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Eutopia: Vol. 2 _2014 (12x12)

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S: EUTOPIA Volume 2

BC: eutopia.us

FC: EUTOPIA Volume 2

1: EUTOPIA: Contemporary Art Review Volume 2 Fall 2014 founder/editor: Ryder Richards eutopia.us

2: EUTOPIA produces concise 100 word reviews on contemporary art, architecture and artists. Founded to increase arts writing and reading we are pleased to present the first season of collected reviews in book format. ~ Ryder Richards

3: Alejandro Almanza Pereda Dona Nelson Tim Berg & Rebekah Myers James Drake Eric Heist Sue Anne Rische David Chipperfield Eli Gold Do Ho Suh Amy Feldman Veletrní Palác Sara Greenberger Rafferty Bohu and Monika Kubinsk The UrbUrb Karin Lehman Ed Atkins Sally Glass Zeche Zollverein Coking Factory Michael Anthony Garcia Rem Koolhaas & AMO Berlin Bunker Marjorie Schwarz Barbara Kruger Meow Wolf Mary Giehl Derek Coté Swoon Russ Orlando | Eric D. Charlton Danny Olda Ian F. Thomas RJ Harrington Ryder Richards Colette Copeland Gili Merin Eli Blasko Ryder Richards Amie Cunat Gili Merin Kristen Cochran/Yelizaveta Nersesova Gili Merin Ryder Richards Kristen Cochran Janeil Engelstad Karen Weiner Gili Merin Colette Copeland Ryder Richards Gili Merin Kristen Cochran/Ryder Richards Colette Copeland Randall Garrett Colette Copeland Trevor King Linda Ganstrom Colette Copeland

4: Alejandro Almanza Pereda Sticks & Stones No. 3 Revolver Gallery, Lima, Peru Addressing the nuances of contemporary life with the aesthetics of creative solutions Sticks and Stone no. 3 retains a child-like playfulness while achieving solemnity through the diagrammatic connections between totems of cliché and kitsch. The tension created by the stress of the precarious construct draws, in part, from the way Almanza forces the Chinese plaster statue and chainsaw-carved cactus to carry a burden beyond their physical weight and conceptual capacity, hinting at the notion of the fabricated and tenuous nature of present-day problems. All the while, the concrete meteor looms over to ensure destruction if, or when, the system collapses. ~ Eric D. Charlton

6: Dona Nelson Shoe Painting (2011) Making Sense at University of South Florida Contemporary Art Museum, Tampa, FL It is difficult to ignore the way in which the paintings of Dona Nelson resemble windows in both form and function. Orange acrylic paint, the remnant of removed stretcher bars quarters the painting like an old brown stone double hung, wafting through to both sides. However, a pair of shoes, as seen by someone standing, is confined to one side, perhaps the inside. Fashioned from twisted white muslin, the wingtips are conspicuous and pleasantly confusing. Seemingly contradictorily the painting serves as a means to pass through and a means to demarcate, from inside to out, abstract to figurative, painting to sculpture. ~ Danny Olda

8: Tim Berg & Rebekah Myers “Honest to Goodness” @ Art Miami, Dean Project Miami, Florida Lipstick-polished-superficiality mindfully converges, offering a collapsed view into commodity, individuality and art market hypertrophy. MyersBerg Studios illuminates a vista of desire as currency for society. The seemingly shallow content of kitsch subversively offers the question of what authenticity and individuality may be in regards to object-hood and its multiplicity. “One of a Kind” and its 49 miniatures mimic the museum gift shop, the spectacle of Koons, and the consumer desire for a miniature Eiffel Tower. What is a souvenir but one’s perception of mass individuality and a conversation on the breadth of culturally relevant aptitude. ~ Ian F. Thomas photo by Scott MacClaine

10: James Drake Anatomy of Drawing and Space (Brain Trash) The Blanton Museum of Art, Austin Making and consuming large-scale work takes place in small increments, a time based unfolding of viewing. Focus leads from here and now to then and there, occupying an intimate field as understanding and connections develop slowly. Step back and new meanings emerge, stay close to be consumed. Drake’s installation-drawings force the viewer to remember. Indulge on eclectic details of a highly skilled draftsman: a diagram, tornado, or flock of words drowning in a sea of paper, charcoal, collage, and crayon. Attempt to remove the distance, to breathe and avoid the undertow, and one risks forgetting the specifics. ~ RJHarrington image courtesy The Blanton Museum of Art and James Drake

12: Eric Heist Biosphere 2 Field Projects, Chelsea, NY Unpacking the 90’s biosphere project’s psychological failings, Heist presents the engineered, structural forms of the utopic dream as a stable force against which ego batters. A hysterically phallic glass column topped with a shoddy, slumped geodesic dome clumsily isolates and aggrandizes biosphere texts. Triangular wall panels issue a fragmented, foggy battle cry, a half-hearted stencil mirroring a half-hearted believer’s brash voice and casual actions, echoed on the left by a push-pin archive of magnanimity and selfishness. Tragically, the constant conflict needed to realize the noble pursuit was cancerously carried within, poignantly captured in Heist’s delicate gouaches of the site’s derelict bones. ~ Ryder Richards image courtesy of Field Projects

14: Sue Anne Rische Privacy World: A Fun & Secure Experience!* The Arts Gallery, Collin College, Plano, Texas Fusing campy parody with subversive wit, Rische’s interactive, multimedia installation Privacy World examines our current culture’s lack of discernment, ignorance and/or apathy concerning privacy laws. Visitors willingly signed away their privacy rights, revealed personal data and subjected themselves to intense scrutiny from many not-so-covert “hidden” cameras and security guards. Unbeknownst to the public, Rische manned the control center surveying all participants for signs of hostile behavior. Using puns and creative word play the work employs cookies, memes, NSA terrorist buzzwords and social-media messaging. Interweaving educational information about privacy infringement the exhibition humorously encourages us to read the fine print. ~ Colette Copeland

16: David Chipperfield Neu Nationalgalerie, Berlin British starchitect David Chipperfield is about to embark on a mission undesired by many: refurbish one of Modernity’s most striking icons – Mies Van der Rohe’s Neu Nationalgalerie in Berlin. As the ultimate physical manifestation of Mies’ “Less is more” architectural motto, the gallery’s geometrical precision and aesthetic perfection must remain unharmed during the imminent restoration, which began this month with a ‘prologue’: an installation by Chipperfield, consisting of 144 tree-trunk columns inserted to the column-less free glass-encased space, following the grid of the six feet-thick ceiling hovering above. Resembling a temple, the site-specific installation seems like a last apologetic gesture moments before his blasphemous renovation -the real intervention- begins. ~Gili Merin photographs courtesy of Gili Merin

18: Eli Gold In Our Time Art and Design Gallery, University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS One enters In Our Time to find Eli Gold conducting a quiet concerto using his own heartbeat as the time signature and directing an orchestra of four performing various physical and contemplative activities. Using chalk as his baton, he meticulously tallies each beat onto a monumental chalkboard, the sound of which is amplified to the performers hidden from his view. Taking on sound and repetition as his primary devices, Gold cleverly highlights the gap between fabricated clockwork and fluid time as experience, while his inclusion of other performers evokes existential questions of the individual’s distinctive abilities to influence temporal perception. ~Eli Blasko photographs courtesy of Aaron Paden

20: Do Ho Suh Drawing Lehmann Maupin, New York Delicate papers pressed to contours and rubbed into textural relief capture details of the artist’s mundane apartment. Reminiscent of tombstone rubbings the technique maps nostalgia through laborious excess, a blueprint of loss. Famous for exploring his national/global identity Do Ho Suh’s efforts are out of relation to rational nostalgia, instead a transference is enacted as the relationship shifts from the object that serves into a served, objectified memory. Dismissing the display option to maintain a cohesive, consoling structure the diagrammatic work is splayed open, pinned to the walls: previously private comforts revealed as dissected fragments for collective consumption. ~ Ryder Richards Photo: Elisabeth Bernstein Courtesy the artist and Lehmann Maupin, New York and Hong Kong

22: Amy Feldman High Sign Blackston Gallery, New York The gallery walls and ceiling are painted grey emphasizing the object-presence of Amy Feldman’s paintings. Within her large canvas works, Feldman’s process supplants causality. Dark grey forms painted against a white ground structure an exchange between the formal vacancies and positives of image, while the immediacy of their gestures with moments of careless paint drippings, punctuates the motifs as if they were exclamatory statements. Emblematically, the alliteration among titles like Gut Smut, Psych Alike, Spirit Merit, and Open Omen stress the play in her visual rhetoric, which emulate behaviors of cartoon-like call-out bubbles, humpty-back camels, and oceanic tribal masks. ~ Amie Cunat image courtesy of Amy Feldman and Blackston Gallery

24: Veletrní Palác The National Gallery, Prague Expecting to find an aging Medieval palace, The Veletrní Palác (Trade-Fair Palace) is nothing of the sort: located in a 1920’s streamline-modernism structure, Prague’s National Gallery is a bizarre hybrid of a poorly-curated museum and overly-ambitious community center where an abundance of art works are assembled against plaster walls painted in pastel-nausea color palette. Leftover Van Goghs and forgotten Picassos blend into salmon-pink and teenage-purple backdrops while sweaty guards socialize across the gallery’s extruded central atrium. An elusive glimpse of a large Lichtenstein is the sole reminder that we are, in fact, in a somewhat Western-art-aspiring culture. ~ Gili Merin images by Gili Merin

26: Sara Greenberger Rafferty Fourteen30 Contemporary, Portland, OR Fake fruit, an image of dead Christ and mannequin legs walk into a white cube. Fake fruit asks Curator about the flies: “After all, I’m dead but I’m not rotting.” Mannequin legs asks the silent Christ image to speak. Curator points to a stack of printed microphone images on a light-filled windowsill. But like all other soft-spoken signs, they transmit silence. Rafferty clothes her quiet, conceptually rich works in seductive, see-through materials. Gaining substance from the underlying architecture, pastel prints on plexi and shadowy images on acetate reflect images of perplexed onlookers scratching their heads and batting at fake flies. ~ Kristen Cochran Villem Flusser writes that freedom is the ability to commit suicide, “its availability as an option at any moment – not constant rejection, but the constant possibility of rejecting.” Sara Greenberger Rafferty’s exhibition confronts one with this “constant possibility of rejection.” The pieces linger between ethereal (the consistent transparency of surfaces) and concrete (the forceful puncturing of the surfaces with screws). The pure white space of the gallery aids this liminal state. The work oscillates between presence and absence depending on one’s position in space. The imagery itself feels secondary, arbitrary, suggesting the possibility of infinite permutations that yield the same experience. ~ Yelizaveta Nersesova

28: Bohu and Monika Kubinsk Front Line DOX Center for Contemporary Art, Prague Yet another event marking the hundred-year anniversary to WWI: A monumental site-specific installation in Prague attempts to bring together the two World Wars: Front Line aligns WWI sandbagged-trenches with ball-shaped concrete, one-man, WWII bunkers. Though described by the curators as an abandoned battlefield where the two wars artificially meet, the space bares no resemblance to the chaos it claims to be; in fact, the only juxtaposition is in the two intersecting aesthetic flavors and idealistic notions: the coarse, fragmented relics of an inevitable war, resting neatly within the double-height, white-cubed, brightly illuminated gallery space of the DOX, in the midst of Prague’s post-communist residential plateau. ~ Gili Merin images courtesy of the Gili Merin

30: The UrbUrb: Patterns of Contemporary Living Curators: Roy Brand, Keren Yeala-Golan, Ori Scialom and Edith Kofsky Israel Pavilion, Venice Architectural Biennale 2014 Venice, Italy Accompanied by tinkling music grand plotters stutter and whir across beds of imported cultural sand, intricately etching diagrams derived from decades of urban, suburban and agrarian developments in Israel. Overlaid into illegible complexity the patterns present an evolution of enmeshed modern approaches to designed living, after which the sand is wiped clean: tabula-rosa. Echoing issues of “design from above” universal modernism, the diagrams take on a hypnotic, alien character further abstracting architecture into an automated practice with scant concern for site or culture. Poetically dense The Urburb eschewed “excess-as-intelligence” and pedantic wall texts, elaborating manifold issues through succinct implementation. ~ Ryder Richards images courtesy of Sarale Gur Lavy

32: Karin Lehmann West Silvertown plaster, burlap installation [2014] Dallas Biennial 2014, Dallas Within a derelict industrial warehouse -populating a rust covered room of their own- stand Karen Lehmann’s slight but sturdy, planar sculptures made of plaster and burlap. Like grounded ghosts are her architectural apparitions. Slightly larger than body sized, their hollows act as hiding places within a dim and dingy, labyrinth. Created on site, each work exudes a sense of urgency: chalky skins are pocked with impressions of the artist’s hands, fingers and limbs; traces of swirled and pushed plaster stilled as wet surfaces set. These fragile bodies act as semiprivate confessionals and temporary spaces of reprieve for transient guests. ~ Kristen Cochran

34: Ed Atkins Ribbons Serpentine Sackler Gallery, London Careening around Ribbons is an immersive experience that fulfills like the sickest amusement park ride- thrills and chills, but no plunging depths. Projected throughout the gallery is “Dave”, a buff, gloomy computer generated avatar reciting cryptic verse, singing melancholic songs and scrawling messages of alienation on his body while drinking himself into a stupor, a uniquely human existential quandary. Panels with scribbled drawings and enigmatic text add ambiguity. Yet, like self-absorbed Dave, the installation is intoxicating, nauseously pulling us in and pushing us out in the same breath; smart-phone captivating and eerily prescient of an increasingly shallow technologic future. ~Janeil Engelstad photo by Janeil Engelstad

36: Sally Glass a history of laziness Deep Ellum Windows, Dallas It was the perfect time to visit Sally Glass’s exhibition: late. The time of dreaming, intimacy, personal reverie. In the cavernous space Glass had erected sheetrock walls to form a small room whose front was the glass window opening onto Main street. Public/private. This room contained a comfy chair, sofa, bookshelves and carefully selected reading material. There was another room in the back -tiny, cavelike- which screened a video of a personal nature. In between was a door mounted with stripes of neon light. The feedback loop between laziness and productivity/inner and exterior worlds. ~Karen Weiner photo courtesy of artist

38: Zeche Zollverein Coking Factory Essen, Germany Once Europe’s largest coal mine and coking factory, the Zeche Zollverein Complex has transformed into a machine-age playground: a rusty mega-creature of intertwining pipes and towering chimneys. Weeds grow over the former rail tracks in this postindustrial, pre-apocalyptic landscape while animals take shelter in derelict boiler houses. Witness the midpoint of entropy; a deterministic fate to all matter. The quasi-romantic erosion of the factory stands in contrast to the bold, out-of-scale concrete cube: a school for management designed by SANAA [link]. Pritzker-chic pretention and lack of students has lead to it’s current state of liquidation: a portent of hubris. ~ Gili Merin photo courtesy of Gili Merin

40: Michael Anthony García inside)(outside performance curated by (Wo)Manorial Oil & Cotton, Dallas ~Colette Copeland photo courtesy of Colette Copeland

42: Rem Koolhaas and AMO Elements of Architecture Venice Architecture Biennale 2014 Giardini, Central Pavilion, Venice, Italy Entering to find a myriad of exposed duct-work over a drop-down ceiling in a classic cupola makes for great spectacle, a metaphor of the old contrasted with shiny space-age portals issuing forth nothing and leading nowhere. Roaming through the massive rooms overladen with a vocabulary of stairs, building skins, toilets, balconies or flooring the Pavilion functions as educational trade fair exhibit attempting to re-assert the historicity of constituent elements. Offering little concept the pavilion overwhelms with quantity and gadget engagement, implying architecture has forgotten the basics in favor of theory and must be patronizingly re-grounded by an entrenched authority figure. ~ Ryder Richards photo courtesy of Ryder Richards

44: Berlin Bunker Karl Bonatz, 1943 [link] // Realarchitektur, 2004 Berlin, Germany Midway between the German Reichstag and Kunsthaus Tacheles, stands a Nazi air-raid bunker: fiercely monumental, strictly symmetrical, and a sharply stripped-classicist-style structure of reinforced concrete. Today, after 750 cubic meters of concrete was violently diamond-drilled from 7-feet thick walls and 10-feet thick ceilings, it houses the contemporary art collection of a wealthy advertiser-turned-art-collector, who lives in a luxurious penthouse upstairs with his family. Works by Olafur Eliasson, Wolfgang Tillmans and Ai Wei Wei are all casually swallowed by the massive, exposed walls, which have seen too much. It seems a histor-ectomy is needed, perhaps an anarchic-mad-fetish-techno-rave cleansing is appropriate. ~ Gili Merin photo courtesy of Gili Merin

46: Marjorie Schwarz Dutton Gallery, Dallas Art Fair, 2014 Filled with faint traces of everyday objects, Schwartz’s shadowy still lives possess a kind of lightness that acknowledges the dark. As if seen through a tinny x-ray her images play with perception, abstracting the stuff of life into soft, haloed shapes. Spare surfaces and thin washes depict traditionally feminine things: flowers in vases on draped and patterned fabrics, odd keepsakes asymmetrically stacked and on the verge of anti form, bits of ephemera made precious. Like old photos blushing with technicolor, Schwartz’s strange scenes exist awkwardly, as if found in a foreign land–one that is excruciatingly lovely and painfully bright. ~ Kristen Cochran To signal memory we employ a blurry image, the hazy focus reflecting the supposed impressional vagaries of memory. Schwarz’s paintings employ this method, yet sidestep the initial sappiness of nostalgia: the subjects of contemplation are too mundane to withstand emotional scrutiny. Domestic subjects become soft stains scrubbed free of narrative detail, crisply hemmed into existence by flat tonalities, which tend to show more character, more will to life, than the wilting items exposed. Humbly sized, the eradicated still lives tenuously collapse the grand narrative of formal abstraction with a humanist concern for the fragile banal. ~ Ryder Richards image courtesy of Dutton Gallery

48: Barbara Kruger Belief+Doubt [2012- 2014] Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington DC “Money makes money.” “Believe anything forever.” Kruger has taken these mantras to heart, as evidenced by the same didactic, graphic text art that she has produced since the 1980’s. Her Hirshhorn installation creatively utilizes the architectural space, showcasing the escalators and gift shop. “We don’t need another hero,” but is it too much to ask that a feminist hero grow as an artist? The exhibit fails to do anything except replicate mundane mantras ever larger, screaming for attention. It leaves one ironically wondering if Kruger heeds her own advice and gives her “brains as much attention as [her] hair.” ~ Colette Copeland photos by Cathy Carver and Colette Copeland

50: Meow Wolf Jump Jorp Art Santa Fe, Santa Fe, NM The latest Meow Wolf installation continues the freewheeling style this collective is known for since their founding in 2008. The visions of each member often coalesce into a unified gestalt, as in the epic pirate vessel starship amalgam The Due Return in 2011, yet this time around, the emphasis is on individual works. Tucked in a back corner the high energy and disparate installation pumps up the volume, and one can’t help but wonder how the fair might benefit by putting them front and center. Once again they demonstrate how inspired collaborative improvisation often trumps expensive materials and academic techniques. ~ Randall Garrett image courtesy of Meow Wolf

52: Mary Giehl Rice is Life Everson Museum, Syracuse, NY Evoking a sense of wonder and awe, Giehl’s installation is a meditation on world hunger. Suspended from the ceiling by blood-red embroidery thread, hundreds of cast rice vessels hover at heart level. The seemingly tangled piles of thread on the floor form the continents where hunger is greatest. Tara Donovan-esque in sheer magnitude of labor and production Giehl’s fragile sculptures possess a symbiotic relationship between form and content. Resisting didactic interpretation Giehl’s work encourages discourse on both global and local levels. During the closing participants donating food receive a rice vessel; helping dismantle the installation as hunger needs are filled. ~ Colette Copeland

54: Derek Coté Float/Blue Raft [2014] video projection, buckets, water, kraft paper, duct tape, thermoformed styrene, tarps Kunsthaus Rhenania, Cologne, Germany Coté’s Float and Blue Raft deliver a distinct, visceral conception drawn from the explorative and introspective nature of human observation and our often-inadequate attempts to communicate them. Utilizing his Arctic expeditions as means of enquiry, Coté confronts and engages scientific methodology, sourcing from the perceptible world to recreate his aesthetic discoveries in uniquely experiential installations. Within the work a series of simultaneous narratives converge into an impression of visual, physical phenomena contrary to descriptors provided by traditional “hard” science, yet phenomenologically compelling. The distilled interpretations provide a meditative microcosm that is simultaneously concretely relatable and systematically ethereal. ~ Eric D. Charlton image courtesy of the artist

56: Swoon Submerged Motherlands Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, NY Rising out of the detritus of a dystopian water world, Submerged Motherlands parallels current environmental concerns with its monumental scale and unavoidable immersion. Offering hope through the power and resilience of nature, a gigantic Ceiba tree created from reclaimed fabric damaged during Hurricane Sandy, soars to the dome. Compelling figures in Swoon’s signature “street art” style are woven into the installation, bookended by two ingenious vessels speaking of man’s tenacity in the face of unfathomable challenges. Completed by transparent layers of dripping aquatic paint embroidered with flitting cutwork shadows Swoon transforms the rotunda into a surprising, if disturbing, theatrical installation. ~ Linda Ganstrom

58: Russ Orlando Cured [2013] Auto parts, salt, chain, meat hooks, metal, porcelain, slip, canvas, string, wire, school bell, pot, plexiglass Mattress Factory, Pittsburgh, PA The blue light emanating from Russ Orlando’s sculptural installation transforms the gallery from a sterile institutional environment to one filled with intrigue. As part of the Detroit artists in residency exhibition, Orlando’s work features auto parts hung on meat hooks in various stages of salt curing. Referencing sides of beef in a slaughterhouse meat locker, the sculptures’ salt crystallization patterns juxtaposed with the discarded auto parts are quite beautiful and unusual. However, I question the artist’s conceptual metaphor of preservation as a means to heal—in this case the dying city of Detroit. I wonder, do we want to heal that which is dead or antiquated? ~ Colette Copeland

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  • Title: Eutopia: Vol. 2 _2014 (12x12)
  • Eutopia reviews: Fall 2014
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  • Published: over 4 years ago