Mara Hoberman

  • picks April 28, 2014

    Guy Limone

    Shortly after finishing his studies at the École des Beaux Arts d’Aix-en-Provence in 1985, Guy Limone made his first installation using the hand-painted model-train-set figurines that have become one of his signature materials. Affixed directly to a white wall in a circular formation, Seul 1% des français rêve de devenir premier ministre (Only 1 percent of the French dream of becoming prime minister), 1987, launched the artist’s ongoing series of “Statisiques.” This work is also the point of origin for his current mid-career retrospective, which focuses on this particular subset of Limone’s

  • picks April 22, 2014

    Alex Katz

    Boasting one hundred–odd portraits from the past forty-five years, Alex Katz’s first major retrospective in France opens with the atypical series “Women in Jackets,” 1996. Spanning the gallery’s long entry hall, ten oil-on-aluminum cutouts suggest a row of smartly dressed gallerygoers. Freed from the fictive background of the picture plane, these women greet the viewer in “real space.” Confounding the cutouts’ immediacy, however, their flatness is reinforced by uniform cropping at midforehead and midthigh in accordance with an unyielding (if invisible) rectangular frame. Throughout the show,

  • picks April 12, 2014

    Fabien Giraud and Raphaël Siboni

    Whether working with 35-mm film or state-of-the-art digital video technology, Fabien Giraud and Raphaël Siboni play with temporal conventions of filmmaking. Referencing the past, present, and future, the eleven works included in “The Unmanned”—the artist duo’s first institutional show—establish an eerie alternate reality wherein humanity is barely present and automated technology reigns supreme.

    The exhibition opens with Untitled (La Vallée von uexküll), 2009/2014, an ongoing series of digitally filmed desert sunsets. Made using progressively higher-definition cameras, each video is screened on

  • Anne-Marie Schneider

    Treating her drawing practice like a visual diary, Anne-Marie Schneider uses combinations of watercolor, acrylic, ink, and pencil to routinely document current events, scenes from daily life, and her own mental state. Here a selection of sixty works on paper plus four paintings, all dated between 2009 and 2013, offered an intimate, if fragmented, glimpse into the artist’s quotidian experience. Characteristic of Schneider’s oeuvre, which also includes sculpture and animation, the simple forms and playful color palette of her drawings—manifested here mainly as purple and red stick figures

  • Annette Messager

    Spread across the gallery floor in an archipelagic formation, Annette Messager’s installation of twenty-one sculptures arrayed on small padded dollies, Mes Transports, 2012–13, conjured the gory aftermath of a mysterious disaster. Reprising some of the artist’s signature motifs, including dead animals, human body parts, and children’s toys, this work evokes a scene of emergency triage with nightmarish casualties on makeshift gurneys. The strange amalgams of limbs, shoes, birds, dogs, and architectural wreckage—covered with the kind of matte black foil typically used to mask theatrical

  • Brice Dellsperger

    One-upping Hollywood clichés of voyeurism, transvestism, and bloodlust, Brice Dellsperger’s employs conceptual and visual mirroring, looping, and duplication in his videos for maximum camp appeal. The artist’s series “Body Double,” 1995–, includes some thirty-odd re-created scenes from cult movies by the likes of Rainer Werner Fassbinder, David Lynch, and, most frequently, Brian De Palma. The recent presentation of six works from the series (four starring the artist himself in multiple roles) was a self-referential fun house of sorts—wherein a mirror, multiple projections, and a double-sided

  • picks January 02, 2014

    Sophie Calle

    Visualizing the invisible is a recurrent theme in Sophie Calle’s photo-based oeuvre—from photographs based on descriptions of beauty provided by people who were born blind to portraits of those who have lost their sight suddenly. Calle’s current exhibition, “Dérobés,” challenges the viewer to see vanished artworks. The photograph/text pairings in the series “What Do You See,” 2013, conjure paintings by Rembrandt, Johannes Vermeer, and Govert Flinck that were among the thirteen artworks stolen from Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in 1990. Focusing on that museum’s “Dutch Room,” Calle’s

  • picks December 12, 2013

    “Decorum: Tapis et tapisseries d’artistes”

    The largest-ever textiles exhibition at Paris’s Musée d’Art Moderne brings together over one hundred woven works in the form of wall hangings, floor coverings, and freestanding sculptures from the Middle Ages to the present day. Rife with surprising anachronistic comparisons, the exhibition’s thematically organized sections point to the recent resurgence of weaving among contemporary artists while underscoring the historic importance of tapestry.

    In the section titled “The Painterly,” two tapestries designed by Pablo Picasso are hung in the company of a sixteenth-century Flemish tapestry. Picasso

  • picks December 03, 2013

    Lee Bul

    Korean artist Lee Bul’s first major European museum exhibition begins in the air. Cast in white polyurethane and suspended across Mudam’s I. M. Pei–designed glass and concrete atrium, two squads of sci-fi species appear frozen in the midst of a celestial ballet or battle. Perhaps a little worse for the wear (variably missing arms, legs, and heads), the hard-bodied, humanoid “Cyborgs,” 1997–2011, face off against the amorphous tentacled “Anagrams,” 1999–2006. Alternately evoking classical Greek marbles and “Star Wars” creatures, these ghostly human-scale beings appear to have arisen from Lee’s

  • Farah Atassi

    Those familiar with Farah Atassi’s work will recognize in her latest group of paintings the strong orthogonal lines that lend themselves well to her signature tiled and bricked interiors. Adhering to an underlying grid, Atassi meticulously uses tape and layers of oil paint to construct eerily unpopulated human-scale spaces. But whereas earlier paintings featured scant domestic objects—for instance, a cluster of chairs or a dangling light fixture—evoking a kitchen or a bathroom setting, recent works show the artist moving toward greater abstraction. Now exploring the grid as a modernist

  • Rolf Julius

    “Landscape” initially seemed a metaphorical or even ironic title for an exhibition of Rolf Julius (1939–2011), who is often pigeonholed as a sound artist and lumped with contemporaries such as John Cage, David Tudor, and Takehisa Kosugi. Employing the term literally, however, the show at Cortex Athletico (whose Bordeaux, France, gallery notably holds part of the late artist’s archives) aimed to rescue his oeuvre from this too narrow frame of reference. Here, rather than focusing on a simplistic cause-and-effect relationship between sound and image, Julius’s works on paper and multimedia sculptures

  • picks October 06, 2013

    Pier Paolo Calzolari

    Nearly two decades after his last solo show in Paris, Pier Paolo Calzolari is making a long-overdue reappearance. The reclusive poveristi’s current exhibition spreads across Kamel Mennour’s two spacious showrooms (christening the gallery’s new location, just a few blocks from the flagship) with a stunning forty-five-year survey.

    At the Saint-André des Arts space, key works from the 1960s and ’70s introduce Calzolari’s essential materials—metals, eggs, leaves, salt, moss, and frost (which he creates using refrigeration units). Senza titolo (Lasciare il posto) (Untitled [Leaving the Place]), 1972,

  • interviews September 20, 2013

    Matt Mullican

    Matt Mullican’s “Collecting for the studio – collecting 1959–2013,” at Galerie Nelson-Freeman in Paris, brings his early and recent works together with items from his personal collection of art and objects. Ranging from prehistoric tools to twentieth-century machinery and from Piranesi etchings to 1950s comic books, Mullican’s collection has never before been presented within the context of an exhibition. Here the artist highlights a few favorite objects and discusses the relationship of the collection and his work. The show is on view until November 9, 2013.

    I’VE DISCUSSED THE IDEA of showing

  • diary September 04, 2013

    Back to the Future

    OFTEN REFERRED to as the fair before la rentrée (France’s official “back to work” date), Art-O-Rama provides a perfect excuse to spend the last weekend of August in sunny Marseille. This year, in addition to being well situated to attract the art crowd returning from fabulous vacation destinations in Provence and the Côte d’Azur, Art-O-Rama benefitted from Marseille’s status as 2013’s European Capital of Culture. The city has enjoyed a fast and furious urban renewal, boasting brand new museums and public monuments, an impressive program of concerts and performances, and pop-up art projects

  • Daniel Firman

    The title of Daniel Firman’s first large museum show, “La Matière Grise” (Gray Matter), was both a reference and a provocation. The artist has used the phrase before, notably in a life-size self-portrait sculpture from 2009 titled Grey Matters, (not in the show), which illustrates the proverbial weight of the world by replacing the artist’s head with a cyclonic jumble of gray industrial and domestic objects. Expanding the title to encompass six years of work, the Lyon survey showed Firman using physical gray matter (namely clay, metal, resin, and painted plaster) to evoke more abstract outputs

  • picks August 13, 2013

    Joana Vasconcelos

    Using unexpectedly quotidian materials—from plastic cutlery to tampons—Joana Vasconcelos creates grandiose sculptures that critique and invigorate their environments. Following her redecoration of the Château de Versailles in 2012, the Paris-born, Lisbon-based artist’s current exhibition takes over a similarly ostentatious setting—the nineteenth-century Ajuda National Palace in Lisbon—with thirty-eight sculptures made over the past twelve years.

    Riffing on the decor and function of the palace’s Sala de Mármore—designed as a Victorian-style winter garden with alabaster walls and floors—Vasconcelos

  • picks August 07, 2013

    Pierre Ardouvin

    In the mid-1990s, French anthropologist Marc Augé coined the term nonlieu (nonplace) to refer to nondescript settings like supermarkets and airport terminals wherein one experiences an eerie combination of déjà vu and alienation. Evoking a similarly odd mix of familiarity and foreignness, Pierre Ardouvin’s oeuvre could be described as a series of nonlieux. But whereas Augé’s nonplaces are real-world banalities, Ardouvin’s paintings, drawings, sculptures, and installations are Lewis Carroll–esque limbos that mingle reality, collective memory, and pure fantasy.

    Ardouvin opens this exhibition in

  • picks July 08, 2013

    “Kiki, Seton, and Tony Smith”

    Honoring the centennial of Tony Smith’s birth in 1912, a retrospective juxtaposing his work with that of his two daughters—contemporary artists Kiki Smith and Seton Smith—has been touring Europe. After two stops in Germany (Kunsthalle Bielefeld and Kunstmuseum Liechtenstein, Vaduz), this family affair is now on view at Toulouse’s Les Abattoirs, a former slaughterhouse whose soaring ceilings and brick arcades provide a dramatic setting for Smith senior’s monumental sculpture.

    In addition to celebrating Smith’s mature Minimalist style—epitomized here by Cigarette, 1961, a fifteen-foot-tall polygonal

  • 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

  • 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