Martin Herbert

  • Alistair Frost, Out of Office Auto Reply, 2012, acrylic on linen, 39 3/8 x 31 1/2".

    OPENINGS: ALISTAIR FROST

    IF YOU HAVE ANY FAMILIARITY with Apple’s aesthetic, Alistair Frost’s painting Out of Office Auto Reply, 2012, will click immediately. It features the side-on speaker of the Mac OS volume icon, muted by an overlaid black cross whose faux-ragged “expressive” edging suggests—like much of the London-based artist’s Google-powered work—clip art. The immediate feel, then, is of a symbol dragged and dropped; the implicit definition of painting is as something lacking a voice, and the title proposes that not only was this nonstatement generated without human interaction but that the artist is

  • “Curiosity: Art and the Pleasures of Knowing”

    “Curiosity” is a sobriquet that suggests the recondite and faintly déclassé: qualities, no doubt, that recommend it to the arcana-loving, culturally omnivorous New York–based magazine Cabinet and to its UK editor Brian Dillon, who’s curated this bursting Wunderkammer of an exhibition. Spanning contemporary art, anatomy, criminology, Cold War secrets, voyeurism, old-master drawings, and more, “Curiosity” is set to provide a bracingly broad definition of the value—and gratifications—of uncovered knowledge, its centuries-spanning time line hitching past ambitions

  • Gerard Byrne, A Man and a Woman Make Love, 2012, multi-channel projection, color, video, 19 minutes.

    “Gerard Byrne: A State of Neutral Pleasure”

    Gerard Byrne’s practice is a gently vertiginous one: We construe the present, the Irish artist suggests, in relation to a past we know only via suspect representations.

    Gerard Byrne’s practice is a gently vertiginous one: We construe the present, the Irish artist suggests, in relation to a past we know only via suspect representations. Accentuating this—sometimes through his actors’ inappropriate accents—Byrne engineers video installations that wonkily restage conversations pulled from broadcasting and magazine archives. He brings Brechtian unraveling and tangled temporality to bear on historical evidence that has been, to some degree, theatricalized or mediated at its source: an acted version of a future-predicting 1963 Playboy

  • Still from Luke Fowler’s All Divided Selves, 2011, HD video, color and black-and-white, sound, 93 minutes.

    UNDVIDED ATTENTION: THE ART OF LUKE FOWLER

    LUKE FOWLER’S All Divided Selves, 2011, a ninety-minute film centering on the once-notorious “antipsychiatrist” R. D. Laing, divides documentary filmmaking against itself. Assembling archival footage of Laing, his critics, and his freewheeling treatment sessions, the Glasgow-based artist offers an intricate composite of clashing opinions and incompatible filmic registers, weights and counterweights. For seemingly every clip of Laing calmly unpacking his thoughts on, say, schizophrenia and the military-industrial complex to a (typically hostile) interviewer, there’s a fusty mainstream psychiatrist

  • Goshka Macuga, The Nature of the Beast, 2009, Guernica tapestry, wood and glass table, 16 leather and metal chairs, bronze and wood bust, dimensions variable.

    “Goshka Macuga: Exhibit, A”

    Goshka Macuga’s category-confounding strategies of playing artist-as-curator, unearthing an institution’s history, and displaying otherwise concealed information reflect her upbringing in Communist Poland— a politics of exposure, she’s said.

    Goshka Macuga’s category-confounding strategies of playing artist-as-curator, unearthing an institution’s history, and displaying otherwise concealed information reflect her upbringing in Communist Poland— a politics of exposure, she’s said, directs her research-based practice. In 2011, Macuga installed Family—a remake of a censored Oscar Bony sculpture—in the spot in Warsaw’s Zache˛ta National Gallery of Art where Maurizio Cattelan once exhibited his meteorite-struck pope. For The Nature of the Beast, 2009, Macuga set up a meeting space for political

  • Anja Kirschner and David Panos, He Doesn’t Know You Don’t Love Him, 2011, stills from a two-channel color video, 33 minutes. From the installation Living Truthfully Under Imaginary Circumstances, 2011.

    AFTER EFFECTS: THE ART OF ANJA KIRSCHNER AND DAVID PANOS

    ALTHOUGH ANJA KIRSCHNER AND DAVID PANOS’S 2009 video The Last Days of Jack Sheppard is set in the early 1720s, its chaotic mise-en-scène is a familiar one. We are in London in the wake of a financial boom fueled by contagious speculation. Fortunes have been made virtually overnight, although a subsequent stock market crash has just as speedily vaporized them. Inequality in the distribution of wealth is extreme, but social mobility is also, for a few, increasing—controversial celebrities transfix the public, their antics popularized in part by new technologies that circulate information at

  • Jimmy Robert, Untitled (detail), 2005, color photographs, charcoal, paper, wood, overall 12' 5 3/4“ x 6' 10 5/8”.

    “Jimmy Robert: Vis-à-Vis”

    Gear-shifting between photography, film, video, and performance, and powered by quietly interrelated thematics—bodies, ephemerality, gesture, theatricality—Jimmy Robert’s mercurial practice resists speedy parsing.

    Gear-shifting between photography, film, video, and performance, and powered by quietly interrelated thematics—bodies, ephemerality, gesture, theatricality—Jimmy Robert’s mercurial practice resists speedy parsing. But the forty-five works in this show—the artist’s first major US exhibi- tion, spanning 2004 to 2012—should lay out Robert’s main concerns. For now, countenance that what connects the Guadeloupe-born artist’s photographic-sculptural hybrids (folded, bent, curling, or collaged images of people, with faces frequently obscured) and performances

  • Ed Atkins, Paris Green, 2009, stills from a color HD video, 7 minutes 37 seconds.

    OPENINGS: ED ATKINS

    ONE WAY OF UNDERSTANDING high-definition digital video is via statistics: If the pixels-per-image count is anywhere above 920,000, it’s high-def. But a more nuanced characterization, and one less likely to be repurposed for advertising copy, appears in Ed Atkins’s unpublished 2011 text “Some Notes on High Definition with Apologies to M. Blanchot.” “High Definition (HD) has surpassed what we tamely imagined to be the zenith of representational affectivity within the moving image,” the twenty-nine-year-old London-based artist writes, “presenting us with lucid, liquid images that are at once both

  • Zarina Bhimji, Your Sadness is Drunk, 2001-2006, color photograph, 50 x 63”.

    Zarina Bhimji

    Nominated for the Turner Prize in 2007, filmmaker, photographer, and installation artist Zarina Bhimji nevertheless remains a hazily contoured creative presence.

    Nominated for the Turner Prize in 2007, filmmaker, photographer, and installation artist Zarina Bhimji nevertheless remains a hazily contoured creative presence. That’s perhaps due to the delicacy of her work, which dusts for traces of human occupation in landscape and architecture: Her film of a verdant Ugandan vista, Out of the Blue, 2002, for example, countersigns its imagery with the nondiegetic sounds of voices and crackling fire, hitching together the story of Idi Amin’s 1972 expulsion of his country’s Asian citizens—the artist among them—and the

  • Lourdes Castro, Echium Nervosum, 1972, heliograph, 20 x 16”.

    “Le Silence. Une Fiction”

    At last, curators are admitting that their concepts are artifices, frameworks for imposing specific readings on multivalent works of art.

    At last, curators are admitting that their concepts are artifices, frameworks for imposing specific readings on multivalent works of art. How else to explain the recent flurry of exhibitions themed—with sweet-natured playfulness—around fictions? Sci-fi, that most imaginative of modes, has been particularly popular, and in this show, the backstory involves an uninhabitable planet (our own, of course) and a failed attempt by its tenants to colonize another one. What supposedly remains of the extinct civilization is seen here: sixty-some

  • Khalil Rabah, The Palestinian Museum of Natural History and Humankind (ongoing detail), 2003, wood, glass, vinyl text, olive trees, 83 7/10 x 83 7/10 x 25".

    “Museum Show”

    How do you fit several dozen museums into one medium-size art institution? It helps if they’re all at least semifictional and manageably scaled, as in this forty- artist survey of museological mimicries

    How do you fit several dozen museums into one medium-size art institution? It helps if they’re all at least semifictional and manageably scaled, as in this forty- artist survey of museological mimicries. The reflexive finale of the Arnolfini’s year of fiftieth birthday celebrations, the show collates the continuum from Marcel Duchamp’s 1943 monographic trove in a suitcase, the Bôite-en-valise, to Marcel Broodthaers’s grand upending of taxonomic categories, to quixotic present-day examples such as Bill Burns’s Museum of Safety Gear for Small Animals. (Plus, expect turns by Stuart

  • Susan Hiller, Witness, 2000, four hundred speakers, audio tracks, wires, lights. Installation view, 2011. Photo: Sam Drake.

    Susan Hiller

    IN 1974, following several years in which she ritually renounced painting––chopping old canvases into little rectangles and stitching them together into tomblike blocks, preserving the ashes of burned works in vials––Susan Hiller found her enduring subject with Dream Mapping. Articulated via dream diaries (seen at Tate Britain in vitrines) kept by seven people sleeping within “fairy rings” of mushrooms in a supposedly enchanted Hampshire field, this lasting topic was the stubborn, abyssal irrationality of the human mind. On the evidence of Tate Britain’s forty-year survey, curated by Ann Gallagher