Conceptual

Valentina Vannicola: Dante’s Inferno

Inferno. Tolfa, Rome, Italy, April 2010 February 2011. ### Infer

In Dante’s Inferno Italian artist Valentina Vannicola merges staged photography with socially engaged practice, resulting in a rich body of work reminiscent of the postdramatic theater of Romeo Castellucci and the Societas Rafaello Sanzio. Using non-professional performers from her hometown of Tolfa, north of Rome, Vannicola has constructed absurdist scenes recreating Dante’s journey through the strata of hell. While the outcome could easily have been[…..]

Liam Gillick and Louise Lawler: November 1 – December 21 at Casey Kaplan Gallery

The simply titled exhibition November 1 – December 21, on view at Casey Kaplan Gallery in New York, pairs works by artists Liam Gillick and Louise Lawler. Sharing the space of Kaplan’s Chelsea gallery, Gillick’s cut aluminum text pieces dangle from wires attached to the ceiling while Lawler’s almost filmic photographs cling neatly to the walls. Though they occupy the same space, the works of these[…..]

Mike Kelley at MoMA PS1

Mike Kelley, now at MoMA PS1, is massive. The largest retrospective of the artist’s work to date, it is comprehensive perhaps to a fault, filling each of the exhibition space’s four floors to capacity and arguably beyond. The former school building’s multiple stairwells allow for various paths through the exhibition—a feature that is liberating if potentially disorienting—but the overall impression is one of totality; of[…..]

Radical Presence: Black Performance in Contemporary Art at NYU’s Grey Art Gallery

Jean-Ulrick Désert. Negerhosen2000 / The Travel Albums, 2003. From a series of forty digitally printed images, pigmented inks, and pencil on archival paper with mixed media collage. 11 3/4 x 8 1/4 in. Courtesy the artist.

How is Blackness performed?  Most African American contemporary artists will admit in confidence that they are often expected to perform their Blackness for the power players of the art mainstream, regardless of their choice of artistic medium. Artists working in two dimensions such as Kerry James Marshall, Kara Walker, and Wangechi Mutu have gained currency by creating work that makes the construction of black identity[…..]

Sophie Calle: Absence at Paula Cooper Gallery

© 2013 Sophie Calle / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris. 
Courtesy of Sophie Calle and Paula Cooper Gallery, New York. Photo: Steven Probert

In 2005, Sophie Calle’s mother found out she had breast cancer. In 2006, as her mother lay dying, Calle set up a camera at her deathbed and recorded the entire process. “I wanted to be there, to hear the last word,” she told ARTINFO. “I didn’t know if she would have something to tell me at the last minute.” She did. In Absence, Calle’s current[…..]

From Wings to Fins: Morris Louis and Cyprien Gaillard at Sprüth Magers

Taking its name from a 2006 feature in National Geographic, Sprüth Magers’ latest London exhibition, From Wings to Fins, features the work of color-field painter Morris Louis and Cyprien Gaillard, a young French artist recently established within the international circuit. While Louis’ position is firmly mid-century, Cyprien Gaillard is a locus of tragic postmodernism. Drawn to modernism’s ideals, contradictions, and historical failures, Gaillard has risen on his[…..]

Andrew Nicholls: The Water Works at Turner Galleries

Australian artist Andrew Nicholls dredges the queasy aesthetics of sentiment for its submerged ideological content. In an ongoing thread of his practice, he locates the ideals and practices of British imperialism in the kitsch, seemingly innocuous world of 19th- and 20th-century ceramics, disrupting this historical narrative with traces of the otherness otherwise repressed in the imperial worldview. He subsumes his viewers in an unsteady undertow[…..]