• Josiah McElheny, Study for The Center Is Everywhere (detail), 2012, cut lead crystal, electric lighting, hand-bound book; chandelier 32 x 84 x 32“, book 7 x 10”.

    “Josiah Mcelheny: Some Pictures of the Infinite”

    Institute of Contemporary Art

    June 22–October 14, 2012

    Curated by Helen Molesworth

    With references from Paul Scheerbart to Josef Hoffmann, Mies van der Rohe to Yves Saint Laurent, Josiah McElheny has provided some of the most intriguing and important artistic contem- plations of how the modernist legacy, high and low, survives within our post- postmodern era. Themed around the notion of the infinite, McElheny’s survey exhibition covers the past two decades of his career, gathering some twenty glassworks, sculptures, films, and a performance, many of which continue his reflections (both metaphoric and literal) on modernity. Highlights include Island Universe, 2008, wherein Lobmeyr chandelier–like structures model universes that may have been created moments after the Big Bang, and Study for The Center Is Everywhere, 2012, in which hand-cut crystals signify galaxies and lightbulbs stand in for quasars. The accompanying catalogue features contributions by Molesworth, Maria Gough, and Bill Horrigan, as well as by artists Doug Ashford, Gregg Bordowitz, Moyra Davey, Andrea Geyer, Zoe Leonard, and R. H. Quaytman.

  • Ori Gersht, Far Off Mountains and Rivers, 2009, color photograph, 57 7/8“ x 90 1/2”.

    “Ori Gersht: History Repeating”

    Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
    465 Huntington Avenue
    August 28, 2012–January 6, 2013

    Curated by Al Miner

    Since the early 1990s, in photographs and films, Ori Gersht has been exploring the traumatic chasm between images and their referents. Whether documenting symbolically charged landscapes in Israel, Poland, and Japan or violently animating staged Dutch still lifes, Gersht burrows into the techniques of representation to suggest that pictures cannot fulfill the profound task of historical testimony. Despite the poignant cultural references that Gersht explores, his reliance on freeze-frame photography, extended exposure, and compositing procedures produces an almost self-enclosed image-world whose capacity to perform as either a singular mnemonic device or a collective record is invariably questioned. This first major museum exhibition of the artist’s work gathers roughly twenty-five pieces, including a new video based on a nineteenth-century painting from the museum’s permanent collection, and will be complemented by a catalogue with essays from the curator and Yoav Rinon, as well as an interview with the artist.

  • Joachim Koester, I myself am only a receiving apparatus, 2010, still from a black-and-white film in 16 mm, 3 minutes 33 seconds.

    Joachim Koester

    MIT List Visual Arts Center
    20 Ames Street E15
    May 10–July 8, 2012

    Curated by João Ribas

    Hypnagogia, mystical languages, and anarchist free towns—this is the stuff transgression is made of, but in Joachim Koester’s hands such arcane interests aren’t accompanied by visionary claims or turned into symphonic Gesamtkunstwerke. Instead, the artist’s nonspectacular explorations of esoterica address what has become imperceptible to culture. Koester turns these blind spots into images of what he calls “invisible indexes”: While some facts of social reality are affirmed and reinscribed by structures of power, others trickle down through history, formulating archives of past events and practices that have been moralized out of existence, deemed irrational, or forgotten. “To navigate, in a genuine way, in the unknown . . . ,” Koester’s first major US museum show, will prove his allegiance to these minor histories as exhibited in seven video and film installations and six photographic projects, made between 1996 and today.