S: EUTOPIA Volume 3
FC: EUTOPIA Volume 3
1: EUTOPIA: Contemporary Art Review Volume 3 Spring 2015 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: Zanele Muholi Anila Quayyum Agha Antoine Catala Thomas Lerooy Bruce Nauman Michael Bevilacqua Eric Zimmerman Francine LeClercq Mathew McConnell Loris Gréaud Taylor Baldwin Kristen Cochran Mark Tribe Kelly Kroener Charles Ray Jeff Gibbons Jesse Morgan Barnett Diane Durant & Devyn Gaudet Markus Schinwald Tom Sachs Claudia Comte Haegue Yang | Janeil Engelstad Colette Copeland Colette Copeland Colette Copeland Colette Copeland Ian F. Thomas Ryder Richards Ali Soltani Ian F. Thomas/Eli Blasko Ryder Richards Eli Blasko Ryder Richards Ryder Richards Carolyn Sortor Cameron Cuming Gregory Ruppe Gregory Ruppe Colette Copeland Janeil Engelstad RJHarrington Amie Cunat Colette Copeland
4: Zanele Muholi Isibonelo/Evidence  Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art, Brooklyn Museum The power of Zanele Muholi’s portraits is in the gaze of the South African lesbians and transgender men commanding the viewer’s attention from the frame. Installed in a grid, the wall of images gives a triumphant voice to people who face social stigma and vehement, homophobic backlash. Isibonelo also includes intimate images of weddings and funerals and Being Scene, a blurred, prosaic video of lesbian couples making love that does not pack the demonstrative, thought provoking punch of the photographs. That said, Muholi’s commitment to her craft and her community, anticipate this “Call me Caitlyn” transgender time with moving authenticity. ~ Janeil Engelstad image courtesy of Brooklyn Museum
6: Anila Quayyum Agha Intersections  Dallas Contemporary, Dallas ArtPrize* winner Anila Quayyum Agha’s installation Intersections transforms the gallery into a spiritual space for contemplation. Inspired by a trip to the Alhambra Islamic Palace in Spain, the artist uses light to generate intricate reflected patterns covering the walls, ceiling and floor. The exhibition title refers to a point where the East meets the West. Given the current state of religious animosity in the world, Agha’s notion of a non-denominational sacred community seems to be a utopic unreality. Although beautiful and tranquil, the gallery architecture did not offer visitors a means to thoughtfully meditate or pray. ~ Colette Copeland Photographed by Kevin Todora. Courtesy of ArtPrize Dallas and Dallas Contemporary.
8: Antoine Catala Embot (Teacher)  Mirror Stage: Visualizing the Self After the Internet Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas The video Embot (Teacher) addresses the relationship between humans and machines, specifically technological advances made in Artificial Intelligence. Catala’s video portrait is a computer animated young boy who speaks with an emotionless human voice, expressing statements such as “I’m alive” or “I’m hungry”. Unlike the characters in the films Chappie and Ex Machina, this boy’s expressions and gestures are a bit off, suggesting he hasn’t yet mastered human qualities and emotions. Feeling embarrassed at the machine’s inadequate attempts to evoke human emotion, we are further discomfited by the knowledge that our uniqueness could be replicable, rendering us obsolete. ~ Colette Copeland images courtesy of the DMA
10: Thomas Lerooy Beauty in the Shadow of the Stars  Petit Palais, Paris, France Belgian artist Lerooy creates subversive interventions with exquisitely cast figurative sculptures displayed amongst the permanent collection at Petit Palais. With Duchampian prankster spirit, Lerooy uses the formal elements and materials associated with classical high art, but conceptually thwarts the viewers’ expectations, playing upon the relationship between beauty and the grotesque. From a distance, Seduction of Destruction appears as a decorative series of glass/gold leafed vessels. Up close, we see glass bottles filled with bronzed fragments of faces punctured by bronzed asparagus spears. In other works, Lerooy humorously uses duct as a comment about “Institutions” desire to preserve history and tradition. ~ Colette Copeland images by author
12: Bruce Nauman Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain Paris, France Bruce Nauman’s video works instill fierce techno-envy. Using a stationary camera with simple framing and large hi-def projections/screens, repetitive and ordinary gestures acquire monumental importance as Nauman oscillates between tension and equilibrium. In Anthro/Socio (1991), Nauman creates a word/sound cacophony resembling a Gregorian monk chant. Performer Rinde Eckert performs/sings the words “Feed Me, Eat Me, Help Me, Hurt Me.” The viewer/listener initially lulled by the rhythmic sound, is jolted to attention, once the words and implicit meanings become clear. Untitled (1970/2009) features two female dancers twirling clockwise, generating radial, kinetic movement. I’m tempted to call Nauman out on voyeurism/objectification, until I learn that he was intentionally absent during the filming. Off the hook for that accusation, but my techno-envy remains intact. ~ Colette Copeland images by the author
14: Michael Bevilacqua Between Two Worlds  Jacob Lewis Gallery, Chelsea, New York Modding the surface, graphing code, and appropriating iconographic references Markus Persson disciples’ would worship, Bevilacqua acts as guide straddling the present reflection with current nostalgia of yesteryear. From Atari 2600 to now, he tracks the embryonic pixel’s exponential growth culminating as a reflection back upon it’s dumb, Euclidian self, revealing the origin as a Byzantine master story teller. An elusive iconoclasm of chrono-collapsed familiarity contrasts with specificity, requiring a cypher to enter a flat world. The user is now the witness and the recorder, and an experiential teacher being taught multi-layered understanding of our digitality. ~ Ian F. Thomas images courtesy of Jacob Lewis Gallery
16: Eric Zimmerman Elegy for Left Hand Alone  Art Palace, Houston, Texas Unequal partners despite symmetry, Zimmerman offers the neglected left hand as a sympathetic narrator. Speaking in rare fragmented imagery –an ancient hand tool, Houdini magic tricks, plunder mined from the Voyager Golden Record, or a Werner Herzog screenshot– the selection is an eclectic imbalance, muted icons with remote poetic value. However, the deftness of the paintings belies a dexterity bordering on photographic, the hand over-compensating to remove touch from sight: a hand in absentia. Though manifest in sculpture, an impotent amputated clasping, more compelling are the Beuys basalt replicas: a paper-thin pretense of heft, an embodied grasp at gravitas. ~ Ryder Richards images courtesy of Art Palace and the artist
18: Francine LeClercq I Am Your Labyrinth  Soho20 Chelsea Gallery, New York Richly layered, LeClercq’s exhibition continues to recalibrate her convictions about the crucial roles of specificity, context and perception. Comprised of differently sized tablets, pieces depicting the iconic Sleeping Ariadne from various angles are dispersed in both the real and a replica scale-model of the gallery space in a seemingly explosive outburst, as if erupting from the diverging perspectival gaze of the viewers. She presents us with an instantaneous bird’s eye and linear views wherein the shifting centrality and relations between the observer, the work, and the varying spatial outlines of their exchange is brought to the fore. ~ Ali Soltani images courtesy of the artist
20: Mathew McConnell “What it Means to Move”  and “Let’s just say what we mean”  Eastfield College, Mesquite, TX
22: Loris Gréaud The Unplayed Notes Museum  Dallas Contemporary, Dallas “Future observers will pass judgment exclusively on the basis of the external, corporeal, material appearance of artwork: its meaning, content, and original interpretational framework will be necessarily alien to them.” “From the perspective of the future archaeologist and flneur” Gréaud’s anachronistic Museum offers “an eternity of ruins, the relics left behind.” Grandiose in scale and execution “the heroic act [is] an eternal role model.” Indecipherable texts, mutated nature, thermal sex, and the mimicry of historical monuments are archetypically sanctified, though unknown and thus irrelevant, they are necessarily vandalized.* “The eternity is not a spiritual one, but a material one.” ~ Ryder Richards Boris Groys, Art Power “Hitler’s Art Theory” (p134-5) Photo Credits: Minsk Studio // Courtesy: Loris Gréaud, Gréaudstudio.
24: Taylor Baldwin The Plague Year  Grin Gallery, Providence, RI The Plague Year invites us into a space where a state of tension between physical and immaterial is perpetually suspended. An invisible figure stands, seemingly exposed only by means of being dredged and pulled from a technicolor mire, left dripping with the muck of cultural detritus. Baldwin’s eclectic language of materials paired with the figure, or lack thereof, question the expansive notions of how we define the individual, even ourselves. Cymbal stands supporting the figure probe even deeper for possible definitions, bringing to mind other undetected phenomena: vibrations, waves, and perhaps even hinting at ideas of Morton’s ominous hyperobject. ~ Eli Blasko images courtesy of the artist
26: Kristen Cochran soak, stain, bleed, bloom Pollock Gallery, SMU, Dallas Documenting a studio process enamored with the hypnotic stain, a series of folded papers -radio-chemical-efflorescent- offer the bleeding Rorschach as arrestingly more compelling than crafted intention. Beguiled, the stain births a blind form of bio-mimicry as rude flowers float and collapse, coagulated stems of plaster ineptly attempting symbiosis. These meandering symmetries are released from nova-parentis profundity with the occasional comedic turn: an insipid neon sign commands several propped up sticks to “bloom.” Reflecting further on nature’s bursts and blood, a video of the armored artist repelling into volcanic eruptions and violent vortices documents her brave descent into the hypnagogic blossom. ~ Ryder Richards images courtesy of the artist
28: Mark Tribe New Landscapes  Zhulong Gallery, Dallas Mimicking the majesty of vacant landscapes, several geometric panels portray an alter-existent aerial reality generated by computer software. Reminiscent of drone data accumulation, these ou-topos images resituate our relationship to landscape and the tranquil pastoral as potentially sinister. Complimented by flat-screens videos of nature capturing and looping a banal moment as a window onto the ideal, the site’s geo-specific context and current usage as militia training grounds conflate nature as a substrate and primer for war. Similarly, deceptively realistic digital landscapes are captured from first-person-shooter games, coopting brilliant technical artistry as escapist simulacrum into a training ground sans morality. ~ Ryder Richards images courtesy of the artist
30: Kelly Kroener corework  RE Gallery, Dallas Big pieces hang like tapestries; but instead of being insulating and ornate, Kroener’s are breathing and modest, lining a cottage instead of a castle. They hide and replace real windows with other views: into the interior of her husband’s jeans; or of flowered bed-sheets transformed into curtains fringed like the flaps partitioning coolness in a florist’s shop. Dyed, netted, and stitched together by Kroener’s hands, the show shares an architecture of intimacy with 2-D shapes echoing the 3-D clothing from which they came or might become; a few singed scraps echo the slower heat of bodies once wrapped. ~ Carolyn Sortor images courtesy of RE Gallery, photographs by Frank Darko
32: Charles Ray Baled Truck machined stainless steel  Matthew Marks Gallery, New York Seeing it fifty feet out upon entering the gallery, it may appear like a giant, metallic candy bar. On approach though, Baled Truck elongates (decompresses) revealing its quasi-cubistic structure, yet it still remains below you. How to enter? Or as Ray posited, “Does looking at it carry you, or do you carry it?” Understanding the loss of the Figure – the body – through the simulated compression as signaling, in effect, a pedestal or the virgin block, Baled Truck, with its machined curves like shimmering drapery, manages ultimately to recover the body via negativa. As incorruptible as a saint. ~ Cameron Cuming images courtesy of Matthew Marks
34: Jeff Gibbons Auto Relativity Kinetotron  Goss-Michael Foundation, Dallas Auto Relativity Kinetotron relies on an economy of content to construct visual forms of existential crises. Three damaged plexiglass vitrines stacked to near human height, one containing a clay amorphous ball, confront an undulating projection of snowy mountaintops. A nervous tension connects the two: one never able to find stability, the other unable to fulfill expectation. Another injured vitrine protects the third component in the exhibition: a Chock Full O’ Nuts can filled with dead flies. The recycled food container becomes waste thrice-fold, a carrying vessel for the perished consumers of human fecal matter, a Manzoni stripped of ego. ~ Gregory Ruppe images courtesy of Goss-Michael Foundation
36: Jesse Morgan Barnett Personal Life  Goss-Michael Foundation, Dallas Barnett adopts the role of early retiree to reflect sentimentally on subjects of personhood. Pets, living arrangements, employment, and parenthood become material for generating sculptural and pictorial hyper-presence, a process of looking backward and inward to make something seemingly lost present again. Xerox photographic depictions of childhood antics, abstracted details from greeting cards sent by relatives no longer living, and re-re-appropriated objects build a visual maze of tragicomic sensibility. Domestic content becomes an agent for introspection, where a young man simultaneously rediscovers himself through the unceasing wonderment of his toddler son and the premonition of a much older self. ~Gregory Ruppe images courtesy of Goss Michael Foundation
38: Diane Durant & Devyn Gaudet I tried to follow Eleanor Antin. I only got halfway. 500X Gallery, Dallas Durant and Gaudet’s photographic installation pays homage to Eleanor Antin’s seminal 1970’s work entitled 100 Boots. Engaging in a performative journey, the artists documented their collaborative week long Texas/New Mexico road trip by photographing 50 black rubber boots in various settings. The anthropomorphized boots’ adventures include being questioned by the police near a border crossing, illegally crossing into Mexico, being stranded in a blizzard, and a visit to the Cadillac Ranch amongst other exploits. Employing humor and irony, the work examines the timely subject of immigration as well as questions the notion of photograph as evidence or travel archive. ~ Colette Copeland images courtesy of Esther Huynh and the artists
40: Markus Schinwald CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts, San Francisco jointly organized with SFMOMA Like an endoscope moving around a membrane, viewers in Markus Shwinwald’s amusing site-specific installation must proceed around walls, bars and other physical barriers to view a network of objects and images that address interconnected themes of the body. Altered 19th century paintings, adapted table legs, and other bits and pieces morph in and out of each other like muscles, bones and limbs. The objects mystify; the journey through the exhibition can feel aimless, but it rewards those who like to dwell in the imagination creating connections between things that (like disparate body parts) do not stand as strong alone. ~ Janeil Englestad Images courtesy of Wattis Institute, San Francisco. Photos by Johnna Arnold.
42: Tom Sachs Tom Sachs: Boombox Retrospective 1999–2015 The Contemporary, Austin, Texas TomMotherFuckingSachs_full_on_brand_with_levels_up_to_ELEVEN_he’s_got_no_room_to_stop_with_a_crew_full_of_techs_pulled_directly_from_a_WesAnderson_flick_Fuck_shit_mother_fucker_TomSachs_showman_needs_to_live_up/hype_up_the_brand_cuz_liquor_and_shizzz_with_spray_paint_&_spectacle_bigger_than_you_BIGGER_than_all_that_shit_now_He_has_it_figured_out_with_an_orbit_bigger_than_the_milky_way_up_there_with_Koons_and_Hirst_but_branded_with_a_hipster_alt_vibe_MOTHERFUCKING_TOMSACHS_shuffled_boom_boom_boom-box_co-opted_for_the_gallery_and_ten_dollar_lighters_branded_white ~RJHarrington Image courtesy Tom Sachs Studio.
44: Claudia Comte No Melon No Lemon  Gladstone Gallery, Chelsea, NY No Melon No Lemon proposes a comedic intersection of rigid geometry and playful biomorphism. Dominant to the space is a rhythmic system of stark, yellow and white-striped mural paintings accompanied by the organic textures of carved reliefs—repeating lines run down the length of the plywood walls’ burnt, black surface. Murphy bed-like plinths seem to “fold-down” from these partitions, each supporting a highly polished, wooden object. The sculptures, nodding to chunky loops and noodles, pumpernickel bagels, and Brancusi-totems, appear soft to the touch as much as they present a material hardness. The installation’s formal players reinforce a holistic optical vibrancy to its tactile nature. ~ Amie Cunat images courtesy of Gladstone Gallery
46: Haegue Yang Mountains of Encounter (2008) Double Life, Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston, Texas Haegue Yang’s large-scale, kinetic, sculptural installation resembles a meditative moving Carlotta Capron photograph. Red Venetian blinds suspended from the ceiling project shifting formalist shadows, as roving spotlights illuminate their form. Referencing secret meetings between Korea and China that took place in the mountains of Northern China in the 1930’s, the conceptual undertones contrast this peaceful, abstract, visual specter. The blinds and spotlights acquire sinister connotations, alluding to surveillance, and covert military intelligence. Following the light, the viewer is led through the mysterious labyrinth, never fully able to capture the fleeting apparition or remain furtively hidden in the shadows. ~ Colette Copeland images courtesy of Colette Copeland