Sabine B. Vogel

  • Olaf Nicolai, Untitled, 2005.
    picks May 10, 2005

    Sharjah Biennial 7

    After gaining the status of an independent state in 1972, the United Arab Emirates set about speedily transforming themselves into a luxurious tourist paradise, and Sharjah staked its claim as the cultural capital, building thirty-two museums and launching the Sharjah Biennial in 1993. Sheikha Hoor Al-Qasimi, daughter of the ruler of Sharjah, became the biennial's director in 2003 and is determined to bring it into the contemporary-art mainstream. This year's edition—organized by American-Palestinian curator Jack Persekian, Canadian artist Ken Lum, and Swiss curator Tirdad Zolghadr—is

  • Zu Besuch bei Putin (A Visit to Putin), 2004.
    picks April 26, 2005

    Karin Frank

    Young Austrian artist Karin Frank makes figurative wooden sculptures—a form that is about as traditional as it gets. Her themes, on the other hand, are quite the opposite. In her current exhibition of funny, cheeky, sometimes crude work, Frank (who studied with Michelangelo Pistoletto) presents one sculpture of a man putting his head up another's arse while Gerhard Schröder looks on; the piece is rather provocatively titled Zu Besuch bei Putin (A Visit to Putin), 2004. Her less explicitly political works are just as preoccupied with the grottier aspects of the corporeal. In some of her

  • Jårg Geismar

    The word “daydreaming” was written in yellow Letraset on the narrow glass-brick wall in the gallery’s front room—turning this found architectural element into a cover page announcing the exhibition’s title. The Swedish-German artist Jårg Geismar let himself be inspired by Prague, a fascinating city of contrasts, known for its “K and K” (“Kaiserlich und Königlich,” that is, “imperial and royal”) architecture from the Hapsburg era and as a hotspot of the European rave scene. Eschewing specific reference, the works—although for the most part created here—seemed more the product of an emotional than

  • Hoverdrom, 2005.
    picks March 24, 2005

    David Moises

    By titling his first solo exhibition “Moonraker,” after the James Bond film featuring the hijacking of a space shuttle, the ingenious young do-it-yourselfer David Moises sets the tone for a show filled with futuristic, surrealistic constructions. At the entrance to the gallery, an old-school video game emits a tinny voice that reads excerpts from early publications on space travel, thus evoking a future that is already past. Once this has gotten you in the mood, you’re ready to venture through the “doors of perception”—or rather, past three giant brushes of the sort found in a carwash—into

  • Song of Most, Song of All, 2004.
    picks January 06, 2005

    Hans Schabus

    To enter the Kunsthaus Bregenz for Hans Schabus's current show, visitors wend their way along a curving wooden walkway to the loading dock and into the galleries. Inside, planks have been set up to help people keep their feet dry as they cross the ground floor, which has been entirely flooded. The show's title “Das Rendezvousproblem” (The Rendezvous Problem) refers to an old mathematical conundrum: How do you maximize the slim chances that two variables within a given area—for example, two people searching for each other in a park—will occupy the same place at the same time? Here, the

  • Gelatin

    In “Möbelsalon Käsekrainer” (Käsekrainer Furniture Showroom) the Austrian quartet Gelatin again presented a scenario rich in detail and references: The exhibition greeted us with a monster light sculpture, nearly fifteen feet tall, titled Cock Juice Joe (all works 2004), located directly next to Franz West’s ceiling lamp, which has lit every exhibition here since the gallery opened and only now faced its first obvious competition. Making one’s way between the pink fake fur of the light sculpture and the Rokoko Ecke (Rococo Lounge), one moved among other furnishings to a voluminous wooden

  • Ann-Kristin Hamm,
Untitled, 2004.
    picks October 12, 2004

    Zunge an Zündschnur

    Originally, this exhibition in Galerie Krinzinger's project space was to be called “Der Sheriff will dass was passiert” (The Sheriff Makes Everything Happen). The “sheriff” was Albert Oehlen, who curated the exhibition and taught all four of these young Düsseldorf painters in art school. But now the reference to the curator has disappeared from the title, and a cryptic and associative play on words has been chosen instead: “Zunge an Zündschnur” (Tongue on Fuse). In fact, the four dynamic young artists make plenty happen all by themselves, by walking a sort of representational tightrope. Their

  • Block F, 1999.
    picks October 05, 2004

    Manfred Pernice

    In this exhibition, Manfred Pernice rehabilitates a piece of Berlin that disappeared with the Wall. Movement is directed straight through the gallery along a simple wooden path, while above, signs hanging from the ceiling list stations—Alexanderplatz, Schillingstrasse, Strausberger Platz—along an East Berlin U-Bahn subway line, the U5. To either side, videos, photographs, old wall tiles, parts of banisters, and fragments of concrete document the lives lived in and around these (now greatly changed) places. Like Joseph Beuys, who once exhibited elements of an S-Bahn stop as minimalist

  • MAK-Fassade, 2002.
    picks August 10, 2004

    Otto Mittmannsgruber and Martin Strauss

    A gigantic tarp painted to mimic the exterior of a depressingly modular postwar apartment building has been stretched over the MAK’s historic facade. This unsettling transformation comes courtesy of Otto Mittmannsgruber and Martin Strauss’s exhibition “Public Spaces Go Public.” The artists have been installing giant posters throughout Vienna since 1995, working with a series of different companies. Their “sponsors” put their ads at the duo’s disposal and share the cost of plastering thousands of sixteen-sheet posters around the city. Mittmannsgruber and Strauss skewer the comercial images they

  • Große Geister (Big Spirits) Nr. 4 and Nr. 5, 1999. Installation view.
    picks August 10, 2004

    Thomas Schütte

    Although some of the works in Thomas Schütte’s current show date back as far as the early '80s, most were made in the last six years, and together they provide a nuanced sense of what Germany’s most important sculptor has been up to lately. Prints and watercolors circle the walls of galleries filled with ceramics and architectural models. On K21’s top floor, under a soaring glass roof, Schütte exhibits his reclining nudes made of rusty steel and his magnificently mutating, larger-than-life aluminium figures. The artist delights in taking social taboos, like sexist stereotypes, and serving them

  • View of “doku/fiction.”
    picks May 19, 2004

    “doku/fiction”

    Founded in 1993 (after members Jan St. Werner and Andi Toma met at a death-metal concert), Mouse on Mars was one of the first bands to mix electronica with traditional instrumentation. Their baroque and eclectic blends of pop, prog rock, and any other genre you can think of can be easily correlated with the magpie impulses that infuse contemporary art, and their latest “remix,” in fact, takes the form of a museum exhibition. St. Werner and Toma have invited musicians (Laurent Baudoux and Stefan Kozalla, among others), artists (Heike Baranowsky, Daniel Roth, Emmett Williams), and writers (Siegfried

  • Ohne Titel (Lady Madonna), ca. 1980–85.
    picks May 13, 2004

    Bruno Gironcoli

    Bruno Gironcoli’s sculptures, on view in the Austrian pavilion at last year’s Venice Biennale, were monumental and surreal, mixing mundane readymade flotsam (brooms, galoshes) with candy-colored aluminum forms that seemed at once cheerful and sinister. The inaugural show at Galerie Thoman’s new space provides another point of entry into Gironcoli’s complex world: Here, the artist presents “Lady Madonna,” 1980–85, a series of 150 loose, loopy colored-pencil drawings that meditate on themes of technological and biological production. While Gironcoli's later mixed-media drawings, from the late '