reviews

  • Rodney Graham, The Avid Reader 1949, 2011, three painted aluminum light boxes with transmounted chromogenic transparencies, overall 9' 11 5/8“ x 18' 2 3/4” x 7".

    Rodney Graham

    Hauser & Wirth | Zurich

    Because he is a sort of straight-faced comedian, a Buster Keaton of Conceptualism, it’s all too easy to make Rodney Graham sound more serious than he really is. True, he started out as an intensely literary artist, “a kind of co-author” (as Julian Heynen recently put it), making works using texts by Georg Büchner, Sigmund Freud, Edgar Allan Poe, and others as raw material. As Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev once said, Graham “annihilates literature” with these pieces—but he does so in a playful way and with great refinement. Likewise, his “reading machines”—optical devices, such as the 1993

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  • Roman Ondák, Enter the Orbit (detail), 2011, mixed media, ninety-six elements, dimensions variable.

    Roman Ondák

    Kunsthaus Zurich

    The Sputnik lies there like a sack of sturdy linen with stenciled numbers. It’s even got an address: ROMAN ONDÁK, SPUTNIKOVA 1, BRATISLAVA, SLOVAKIA. Seventeen stamps commemorating the launch of Sputnik 1 in 1957 show the Earth as a blue ball encircled by a blue ring representing the spacecraft’s orbit. The stamps bear cancellation marks. This work, After Return from Orbit, 2011, appears to be part of a dream that has haunted Slovak artist Roman Ondák for many years—at least since 2004 when, for one of his first major works, Spirit and Opportunity, 2004, he built up an artificial Martian

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