Stephanie Bailey

  • Sun Xun

    The animated film What Happened in Past Dragon Year (all works cited, 2014) was the centerpiece of Sun Xun’s recent exhibition “Brave New World.” It formed part of a sculptural installation—also depicted in a drawing titled Organism of Civilization—in which a taxidermied horse emerges out of the back of a flat screen supported on either side by a wooden totem, each with a rooster perched at the peak. Ten minutes in length, the animation opens with a series of quotes, which hover over scenes that were also presented in the gallery as grayscale pastels on canvas hung among other works

  • Ramin Haerizadeh, Rokni Haerizadeh, and Hesam Rahmanian

    The sensory overload produced by Ramin Haerizadeh, Rokni Haerizadeh, and Hesam Rahmanian’s exhibition “The Exquisite Corpse Shall Drink the New Wine” was immediate. There was work everywhere, from paintings, collages, and videos to assemblages and sculptures, arranged within a number of partitioned spaces that divided the gallery floor, which was painted with a black-and-white triangular pattern that evolved into colorful floral forms and other more organic-looking motifs as it snaked around the gallery. On this writer’s visit, the sound of Nancy Argenta performing Henry Purcell’s “O Solitude,

  • Helmut Schweizer

    The exhibition statement for Helmut Schweizer’s “Melancolia. 8/6–3/11. A Chi di Competenza” (Melancholy. 8/6—3/11. To Whom It May Concern) begins with Walter Benjamin’s famous description of the angel of history. Benjamin’s angel does not perceive the past as a chain of events, but rather as “one single catastrophe” that “keeps piling wreckage.” And though the angel would much rather “make whole what has been smashed,” it is blown onward by the “storm” called “progress.” This vision of a tempestuous, historical pileup is what directed the selection of old and new works in this show, which

  • “Great Crescent”

    Having been Japanese colonies until 1945, Taiwan and Korea, along with their former conqueror, were gradually absorbed into American Cold War policy in East Asia as part of an economic and political buffer zone dubbed the “Great Crescent.” This historical legacy formed the foundation for the transnational curatorial study “Great Crescent: Art and Agitation in the 1960s—Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan,” which collated archival documentation from anti-art performance scenes from the three nations.

    The exhibition was described by its curators—Cosmin Costinas and Lesley Ma of Para Site and

  • Lee Kit

    For Lee Kit, painting is like breathing: an act of leaving an invisible trace within a space so that “[e]ven if a person isn’t there, you can feel his breath.” Lee treats surfaces like conveyors of personal residues, combining and arranging his works into installations that evoke the feeling of faint presence, as if produced from someone’s recent departure from a now empty room. This approach is palpable in Lee’s most characteristic works: faint transfer prints of well-known logos and labels—such as those of Johnson & Johnson, Pears, or Dove—on cardboard treated with watery acrylic

  • Katrina Palmer

    For her exhibition “Reality Flickers,” performance artist, sculptor, and writer Katrina Palmer transformed MOT International into what looked like a backstage rehearsal space for a performance under production. Four chairs (one alone and three stacked) were casually positioned against a wall. Next to them was a music stand, facing a wall covered by a heavy theatrical curtain—gray rather than the usual ruby red. On the stand was the cover page to a text for a reading titled The Night of the Purring Tremor, 2014. Another text presented a character portrait. It described Reality Flickers, a

  • interviews February 27, 2014

    Duane Michals

    Born in 1932 in McKeesport, Pennsylvania, the New York–based photographer Duane Michals is widely celebrated for his photo sequences—as exemplified in his 1970 book Sequences—as well as for writing messages and poems directly onto his images to collapse time, experience, and emotions. This year promises to be a significant one for Michals. From November 1, 2014 to February 16, 2015, Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Museum of Art will host a major retrospective of his work. “Storyteller: The Photographs of Duane Michals” will consider how the artist was primarily inspired in the 1960s by René Magritte,

  • Oliver Laric

    At Seventeen gallery, Oliver Laric’s single-channel HD-video animation 5, 2013, was projected onto a wall built in the center of the space. The ten-minute video, presented on a continuous loop, shows a white room and a single table. This bleak environment is occupied by five computer-animated avatars, Lewis, Alice, Ada, Janus, and Sam, who take turns sitting at the table one pair at a time, engaged in rapid-fire talk, as if on a speed date. Their names suggest a multitude of references, ranging from Lewis Carroll, Alice B. Toklas, and Ada Lovelace (the mathematician and proto–computer programmer)

  • picks November 25, 2013

    Andy Holden

    Conceived as a single installation that resembles a theatrical set of a town, this exhibition has been designed to illustrate the manifesto Andy Holden drew up as a teenager along with four friends while living in Bedford, England. Apprehended over four years beginning in 1999, the work was motivated by a desire to overcome the cynicism he and his peers perceived in the world—they titled the work Maximum Irony! Maximum Sincerity! (MI!MS).

    Throughout the rooms of the installation are seven videos, one that attempts at producing the “ultimate love song” while depicting young lovers kissing

  • “Purkinje Effect”

    Organized by artist Laurent Grasso, “Purkinje Effect” took the idea of “dark adaptation” in color perception and used it as a curatorial conceit. The Purkinje effect refers to the way in which the eye’s relative receptivity to different colors changes according to the light, so that as our environment grows darker, we become more sensitive to shades of blue. This may explain why the gallery walls were painted a deep Prussian blue and the exhibition title rendered as an icy neon sign. The works Grasso selected, ranging (except for a couple of his own paintings) from the late-nineteenth to

  • Edy Ferguson

    In “Conspiracy Theory,” Edy Ferguson treated the white cube like one of her paintings, which she produces initially from sketches made from images she has cut into squares and reassembled into compositional assemblages or picture puzzles. Here she incorporated paintings into larger installations with videos, photomurals, texts, and sounds (courtesy of a radio installation). One work on paper, Performance Drawing, 1999, summed it all up: Logos for Starbucks, Warner Bros., and Hard Rock Café were shown hanging like artworks in a roughly sketched-out room with other signage as well as abstract

  • interviews September 04, 2013

    Basim Magdy

    Egyptian artist Basim Magdy employs film and photography to address the collective disappointment of failed projections. The artist speaks here about his first exhibition in the Czech Republic, “A Future of Mundane Miracles,” which is on view at Hunt Kastner Artworks from September 7 to October 19, 2013. Magdy is also participating in the 13th Istanbul Biennial, which opens on September 14, 2013, and runs until October 20, 2013.

    IN MY WORK, I try to look for different ways of communicating my ideas, so a large part of my practice uses text, image, and sound to investigate different narrative

  • picks September 01, 2013

    Manfred Kuttner

    Manfred Kuttner’s oeuvre, presented in its near entirety for this survey exhibition, was mainly produced between 1961 and 1964. This time period is neatly encapsulated in an archival photograph from 1963—presented in the show—in which Kuttner stands on a balcony at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf (where he was a student) next to a suite of his fluorescent pink- and orange-painted canvases and objects (including a pink chair, Holy Stool, 1962, also presented in the exhibition). Kuttner’s use of bright tempera on carefully worked-out optical paintings and compositions betrays a precocious talent.

  • Leung Chi Wo

    What do you see when you look at images from the past? This question hovers over Bright Light Has Much the Same Effect as Ice, a body of work produced as a single installation by Leung Chi Wo for the 2012 Guangzhou Triennial in Hong Kong. The project was based on a news item published in the China Mail on January 18, 1893, the day after Hong Kong experienced its coldest day on record at zero degrees Celsius. A quote from this report—“Mr. Pun Lun, the well-known photographer, took a number of views in the Peak district during the two days that ‘Jack Frost’ was reigning supreme”—printed

  • diary August 19, 2013

    Border Patrol

    “YOU SEE THAT?” my taxi driver Vasili asks, pointing out a piece of Samian mountain-road graffiti. BORDERS ARE SCARS ON THE PLANET’S BODY. Indeed, borders are on everyone’s minds at this time of year in Samos, a little Greek island in the Aegean separated from Turkey by the narrow Mycale strait. With only 2,500 feet between the two countries at the closest point, the strait’s currents form a natural division between Europe and Asia, and every August, in the city’s ancient port of Pythagorio, this border is affirmed with a reenactment of the 1824 battle between the Ottomans and the Samians, who

  • picks June 23, 2013

    “A Journal of the Plague Year”

    “A Journal of the Plague Year. Fear, ghosts, rebels. SARS, Leslie and the Hong Kong Story” is a sprawling exhibition. It includes a permanent space and two offsite installations: Ai Weiwei’s Baby Formula, 2013, a powdered map of China made from milk tins (referring to the trend of mainlanders buying milk powder abroad to ensure quality over local, melamine-tainted versions) is presented at the Sheung Wan Civic Centre, and Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s video Morakot (Emerald), 2007, a tale of unrequited love told over specks of dust floating in an empty motel room is perfectly installed in a

  • picks March 25, 2013

    Beni Bischof

    Beni Bischof’s solo exhibition, “Playful Subversion,” opens with a furious scrawl: Existenzängste (existential angst) is written in blue on the wall in the gallery’s first room and crossed out with a red line. Right below, the word “Champagner!” is spelled out in red—as if champagne were a tonic for existence. This sets the tone for an installation composed of works that interrogate pop culture through the images that promote and propagate it. There is a poster of Elvis (Elvis Schlitzohr, 2013) with immaculately cut diamond-shaped negative spaces that have been created by the artist meticulously

  • Manfred Pernice

    Manfred Pernice’s exhibition “blubber(t)” opened in a room filled with wooden boxes of varying sizes stacked one on top of the other like pyramids, lacquered in solid-white blocks and lines of colors such as turquoise, fluorescent lime green, and deep purple. Positioned on these were knickknacks: a brass elephant, a Captain Bluebear figurine, and a seagull ornament. Some boxes, left unpainted and unstacked, looked more like crates; others had scenes from the African plains stenciled on them, complete with animal silhouettes, trees, and sunsets. The grouping seemed to evoke civilization and

  • diary February 21, 2013

    Friends and Benefits

    IT WAS A QUEER CHOICE of venue for a recent benefit for Bidoun Projects. But there we all were, a hundred or so arty misfits and dignitaries gathered on a Thursday evening in the intimate cloisters of the London Sketch Club in Chelsea, an old boys’ club if ever there was one. “It smelled like old men when we first got here,” one guest whispered as we converged on the building’s jaunty salon, where portraits featuring former members of the club (depicted as black silhouettes on unprimed canvases) ran around the upper walls like a frieze. “Talk about postcolonial discourse,” said another.


  • film January 17, 2013

    Land’s End

    THE FIRST PART of “Back and Forth,” a film series currently on view at South London Gallery, opened with a stream of grainy snapshots, images of the British countryside tinged in burnt sienna, ocher and acid yellow, green and violet hues, all part of Derek Jarman’s ten-and-a-half-minute film Journey to Avebury (1971). The work invokes a sort of postmodern John Constable landscape, a pastoral version of Andy Warhol’s Empire. It’s amazing how landscapes can recall so much, here the trajectory of art in Britain—from nineteenth-century Romanticism to the lives of the YBAs: Sarah Lucas and Damien