Sherman Sam

  • Michael Krebber, MK/M 2014/15, 2014, acrylic and spray paint on canvas. Installation view. Photo: Gunnar Meier.

    Michael Krebber

    Just as any exhibition held every two years can be called a biennial, a piece of fabric hung on a wall, with or without paint on it, can plausibly be called a painting. And yet, just as the idea of a biennial carries a lot of baggage, so does the notion of painting, and the oeuvre of Michael Krebber constantly works at posing uncomfortable questions about it. 

    This was the second and smaller iteration of this New York–based German artist’s survey, “The Living Wedge,” which originated at the Museu de Arte Contemporânea de Serralves in Porto, Portugal, curated by João Ribas and Valérie Knoll. The

  • Zhang Enli, Black and Red Lines, 2016, oil on canvas, 98 x 79".
    picks April 11, 2017

    Zhang Enli

    Zhang Enli’s art stands in opposition to the cynical realism and political Pop of his contemporaries and predecessors. His works are more of a celebration than a critique of daily life. For some time, the Shanghai-based artist has been emptying out the more recognizable content of his canvases. In the beginning, depictions of people gave way to large still lifes; now, representational bits of the world get transformed into vast painterly abstractions.

    For instance, at the center of Tension 1, 2013—the earliest of the ten paintings currently on view—a tangle of emerald ropes wraps around what

  • View of “Anthea Hamilton,” 2016–17. Photo: Stuart Whipps.

    Anthea Hamilton

    Starting in 1957, writer and former Tate Gallery curator Harold Stanley “Jim” Ede turned four nineteenth-century cottages near the University of Cambridge into a single home, called Kettle’s Yard, in which to display his collection of mainly British modern art. In 1966 Ede donated the property to the university, though he and his wife continued to live there until they retired to Edinburgh in 1973. In the process, Ede created a unique environment for art, characterized by a kind of studious informality. The gallery’s major renovation, now in its second year, provided an opportunity to tour its

  • View of “Imre Bak,” 2016. From left: Orange, 1969; Reflection III, 1974. Photo: Plastiques Photography.

    Imre Bak

    The now-septuagenarian Hungarian painter Imre Bak describes 1968 as a pivotal moment. A visit to Documenta 4 showed him the radical changes taking place across the Atlantic. That, together with trips to London’s Tate in the previous years and his work with a German gallery that exhibited American art, opened the young artist’s eyes to innovations in abstraction—particularly what he called “the emerging American art scene, when the abstract versions of Pop Art appeared, such as Hard-Edge and Color Field Painting (Frank Stella, Ellsworth Kelly).” Offering a concise picture of the intellectual

  • Rodolfo Aricò, Prospettiva (Perspective), 1970, acrylic on canvas, 35 1/2“ x 21' 1 1/2” x 2 1/2".
    picks November 22, 2016

    Rodolfo Aricò

    Italian artist Rodolfo Aricò resisted the primary aesthetic trend of his milieu—Arte Povera—and instead took to the developments in painting happening across the Atlantic. Indeed, his shaped canvases call to mind Frank Stella, Robert Mangold. But this former student of architecture didn’t entirely fall in line with the kind of pictorial logic espoused by those Americans. In the pieces on display here, dating from 1966 to 1974, Aricò turned to history—specifically, the arches of ecclesiastical painting and the fundamentals of perspective—to generate his geometric structures.

    For example, the

  • Michelangelo Pistoletto, Venere degli stracci (Venus of the Rags), 1967–2013, plaster and rags, dimensions variable.
    picks November 03, 2016

    Michelangelo Pistoletto

    Michelangelo Pistoletto describes his newest work as coming to him like a mirage. And indeed, the half-submerged golden car, Miraggio (Mirage), 2016, serenely located in a fountain of Blenheim Palace, pops out like a surreal prop from a Fellini movie. For Pistoletto, this work sits at the juncture of the natural and man-made—much like Blenheim’s manicured gardens. But it also points to another clash: Arte Povera. Or rather, the collision of blue-chip status with an art that valued the humble and quotidian. One palpably feels this irony in the octogenarian artist’s unusual retrospective, distributed

  • View of “Jeremy Moon: Out of Nowhere,” 2016. From left: No. 3/73, 1973; English Rose, 1967; Out of Nowhere, 1965. PEER. Photo: FXP Photography.

    Jeremy Moon

    This two-part exhibition of works by Jeremy Moon, curated by the young, Glasgow-based artist Neil Clements, consisted of working sketches, studies, and archival material at Large Glass, while at PEER four of his paintings were accompanied by a slide show projected within a large sculpture by Clements. Having studied law and then worked briefly in advertising while maintaining an interest in classical ballet, Moon was inspired to turn to art after seeing the now-legendary “Situation” exhibition at the Royal Society of British Artists gallery in 1960. Aside from a few months at the Central School

  • View of “Markus Karstiess,” 2016.
    picks July 06, 2016

    Markus Karstiess

    Within this minisurvey of Markus Karstiess’s sculptures from 2005–15 is a video of him excavating Robert Smithson’s 1969 asphalt pour in Rome, Was die Erde sieht (With the Eyes of the Earth), 2014. The result of this activity is Karstiess’s Scholar’s Rocks, 2015—a craggy ceramic base cradling fragments of Smithson’s work. That artist’s pours celebrated entropy and gravity, while Karstiess’s clay pieces draw on the primeval energies of this planet. His room-divider-like series, “Dirty Corners,” 2013, is another nod to the Land art master, and certainly Joseph Beuys’s “Fat Corners” of the 1960s.

  • Channa Horwitz, Sonakinatography, Composition XVII, 1987–2004, casein on Mylar, 24 × 35". From the series “Sonakinatography,” 1968–2012.

    Channa Horwitz

    Channa Horwitz was, notoriously, the only woman selected for Maurice Tuchman’s landmark Art and Technology project (1967–71) and, worse still, was the only selected artist not to have her work realized and exhibited. A diagram on graph paper for the movement of light on eight Plexiglas beams floating in a magnetic field, Art and Technology Proposal: Beams and Intensity of Lights, 1968, was on view in this long-overdue survey, which originated at KW Institute for Contemporary Art in Berlin and was organized by its chief curator, Ellen Blumenstein. Although the proposal never took on concrete

  • Hany Armanious, Frequently Asked Questions, 2015, pigmented polyurethane resin, dimensions variable.
    picks April 12, 2016

    Hany Armanious

    Walter Benjamin famously asserted that reproduction and dissemination diminishes the auratic quality of an original artwork. Hany Armanious, however, tries to prove the opposite. Known for re-creating objects in polyurethane resin, his uncanny, hyperreal sculptures have a glow all their own. Keep in mind that they are nothing like Duane Hanson’s figurative representations. Rather, the Egyptian-born Australian lovingly renders the detritus of the world.

    His subjects tend toward the distressed, abandoned, or overlooked. For example, a child’s scrawly drawing is transferred via an industrial dyeing

  • Left: Victory over the Sun. (Except where noted, all photos: Sherman Sam) Right: Biennale of Sydney curator Stephanie Rosenthal with artists Alexis Teplin and Noah Sherwood. (Photo: Penelope Seidler/Biennale of Sydney)
    diary April 11, 2016

    Odd and Evenly

    RAISING THE DEAD seems to be the hot trend in biennials. So it should come as no surprise that Stephanie Rosenthal’s first such exhibition should have a work by Malevich as its centerpiece. The London-based curator’s doctoral thesis took its cue from the Russian’s black square, and at the twentieth edition of the Sydney Biennale, she one-upped her curatorial colleagues by reconstructing a 1913 modernist Russian opera. Victory over the Sun originally had costumes designed by Malevich and music by Mikhail Matiushin, but here in Sydney, Australians Justene Williams and Huw Belling stepped in to

  • Raoul De Keyser, Drift, 2008, oil on canvas, 13 5/8 × 17 1/2".

    Raoul De Keyser

    Although this exhibition, “Raoul De Keyser: Drift,” curated by Ulrich Loock, included forty-eight paintings spanning four decades, at its heart were the artist’s final works, from 2012: a group of twenty-two small paintings collectively titled “The Last Wall” and installed as they had hung in his studio. Situated on one central pale-gray wall and arrayed unevenly along its entire length, these pieces, like his earlier paintings, tantalized in their rough-hewn, unrefined nature.

    The casualness of their grouping accorded with the spirit of their production. For example, Flooded in Brown, 2012,