Mara Hoberman

  • Julia Rometti and Victor Costales, roca | azul | jacinto | marino | errante (rock | blue | hyacinth | navy | errant), 2013, concrete tiles, dye,volcanic rocks, 12 5/8 x 78 3/4 x 118 1/8".

    Julia Rometti and Victor Costales

    Julia Rometti and Victor Costales’s exhibition “El Perspectivista” was born of a sociological and philosophical exploration of what the Brazilian anthropologist Eduardo Viveiros de Castro calls “Amerindian Perspectivism,” a naturalist worldview wherein animals, plants, spirits, and humans are understood to apprehend the same reality from different points of view. The resulting body of work includes black-and-white photographs, projected slide comparisons, zine-like photocopied pamphlets, volcanic rocks, and concrete tiles. Emphasizing the quasi-scientific nature of their practice, Rometti and

  • Nancy Rubins, Monochrome for Paris, 2013, stainless steel and aluminum, 40 x 50 x 40’. Photo: Erich Koyama.
    interviews May 13, 2013

    Nancy Rubins

    Just steps from the Seine, a tangled mass of aluminum rowboats, kayaks, and canoes arches across a typically busy courtyard on l’Université Paris Diderot’s campus. Echoing the steely gray Parisian skies under which it was unveiled this spring, Nancy Rubins’s largest public project in France is also her first permanent commission for the capital. While directing the crane-maneuvered installation, Rubins spoke about how Monochrome for Paris, 2013, came to be.

    ALMOST FOUR YEARS AGO, I was approached by the city of Paris through curators tasked with commissioning public sculptures to honor the city’s

  • Jockum Nordström, Jag var en dålig hund (I Was a Bad Dog), 2012. Collage, aquarelle and graphite on paper, 56 x 44".
    picks April 15, 2013

    Jockum Nördstrom

    Son of an art professor, graduate of the Konstfack (Sweden’s largest art school), and married to painter Karin Mamma Andersson, Jockum Nördstrom is no outsider artist. However, because of his naive-style drawings and collages, he’s often compared to the likes of Henry Darger and Vojislav Jakic. It is fitting, then, that his first museum survey in France is at the LaM, home to the country’s largest public collection of art brut. Spanning eighteen years, this comprehensive exhibition brings together over eighty drawings, collages, and sculptures.

    Like Darger’s scrolls, Nördstrom’s works on paper

  • Merlin James, House in Marshes, 2011, mixed media on MDF, 23 5/8 x 31 1/8".

    Merlin James

    Spanning more than fifteen years, the twenty-one works collected in Merlin James’s exhibition “Painting” epitomize his signature blend of dizzyingly diverse subjects, styles, and techniques. From a faux-naive still life with bird rendered in thick earth tones, Male Bird (Pecking), 2008–11, to a minimalist study in turquoise just barely suggesting architecture (Building, 2008); from Untitled, 2009, a gritty close-up of a sex act, to Burn and Grotto, ca. 2000–2009, an abstract diptych that has been burned, punctured, and collaged, James—an art critic as well as a painter—is consistent

  • View of “Julio Le Parc,” 2013.
    picks March 14, 2013

    Julio Le Parc

    For the past half century, Julio Le Parc has created disorienting and elating sensorial experiences by manipulating light and reflection with kinetic constructions. The entry to the artist’s largest-ever survey in France is via a dense forest of suspended full-length mirrors. Navigating through Passage-cellule agrandie du labyrinth de 1963 (Cell-Passage Enlargement of the 1963 Maze), 1963–2013, the viewer is besieged by his own undulating, infinitely reflected image—and thereby initiated into a dual role as spectator and active participant.

    Never straying far from a basic recipe of mirrors,

  • Amélie Bertrand, Untitled, 2012, oil on canvas, 27 1/2 x 23 5/8".

    Amélie Bertrand

    Featuring a limited palette of matte oil paints, whose saturated hues channel something of the bright, flat light of David Hockney’s Los Angeles poolscapes, Amélie Bertrand’s surrealist environments are as enticing as they are disconcerting. An odd assortment of cartoonish motifs including blank tombstones, redbrick walls, velvety sandpits, white lattice fencing, Astro turf mounds, and crenellated ramparts characterize an unpopulated terrain that is distinctly artificial, yet appealingly familiar. But alluring though they may be, these pictures are not portals. Bertrand keeps the viewer at

  • Július Koller, Time-Space Defining Psycho-Physical Activity of Material - Tennis (Antihappening), 1968, black-and-white photo, 7 1/2 x 7".
    picks February 14, 2013

    “Une brève histoire des lignes”

    Writing in 1926, Wassily Kandinsky defined “line” as a force that “hurls itself upon the point which is digging its way into the surface, tears it out and pushes it about the surface in one direction or another.” This energetic description, along with illustrations from the didactic illustrated book in which it first appeared, Punkt und Linie zu Fläche (Point and Line to Plane), ushers us into the Centre Pompidou Metz’s sweeping investigation of the form and function of line in modern and contemporary art.

    Culled from the Pompidou’s permanent collection, the Metz survey boasts an impressive roster

  • Elsa Sahal, Acrobate, 2012, ceramic, synthetic hair, 63 x 25 1/2 x 26".

    Elsa Sahal

    Over the past decade, French ceramicist Elsa Sahal has conceived a universe where ostensible contradictions—abstraction versus figuration, male versus female, adorable versus abject—are reconciled into a variety of unsettling biomorphic forms. In her most recent exhibition, Sahal expanded her repertoire of tubular phalluses and thick-lipped orifices dribbled with syrupy glazes, creating two new breeds of large-scale androgynous figures. Explicitly corporeal, if not always blatantly figural, the sculptures are perhaps best described as bodies of clay—insistently of and about their

  • Mathieu Mercier, Pantone 71, 3M-15M, 2012, impression on Baryté paper, 61 x 43".
    picks December 21, 2012

    “Seuls quelques fragments de nous toucheront quelques fragments d’autrui”

    Befitting the author of the show’s title—a poem by Marilyn Monroe (who knew?!)—this survey of contemporary collage is stylish and star-studded. And like Monroe, who struggled to be taken seriously in spite of her sex appeal, this exhibition’s intelligent curatorial conceit is nearly outshone by its own dazzling design.

    Aspects of the installation, which commingles work by thirty-six artists made across a wide range of media over the past two decades, are downright deco. John Armleder’s red jellyfish mural (Semaeostomeae VII, 2005) suggests patterned wallpaper opposite Walead Beshty’s gleaming “

  • Michael DeLucia, Atom, 2012, plywood, safety enamel, 96 x 96 x 3/4".
    picks December 03, 2012

    Michael DeLucia

    Michael DeLucia’s latest wall-mounted and freestanding sculptures, collectively titled “Projections,” combine DIY aesthetics (planks of plywood fastened with visible screws) with a high-tech—and, to a certain extent, hands-off—process. Employing a computer-controlled wood router, DeLucia engraves intricate patterns of gouges, which, when painted, create illusions of depth and dimension on the plywood’s raw surface. The results suggest CAD outputs made from construction-site scraps. A hybrid of minimalist sculpture and new media, DeLucia’s work does not fit neatly in either genre.

    Though his

  • Elsa Sahal, Fontaine, 2012, 
 118 x 47 x 31”. (Photo: Maurice Loy)
    slant December 02, 2012

    Mara Hoberman

    AMID GENERAL TIGHTENING of purse strings in Europe, 2012 was a big year for Paris museums. The Palais de Tokyo unveiled a $26 million renovation that tripled its size in April, the Louvre opened a new Islamic wing (its largest expansion since I. M. Pei’s glass pyramids) in September, and “Hopper fever” made the Grand Palais’s retrospective (the American painter’s first in France) a true blockbuster this fall. However, the Musée de l’Art Moderne still has on view the best show of the year. Honoring MAM’s seventieth anniversary, “L’Art en guerre” (Art at War) delivers on its ambitious objective

  • Eija-Liisa Ahtila, Horizontal, 2011, 6-channel digital projection with 5.1-channel audio, six minutes, 10 x 34 1/2'.
    picks November 07, 2012

    Eija-Liisa Ahtila

    A portrait of a tree is a fairly straightforward concept. Realizing this image photographically, Finnish video artist Eija-Liisa Ahtila discovered, is easier said than done. While filming The Annunciation, 2010—wherein an all-female cast rehearses and enacts that biblical scene—Ahtila wanted to include a shot of a single tall tree. This vision, however, proved problematic. At close range her camera would capture only a section of the tree, from afar she would wind up with a landscape, and a wide-angle lens would cause distortion. Her solution, Horizontal, 2011—a lateral presentation of six