In his first solo Williamsburg show, Andrew Demirjian exhibited two video works at LMAK Projects that grapple with the American media’s manipulation of everyday reality: “Scenes from Next Week” (2005) and “Unpromised Water” (2004). It is a process we, as consumers, according to Demirjian, accept uncritically, even passively.
Fresh Paint is five person group show investigating architecture by way of reducing or exaggerating architectural space, depicting contrived interiors or exteriors. The press release reveals that “Some of these settings are fictionalized, others completely devoid of narrative. They are, in effect, non-space and the ‘every-place’ at the same time.” Lehmann Maupin is a perfect space to conduct such an investigation as the famed architect and theorist Rem Koolhaas designed the gallery. The primary question the show urges the viewer to ask is: What are its ethics and how are we to live with it? In essence, what are we to do with architecture?
This year marks the thirty-sixth anniversary of the Stonewall rebellion, and no one can argue that the world has not changed for the better for the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community. Once characterized as the love that dare not speak its name, today gay issues are discussed during Presidential debates and regularly featured on network newscasts.
Primarily featuring works on paper and two animation projects by thirty-one artists who live and work in Mexico City and Monterrey, Killing Me Softly is one of this summer’s best surveys.
In law a material witness is someone with “relevant knowledge” about the case at hand. Fairfield Porter certainly had relevant knowledge of American painting from 1935 until his death in 1975. But Material Witness holds a pun. Just as Mallarmé reminded Degas that poems are made of words not ideas, Porter held that paintings are made not from ideas but from paint. He had learned this, like he learned most of what he knew about painting, through experience, and when he taught, this is what he told his students.
The New Museum was founded on a social agenda that was loosely associated with what now sounds academic: “Art holding a mirror to society.” This motto had more sway during the museum’s founding in the late seventies than most of us would expect today, especially considering its temporary location in the latest center of the art world, the Chelsea Museum on 22nd street.
In Pavlovian fashion, mention of globalization promptly weighs on the mind and (when concerning art) tapers the sight. Thanks to its vigilant testifiers who include curator Robert C. Morgan (who is also a frequent contributor to the Rail), artworks that are pinned between its parentheses often affect a common salivation, compelling us to think largely about centers and peripheries, cultures and identities. In The Sign of Paradise Morgan offers the work of Kuma and Made Wianta (one a Japanese artist, the other Balinese) to occasion, like ice cubes chipped off a lumbering glacier, a glimpse at instances of globalization’s personal impact. But far from being brought together to illustrate those heady art issues, they instead shed light on fresh alternatives.
By the mid-1980s it had became apparent that the tradition of Modernist abstraction, a closed, self-referential system exemplified by Donald Judd and carried on through the sixties and seventies, had been infiltrated and subverted by artistsmainly painters. Wielding various sets of quotidian, impure references, they broadened the scope of aesthetic concerns beyond the formal, and, in the process, audiences for contemporary art.
"Ever since that September, time has gotten away from me. Doubts plague me…” Thus begins a line of text that, through the intricate imaginings and calculations of Leslie Roberts, is translated or encoded into a grid-based painting called “Bad Attitude” (2004). The painting is small with a pale yellow ground.
You might expect that Der Krieg (War), a suite of fifty intaglios by Otto Dix, and Die Hölle (Hell), a set of ten transfer lithographs by Max Beckmann, would have been consigned to irrelevance by now. Predating the Holocaust, Hiroshima and Nagasaki, napalm, death squads, bunker busters, and depleted uraniumamong countless intervening horrors -what could their tremulous depictions of World War I and its aftermath tell us that hasnt been eclipsed by the twentieth centurys relentlessly expanding scale of violence?
French theorist Ernest Renan wrote that “a nation is a soul, a spiritual principle,” but what if that nation is fake or, at least, is not real to everyone? We Could Have Invited Everyone attempts to answer this question by featuring over twenty artists’ micro-nations, model nations, and “concept nation states.” The exhibition is composed of artifacts from the artists’ fictionalized countries: flags, coins, passports, models, stamps, diaries, and “official forms.” In effect, all the tools of a good hoax.