reviews

  • View of “Friedrich Kuhn,” 2013. From left: Untitled, 1969; Untitled, 1969; Palm Tree, 1969.

    Friedrich Kuhn

    Herald St

    Der Malerals Outlaw” (The Painter as Outlaw), the title of the 2008–2009 exhibition at the Kunsthaus Zürich devoted to local legend Friedrich Kuhn (1926–1972), gives a fair indication of how he is remembered in the city he called home. Like that of many a larger-thanlife bad boy who drank himself into an early grave, his mythology is a catalogue of bohemian outrages—the rows with collectors or would-be benefactors, the terrorizing of upmarket restaurants, the unruly entourage—that risks overshadowing the work itself.

    Some of Kuhn’s most remarkable work, or at least that most resonant

    Read more
  • Beatriz Santiago Muñoz, La Cueva Negra (The Black Cave), 2013, HD video, color, sound, 20 minutes.

    Beatriz Santiago Muñoz

    Gasworks

    The Hippomane mancinella, or manchineel tree, indigenous to Puerto Rico, is among the most poisonous plants on earth. One notorious example of its terrible powers was recorded in the nineteenth century, when dozens of German sailors ingested its fruit—also known as the “little apple of death”—and died horribly after enduring excruciating pain from internal bleeding. We are told of this tragedy in Beatriz Santiago Muñoz’s Farmocopea (all works 2013), a willfully amateurish 16-mm film featuring images of Puerto Rico’s lush island landscape accompanied by subtitles about its bizarre flora.

    Read more
  • Benoît Maire, Suspended Weapons, 2013, mixed media, dimensions variable.

    Benoît Maire

    DRAF (David Roberts Art Foundation)

    Benoît Maire’s recent exhibition was more accessible than the French artist-cum-philosopher’s previous outings, even if it was hard not to feel that some aspects of it were pitched just over one’s head. At least the exhibition’s title, “Weapon,” clearly expressed its main theme, here related not only to violence but to the material technologies of perception and measurement.

    Several works in the show seemed suspended between aphorism and clue: a 2012 assemblage of a stone, a shell, and a piece of quartz imprinted with the words HERE, MEASUREMENT IS AT FAULT, HE SAYS; faux-vintage photographs of

    Read more
  • Pierrot costume designed by Natasha Korniloff for David Bowie’s 1980 “Ashes to Ashes” video.

    “David Bowie is”

    Victoria and Albert Museum

    Watching David Bowie’s screen test at Andy Warhol’s Factory in 1971 is excruciating. Moments before it was recorded, the artist had reacted with typical blankness to a playback of Bowie’s song “Andy Warhol,” and the young singer, his flowing hippie tresses capped by a widebrimmed hat, can barely bring his eyes to meet the camera. For a few moments, he self-consciously acts out the old mime routine of being trapped in a box; then, sheepishly, he gives up. He may have failed in his attempt to engage with Pop art, but his multiple transformations would soon set the terms for what we now loosely

    Read more