Zachary Cahill

  • André Butzer, Nicht Fürchten! (2) (Don't Be Scared! [2]), 2010, 
oil on canvas, 
87 X 110 1/4”.
    picks June 21, 2011

    “Never Let Me Go”

    There are a number of challenges posed by using a literary reference as a curatorial device, chief among them that the audience may have no familiarity whatsoever with the literature in question. Or, in a “post-literate age,” as author Gary Shteyngart has put it, viewers may only be acquainted with the popular film version of the text, precipitating the invariable hullabaloo over the slippages between the original and the Hollywood adaptation. These hurdles notwithstanding, when a balance is struck between literature and the plastic arts, one discipline potently informs the other, and productive

  • Left: Marina Naprushkina, The Convincing Victory: Two Stories on What Really Happened (detail), 2011, graphic novel and newspaper. Right: View of “Opening the Door? Belarusian Art Today,” 2011. (Photo: Contemporary Art Center, Vilnius)
    interviews May 23, 2011

    Marina Naprushkina

    Marina Naprushkina is a Belarusian artist based in Berlin. Her work is included in “Opening the Door? Belarusian Art Today” at the Zacheta National Gallery of Art in Warsaw. The exhibition, which is on view until August 21, is curated by Kęstutis Kuizinas. It was recently shown at Contemporary Art Center, Vilnius.

    THE PREMISE of “Opening the Door?” is to bring Belarusian artists and theoreticians together, to unite the isolated and disconnected Belarusian art scene. But it also fulfills another goal: to allow artists to work without censorship (and self-censorship as well). After the presidential

  • View of “Twice Removed: A Survey of Take Away Works,” 2011.
    picks February 24, 2011

    “Twice Removed: A Survey of Take Away Works”

    The gift economy has been thoroughly studied by thinkers as varied as anthropologist Marcel Mauss, poet and scholar Lewis Hyde, and Wired’s Chris Anderson. Recognized for his book Free: The Future of a Radical Price (2009), Anderson might consider the pieces in “Twice Removed: A Survey of Take Away Works” to be “cross-subsidies”: goods that are given away (such as free samples in a supermarket) in hopes that a customer might purchase something else. By appropriating this marketing strategy, many artists have gamed the system of the cross-subsidy as a means of opening up the viewer’s experience

  • Matthew Metzger, The Dead Man (The Dead Toreador), 2010, oil on panel, 29 7/8 x 60  3/8”.
    picks January 22, 2011

    Matthew Metzger

    At least since Georges Braque first plied a house painter’s comb to create faux bois (fake wood grain) in his Homage to J. S. Bach, 1911, artists’ applications of decorative and artisanal painting techniques have introduced a level of self-reflexivity to our received notions of artistic labor and medium-specificity. “Three Specific Works,” Matthew Metzger’s solo exhibition of new paintings at Tony Wight Gallery, also engages with the craftsmanship of faux painting in varying registers. Anthropometry, Untitled (all works cited, 2010) is closest to what we most commonly associate with the methods

  • Josiah McElheny, Blue Italian Modernism and Yellow Czech Modernism, 2010, hand-blown glass objects with flashed color, extruded colored glass filters, LED electric lighting, painted wooden display structure, 65 x 21 x 18 3/4".
    picks December 29, 2010

    Josiah McElheny

    The history of modernism is given a healthy reappraisal whenever the work of Josiah McElheny is discussed, inviting the question from the uninitiated viewer: Which modernism? Sociologist Bruno Latour has argued that, in fact, “modernity has never begun,” and this is a sentiment with which McElheny’s recent project shares a degree of sympathy, in that the artist’s reinvestigation of the history of twentieth-century architecture and design reveals the potential of fallow schools of modernism. His current exhibition, titled “Crystalline Modernism,” gains particular resonance since it is sited in

  • Nomeda and Gediminas Urbonas, Splitnik, 2010, mixed media, dimensions variable. Installation view.
    picks December 20, 2010

    “The Creative Act”

    One expects so much from the genre of political art: It needs to be decisive, yet open; sophisticated, yet accessible. Hence, contradictions inevitably abound in our desires. But what does political art want from us? No doubt to be noticed. Although how it gets noticed is paramount to its raison d’être, as that situation often tends to implicate the viewer in a political-aesthetic stratagem. This is the logic explored by the exhibition “The Creative Act,” curated by Tone Hansen. Carlos Motta’s Six Acts: An Experiment in Narrative Justice (all works cited, 2010) is a video that restages political

  • Sue Havens, Untitled (paper construction), 2002, acrylic, paper, glue, 8 x 4 x 2”.
    picks September 26, 2010

    “Hand’s Tide”

    If indeed, as Robert Storr put it recently in the New York Times, “The middle of the art world is now in Brooklyn,” one might then venture the rejoinder: And the center of Brooklyn is now Chicago. Supporting this counterintuitive thesis is the recently formed artist-run space Regina Rex, a Brooklyn-based project that counts a number of former denizens of Chicago as its constituents. Having resisted the convention of exhibiting its members, the gallery operates with a keen curatorial eye, as evinced by this eight-person group show. It confidently (if implicitly) wades into the perennial debate