Rachel Churner

  • 55th Carnegie International

    THE CARNEGIE INTERNATIONAL is the oldest contemporary art exhibition in North America—second in age worldwide only to the Venice Biennale—so it seems apt that its fifty-fifth incarnation is ambitious in scope and duration. Not only does this year’s installment, “Life on Mars,” take over almost the entire square footage of Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Museum of Art, but it also has an unusually long run of eight months, through January 2009. Scope and duration are not virtues in themselves, however, and here they may in fact accentuate many of the problems critics regularly find with such large-scale

  • Scott and Tyson Reeder

    Brothers Scott and Tyson Reeder are musicians, filmmakers (Scott’s feature-length Moon Dust is currently in postproduction), and curators (most notably, they helped organize the Dark Fair at the Swiss Institute last March and co-organized “Drunk vs. Stoned” at Gavin Brown’s Enterprise a few years back) and are among the owners of the Milwaukee gallery General Store. They are also painters. Although they have been shown together before, the Reeders’ paintings are decidedly one-man affairs, each brother’s work maintaining its independence in style, medium, and attitude. Besides their penchant for

  • picks July 01, 2008

    Danica Phelps

    Danica Phelps has been charting her activities and expenditures for over ten years. But now, she says in her open letter–cum–press release, she’s done with the meticulous lists and color-coded financial system; she’s done, in effect, with accounting for the past. “Material Recovery” is the result: a transitional exhibition that bids farewell to cataloguing and even, with her creation of a stripe-painting factory that allows buyers to purchase paintings created by a team of assistants at fifteen cents a stripe (minimum order: fifty thousand stripes), releases control of production. As an exhibition,

  • Angelo Filomeno

    Opulent symbolism does not equal erudition, but in the world of contemporary art we sometimes let things slide. We allow baroque excess to stand in for meaning, symbols to become trademarks that suggest generic “significance.” A diamond-encrusted skull becomes shorthand for violence, for excess, and, most of all, for Damien Hirst.

    Angelo Filomeno’s embroideries run the risk of inviting such facile reception. Lavishly sewn with metallic threads on silk stretched over canvas and often appliquéd with crystals and semiprecious stones, the works boast a sheer luxury matched only by the overdetermination

  • Nancy Spero

    MACBA's retrospective will present gestures of defiance in some two hundred collages, gouaches, lithographs, and paintings—from Spero's earliest works on paper as an Art Institute of Chicago student in the mid-1950s to her installation Maypole: Take No Prisoners, 2007.

    For more than fifty years, Nancy Spero has been, in her own words, “sticking [her] tongue out at the world” as a “woman silenced, victimized . . . hysterical.” MACBA's retrospective will present these gestures of defiance in some two hundred collages, gouaches, lithographs, and paintings—from Spero's earliest works on paper as an Art Institute of Chicago student in the mid-1950s to her installation Maypole: Take No Prisoners, 2007. Eschewing strict chronology, Manuel J. Borja-Villel's thematic organization should illuminate Spero's decades-long conflation of

  • Eleanor Antin

    This exhibition comprises twenty-three works from Eleanor Antin's series “The Last Days of Pompeii,” 2001, “Roman Allegories,” 2004, and “Helen's Odyssey,” 2007, along with videos documenting their creation and photographs and works on paper charting the artist's earlier projects and personae.

    Over a roughly thirty-year period, beginning in the early 1970s, Eleanor Antin portrayed herself in various photo-based works as a king, a nurse, and a ballerina. Recently, she moved behind the camera, staging large-scale photographic tableaux based on Greek and Roman history and mythology. This exhibition comprises twenty-three works from Antin's series “The Last Days of Pompeii,” 2001, “Roman Allegories,” 2004, and “Helen's Odyssey,” 2007, along with videos documenting their creation and photographs and works on paper charting the artist's earlier projects and personae.

  • An-My Lê

    Tucked between an installation of greatest hits from SF MoMA’s permanent collection and a show of Italian photographer Gabriele Basilico’s images of Silicon Valley, An-My Lê’s exhibition “Small Wars” is easy to miss. The exhibition, which consists of forty-seven large-format photographs of men playing war, includes two bodies of work about conflicts that are, in the American consciousness, anything but diminutive: The series “Small Wars,” 1999–2002, depicts a reenactment of Vietnam War battles in the forests of Virginia, and “29 Palms,” 2003– , records military exercises at Twenty-nine Palms (

  • The Peppers

    In 1991, Ludmila Skripkina and Oleg Petrenko, who as a duo are known as the Peppers, installed Potato Room at Ronald Feldman Gallery. The Peppers were part of a loose-knit group of artists, dubbed “Moscow conceptualists” in the early 1980s, whose best-known member was Ilya Kabakov. The ’91 show was their first—and until now their only—solo gallery exhibition in the US. The Potato Room included, among other things, six large paintings, six wall hangings made of peas and book fragments, and numerous potato sculptures, hung on and stacked atop cerulean blue walls and pedestals. Seven gnarled potato

  • OPENINGS: RUTH LASKEY

    RUTH LASKEY builds her pictures one thread at a time. With a minimum of means—three or four colors of thread she weaves geometric shapes into a ground of half-bleached linen: a chain of blue trapezoids (Twill Series [Ice Blue], 2007); two differently hued triangles that intersect to form a third (Twill Series [Deep Orange/Dark Brown/Purple], 2007); or green diamonds that overlap (Twill Series [Khaki Green/Resin Green], 2006). The works are not so much explorations as contemplations of color and form, and while they allude to Josef Albers’s studies of color interaction, they are too artfully

  • Kristian Kozul

    In his first solo exhibition in the US, Croatian artist Kristian Kozul surrendered completely to the allure of the American cowboy. But rather than fetishizing the dust and drought of the old West, he glams up the cowboy’s grit with sequins and studs. Of course, the cowboy has always been something of a dandy, with his embroidered button-downs, starched Wranglers, ostentatious belt buckles, and heeled boots, and the Marlboro Man’s ruggedness has always been as much a performance as the Rhinestone Cowboy’s glamour. Kozul’s gallery presentation of a pair of boots and a hat, star-spangled in red,

  • Tom Burr

    Like Burr's past work, which gave priority to Minimalist forms, characters, and discourses, the five new interrelated installations presented at SculptureCenter focus on moments in American art history—in this case, those involving the stateside reception of European modernism.

    The empty platforms and upended chairs in Tom Burr's previous sculptural tableaux made visitors feel as though they had arrived after the party was over. Such a sense of belatedness will likely also be part of the viewing experience here, given that it is the artist's first solo show in New York since 2003 and follows in the wake of two enthusiastically received Burr exhibitions in Europe. Like Burr's past work, which gave priority to Minimalist forms, characters, and discourses, the five new interrelated installations presented at SculptureCenter, and curated by Mary

  • “Greenwashing”

    Taking off from Robert Smithson's 1969 quip “As rockets go to the moon, the darkness around the earth grows deeper and darker,” curators Ilaria Bonacossa and Latitudes (Max Andrews and Mariana Cánapa Luna) have selected roughly twenty artists and artist groups, including Lara Almárcegui and A Constructed World, to respond to environmental concerns without resorting either to ecopositive finery or aestheticized entropy.

    With a title like “Greenwashing: Environment—Perils, Promises, and Perplexities,” one might expect a corporate exposé akin to Hans Haacke's projects of the 1970s. Not so. This group exhibition—featuring some twenty multimedia installations from the past five years—will address our current ecological crisis without pointing fingers. Taking off from Robert Smithson's 1969 quip “As rockets go to the moon, the darkness around the earth grows deeper and darker,” curators Ilaria Bonacossa and Latitudes (Max Andrews and

  • Collier Schorr

    Camouflaged in the trappings of the Vietnam era—well-worn fatigues, muscle cars, transistor radios, Jane Fonda—Collier Schorr’s recent exhibition spoke directly to contemporary conditions with one of the most powerful political statements to appear this fall. “There I Was” focused on Charlie “Astoria Chas” Snyder, a nineteen-year-old drag racer photographed by Schorr’s father in 1967 just before leaving for ’Nam. Snyder and his “Ko-Motion” Sting Ray Corvette were featured in CARS magazine, but Astoria Chas was killed in combat even before the issue hit newsstands. In this new body of

  • Marco Breuer

    Marco Breuer has never published a “Verb List” as Richard Serra has, but you get the feeling he has one secreted somewhere. His recent exhibition at Von Lintel Gallery, which presented fifteen years’ worth of his manipulations and mutilations of photographic materials, is a litany of infinitives: to cut, to sand, to scratch, to prick, to burn, to slice. Each action—frequently unnamed but hinted at in the exhibition checklist with phrases like “gelatin-silver paper, burned” or “chromogenic paper, scratched”—determines a work.

    For Untitled (Cloth II/100% Cotton), 1998, Breuer placed cotton gauze