Tina Rivers Ryan

  • Jon Rafman

    A year after unlocking the same achievement in the US, Montreal native Jon Rafman will have his first solo museum show in Canada, at the Musée d’Art Contemporain de Montréal. This homecoming will present Rafman’s new and recent riffs on Second Life, Internet subcultures, and 3-D printing. Yet Rafman refuses to identify as a new-media artist; correspondingly, the works on view destabilize the binaries on which most definitions of new media depend. For example, his use of customized viewing stations underscores the “virtual” subject’s persistent embeddedness in physical

  • Cory Arcangel, Diddy / Lakes, 2013, single-channel video, media player, flat-screen, armature, various cables, 70 x 38".
    picks October 10, 2014

    Cory Arcangel

    In Diddy/Lakes, 2013—the first in the recent series of Arcangel’s work featured here—a seventy-inch flat screen displays a photo of the perennially recycled rapper boarding a private jet. As in all of the Lakes, the image has been digitally animated to hypnotically reflect in a rippling pool by using the eponymous Java applet, a popular tool of the 1990s. The effect—redolent of the adolescence of the Internet—reminds us of the rapid, tandem evolution of technology and taste. Applied to familiar but forgettable images sourced from the Web, the animation suggests that a watery grave of oblivion

  • View of “Surface Survey,” 2014.
    picks April 30, 2014

    Clement Valla

    In utilizing texture maps—a form of visual data generated by the rendering of objects into 3-D digital models—Clement Valla’s new series, “Surface Survey,” 2014, highlights the eroding boundary between the real and the virtual realms. But beyond simply demonstrating how a “new aesthetic” emerges from digital forms of representation, Valla subjects this technology—and the rhetoric around it—to scrutiny. In reproducing (as either prints or sculptures) the maps from which 3-D digital models can be constructed, Valla exposes the underlying algorithms upon which these models are based. Notably, the

  • Stan Douglas, Luanda-Kinshasa, 2013, video, color, sound, 6 hours 1 minute.
    picks January 15, 2014

    Stan Douglas

    In Luanda-Kinshasa, 2013, a six-hour-and-one-minute video, Stan Douglas revisits some of the major ideas that have informed his work to date: the video loop as a mechanism of the Freudian uncanny; the past as a construction of the present; imagined and failed utopias; and the discursive and historical nature of media technologies. Continuing his long-standing involvement with music—seen most recently in Disco Angola, 2012—Luanda-Kinshasa purportedly documents a 1970s-era recording session at the legendary Columbia Records studio in Manhattan, which closed in 1981. But if Disco Angola

  • Katherine Bauer, Eye-O-Gram #1, 2013, milk, egg, urine, champagne, black-and-white photosensitive fiber paper, 42 x 100″.
    picks January 04, 2014

    Katherine Bauer

    Though their scale and amorphous, explosive forms resemble those of Abstract Expressionist paintings, Katherine Bauer’s “Eye-O-Grams,” (all works 2013)—like Man Ray’s Rayograms—are black-and-white photos produced by shadows and materials acting upon photosensitive paper. Part of a larger project called “Seduction of the Eye,” these works are photograms of an actionist–cum–expanded cinema performance that occurred in the same gallery. Opening with blackness and cacophony, the event featured four women simultaneously citing passages from the dissident Surrealist Georges Bataille’s 1928 erotic

  • View of “Fearful Symmetry,” 2013.
    picks November 29, 2013

    “Fearful Symmetry”

    Borrowing its title from William Blake’s poem “The Tyger” (“What immortal hand or eye / Could frame thy fearful symmetry?”), this exhibition, deftly curated by Zoe Stillpass, argues that symmetry—a metonym for beauty in Western culture since classical antiquity—is less interesting than the unpredictable, asymmetrical forms released by its dissolution. The key to this thesis is Gabriel Orozco’s small photo From Roof to Roof, 1993, which watches over the show’s main room. The photo offers an oblique aerial view of a pool of water that has collected on the rooftop of a low, flat building; the water

  • Russell Tyler, 4TRS, 2013, oil on canvas, 36 x 36".
    picks November 18, 2013


    This show contributes to the heated debate over the relationship between contemporary art and digital technology by cleverly focusing on the idea of “windows.” In this context, windows is a double entendre, referring both to the long-standing metaphor for the picture plane in Western art and to the more recent use of overlapping frames to organize information on computer screens, challenging the window’s association with a single-point perspective. The artists in this show are fluent in both senses of the term as they were all born more or less around 1983, when Microsoft introduced its

  • View of “We Are the Primitives of a New Era,” 2013.
    picks September 24, 2013

    Aldo Tambellini

    As this important retrospective makes clear, the subject of Aldo Tambellini’s work from the 1960s onwards has been blackness. For the artist, blackness is multivalent, opening onto both the aesthetic and the sociopolitical problems of the postwar era. At once a negation of pictorial representation, a strategy for perceptual disorientation, the dialectical antithesis of white light and (atomic) energy, an icon of outer space, and a reminder of the African-American struggle for civil rights, blackness in these works is metaphysical and allusive—a far cry from Frank Stella’s literalist desire “to

  • View of “Zak Kitnick,” 2013.
    picks May 09, 2013

    Zak Kitnick

    Like John Baldessari's What Is Painting, 1968, Zak Kitnick’s recent wall-mounted sculptures are playfully self-reflexive. Available in thirty-two permutations, each sculpture comprises a monochrome steel shelving unit holding multiples of the same unit stacked one on top of the other, constituting an absurd display of displays, as in Family, Health, Community, Cultivate Social Life, Strengthen Family Ties, Improve Health, Wood, Green, 2013. (One wonders if they obliquely parody the recent ubiquity of artworks that, by telegraphing their value as a financial investment, seem to sell themselves.)

  • View of “Howard Wise Gallery: Exploring the New,” 2013. Center: Otto Piene, Licht Ballett (Light Ballet), 1969.
    picks March 19, 2013

    “Howard Wise Gallery: Exploring the New”

    A retired midwestern executive who began dealing AbEx paintings but wound up a proselytizer for the techno-utopian avant-garde, Howard Wise was one of the most unlikely characters of the New York art world of the 1960s. His eponymous gallery was primarily devoted to works made with a wide range of technological materials—from phosphorescent paint to phototransistors and phone lines—though the space is mostly remembered for its pioneering efforts in the nascent field of video art. In Wise’s view, the works he showed “humanized” the technologies they utilized, while taking them out of circulation