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Letter From DUBLIN

What is drawing if not thinking in action. It is the easiest, quickest, most expansive, sometimes laziest, and most challenging of forms.

Letter From BERLIN

Here in Berlin, two timely exhibitions by Imi Knoebel present the artist’s long preoccupation with color and its material support.

The 53rd Venice Biennale

The Venice Biennale’s title, Fare Mondi/Making Worlds, offers no particular vantage for viewing the eclectic survey encompassing both the Palazzo delle Esposizioni in the Giardini and the Arsenale. Still, the compelling and idiosyncratic visions of Simon Starling and Nathalie Djurberg are sufficiently bound up with the corporeality of process to stand out from the sprawling exhibition.

Brooklyn Dispatches Bushwick Biennial: Venice It Ain't

The bitter satisfaction of morning caffe lingers on the back of the tongue. The sun, burning through the mist, glimmers off the Grand Canal. A flock of cream-colored pigeons wheels overhead, the woofing of wings echoing the shuffle of exquisite leather soles on ancient cobblestones.

Reflections on the Electric Mirror: New Feminist Video

The mirror in the title of this modest, but thought-provoking exhibition of video art is not an allusion to the age-old link between femininity and vanity. It refers instead to the technology particular to video, which creates an illusory fusion of self and image.

Welcome to Gulu

Rimbaud’s vision did not fail once he abandoned poetry and Paris. In Harar, he planned a railroad for North Africa, even surveying its route.

Jonathan Schipper: Irreversibility

What a great idea. Artist Jonathan Schipper, with vital help from engineer Karl Biewald, manages to transform a car-crash into an observable work of art by slowing it way, way down.

Katrin Sigurdardóttir

For a country of just over 300,000 people, Iceland does a pretty efficient job of disseminating its culture abroad; we’ve all spotted the “dottirs” and “ssons” sprinkled around the art world.

Dan Graham: Beyond

Last summer, thousands of hipsters turned out to hear Sonic Youth close down McCarren Park Pool, playing the Williamsburg venue's final show. This summer, guitarist Thurston Moore is lending his indie rock cult-status to longtime collaborator Dan Graham, appearing in interviews and promotions for the 67-year-old artist's career retrospective.

Jack Youngerman: Triads/Quadrads

Jack Youngerman is 83 years old. His is an aesthetic of quasi-formal organic forms and images that ride the line of geometry, where reversible positive/negative relationships spiral through our comprehension like smoke in a soap bubble, elusive and clean.

Patty Chang: The Product of Love

The slapstick performer, after skidding into a pratfall, always gives a wink to assure the audience that everything is okay. For all the strangeness she packs into her work, the performance and video artist Patty Chang never winks, allowing a merciless collision of hilarity, discomfort, and confusion to unfold.

Jeremy Sigler: Sculpture

On June 26th at a Chelsea bar called The Park, I was among a group of listeners as poet Jeremy Sigler described the inauguration of an ongoing intermedia event entitled Sculpture, in which a person (or persons) is invited by Sigler’s secretary to occupy a darkened room, naked and silent, with Sigler, also naked and silent, for one hour.

Wiser than God

It might be called generational sparring that Wiser than God, a show of octogenarians, opened at the BLT Gallery right across from the New Museum’s catchy Younger than Jesus exhibition unveiled last April. On view through the end of July, Wiser than God was conceived by Adrian Dannatt after attending the New Museum’s press conference, and co-curated with the painter Jan Frank.

Michelangelo’s First Painting

Francis Bacon has turned 100, and the AARP is beckoning the theoretical girls and boys of the Pictures Generation, but Michelangelo is forever young.

Tainted Love

Love is not about power. It is not about politics. It holds no stake in reason, activist articulation or abstraction—or at least that is what the literary romantics would have us believe. Love, in fact, is intimately connected to the above, its voice most powerfully manifest in its contribution to communal world-making and social reform.

James Ensor

From time to time a special exhibit comes along that sheds light on an incredible artist whose work is long past due for fresh contemplation. Such a show is this, the first major retrospective in three decades of James Ensor (1860-1949), a singular if hard-to-define figure of the early European avant-garde.

Airing the Spirits: Song Dong and Zhao Xiang Yuan’s Material World

The current Projects series at the Museum of Modern Art features the work of Beijing-based artist Song Dong in collaboration with his recently deceased mother, Zhao Xiang Yuan. Titled “wu jin qi yong,” or “Waste Not” (2005), a popular adage during the years of the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976), the work is a sprawling, though densely compacted array of household objects placed on the second floor atrium.

Albert Oehlen

In Albert Oehlen’s large, bright and raucous new canvases at Luhring Augustine, paint seems to pollute the compositions as though it has nowhere to belong.


The Brooklyn Rail

JUL-AUG 2009

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