Nick Stillman

  • The Yes Men, still from Dow Chemical Identity Correction, BBC World Service, 2004.
    picks October 23, 2005

    “If It’s Too Bad to Be True, It Could Be Disinformation”

    From Bush’s infamous “Mission Accomplished” speech to his cabinet’s grave testimonies that WMDs were doubtlessly stockpiled in Iraq, disinformation-dispersal is this administration’s special brand of evil genius. Curator Mercedes Vicente’s “If It’s Too Bad to Be True, It Could Be Disinformation” brings together work by artists and politically-motivated interventionists that reveals how information control is used by the media, corporations, and governmental bodies to, in Chomsky’s words, “manufacture consent.” Martha Rosler’s 1985 installation—which provides the title for the exhibition—combines

  • Rut (detail), 2005.
    picks September 12, 2005

    Jean-Pierre Gauthier

    Jean-Pierre Gauthier might have unwarranted trouble on his hands if the US Department of Homeland Security comes a-knockin’ at Jack Shainman, where the Canadian artist’s overwhelming sound sculpture Rut, 2005, is on view. Its knotty tangles of wires connecting black boxes to microphones, speakers, mixers, and a bevy of scavenged objects make it look like an elaborate homemade bomb hunkering in the gallery’s main space, although the piece is actually a clamorous kinetic sculpture that merges the legacies of Italian Futurism, Jean Tinguely, and John Cage. Microphones amplify the noise of junk

  • Sophy Naess, Cabinet of Affordable Dental Care, 2005.
    picks August 03, 2005

    “No Apology for Breathing”

    “No Apology for Breathing” presents exactly what we didn't see enough of during the crucial summer of 2004—an intelligent group show that considers American political culture without preaching or sinking into half-baked one-liners. Organizer Matthew Lusk (who contributes three pieces) buttresses the installation by importing a model of the façade of McCarren Park Pool (a local WPA project built in 1936), gesturing toward the show's guiding concept—the shift in national consciousness and concepts of governmental responsibility that occurred between the New Deal era and today. Lawrence

  • Three-Day Weekend Small Stained Glass with Mirror, 2004–2005.
    picks June 26, 2005

    Vitaly Komar

    Vitaly Komar’s first solo exhibition, after decades as half of the celebrated duo Komar and Melamid, elegantly proposes a spiritual truce between members of different faiths and beliefs. The holy day for Muslims is Friday, for Jews, Saturday, and for Christians, Sunday. Thus Komar calls for a more culturally inclusive (and temporally expansive) definition of “weekend,” undermining traditions of work that have most people behind desks or on their feet for forty-plus hours per week. In support of his proposition for a three-day weekend, he shows stained glass, paintings, and several montages. Each

  • Still from Truth Stories 2, 2005.
    picks June 21, 2005

    Sarah Gregg Millman

    The women starring in Sarah Gregg Millman’s videos look plenty Godardian in their striped shirts and heavy eyeliner, yet as they tell their tales of life and leisure (the monologue being a favorite technique of New Wave directors), their Valley-girl vacancy is revealed as a construct, an ironic criticism of what the press release calls New Wave cinema’s use of women as “empty vessels for the directors’ political ideas.” Millman’s work manifests a wry awareness of the fact that, despite the efforts of Cindy Sherman et al., little has changed in how the camera encourages the stereotyping of

  • Dull Roar, 2005. Installation view.
    picks May 17, 2005

    Michael Rakowitz

    Given New York’s current Freedom Tower-related dysfunction, Michael Rakowitz’s architectural propositions seem especially timely. Rakowitz is best known for his paraSITE pieces, portable shelters custom-made for homeless tenants from plastic bags that inflate via the warm air emitted by urban buildings’ HVAC systems. The centerpiece of his current exhibition of inflatable architecture, drawings, and mini-monuments is Dull Roar, 2005, an imposing inflatable scale model of the ‘50s Minoru Yamasaki-designed Pruitt-Igoe housing project in St. Louis that was demolished before a cheering crowd in

  • Still from Some Butterflies, 1975.
    picks May 16, 2005

    Jack Goldstein

    In two current exhibitions of paintings, short videos, and seven-inch sound-effects records from the mid-‘70s to the mid-‘80s, the work of Jack Goldstein (1945–2003) is just as conceptually acute as it is easy on the eyes. At Metro Pictures, Goldstein’s gorgeous yet dissonant paintings seem to be based on photographs capturing nature at its most awe-inspiring (lightning flashes, volcanic eruptions). But does nature really exist in such luscious Technicolor? Uptown at Mitchell-Innes & Nash are several more paintings, nine handsome 7-inch discs, and an exceptional loop of his beautiful, spare

  • Forever (Mouse), 2005.
    picks April 26, 2005

    Meredith Allen

    Why do people collect things? Does ownership result in empowerment? Is collecting just a way to focus on a specific task, to pass the time, to make a buck on a hunch, or to unleash Walter Benjamin's “spring tide of memories”? Meredith Allen's series of photos at Sarah Bowen Gallery depict her mother's ample collection of a coveted early '90s plaything: Beanie Babies. Shot against bright monochromatic backdrops that appear to be close-ups of rugs, Ma Allen's sad sacks are stored in Ziploc bags, and the suffocating enclosures become as much the protagonists of her daughter's photographs as the

  • _Untitled, New York (2004) (DSC5525), 2004.
    picks April 09, 2005

    Eliot Shepard

    In the fleeting seconds when most people are thinking, “Man, I wish I had a camera right now,” Eliot Shepard, it seems, has already left the scene with a Canon-ful of great shots. His photos epitomize the photo blogger aesthetic-candid snapshots, often laced with humor—so it's appropriate that Shepard maintains Slower.net, one of the more revered sites in the photo blogosphere. The best shots in “Slower” expose excruciating moments of urban tension, like the aftermath of a high-heeled reveler's sidewalk wipe-out or a black flower salesman hawking white roses to an all-white crowd on the

  • Condoleezza Rice and Jordy (Levar Burton), 2005. Installation view.
    picks February 24, 2005

    Peter Caine

    In the film Breathless, Jean-Paul Belmondo tells Jean Seberg, “You Americans love the stupidest French.” According to Peter Caine, we Americans also love the stupidest Americans. Caine’s thirty-nine animatronic mannequins, many of them life-sized, gleefully lampoon some very visible figures from recent and distant American history. A slim sampler of what “Domo Arigato, Mr. Roboto” has to offer: Michael Jackson dangling a prepubescent boy upside down by his ankles (both Jackson and boy sport erections); an NYPD officer with a grotesque pig’s head, protectively cradling a box of donuts; Levar

  • White Pom-Pons, 2005. Installation view.
    picks February 18, 2005

    Goran Tomcic

    Employing store-bought objects as raw material for art has become a common enough strategy to be considered hackneyed, yet Goran Tomcic’s installations of twine, cotton balls, and various crafty doodads achieve a modest beauty because of their economy—both gestural and financial. Tomcic’s two installations at Participant betray an affinity for dollar-store trawling and prove him to be a thrifty artist capable of turning cheap materials into serene and gorgeous works of art. A Shimmering Heart (Silver), 2005, a rectangular heap of one million little Mylar hearts, more than hints at the influence

  • “Welcome to My Homepage Artshow.” Exhibition view.
    picks January 20, 2005

    Cory Arcangel

    Overheard from one of the few over-thirty attendees at the opening of Cory Arcangel’s first solo at Team: “This is way too fun.” Bleeps and bloops from the hilariously underwhelming Nipod v.2 (all works 2004) and the absurd video Cat Rave provide the show’s soundtrack, and the majority of the imagery is generated from hacked vintage Nintendo cartridges, Arcangel’s primary source. Nipod v.2 is a projection of a crudely animated iPod that viewers can scroll through with NES controllers to bump a selection of Arcangel-programmed party jamz derived from tinny Nintendo sound effects (his version of