Michael Wilson

  • Laurent Millet

    The title of Laurent Millet’s fourth solo exhibition at this gallery, “The Last Days of Immanuel Kant,” may have led some viewers to anticipate a po-faced Conceptual deconstruction of the Critique of Judgment, but the French artist’s photographs are surprisingly light and playful affairs, requiring little if any knowledge of eighteenth-century epistemology. In fact, the show’s moniker is borrowed from a novella by Thomas De Quincey that traces the tail end of the eminent philosopher’s life through the gradual waning of his once-acute senses. Millet’s shots of his own sculptural tableaux mirror

  • picks September 29, 2010

    Santiago Sierra

    Santiago Sierra has staked out a territory of brutal logic in which the myriad and persistent injustices of global capitalism are distilled into the rawest of images and acts. His 2008 film Los Penetrados (The Penetrated), shown here with two groups of stills, is perhaps the most striking example yet of the artist’s uncompromising politicized extension of “classic” Conceptualism’s ritualized, deadpan schematic. In the forty-five-minute video, various combinations of men and women, black and white, are positioned on ten blankets laid out in a large, mirrored room. We then watch as they engage in

  • diary September 17, 2010

    East Side Story

    “RESTLESS, THEY FINALLY pull out to honeycomb the streets for an hour of endless tight right turns: falafel joint, jazz joint, gyro joint, corner. Schoolyard, creperie, realtor, corner. Tenement, tenement, tenement museum, corner.” To the lists of premises with which Richard Price opens his Lower East Side–set novel Lush Life, itself the subject of a recent group of exhibitions in the very neighborhood it describes, the author might perhaps have added “gallery.” Now, a scant two years after the book appeared, what may then have read like an afterthought now feels essential. After an overstuffed

  • Noam Rappaport

    In the paintings of Noam Rappaport, the canvas assumes a character of its own, becoming an ingredient with weight equal to that of any other. In his first solo exhibition at White Columns, the artist gave stretcher bars—usually hidden completely—a similar identity, and did the same for a list of other structural bits and pieces, from nails and screws to wiring. The New York–based artist seems to aim for a kind of material transparency, through a practice that also constantly directs our attention to the modest and the everyday.

    Rappaport’s constructions, then, have a rawness that reveals a

  • Tod Wizon

    Rarely has a series been titled more aptly than Tod Wizon’s “Little Darknesses,” 1996. The acrylic panel paintings that make up this suite of fourteen nocturnes are a uniform eleven by eight inches and lean on a somber palette of dense blues, punctuated by waves of gray and shafts of radiant yellow. Essentially abstract but strongly suggestive of oceanic vistas and drama on a cosmic scale, they were here secreted in the gallery’s basement, as if they had been stewing there for years in their own doomy, romantic juice. Arranged in a numbered sequence loosely suggestive of narrative flow, these

  • diary August 25, 2010

    Back and Fourth

    London

    LONDON’S FOURTH PLINTH public art project is beginning to feel like something of an institution, which is perhaps appropriate given its proximity to the National Gallery in Trafalgar Square. Designed by Sir Charles Barry in 1841 as the support for a conventional equestrian statue, the pedestal on which the series is literally and figuratively based was left unadorned for some 150 years after the money ran out (some things never change). Then, in 1998, the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce commissioned British artists Mark Wallinger, Bill Woodrow, and Rachel

  • diary July 28, 2010

    Interpretation of Dreams

    New York

    “IF YOU BUILD IT, they will come.” It’s a misquotation, of course, the correct line being “If you build it, he will come,” but the Bruce High Quality Foundation clearly had more than a solitary spectral ballplayer in mind when they borrowed the title of Phil Alden Robinson’s movie Field of Dreams. Joining forces with producer Andres Levin and operating under the Celebrate Brooklyn! banner, the wry collective took over Prospect Park’s bandshell on a recent Saturday for an afternoon of performance, installation, and music. Pursuing its stated aim of “fostering an alternative to everything,” the

  • diary July 20, 2010

    Park Life

    Callicoon, New York

    IT’S NOT VERY OFTEN that a bleeding-edge gallery from Bushwick is forced to compete for attention with an oblivious herd of alpacas, but such was the unusual situation in which Guillermo Creus’s start-up Fortress to Solitude found itself on a Saturday afternoon. Occupying a homemade pop-up booth in Callicoon Creek Park for NADA’s County Affair, Creus and crew made the best of an unusual setting, sipping iced lemonade as excited children and adults skipped past their neat display of paintings en route to the gawky animals’ enclosure nearby. But the collective members were scarcely the only city

  • diary July 13, 2010

    Taste Buds

    New York

    “THAT’S NOT HOW YOU DO IT!”

    “And that’s a fake penis . . .”

    The withering judgments, delivered with unshakable authority (and a dose of affection) by two men seated behind me at the Swiss Institute’s makeshift multiplex, were directed at Mike Kuchar’s Splatter Movie. A highlight of the film program at the nonprofit’s Saturday night Battle of Bad Taste party, the lurid short moves with alarming rapidity from close-up blow-job action to unsolicited amputation by chainsaw, the latter moment eliciting howls of laughter from an enthusiastic house. Over-the-top is the California director’s m.o., so it

  • diary June 23, 2010

    As You Wish

    New York

    I WISH LIFE WAS EASY; I WISH FOR INNER PEACE; I WISH FOR A HOLIDAY ON THE BEACH. The last of these pleas—all samplings from Rivane Neuenschwander’s participatory installation Eu desejo o seu desejo (I Wish Your Wish)—seemed not only the most achievable ambition but also the most timely, as guests arriving late to the Brazilian artist’s Tuesday night opening at the New Museum looked distinctly soggy after a summer storm. The mottos were printed on ribbons arranged around the walls of the lobby, and viewers were invited to take and wear one in exchange for suggestions of their own. If scoping

  • picks June 22, 2010

    Tucker Nichols

    “I made a lot of the work from the perspective of someone who had heard a lot about New York, maybe from his uncle or from a pamphlet from the World’s Fair, but had never been.” Tucker Nichols’s remark to curator Dakin Hart suggests that the perspective afforded by time spent on a bucolic California residency may have been the defining influence on his new show’s juxtaposition of homespun craft and big-city buzz. The linear networks that appear in many of the paintings and drawings here seem to reference the metropolitan street grid by way of fields and hedgerows, while in his sculpture, the

  • George Kontos

    George Kontos’s The Vision (all works 2010) is an elliptical short film in which, as is typical for the Los Angeles–based artist, meaning is only hinted at and resolution perpetually deferred. The protagonist of the four-minute sequence is a bearded young hipster who pilots a motorbike helmetless, while smoking a cigarette. Taking to an empty stretch of highway—an abandoned bridge project in the artist’s native Greece—our hero is portrayed from various flattering angles as he zips along, popping the occasional wheelie. Eventually, he dismounts and strolls to the edge of the road. From this

  • picks May 26, 2010

    Scott Teplin

    In 1979, English artist and author Kit Williams introduced a new literary genre, the “armchair treasure hunt,” via his children’s book Masquerade. Woven into a sequence of fifteen intricate illustrations were clues to the whereabouts of a golden hare, buried by Williams somewhere in Britain and offered to the first reader to solve the complex puzzle. A little over thirty years on, Scott Teplin has pulled a similar stunt in The Clock Without a Face (2009), a book that also contains a set of coded directions to a glittering prize—in this case a set of twelve gold numerals. Teplin collaborated with

  • picks May 17, 2010

    JJ PEET

    The title of JJ PEET’s solo debut at this gallery signals his interest in an age-old practice as it intersects with ideas about class and economics, leisure and work. In “The Sunday Painter,” Brooklyn-based PEET showcases a creative methodology that makes deliberate and direct reference to the act of artmaking as a rarified pursuit, but one grounded nonetheless in both an amateur ethic and skillful manipulation of down-home materials. To this end, he exhibits not only an array of small paintings but also a set of lunch box–like wooden cases into which the panels slot neatly for transportation

  • Greater New York

    The third installment of “Greater New York” showcases new work, including a number of site-specific projects and performances, by seventy-plus emerging artists based around the five boroughs.

    The third installment of “Greater New York”—P.S. 1’s quintennial state-of-the-city address—showcases new work, including a number of site-specific projects and performances, by seventy-plus emerging artists based around the five boroughs. Participants—the expansive list features Amy Yao, Hank Willis Thomas, and Xaviera Simmons—were chosen in part via the institution’s new Studio Visit website, thus saving the curatorial team a trek around a thousand-odd actual workspaces. One gallery will be dedicated to a best-of review of Big

  • Charles LeDray: workworkworkworkwork

    New York–based Charles LeDray is a self-taught artist whose practice defies the category’s savant stereotype. Yes, he uses traditional craft techniques to produce work of visionary intensity. True, he commands an idiosyncratic oeuvre that includes microscaled clothing and furniture. And, admittedly, he has made objects incorporating hand-carved human bone, tapping into tropes of primitivism and outsider art. But as this show, which gathers fifty-odd sculptures and installations from the past twenty- five years, demonstrates, LeDray also possesses a sophisticated understanding

  • Nicholas Di Genova

    Art built around the repetitive accumulation of objects and images has been around for long enough that it could constitute an extensive collection of its own. From China’s 2,200-year-old Terracotta Army to Antony Gormley’s Field, 1991; from Andy Warhol’s early-1960s soup cans and Coke bottles to Allan McCollum’s “Shapes Project,” 2005–2006, countless artists have exploited the power of sheer number for visual impact and associative effect. And though this compulsive racking and stacking has perhaps most often been linked to Minimalism and its direct descendants—think, to take one iconic example,

  • Simon Dybbroe Møller

    In the middle of the gallery, a young man sat casually at a grand piano stacked with old books, holding one and reading from it, silently. As he did this, he used his free hand to pick out individual notes on the keyboard. The gentle sounds resonated in the near-empty room but their sequence fell short of melody—rather, it was slow and disjointed, hesitant, yet not unpleasant despite seeming arbitrary. The man’s black suit jacket hung on a peg nearby, and a small, framed black-and-white photograph of his wire-rimmed glasses leaned against the window. There was no indication of how long he had

  • diary April 20, 2010

    Phreaks and Geeks

    New York

    “THE FIRST TIME I built my own database, I actually used hacked data structures!”

    “Dude!”

    That the preliminary chatter among audience members at Seven on Seven—a recent half-day conference staged by Rhizome at the New Museum—was geekier than usual for an art-world event was perhaps to be expected. Organizers Fred Benenson, John Michael Boling, John Borthwick, Lauren Cornell, and Peter Rojas had paired seven artists with seven “game-changing technologists” and challenged them to collaborate on something—anything—new. Having been given only a day to come up with a suitably innovative product, artwork,

  • diary April 10, 2010

    Alternate Reality

    New York

    WITH VERY FEW EXCEPTIONS—PBS’s Art:21 and the occasional British import—contemporary art is conspicuous by its absence from mainstream American TV. To some this might seem a rank injustice, but given the obvious pitfalls, it may equally represent a lucky escape. Arriving at the Paley Center for Media for a Wednesday evening preview of Bravo’s new reality series Work of Art: The Next Great Artist, I felt more trepidation than would have accompanied any insider event. How would the art world fare at the hands of producers who aimed to do for it, in the words of the cable channel’s Frances Berwick,