Robert-Jan Muller

  • Ellsworth Kelly, Blue Ripe, 1959, oil on canvas, 60 x 60".
    picks November 21, 2016

    Ellsworth Kelly

    Inaugurating the newly opened Museum Voorlinden (an initiative of Dutch collector Joop Van Caldenborgh) is the first posthumous Ellsworth Kelly exhibition, which features the painting Blue Ripe, 1959, one of Caldenborgh’s earliest purchases, as a central work. Presenting an impression rather than an overview of the artist’s oeuvre, “Ellsworth Kelly, Anthology” nonetheless includes eighty works—both paintings (from Atlantic, 1956, to White Form over Black, 2015) and works on paper. Curator Rudi Fuchs arranged the works in the galleries with the ease of someone molding wax, creating a spatial

  • Charlemagne Palestine, Divinitusssanimalusssacréusssorganusss, 2014, mixed media, dimensions variable.
    picks March 21, 2016

    Charlemagne Palestine

    Charlemagne Palestine’s huge Bösendorfer Imperial grand piano, with which he gives live performances (Musicaaacontinuaaameshuganaaa, 2016), is the centerpiece of this show, with seven rooms that include a display of video work from the 1970s, maquettes, and sketches of past projects (In Search of God Bear, 1987, for documenta 8), as well as more recent paintings and installations.

    But the multicolored explosion of stuffed animals makes the main impression here: Thousands of them, scattered about the gallery rooms, embody the meshuga part of the work’s title. A merging of several artistic disciplines,

  • Sybren Renema, Study for the death mask of an average Romantic, 2012-2014, plaster cast of a 3-D print, 11 x 7 x 5".
    picks December 03, 2015

    Sybren Renema

    Sybren Renema is a man of tall tales, and in this exhibition he seems particularly inspired by the larger-than-life artists and explorers of the Romantic age. Twenty-two sculptures, collages, neons, and digital prints all refer to such grand themes as exploring unknown territory (whether it be geographic or mental), the decadence of producing poetry under the influence, man in awe of nature, and the preoccupation with death. The show’s title, “The Milk of Paradise,” refers to the last sentence of Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s 1816 poem “Kubla Khan,” alluding to the delight of opium use. Renema also

  • picks August 10, 2015

    Tino Sehgal

    Not long ago, I earned a well-deserved three Euros for sharing my thoughts on capitalism with what seemed to be a Stedelijk Museum employee facilitating Tino Sehgal’s “situation” This is Exchange, 2002. It was the fifth of the twenty or so situations that the Stedelijk is presenting throughout 2015, in the largest exhibition of his work to date. A week later, when I returned with a friend, the compensation had gone down to two Euros, as the budget didn’t reflect the overwhelming public attention the situation received—a convincing illustration of capitalist supply and demand.

    Generally Sehgal’s

  • Jerry Zeniuk, Listen to Me Look at Me, 2014, oil on linen, 20 x 20".
    picks April 13, 2015

    Jerry Zeniuk

    Although Jerry Zeniuk’s variously colored dots, alternately outlined with woolly edges or sharply defined, seem to take center stage in this exhibition, the space in which they hover is equally important. The canvas in between the dots strangely defines the playful character of these paintings as much as the brightly hued oil orbs do.

    His series of seven small canvases from 2014, called “Listen to Me Look at Me,” inspired by seven musical pieces composed, performed, and recorded especially for Zeniuk by the cellist Ernst Reijseger, form the focal point of this show. The artist initially tried

  • Rory Pilgrim, Sacred Repository N.1: Violently Speaking, 2014, HD video, color and black and white, sound, 14 minutes 57 seconds.
    picks March 06, 2015

    Rory Pilgrim

    Rory Pilgrim would seem to want to return to the world a sense of community and belonging. Rituals, lyrics, songs, and banners are often part of his work, implying that words speak louder than actions. In this installation, Pilgrim’s broad tale in defense of purity includes a photograph he took as a boy, Untitled, 2002, of a young girl standing in front of a Portland rock wall on the southern coast of England. The long hair covering her face gives her an enigmatic appearance resembling a Medardo Rosso portrait. Further along in the gallery are three photos dating from 1949, of Le Corbusier’s UN

  • “View of Chto Delat,” 2014
    picks January 13, 2015

    Chto Delat

    Known for distancing itself from Manifesta 10 during the Crimean crisis, the Russian collective Chto Delat has since its founding in 2003 established itself in a lineage of activist artist groups ranging from Art & Language to the Guerrilla Girls.

    The group’s dedication to raising awareness recurs throughout this show. A Resurrected Soldier, 2014, is a monumental paper sculpture of an angelic figure, battered and torn with only one pink-colored wing left. The work recreates the collective’s earlier queer version of a monument to a Soviet soldier in Vienna (which was destroyed by hooligans in a

  • View of “The Vincent Award 2014.” From left: Anri Sala, Tlatelolco Clash, 2011; Doldrum, 2014.
    picks January 08, 2015

    “The Vincent Award 2014”

    The recipient of the 2014 Vincent Award—a fifty thousand euro prize given out every two years to a European artist—was the French-Albanian Anri Sala. All five nominees, though, submitted installations for an exhibition here. Three of them, Pierre Huyghe, Manfred Pernice, and Willem de Rooij, take a step too far from reality into the animal kingdom, an abstract formal construction, and a very hermetic view of a Mondrian painting, respectively. But Gillian Wearing’s and Sala’s pieces are of particular topical interest as they both deal with communities struggling to cope with their environment.

  • Florian and Michael Quistrebert, GOD 2, 2013, acrylic, gesso on canvas, 94 1/2 x 78 3/4”.
    picks April 30, 2014

    “Superficial Hygiene”

    With a selection of videos, sculptures, paintings, and installations by twelve artists, including Tauba Auerbach, Magali Reus, Helen Marten, and Erkka Nissinen, this group exhibition beckons its visitor to inquire what lies beneath the hyperrealistic sheen that seems to pervade the works on display. It is an important question given this age of social media that replaces individuals with personae and harsh realities with the digitally perfected.

    Bloody hands strewn about on a pedestal lying on the floor in The Industrial Revolution, 2013, by Nina Beier and Simon Dybbroe Møllers, are a butcher’s

  • View of “Kara Hamilton, Christine Roland with Angie Keefer. Shoes by Steffie Christiaens,” 2013.
    picks January 17, 2014

    “Kara Hamilton, Christine Roland with Angie Keefer. Shoes by Steffie Christiaens”

    Perhaps Kara Hamilton, in once characterizing her work as “critical decoration,” was also describing the works by fellow artists Christine Roland, Angie Keefer, and Steffie Christiaens that are included in this exhibition. Cooperation and interaction between the works of these participating artists within a crossover between art and craft are essential elements in the show, which is not so much about fashion but involves historic notions of female-gender-related dressing, and the tools and materials by which the clothing was made.

    Every material seems to have a specific meaning, such as in

  • View of “Roger Hiorns,” 2013.
    picks October 03, 2013

    Roger Hiorns

    Foaming profusely, the thirteen untitled sculptures in Roger Hiorns’s second solo exhibition at this gallery are animated in mysterious ways. Metal and ceramic vessels holding a soapy cleanser sit on wooden stools or hang from the ceiling and are fed air through tubes and invisible pumps, which causes iridescent clouds of the finest bubbles. Although the process reminds one of a pumping heart, the vessels don’t look organic at all, as they are constructed of metal bowls, motor parts, and ceramic vases. In one work, Hiorns uses a small ceramic vase made by the iconic American potter Janet Leach

  • Pieter Laurens Mol, Caravaggio's Total Loss, 2009, wallet, lightbulb, black steel wall console, dimensions variable.
    picks October 01, 2013

    Pieter Laurens Mol

    In his show “Interest Generator” at the Dutch national bank, Pieter Laurens Mol deals with the very apt capital sins of greed and pride. With nineteen sculptures, drawings, works in mixed media on paper, and photos, all made between 1968 and 2012, he outlines his view on high-flyers who lost it all, whether Rembrandt (depicted in a crumpled portrait), Caravaggio (symbolized by a torn-apart wallet), or Mol’s own spendthrift family members, all portrayed by photographs of their hands—each one digitally manipulated to have a large hole in its palm. Represented here by a number of his hand-colored