Michael Wilson

  • 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


    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!”


    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,

  • Mitzi Pederson

    When dealing in understatement, it pays to have the courage of one’s convictions. Cramming an exhibition space with variations on a less-is-more theme can risk displacing the subtlety of such an artistic project by imparting to the work a possibly misleading but often indelible appearance of slightness. Showing ten works of this kind when two would do might be a symptom of creative insecurity or of our recessionary times. Berlin-based sculptor Mitzi Pederson has a reputation for taking the specifics of gallery architecture into account, so it was surprising to see her succumb to this particular

  • Jim Speers

    Auckland’s Karangahape Road (popularly “K Road”) is the closest thing the city has to a gallery strip. But the street is also well known as Auckland’s alternative shopping destination, a funky if decrepit alternative to the well-kept but generic city center. So it was entirely consistent with its context that “Crystal Spirit,” Jim Speers’s exhibition at Starkwhite, a K Road staple, alluded to the aesthetics of hipster clothing stores. With a set of large framed digital images screenprinted with text on the wall and a geometric decal spread across gleaming white vinyl flooring, Speers conflated

  • picks March 14, 2010

    Carol Bove

    Identifying Carol Bove’s particular approach to the found object is no easy task. The Brooklyn-based artist plunders a broad range of styles and periods, yet her aesthetic somehow remains unmistakable. And even when the items she displays are of entirely natural origin, their manner of presentation expresses the refined imposition of a singular style. Yes, there are cultural codes to be cracked in Bove’s careful constructions and juxtapositions, but it’s their exquisite formal exactitude that captivates. To use abalone shells, peacock feathers, and delicate beaded curtains might suggest an

  • picks March 14, 2010

    Michel François

    The glass case beloved of old-world museological practice has long since been reclaimed by artists as a strategic presentational device. When a project calls for that special kind of isolation, nothing else carries quite the same authority—even when the tone is ironic. For the latest entry in his “Pavilion Interface” series, Belgian artist Michel François performed—in private—inside an enormous glazed box installed in the center of the gallery. What remains of his action is a large block of multicolored Plasticine from which parts have been scooped out. The block sits on the floor in the middle

  • diary March 10, 2010

    Variations on a Theme

    New York

    THE BUZZ OF CONVERSATION forms a constant aural backdrop to every Armory Show, but little of it ever rises above the level of sales pitch or insider gossip. At this year’s fair, a series of events curated by Stamatina Gregory and dubbed “Open Forum” offered limited respite from the money talk and a chance to hear from some people with a little distance from the art of the deal. Most promising of the seven events staged on Pier 92 (the remainder were downtown at Volta) looked to be Friday afternoon’s opener, “The World Is Not Enough: The Future of Biennials.” Moderated by art historian Katy

  • picks March 03, 2010

    Dan Walsh

    “The exhibition includes six to eight new paintings.” A curiously undecided announcement for a gallery press release, but perhaps forgivable in the context of an artistic approach so clear and careful that it is better discussed in terms of gradual shift than of sudden breakthrough. Working slowly through numerous variations on a few established themes, Dan Walsh remains focused on geometric abstraction but invests it with just enough humanity to keep formalist ossification at bay. So even while the artist sticks doggedly to repetition and patterning as picture-making devices, he allows a subtle

  • Brian Alfred

    On the evidence of this exhibition, “It’s Already the End of the World,” and of his 2005–2008 series “Millions Now Living Will Never Die!!!,” Brooklyn-based painter and filmmaker Brian Alfred seems to have not only a distinctly apocalyptic bent but also a belief in the continuing power of the individual to steer both art history and history tout court. Picturing an assortment of (for the most part) widely known heroes and villains alongside key sites and signs of sociopolitical flux, Alfred also portrays (albeit at smaller scale) some of his own personal guiding lights—studio mates and other

  • diary February 17, 2010

    MacBook Pros

    New York

    LAUNCHED IN POLAND IN 2003, the experimental music festival Unsound made its first overseas foray this month, landing in New York for ten days of events in ten venues scattered across Manhattan and Brooklyn. First up, on February 4, was a performance at Lincoln Center’s recently opened David Rubenstein Atrium, an imposing space, though not without the bland atmosphere common to atria everywhere. On offer was a set by superbly named Finnish laptopper Vladislav Delay with visual accompaniment by German video artist Lillevan, and Solid State Transmitters, an unlikely collaboration between German

  • picks February 15, 2010

    Wolfgang Tillmans

    Recent solo projects and group-show contributions by Wolfgang Tillmans have seen the artist foreground various aspects of the photographic process, manufacturing focused abstractions that exploit the properties of the materials and machinery involved. In this exhibition, however, he returns to the snapshot—some might also say scattershot—aesthetic with which he made his name. The checklist identifies some sixty-five separate works, and the gallery also provides a handy map to make sure we don’t miss a single one of them. The prints, which come in pocket size, poster size, and banner size, are

  • Kaari Upson

    “I am bound to have some anxiety about this so please if I say stop, don’t stop.” The run-on title of Kaari Upson’s recent show at Maccarone served as fair warning of the quality and quantity of neurosis concentrated therein, while the gallery’s statement detailed its convoluted narrative so thoroughly that there seemed at first precious little room for imaginative maneuver. “There is a man at the center of a story,” it began. “He is a character created from real information and forensic methods traced and described by a narrator, a woman, who is a persona of a self, playing the role of his

  • diary January 22, 2010

    Price Fixing

    New York

    THE FRONT COVER of Isabelle Graw’s new book, High Price: Art Between the Market and Celebrity Culture, may sport an image of Madonna with her arm slung around a tux-clad Andy Warhol, but there was precious little glamour in evidence at the volume’s Thursday-night launch. The Goethe-Institut’s intimate Wyoming Building in the East Village was instead packed beyond capacity with a mob of neat, earnest young grad students, a sprinkling of the esteemed theoretician’s high-powered colleagues, and—intriguingly—Miami supercollectors Donald and Mera Rubell. Onstage, Graw was joined by art historian