Nicolas Linnert

  • Enzo Camacho and Amy Lien

    “It’s hard to get kids to cooperate . . . ,” a woman laments in Enzo Camacho and Amy Lien’s short video Mother Holding Taobao Child (all works 2018). “My kid is only two and a half years old.” In a photography studio located on the outskirts of the Chinese city of Yiwu, she speaks between the sounds of shutter releases and camera flashes, as her child is photographed modeling for an e-commerce website. This eastern metropolis in Zheijiang Province is home to a vast emporium of more than seventy-five thousand shops and stalls selling cheaply produced goods, most of which can be had for about a

  • McDermott & McGough

    Titled “Hollywood (Homosexual) Hopeful,” this exhibition comprised more than a dozen new paintings purportedly first made in the 1960s—all works cited here, for example, bear the dates 1965/2017. The three large paintings that formed the most immediately cohesive grouping in the show were located in a small white shed next to the gallery’s back patio, evoking a typical artist’s studio for a hobbyist painter in this Los Angeles beachside neighborhood (the gallery is located in Venice). The works depict mid-century interiors in the manner of real estate photography—the scenes are spotless

  • Oliver Payne

    A jar of jelly beans, a replica of a charred Game Boy console, a set of inked fingerprints on a plastic sheet—these were some of the items included in Oliver Payne’s exhibition “Seven Objects.” This title, which corresponded to the number of works installed, is a reference to Miller’s Law, which states that, on average, the human mind can account for seven objects in its working memory. George Miller, a pioneer in the field of cognitive psychology, cites multiple examples supporting his theory in his watershed 1955 text “The Magical Number Seven, Plus or Minus Two”: the seven seas, the

  • “Eau de Cologne”

    Monika Sprüth, reflecting in 2015 on the inaugural “Eau de Cologne,” a group exhibition mounted at her gallery in tandem with 1985’s Art Cologne fair, characterized the show’s all-woman roster as an incidental that caught her unaware—a calculated claim that served as a sly rejoinder to the art world’s patriarchal exclusivity, which dominated then and persists today. Since that moment, “Eau de Cologne” has maintained an iterative existence, reappearing in 1987 and 1993 and then in 2015 and 2016. Successive stagings would include new artists alongside the work of a few veterans from the 1985

  • picks October 14, 2016

    Art & Language

    Fifty years separate the two series of work on view here by Art & Language, the fiercely Conceptualist collaborative that originated in 1966 and began to publish its namesake journal in 1969. Four works from “Paintings I,” 1966, a characteristically text-based series of ink on paper adhered to wood, span two walls of the diminutive gallery. Nearby is “These Scenes,” 2016, comprising five framed works that visually summon Kazimir Malevich’s 1915 monochrome Black Square. Like the 1960s works, “These Scenes” extends the spare aesthetic and rigorous intellectualism that formed Art & Language’s

  • picks September 23, 2016

    Sam Lipp

    At Yany’s Beauty Salon on Rivington Street, a handful of mostly Hispanic workers can be seen spraying hair products and administering heating regimens over casual chatter, while a distinct trace of aerosol and burnt keratin wafts outside. Next door, beside Yany’s magenta street signage, a work by Sam Lipp, Do You Smell Fumes? (all works 2016), displays its inquisitive title in electric green neon. Inside the gallery, the same thought becomes an aesthetic motif, interrogating notions of purity as they extend to common understandings of wellness, security, and normalized social relations. But, in

  • John Baldessari

    Writing in these pages in 1995, art historian Lane Relyea remarked, “When you’ve experienced as much success as Baldessari has, you probably aren’t too worried about how urgent and timely your art looks, yet, without even trying, Baldessari’s still does.” Between then and now, the artist has rooted his legacy in Los Angeles, both as a significant pedagogical figure and as the subject of numerous touring museum retrospectives. This recent exhibition at Sprüth Magers, which inaugurated the gallery’s California venue, presented sixteen large ink-jet prints on canvas. All of the works featured found

  • Jean Baudrillard

    Las Vegas, 1996: The photograph depicts a craggy, mountainous desert horizon forming a silhouette against patchy sheets of clouds and the broad blue daylight above them. A stagnant haze lingers at the foothills, punctured by outlines of palm trees and aircraft tail fins. The stretch of tarmac in the image’s foreground appears as hazy as the dense fog above it. Commercial jets and ground-control vehicles are darkened outlines, obscured by directional daylight. Sainte Beuve, 1987: A vacant armchair upholstered in red velvet is framed against a blank white wall seemingly under bright, studio

  • “Assisted”

    “Assisted,” a vibrant group exhibition curated by Jessica Stockholder, was predominantly installed on the second floor of Kavi Gupta, above Stockholder’s concurrent solo show “Door Hinges.” Many of the artists included were either Stockholder’s friends or her former pupils; she had selected them based on a mutual interest in the “potential of alternative exhibition modalities.” This theme of nonconformist show organization, stressed throughout “Assisted,” was introduced with the placement of Tony Tasset’s Cup (2), 2013—a bronze cast, painted white, of a spirally torn Styrofoam cup—atop

  • David Hockney

    Around 2008, when David Hockney began making work on iPhones, the artist opined, “Who would have thought that the telephone would bring back drawing?” It was a glib statement for a painter who clearly relishes the opportunity to remind audiences of his engagement with new technology. After all, in hindsight (several years and countless Apple hard- and software updates later), Hockney’s remark would seem to reveal a strikingly limited understanding of the smartphone. Even as far back as 2009, the majority of its users only sporadically accessed the device’s application for making direct calls.

  • picks October 02, 2015

    “Terrapin”

    If art and wildlife have any correlation, a lover of both might evoke their propinquity to the sublime. “Terrapin,” organized by Magnus Schaefer, takes a direct, albeit frisky point of departure: Each work—save for one—features representations of animals, often conjured through differing levels of anthropomorphic adjustment. So the question could be posed, What is the sublime to an animal, and how do humans represent such? The answer, it would appear here, lies in absurdity and sex.

    We might first examine the grouping’s exception: Bethenny, 2015, a swirling oil-on-canvas work by Lise Soskolne.

  • picks September 25, 2015

    Anthea Hamilton

    “Lichen! Libido! Chastity!” Anthea Hamilton’s debut solo museum exhibition in the US is an arrangement replete with ostensibly handcrafted objects that engage desire and fetish. Such discrete works include suites of knobby eating utensils, precarious chastity belts, and flamboyant knee-high boots. Here, parts of everyday life are taken as whole—that is, as whole worlds of their own—in which marketing, pleasure, design, and biology influence the objects’ composition and comprehension.

    Of the five boot sculptures on view, Natural Livin’ Boot (all works 2015) is a droll pastiche of earthy-chic media

  • picks September 11, 2015

    Wu Tsang

    For Wu Tsang, dialogue is the primary actor by which subjectivities are accorded representation. In the artist’s latest outing, her voice musingly floods the gallery, in dissonance with that of writer and theorist Fred Moten. This audio track, playing independently from the images on display, forms half of Miss Communication and Mr: Re, 2014, a two-channel work that pays homage to a fortnight when Moten and Tsang delivered each other lengthy voicemails. Both their countenances play respectively over HD screens, which the artist has positioned like portraits. Tsang and Moten silently drift in

  • picks August 06, 2015

    “Villa Aurora Revisited”

    A collective imaginary exists surrounding Los Angeles that is characterized by its contradictions: arcadian but synthetic, decadent yet arid—an impossible paradise for the far-flung West. “Villa Aurora Revisited,” organized by the Los Angeles gallery Park View, makes a dissociated, retrospective musing of California’s sprawling metropolis through works by artists who spent time at Villa Aurora, a residency program housed in its Spanish-style mansion overlooking the Pacific coast.

    “The apparent ease of California life is an illusion, and those who believe the illusion real live here in only the

  • picks May 22, 2015

    Seth Price

    For an exhibition of more than sixty items produced largely since the turn of the millennium, “Drawings: Studies for Works 2000–2015” coheres with an unusual syncopation. Little wonder that these ink-jet prints, gouaches, ink drawings, and other media works on view by Seth Price, whose heterogeneous output has often concerned distribution as much as it has distraction. Some pieces such as Books are Weapons, 2003, read as bits or fragments from a broader narrative, as if excerpted from an author’s meandering plot: This pen-and-graphite drawing displays a cartoonish publication against an upright,

  • N. Dash

    N. Dash’s first solo museum exhibition was staged in the Hammer’s distinctive Vault Gallery; with its diminutive, bullet-shaped floor plan and arched ceiling, the chamber is one of the museum’s more unusual spaces, and the room’s obdurate layout underscored the role of architecture within Dash’s incisive painting practice. Here the artist mounted five untitled paintings, all 2014. A series of unframed photographs depicting frayed, curling fabric were interspersed between the seductive planar compositions, and similar images were embedded, marquee-like, within the backlit panels dotting the

  • picks March 06, 2015

    Taslima Ahmed

    Risky scenarios clash with compulsions toward stability in “I: A High Stakes Gamble,” Taslima Ahmed’s New York solo debut. Including a factious composite of glossy PVC-laden prints and sculptures, wall-embedded security safes, and a two-player card-game sculpture, the exhibition questions contemporary art’s relationships with uncertainty. Seven laminated C-prints mounted to Sintra populate the gallery walls, each of which displays an atmospheric, digitally rendered environment punctured by subtle moments of urgency. Helter Skelter (all works 2015) shows a struggling pair of hands clutching the

  • picks February 13, 2015

    Peter Hutton and James Benning

    It has only been a few years since Peter Hutton and James Benning began working with film in a digital format. In these artists’ two-person exhibition, one sees a trio of three-channel video installations. The works here advance—both topically and technically, as descendants of analog—the argument that cinema’s once-dominant aesthetic status has given way to more flexible, immersive moving forms.

    Hutton’s At Sea, 2004–07, originally a single-channel 16-mm silent film, is here digitally converted and split into three distinct elements. Each frame documents a different stage of a cargo ship from

  • OPENINGS: HENNING FEHR AND PHILIPP RÜHR

    BETWEEN MAY '68 and the military-postindustrial complex, between Situationism and the Situation Room, the word situation may well appear depleted—a term that once held promises of utopian revolution now repurposed as the vacant, adjudicated language of bureaucracy and crisis. But the young Düsseldorf-based duo Henning Fehr and Philipp Rühr give the term new currency: They embrace “situations” as the thrust of their work. The noun is suggestive in this context not only because it aptly describes the varied episodes from contemporary urban life that are typically the focus of the artists’

  • Josh Brand

    In his 1981 essay “The Cancerous Image,” the writer, critic, and photographer Hervé Guibert narrates the tale of a photograph he stole from someone’s home by hiding it beneath his coat. The purloined image showed an unidentified young man gazing soberly toward his unknown photographer. The writer’s unfolding relation with the print quickly evinces his obsession with and wholehearted belief in photography’s capacity to stir he spirit: “The photograph became the boy and the back of the photograph became the boy’s back. . . . And my affection for it became more and more abstract as the paper became