Lloyd Wise

  • FEELINGS AREN’T FACTS

    THANKS TO THE PERVERSE incentive structures of platform capitalism, we have witnessed the weaponization and proliferation of the rhetorical technique of decadent insincerity. On our screens, every emotive utterance drips with the air of pseudo-truth: performative outrage, virtue signaling, disingenuous smarm. Even the most heartfelt cris de coeur sound empty. One day, Notre-Dame burns. That night, an Instagram post appears in my feed: A picture of the blaze, captioned: “So sad.” So sad! Eight hundred years of history—-gone, in a white-hot flame. :(

    Sad!

    These are some of the thoughts brought to

  • “Günther Förg: A Fragile Beauty”

    A Cologne-scene contemporary of Albert Oehlen and Martin Kippenberger, Günther Förg could easily be mistaken for a cynic, an artist whose blunt allusions to Barnett Newman, Piet Mondrian, and the Bauhaus were calculated simulacral feints in painting’s dismal 1980s endgame. But such a reading fails to account for the richness, depth, and, yes, even sincerity of the German artist’s oeuvre, which includes not only paintings (on weird, unorthodox grounds such as aluminum and lead), but also stark wall drawings, darkly fascinating photographs, and cerebral

  • Mirosław Bałka

    Like other artists of his generation (e.g., Roni Horn, Tom Burr), Mirosław Bałka reimagines the deadpan, impersonal, quasi-anthropomorphic geometry of Minimalism as an avatar of something more straightforwardly human, whether a prompt for poetic association, a metonym for the body, or a vessel of elegiac Beuysian allegory. “CROSSOVER/S”—the Polish-born artist’s most comprehensive exhibition in Italy to date—is billed as a retrospective, featuring roughly fifteen sculptures, installations, and videos made between the 1990s and today. The show includes early

  • Yanyan Huang

    Some seventy or so years after its heroic American heyday, Abstract Expressionism has seen a lot, having been debased, parodied, subverted, enshrined, disavowed, mocked, and reinvented a thousand times by as many artists to as many different ends. An indelible metonym for modernism, it is, as they say, overdetermined, so much so that to make a gestural mark today is to court a certain generic quality—and the nagging sense that whatever you’re doing has, regrettably, been done before.

    Which is not to say the weight of history dooms gestural abstraction to cliché; to the contrary, its legacy

  • Eberhard Havekost

    The slick, sinister paintings of Eberhard Havekost have begun to show their age, which is a wonderful thing, since they now help put the present in sharper relief. Born in Germany and based between Düsseldorf and Berlin, Havekost has shown regularly in New York and in Europe since the late 1990s. The twenty-five works in this exhibition, his first in New York since 2012, took us on a languid tour of the postindustrial world. The thematic constellation was compelling but also familiar: rusted factory ruins, muted signification; objects coming into focus, noise resolving as information; bar codes

  • Urban Zellweger

    For “Tables and Landscapes” at Shoot the Lobster, Urban Zellweger’s sprightly first New York solo show, the young Zurich-based artist presented six paintings from 2015 that mined art-historical conventions, and while at first this might sound familiar—yet another tiresome, “critical” recapitulation of painting’s heroic, bygone forms—Zellweger did something different. The paintings he displayed were positively alive, teeming with a playful surrealism that is at once inventive and unstable.

    The most striking works were the “Tables” of the show’s title, thanks largely to Zellweger’s

  • Sadamasa Motonaga

    One of the coolest pieces of ephemera in the catalogue accompanying this exhibition of Sadamasa Motonaga’s later work is the artist’s “My Abstract Manga Manifesto,” a sequence of four line drawings published in a 1963 edition of Bijutsu techō, a Japanese art journal. Consisting of wordless, biomorphic shapes, the illustrations lay out the knowingly “low” and faintly obscene mode of abstract painting that would become central to the artist’s practice until his death in 2011.

    Born in 1922, Motonaga joined the Gutai group in 1955, parting ways with the avant-garde movement a year before its dissolution

  • OPENINGS: TABOR ROBAK

    THE MOST VISIBLE ART about technology today often comes across as a kind of Net art brut. Think of glitch art, of the nostalgic proliferations of drop shadows and gradients, of the post-Internet preoccupation with stock images, or of vaporwave. The hacking-versus-defaults debates of the early 2000s seem to have devolved into a primitivist mannerism: de-skilling as thoroughly emptied branding. Tabor Robak’s work, though, is anything but. His slick confections are the antithesis of crude: Sparkling and synthetic, color-splashed and sumptuous, they are gloriously seamless and refined—a luxe

  • Justin Adian

    Justin Adian’s show “Fort Worth” presented sixteen works that were made using a technique he has employed since 2007, and that has come to be his signature and calling card: The artist places hunks of foam on shaped wooden stretchers, stretches canvas over the foam, and applies oil enamel paint to the canvas surface. The results—puffy, shiny, asymmetrical—have a crisp, graphic appeal. They stand out from the wall with pleasing aplomb, like pop-surrealist upholstery, or comics come to life.

    They are also possessed of a zany, cartoonlike expressivity; Adian can coax quite a bit of energy

  • Tina Barney

    Money, I’ve heard, cannot buy happiness. And through the 1980s, Tina Barney’s darkly witty pictures of her insular upper-class milieu gave a diabolically cheerful endorsement of that tried-and-true claim. These now-classic half-staged, half-spontaneous shots are a visual tone poem of WASP privilege and icy repression—a hot mess of sunburned boredom, simpering awkwardness, and vacant stares. This show, the artist’s first at Paul Kasmin Gallery, included eleven works that span forty years and that range from the iconic (Mark, Amy and Tara, 1983) to the newer and lesser known.

    Among the earliest

  • Dana Schutz

    Mercifully free of easy irony, gimmicks, and suspended-in-scare-quotes gags, Dana Schutz’s virtuoso painting melds and morphs the oddball corners of modernism—Neue Sachlichkeit, Hairy Who—to produce its own mutant strain. Her work is jubilant body horror, depicting the human figure in all manner of distressed, disheveled, and unhinged states: screaming, laughing, shaving, smoking, caught up in a crowd, hideously dismembered, or arrayed on a dissection slab. Her tableaux are bright, miasmal, anxious—freakish pictures of what yuppified Brooklyn might look

  • Heimo Zobernig

    Today, it’s hard not to feel a little bad for high-modernist abstraction. Everyone gives it such a tough time. And since the 1980s, Heimo Zobernig has been one of its most cheerful antagonists, giving due respect to the monochrome and the grid but then gleefully polluting the geometric purity of these structures with utilitarian or ostensibly base media—drawing, architecture, design, and, most notably, theater. Sited in Peter Zumthor’s 1997 Zen-Brutalist Kunsthaus Bregenz, this exhibition—featuring a selection of work made between 1980 and the present and