Travis Jeppesen

  • picks October 02, 2015

    Maria Loizidou

    The ancient burial grounds of Kerameikos are one of the most fascinating places in all of Athens. The trees there have known so much in their time that they’re like God. It’s not just ruins; this old cemetery is very much alive. Thousands of colonies of ants swarm on the ground, feasting on the fertile soil of dead centuries. Even an old turtle I watched moving intently across a path was following the daily route of the cynic philosopher Diogenes.

    But there’s nothing cynical about Maria Loizidou’s project “A Transfer,” 2015, elements of which one finds scattered throughout the museum and cemetery

  • picks October 02, 2015

    Michael Krebber

    Michael Krebber’s latest paintings are all gesturo-minimalism—little marks and dabs staining otherwise pristine canvases. At least the ones on the ground floor, the clear highlights of this exhibition, demonstrating the limits a painting can reach while still remaining a painting. MP-KREBM-00090 (all works 2015), is just a copper dash running down the right side of the canvas: a scar that will never heal. MP-KREBM-0089: pure rhythm and splotch. Two thick marine blue handles sit at center roughly equidistant from the sides of the canvas. There is a lighter blue dash in the upper right corner.

  • diary August 03, 2015

    On Garde

    IF IN BERLIN the days have a tendency to bleed into one another forming a sort of haze—a gray one, to be precise, punctuated with rare bursts of sunshine—then the fabric of the nights is most definitely a fuzz of whirling dance-floor lights, glitter, makeup, and bodies of every and any and no gender in various states of undress. Amid the noise, the excitement, the inner violence of our daily exercises in being and creating, it can be easy to forget that we are living among a bevy of talented creatures. Yo! Sissy, the city’s premiere queer music festival, became the first event ambitious enough

  • picks July 31, 2015

    “Fassbinder Now”

    Had he not bowed out of the party at the age of thirty-seven from the workaholism demanded by forty feature films in fifteen years, all fueled by a toxic combination of cocaine, booze, and Valium, the filmmaker Rainer Werner Fassbinder would have turned seventy this year. Although Berlin was not his hometown—Fassbinder was born in the more conservative city of Munich, where he shot nearly all his films—he did transform one of the city’s canonical texts, Alfred Döblin’s Berlin Alexanderplatz, (1979–80) into celluloid magic with his fourteen-part adaptation for television. This summer has seen a

  • picks July 24, 2015

    “Passion: Fan Behavior and Art”

    Popular music and visual art have long been partners in a mutual admiration society, with so many examples of feedback and exchange that an exhibition on the theme of their overlap could be limitless. It is all the more interesting, then, to consider what has been bracketed for inclusion here. Hajnal Nemeth’s video Imagine War, 2014–15, presents a cover band doing hippie classics with the lyrics altered to endorse violence and terror rather than peace and love: “Here Comes the Gun,” “I’ll Be Your Terror,” and “Crime is on My Side.” Ming Wong excavates footage from David Bowie’s 1983 tour of Asia

  • picks July 23, 2015

    Minjung Kim

    The title of Minjung Kim’s solo exhibition, “The Light, the Shade, the Depth,” is indicative of the simple yet potent evocations that her ink-wash paintings on paper conjure. The clear highlights among those here are her renderings of mountains. Kim captures the essence of stillness in Mountain, 2012, one of the more masterful works, in which craggy formations emerge in the top half of the painting as smoky, ghostlike emanations that seem to blend into one another before becoming gradually denser as they move down the plane, eventually culminating in blackness. In a smaller painting from 2008,

  • picks July 23, 2015

    William Crawford

    With the requisite anomalous art brut backstory—a box of hundreds of his obsessive pornographic drawings found in an abandoned house, their creator untraceable, now suddenly being shown by the likes of David Zwirner—William Crawford seems poised to be anointed the newest contemporary Perv Poet of the Pencil. Sketching his fantasies on whatever paper surfaces he had at his disposal (some of which are the duty rosters of a California correctional facility, suggesting that the artist was likely imprisoned for a lengthy period), the resulting untitled works, all dated to the 1990s, represent a great

  • picks July 22, 2015

    “My Wife Does the Dishes, I Do the Revolution”

    Guy Debord’s famous slogan, Ne travaillez jamais (never work), is scrawled in Nicolás Guagnini’s painting Work No. 4, 2014, among a mishmash of intersecting T-lines and square shapes, all in varying shades of gray—an apt start to this David Rimanelli–curated extrapolation on the dick vibe that has historically, and some might say continuously, underscored so much modern painting. It is hard to be funny and critical at the same time, to get the balance just right, but this show is a rare example. Formalists will get their pickles tickled by the squares and dots bouncing off each other in paintings

  • picks July 17, 2015

    Sean Scully

    There is a soothing calm to Sean Scully’s way with color—his paintings glisten with a new-car sheen. This current exhibition, “Land Sea,” focuses on the painter’s output from the past seven years, with more of an emphasis on the sea than land—an apt choice considering the show’s location in Venice. It is easy to be persuaded, as well as delighted, by the sludgy brushwork of paintings like Blueland (all works cited, 2014), sexy in its stilled sloppiness, which ideally would have had its colors scooped up from the water of the Grand Canal, shimmering directly beneath the palazzo here. That is,

  • picks July 15, 2015

    Gustavo Pérez Monzón

    Gustavo Pérez Monzón is a somewhat mythic figure among Cuban artists. He officially stopped making art in the late 1980s before leaving Cuba for Mexico in the 1990s, opting to dedicate himself to teaching. This current retrospective in Havana thus brings meat to the myth, showcasing an extraordinarily prolific career to a new generation. The bulk of the works on display, dated between 1979 and 1980, were executed on cardboard and are weighted down by the heaviness of the materials applied to them. Silver is the recurring hue, though there is great variation throughout Pérez Monzón’s abstract

  • picks July 01, 2015

    Cy Twombly

    Cy Twombly was the greatest American painter of the twentieth century, and the greatest painter after Picasso, period. Such seemingly hyperbolic assertions are necessary, and even understated, in that they can only infer the myriad ways in which Twombly’s century could not wholly contain him. His works are as enduringly elegant in their wretchedness as ever, and thus an exhibition of the artist’s work, no matter how large or small, is always a welcome event.

    This current one, housed in the airy rooms of a baroque marble palace on the Grand Canal, brings together a career-spanning selection of

  • picks June 11, 2015

    Nathalie Du Pasquier

    Nathalie Du Pasquier’s current exhibition serves as a miniretrospective with a focus on her works on paper. Those who only know of her from the Memphis Group will likely expect to find an aesthetic similar to that of the 1980s po-mo interior-design mavericks, whose furniture was once described in The Guardian as a “shotgun wedding between Bauhaus and Fisher-Price.” While the show will certainly help viewers discern her individual contributions to the overall Memphis look, the focus is rightly on the development of Du Pasquier’s independent artistic work, rather than her design sketches, over

  • picks June 05, 2015

    Renzo Martens

    In a world that treasures and rewards gestures of good will—and I am talking about the art world here—Renzo Martens is one of the few artists who puts his money where his mouth is. When an artist shows a work about poverty in underdeveloped nations in typical art-world locales such as New York, Berlin, or the Venice Biennale, the effects—such as the generation of capital—are only felt in those places; it does nothing to benefit or appease the suffering of the distant subjects of the work.

    Through his Institute for Human Activities, Martens has worked to establish an artists’ colony on a former

  • picks May 29, 2015

    Otto Zitko

    Otto Zitko’s artistic project has been very consistent: He paints lines and he doesn’t need anything else. In this way, his art is a kind of asemic writing. Usually his works are done on walls in interiors, occasionally permanent but often only temporary, which induces a kind of melancholy when one realizes that after the exhibition ends they will be painted over by a dull and oppressive white. But while it lasts, the scene is wild snakes dancing and going mad in an ecstatic orgy, with colors oh so bright.

    Here, Zitko offers ten canvases, which are all actually cardboard, dated 2015, and untitled.

  • diary May 28, 2015

    Altered States

    YEAH YEAH, by now we’re well aware that the outside is the inside, that we all exist within this giant urtext that we can never really get out of. Well, for some of us, that just isn’t enough: The lure of a beyond, if only as a conceptual inference, with all its potentialities and numinosities, is simply too great to be cast into the aside of passivity. Altering one’s consciousness—chemically or via other means—can become the noblest of pursuits; away from the hippie rhetoric and the narcissism of self-enlightenment, the psychedelic experience might also be considered as a research methodology

  • picks May 25, 2015

    “Satellite Affects and Other Lines of Flight”

    Situated on the southern edge of the city center in a disused factory, the current exhibition at District showcases work from the space’s past five years of exclusively female artist grantees and is titled after the on-site studio in which each spent six months working. Not coincidentally, the projects exhibited revolve around issues that themselves seem to be in orbit. In Diving Through Europe, Klara Hobza documents her ongoing explorations of the continent’s canals, rivers, and seas, for a project begun in 2010 with an expected completion date of 2035—by which time part of today’s Europe might

  • picks May 01, 2015

    Dieter Roth

    The fascination around Dieter Roth is not so much about the work he produced but the model of artist and making that he put forth, which I have come to think of as one of “vehicularity.” For Roth was an automatist in the true sense of the word—an artist who was always working at every waking hour, fueled by a seemingly limitless source of energy. Automatism is relegated by a vicious self-programming of the body-mind machine, wherein body yearns to take precedence over mind in a privileging of motion and making over cerebral stasis. For Roth, this yielded a joyously and intentionally bad art that

  • picks April 29, 2015

    Greer Lankton

    Serving as a sort of sequel to or continuation of her celebrated retrospective last year at Participant Inc., in New York, Greer Lankton’s European premiere consists largely of documentation of her work in an array of formats such as Polaroids, contemporaneous magazine articles, black-and-white photos, and postcards, as well as a smattering of her original dolls, which include likenesses of Divine and Jackie Kennedy. My favorite is Albino Hermaphrodite in a Baby Carriage, 1984, modeled after a hermaphroditic demigod from Fellini Satyricon (1969) but resembling nothing so much as a baby transvestite

  • film April 24, 2015

    Only the Lonely

    EXIT IS FIRST OF ALL an arresting and unbearable portrayal of loneliness, which is fast becoming one of the early twenty-first century’s chief motifs. The debut narrative feature of renowned Taiwanese cinematographer Chienn Hsiang, the film could be classified as a collaboration with its main actress and vehicle, Chen Shiang-Chyi, a veritable auteur’s actress, best known for her work with directors Tsai Ming-Liang and Edward Yang.

    Ling, the character Chen portrays, is an abandoned person. Her husband has gone to Shanghai, leaving her behind in a stifling nameless second-tier Taiwanese city. She

  • picks April 08, 2015

    Revital Cohen and Tuur van Balen

    Revital Cohen & Tuur van Balen’s latest exhibition posits works of art in the age of bioengineered reproduction. The playful and speculative nature of their projects leaves the less-scientifically-informed viewer to wonder what is real and what is a hoax. In Pigeon d’Or, 2011, a series of interventions has been filmed in which biologists work together with pigeon fanciers in order to develop bacteria that will modify the birds to make them shit soap. Sterile, 2014, gives us goldfish that have been engineered so as to hatch without reproductive organs; each of the forty-five specimens was produced