Critics’ Picks

View of “Guyton, Price, Smith, Walker,” 2014.

View of “Guyton, Price, Smith, Walker,” 2014.


“Guyton, Price, Smith, Walker”

Plymouth Rock
Manessestrasse 66
June 8–July 6, 2014

They sling readymade fabric over stretchers and call it painting (Thomas Sauter), download open-source software to build digital utopias (Emanuel Rossetti), splice samples of Ciara and R. Kelly with disregard for copyright (Hannah Weinberger), and scan the holograms of CDs with the choreography of a graffiti tagger (Tobias Madison). With a studious charm, the ten artists in “Guyton, Price, Smith, Walker” detourne the artistic strategies solidified by the predecessors referenced in the show’s title. A direct nod to Beatrix Ruf’s seminal exhibition of Wade Guyton, Seth Price, Josh Smith, and Kelley Walker at Kunsthalle Zurich in 2006, this off-space exhibition presents a group of artists, all Swiss, all young, in a gesture that ruminates on Ruf’s tenure at the Kunsthalle Zurich and its influence on the genealogy of contemporary art: one which turned a local community away from its national history, the predominant Neo Geo movement, and extended it toward an international style, unapologetically harnessing not only insouciant youth but the rhizome as a specific artistic procedure, couched in the rhetoric of digital manipulation.

In this artistic landscape, the artist is no longer confined to a singular practice, nor to the creation of a new form; content is swiped, each work a potential platform for transmission, such as Gina Folly’s Kids, 2014 , a film of children rolling around in a Seth Price installation. Or Chopped and Screwed/POV, 2009—, a publication by Rossetti and Mathis Altmann that takes a page out of Guyton/Walker with its documentary photographs of printers, cheekily available for print on demand. Or Weinberger’s Colonna Sonora del Grand Opening, 2012, which takes its title from the Grand Theft Auto video game, and is a mixtape as exhibition invitation for the artist’s show at Istituto Svizzero in Rome, accessible for download with the right link. This exhibition presents a group of artists bound both by nationality as well as a shared sensibility—the rhetoric and spirit of grab and go, of DIY. Through this grouping, and its name, “Guyton, Price, Smith, Walker,” the exhibition anticipates a prophetic melancholy, a yearning for a moment unencumbered by the current fissures of this nation’s parochial politics and professionalism, whereby the amplification of ego leads to the dissolution of the group.