela unearths a web of multiplicities in an exhibition of photographs, drawings, collages, and one extraordinary architectural proposal, INKA SNOW, 2006. Amid a rugged tabletop landscape reminiscent of the desert surrounding Lima, Tudela presents a model designed to look like three inhabitable lines of cocaine. Next to the massive imprint of a credit card in a white surface that glistens like Andean snow, each “bump” incorporates images of modern chicken farms and the utopian designs of Archigram. Tudela uses the narrative of cocaine’s production—it is

  • picks May 18, 2006

    Larry Bell

    Returning to the model of his trademark glass box, Larry Bell's new series of cubes, displayed here in his first solo exhibition in France, reveals the artist's continually evolving attentiveness to the perfection of construction and finish. Flawless pieces of glass are cut into clean squares and fastened together to make uniform cubes with dimensions slightly larger (20 x 20 x 20“) than his classic '60s boxes. Using a vacuum-coating process, Bell has treated the surfaces with Inconel, a metallic alloy that fractures light according to levels of oxidation and density. Shifting from opaque to

  • picks May 17, 2006

    Vidya Gastaldon

    As if looking after her children, the soft-yet-sturdy, papier mâché–and-wool body of Swiss artist Vidya Gastaldon’s God-mother (baba), 2006, stands as a proud and peaceful presence on two six-toed feet. Five tetrahedrals, wooden frames wrapped with colored, knitted wool, surround her. Sleeves of dark blue and grey wool clothe the thin wooden beams of Dark Tetrahedral, 2006, while the structural elements of Erotic Tetrahedral, 2006, are wrapped in pink and red. Divine Tetrahedral, 2006—dressed in blue, yellow, and golden orange—refreshes the characteristic symbol for a universal

  • picks May 08, 2006

    Matthieu Laurette

    Matthieu Laurette’s first solo show in London focuses on the aesthetics of money. Colourful snapshots and posters from Laurette’s ongoing series of “Déjá vu International Look Alike Conventions” offer refracted images of celebrity and affected images of wealth. Staged in conjunction with some of Laurette’s openings, the gathering of glamorous look-alikes have fooled some art-world attendees and incited frenzied photo-ops. Also aware of how easily money can be overlooked, Laurette’s Slapstick #1 (Money), 2003/2006, uses a hidden camera to document museum visitors obliviously walking past a crumpled

  • picks April 27, 2006

    Jason Glasser

    In an authentic expression of frustration with the environmental impact of the United States, American artist Jason Glasser presents a series of drawings and paintings on paper and glass. Identifying a collision between nature and consumer culture, this small, unassuming exhibition presents images of fantastical sea creatures set within landscapes clearly impacted by global warming, pollution, and a hyperactive sport hunting culture. His seductively simple style, which infuses the bland, outdated science textbook illustrations with Raymond Pettibon’s jaded outlook, and his materials, notably

  • picks April 27, 2006

    Andreas Hofer

    Andreas Hofer's dominating sculptures, unsettling paintings, and disturbing combinations of found objects draw on deep visual memories. Cowboys, Spiderman, green-headed aliens, Billy the Kid, and Sigmund Freud—emphatically masculine figures of twentieth-century legend—appear on painted carpet, on Styrofoam, and as toys in their original plastic packaging. Each approaching daemon status, these figures direct their attention towards Daemon Nova Dreamer, 2006, a commanding panoramic canvas that is painted with a schematic scene of a winged creature targeted by missiles and is hung

  • picks April 05, 2006

    Carl Andre

    Arranged in succession, Carl Andre’s installation Graphite Cube Sum of Numbers, 2006, multiplies across the gallery floor. Eight triangular groupings of dark blocks line the base of an unadorned white wall, each cube’s dimensions precisely (if unintentionally) matching the width of the polished parquet floorboards on which they lay. These cumulative structures demonstrate a simple mathematical progression, with the number of each set’s units rapidly increasing from three to forty-five in concordance with its base’s incremental growth from two to nine (Graphite Cube Sum of Two, 2006, to Graphite

  • picks March 22, 2006

    Andrew Mania & Carl Van Vechten

    Quietly enshrined in this dimly lit gallery, Andrew Mania's drawings, paintings, and simple constructions create a stage for the artist's personal collection of photographs by Carl Van Vechten. With the same focus Mania applies to his use of swatches of cotton fabric and vintage ceramic household items, the artist incorporates a series of black-and-white portraits by Van Vechten, an Iowa-born New Yorker who challenged racial segregation while moving among Manhattan's early twentieth-century social and intellectual circles. Van Vechten, who died ten years before Mania was born in Bristol, is

  • picks February 24, 2006

    Ian Anüll

    Ian Anüll's serigraph When R Died, 1999, which tells the story of a collector seeking to capitalize on an artist friend's death, introduces this exhibition with a sardonic expression of frustration, concluding: “I can't stand the idea of people trafficking on the death of a painter, so I made him a price for R dead, not R alive.” The show, accompanied by a program of Anüll's short, highly voyeuristic films of urban life (looped on bulky television monitors in supermarket trolleys), argues against the existence of truly “found objects.” Leaning against one wall is Carton Collection, 1985/1990,

  • picks February 22, 2006

    Dwayne Moser

    With the sweeping gaze of a nineteenth-century American landscape painting, Dwayne Moser’s Untitled Backdrops, 2006, see the West as a fertile frontier of fantasy and possibility. Likewise, Moser is exacting in his portrayal of particularly pregnant moments of the night and day. However, these backdrops, painted by a team of Warner Brothers professionals, are not inspired by a fanciful sublime; they are instead grounded in the tacky misbehavior of Hollywood celebrities. Each backdrop is still and empty, with visual clues and theatrical lighting that point to the specific sites where Lindsay

  • picks February 02, 2006

    Philippe Decrauzat

    In Philippe Decrauzat’s latest solo show, each of the young Swiss painter’s carefully manicured works glistens with a commitment to physicality; somewhat paradoxically, the vibrant colors and playful shapes hypnotize, seemingly offering an escape from the material world. KOMAKINO, 2005, an elegant wall work whose title references both a hypnotic Japanese dance and a song by Joy Division, wavers between academic abstraction and commercial design. Five drawings made on sixty-centimeter vinyl disks are placed over an elegant black-and-white frieze pattern, mobilizing youth culture to undermine the

  • picks January 20, 2006

    “A picture of war is not war”

    The impossible distance between the people and actions that make war and those who safely watch is summarized by this show’s title, taken from Hito Steyerl’s piece November, 2004. The work, one of a smartly selected program of six films, describes the transformation of Steyerl’s childhood friend Andrea Wolf into an icon for the PKK, the Kurdistan Workers Party. Her narrative offers an analogy for the arrival of our “post-October” period—a time when some marginalized social groups have become violent. Set in the new extremes of this restless era, Renzo Martens’s Episode 1, 2003, becomes a

  • picks January 11, 2006

    Richard Long

    “The Time of Space” is installed across a stratum of rooms with the same deliberate pacing as Long’s relentless walks, bringing together new and recent photographs, notes, and ephemeral sculptures that exist as humble records of these movements and his site-specific creations. For The Time of Space, 1999, Long travelled to Mount Parnassus, Greece, and arranged a circle of stones, which he then photographed; upon his return to the site in 2002, he “dispersed” the formation, carefully noting his action on the original image. In this work, Long draws our attention to the time that links unique

  • picks January 03, 2006

    “New Video, New Europe”

    “New Video, New Europe,” curated by Hamza Walker, offers three extensive video programs from a region that has, especially since eight Eastern European states joined the European Union in 2003, asserted its position within Western systems of commerce and communication. In the shop front windows of Arthouse, a former department store on the historic main street of Austin, Texas, a single screen, atop a pile of dusty television monitors, loops Anna Niesterowicz’s Beaver, 2001, a video of a woman’s legs as she boldly removes her underwear. Inside, the show immediately turns towards the mouth as a