Stephanie Bailey

  • View of “Kai Althoff,” 2014.

    Kai Althoff

    Walking into this exhibition was like stepping into a time warp. Was this Kai Althoff’s imagining of a workshop of some seventeenth-century Puritan dressmaker? After all, linens were draped from ceiling to floor, and three clothed dress forms were positioned among a worktable and chairs. Yet at the same time, four thick knitted sweaters and brightly colored plastic paintbrushes were also strewn about the scene, while music from Althoff’s latest LP, Fanal 4, provided the sound track to the strange scene. Paintings, some of them oddly shaped, were positioned around the room. They alluded to such

  • Mary Kelly, Circa 1968, 2004, compressed lint, projected light, 100 × 105 × 1 1/4".

    Mary Kelly

    One line in the 1959 Situationist film from which Mary Kelly’s exhibition “On the Passage of a Few People through a Rather Brief Period of Time” took its name hovered over the show: “When freedom is practiced in a closed circle, it fades into a dream, becomes a mere representation of itself.” Take Circa 1968, 2004, around which the show revolved: a large-scale cast that took some six months to make from the lint of roughly ten thousand pounds of laundry collected from a tumble dryer (using a process Kelly devised in 1999). The piece depicts Jean-Pierre Rey’s iconic image for Life magazine taken

  • Karen Mirza and Brad Butler, You Are the Prime Minister (neon sign), 2014, curtain, desk, chairs, neon. Installation view.

    Karen Mirza and Brad Butler

    Karen Mirza and Brad Butler’s “The Unreliable Narrator” presented the emergent twenty-first century as one that is both authoritarian and anarchic, a divide articulated through the division of the single gallery space into two rooms via red theatrical curtains. The first room one entered resembled an examination hall, in which a neon sign reading YOU ARE THE PRIME MINISTER (reflecting the title of the piece; all works 2014) shone over three school desks. An examination paper had been placed on two of them, with a question taken from a real Eton College King’s Scholarship exam, while the answer

  • Elias Hansen, If fucking would’ve fixed this, I’d have fucked the shit out of you a long fucking time ago., 2014, enamel paint, found object, glass, playing card, steel, tape, wood, 43 × 13 × 16".

    Elias Hansen

    In Elias Hansen’s work, glass objects, including beakers, test tubes, and flasks—some found, others specially made, many brightly colored—are assembled with other secondhand items and light fixtures, often on wooden shelving, to suggest alchemical systems and processes of distillation. References to industrial-age apothecaries, the grit of basement meth labs, and Color Field formalism are often embedded in Hansen’s material compositions. In the work’s titles, jabs of morbid profundity are usually softened by a certain ordinariness, as with A handful of nothing, 2013: brown beer bottles

  • View of “Nikos Markou and Kostis Velonis,” 2014. Foreground: Kostis Velonis, Who Might Rebuild?, 2014. Background, from left: Kostis Velonis, Model for the Prospect of Shipwreck, 2013; Nikos Markou, 02.03.2013.

    Nikos Markou and Kostis Velonis

    The title of this exhibition of recent works by Kostis Velonis and Nikos Markou—“The Future Lies Behind Us: Two New Proposals Beside an Older One”—was explained by the inclusion of a work by Vlassis Caniaris, produced during his DAAD residency in Berlin in 1973–75. Caniaris’s Possible Background, 1974, was shown in a room separate from the one where works by Markou and Velonis commingled. Caniaris’s installation presents a background of sorts, made from a black plastic drop cloth, in front of which found objects such as a tattered suitcase, a tricycle, a couple of battered baby carriages,

  • Sun Xun, A Historic Moment, 2014, ink on paper, 43 3/4 × 63 1/8".

    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

  • View of “Ramin Haerizadeh, Rokni Haerizadeh, and Hesam Rahmanian,” 2014.

    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 mountains are not mountains anymore & Charivari to Naoto Matsumura, 2013, mixed media, 70 7/8 x  55 x 17 3/4".

    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

  • Documentation of “Dropping Event” by Hi Red Center at Ikenobo Hall, Tokyo, October 10, 1964. Photo: Minoru Hirata. From “Great Crescent.”

    “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, What to do?, 2014, mixed media with video (color, silent, 5 minutes 24 seconds). Installation view.

    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, Reality Flickers (detail), 2013, mixed media, sound, dimensions variable.

    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,