In this week's Art Basel-precipitated blur of fairs, performances, museum openings, art dinners and art parties, it is sometimes difficult to ascertain exactly where one is at any given moment. Liste—the well-loved "young art fair" that is generally acknowledged to be the stepping-stone for promising young galleries on their way to Art Basel—proper-immediately made its presence felt, as within two seconds of stepping into its environs I was perusing a vitrine filled with crystal vases, skulls, and—of course—bongs. Matthew Derbyshire's installation (for Herald St., London) immediately reminded me that no matter how esteemed, Liste always manages to bring the party.
The 1979 New Wave song "Video Killed the Radio Star" kept running through my head as I made my way around the cavernous maze that is Art Basel 41's intermingled Art Unlimited and Art Statements sections. Unlike last year, when outsize and bombastic sculptures appeared to take Art Unlimited at its name, and minimal, formalist installations seemed to predominate the more discreetly coined Art Statements, this year was a star turn for the filmic medium in every stripe. Experimental works alternately exuberant and poetic (Rosa Barba, Iñaki Bonillas, Bruce Conner,) were shown alongside more slickly high-budget fare (Doug Aitken, SUPERFLEX, Claire Hooper), while less classifiable works—including the ever-absurdist and sadistic fabulations of Jos de Gruyter and Harald Thys—popped up with alacrity. Read More
Edit Oderbolz's coolly formalist but reliably gorgeous installations and objects are insistently sculptural and physical, yet nearly always evince the sensation of abstract paintings or drawings. The Swiss artist's favored materials, curtain rods and thin, aluminum scaffolding, cut through the air or against white walls like line drawings, elegant and tensile. Brightly colored textiles, however, have a flat, graphic quality, even when fanned out across a wall or draped and hanging from a metal rod. These deftly placed bits of color easily evoke modernist abstract painting (as well as the bright, graphic collages of Hans Arp and the textiles of his wife, Sophie Tauber-Arp). Tellingly, the artist has said of her often site-specific installations, "The walls function almost like big canvases." Read More
Lever House, the glassy green box and ur-skyscraper of New York architectural Modernism that Skidmore, Owings and Merrill erected on Park Avenue in 1951, has also been the site of some of the city's more interesting contemporary art installations of late. Since 2003, Aby Rosen and Alberto Mugrabi have commissioned artists including Damien Hirst, Jeff Koons, and Sarah Morris to make new works for the Lever House Art Collection. This past week, the latest commissioned artist, Los Angeles-based Karl Haendel, mounted an installation of his signature, stunning graphite drawings on paper—one series depicting cracked light bulbs, mirrors, and eggs; another, the fortunes from fortune cookies; another, abstractions that riff on Mondrian's "Boogie-Woogie" series—all of which cover two 20-foot-long walls that cross the building's famed glass lobby.
The studio of Emil Michael Klein occupies a room next to the cold, empty lobby of an enormous '70s-era apartment block building. The building, in the Kleinhüningen neighborhood of Basel and blocks from the Rhine, was designed by Swiss architect Hans Zwimpfer, who's recently known for modular, modernist stacks of suburbans houses. All in all it's an incongruous setting for Klein's workspace, with its low ceilings, warm wood paneling and tiled faux-marble floors. The space doubles as the artist-run gallery Galen, which Klein and artist Kaspar Müller inaugurated earlier this year with a work by Swiss artist Andreas Zybach that entailed crushing tons of random materials—carrots, bricks, camera, barrels, and so forth—to a colored powder, which was then sprinkled about the space. Read More