reviews

  • Alberto Baraya, Expedition Berlín, Herbarium of Artificial Plants (detail), 2013–, mixed media, dimensions variable.

    the 8th Berlin Biennale

    Various Venues

    EVER SINCE ITS FIRST EDITION in 1998, which took as its theme the colonization of abandoned or unoccupied real estate in East Berlin by artists, galleries, and other creative industries, the Berlin Biennale has made the use of vacant, unusual, or historically important spaces its hallmark. Indeed, this is what makes the biennial unique: It has always hinged not on the selection of specific artists or works, but on the particular and idiosyncratic venues it inhabits.

    The eighth edition of the biennial, curated by Juan A. Gaitán, is no exception. Together, the sites it occupies make a statement

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  • Raymond Pettibon, No Title (Why should I), 1984, pen and ink on paper, 12 × 9".

    Raymond Pettibon

    Contemporary Fine Arts Galerie (CFA)

    Alas, poor Pettibon! Poet sublime of cryptic fabulosity, inkpot noirist, and restless chronicler of the muck and ick that splatters so freely, then embeds itself like a cancer, forming the blackest recesses of American consciousness. His caustic wit cuts deep, even as it elevates him high above the tabloid trash-scape that feeds his dauntless foraging. Though the press release for his recent Berlin exhibition highlighted “new works,” the show, a dense mass of text-image amalgamations on paper, included some pieces dating as far back as 1981. But it doesn’t really matter, because Pettibon is

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  • Chris Martin, Perfect January Morning (A Remark You Made), 2012–14, acrylic, glitter, collage on canvas, 48 × 39".

    Chris Martin

    KOW

    Chris Martin paints to open up a space of possibility. This was made particularly clear in his recent exhibition at KOW, which consisted of paintings finished in the past five years. Throughout this work, points of reference from various cultural strata intermingle: Glued-on photos or newspaper clippings depict musicians—some better known than others—as well as anonymous figures, animals, and so on. Icons of recreational drug culture also abound, whether in the form of “420” painted in bold strokes across the width of one painting, or psychotropic mushrooms cropping up in collages, or

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