Solveig Nelson

  • Steve McQueen, Charlotte, 2004, 16 mm, color, silent,
5 minutes 42 seconds.

    Steve McQueen

    PROJECTED CLOSE AGAINST A WALL in a large, dark gallery, the saturated red of Steve McQueen’s 16-mm film Charlotte, 2004, produced an intimacy with the viewer every bit as charged as the contact that occurs between the artist’s finger and Charlotte Rampling’s eyeball. McQueen’s insistent probing, with occasional pauses to explore the sagging skin of the actor’s closed eyelids, alternated with handheld pans over fragments of Rampling’s face that read as both explicit and abstract. The film’s overspill of color onto the floor and surrounding walls gave the moving image a sense of physical presence,

  • View of “R. H. Quaytman,” 2013. Foreground: Passing Through the Opposite of What It Approaches, Chapter 25 (After James Coleman’s slide piece), 2012 (12 3/8 x 20“). Background: Passing Through the Opposite of What It Approaches, Chapter 25 (After James Coleman’s slide piece), 2012 (37 x 60”).

    R. H. Quaytman

    The screenprinted and gessoed varnished panels of R. H. Quaytman speak foremost, perhaps, to a discourse of painting, but also to that of photography, sculpture (the panels are thick, often painted on multiple sides, and at times may be physically handled by viewers), and even literature (exhibitions are organized according to “chapters”), among other forms. For Quaytman’s recent exhibition at the Renaissance Society, “Passing Through the Opposite of What It Approaches, Chapter 25,” projection emerged as a central theme. Not only did pictorial references—works featuring installation views

  • Hito Steyerl, Adorno’s Grey (detail), 2012, still from the fourteen-minute twenty-second black-and-white HD video projection component (with sound) of a mixed-media installation additionally comprising four angled screens and a time line with text and images.

    Hito Steyerl

    For this expertly mounted exhibition of Berlin-based artist and writer Hito Steyerl’s work, curator Lisa Dorin installed six video projections throughout the Art Institute of Chicago’s modern wing. Dorin, describing Steyerl as a “riot grrrl” in her exhibition essay, ventured to consider the artist’s practice in terms of the issues around which that early-’90s movement coalesced. If riot grrrl challenged the veracity of the documentary, exploding its form, Steyerl’s work, in the artist’s own words, embraces images “passed on from hand to hand, copied and reproduced by printing presses, video

  • Gretchen Bender, Total Recall, 1987, eight-channel video on twenty-four monitors and two rear-projection screens, sound, 18 minutes 2 seconds. Installation view.

    Gretchen Bender

    Seeing video art as “ghettoized [by] the eighties art world,” Gretchen Bender (1951–2004) described herself not as a video artist, but as a visual artist working with television as her material. It is in part because of this wary definition of her practice—one rooted in a commitment to art’s “public vision”—that Bender’s work remains so important today. Thanks to curator Philip Vanderhyden, a survey of the artist’s commercial output and two of her central installations from the 1980s can be experienced firsthand in “Tracking the Thrill,” an exhibition of Bender’s videos on view this