Michael Wilson

  • 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

  • Open House: Working in Brooklyn

    Pop-cultural tastemakers may pride Williamsburg as contemporary Brooklyn’s heart and soul, but there’s more to New York’s most populous borough than trucker hats and electroclash.

    Pop-cultural tastemakers may pride Williamsburg as contemporary Brooklyn’s heart and soul, but there’s more to New York’s most populous borough than trucker hats and electroclash. From Greenpoint to Red Hook, Fort Greene to DUMBO, there’s a lot going on. Touted as the first substantial overview of Brooklyn’s sprawling art scene, “Open House” details both its historical significance and current vitality. This show comprises more than 250 pieces by over 180 artists and positions work by longtime residents such as Vito Acconci and Martha Rosler alongside

  • Rodney Graham

    The subtitle of this retrospective, “A Little Thought,” suggests an intellectual approach leavened by modesty and self-deprecating wit. It is well chosen.

    The subtitle of this retrospective, “A Little Thought,” suggests an intellectual approach leavened by modesty and self-deprecating wit. It is well chosen. Rodney Graham is a connoisseur of the fragment, an inveterate snapper-up of trifles from literature and music, technology and psychology. Flitting between research and daydreaming, he employs film, video, and sound to construct teasing referential loops (and some great tunes). This show charts Graham’s development from 1976 to the present and across some two dozen works, including a new projection piece and a wealth

  • “No One May Ever Have The Same Knowledge Again: Letters to Mount Wilson Observatory”

    GENTLEMEN. ARE YOU INTERESTED IN SEPARATING VALUABLE CHEMICAL COMPOUNDS FROM THE SUNSHINE RAY? WORTH BILLIONS OF DOLLARS. APPRECIATE AN AIRMAIL REPLY. Labeled “CAT. #0021: Telegram from Charles V. Carrol to the Observers at Mount Wilson,” this unusual appeal is one of the more direct examples of a curious subgenre of correspondence to which the pioneering astronomers of the early twentieth century must have become oddly accustomed. This modest but fascinating selection of letters on loan from the Museum of Jurassic Technology, the maverick Los Angeles Wunderkammer that David Wilson has stocked

  • Jason Rhoades

    Supposedly motivated by a drive to “deconstruct” the nonexistent word “Meccatuna,” Jason Rhoades originally intended to journey to Mecca, circle the ancient, holy cuboid structure at its heart—the Kaaba—in the company of a live bluefin tuna, then bring the fish to New York. This plan frustrated, the Los Angeles–based artist hired a Saudi local to drive to the sacred city, buy a case of Geisha-brand canned tuna, and send evidence of its unprecedented proximity to hallowed ritual back to the gallery. Rhoades takes the documentation in question—a few snapshots of the tins on the

  • Ian Kiaer

    Art that springs from an immersion in historical research tends to reward the viewer in inverse proportion to the depth and reliability of the findings themselves. It is as if, in championing some highly specialized or unjustly neglected cultural figure, the artist forgets his or her own responsibility to pose questions and becomes instead an amateur biographer who digs for the truth but is unable to communicate it in a form that is also art. On paper, British sculptor Ian Kiaer threatens to fall into this category, so it is a pleasant surprise when he emerges from the library with his own

  • OPENINGS: GARY WEBB

    A shiny stainless-steel cylinder, roughly the size and proportions of a kitchen trash can, stands on an area of floor covered with tessellating, multicolored, triangular rubber mats, each of which is embossed with the artist’s signature, and some of which are piled into short stacks. Around and above the cylinder, attached by curving poles, are a number of similar but smaller forms. Two brass rods run up one side of the cylinder, then project out at differing angles. The result looks like a half-finished candelabrum. An irregularly shaped sheet of clear Perspex, with smaller pieces of fluorescent

  • Assume Vivid Astro Focus

    It’s easy to imagine Assume Vivid Astro Focus (aka thirtysomething Eli Sudbrack) submitting the winning bid to design the bar at the local student union. But as an artist whose practice aims to represent, according to the breathless press release, a “record of everything that is a part of someone’s life and everything that’s added to that person’s life every day,” his output is somewhat less convincing. An overripe blend of psychedelia and glam, pop kitsch and kitsch pop, AVAF’s attempt at sensory overload is fun for the first five minutes and a drag thereafter.

    Under a name forged from two

  • Timothy Hutchings

    It’s neither plaudit nor put-down but straightforward observation to say that this exhibition had the ability to leave even the most tolerant visitor with a pounding headache. Timothy Hutchings’s predilection for swirling pattern and distorted sound made “Arm in Arm in Arm in Arm,” his second solo outing here, a lot less amiable than its title might suggest. Just the memory of 4-Way Polka Riot (all works 2003) begins to summon, as Richard E. Grant’s Withnail would have it, a “bastard behind the eyes.”

    Hutchings’s assault on the senses began quietly with a suite of diminutive gouaches depicting,

  • picks July 22, 2003

    Phillip Allen

    The title of British newcomer Phillip Allen’s series of paintings “Beezerspline,” 2002, conjoins references to a classic Scottish comic book (The Beezer) and a small but essential engine part (a spline, for those not versed in popular mechanics, is a ridge that allows the effective interaction of moving components). The neologism hints that Allen’s apparently spontaneous, lighthearted pictures are actually thought out with great care. Against backgrounds assembled from the most basic signifiers of landscape—horizontal bands corresponding to earth and sky—Allen choreographs a dance of

  • Annika Ström

    I HAVE NOTHING TO SAY. This wry anti-statement, with its overtones of Cagean Zen, is brushed in shades of dilute blue acrylic on an oversize sheet of white paper by Swedish artist and musician Annika Ström, forming the disingenuous introduction to a modest but far from weightless exhibition, “Everything in this show could be used against me.” Centered on a new video, 16 minutes (all works 2003), the show further demonstrates Ström’s talent for making something out of nothing. Aligning the dreamy, introverted nature of individual studio practice with the glimpsed views and half-remembered

  • Allan Sekula

    Anglers love a tall tale, so it’s entirely appropriate that Allan Sekula’s monumental photo cycle “Fish Story” has been a talking point since its appearance at last summer’s Documenta 11.

    Anglers love a tall tale, so it’s entirely appropriate that Allan Sekula’s monumental photo cycle “Fish Story” has been a talking point since its appearance at last summer’s Documenta 11. This first full-scale retrospective, curated by Sabine Breitwieser with the assistance of Hemma Schmutz, covers the LA-based artist’s entire career, from the antiwar performances of the late ’60s and early ’70s to the brand-new Black Tide, Marea Negra, 2003, concerning the oil catastrophe in Galicia, Spain. Along the way there’s space for Sekula’s best-known dissections of the influence of global economic shifts

  • Yun-Fei Ji

    In eight friezelike ink-and-mineral-pigment drawings on mulberry rice paper, Beijing-born Yun-Fei Ji conjures a world in turmoil that oscillates between the safety of centuries-old tradition and mortal terror concerning the next five minutes. Amid delicate, rolling landscapes rendered in muted greens, blues, and browns, vehicles collide, buildings collapse, and Goyaesque figures in grotesque masks and costumes indulge their every whim with apocalyptic abandon.

    Ji’s technique, which involves staining, erasing, washing, and restaining a layered, handmade ground, exploits the chemical interaction

  • picks April 28, 2003

    Luc Tuymans

    The sense that disaster might be lurking around the corner—very much in the air these days—is as prevalent as ever in Luc Tuymans’s starkly beautiful new work. The Belgian painter’s fusion of the banal and dingy with the unspoken threat of violence may have become familiar, but it retains the power to unsettle. Ambiguities of scale and perspective turn a patterned carpet into a distant military installation and an SUV driver into a boxed-in, cringing prisoner, while what appears at first to be a rendering of an obscure board game reveals itself as a paintball battle. Tuymans’s hovering viewpoints,