Michael Wilson

  • Massimo Grimaldi

    “Okay, now, to the music this time—both groups do your dinosaur heads.” As part of “Chorus Lines,” his second solo appearance at Team, Italian artist Massimo Grimaldi transformed the room into a functional dance studio, partly cladding it in mirrors and allowing troupes to use it for rehearsals. On my visit, Holly Heidt’s company was in residence, six young women hashing out physical responses to outwardly impenetrable directions such as those above—and doing so without much concern for gawking passersby.

    In Grimaldi’s formulation, the dancers were acting as “agents,” inflecting viewers’

  • diary December 14, 2013

    Hep Hep Hooray

    “THERE MIGHT BE no hepper hepcat in the history of post-war hep than Wallace Berman,” writes counterculture archivist Johan Kugelberg. “He’s like a Neal Cassady who actually did stuff.” Born on Staten Island, Berman moved west with his family in the 1930s, and it was here that he became an artist. Relocating from LA to San Francisco in 1957, he developed the “Verifax” collage technique, using Kodak’s early photocopier to layer and juxtapose magazine clippings in grids of variations. Though Berman was never an A-list name (he “remains obscure,” continues Kugelberg, “compared to all the biters

  • David Adamo

    Picking one’s way through Berlin-based sculptor David Adamo’s second solo exhibition at this gallery made one feel oddly like a goldfish in a domestic aquarium. Scattered across the floor—and oriented according to the directions they would face in nature—were a number of variously shaped but generally amorphous and sandy-colored waist-high peaks and accretions with the pitted, spongy look of undersea coral. Negotiating these clumps, which are actually cast from clay models in a synthetic plaster called Zellan, the viewer might almost have expected to encounter a tiny model shipwreck

  • Daniel Subkoff

    What unifies the work in Daniel Subkoff’s solo debut is an interest in physical deconstruction, in stripping the familiar painterly format back to its bare bones and observing what has been laid bare. This is hardly an original focus—the artist openly acknowledges a debt to Arte Povera—but, as Subkoff demonstrates, it’s one that can still yield revelations. It’s also a good test of an artist’s ability to do a lot with a little; there is not much more than wood, canvas, primer, and drywall in these constructions, but the condition they describe feels expansive.

    In Bygone Began Begin (

  • Corey McCorkle

    “There’s a video of a blind horse named Zachary; it goes with the crevice piece.” Such was the entirety of the information provided by the attendant on my visit to Corey McCorkle’s recent exhibition at Maccarone; there was nothing in printed form bar a minimal checklist identifying the two works on display as, respectively, Monument and Crevice, both 2013. But while curt to the point of near absurdity, the official description was at least truthful. The darkened gallery was dominated by a five-and-a-half minute silent, color video of said horse, projected at cinematic scale on a freestanding

  • diary September 11, 2013

    Nomad’s Land

    “WHAT’S HAPPENING HERE?” asked the cabbie as he dropped me off at a usually desolate Williamsburg street corner on a recent Friday evening that was now bustling with Fashion Week escapees. A reasonable question, but one without a straightforward answer. “Uh, an art-and-music thing?” I replied, hopefully, to his understandable bemusement. The official description of “Station to Station,” which had set up temporary shop at Kent Avenue’s Riverfront Studios, felt somehow too high-flown to convey in a nutshell: “A nomadic ‘Happening’ on a train that visits cities, towns and remote locations. A moving

  • Zak Kitnick

    Those for whom the term feng shui connotes a Chinese technique seized upon by Western interior designers in the 1990s and quickly bastardized and rebranded under the New Age aegis may have suffered some alarm at the prospect of Zak Kitnick’s second solo exhibition at this gallery, laid out as it was according to the principles of something called a “bagua grid.” Outwardly a taciturn display of abstract sculpture, the Brooklyn-based artist’s arrangement of quasi-industrial objects had apparently been designed with different ends in mind than the “merely” aesthetic. Kitnick ends a sheet of notes

  • diary July 10, 2013

    Grand SLAM

    AH, THE REGIONAL JUNKET. The prospect—free room and board for a couple of nights in a novel location, a spot of local sightseeing (art-world and otherwise), an exhibition or opening or event devoid of the usual suspects—is always so appealing. And yet… This time, the canceled flight should have tipped me off that, well, you just can’t win. A tidy plan to leave New York just before Friday teatime and arrive in Saint Louis for early evening cocktails at Laumeier Sculpture Park was scuppered by wild weather that necessitated a later departure and a frantic transfer in Dallas. Landing closer to

  • John Lehr

    The nine color photographs in John Lehr’s recent exhibition “Low Relief” look like luscious but simple shots of chanced-upon urban surfaces—walls, doors, windows, grates—enriched by incidental wear and tear. And in terms of primary source, that’s exactly what they are. But Lehr has manipulated each close-up image physically and digitally, tinkering with both the subject on-site and its record in the studio to achieve a seamless hybrid of representation and abstraction. Concentrating on the subtle enhancement of existing characteristics, the Brooklyn-based artist variously heightens or

  • diary April 03, 2013

    Stockhausen Syndrome

    “WOULD YOU LIKE to join the inner circle?” Not the kind of invitation I receive nearly often enough, but at the Wednesday night final performance of Karlheinz Stockhausen’s OKTOPHONIE, the Park Avenue Armory’s latest coup de théâtre, an usher seemed determined to shift me from my arbitrarily chosen middle-section seat to one in the front row. This was after I, along with every other ticket holder, had been asked to remove my shoes and don a white cloak (actually closer to a kind of disposable poncho), before heading for a circular white platform on which were ranged concentric rings of minimalist

  • Alicja Kwade

    Alicja Kwade’s exhibition “The Heavy Weight of Light” had a laboratorial cleanliness appropriate to its outward focus on scientific phenomena. In a precision-tooled array of sculptural-sensorial tableaux, the Berlin-based artist tested a variety of ideas about our understanding of the innate qualities of materials and our interaction with objects in time and space. But if walking through the gallery felt at times like flipping through a physics textbook, there were enough moments of magic in the exhibition that even the less rational, more instinctual viewer would have found something worth

  • Daphne Fitzpatrick

    To judge from her works’ titles, Daphne Fitzpatrick has a thing for vintage knockabout comedy—Abbott, Costello, Huey, Dewey, and Louie all got shout-outs in her recent exhibition “Whistle and Flute” (all works 2012). Formally, too, her art evokes a kind of cartoon surrealism, suggesting the contents of one of Wile E. Coyote’s shopping list for a visit to Acme—there was a wedge of plastic cheese on a handsaw, a giant key in a phony fireplace. And if we take at face value the non-sequitur list of names, facts, one-liners, and anecdotes issued in lieu of a press release, Fitzpatrick seems

  • Rodney McMillian

    “Prospect Ave.”: It has such an aspirational ring that one can’t help but expect a slum—or perhaps the rotting-from-within Main Street of Stepford. Pressing the name of his old street into service as the title for his first solo outing at Maccarone, Los Angeles–based artist Rodney McMillian surely had in mind its unintended appeal to the cynical impulse; it would be difficult to imagine a less comfortable or homey pad than this chilly cave full of mutant furniture, flayed carpeting, and self-consciously lumpen painterly environments. Committed to identifying parallels between socioeconomic

  • Michael Bell-Smith

    There’s a pretty vacancy at the heart of Michael Bell-Smith’s four new videos that is as nauseous as anything in Sartre. Drawing on the fatally bland aesthetic of the stock shot and the digital template, Bell-Smith’s recent exhibition “mbs_fp_090712”—his third solo appearance at Foxy Production—confronted the viewer with what remains when “content” (in the Web-age sense of the term) is stripped away to leave only palettes and placeholders. It’s not that there are no images in these frictionlessly smooth projections—no moves, no marks, no “creative” decisions—only that they

  • Hannah Weinberger

    Perhaps the most startling aspect of young Basel-based artist Hannah Weinberger’s sound installation Le Moi Du Toi, 2012, is its sheer accessibility. While not technically easy listening—it might be classified, perhaps, as a loungey and sometimes Latinate variant on Chicago house—the relaxed 4/4 instrumental dance music with which Weinberger permeated the Swiss Institute is free of the outré or confrontational aspects shared by so many works in the medium. While wandering through the space, which was veiled here and there with long white curtains and dotted with high-tech speakers, one could

  • Jane Fox Hipple

    The title of Jane Fox Hipple’s exhibition “The Way of Things” suggests a rather matter-of-fact approach to artmaking, one rooted in the everyday and concerned more with direct observation—even with a kind of logic—than with flights of imaginative fancy. Yet while Hipple certainly makes use of quotidian materials and sticks to a modest scale, she attempts to unite her object-paintings via an interlinking structure derived in part from narrative fiction. Her works are outwardly abstract and seem independent of one another, but titles such as Narrator, 2011, and Supporting Role, 2012,

  • diary August 13, 2012

    Avant Guard

    THE IRRESISTIBLE PREMISE of “Artists Guarding Artists,” a summer group exhibition at Family Business, is that the folk who watch sternly from a corner as one edges closer to classical statuary at the Met—or contemporary installations at the Whitney—are most likely artists themselves, supplementing meager incomes by loitering on the cultural periphery. The show’s two young curators have both earned their custodial stripes—Laura Murray is a New Museum visitors’ assistant and Family Business gallerina, while Peter J. Hoffmeister is a Met guard and former coeditor of SW!PE, a magazine dedicated to

  • diary July 18, 2012

    Fine and Dandy

    RECOUNTING THE HORRORS of public transit to the Hamptons for New York magazine, Caroline Bankoff paints an unappealing picture in which drunkenness, entitlement, and self-absorption form an unholy trinity. The whimsically named Jitney—aka the bus—at least disallows the first of these, but a neighboring passenger’s irritation at not being able to exchange a crisp hundred-dollar bill for his ticket before anyone else had paid said something about the attitude at large as I hunkered down for the three-hour trip to Southampton. Once in town, my target was the Parrish Art Museum’s Midsummer Party,

  • Seth Kim-Cohen

    KILL “KILL YOUR IDOLS.” YEAH YEAH YEAHS, LIARS, BLACK DICE: WHATEVER. TRULY RADICAL ANTI-ROCK. LIKE A CINDER BLOCK FROM THE 10TH STORY WINDOW. GROOVES. SLASHING GUITARS. FED UP SAMPLERS. TAKE DOWN THE CORPORATACRACY. ANY GENDER, AGE, RACE, PROFICIENCY. Seth Kim-Cohen’s classified ad, headed POST-POSTPUNK, NEW NO WAVE, defines its territory in strident but slippery terms, adopting a defiant pose while leaving room for interpretation. Originally posted in the “Musicians” section of Craigslist, then displayed outside Audio Visual Arts for the duration of Kim-Cohen’s “social-situational project” “

  • “Laurent Grasso: Uraniborg”

    In Laurent Grasso’s video Les Oiseaux (The Birds), 2008, a flock of starlings in the crepuscular sky above the Vatican suggests a field of particles buffeted by radio waves.

    In Laurent Grasso’s video Les Oiseaux (The Birds), 2008, a flock of starlings in the crepuscular sky above the Vatican suggests a field of particles buffeted by radio waves. It’s the kind of confusion of scale and context that delights the Parisian artist and will likely characterize “Uraniborg,” an exhibition titled after the sixteenth-century castle observatory of astronomer-alchemist Tycho Brahe that will mine the unexplained and the mythical. Astronomy, surveillance, “deceptive beauty,” and “political ghosts” are set to emerge as primary