Lori Cole

  • View of “Site 92: Phase II.” Foreground: Anne Peabody, Coal Chain, 2007. Background, from left: Mia Pearlman, MAELSTROM, 2007; Sonya Blesofsky, Study for Gair Boiler, 2008; Anne Thulin, Two White, 2007; and Steven Millar, Overlay, 2008.
    picks February 11, 2008

    “Site 92: Phase II”

    In “Site 92: Phase II,” artwork hugs the gallery’s pillars, balloons from its windows, and spills from the walls onto the floors, jolting the viewer into a more reflexive relationship with Smack Mellon’s space. Responding to the fact that the Gair family, which owned the former boiler building, earned its fortune selling cardboard and packaging, Sonya Blesofsky creates a boiler out of packaging paper, cardboard, tape, glue, and string and nestles it between two pillars. Producing a similar disconnect between her materials and her subject, Gail Biederman sketches an abstract map on the wall with

  • Florent Rupert and Jérôme Mulot, Dècoupe 2, 2007, ink on paper, 6 1/4 x 12 3/4".
    picks February 09, 2008

    “Made in France: Eight Artists and the Graphic Novel”

    Bande dessinée (literally, “cartoon”) is an expansive French term that encompasses all forms of graphic storytelling, whose variety of subjects and styles are reflected in writer and curator Alexis Nolent’s choice of artists for this exhibition, titled “Made in France.” The genre has evolved into an international art form whose range of aesthetic approaches is visible even within the work of a single artist. The show includes elder statesmen like Italian cartoonist Sergio Toppi, whose traditional application of materials contrasts with that of the duo Florent Ruppert and Jérôme Mulot, the youngest

  • Marta Minujín, La Destrucción [The Destruction], Impasse Ronsin, Paris, June 8, 1963. Performance view. Photo: Larsen.
    picks October 19, 2007

    “Beginning with a Bang! From Confrontation to Intimacy”

    “Beginning with a Bang! From Confrontation to Intimacy” reflects on the utopian and destructive impulses that marked the rise of Happenings and Conceptual art in Argentina. The exhibition is divided into two distinct sections, one of which contains a detailed timeline of the political and cultural history of Argentina from 1956 to 1976, the other a series of contemporary installations. Installed in vinyl on the wall, the timeline outlines the work of key Argentine artists—Alberto Greco, Luis Felipe Noé, Jorge de la Vega, León Ferrari, Marta Minujín—alongside that of artists from France and North

  • picks October 15, 2007

    “60'/80'—Works from the Collection and Loans”

    By narrating the rise of conceptualism in Argentina along political lines, “60’/80’” recontextualizes MALBA’s collection and, in turn, the trajectory of contemporary Argentine art. Separated into three decades that parallel the years before, during, and after the military dictatorship of 1976–1982, the exhibit reveals how artistic experimentation adapted to political conditions. From Antonio Berni’s excessive materiality to Liliana Porter’s clean, conceptual serialism, the 1960s are presented as a step away from painting toward more comprehensive artistic production. In the 1970s, state terrorism

  • Hélio Oiticica, Parangolé P16 capa 12. Da adversidade vivemos (Parangolé P16 Cape 12. We Live from Adversity), 1965–1992, yute, fabric, various plastics, burlap, and sawdust, suspended from wooden beam, 50 x 29 1/2 x 8 11/16".
    picks October 15, 2007

    “The Geometry of Hope: Latin American Abstract Art from the Patricia Phelps de Cisneros Collection”

    An ambitious and extensive survey of abstract Latin American art made between the 1930s and the 1970s, “The Geometry of Hope” is organized according to six cities’ distinct artistic practices. In Caracas, Jesús Rafael Soto, Alejandro Otero, and Carlos Cruz-Diez all played with the sculptural possibilities of the canvas. Sly optical effects cause Cruz-Diez’s red Plexiglas relief Physichromie 500, 1970, seemingly to change in texture and color as you walk by it. Buenos Aires’s polemical cultural debate is played out in a series of manifestos, such as the aural and written Madí Manifesto (1948),

  • Felix Gmelin,  Farbtest, Die Rote Fahne II (Color Test, The Red Flag II), 2002, still from a two-channel silent color video, 12 minutes.
    picks September 30, 2007

    “Stalking with Stories: The Pioneers of the Immemorable”

    Interrogating the link between memory and history, Croatian curators Antonia Majaca and Ivana Bago present different narrative strategies that recover idealized or repressed versions of the past. Sanja Ivekovic’s Ponos (Pride), 2004, is a re-creation of the red neon sign that once hung above a textile shop in socialist Yugoslavia and both signals and denies the original’s desperation for monumentality. Perhaps to emphasize that such grandiose projections are necessarily subjective, certain artists use personal accounts to access collective histories. Katerina Sedá’s film It Doesn't Matter, 2005,

  • Uxmal, Casa de las Palomas, 1993, gelatin silver print, 16 x 20".
    picks August 31, 2007

    Leandro Katz

    Deploying a self-reflexive approach to photographic documentation, Argentine film and installation artist Leandro Katz deconstructs the ethical and visual codes used for representing Mayan culture. Culled from a series of projects that Katz has produced over more than two decades, the exhibition summarizes his ambivalently voyeuristic approach to the Mayans. In pieces like Uxmal—Casa de las Palomas, 1993, the artist holds the detailed drawings that Frederick Catherwood did for John L. Stephens’s popular nineteenth-century ethnographies on the Yucatán in the frame of the photograph alongside the

  • Jonas Mekas, Film Stills and Installation Quartet: Birth of a Nation, 1997. Installation view.
    picks June 06, 2007

    “Universal Language & the Avant-Garde: Viking Eggeling, Hans Richter, and Jonas Mekas”

    Hans Richter boiled his film projects down to light, material, and intensity in an attempt to create a “universal language” based on visual perception. In Rhythmus 21, 1921, he plays with the abstract movement of a pulsating, shifting black square. Richter’s artistic collaborator Viking Eggeling responded to this language in kind, evoking musical composition in the changing lines of his Symphony Diagonal, 1925. In this exhibition, the genesis of the two artists’ filmic ideas becomes apparent through a haphazard arrangement of quick sketches that reduce forms to the simplest geometry. The show

  • Gillian Laub, Tal and Moran, May 2002, chromogenic print, 40 x 30".
    picks June 01, 2007

    “Dateline Israel: New Photography and Video Art”

    Although “Dateline Israel” covers the expected tensions between ancient religion and modern practice, the natural beauty of the landscape, and the ubiquity of borders, walls, and soldiers in daily Israeli life, the twenty-three video artists and photographers in the show also expose some startling revelations. Wim Wenders’s striking diptych presents two adjacent sites. One is an eroded sacred burial ground where it was thought that those buried would be the first to rise from the dead when the Messiah comes and that now surves as a garbage dump; the other is a neglected cemetery in Jerusalem,

  • Ward Shelley, Pelle Brage, Eva la Cour, Douglas Paulson, Maria Petschnig, and Alex Schweder, Flatland, 2007, wood, transparent vinyl, household appliances, and six people with personal belongings, 36' x 24' 7“ x 2' 7”.
    picks May 23, 2007

    “The Happiness of Objects”

    Based on art theorist W. J. T. Mitchell’s provocative proposition that objects have their own desires, “The Happiness of Objects” posits the subjectivity of art. Beyond phenomenological concerns about the viewer’s relationship to sculpture, the show plays on the relationship between the objects themselves. Sylvie Fleury’s crushed makeup strewn on the floor is reflected by Tom Burr’s mirrored purple folding screen, thereby creating new meaning for both pieces. Lan Tuazon questions the objectivity inherent to the flat image, pulling an object from her photographs and placing it alongside the

  • Sreshta Rit Premnath, Monere Manure, 2006, mixed media, dimensions variable.
    picks February 15, 2007

    “Spectral Evidence”

    Terry Adkins has hung a black-and-white replica of W. E. B. DuBois’s '30s-era flag proclaiming A MAN WAS LYNCHED YESTERDAY at the entrance to “Spectral Evidence.” Named for a type of testimony made legal during the Salem witch trials, the show overcomes a somber theme and palette to present varied responses to the politics of disappearance. Chitra Ganesh and Mariam Ghani’s postcards of epigrams and political statements, such as THIS IS NO TIME FOR COMPROMISE, range from whimsical to heavy-handed. Less text-oriented are Lana Lin and H. Lan Thao Lam’s twenty-four abstract photos and accompanying

  • Dasha Shishkin, Hideous Potato, Missed Terribly with Likes and No Hate, 2006, color offset lithography and hand-coloring with colophon page, in nine pieces, dimensions variable.
    picks February 12, 2007

    “Re:Generation—Emerging Women Artists”

    Unlike the abstract, visceral work of Louise Bourgeois, Nancy Spero, and Faith Ringgold featured in Joan Snyder’s Women Artists Series, an exhibition program initiated in 1971, the art included in “Re:Generation,” curated by Snyder and her daughter, Molly Snyder-Fink, is more explicitly self-reflective and representational. Marni Horwtiz photographs her parents in dark, keenly observational portraits. On two adjacent screens, Francisca Benitez projects silent videos of the same white-pebbled lot seen from different distances—one is empty and one inhabited by a slow-moving, black-clad