Michael Wilson

  • Gabriel Vormstein

    In a startlingly literal attempt to connect his works and anchor them to their context, Gabriel Vormstein, in his recent New York debut at Casey Kaplan, went so far as to bind his delicate paintings together with wire and dot the gallery floor with rocks. With just a handful of exhibition appearances to his name, the young Berlin-based artist is sufficiently inexperienced that the gesture might have signaled a lack of confidence were it not consistent with a lyrical aesthetic informed by a web of cultural references, chief among them the material experiments of arte povera.

    In giving this show

  • “Universal Experience: Art, Life, and the Tourist's Eye”

    “So sorry to hear that you are still not over us. Come back to Vietnam for closure!” It’s estimated that, by 2010, the number of people who travel internationally will reach one billion, but, as Dinh Q. Lê’s sardonic poster implies, the relationship between traveler and destination remains unsettled. This show aims to illuminate our mediated interaction with the wider world, exploring the complexities of the tourist attraction. Bonami, who contributes to the accompanying catalogue-cum-guidebook, leads us through the work of some seventy disparate artists, from Kyoichi

  • Dionysiac: Art in Flux

    The French have an unmatched record when it comes to wine and women (if not, perhaps, also to song), so this uninhibited celebration of devil-may-care excess and subversive laughter is opening in exactly the right place. With work by fourteen international artists including Thomas Hirschhorn, Fabrice Hyber, Keith Tyson, Paul McCarthy, and ubiquitous prankster Maurizio Cattelan, the show aims to evoke the hedonistic spirit of the ancient Greek deity by way of mostly brand-new installations, films, performance, and a sound room. Oh, and a conference. In addition to

  • Ricci Albenda

    The loose-knit French literary/mathematical collective OULIPO (l’Ouvroir de la littérature potentielle, or Workshop of Potential Literature) applied a variety of constraints to the composition of poetry, drama, and fiction in an effort to investigate the outer limits of language. Among the bizarre products of their rigorous approach are cofounder Raymond Queneau’s book Cent mille milliards de poèmes (1961)—which contains ten pages each split into fourteen strips, one for each line of text, that allow the reader (in theory at least) to construct the hundred trillion poems of the title—and

  • Brian Calvin

    An unofficial poll conducted on the opening night of painter Brian Calvin’s New York solo debut found several visitors prefacing their responses with an identical qualifier: “I wanted to like it, but . . . ” This raises a couple of questions: Why were so many so eager to buy into the hype surrounding this laid-back Californian, and why were they so disappointed? An appreciation of Calvin’s work has always depended on a tolerance for what the gallery’s press release terms “bi-dimensionality”—a flatly undemonstrative mode in which very little “happens” and ambiguity of mood and meaning

  • James Rielly

    Death Makes Living Fun; We See a Darkness; In the Darkness Let Me Dwell: To judge from British painter James Rielly’s self-consciously maudlin titles, the music of downbeat singer-songwriter Will Oldham, aka Bonnie “Prince” Billy, has been in heavy rotation on his stereo over the past year or so. But just as there is humor (albeit avowedly dark) and even an occasional glimmer of optimism to be found in Oldham’s lyrics, so Rielly’s canvases are not all doom and gloom. In fact, an overdependence on the sight gag ultimately proves to be their undoing, overshadowing the graver aspects of the painter’s

  • diary November 19, 2004

    Artists Only

    New York

    Touted as the “artists’” evening, Tuesday’s reception at the Museum of Modern Art’s revamped midtown digs also boasted scores of curators, dealers, and collectors, with gallerist Gavin Brown being the first to flip a roving Artforum paparazzo the bird. But while Creative Time curator Peter Eleey reported having overheard architect Yoshio Taniguchi’s atrium blithely condemned as “Japanese Fascist,” most attendees basked contentedly in the expanded schmoozing arena. The installation received mixed notices, with the contemporary wing in particular felt by many to be padded with mediocre work (though

  • “Curious Crystals of Unusual Purity”

    Gratuitous references to the seventeenth-century wunderkammer, or cabinet of curiosities, are a recent curatorial and art-historical touchstone, so Bob Nickas and Steve Lafreniere’s decision to build an exhibition around the idea hardly came from left field, and promised, well, nothing in particular. So it was fortunate that their title, borrowed from a song by English folk balladeer Bridget St. John, was considerably more evocative, augmenting this most open-ended of structural models by suggesting a methodology—formally investigative—and a mood—awestruck—well suited to what emerged as a rangy

  • “Just Pathetic”

    In the ’90s stretch of a time line featured in the handy primer Art Since 1960, the steady march of mini-movements—YBA, “art post-medium,” “live art,” “context art”—is rudely interrupted by an upstart newcomer, “abject/slacker art.” As the volume’s author, Michael Archer, plots it, the tendency first showed up at the butt end of the ’80s and burned out by about ’96, though the influence of its lax affect is felt still. Centered stylistically around a shabby-chic variant of Pop, abject art marked a transition (at least in the art world) from the ’80s careerism of American Psycho (Bret Easton

  • Cerith Wyn Evans

    “I’m interested in evoking polyphony, superimposition, layers, levels, the occluded and the visibility of the mask,” remarks Cerith Wyn Evans on his commitment to an uncommonly erudite artistic practice. This first American museum survey features about fifteen objects and installations and a new project to be shown concurrently at the MIT List Visual Arts Center.

    “I’m interested in evoking polyphony, superimposition, layers, levels, the occluded and the visibility of the mask,” remarks Cerith Wyn Evans on his commitment to an uncommonly erudite artistic practice. A former assistant to director Derek Jarman, Wyn Evans completed several experimental films before returning to sculpture in the ’90s. Employing fireworks, mirrors, and neon—and notably commissioning a remake of Brion Gysin’s “Dreamachine”—he investigates the phenomenology of language and perception with a romantic touch. Wyn Evans has achieved recognition in Europe and Japan but is rarely seen

  • Formalism: Modern Art, Today

    Tracing the legacy of modernism through the work of young artists—Tomma Abts, Carol Bove, David Lieske, and Cathy Wilkes, among others—“Formalism” follows up the Kunstverein’s 2002 foray into institutional critique.

    “After all, is it so bad? What is it anyway? Nobody knows.” One suspects that Matthew Collings’s bafflement at the power of formalism might be resolved by this survey of the territory currently shared by aesthetes and conceptualists. Tracing the legacy of modernism through the work of young artists—Tomma Abts, Carol Bove, David Lieske, and Cathy Wilkes, among others—“Formalism” follows up the Kunstverein’s 2002 foray into institutional critique. A comparatively subdued evocation of theoretical-historical bugbears, this show argues for a chummier relationship between style and content. The

  • Joe Andoe

    “All of us had police records, some more than me. But still, before I was sixteen, I got busted for acid and was put in jail over night on two hits of it. Then I got arrested for driving under-age and had to work at the zoo. At sixteen I got a car that I totaled and went on to total three more and was charged with DWI, DUI, and reckless driving and busted for drugs three more times before I was done being a teenager.”

    New York painter Joe Andoe’s confessional short story “Out on the Perimeter” (2004), reproduced as an introductory wall text, set the stage for a collection of suitably rough-hewn

  • Glenn Brown

    As an appropriationist painter whose technique is as close to perfect as one could imagine, the challenge for Glenn Brown has often been simply to choose the most interesting source material. And while he has emphasized the extent to which he manipulates rather than merely reproduces his selections, he has yet to unveil a genuinely radical act of transformation. That this is Brown’s first solo exhibition in New York comes as something of a surprise—after all, he’s been on the YBA list since it was first typed up—but this show ultimately points to an artist happy to remain comfortably within a

  • Olafur Eliasson

    Olafur Eliasson’s radiant Weather Project, which transformed Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall last year, rightly landed on more than one of Artforum’s “Best of 2003” lists and prompted Daniel Birnbaum to declare the rebirth of the sublime.

    Olafur Eliasson’s radiant Weather Project, which transformed Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall last year, rightly landed on more than one of Artforum’s “Best of 2003” lists and prompted Daniel Birnbaum to declare the rebirth of the sublime. Meteorological elements—light, heat, moisture—have long been Eliasson’s tools and inspiration. From his emergence in the late ’80s to his inclusion in the 2003 Venice Biennale, the artist has introduced everything from rainbows to lava into the insulated space of the gallery. The first museum survey of his photographic work displays serial

  • Piotr Uklanski

    Dividing his time among New York, Warsaw, and Paris, the Polish-born artist consistently interrogates the boundary between art and entertainment while experimenting across sculpture, photography, collage, performances, and film.

    Readers who have propped up the bar at Passerby, Gavin Brown’s hip New York lounge, are familiar with Piotr Uklanski’s Dance Floor, 1996, a heady blend of Minimalist aesthetics and maximalist good times that illuminates the space from underneath. Dividing his time among New York, Warsaw, and Paris, the Polish-born artist consistently interrogates the boundary between art and entertainment while experimenting across sculpture, photography, collage, performance, and film. Best known for his controversial series of images culled from American and European

  • Willie Doherty

    “You think you know me. I am unknowable.” The male voice is measured, calm, and somber. “I am invisible. I disappear in a crowd.” Pausing between lines, the speaker allows a few seconds for each statement to sink in before proceeding to the next. “I share your fears. I know your desires.” As the recitation continues, we watch a projection of a lone young white man with a shaved head and severe expression; he remains motionless and silent as the camera circles him, steadily and unceasingly. “There will be no television. There will be no radio.” Interspersed with what we assume to be the subject’s

  • Olaf Breuning

    “He’s a culture hopper, he’s a different kinda guy . . . ” So sings a campfire strummer from a theme-park Wild West town about the chameleonic protagonist of Swiss artist Olaf Breuning’s appallingly entertaining new video Home, 2004. A thirty-two-minute, double-screen mini-epic filmed in settings ranging from Machu Picchu to the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas, Home is a relentless parade of absurdist scenarios that veer from situation to situation and mood to mood with alarming unpredictability.

    Secreted behind a tall wooden fence, Breuning’s most ambitious production so far lies in wait like some

  • John Klima

    Peppered with all-too-easily countered adjectives like “seamless” and “high resolution,” the press release for John Klima’s second solo exhibition here does him no favors. The artist’s own mention of The Matrix is similarly ill advised, throwing the gap between the movie’s faultless, hallucinatory virtual universe and the more conspicuous workings of Klima’s installations Train and Terrain (both 2003) into unflatteringly sharp contrast. And while Klima acknowledges that the computer technology that informs his practice is in its infancy, it’s still difficult to ignore the numerous technical

  • Nick Mauss and Shelby Hughes/Christian Holstad

    Daniel Reich made his reputation as a bright young thing with an idiosyncratic series of shows in his Chelsea apartment, and with this debut exhibition at his new gallery location, he kept their exuberantly cluttered sensibility alive in this more conventional space.

    The first show was an inspired juxtaposition of work by Christian Holstad and recent Cooper Union graduates Nick Mauss and Shelby Hughes. Mauss and Hughes’s project “Magnetic Living” is a loose-knit cluster of found, gently manipulated, and patiently handcrafted objects and part-objects that hints at New Age mysticism, backwoods

  • Raoul de Keyser

    Unearthing fragments of a ten-year-old linocut in his studio, septuagenarian Belgian artist Raoul De Keyser decided to use them as a jumping-off point for a series of modest paintings in which he calmly but with insistence reassesses the lingering potential of modernist abstraction. Having employed similar chance beginnings before—basing compositions on scraps of torn-up drawings in the manner of Hans Arp, for example, or veiling them in single colors to create pseudo-monochromes comparable to those of American painter John Zurier—De Keyser displays a quiet but well-founded confidence that his