Michael Wilson

  • Mathieu Mercier

    Mathieu Mercier’s AAA, 2002, a backlit wall-mounted sign in which the title’s three letters become smaller from left to right, looks like the scream of a cartoon character plunging off a cliff. The text’s off-kilter font is a superimposition of two opposing styles: the hard-edged geometry characteristic of Theo van Doesburg and a flowing, fanciful script developed by New York typographer Edward Benguiat in the ’70s. A strategically contrived hybrid of design philosophies, AAA is a succinct introduction to this young Parisian’s practice and an appropriate piece to kick off his first solo show in

  • Concerto in Black and Blue (installation view), 2002.
    picks December 03, 2002

    David Hammons

    Doing justice to the vast, echoing Ace Gallery is a substantial challenge to even the most megalomaniacal of artists, so it is to David Hammons’s credit that he manages it with nothing more than the contents of a container at the reception desk. The gallery itself is completely empty and pitch-dark. In the container is a giveaway supply of coin-size flashlights that, although tiny, emit a blue beam powerful enough to illuminate the user’s immediate surroundings, and which used collectively can transform the space into an eerily beautiful chamber of silhouettes and shadows. Throughout the '90s

  • Russell Crotty

    Living in a city shrouded by the squalid yellow haze of light pollution, one easily forgets how confoundingly beautiful a clear night sky can be. Russell Crotty, a documentarian for the Association of Lunar and Planetary Observers (a body of amateur astronomers who assist the pros), experiences no such dilemma. Couched in the Solstice Peak Observatory, which he built himself, high in the Santa Monica mountains, he spends hours gazing into space through a ten-inch f/8 Newtonian reflector telescope and sketching what he sees. Yet while he is obviously transported by the transcendent grandeur of

  • Vito Acconci, Three Relationship Studies, 1970.
    picks November 26, 2002

    “Video Acts”

    Amid the increasing ubiquity of high-production-value, multiscreen, multichannel video work, this exhibition constitutes a salient reminder of the medium’s raw beginnings. While the inclusion of the likes of Steve McQueen and Pipilotti Rist bring the story almost up to date, it is the pioneering efforts of Bruce Nauman, Vito Acconci, Joan Jonas, and Marina Abramovic that here take center stage. Screened continuously, simultaneously, and, for the most part, on monitors placed on wheeled archival benches, they retain much of their original urgency and wit. And even with one hundred–plus titles

  • Robert Storr

    LATE SUMMER brought the announcement that Robert Storr would curate SlTE Santa Fe’s Fifth International Biennial-following in the footsteps of Bruce Ferguson, Francesco Bonami, Rosa Martinez, and, most recently, Dave Hickey. Hickey’s iconoclastic, pan-generational “Beau Monde: Towards a Redeemed Cosmopolitanism” vastly upped the profile of both venue and event, leaving SlTE Santa Fe—and its newly appointed curator—with a challenge on their hands.

    In landing Storr, until recently senior curator at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the New Mexico art space has surely met the challenge.

  • Yoshitaka Amano

    Battle of the Planets, the sci-fi anime that Yoshitaka Amano created at Tokyo’s Tatsunako Productions, was a staple of my after-school TV-watching schedule in late-’70s England. With costumes that placed them somewhere between trapeze artists and prog rockers, the cartoon’s five young heroes, collectively known as G-Force, regularly saved the galaxy with an acrobatic grace that made their American counterparts look sluggish. A couple of these stars returned in Ammo’s first New York gallery exhibition, but their presence added up to more than unreconstructed nostalgia. Amano originally developed

  • Jessica Diamond, I hate business, 1989.
    picks October 16, 2002

    “Time is Free”

    Jan Hoet and Ann Demeester’s meditation on life and leisure finds them reaching for alternatives to organized entertainment, proposing the nonplace between productive activities as the natural home of artistic imagination, and boredom as a vital component of the creative urge. The work assembled here uses domestic and institutional space to suggest that our physical surroundings are merely a veneer on a universe of half-formed, free-floating notions. A 1981 semi-fresco monochrome panel by Ettore Spalletti, equal parts ancient architectural relic and modern industrial cast-off, sets the tone

  • Untitled, 2002.
    picks September 24, 2002

    Jim Shaw

    If Kenneth Noland had ever sat down with Brigham Young, together they might have arrived at something like Jim Shaw’s puritanical doctrine of “O-ism.” Centered around an anonymous female deity and a ban on representational painting, this absurdist fictitious religion provides Shaw with a new angle from which to approach the mythology of the Great American Artist. His installation at the Swiss Institute visualizes the dilemma of forgotten O-ist painter Adam O. Goodman, a man of abstraction forced, in violation of his aesthetic and spiritual convictions, to work as an illustrator. “The Goodman

  • The Pack (detail), 2002.
    picks September 12, 2002

    Michael Joo

    Perched atop a series of plinths that occupy the center of Anton Kern Gallery’s barnlike interior, the vaguely threatening figures of fifty plasticine coyotes announce the departure of Michael Joo’s latest expedition to the land of weird science. Their collective title, The Pack, a nod to Beuys, is consistent with Joo’s interest in shamanism and suggests the intersection of spirituality and anthropology with more formal concerns. The combination of prosthetic teeth and tongues with the animals’ more patently unnatural fur pulls us in two directions at once, clearing a space for interpretation


    Short-listed for this year’s Beck’s Futures award, British filmmaking duo Oliver Payne and Nick Relph put their prize money straight to work. The result is Mixtape, 2002, twenty minutes of “wild, trance-inducing loops” designed to infect viewers with humor and headaches alike. Structured around Terry Riley’s mesmerizing Motown cutup “You’re No Good,” the film weaves a set of tangentially related vignettes into footage of a teenage hardcore band’s spasmodic writhing. As the title suggests, it is an idiosyncratic compilation of perfect moments or, as Relph offers with a chuckle, “a really good