Quinn Latimer

  • picks April 03, 2010

    Fabian Marti

    Fabian Marti is an expert maker—or shamanlike conjurer, say—of totemic images. See, for instance, Brot & Tod (Bread & Death), his oddly mystical 2005 image of a piece of sliced bread atop a skull (sacrosanct and sacrilege at once). His latest exhibition, however, finds the Zurich-based artist making use of actual totems, namely a faux African “primitivist” mask he found on the Internet. The mask’s familiar kitsch, in a range of eerily modified versions, pops up in surreal photograms that mine late Francis Picabia paintings, and in a series of three-dimensional white masks pierced by two white

  • picks February 16, 2010

    Lorna Macintyre

    Many contemporary artists make work that evokes the much-handled adjective poetic; surprisingly few, however, make use of actual poetry. Glasgow-based artist Lorna Macintyre falls into both camps, and with remarkable relish. The title of her latest exhibition, “Form and Freedom,” is gleaned from a William Carlos Williams phrase; many of the sculptures, photographs, and videos that compose it refer to T. S. Eliot’s seminal poems Four Quartets (1936–42) and The Waste Land (1922). When Macintyre’s works do not explicitly quote these texts, they make implicit reference to lyric poetry’s dominant

  • picks February 10, 2010

    Alice Channer, Dagmar Heppner, Alicja Kwade, and Maria Zahle

    Post-Minimalism was a kind of “feminizing of Minimalism,” curator Lynn Zelevansky has suggested. Though she was citing the movement’s investment in performance, process art, and Conceptualism, her observation might also be applied to numerous female artists working with Minimalist mores today—though they appear less interested in challenging its spartan formal strategies than in wedding them to materials that connote wittily feminine narratives. Such is the case with the four European artists whose works—citing fashion, design, and architecture—constitute this pithy, evocative group show.

    Maria

  • picks January 29, 2010

    “Old Ideas”

    Leonard Cohen originally called Dear Heather, his 2004 album, Old Ideas, a nod to its assemblage of literary and musical influences of yore. This month, the title—with the ardent wit and meaning of its original application intact—is taken up by the Berlin project space Silberkuppe (led by Dominic Eichler and Michel Ziegler) for a group show in Basel that engages numerous oldies—institutional critique, ideas of materiality and the built environment, feminist and queer theory—to surprisingly fresh effect. The exhibition’s crispness might have something to do with the breadth of its artists, who

  • picks November 28, 2009

    Piotr Janas

    In Piotr Janas’s latest paintings, planetary orbs spurt jets of blood, while elegant geometric shapes—a shimmering gold rectangle here, an austere black triangle there—face off against blobs of meat and tissue that spew shit or smoke or both. The Warsaw-based artist’s canvases, with their surreal admixture of geometric abstraction and organic, expressionistic figuration, have a dark, comic weirdness; their dreams of disgust and damage add up to a kind of high black comedy. It comes as no shock, then, that they were inspired by Antichrist (2009), Lars von Trier’s recent exploration of bodily and

  • picks November 20, 2009

    Stefan Burger

    Contemporary artworks that reference John Cage’s seminal 4' 33“ are a dime a dozen, yet few are imbued with the brilliantly pithy spirit of the original, from 1952. So it was with some surprise that I found myself spellbound by Stefan Burger’s 4' 33” (Dormicum IV), 2009. For the video, beautifully shot by Gabriel Sandru and Tolga Dilsiz, the artist takes the titular sleeping pill off camera, then sits down at a spotlit piano and begins to nod off. As Burger swoons over the keyboard in a physical struggle to stay awake, his movements strangely ape the familiar dramatic gestures of a concert

  • picks November 13, 2009

    Artur Zmijewski

    “Where is the world?!” wails a group of Palestinian women in Jerusalem during a weekly protest against Israeli occupiers in Artur Zmijewski’s singularly brilliant new video Democracies, 2009, one of two documentaries by the Polish artist that compose this exhibition. The women’s angry lament is a sobering corrective to 1980s-era sing-alongs like “We Are the World.” But their cry is also echoed by the marching crowds in the twenty-some public gatherings of varying political tenor—street demonstrations, state funerals, war reenactments, nationalistic football rioting, and mass religious services—that