Patricia Briggs

  • Roman Signer

    Though a finalist for the 2008 Hugo Boss Prize (or perhaps the winner, by the time this magazine hits the stands), Roman Signer is not well known in the United States; in fact, before the Rochester Art Center’s recent exhibition, his work had not seen a large-scale survey in the US since the Cranbrook Art Museum staged one in 1997. Born in Switzerland in 1938, Signer has been working for the past three decades in a poetic style that mobilizes chance, humor, found objects, and a distinctive type of performance, which is often presented in film. From our perspective today, Signer’s pared-down

  • “Brave New Worlds”

    The Walker Art Center’s “Brave New Worlds,” curated by Doryun Chong and Yasmil Raymond, features twenty-four artists from around the globe and presents artistic practice as a means of exploring place and time in a world flattened by digital technologies, spectacle, and “free trade.” Like Jorge Macchi’s Liliput, 2007, included in the show, in which national boundaries are cut apart and reconstructed into unfamiliar continents through chance correspondence, “Brave New Worlds” features artists from countries that are geographically distant from one another, but whose cultures, economies, populations,

  • Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle

    A recent exhibition of Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle’s work at the Rochester Art Center presented new sculptures and audio works alongside reconfigurations of existing projects. Among those not previously exhibited was Portrait of a Young Reader, 2006, from the artist’s ongoing series “DNA Portraits.” This example diverges in form and meaning from earlier entries, large, colorful C-prints based on the results of DNA testing that feature the blotchy bands familiar from crime documentaries. Young Reader presents us instead with a strip of small, colored disks derived from DNA microarray analysis. Rather

  • Ulrike Heydenreich

    In her exhibition “Preparatory Objects,” Ulrike Heydenreich employed the tools and practices of physical science in an attempt to untangle the chaos of sensory phenomena and understand the human subject’s drive to explore new frontiers. Heydenreich’s portable drawing devices, diagrams of future inventions, and images inspired by navigational equipment are at once art objects with metaphorical significances and utilitarian tools designed to prepare the artist for expeditions into unknown territory.

    The two drawing devices at the center of the show are elaborately extended drawing boards designed

  • Santiago Cucullu

    In Santiago Cucullu’s recent solo exhibition, wall sculptures constructed from paper table skirting (the disposable kind you find at “party paper” outlets) acted as a minimalist counterpoint to giant contact-paper murals and delicate watercolors portraying gallows and other equipment associated with capital punishment. The festoons of crepe paper and the watercolors’ bright hues stood in contrast to the installation’s formal and conceptual rigor. Each paper panel, for example, could be read simultaneously as a swatch of pure color and as a consumer product—rendering it a kind of hybrid readymade.

  • “Painting at the Edge of the World”

    AN EXHIBITION featuring thirty international artists, “Painting at the Edge of the World” reported on the embattled status of painting after a century's worth of challenges from all sides. The medium has suffered attacks by Conceptualists and performance artists; by modernists like Piet Mondrian and Clement Greenberg, who hypothesized that painting's ultimate goal was to paint itself out of existence; and, more recently, by poststructuralist-inspired theories of authorship, which targeted the transcendental I/eye implicit in painting since the Renaissance. Yet if this exhibition is any indication,

  • Shannon Kennedy

    FOR MORE THAN A DECADE, Shannon Kennedy's work has focused on the body, scrutinizing its surfaces in search of the secret logic of identity embodied in flesh. In the mid-'90s, Polaroid self-portraits featuring abstracted images of the artist's face gave way to sprawling collages pieced together from repeated photographs of a single body part—an ear, armpit, forearm, and so forth. For a 1999 piece, Building 4 (soap factory), Kennedy used a tiny video camera, designed to enable examination of the digestive tract, to explore the cracks, crevices, and dusty comers of an aging building. Here

  • Luis González Palma

    Walter Benjamin’s phrase “quiet exposure,” which he aptly used as a description of the peculiar silence that permeates nineteenth-century daguerreotype portraits, comes to mind when confronted with the sober faces pictured in the recent work of Guatemalan photographer Luis González Palma. Purposefully choosing to eschew artificial light and high-tech equipment, González Palma works with his sitters one-on-one, capturing expressions that are difficult to read but suggest contemplation, confrontation, melancholy, and sorrow.

    In the recent exhibit, his signature sepia-toned, black-and-white photographs

  • “Art Performs Life”

    As its title, “Art Performs Life,” suggests, the common thread in the work of each of the dancer/choreographers examined in this exhibition—Merce Cunningham, Meredith Monk, and Bill T. Jones—is a commitment to disrupting the boundaries traditionally drawn between “art” and “life” in both planning and performing dance. In that sense, this aesthetic outlook grounds these artists’ work in the most iconoclastic avant-garde tradition of the twentieth century, going back to the collaborative performances of Dadaist cabaret and the Happenings and performance art of the ’50s and ’60s.


  • “Sculpture on Site”

    “Sculpture on Site” promised to display not only the work of Twin Cities artists Dorit Cypis, Chris Larson, and Robert Fischer but the artists themselves, as they each produced a piece specifically for the show. If the conceit sounds spectacular, like an ethnographic display of exotic peoples at a turn-of-the-century universal exposition, the Walker offered its public a rare and valuable glimpse of artists at work by inviting these three sculptors to treat the gallery as if it were their own studio.

    Fischer’s oddly comforting Cargo Plane (all works 1998) took shape during June. For several years