Tom Kalin

  • video December 01, 2014

    Tom Kalin, Ashes, 2014

    6:34

    Tom Kalin photographed thousands of high resolution still images and “stitched” them into a moving image layering dates and moments from Kalin's personal world with the public and global history of AIDS.

    The work was commissioned by Visual AIDS as part of “Alternate Endings,” a video program launching December 1, 2014, to celebrate the twenty-fifth anniversary of Day With(out) Art—a national day of action and mourning in response to the AIDS crisis.

  • “Plastic Fantastic Lover (Object A)”

    Framed by its vaguely evocative, post-psychedelic/Lacanian title, this convincingly installed group show whispers the promise of a manifesto never fully articulated. The work of 21 artists, “all of whom happen to be women,” packs the gallery—slouching in corners, sprawling on the floor, dangling from the ceiling. Formally many of the pieces attest to Eva Hesse’s (and, less directly, Andy Warhol’s) continuing influence, most bluntly apparent in Asta Gröting’s Untitled, 1991, an anthropomorphic coiled mass of silicon and wood shavings. Many of these artists borrow Hesse’s repudiation of glacial

  • Barbara Bloom

    It was that great master of manners and lover of women, David Salle, who, in a laconic text from 1977, compared Barbara Bloom’s practice to that of an ironically self-aware hostess, a perfect, gracefully accommodating hostess. Seductive in its civility, Bloom’s work has been championed for its clever innuendo and “twist of the knife” approach. Past efforts (particularly the excessive installation The Reign of Narcissism, 1989) combined a delicate conceptual rigor with the suffocating veneer of the 19th century in a complex critique of the signs of bourgeois femininity and the historical weight

  • Edward Ruscha

    Big, handsome and inscrutable, this exhibition of Edward Ruscha's recent work extends his esthetic of blankness, continuing, as Peter Plagens notes, to “illustrate without illustration, to criticize without criticism” (whatever that means). Much has been written about the trenchant ironies of his Oklahoma origins and subsequent residence in Hollywood, and the ways in which the mute, implacable density and porousness of his practice nimbly deflect critical jargon. In his text works from the ’70s, using spinach, egg yolk, blood, or juice as his medium, he subtly and indirectly mocked the pristine,

  • “Seeing Through ‘Paradise’”

    Mass media accelerates a culture’s ability to rewrite history even before it is codified as such: witness the yellow flag factories and invisible Iraqi casualties of the (perhaps gently forgotten) Gulf War. Politics continues to inform both “high” and “low” cultural production overtly as well as covertly, and though much contemporary work attempts critically to unmask (or at least name) this dynamic, more still remains symptomatic of unquestioned ideological agendas. That elusive gaggle dubbed the “New Right” has seized the means of representation for its purposes; we know altogether too well

  • Pussy Power

    YA KNOW A LOTTA people say I have a lotta balls. But you know what: they’re wrong. Because what I have is a Dick.

    So boasts Madonna, ceaselessly palming her crotch in Truth or Dare or parading on the HBO broadcast—via satellite from Paris—of her Blonde Ambition tour. Abandoning the trademark Barbie ponytail for candied blond ringlets, Madonna, like Shirley Temple, faces her audience as an ambassador of American culture: an empire of signs, yes, but also a sign of the empire. Seizing the phallus (just a dick, actually) in yet another savvy wink to pop theorists, she engages not only economies of

  • Jon Tower

    Jon Tower isolates private acts to focus their refraction of public ritual; his “Solved Problems” series from 1988 framed inscrutable homework ciphers of mathematics and physics, while “Diluted Holy Water,” 1988, invented a wry self-portrait out of thieved Vatican fluid thinned with profane tap water. In Seed Piece, 1991, he installed the artifacts of an experiment in which he swallowed an apple seed made of silver and x-rayed its passage through his body. Tower’s methodical display of tools for this experiment (white casts of his mouth and asshole, the silver seed, a masticated apple in a

  • Joan Wallace

    If, as some attest, art and the marketplace are inextricably bound (the gallery as great shining supermarket), then somewhere near the checkout counter tabloids blare with breathless worry over the “divorce” of the collaborative duo Wallace & Donohue. Their thieving tour de force, which interrogated modes of exhibition, and their willful confusion of individual, brand-name ownership underscored, after all, the orderly corridors and bright lights of said supermarket. Sometimes uneasy company, together and apart, Joan Wallace and Geralyn Donohue have divided the shelves and unpacked the crates,

  • Queer Nation

    OVER COCKTAILS, at gallery openings, during street protests, and in darkened auditoriums, we have become accustomed to invoking what cultural critic Kobena Mercer has tellingly dubbed “the mantra” (say it with me now): “class-race-gender-sexuality. Class-race-gender-sexuality.” Mercer’s evocation of the nearly evangelical fervor with which so many of us name difference recognizes that our naming is at once perfunctory and guilt-ridden. But he also serves us a provocation, a call to disentangle overlapping systems of oppression. Careful social and cultural analysis, as literary theorist Eve