Michèle Faguet

  • Dena Yago

    The four photographs displayed in Dena Yago’s recent show “Heck & The Divested Set” were shot by the artist in Pioneertown, a fake western frontier outpost conceived and built by Hollywood investors and production designers in the 1940s to serve as both a TV/film set and temporary housing for actors and crew members. A rusty town bell atop a wooden facade in Pioneertown, 2015 (Bell); a close-up of a brittle leather saddle in Pioneertown, 2015 (Saddle); a rickety wagon, long abandoned, in Pioneertown, 2015 (Wheel); and a slouching windmill with faded signage in Pioneertown, 2015 (Windmill) (all

  • picks December 01, 2011

    Phil Collins, Boris Mikhailov, Abraham Cruzvillegas

    Disclaimer: After a decade of far too many address changes and long-haul flights (all for the sake of art), 2011 was the year I finally decided to just stay home and write, only venturing out on rare occasions to destinations of reasonable proximity. The year started off exceptionally well with Phil Collins’s London premiere of marxism today (prologue) and use! value! exchange!, both 2010, at the BFI Gallery. Sadly, this was the gallery’s last exhibition before its permanent closure due to budget cuts brought on by the financial crisis, though the space’s termination provided an appropriate

  • Boris Mikhailov

    For more than four decades, Boris Mikhailov has photographed the shifting visual landscape of his native Ukraine, utilizing a range of formal approaches while never fully abandoning the spontaneous, amateur quality of what initially began as a hobby. (He was fired from an engineering job in the late 1960s, when the KGB discovered nude photographs he’d taken of his wife.) In his recent exhibition at Galerie Barbara Weiss—inaugurating the gallery’s impeccable new venue in Kreuzberg—the artist presented two series of works, “Black Archive,” 1968–79, and “Tea Coffee Cappuccino,” 2000–10,

  • Per Billgren and Leigh Ledare

    “Something Might Have Been Better Than Nothing . . .” was the suggestive title of a two-person exhibition by Per Billgren and Leigh Ledare, childhood friends from Seattle and former art school classmates at Columbia University. It sounds like an oblique reference to the detritus of adolescent yearning (or its nostalgic sublimation) inhabiting the portraits and landscapes of a shared biography. Ledare, thrust into the spotlight several years ago with a racy body of work (photographs, videos, and the 2008 book Pretend You’re Actually Alive) that perversely complied with his ex-ballerina/ex-model

  • picks May 23, 2011

    Armando Andrade Tudela

    In Armando Andrade Tudela’s latest exhibition, “Alto sorto sopra” (Rising High Above), two sculptural installations inhabit the far left corner of the gallery’s rectangular subterranean space, with the second of these wedged between a column and two radiators jutting out from the wall. The latter is Gris #1 (Gray #1), 2011, a wooden structure that resembles a long, smooth pallet wrapped in thick plastic—so that it appears blurry—and placed on a very graphic (almost elegant) tapestry featuring marijuana leaves. In Gris #2, 2011, a pair of thin metal structures that look like flimsy versions of

  • Elisabeth Neudörfl

    In a text describing the methodologies and conceptual concerns that comprise her “topographic” approach to documentary photography, Elisabeth Neudörfl has written that “a fundamental strategy of photography is exclusion.” With its high-contrast black-and-white images of housing blocks and the neglected green areas and dead spaces that border them, the artist’s recent series “Habitat,” 2010, documents—from varying distances and angles—those elements that make up an unidentified residential area, while intentionally denying a representational cohesion or narrative logic. The immediate

  • Haegue Yang: Arrivals

    Haegue Yang’s prolific output during the past decade encompasses a broad range of media, but the Korean-born artist is perhaps best known for her venetian-blind installations, which utilize ambient lighting, scent emitters, and heating and cooling elements to create multisensory experiences conveying political narratives through the language of formal abstraction.

    Haegue Yang’s prolific output during the past decade encompasses a broad range of media, but the Korean-born artist is perhaps best known for her venetian-blind installations, which utilize ambient lighting, scent emitters, and heating and cooling elements to create multisensory experiences conveying political narratives through the language of formal abstraction. “Arrivals,” her largest and most ambitious show to date, features a generous selection of older works as well as newly commissioned installations, including a massive venetian-blind piece

  • Anna Oppermann

    “Somewhere in this world, complexity must still be valued.” Anna Oppermann (1940–1993) wrote these words midway through a brief yet prolific career during which she endured the disdain of many critics perplexed by the large, unruly installations she called “ensembles.” Consisting of hundreds of photographs, drawings, annotations, found objects, and scraps of paper, these works, meant to change every time they are shown, seem to unflinchingly portray an obsessive impulse to accumulate words and images in a chaotic and hermetic manner. But despite a position of relative marginality—partly due to

  • Vasco Araújo and Javier Téllez

    Mais que a vida” (Larger than Life) was an ambitious exhibition (traveling to Spain’s Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Vigo, where it is on view through January 9, 2011) that surveyed the prolific trajectories of Portuguese artist Vasco Araújo and New York– and Berlin-based Venezuelan artist Javier Téllez, with works that shared a penchant for literary, cinematic, and autobiographical references. Trained as an opera singer, Araújo takes the language of melodrama to a point of excess that is both playful and melancholic, while Téllez’s collaborations with mental patients and other marginalized

  • Annika Eriksson

    In Annika Eriksson’s recent exhibition “Wir sind wieder da” (We’re Back), a digitized 16-mm film loop showed a nocturnal scene of a group of punks casually conversing and drinking beer in a vacant lot filled with makeshift furniture: abandoned couches, wooden pallets, a grocery cart. The set is artificially lit, and puffs from an off-camera smoke machine periodically turn the image a deep blue as they waft over the scene, distorting the depth of field and conferring an oddly painterly and immobile quality upon the tableau. Projected on a large screen mounted on a metal scaffold, the film faced

  • Rineke Dijkstra

    For nearly two decades, Rineke Dijkstra has used frontal photographic portraiture to register the unrehearsed innocence, inhibition, and insecurity that mark the difficult and often tragicomic transition from adolescence to maturity. “Liverpool” presented new photographic and video work produced during the 2008–2009 Tate Liverpool exhibition “The Fifth Floor: Ideas Taking Space,” which provided the artist with a functional studio setup within the museum, much like the temporary studios she had constructed to isolate and film pubescent clubbers for her earlier work The Buzzclub, Liverpool,

  • Ayreen Anastas and Rene Gabri

    Ayreen Anastas and Rene Gabri have cited Fluxus artist Robert Filliou in his assertion that “art is what makes life more interesting than art” since initiating their collaboration in 1999. The two artists (who also maintain individual practices) consistently seek to fulfill this maxim, entertaining the possibility of a compelling and committed aesthetic practice that might adequately respond to the magnitude of historical events. In so doing, they have eluded conventional categories such as cultural activism or political engagement, using poetic disruptions and fragmentary discursive elements

  • diary February 22, 2010

    Genital Panic

    Mexico City

    IN HINDSIGHT, I suppose it was inevitable that this year’s SITAC would be controversial. Titled “Blind Spots,” the eighth edition of the annual art-theory conference in Mexico City was organized by Americas Society’s visual-arts director Gabriela Rangel and dedicated to “an analysis of radical discourses and practices such as feminism, cinema, and performance that have originated as ‘blind spots’ or ‘stains’ on contemporary art criticism and theory.” It all sounded benign enough on paper, but doesn’t any discussion of discursive marginalization merit at least a little drama?

    After a seventeen-hour

  • General Idea

    About halfway into his twenty-five-year collaboration with Jorge Zontal and Felix Partz, AA Bronson described one major reason why the three came together in Toronto in 1969 to form the group General Idea: the absence of their own visibility or self-representation within a national art scene. “We forgot that we, ourselves, were real artists, because we had not seen ourselves in the media—real artists, like Frank Stella, appeared in Artforum magazine,” Bronson wrote. This exhibition presented a selection from the collective’s production through 1977 and consisted largely of ephemera documenting

  • picks January 29, 2010

    “Conversation Pieces: A Chamber Play”

    Before the recent onslaught of curatorial-studies programs, curators were typically educated in art history, literature, or––as in the case of Jens Hoffmann––theater. Drawing on Hoffmann’s biography and his thoughtful, self-conscious approach to exhibitions, “Conversation Pieces” is a three-part show modeled on the structure of a chamber play and divided into “Acts,” each of which presents works by six artists, which are distributed into pairs and exhibited in three different rooms, or “Scenes.”

    “Scene One” of “Act One,” which is on view until February 6, couples Tim Lee with Hans-Peter Feldmann

  • Friedrich Kunath

    Friedrich Kunath’s recent exhibition “Hello Walls” was his first at BQ since the Cologne gallery relocated earlier this year to Berlin, where gallerists Jörn Bötnagel and Yvonne Quirmbach have opted against maintaining a permanent display space in favor of an itinerant structure utilizing temporary sites around the city. On this occasion, BQ inhabited a ground-floor apartment in a prewar building just behind Humboldt University. The air of domesticity was accentuated by the inclusion of thrift-store finds such as a worn-out bed, a flip-style alarm clock, table lamps, and candles, plus wall-to-wall

  • Allora & Calzadilla

    Since opening its doors in October 2008, the Temporäre Kunsthalle Berlin has exhibited the work of contemporary artists residing in Berlin within a very basic white-cube construction, while just to its left, the Palast der Republik—former home to the East German parliament but also a center of East German social life with its restaurants, theaters, and galleries—has undergone the last stage of a highly controversial demolition. In its place will be a replica of the Berliner Stadtschloss, the Baroque Prussian palace originally located on this site before it, too, was torn down by the East German

  • Thomas Kilpper

    This year marks the twentieth anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, and yet the headquarters of the Ministerium für Staatssicherheit, the former East German secret police better known as the Stasi, remains virtually untransformed. The most significant change has been the removal of millions of files, as investigators try to clarify what is still a very hazy episode in German history. With “State of Control,” Thomas Kilpper has created a labor-intensive intervention in one of the headquarters’ buildings—long abandoned and now up for sale—with an extensive series of linocuts meticulously