Reviews

Best of 2015 – Street View/Road to Mecha by Jonathan Zawada, and Drone directed by Tonje Hessen Schei

Jonathan Zawada, Street View / Road to Mecha, 2013; screen shot, Jamé Mosque of Isfahan, Esfahan, Afghanistan. Photo: Amelia Rina

Today’s selection for our Best of 2015 series comes from editor Deanna Lee, who says, “Amelia Rina views a documentary film and interacts with an online artist project that address the dehumanizing effects of drone warfare on its operators and its chilling similarity to video games. This resemblance has been discussed by others, but Rina’s account of her experience with the project provided a glimpse[…..]

Janet Cardiff: The Forty Part Motet at Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture

Janet Cardiff. The Forty Part Motet, 2001; installation view, Gallery 308, Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture, San Francisco, 2015. Courtesy of Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture and San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Photo: JKA Photography.

Shotgun Reviews are an open forum where we invite the international art community to contribute timely, short-format responses to an exhibition or event. If you are interested in submitting a Shotgun Review, please click this link for more information. In this Shotgun Review, Henry Rittenberg reviews Janet Cardiff: The Forty Part Motet at Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture, co-presented by San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, in San Francisco. Spem in[…..]

Tony Hope: TH+ at ASHES/ASHES

Tony Hope. Untitled (Hugh), 2015; installation view. Courtesy of the artist and ASHES/ASHES.

Obsessively attuned to the use of space, Tony Hope stages deceptively spare sculptural environments within the gallery of ASHES/ASHES in his first Los Angeles solo exhibition, TH+. The two installations, which are suggestive of one another in their polarity, speak to the larger context of the show as it pertains to the value of manufactured identity. Hope displays a deep understanding of the transience found within subcultural materials that do[…..]

Frank Stella: A Retrospective at the Whitney Museum of American Art

Frank Stella. Gobba, zoppa e collotorto, 1985; oil, urethane enamel, fluorescent alkyd, acrylic, and printing ink on etched magnesium and aluminum; 137 x 120 1/8 x 34 3/8 in. (348 x 305 x 87.5 cm). The Art Institute of Chicago; Mr. and Mrs. Frank G. Logan Purchase Prize Fund; Ada Turnbull Hertle Endowment 1986.93. © 2015 Frank Stella/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

The stylistic shift in Frank Stella’s work has been met with fierce criticism, to say the least. Much has been written recently about his current retrospective at the Whitney, trying to connect his wildly expressive, three-dimensional works of the past few decades with his singular striped paintings of the 1960s. More than thirty years ago, Douglas Crimp characterized Stella’s late work from the 1970s as[…..]

A Shared Space: KAWS, Karl Wirsum, and Tomoo Gokita at Newcomb Art Museum

Tomoo Gokita. Speechless. 2013. Acrylic gouache on canvas. 28 x 12. 5 x 14 inches. Image courtesy of KAWS and the Newcomb Art Museum.

The history of the artist-as-collector is as long as the history of art itself. From Rembrandt to Damien Hirst, artists have amassed collections in order to satisfy a range of interests and obsessions. A Shared Space: KAWS, Karl Wirsum, and Tomoo Gokita, at Tulane University’s Newcomb Art Museum, consists of artworks culled from the Brooklyn-based artist, designer, animator, and commercial guru KAWS’s private collection, allowing[…..]

Como fantasmas que vienen de las sombras… y en las sombras, se van at Espacio de Arte Contemporáneo

Jazael Olguín. Paisaje molar, 2015; black marker and three paintings. Courtesy of ESPAC.

Like with mazes and haunted houses, there’s a magnetic appeal in unraveling the mysteries that fictitious places offer. We enjoy undefined atmospheres where a strange comfort assures the encounter with the unknown and is met with the thrill of discovery. Because our sense of control struggles with the powerful forces of uncertainty, we are challenged by our own idea of self-representation, despite being aware that[…..]

Chris Johanson: Equations at Altman Siegel

Given the cartoonlike basis of most of his portrayals, the slackerly compositions, and the seeming arbitrariness of the surface textures of the paint he uses so dynamically as a set of color choices (seemingly clumsy elements that have often been similarly deployed by other artists who might pass as “outsider,” however relative that term might be), the question arises as to why Johanson chooses to so often paint rather than draw. In these pieces Johanson doubles down on painting in several ways: first, through the large scale of several of the scenes, as with Lecture Series/Abstract Mass, and the bleak consumer composite suburbia of Los Angeles with Pills. Johanson paints on repurposed wood panels and displays most of his work in awkward, large, built wooden armatures to show off both fronts and backs equally (as he has done even more elaborately in installations elsewhere). This prominently shows off the wooden buttressing behind the panels, which he also highlights with “secondary” paintings on the reverse. These include what look like a series of painted geometric doodles mosaic’d on the back of one larger composition, a simple set of color fields of darker and lighter brown parceled out by the different wood elements themselves, and what looks like a beginning painted sketch of an abstract landscape not so dissimilar to what might show up elsewhere as just one among many background components in a “primary” or finished painting by Johanson on the front of one of his panels.

Today from our partners at Art Practical, we bring you Brian Karl’s review of Equations at Altman Siegel Gallery in San Francisco. The author notes, “Johanson eschews in this set of paintings the strategy of inserting text directly into the worlds he creates. The titles of the pieces do some of that work.” This article was originally published on November 30, 2015. In this exhibition of ten new works (all[…..]