Phil Taylor

  • Dora Maar, Untitled (Strange fountain), ca. 1934, gelatin silver print, 8 5⁄8 x 6 1⁄4". © Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/ADAGP, Paris.


    “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.

  • View of “Puppies Puppies,” 2016. Photo: Aurélien Mole.

    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, Rendition Two (Profile), 2016, ink-jet print on aluminum, 50 × 40".

    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, Live (Wild, Animal, Disco, Deviant), 2016, digital projection on curved screen, color, sound, 4 minutes 47 seconds. Song by Emilio Acevedo, montage by Martin Bautista. Installation view. Photo: Marc Domage.

    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, Hater Headlight, 2015, scooter headlights, powder-coated steel, 11 3/8 × 14 1/8 × 26".

    “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, Chocolate Figures. One., 2016, handmade wooden shovel, chocolate, acrylic on muslin, and mirror on wood panel, wooden frame, 48 × 35 × 4 3/4".

    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, Pel, 2015, HD video, color, sound, 8 minutes 40 seconds. Photo: Claire Dorn.

    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, Emissary Forks at Perfection (detail), 2015, ongoing live digital simulation, color, sound.

    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,

  • View of “Hudinilson Jr.,” 2015–16.
    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

  • Omer Fast, 5,000 Feet is the Best, 2011, digital video, color, sound, 30 minutes.
    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

  • View of “Ernesto Sartori,” 2015–16.
    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

  • Darja Bajagić, I am a bobo doll (the clown blowup dolls with the sand in the bottom, you hit them and they fall sideways to the floor but bounce back up...problem is leaks occur,, 2015, acrylic, canvas, cardboard, cow's blood, ink, paper prints, plastic drop-cloth, stage blood, UV print, 35 x 36”.
    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