Marek Bartelik

  • Daniel Medina, Reja naranja (Orange Bars), 2012, metal, vinyl paint, 35 3/8 x 74 3/4 x 74 3/4".

    Daniel Medina

    In 2003, the private owners of a copy of Rodin’s Monument to Balzac, 1898, removed it from a courtyard of the Caracas Athenaeum, apparently fearing politically motivated vandalism. The next year, demonstrators knocked down the figure of Christopher Columbus from the Monumento a Colón en el Golfo Triste, erected a century earlier to commemorate the four hundredth anniversary of the arrival of the explorer in the Americas. Daniel Medina has recorded those dramatic events in his native city by culling from the Internet a photograph of each of the eviscerated public sites, which he then included in

  • Klaus Lutz, Vulcan, 2004, 16-mm film, projector, balloon, salad strainer, music stand, sound, 2 minutes. Installation view.

    Klaus Lutz

    The Swiss artist and filmmaker Klaus Lutz’s universe was a dense mindscape, full of imaginary creatures and objects, some of them realistically rendered, others more diagrammatic, fantastical, or stylized. The protagonist of his art and films is an individual who confronts the world’s absurdity by being equally absurd but ceaselessly vigilant and disciplined. In Lutz’s last film, Titan, 2009, he is the eccentric little everyman who enjoys undertaking hallucinatory voyages into a surreal outer space while keeping an eye on life on the ground. Played by the artist, this Chaplinesque figure runs,

  • View of “Pauline Boudry and Renate Lorenz,” 2011–12.

    Pauline Boudry and Renate Lorenz

    Pauline Boudry and Renate Lorenz’s exhibition “Salomania” focused on the infatuation that performers and authors have had with the New Testament figure of Salomé. Her veiled sexuality and exoticism have often been perceived as arousing a perverse desire, itself a manifestation of a preoccupation with the dark relationship between Eros and Thanatos, epitomized by the trading of her sensual dance for the head of John the Baptist. Oscar Wilde’s controversial 1891 play Salomé was the origin of much of the dancer’s modern mythology and is one of Boudry and Lorenz’s main references, which also include

  • Vladimir Grig, London Calling, Moscow Speaks, 2010–11, acrylic on canvas, LED light, 63 x 70 7/8".

    Vladimir Grig

    Today, Russians approach the legacy of the USSR with a growing historical distance and a peculiar sense of introspection. They perceive it in a less conflicted manner than they once did, acknowledging the playfulness of its mass culture while, at the same time, linking its graphic language to social and cultural (rather than political) transformations. A fascination with the Soviet past might also reflect the renewed upsurge of Slavophilism, which encourages Russians to admire their national heroes and to savor the uniqueness of their experience, closing the gap between grim reality and a profound

  • José Barrias, Wunderkammer, 2011, mixed media, dimensions variable.

    José Barrias

    The Latin words in this show’s title, “José Barrias: In Itinere,” might be best translated in this context as “ongoing” (rather than, for example, “in progress”), for the exhibition, curated by João Fernandes, did not offer any ascending arrangement of works or connect them in any obvious fashion. Instead, the Milan-based Portuguese artist created an erratic, labyrinthine environment in which new and older pieces in various mediums could effortlessly interact with each other and the museum space. The latter was structured as a series of galleries—some of which were painted in vivid colors,

  • Denis Savary, Ostende, d’après James Ensor (Ostend, After James Ensor), 2011, elastomer mask, couch, overall 71 7/8 x 26 x 29 1/2".

    Denis Savary

    Featuring works in video, installation, and sculpture created between 2006 and 2011, this show emphasized contemplative aspects of Denis Savary’s art, rather than the straight-facedly humorous, cool side for which he is also known. Perhaps more important, it reaffirmed the Paris- and Lausanne, Switzerland–based artist’s interest in exploring simple pleasures in his own “backyard,” in the bucolic yet cultured French and Swiss farming country, evocative of the region around Lake Geneva where he is from. For Savary, it is an emotional and, to a certain degree, physical “stillness” in such places

  • Katarzyna Kozyra, Cheerleader, 2006, still from a color video, 4 minutes 30 seconds.

    Katarzyna Kozyra

    Comprising many of Katarzyna Kozyra’s major works in various mediums, this exhibition offered a unique opportunity for a close look at the artist’s oeuvre, while inviting its critical reassessment in the context of present-day Poland. “Casting,” the title selected by the show’s curator, Hanna Wróblewska (the new director of the Zachęta National Gallery of Art), was taken from a new work, dated 2010, in which a gallery space was transformed into a temporary acting studio where viewers were invited to try out for the role of the artist in her forthcoming autobiographical feature film.

    In Poland,

  • Yazid Oulab, Échafaudage (Scaffolding), 2009, rope and resin, approx. 118 1/8 x 61 3/8 x 20 7/8".

    Yazid Oulab

    Sufism—Muslim mysticism—serves as a sort of philosophical base for Yazid Oulab’s fragile sculptures, often made of everyday objects and materials that the Algerian-born, Marseille, France–based artist endows with new significance. In his latest solo exhibition, he continued to allude to that esoteric strain of religion—or rather spirituality—that he perceives as an important part of the peaceful, meditative essence of his native Algerian culture, and to its use of lyrical chanting as an invocative activity. A long-standing fascination with the poetic language of the mythological

  • “Transfer”

    Transfer: Arte Urbana e Contemporânea, Transferências e Transformações” (Transfer: Urban and Contemporary Art, Transfers and Transformations) brought Brazilian youth subcultures of street art, underground comics, fanzines, independent music, and skateboarding to a newly opened museum built according to an early 1950s design by Oscar Niemeyer. With several hundred artists, designers, performers, and musicians, many of them autodidacts, represented by a wide range of original works in different media and extensive photographic and video documentation of their activities over the past thirty years,

  • Ivens Machado

    MADE IN CHINA, printed on the cardboard boxes used for transporting bicycles Ivens Machado incorporated into his new sculptures (and used as the title of this show), evokes an obvious association: cheap goods mass-produced in the world’s most populous country and sold globally. The Brazilian artist also utilized shipping boxes with different labeling—for example: CONTENTS MADE IN THE USA. FRAGILE FURNITURE. Such clearly visible, specific words might encourage the viewer to speculate about their significance for the overall meaning of Machado’s works. Do they simply belong to the “found” qualities

  • “Ars Homo Erotica”

    Titled “Ars Homo Erotica,” this exhibition was conceived on a grand scale. Not only was it a survey of art with (male and female) homoerotic content—often explicit, sometimes veiled—from antiquity to the present, it also used the venerable hosting museum as a platform to advocate for equality for the LGBT community in Poland. (The show overlapped with EuroPride 2010, hosted in the Polish capital in July.) The show’s guest curator, Paweł Leszkowicz, chose to create a “seductive” show, which resulted in the omnipresence of art with naked bodies. A Winckelmannian universe (an ancient marble Antinous,

  • Yuhee Choi

    Hideholic, a term coined by the artist Yuhee Choi, first appeared in the titles of the paintings shown in her debut solo exhibition at Gana Art Space in Seoul in 2008. The word alludes to the Korean artist’s programmatic and obsessive preoccupation with what separates the conscious from the unconscious, as she works toward accessing and visualizing the complexities of personal desires and traumas, at the same time hiding from the viewer any direct reference to the concrete events of her life. Choi’s ambitious attempts to stage pictorial psychodramas that are devoid of continuous narrative, yet