Images associated with listening—cups pressed to the wall, a makeshift antenna, earplugs cast in metal—thread through the work of London-based, Argentinian-born artist Amalia Pica. It's an unusual preoccupation, particularly for an artist whose work extends the legacy of Conceptualism, which, at its most stringent, posited art as something purely ideational, unbound by the exigencies of shape and form. Strange too is Pica's invocation of listening as a visual rather than auditory experience: rarely does her art feature actual sound. The theme's fugue-like persistence in Pica's work undergirds its subtle revisions of Conceptual dogma. While '60s Conceptualists claimed authorship of the ideas that variously constituted or subtended their work—the idea was theirs, even if its execution fell to another—Pica limns the ways in which our thoughts are conditioned by the presence of others. Her art frames communication as an essential, albeit precarious act, filtered through semiotic systems that warp and muddle meaning, so that mutual understanding is never assured. Read More
Was 1993 a moment? The question structured last Saturday's conversation between curators Massimiliano Gioni and Hans Ulrich Obrist, moderated by Kate Fowle, curator at Moscow's Garage Center for Contemporary Culture. Obrist's ongoing project, "do it," begun during the year in question over casual conversation in a Montparnasse café, was the occasion for the exchange, held in the basement auditorium of New York's New Museum. An offhand comment by Richard Hamilton ("We mainly remember exhibitions that invent new rules of the game") motivated Obrist and two artist friends, Christian Boltanski and Bertrand Lavier, to rethink a format vitiated by two-plus decades of institutional critique. The result is an accumulating compendium of DIY instructions, each penned by an artist, which exists as an exhibition with or without a venue to house it. To date, nearly 400 artists have authored instructions that have been enacted in some four dozen institutions worldwide.
White Columns' annual survey show stands out in an art world awash in biennials. Against predominant positionings of the curator as neutral interlocutor, the Annual bills itself as the singular vision of a single person: the distillation of its curator's idiosyncratic course through 12 months of art in New York. In keeping with White Columns's history as an alternative art space, usual suspects and big-name galleries lose out to under-recognized artists and commercially minor venues. The result reads not as a frantic attempt to see and sum up but as a subjective, sinuous traverse of the New York art world's less-tread paths.
The Annual's seventh edition, up through late February, is the effort of Richard Birkett, a transplant to New York from London and the curator at Artists Space. As in previous iterations, the installation is dense and deliberately open-ended. Neither press release nor wall text attempts to tell a narrative using the works on view, placing the onus on the viewer to string disparate projects. Henrik Olesen's spare grid of screws bound to primed canvas with skeins of hot glue rhymes with Martin Beck's nearby patchwork of blanched fabric panels, while the pairing of Alexander Kluge's Früchte des Vertrauens (Fruits of Trust), 2009, with Helke Sander's Break the Power of the Manipulators (1967–68) on back-to-back monitors yields unlikely alignments between two moments of crisis. At times, the connective logic is more difficult to discern, as with the inclusion of nine glossy, New Deal photographs by Alfred T. Palmer.
In December, the temperature in Kiev rarely ventures above freezing. It's the sort of cold that numbs your legs and leaves your toes half-frozen. But last Friday outside the Pinchuk Art Centre, a line of 20-somethings, bundled under layers of fur and down, stretched to the block's end. Friends and schoolmates talked excitedly through chattering teeth, awaiting their turn to enter the Centre's white-walled interior. If, as Pinchuk's artistic director Eckhard Schneider likes to joke, the age of most museum visitors falls "between 50 and death," the fact that 80 percent of the Centre's visitors are aged 18 to 30 is striking. Free of charge and open until 9 p.m., the Centre feeds a growing demand among the city's youth for contemporary art and the vision of modernity it conveys.
Mixed Media. Courtesy Elizabeth Dee Gallery, New York, and the artist.
Extraction, the most recent series of mixed media collages