Michael Wilson

  • 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

  • Lucy Skaer

    The jesterlike Harlequin has been a favorite subject for artists since his creation in sixteenth-century Italy. An ungovernable character often responsible for derailing the drama’s plot, the Harlequin sports a multicolored geometric uniform that also makes him an attractively graphic visual icon. But the character’s role changed over time; originally a cowardly fool whose patchwork outfit signified poverty, he became, by the late-eighteenth century, a cunning prankster, the same outfit now a symbol of physical agility and a mercurial nature. Something of this shifting emphasis can be traced

  • diary April 12, 2012

    Musique Non-Stop

    INTERRED IN FOUR BLACK CRATES leaning against the wall of the Museum of Modern Art’s lobby as I got in line for the opening performance of Kraftwerk’s career-spanning eight-night residency “Retrospective 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8” were life-size mannequins of the band’s members circa 2012, their heads twitching intermittently as if in the last throes of life. And while the influential Teutonic proto-techno outfit isn’t quite dead yet, the rigorous summary overseen by curator and countryman Klaus Biesenbach did cast a slight pall of last-chance-to-see over the proceedings.

    Since the museum’s atrium, the

  • “Looking Back: The 6th White Columns Annual”

    The line between community and clique is a fine one, and this highly idiosyncratic year-end review of goings-on about town walked it with a conspicuous wobble. Curated by artists Ken Okiishi and Nick Mauss, the exhibition dipped into a variety of overlapping, interrelated New York scenes, with results that were at times intriguing, at others too hermetic to have much appeal beyond their own circles. Never intended as a definitive best-of, but rather as a review of works encountered by the curators in the course of twelve months of NYC art-viewing, the annual is a snapshot of personal preference,

  • diary March 12, 2012

    Modern Things

    BJÖRK GUÐMUNDSDÓTTIR, elfin pop savant and, with the recent release of her multimedia project Biophilia, Iceland’s leading iPad bore, may be a perky charmer, but her team is as chilly as their employer’s home. Asking this aloof trio whether photography was permitted at the singer-songwriter’s Thursday afternoon Armory Show Open Forum Panel with performance artist Ragnar Kjartansson (part of a slew of Scandinavian-focused talks at the fair), I received the decision, delivered with relish: “You know what? No.” Video was verboten too, as were interviews, recording, eating, drinking, impertinence…

  • Greg Parma Smith

    It’s not often that practitioners of academic figure painting are identified as a subculture, but when Greg Parma Smith used the term in relation to such artists in his exhibition “Life Drawings, Poseurs, and ‘thirteen oil paintings on canvas,’” the classification didn’t seem entirely off-the-wall. Juxtaposing nude studies with paintings that sample from comic strips, a handmade book of graffiti-style lettering and imagery, and a cartoonlike wall painting, Smith’s show made a case for connecting stylistically divergent representations of the body to niche interests identified with particular

  • diary February 21, 2012

    Brooklyn Bridge

    IN THE BROOKLYN NEIGHBORHOOD arguably best known to outsiders for much-profiled hipster-gourmet pizza joint Roberta’s, a post-Williamsburg art scene has latterly been on the rise. Bushwick has been an area of choice for artists for at least half a decade, with a cluster of galleries following immediately in the pioneers’ wake. Until now, these venues have been of the low-budget, artist-run stripe, but with the arrival of Luhring Augustine in a new location at the corner of Knickerbocker Avenue and Ingraham Street, a sea change might be in the offing. The Chelsea A-lister’s annex, a forbidding

  • Ian Pedigo

    An Article from Distant Memory, A Necklace of Broken Windows, Skeleton: The titles of Ian Pedigo’s new sculptures and photographs—not to mention his use of shattered glass, driftwood, and bone—lent the artist’s fourth solo appearance at this gallery an elegiac and slightly eerie mood. The artifacts and images that populated “Dawn Goes by Round the Neck” (the title is adapted from Surrealist poet Paul Éluard) have been altered via a series of offbeat formal tweaks and pairings that suggest a quietly experimental, performative approach to object making. But while the artist recasts his

  • Michelle Lopez

    Turning Minimalist form against itself is hardly a new idea—one might even consider it a genre unto itself—but it still offers room for maneuver. In “Vertical Neck,” her second solo exhibition at Simon Preston, Brooklyn-based artist Michelle Lopez presented a strong, clean suite of five new sculptures that capitalize on the movement’s enduring legacy but sidestep parody and polemic to arrive at a more subtly allusive language. Lopez isn’t afraid of explicit critical reference—in 2009’s Portrait of Artist as Special Mission Project/Akira Revisited, for example, she went after

  • Luke Stettner

    In Luke Stettner’s almost colorless New York solo debut, one work stood out: a squat column of bright plastic plates—seven small ones stacked atop nine large. It has the look of a toy, though it turns out to be anything but; Stettner has fashioned the cheery 1970s vintage dishes, sourced from his childhood home, into an urn for his father’s ashes. He ground the original funerary vessel, a traditional marble affair, into dust and displayed it here under water and oil in a straight glass vase that resembles a laboratory test tube. Both vessels sit on slender wooden—ash, get it?—pedestals,

  • diary October 28, 2011

    Höller Back

    NECKING SICKLY-SWEET themed cocktails with names like “Love Drug” and “Magic Mushroom” may offer a challenge to the senses, but Carsten Höller surely had something more unusual in mind when he titled his New Museum exhibition “Experience.” Perhaps the dressed-up hordes that packed the Bowery building’s lobby for the show’s Tuesday evening opening felt an added need to get their drink on before tackling its vaunted wonders—supposedly the equal of anything at Six Flags and sprinkled with magical relational-aesthetic fairy dust (meaning it was officially OK to have a laugh). A few began by donning

  • Cynthia Daignault

    Like a conceptual puzzle with too easy a solution, Cynthia Daignault’s project has a transparency that hews perilously close to the counterproductive. But while her art seems at first to refuse any possibility of mystery or “expression,” instead dealing explicitly with the mechanisms of visual display and institutional context, it is more than just an arid joke. Unusually for a display of oil-on-linen paintings, Daignault’s exhibition at White Columns was designed specifically for and in response to the existing features and proportions of the gallery’s main space and lobby. Yet while unequivocally

  • diary September 06, 2011

    Ferry Tale

    I’D ANTICIPATED a quiet ferry ride out from downtown Manhattan for the first Friday of this year’s Governors Island Art Fair, which continues on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays throughout September. The reality was rather different, as a crowd several hundred strong milled noisily around South Street terminal’s bare-bones waiting room before streaming onto the boat like there was a tropical storm at its back. Evidently, the former British colonial administrative base was now a firm fixture on the tourist map. But once we arrived at our destination, the hordes seemed to melt away, and I struck