Lloyd Wise

  • Prada Mode Tokyo took place in the gardens of the Tokyo Metropolitan Teien Art Museum. All photos: Prada Mode Tokyo.
    diary May 31, 2023

    Late Spring

    JAPAN! It began with the slow dissolve of a long-haul flight and ended with an android: Hiroshi Ishiguro’s ALTER4, to be exact, its eyes rolling, mouth agape, arms raised in ecstasy.

    I’d come to Tokyo for that city’s edition of Prada Mode, an “itinerant private club” for which the Italian luxury brand enlists an artist to organize a program of talks and events specific to its given location. Invitees so far have largely been excellent: Martine Syms (Los Angeles), Trevor Paglen and researcher Katie Crawford (Paris), the world-historically great filmmaker Jia Zhangke (Shanghai). In Japan, our host

  • Nöle Giulini, Banana Shoes, 1991, dried banana peels, thread, frankincense, myrrh, glass box, 1 1⁄2 × 8 × 13".

    Nöle Giulini

    In 2018, curator Alan Longino found himself browsing through the (excellent, useful) archive of exhibitions on the New Museum website and stumbled on an entry for a show called “A Labor of Love.” Organized by Marcia Tucker in 1996, the exhibition surveyed fifty artists whose foregrounding of craft in their work, according to the curator, destabilizes boundaries between fine art and folk art, genius and hobbyist, art and daily life. Two pieces caught Longino’s eye: a ratty, stitched-together Mickey Mouse sculpture and a pair of ballet slippers sewn from dried banana peels. To his surprise, the

  • View of “Refik Anadol: Unsupervised,” 2022–23.
    picks February 20, 2023

    Refik Anadol

    Fretting over the “death of art” is a tradition as old as the monochrome—just ask Aleksandr Rodchenko. Such concerns have resurfaced of late with the brow-furrowing over AI: Will DALL·E put artists out of work? An AI-generated picture won an art prize—what does it mean? “Refik Anadol: Unsupervised”—featuring a project made with an AI trained on publicly available data of MoMA’s collection—suggests one approach to such questions. Using a patchwork of sophisticated machine-learning and rendering software, Anadol created a multidimensional “map” of the museum’s collection data. Then he directed a

  • Matthew Ronay, The Lobes, 2020, basswood, dye, gouache, flocking, plastic, steel, cotton, 11 × 16 1⁄2 × 5".

    Matthew Ronay

    Perhaps it’s his artworks’ eye-popping colors, antiseptic corporeality, or intractable otherness—or, for that matter, the difficulty of speaking about abstraction to begin with—but something leads viewers of Matthew Ronay’s carved-basswood sculptures to consider them initially as products of citation: as accumulations of formal motifs or references that the spectator is tasked with identifying. Ren and Stimpy, “Cow Tools,” Frederick Kiesler’s biomorphic Surrealism, anatomical models in the urologist’s office, Yves Tanguy, undersea coral. And while dutifully surmising such “influences,” real or

  • Jonathan Lasker, Lives of Perpetual Wonder, 1997, oil on linen, 90 × 120".

    Jonathan Lasker

    This past fall, Jonathan Lasker’s “Born Yesterday: Drawing into Painting, 1987–2020” marked the artist’s first solo exhibition in New York in more than five years. It was also his largest in the city, a career survey that included a selection of fifteen paintings, most of them large-scale and all of them rendered in the artist’s signature format of garish artificial color and “frozen” line.

    Despite a range of effects achieved in the work, Lasker’s process has remained consistent from the beginning. He starts each canvas by making random scribbles in a four-by-six-inch notebook; he then creates


    IN DIANE SEVERIN NGUYEN’S PORTFOLIO for Artforum the artist shares a selection of production stills shot by photographer Dawid Misiorny while Nguyen was filming If Revolution Is a Sickness, 2021. The video, set in Warsaw, appears in Nguyen’s first solo institutional exhibition, at New York’s SculptureCenter. (The show is co-organized with Chicago’s Renaissance Society, where it will open in the spring.) Just a few blocks away, at MoMA PS1, Nguyen is participating in the fifth edition of Greater New York, which opens later this month.

    If Revolution Is a Sickness begins with an orphaned Vietnamese

  • Alex Hay, Cash Register Slip, 1966, spray lacquer and stencil on linen, 80 5⁄8 × 37 7⁄8".

    Alex Hay

    In 1959, Alex Hay came to New York. He hung out at Max’s Kansas City, sipped whiskey at Robert Rauschenberg’s dining table, married dancer Deborah Hay (née Goldensohn), and appeared in “9 Evenings,” 1966. Then, roughly a decade later, he left and has remained largely absent from received accounts of New York’s storied 1960s art world. (He barely comes up in this magazine’s archives.) Since 2002, Peter Freeman, Inc. has been on a mission to correct that oversight, and this past spring the gallery put up its fifth exhibition of the ninety-one-year-old artist’s work: a retrospective of more than


    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. :(


    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, 7 x 7 x 1010, 2000, soap, steel, 33' 1 5/8“ × 2 3/4” × 2 3/4".

    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

  • View of “Yanyan Huang,” 2016.

    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, Transformers, B14, 2014, oil on canvas, 47 1/4 × 70 7/8".

    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