Quinn Latimer

  • View of “Deliquescence of the Mother,” 2010.
    picks June 22, 2010

    Rosemarie Trockel

    One could be forgiven for viewing Rosemarie Trockel’s most recent and most astonishing survey, “Deliquescence of the Mother,” as a dream (or nightmare) of domesticity and its oft-gendered (dis)appointments. There are sofas, “hot plate” works, “knitted paintings,” and ceramic objects that project off the wall like exploded dishware, yet each piece—no matter how familial or housebound its reference or material—seems distilled through the wary brilliance of the mind. In one of the huge glass vitrines filled with sculptural works that punctuate the show, a black bust reveals a sleeping face adorned

  • Luis Camnitzer, The Photograph, 1981, laminated photograph, 11 x 13 3/4”.
    picks May 04, 2010

    Luis Camnitzer

    “In learning how to write, the first step was always to fill pages with letters. In art, it was to fill pages with horizontal and vertical parallel lines,” wrote Luis Camnitzer in a recent essay for the e-flux journal. That the Uruguayan Conceptual artist and writer’s observation should conjure so much of his own visual work—on view in this retrospective spanning 1966 to the present—is perhaps not a surprise, but it does make for a nice parallel. See, for example, This is a mirror. You are a written sentence, 1966–68. A white wall sign announcing the title in five horizontal lines of black

  • Pamela Rosenkranz, As One, 2010, acrylic paint on handmolded acrylic glass, 79 x 59". Installation view.
    picks April 27, 2010

    Pamela Rosenkranz

    The body is the central motif of Pamela Rosenkranz’s current exhibition, and yet, like some spectral suitor, it is everywhere anticipated and nowhere to be found. This is apt, however, as her primary concern appears to be the figure as understood—and perhaps embodied—by the mind. Nothing Unbound, 2009, for example, consists of two vertical, human-size mirrors that bisect each other like a cross. Viewers can make out myriad reflections, though none of these include the most expected—the viewer’s own.

    If physical absence is here indicated via a favored material of Conceptualism, two other series

  • View of “While Bodies Get Mirrored: An Exhibition About Movement, Formalism and Space,” 2010.
    picks April 06, 2010

    “While Bodies Get Mirrored: An Exhibition About Movement, Formalism and Space”

    The term performative has become weirdly pervasive lately, as has the elasticity of its meanings (in both the spectacle-on-stage sense and J. L. Austin’s or Judith Butler’s usage). Formalist objects, abstract photographs, and innumerable installations are wrapped in its bendy, rubber-band embrace, often to numbing effect—thus the relief provided by Migros’s incisive group show, whose many dance-y, movement-based works in various media provide truth in advertising, for once. The exhibition’s title conjures Joan Jonas’s seminal “Mirror” dances from the 1960s onward, but it is her contemporaries—Trisha

  • View of “Fabian Marti,” 2010.
    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

  • Lorna Macintyre, Neil, 2009, four gelatin-silver prints, stainless steel, 18 7/8 x 24 3/8".
    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

  • Alicja Kwade, Fernwirkung (Afar), 2009, glass, wood, copper, brass, 55 x 59 x 12". Installation view.
    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.


  • View of “Old Ideas,” 2010.
    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

  • Piotr Janas, Poster (Part 1), 2009, oil on canvas, 20 x 16".
    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

  • Stefan Burger, Besser arm dran als arm ab (It’s better to be poor than lose your arm), 2009, ink-jet print, anodized aluminum, text, 22 4/5 x 14 1/5 x 2 4/5".
    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

  • Artur Zmijewski, Democracies, 2009, still from a twenty-channel color video, 2 hours 26 minutes.
    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