Megan Heuer

  • Victoria Sambunaris, Wendover, UT, 2007, C-print, 39 x 55". From the series “The Border,” 2009–.
    picks July 09, 2012

    “The Permanent Way”

    To commemorate the 150th anniversary of the passage of the Pacific Railway Act, which resulted in the United States’ first transcontinental railroad, this exhibition gathers historical documents, vernacular images, and contemporary art photography that trace the ways that trains have shaped representations of landscape in American visual culture. In his accompanying essay, curator Brian Sholis marvels at the transformative power of the railroads on the economic and political development of the US. His selection of images also prompts reflection on the radical alterations to railroads themselves

  • Domenico Gnoli, Braid, 1969, acrylic and sand on canvas, 71 x 59".
    picks June 25, 2012

    Domenico Gnoli

    Domenico Gnoli painted surfaces. Depicting textures familiar to touch but often overlooked (such as human hair and the fabric of clothes and upholstery), his paintings explore minute visual details in woven patterns or carefully arranged hairdos enlarged to many times life size. This operation transforms ordinary materials like wool and cotton into overwhelming sensory experiences. In his attention to the haptic dimension of these exterior decorations, Gnoli mixed sand into his paint, creating rough, matte surfaces on his canvases, and fashioning images duplicitous about their own flatness.

    The

  • Harry Dodge, Identity Amplitude or Separately Investigable Problems, 2011, concrete, stump, tarp, urethane resin, paint, 17 x 9 x 9".
    picks April 27, 2012

    Harry Dodge

    UrbanDictionary.com defines frowntown as a “fictional place were [sic] nobody is happy and nothing is pleasant.” A neologism that makes an affect into a location, frowntown is also a childish rhyme, a singsongy absurdity that seems to undercut its grim meaning. Harry Dodge’s “Frowntown” pushes this adolescent mix of humor and sadness to the breaking point by exploiting gaps between the sound of words and their (invented) meaning in a selection of drawings and sculptures bookended by two excellent films.

    The first film, Unkillable (all works cited, 2011), is an approximately twenty-minute monologue

  • Farrah Karapetian, Riot Police, 2011, five chromogenic photograms, overall 8 x 13’.
    interviews April 09, 2012

    Farrah Karapetian

    Farrah Karapetian is an artist who works with cameraless photography and sculpture. She lives and works in Los Angeles, where her solo show “Representation3” opens on April 14 at Roberts & Tilton, and her ongoing project Student Body Politic will be shown at the Vincent Price Art Museum from May 22 through August 17. Here, Karapetian discusses her photogram process and the nature of the photographic signifier in her reenactments of pictures of current events.

    I STOPPED USING CAMERAS IN 2002. Up to that point, I made pictures that emphasized the formal qualities of the photographic print through

  • Zoe Strauss, Daddy Tattoo, Philadelphia, 2004
, ink-jet print, 
12 x 16".
    picks March 01, 2012

    Zoe Strauss

    The anonymous voice who previewed this show last November in the New York Times intoned that the subject of Zoe Strauss’s photography is “poor people.” The word choice belies the radical politics at the heart of Strauss’s project on view in this anarchic retrospective. Consisting of a selection of images made over the last decade, “Zoe Strauss: Ten Years” was organized by the Philadelphia Museum as a sprawling survey that spills out into the city itself.

    Strauss is known in her hometown of Philadelphia for staging annual exhibitions of her photographs (with prints available for five dollars each)

  • Sigmar Polke, Untitled (Palermo), 1976, gelatin silver print, 32 3/4 x 29 1/2”.
    picks July 26, 2011

    Sigmar Polke

    “A negative is never finished.” This is how Sigmar Polke once described his approach to photography, signaling his infidelity to one of the basic premises of photographic truth. For Polke, the medium could encompass most anything except an immutable record of a single time and place. This exhibition brings together an excellent sample of photographic works, but it only provides a glimpse of Polke’s voluminous production.

    In 1968, Polke published an edition of lithographs titled Hoehere Wesen Befehlen (Higher Beings Commanded), created with photographs that capture his transformation of ordinary

  • Left: Serena Korda with Laid to Rest.  Right: Igor Eskinja, Untitled, 2011, dust, 39 x 78".
    interviews June 15, 2011

    Kate Forde

    Kate Forde is a London-based curator and critic. She co-organized the exhibition “Dirt: The Filthy Reality of Everyday Life,” which mixes historical artifacts and contemporary artworks to consider the mercurial role of one of the world’s most common materials. The show is on view at the Wellcome Collection in London until August 31.

    DIRT IS REALLY DIFFICULT TO DEFINE. On the one hand, it’s the stuff we spend a great deal of time and energy avoiding or cleaning away––it’s bacteria, excrement, filth. On the other hand, it’s the ground beneath our feet, the soil in which we grow our food, the stuff

  • Aurelien Froment, Pulmo Marina, 2010, still from an HD video, 5 minutes 10 seconds.
    picks May 04, 2011

    Aurelien Froment

    If there has been an increase in the amount of attention paid to the role of pedagogy in art practice in recent years, it is tempting to attribute this boom to both the exponential growth of MFA programs and the fantasies of relational aesthetics. Sometimes, however, art is not what is taught or has to be learned, but rather a means. In two concurrent shows, Aurélien Froment renders sensible simple lessons on the parallels between modern theories of learning and modes of contemporary aesthetic spectatorship.

    Un Exposition comme les autres” (A Show like Any Other) at Crédac consists of two works

  • Danh Vo, Gives You Wings, 2011, gold leaf on blueprint, 27 1/2 x 41 3/8".
    picks May 03, 2011

    Danh Vo

    To get to Chantal Crousel’s second space, La Douane, you must cross the loading dock of an old industrial building near the Canal Saint-Martin. The gallery occupies a large warehouse across the hall from a wholesale showroom for rugs imported from Turkey and Afghanistan; its name refers to the building’s previous function as a French customs office. Is this a cynical gesture in which a contemporary art gallery functions purely in the world of commercial exchange, or is it a brilliant experiment?

    For La Douane’s third exhibition, Danh Vo refracts this question through the history of the Statue of

  • Left: Joianne Bittle, Preserving Mass Extinction, 2010, mixed media in cargo trailer, 96 x 71 x 72". Right: Joianne Bittle, Preserving Mass Extinction (detail), 2010.
    interviews March 23, 2011

    Joianne Bittle

    Joianne Bittle is a painter who lives and works in Long Island City, New York. Here she discusses her first “Portable Landscape,” a diorama she made for a recent exhibition at Eugene Binder Gallery in Marfa, Texas. The piece has traveled to New York for her solo show “No Man’s Land” at Churner and Churner, which opens on March 24.

    PRESERVING MASS EXTINCTION is the first diorama installation that I consider my own work. I’ve made dioramas for the Natural History Museum and in commercial settings for years. But I like to think of this one as the first in a series of “Portable Landscapes.”

    The scene

  • Judith Hopf, Erschöpfte Vase 2 (Exhausted Vase 2), 2009, pottery, lacquer, 12 x 6 x 6.” From the series  “Erschöpfte Vases,” 2009.
    picks March 21, 2011

    Judith Hopf

    In Judith Hopf’s 16-mm film Zählen (Counting), 2008, a horse proves to a bunch of clowns that it can do math as the artist stands resolutely alongside the animal. Hopf’s role as both maidservant and bodyguard resonates throughout “Spoken from a Balcony,” her first solo exhibition in New York. Based in Berlin, Hopf is well known in Europe for collaborative films and mixed-media projects that display a signature blend of brutality and humor. And “signature” is key in this show, where Hopf’s strong authorial voice comes through: She acts as the subversive director of our experience, continually

  • Joan Fontcuberta, Orogenesis: Weston, 2004, soft selenium toned gelatin silver print, 29 x 39”.
    picks February 19, 2011

    Joan Fontcuberta

    To make the images in this exhibition, Joan Fontcuberta used software designed by the United States Air Force (and freely available on the Internet) to transform cartographic information into three-dimensional “illusions” of terrain. Instead of maps, however, Fontcuberta inputted reproductions of iconic landscapes by artists such as Caspar David Friedrich, Paul Cézanne, Ansel Adams, and Carleton Watkins. Printed in large scale, the resulting images have a kitsch sci-fi quality and a precision of line that speaks to their computer-generated fabrication. The series is titled “Orogenesis,” which