Michelle Grabner

  • David Lieske

    “As a term, pluralism signifies no art specifically. Rather, it is a situation that grants a kind of equivalence; art of many sorts is made to seem more or less equal—equally (un)important. Art becomes an arena not of dialectical dialogue but of vested interests.” In his 1985 essay “Against Pluralism,” Hal Foster aligned the ideology of pluralism with the function of market forces. Today, that correspondence is an all-pervasive reality, clearly evident—colored by varying degrees of self-awareness—in the work of such artists as the young German David Lieske.

    Lieske recently enjoyed his first US

  • Andrew Guenther

    Primitive motifs have seeped back into painting of late as a method of denoting, if not embodying, “pure” subjectivity: Katherine Bernhardt’s Neue Wilde–esque figures and Mark Grotjahn’s cardboard mask constructions are two examples among many. This revival should come as no surprise—the impulse to establish and communicate sovereign selfhood remains fundamental, and the currently fatted marketplace only encourages its indulgence, since the fear of commercial failure still often trumps the desire to avoid played-out tropes.

    In the paintings of Andrew Guenther, the primitive reappears in signifiers

  • Cecilia Edefalk

    Seven years ago, Swedish artist Cecilia Edefalk visited London and embarked on a quasi-mystical journey that began at Tate Britain. Purchasing a drink in the museum’s cafeteria, she noticed that it was stamped with an unusually precise expiration date and time—May 6, 2000, 15:33—which led her to wonder what she would be doing at that very moment. It so happened that she found herself back in London on the date in question. Having retraced her steps and revisited the museum, she attended a dinner in a private garden in Chelsea, where she saw a dazzling blue flash and a mysterious silhouette.

  • Ashley Macomber

    Ashley Macomber uses paint to suggest the contours of skin and fur with a precision of line more commonly associated with engraving. Her portraits of human-animal hybrids have a stiffness reminiscent of early New England portraiture, and her muted palette is accentuated by the choice of gouache and acrylic in preference to oil. Macomber proves herself technically proficient—she’s particularly adept at balancing warm and cool colors—but falls down when it comes to her work’s conceptual underpinnings. Though her application is seductive in its exactitude, the work’s raison d’être is on shakier

  • “Cut: Film as Found Object in Contemporary Video”

    In 1919–20, Hannah Höch juxtaposed figures and text sourced from popular print media to critique the male-dominated culture of Weimar Germany in her photomontage Schnitt mit dem Kuchenmesser Dada durch die letze weimarer Bierbauchkulturepoche Deutschlands (Cut with the Kitchen Knife Dada through the Last Weimar Beer-Belly Cultural Epoch of Germany). Half a century later, Conceptual artists adapted cut-and-paste techniques to the deconstruction of authorship and authenticity. And in the ’80s, appropriations from mass media by Louise Lawler, Sherrie Levine, and others became associated with a