Michelle Kuo

  • Installation view, 2006.
    picks July 11, 2006

    Henrik Håkansson

    Welcome to Henrik Håkansson’s disenchanted forest. In “Cyanopsitta spixii Case Study #001,” the artist funereally showcases the body of a nineteenth-century Spix’s macaw, now extinct in the wild because of illegal poaching and collecting. This ornithological oddity rests at the center of an installation whose clinical sparseness contrasts with the thickly populated ecosystems of Håkansson’s other work (or the Gardner Museum’s own claustrophobic interior, where the artist was in residence in 2003–2004). Håkansson is known for producing colonies of frogs croaking alongside trance beats, or insects

  • Black Power/Black September, 1968 Mexico City Olympics, 2006.
    picks March 27, 2006

    Daniel Joseph Martinez

    History hardens. Daniel Joseph Martinez’s show at the new LAXART space is above all about this calcification: Events stiffening into images and things. Bleak scenes from the 1972 Munich and 1968 Mexico City Olympics, emptied of figures, are flattened into photostats. The floor of the main gallery is congealed into lumpen asphalt and a border of squishy, lugubrious lard. Huge texts on the façade and walls of the gallery and a nearby billboard pose poetic and propagandistic fragments—cliché being thought crystallized into convention. Martinez has explored truisms before, in works like his buttons

  • Ecóle Samourai, 2005.
    picks March 23, 2006

    Rostarr

    Like an ersatz entertainment mogul, Rostarr (Romon Yang) has injected his graphic vision into everything from Nike advertisements to the rural murals of the Barnstormers graffiti crew. His current solo show, titled “Neospectives,” departs from this rubric of collective design (whether commodified, renegade, or both) for a series of experiments in sumi ink, acrylic, and even ballpoint pen. Unlike peers Ryan McGinness or Dave Kinsey, Rostarr’s new work veers into the gestural and abstract—a kind of late Pollock (think of the painter’s black duco enamel on raw canvas) for the skateboarding

  • Robert Whitman

    HARDLY ANYONE was in the tent when we arrived. The white marquee housed only a projection screen, chairs, and a bewildering array of cubed focaccia—resembling a car dealership promotion gone awry. But next door, an energetic crew radiating youthful hacktivism and elderly bohemia (and clearly not on their way to the Burlington Coat Factory across the parking lot) was taking over an abandoned Midas Muffler storefront, temporarily upgrading the building with an arsenal of video cell phones, titanium PowerBooks, a wireless router, and an audio mixer. Amidst this cinder-block terrain in Kingston,

  • “Son et Lumière”

    By now, sound and projected light commonly fill art galleries with a stroboscopic din and flash. It’s rare, however, that an exhibition self-consciously interrogates the terms of these synesthetic experiences or the technological means by which they are achieved. Curator Bill Arning’s “Son et Lumière” deftly did so, tying the contemporary flood of multisensory environments to its kitsch parallel: the large-scale sound-and-light show traditionally employed at historic monuments. If colored laser narratives at Cheops or Versailles offer a certain psychedelic rush uncannily recycled for each