Phil Taylor


    “Dora Maar” was slated to travel to the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles on April 21. It has been postponed due to COVID-19.

    WHEN APPROACHING A CONCAVE MIRROR, we initially see ourselves unsettlingly upside down. But there is a threshold at which the image momentarily disappears, only to reemerge, the world righted. What is the artistic equivalent of this phenomenon? Consider Dora Maar’s Le simulateur (The Pretender), 1935, a beguiling picture.* A figure bends improbably, his back arched away from a curved wall at the inflection point where the stone half-pipe floor snakes around the corner.

  • Puppies Puppies

    On the sweltering July evening of this exhibition’s opening, the artist who goes by the name of Puppies Puppies was planted on the sidewalk sporting a Statue of Liberty costume for the performance Liberté (all works cited, 2016). Draped in cheap sea-foam-green cloth, face concealed behind a rubbery mask, fake torch held aloft, the artist’s green-painted skin became streaked with sweat, staining the costume’s polyester stola. Lady Liberty marked a slight departure from Puppies’s growing pantheon of pop-cultural characters whose creaturely or monstrous bodies make them objects of disgust or

  • Artie Vierkant

    Having plumbed digital circulation and intellectual property in previous bodies of work, Artie Vierkant consolidated these interests with the exploration of a person’s physical “profile.” Intended as “a functional copy of that person,” Profile (all works 2016; “Profile” was also the exhibition title) is composed of three unexhibited elements: a full-body photogrammetry scan, audio recordings of the subject made with the intention of producing a synthetic voice, and a contract that formalizes the subject’s surrender of the intellectual property and personality rights belonging to these representational

  • Adriana Lara

    The antic force behind Adriana Lara’s work is essentially linguistic in nature. The artist makes hay of ideas and concepts, exploiting their capacity to promiscuously inhabit a form, only to migrate to another. In her recent exhibition “Eggsplotion,” resonances and resemblances ricocheted from work to work, leaving the viewer to unpack their arch logic. The titular neologism connotes contradictory possibilities: creative origins, culinary consumption, and destructive expenditures of energy—but also the premeditation of a plot.

    Visible from outside the gallery in its storefront vitrine were

  • “Yngve Holen: Verticalseat”

    Yngve Holen’s cannibalization of technological objects has yielded sculptures that feature the obscene orifices of fishnet-bound CT-scanner facades and the dreadful alien gazes of wall-mounted scooter headlights. Such products will make up the array of roughly forty new and recent works in his largest institutional show to date, the title of which nods to an airline scheme to pack in passengers at cut-rate prices. Holen’s reference to the explicit class stratification and corporeal bondage of commercial air travel is characteristic of his interest in the dialectic of

  • Edgar Arceneaux

    Drawing from imagery of childhood experience, Edgar Arceneaux’s exhibition “Cockeyed Eddie” may be understood in relation to the educational philosophy encapsulated by what the Germans call Bildung, which concerns the development of the individual through intellectual and moral cultivation. In part a process of reckoning with one’s own culture, Bildung also etymologically connotes picturing and shaping. Such impressions of the visual onto the self were evident in the exhibition title, which refers to the artist’s boyhood affliction with a form of diplopia, or double vision, that the press release

  • Zoe Williams

    Superficial concerns were at the heart of Zoe Williams’s exhibition “Pel,” whose title is an old French word for skin: The high-definition video, single photograph, and installation that occupied the gallery were a coordinated meditation on bodily surfaces and surface effects. Mauve satin curtains, draped to highlight their lustrous folds, covered the gallery windows; fluorescent light tubes were tinted magenta; cognac had been spilled on the carpet; and the room was frequently spritzed with perfume. A pile of cheap furs and sheepskins invited visitors to plop down in their midst to watch a

  • Ian Cheng

    Ian Cheng has described his craft as the sculpting of behavior: The figures that populate his virtual worlds are digital objects endowed—programmed—with tendencies and protocols that vary their interactions while also allowing for certain developments to recur. Cheng calls these works “live simulations”; they are essentially models of systems that are simulated in real time and visualized as digital animations to approximate human perception of space-time. As such, they incorporate features of cinema and video games but play themselves, unraveling without human input or influence,

  • picks January 12, 2016

    Hudinilson Jr.

    The photocopy machine revamped office labor—it was a new technology that gave us quick, clean, and guilt-free reproduction. The late Brazilian artist Hudinilson Jr. fully embraced the photocopier and wasn’t afraid of getting slow and sexy with it. His willingness to queer up the flatbed picture plane is explicit in Exercício de me ver, 1981, created from the artist pressing his naked body onto the exposure drum while periodically clicking “copy” until satisfied. The results depict him abstracted, fragmented, and flattened into swirls of hairy decor. A related work—untitled, undated, and stamped

  • picks January 07, 2016

    Omer Fast

    At the entrance to this exhibition, Omer Fast’s CNN Concatenated, 2002, addresses you with discomfiting intimacy: Familiar faces of American cable-news hector you in a (now ubiquitous) supercut-style montage. Words mined from disparate newscasts are recontextualized in the mouths of a surreal chorus that instigates the viewer’s anxieties, telling us how to feel. Near the bottom of the screen a litany of now historical events footnotes the entire scenario—among them 9/11 and its aftermath. The traumatic and disruptive core of the four video works in this show revolves around war. But the war is

  • picks December 22, 2015

    Ernesto Sartori

    Sharing a sickly, bloodless pastel palette, as if from a world whose vital fluids have been drained by some vampiric force, Ernesto Sartori’s gouache pictures and low-lying polychrome painted sculptures seem to refer to something, but you can’t locate the source. The sculptures, irregular agglomerations of platforms and smaller rectilinear volumes, hover strangely between functions, somehow not quite furniture, models, or architecture. With mismatched planes and unfinished plaster, the edges refuse to align flush, instead jutting out into odd facets. The novelty of their surface effects is

  • picks December 03, 2015

    Darja Bajagić

    Darja Bajagić tills gruesome terrain—the realm of the naked and the dead—but her use of violent and pornographic materials isn’t unilateral. The first painting encountered here features the masks of tragedy and comedy. It’s one of four dark collage-like paintings that incorporate snapshots of teenage girls—possibly victims—alongside nudes and images of slashed or bound female figures in dense layers of cutout canvas, acrylic paint, and a patchwork of plastic sheeting. It’s not clear what’s real and what’s staged in these works, which is further confused by the application of cow’s blood and

  • David Douard

    Bastardized and truncated forms of language motivate David Douard’s approach to sculpture. The improvised elisions and contractions in vernacular discourse and the inclusiveness of a vague pronoun coursed through communication technologies, bodily and electronic alike, in his exhibition “Bat-Breath. Battery.” The desire to render such phenomena visible was most obviously embodied in six square shadow boxes, which, corresponding in size to a large cutout excised by the artist in a wall connecting two gallery spaces, suggested cross-sections of the building’s hidden electrical interior. Several

  • picks November 19, 2015

    Pepo Salazar

    Punctuated by interruptions—synthetic iPhone and Skype jingles bleating from an amp in the corner, a metal bar planted just inside the gallery door assuring an awkward entrance, another bisecting the gallery horizontally at mid-torso—Pepo Salazar’s exhibition reproduces a distracted delirium we know all too well. Sure, there’s relaxing ukulele chords strumming from the video installation, Hashtag me please, #Zzz,zzz (excitotoxicity pro-performance cascade). Two yellow faces (all works 2015). But these abruptly break off into aggro ads and pop anthems, just like your favorite streaming service.

  • picks November 12, 2015

    Kapwani Kiwanga

    Kapwani Kiwanga’s exhibition “Continental Shift” is concerned with the intersection of geology and imagination. The Strait of Gibraltar, which is ground zero for the eventual collision of Europe and Africa’s tectonic plates, features in a projected video, Strata (all works 2015), capturing electric colors dancing across the stalactites of a sound and light show at St. Michael’s Cave in the Rock of Gibraltar—a cavern once believed to connect to Morocco. Kiwanga also presents materials from archives and natural-history collections related to the strait, including proposals to construct an “

  • picks November 12, 2015

    Thomas Demand

    Thomas Demand’s distinctive process of producing photographs that plumb terms of representation has long engaged architecture. This current exhibition features a series of pictures of models found in the Tokyo offices of SANAA. With a blanched palette, they’re almost black and white, save for a stray lilac or marigold scrap of tape here and there. In contrast, the gallery is darkened by a trompe l’oeil of chocolaty wrapping paper covering the walls, its creases partitioning them into a grid. By installing this wallpaper, Demand ensures that illusion and material presence come into close dialogue,

  • Korakrit Arunanondchai

    Stepping into Korakrit Arunanondchai’s exhibition “Painting with history in a room filled with people with funny names 3,” one had the sensation of entering the set of a music video, an elaborately contrived nightclub, an “imagineered” theme park gone off the rails, a temple decked out in polychrome ritual paraphernalia—or indeed some synthesis of all of these. In other words: a spectacularized Gesamtkunstwerk.

    Filling two spaces—one associated with the body and one with the spirit—linked by a darkened corridor, the exhibition, curated by Julien Fronsacq, was billed as the epilogue

  • picks October 16, 2015

    Shanta Rao and Jo-ey Tang

    As a late addition or repair, a patch can extend the life of an object, whether software or streetwear. But it is also a bonding agent, as in this exhibition titled “Patch,” bringing together the work of Shanta Rao and Jo-ey Tang. Slight gradations of tone and texture flicker across the exquisite surfaces of Rao’s untitled abstractions (all works 2015), which are wrought from silk-screen impressions and punched indentations on rubber, linoleum, heavy black paper, or copper sheeting. Technically prints, they are also translations wherein the coded information of a pixel is reconstituted as a

  • picks October 06, 2015

    Aaron Flint Jamison

    Craft improbably collides with the aesthetics of network administration in Aaron Flint Jamison’s latest exhibition, where the mainframe is 2x Scrypt Huffer, 2014. Kitted out with turned-wood conduits and mounted to the wall, a lacquered black box—think floating minifridge—houses a shimmering array of application-specific integrated circuits. This processing hub is tethered to a terminal constructed from purple heartwood, a dense material whose enduring appeal to the artist might lie in its sheer resistance to manipulation. With its monitor at face height, the standing workstation incorporates

  • picks September 22, 2015

    Nina Könnemann

    Nina Könnemann’s ethnography of micro gestures and marginal spaces continues with the video What’s New, 2015. Projected silently and clocking in at three minutes and forty-three seconds, it’s calibrated to YouTube-era attention spans. But such brevity belies the extended observation undergirding its absorbing ends. The video surveys a single street-level billboard in Berlin over an indeterminate period of time, its posters changing along with the seasons. Variously framed to either show the whole display or focus on salient details, footage of the site is intercut with shots of concerts, a