Matthew Biro

  • James Welling, Waterfall, 1981, gelatin silver print, 18 x 14".

    James Welling

    In part because of the sheer variety of subjects, genres, and techniques that James Welling’s work traverses, it has always been difficult to pin down. The Los Angeles–based artist has likewise maintained an unclassifiable place within the Pictures generation, departing from his postmodern peers in his exploration of formal abstraction and photographic craft. In this exhibition, curated by James Crump, diverse works—ranging from tiny 2 1/4 x 3 1/4" chromogenic photographs made from Polaroids to largescale four-by-five-foot ink-jet prints—drawn from the artist’s nearly four-decade career

  • Scott Hocking, The Egg and the MCTS #4718, 2012, ink-jet print, 33 x 49 1/2". From the series “The Egg and the MCTS,” 2007–.

    Scott Hocking

    Mixing the documentary mode with lyrical fiction, “The End of the World,” Scott Hocking’s recent show at Susanne Hilberry Gallery, presented Detroit as a surrealist archive: a site of contradictions in which revolutionary energy erupts from abject decay. On display were photographs of the city’s urban ruins as well as sculptural accumulations of objects—primarily books and taxidermied animals—that addressed or were indigenous to the region. A rusting Ford Mercury body anchored the surrounding works. Parked atop a bed of rock salt, the auto stood as an objet trouvé emblematizing the

  • Brian Ulrich, Marshall Fields, 2009, ink-jet print, 20 x 24".

    Brian Ulrich

    Brian Ulrich’s current show at the Cleveland Museum of Art, “Copia: Retail, Thrift, and Dark Stores, 2001–11,” encompasses nearly sixty photographs that depict mass consumerism and its by-products in the United States in the wake of 9/11, during a decade in which American politicians routinely equated buying things with patriotism. Part of the overarching series “Copia,” 2001–11, these segments are loosely chronological. Beginning with shoppers in malls and big-box stores, Ulrich next turns to thrift shops, with their accumulated goods and alienated employees, before finally revealing “dark” (

  • Robert Heinecken, Time (1st Group), 1969, offset lithography on found magazine, 11 x 8" closed.

    REALITY EFFECTS: THE ART OF ROBERT HEINECKEN

    IN 1968, ROBERT HEINECKEN released one of the signal works of his career: Are You Rea, a portfolio of twenty-five grainy, ghostly, tonally reversed photograms taken from the pages of popular magazines. His introductory text leaves no doubt as to why he is today considered one of the most prescient forerunners of appropriation. Disclosing his debt to Surrealist theory, he professes his interest in “the multiplicity of meanings inherent in aleatory ideas and images” and declares that “these pictures do not represent first hand experiences, but are related to the perhaps more socially important

  • Robert Heinecken, PP Estée Lauder, 1998, dye-bleach print from photogram, 14 x 11". Marc Selwyn Fine Art.

    Robert Heinecken

    Employing sophisticated strategies of appropriation and montage, Robert Heinecken (1931–2006) developed a practice that anticipated the exploration of identity and mass media subsequently taken up by many younger artists, in particular, those associated with the Pictures generation. This spring, two exhibitions in Los Angeles—at Marc Selwyn Fine Art and Cherry and Martin—afforded a comprehensive overview of the late Californian’s oeuvre.

    A contemporary of John Baldessari and Wallace Berman, Heinecken was perhaps best known for his appropriative photograms—works (seen at both

  • Edgar Arceneaux, Miracles and Jokes (detail), 2011, acrylic on paper. Installation view.

    Edgar Arceneaux

    Edgar Arceneaux is an artist intensely concerned with the relationship between individual experience and collective memory, an interest he manifests through cross-media installations designed to promote forms of personal and social understanding. At once conceptual and associative, his works dissect ways of knowing the world: myth, history, science, and storytelling. At the same time, these pieces refuse to be pinned down, suggesting that knowledge is personal and contingent and that collective commitment often requires individual leaps of faith. This exhibition, which consisted of two installations