reviews

  • Sammy Baloji, untitled, 2013, ink-jet print, 16 x 23 7/8". From the series “The Album,” 2013.

    Sammy Baloji and Alice Seeley Harris

    Autograph ABP/Rivington Place

    TIM AND SPACE are out of joint: This is the first sensation that confronts us when we look at an untitled work by Sammy Baloji from 2013, one of the photomontages composing that year’s series “The Album,” which was at the center of the first-ever UK show focused on the Congolese artist. In the work, three porters, photographed in black-and-white, hold up a large stork, stretching out the bird’s voluminous wings and drawing its head upright, presenting what must be a hunting trophy to the camera. The men all wear fez-like caps with long-sleeved white shirts and knee-length trousers, the defining

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  • Al Taylor, Untitled: (Latin Studies), 1985, acrylic on plywood and enamel on wooden broomsticks mounted on Formica, 25 x 17 1/2 x 15 1/2". From the series “Latin Studies,” 1984–85.

    Al Taylor

    David Zwirner | London

    Around the mid-1980s, Al Taylor began to extend his drawing and painting practice into three dimensions, turning chipped wooden broomstick handles and other found carpentry scraps into linear, wall-mounted (and later, freestanding) constructions. Taylor—who died in 1999 at the age of 51—carefully assembled the broomsticks into small clusters and structures that protrude out and away from the wall, like lines drawn in space, although one example in this recent show, Untitled (Pick Up) #2, 1990, sits on a series of upright aluminum rods as though floating above the floor. Taylor’s

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  • Magali Reus, Lukes (Wet Wet), 2013, mixed media, 54 1/2 x 35 x 43 1/2". From the series “Lukes,” 2013–.

    Magali Reus

    The Approach

    Magali Reus’s exhibition “In Lukes and Dregs” came with a feverish press release promising “dirty realism,” “perversion,” “social taboo,” “filthy interiors,” “amoral vices,” “sexualized . . . protrusions,” Brutalism and fetishism—but visitors hoping for a McCarthyesque, abject grime-fest would have been badly let down. This was a coolly installed show combining eight squeaky-clean sculptures in a quietly thoughtful way. No smells, slime, or grisly prostheses; rather, a calm reflection on ideas of material preservation and indeterminacy—and by extension (since all that stuff that doesn’t

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  • View of “Josef Strau,” 2014.

    Josef Strau

    Vilma Gold

    For his exhibition “My Divid’ed House,” Berlin- and New York–based artist and writer Josef Strau had promised to present a nearly complete archive of his type-printed poster-pamphlets from the past decade. This was a daunting prospect, given that in previous, less comprehensive exhibition projects, the prolific output of his automatic-writing technique, sometimes attached to cheap lampshades or cardboard partitions, and occasionally even tucked away in letter-shaped tunnels, could often exceed the reader-spectator’s time and energy resources. At Vilma Gold, reprints and high-resolution digital

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  • View of “Geographies of Contamination,” 2014. From left: Neil Beloufa, Bowling, 2013; Neil Beloufa, Cats, 2013.

    “Geographies of Contamination”

    DRAF (David Roberts Art Foundation)

    Our moment seems to be characterized by a drive toward the dissolution of the hierarchical subject–object relation in favor of a “flat ontology,” in which all things and matters (human or not) are situated on the same plane of existence. Cocurated by Vincent Honoré (director of David Roberts Art Foundation) and writers Laura McLean-Ferris and Alexander Scrimgeour, “Geographies of Contamination”was a snapshot of an art field in which new materialisms and post-Internet theories flourish.

    The best entry into the show’s framework of dedifferentiation and pollution of diverse systems, which the notion

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