Lloyd Wise

  • diary March 30, 2012

    Context Message

    “AN ART FAIR is all art and no context; this was all context and no art,” said a smartly dressed curator navigating the crush of crowds exiting the last panel of the March Meeting, a marathon three-day symposium held by the Sharjah Art Foundation in an air-conditioned room off Calligraphy Square in the midst of Sharjah’s partly reconstructed, two-hundred-year-old Heritage Area. Operating under a relatively defanged rubric, “Working with Artists and Audiences on Commissions and Residencies,” some eighty speakers and panelists expounded on such topics as “Art and Cultural Diplomacy,” “Artists and

  • Matthew Brannon

    The flat, graphic style of Matthew Brannon’s work derives from the visual innovations of Madison Avenue during its midcentury golden age. In this exhibition, that coolly nostalgic look surfaced in silkscreen and letterpress prints, as well as in paintings, sculptures, and cloth uniforms (the last made in collaboration with menswear designer Carlo Brandelli). These works were installed across three galleries, each of which suggested a discrete room—or, more precisely, a theatrical set. For each gallery corresponded to an “act” in a play, written by the artist, the plot of which is elliptically

  • Şerban Savu

    Şerban Savu belongs to a loose-knit group of young Romanian painters based in Cluj-Napoca, a Transylvanian college town some eighty miles from Hungary. His subject is blue-collar work and leisure in contemporary Romania, and he portrays this quotidian reality with cool, masterly restraint. This focus draws on a range of precedents, from Bruegel to Millet—whom he has directly and indirectly invoked. But I always think of Edward Hopper. Like Hopper’s nighthawks and lonely women, Savu’s brick-factory workers and roadside bathers are kept at a strange distance, their bodies frozen in a melancholic

  • Willem de Rooij

    Although sociopolitical subtext typically lingers beneath Willem de Rooij’s works, the five weavings in “Crazy Repelled Firelight,” Friedrich Petzel’s summer show, initially invoke Frank Stella’s famous maxim, “what you see is what you see.” Monochrome or subtley gradated in color, the textiles are stretched, like canvas, over wooden frames, and thereby rehearse postwar abstract painting. But immersive transcendence is hardly their aim—rather, they dazzle, with metallic or acrylic threads that shimmer, twinkle, and flash. Such scintillations, nevertheless, are restrained, tipping the effect

  • Performa 11

    When the inaugural edition of RoseLee Goldberg’s performance art biennial was announced six years ago, few would have predicted its level of popular success, the medium having long ago settled into place on the art world’s fringes. Since then, performance art has experienced both a rise in its institutional representation and an extension into new realms—witness Marina Abramović’s MoMA performance broadcast live via webcam and Flickr feed, and LA MoCA’s promotion of James Franco’s General Hospital crossover as a performance piece. Perhaps this expansion owes

  • Mario Garcia Torres

    In May at 45 Orchard Street—a vacant storefront on the Lower East Side serving as a temporary exhibition space for “Itinerant,” a series of curatorial ventures orchestrated by Marian Goodman Gallery’s Rose Lord and 303 Gallery’s Mari Spirito—Mario Garcia Torres presented two slide shows. The first, titled In a new work, Cover Letter, 2011, takes the form of a job application précis: In a sequence of subtitles, which accompany images of flowers being arranged in a vase, Garcia Torres politely addresses a Findungskommission (finding commission), and puts forth his candidacy for a position

  • “Ostalgia”

    For the Western art world, Eastern Europe and the former Soviet republics often serve as a phantasmagoric other—a melancholic dreamscape in which dilapidated apartment blocks become vessels for wistful myths about the collapse of utopian ideology.

    For the Western art world, Eastern Europe and the former Soviet republics often serve as a phantasmagoric other—a melancholic dreamscape in which dilapidated apartment blocks become vessels for wistful myths about the collapse of utopian ideology. With “Ostalgia,” curator Massimiliano Gioni doesn’t claim to dismantle such affective resonances, but rather lends them greater sophistication and depth, distilling a variety of related “sensibilities” and “atmospheres” in works by more than fifty artists from the Baltics to the Balkans (and a small selection from

  • Glen Fogel

    The two painted reproductions of love letters that introduce Glen Fogel’s first solo show announce an exhibitionary poise and epistolary tack. Enlarged to six times their size (one is a diptych), the messages are both addressed to the artist, and, in their infatuated, unself-conscious zeal, strike a universal note of hormonal desperation. “You, both the ideal and the mortal, have taught me the meaning of Love and what it is to feel joy,” one declares, later mentioning someone named Lucas. The other, from Lucas, smolders, “I’m amazed sometimes by the fire in your eye when you talk about things

  • Taryn Simon

    To shoot the 1,075 images that constitute her project “Contraband,” 2010, Taryn Simon erected makeshift photo studios at the US Customs and Border Protection Federal Inspection Site and the US Postal Service International Mail Facility at John F. Kennedy International Airport. Then, she and her team meticulously documented items confiscated by customs agents over the course of five days: heroin, envelopes with unknown medication, counterfeit BlackBerry batteries, shark fins, South Korean dog treats made with unidentified meats, Russian diet pills, a Haitian goatskin drum, Pakistani steroids,

  • Alison Rossiter

    Alison Rossiter’s photographs—made without a camera, using expired, vintage photo paper—are a lot like paintings. She applies developer as a painter might, dipping the edge of a paper into a bath to create a slender, Barnett Newman–esque zip or letting the liquid pool into a lopsided shape that, when paired with a similar print in a diptych, yields a semisymmetrical blot. (When the developer is applied, these expired papers turn black.) Rossiter made one group, a series of tornado-like forms that fade into penumbral regions rippling with sepia and gray, by pouring the developer—an action that

  • Brion Nuda Rosch

    A statement accompanying Brian Nuda Rosch’s first New York exhibition trumpets the fact that turquoise, for this San Francisco–based artist, is a “symbol of escape.” Yet the collages and sculptures in the exhibition left one with the sense that there must be irony, if not self-reflexivity, in this bromide. The works on view seemed intent on unraveling the semantics of the color—emphasizing that its meaning and presumed affect are propped up by all manner of cultural banalities. As the press release goes on to tell us, Pantone named turquoise its “Color of the Year 2010” with the claim: “Turquoise

  • diary February 08, 2010

    Keepers of the Fame

    Los Angeles

    LOOMING OVER SANTA MONICA BOULEVARD like a slab of radioactive ice, the Pacific Design Center—with its ambient elevator music, dropped ceilings, and corporate-kitsch design—is a bewildering environment for displaying art. The complex principally houses high-end home-furnishings vendors, but with many tenants sucked down the housing-market drain, the (presumably affordable) vacant real estate hosted Art Los Angeles Contemporary last weekend. (One darkened showroom was locked and filled, conspicuously, with rolled-up rugs.) Fifty-five galleries, more than half from Los Angeles but several from

  • Charles Burchfield

    Robert Gober has assembled a full-fledged survey devoted to watercolorist Charles Burchfield (1893–1967), whose visions of the American scene are by turns ecstatic and morbid, mystical and bleak.

    The eye for selection and sensitivity to space evident in Robert Gober’s sculptures and installations were last directed to curating in 2005, when the artist chose items from the Menil Collection in Houston to accompany his own work. Now Gober has assembled a full-fledged survey devoted to watercolorist Charles Burchfield (1893–1967), whose visions of the American scene are by turns ecstatic and morbid, mystical and bleak. The exhibition presents ephemera from Burchfield’s life (doodle-filled journal pages, correspondence with his early supporter Alfred H. Barr Jr.)

  • picks March 17, 2009

    Alex Fleming

    The gallery walls in Alex Fleming’s first solo exhibition offer sheets of plain newsprint stuck with reflective silver letters arranged diagonally, in columns, and in rows. These arrays rarely form actual words—T H E K N B L M appears across one, P R C N U M descends vertically in another—and the generous white space that separates the letters allows the viewer’s eyes some room to wander, as the tongue half-enunciates barely there syllables. Beneath the linguistic slipperiness, however, lie encrypted phrases. The works’ titles are ciphers, so reading the checklist feels like cheating at a game: