If I had to elect one artist to elegize the end of if not America, then the industrialized world, it would be Michael E. Smith. Working with found and appropriated materials, which have been known to include everything from animal parts to textiles to car parts to human bone, not to mention everything in-between, Smith creates supremely laconic and darkly comic sculptures that seem to come to us from a future that we would either prefer not to or cannot imagine. Whether or not we, as a species, actually figure in that future is unclear (indeed, whether or not we would even want to figure in it is something else entirely). But something seems to have happened there (where? looming on the horizon) in which the objects, tools and technologies we once used to negotiate it no longer seem to possess the uses for which they were intended. Something has happened. Is happening. Will have happened. Already. Behold these stark and gnarled elegies.
For his project Somewhere Safer, Camille Blatrix modifies Kunstverein Braunschweig’s Remise, reorganizing the spatial situation with architectural interventions. As a harbinger of the show, the entrance area, that is usually perceived en passant, is transformed into a nostalgic waiting room. Sculptures, paintings and a “soundtrack” produced on-site are condensed into a tense, at times menacing atmosphere of waiting. Each element testifies to the fear and anticipation of an imminent event, whereby the expectation and accumulated exertion that also arise from the manipulated air circulation affect the human body. Candlelight and ears of corn recur as symbols of live/decease and carry a sense of fruitfulness, sexual lust, and dedication. Shielded by handcrafted wooden pieces, only parts of the Remise are accessible, while other rooms remain hidden in the gleaming light. This way, Somewhere Safer presents itself as an ambivalent oasis—a private retreat that suggests protection from an outside world and a feeling of anxiety and inner strife at once.
The Polish-British artist Goshka Macuga (born 1967) works in the field of installations, using media as varied as photo collage, sculpture, large-format tapestry, video and performance. She is known for her diverse approach that extends to the curatorial and the narrative. Using extensive artistic research, she develops storylines for her works and exhibitions in which she combines fiction and history. Her “materials” are pivotal moments in human history, as well as works by other artists, which she stages in playful displays.Macuga is interested in the myriad connections within cultural history, especially that of the international avant-gardes of the twentieth century.
Inherent Structure showcases a multigenerational group of 16 exceptional artists who challenge abstract painting’s historical associations with chance, gesture, and aesthetic purity. The works presented here instead reveal the deliberate structures embedded in abstraction, illustrating how contemporary practices emerge not just from formal conventions exclusive to painting, but also from the artists’ particular material, psychological, and sociopolitical concerns.
The exhibition at the Kunstmuseum Basel | Present presents works by Martha Rosler (Brooklyn, NY) and Hito Steyerl (Berlin).She puts both early and current works into a dialogue conceived jointly with the artists. Rosler and Steyerl are exhibiting together for the first time - both are also the first comprehensive show in Switzerland. In addition to numerous video works, photos, photomontages, banners and objects, on two floors of the building you will see expansive multimedia installations that confront visitors with spectacularly staged high-tech imagery.
The works of both artists address the interfaces between politics and the mass media. Both in their artistic as well as theoretical production, Rosler and Steyerl reflect the connection between our perception of social reality and the audiovisual media that are essential for their mediation.
I am returning to these ten Cézanne drawings without knowing exactly what draws me back to them so frequently. They are studies after the figure of Bellona in the Rubens painting ‘Apotheosis of Henri IV’ which hangs in the Louvre. Cézanne made them over a thirty year period presumably while visiting the museum. Fifteen years ago, I was trying to make sense of something Cézanne or Gasquet said about his desire to become “a sensitized plate.” I think, for a little while, it helped me sketch out a tense historical sequence passing through Bézier, Casteljau, Citroën, Renault, a woodworkers strike, automation, labor. Something stillborn setting into motion so much mourning.
Hayley Tompkins works with painting, photography and found objects to make installations that highlight the process of looking and experiencing space. Through her practice she seeks to understand objects in the world through an examination of the mimetic quality of paint and painting. For Tompkins the act of painting is a process of thinking and exploring, rather than as a means to simply produce paintings. Her work attempts to find new ways to challenge and explore painting’s transformational possibilities, in order to construct a balance between the pictorial and the physical. The exhibition at Bonner Kunstverein is a new commission and is Tompkin’s first major solo exhibition in Germany.
Images Festival showcases artistic excellence in contemporary moving image culture through screening programs, gallery exhibitions, live performances, and discursive events. Since 1988, Images has presented media works that open critical dialogues and provides alternative ways of thinking and seeing, expanding the understanding of moving image art through our programming and education-based initiatives.
The 31st edition of Images Festival presents 13 gallery exhibitions, 78 on-screen works, and five live performances taking place throughout the Greater Toronto Area.
Gladstone Gallery is pleased to present its fourth exhibition by artist Roe Ethridge, whose photographs deconstruct visual syntax by consciously reworking tropes of both stock imagery and fine art. These new works serve as an extended meditation on genres and styles associated with the traditions of Dutch painting, particularly the still life, domestic scene, and portraiture. Ethridge reflects on these models as foundational to "visual culture" in exposing the image as a material construction that simultaneously produces and is produced by complex relationships: artist and subject, nature and technology, and the personal and the social. Through this lens, he connects disparate figures, including mushroom spores, holiday tchotchkes, and fashion models, via subtle formal cues-such as color, reoccurring motif, or compositional correspondence-that denaturalize the photograph's claims to objectivity.
Everything is going to be fine sets out to examine the emotional charge of technology. In a divergent set of artworks spanning across mobile phone, sculpture, digital video and performance, each artist engages a technological object detached from pure utility, leaning towards a feeling-driven interaction with its user. At times caring, comical, or hostile, the depicted machines take on human-like personalities by serving as containers or channels for a variety of emotions: what artist Camille Blatrix has called “emotional objects.
When I was offered the opportunity to create a show for Downstairs Projects I decided to approach the exhibition and the interview printed in the accompanying zine as a personal investigation into my own relationship with photography. While my work is primarily based in sculpture, photography has been vital to my development as an artist and I thought it would be useful to explore my connection to the medium. After reviewing my archive of photographs and answering the questions posed to me in the interview, I came to the realization that my core interest in photography lies simply in a basic need to frame and document my own sculpture. I had tried several different photographic strategies throughout my career, but I ultimately found them unfulfilling - it was not enough for me to photograph the existing world or directly appropriate a pre-existing image - I needed to have a hand in the creation and staging of the subject in front of the camera as well.
Democracy appears to be in crisis, the era of post-democracy has already dawned. The symptoms are manifold: populist leaders, fake news, autocratic backlash, totalitarian propaganda, and neoliberalism. For some time, however, society has also been experiencing the path of the art’s return to the political—a re-politicization is palpable. Images of demonstrations in the media have shaped public perception in recent years: waving flags, posters, or banners on streets and squares, at the Women’s March, in anti-Brexit campaigns, or in Occupy actions. There have been renewed waves of protest relating to very diverse contexts, countries, and political systems. This has affected artists as well. They create works that they regard as instruments of critique and explicitly motivated by politics.
Marc Camille Chaimowicz (b. post-war Paris) established himself in the 1970s London art scene as an artist who merged performance and installation art in a manner as playful as it was critical and sensual. This large-scale survey is the artist’s first solo museum exhibition in the United States. It will present Chaimowicz’s cross-disciplinary work in sculpture, painting, video, collage, installation, and design made over his nearly 50 year career, including commissions newly created for the occasion.
"Germany is not an island" - this quote is not consciously assigned to anybody, but was and is used by different personalities in different contexts. It is clear, however, that the exhibition is intended to describe the multicultural location 'Germany', a place where everyone is welcome. And a place where all the arts can develop interdisciplinary. Art often seeks the confrontation with traditional perspectives and ideas and thus opens up spaces that also call for greater tolerance, openness and reflection. It needs no social consensus, no vote, but is first and foremost free. Politically, however, she is still, and socially-promoting power also resides in her, especially when she invokes her freedom and her obstinacy.
NEW YORK, January 29, 2018—Paintings, sculptures, video, film, and works on paper by 35 contemporary artists will be exhibited in the galleries of the American Academy of Arts and Letters on historic Audubon Terrace (Broadway between 155 and 156 Streets) from Thursday, March 8 through Sunday, April 8, 2018. Exhibiting artists were chosen from over 100 nominees submitted by the members of the Academy, America’s most prestigious honorary society of architects, artists, writers, and composers. The recipients of the Academy’s 2018 Art and Purchase Awards will be selected from this exhibition.
Michael E. Smith (*1977) works with discarded things, resonant with the accumulated traces of their existence, and transformed through the simplest of gestures into captivating, uncannily sentient sculptures. For his first solo exhibition in Switzerland, the Detroit-born artist creates new works that expand his peculiar archaeology of humanity in the 21st century.
I've always been fascinated by hold-ups, burglaries and the like. This fascination probably comes from the fact that I find them rather romantic, but it might also be connected to the fact that I was born in a southern suburb of Paris where Diego Ferrera, a local contemporary criminal hero, grew up. What excites me in all this is the allure of desire, the thirst for action, the thrill of escape, and finally, the way the villain thumbs his nose at society. I imagine my old friend Camille shares the same interest in these kinds of robber-hero stories; the theme certainly forms the focus of his exhibition at Taylor Macklin, which presents a situation that might have been contextualised beforehand by poetically taking the exhibition space hostage. If you look around you, everything leads you to that conclusion.
Fictive kinships mimic familial relationships but are ultimately defined on their own terms. Fictive Kin presents works by three contemporary artists who all construct photographic tableaux, and are united by their cultivation of modes of seeing that question conventions behind the photographic representation of three-dimensional objects. Sarah Conaway, Annette Kelm, and Kim Schoen harness the visual language of commercial art and advertising. At its most effective, advertising renders the photograph a signifier that we subconsciously identify as assuming an authoritative voice. It serves a clear purpose and delivers an inscrutable message. In the work of these artists, similar strategies are used to subversive, absurd, and philosophical ends. They communicate the arbitrariness of inherited conventions, solicit humor, and render anew the vernacular visual environment that so engulfs us that we may be unaware of it.
Michael E. Smith (b. 1977) transforms found objects into hauntingly sparse sculptures that reveal only the most rudimentary traces of their former function. Composed of natural and synthetic detritus, the sculptures are distilled to abstract, often loosely corporeal forms that highlight the tension between our affinity for excess and penchant for wastefulness. Smith's installations are immersive experiences, rather than straightforward presentations of sculptural objects. Careful consideration of the architectural and ambient features of the exhibition space is integral to his process, as too are the social aesthetics and politics of Smith's hometown of Detroit, which specifically come to bear on this exhibition, the first major museum show by the artist in his native state of Michigan.
Originally presented by Galeria Zé dos Bois in Azores and Lisbon, Lua Cão is the result of more than a decade and a half of conversation between Checa, Estrela, and Gusmão and Paiva. The title refers to a rare optical phenomenon where the moon’s light is refracted to appear in a halo with a pair of adjacent ‘moon dogs’. Moons, eyeballs, multiple exposures, tunnels, light rays, and atmospheric and optical illusions proliferate throughout the exhibition to emphasize the role the mechanics of vision plays in both artistic practices, and to demonstrate their shared interest in the moving image that consistently connects abstractions to illusions, the everyday to the impossible.
Art as radar acts as “an early alarm system,” as it were, enabling us to discover social and psychic targets in lots of time to prepare to cope with them.*1. These were the words of media theorist Marshall McLuhan, writing in Understanding Media with sharp insight in the 1960s and predicting the social revolution that new technology would bring. Half a century has now passed since McLuhan published his important work, and the Internet has permeated our society and new technological innovations like artificial intelligence are rapidly advancing. “Any technology tends to create a new human environment.”
The complex relationship between image and reality has long been one of the most important topics in art.
In this exhibition, the National Museum shows works from the last four decades by close to forty prominent artists. Using a variety of approaches, they all address the surfeit of images we see all around us.
The visual deluge that supposedly represents our lives, our times, our world. News clips, holiday snaps, flickers from the depths of the internet. A fragmented intermediate world, half illusion, half reality. Excerpts and selections. And in the midst of it all: glimpses of truth. Images with the power to change the world.
The large-scale abstract paintings of Fredrik Værslev confront established conventions, definitions and limitations within the medium of painting. Using both traditional and industrial materials and techniques he creates compositions that draw influence from diverse sources including Abstract and Minimialist painting and graphic design. His exhibition at Bonner Kunstverein will present a series of new works that are co-commissioned with Kunst Halle Sankt Gallen and Fondazione Giuliani, Rome.
This exhibition is organized around the premise that objects of contemporary art possess narrative histories and inner lives that the conventions of display can only, at best, approximate. Through the work of over thirty international artists, Stories of Almost Everyone seeks to address the means by which a broad range of contemporary artworks and artifacts traffic in meaning and mythology in equal measure. The challenge that textual mediation poses to the inherent muteness of objects provides a framework for thinking through the potential for ideas facilitated by art to expand into other realms of thought. The varying artistic approaches brought together for this exhibition are as equally emboldened by a faith in objects to communicate their inherent value, as they are skeptical of the conditions of museological mediation and art’s promise to convey meaning.