Mara Hoberman

  • Jean-Michel Othoniel, Les Belles Danses (The Beautiful Dances) (work in progress), 2014, Murano glass, steel, dimensions variable. Photo: Philippe Chancel.
    interviews October 20, 2014

    Jean-Michel Othoniel

    Installed over the summer of 2014 as part of a major renovation of one of Versailles’s gardens, the three sculptures in Jean-Michel Othoniel’s Les Belles Danses (The Beautiful Dances), 2014, evoke King Louis XIV dancing on water. To realize the works, the Paris-based artist set up a makeshift studio in a vaulted ceiling chamber that once housed the Sun King’s apothecary. Othoniel is the first contemporary artist to make a permanent mark on the royal grounds as well as Versailles’s first artist-in-residence in over 300 years. The work will be previewed during FIAC this month before the grand

  • Louidgi Beltrame, Nosotros también somos extraterrestres (We Are Also Extraterrestrials), 2014, HD video, color, sound, 38 minutes.
    picks October 16, 2014

    Louidgi Beltrame

    Seven colorful American Apparel sweatshirts, arms splayed on bamboo sticks like hipster scarecrows, greet visitors to Louidgi Beltrame’s latest exhibition. Reminiscent of Hélio Oiticica’s “Penetrável” series, this circular cluster, Bizarre Innovation Style, 2014, invites the viewer to weave through and appreciate the sweatshirts’ silk-screened photographs of Peruvian ceramic vessels once used by Nazca shamans to mix psychotropic concoctions. This unexpected mash-up of contemporary and ancient cultures is equal parts Pop art and anthropological display. Curiously, this work, as well as Second

  • Analia Saban, Big Bang Series (in Ten Steps), 2014, ten slabs of concrete and marble on canvas, 26 × 20 × 2 1/2" each. Installation view.

    Analia Saban

    Analia Saban’s two recent suites of work, both from 2014, blend techniques and materials traditionally considered exclusive to either painting or sculpture. Belonging to neither practice entirely, they comment on both.Big Bang Series (in Ten Steps), for example, which spanned the gallery’s front wall, puts sculptural materials on top of a standard painting support. The work consists of ten twenty-by-twenty-six-inch canvases, each coated with a thick layer of cement and inlaid with fragments of black marble. Taken in sequence, these objects demonstrate several simultaneous progressions. In the

  • View of “Formes Simples” (Simple Shapes), 2014.
    picks August 25, 2014

    “Formes Simples”

    Dividing its broad conceit across seventeen thematic subsections, “Formes Simples” (Simple Shapes) juxtaposes artworks and artifacts whose provenances span approximately five thousand years and thirty countries based on their formal similarities. The first room of the exhibition, however, showcases works related by their formlessness. Diverse examples of art informel, to use French art critic Michel Tapié’s 1952 coinage, include a gloppy cement sculpture by Anish Kapoor (untitled, 2013), a barely figurative terra-cotta study for Auguste Rodin’s famous portrait-sculpture of Balzac (Balzac, robe

  • View of “Izumi Kato,” 2014.
    picks July 11, 2014

    Izumi Kato

    Having exhibited widely in his native Japan since the early 2000s, Izumi Kato makes his Paris debut with a large selection of recent paintings, drawings, and sculptures that describe a parallel universe populated by humanoid figures with masklike faces and flippers as limbs that tend to sprout exotic plants, stylized wings, or additional heads instead of hands and feet.

    Influenced by art from ancient Egypt and Japan’s Jōmon period, Kato’s wide-eyed childish figures also relate to Japanese Pop art, appearing like naively drawn manga characters. Kato’s paintings, which he makes using his fingers

  • Nathan Hylden, Untitled, 2014, acrylic on aluminum, 77 1/2 x 57 1/2".
    picks July 08, 2014

    Nathan Hylden

    Nathan Hylden’s latest suite of large-scale painted and silk-screened (though not always in that order) aluminum panels pays homage to the artist’s own Los Angeles workspace. Joining a long line of artists who have treated their studios as subjects—from Vermeer to Matisse to Bruce Nauman, to name just a few—Hylden describes his creative environment in a limited palette of white, black, and blue on silvery light-reflective supports. Juxtaposing images of quotidian elements (wall, camera, chair) with fat, gestural brushstrokes and solid blocks of spray paint, Hylden’s studio-scapes invite literal

  • François Morellet, Pier and Ocean, 2014, thirty-eight blue argon neon tubes, wooden pier (by Tadashi Kawamata). Installation view.

    François Morellet

    Spread across Kamel Mennour’s two Left Bank galleries, “François Morellet, c’est n’importe quoi?” (François Morellet, Does It Make Any Sense?) showcased a variety of emblematic works—including three-dimensional assemblages of white-painted canvas squares; linear, site-specific wall drawings made with black adhesive tape; and a glowing blue-neon installation that filled a whole room—all made during the past five years. The show’s surprise highlight, however, was works dating back to the very beginning of the artist’s six-decade career. Tucked into a carpeted alcove in the rue Saint-André

  • View of “DeWain Valentine,” 2014.
    picks May 21, 2014

    DeWain Valentine

    DeWain Valentine’s first exhibition in Paris marks only the second European solo show for the seventy-eight-year-old Los Angeles–based artist best known for his large-scale glass and plastic sculptures. The current Valentine miniretrospective features nine cast polyester resin works made between 1969 and 1975, all of which feel surprisingly fresh, in part because many have never been shown before, but also because their smooth, shiny surfaces look as if they were made yesterday, rather than over forty years ago.

    While Valentine’s translucent sculptures initially appear simple, their complex

  • View of “Fabrice Hyber,” 2014.

    Fabrice Hyber

    Fabrice Hyber’s recent exhibition was perversely titled “Interdit aux Enfants” (Children Not Allowed), though it was in fact designed specifically for children, or at least conceived with their small size and big imaginations in mind. Known for his quirky “Prototypes d’Objets en Fonctionnement” (Prototypes of Functioning Objects), 1991–, Hyber here complemented new POFs, mostly modified versions of earlier designs that have been scaled into child-friendly formats, with energetic diagrammatic paintings. Transforming the gallery into an informal classroom-cum-laboratory, with charts and annotations

  • View of “Guy Limone,” 2014.
    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

  • Alex Katz, Coleman Pond, 1975, oil on aluminum, 94 x 162".
    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,

  • Fabien Giraud and Raphaël Siboni, Bassae Bassae, 2014. 35-mm color film, 9 minutes.
    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