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Eutopia: Vol. 4 _2015 (12x12)

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S: EUTOPIA Volume 4

BC: eutopia.us

FC: EUTOPIA Volume 4

1: EUTOPIA: Contemporary Art Review Volume 4 Fall 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: Barbara Katen Nadia Kaabi-Linke Ian Kiaer Nick Barbee PLURAL: Matthew King Lucia Simek Marco Maggi Calum Craik Plural: 9/11 Memorial Andrés Jaque Grace Weaver Alan & Michael Fleming Ryder Richards Jessica Christy Sean Miller Seymour Fogel Leah Mackin Chris Bradley | Lauren Fulton Colette Copeland Gregory Ruppe Kelly Montana Ian F. Thomas / Ryder Richards Sally Glass Ali Soltani Ryder Richards Ali Soltani/ Ryder Richards Ryder Richards Amie Cunat Ryder Richards Ali Soltani Colette Copeland Janeil Engelstad Thomas Motley Eli Blasko Trevor King

4: Barbara Kasten Stages Madlener House, Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts Chicago, IL The historic Madlener House conjures, and transforms, established opinions about architecture for art institutions–nostalgia is consistently, pervasively present. Concurrent with the city’s Architecture Biennial, the Graham hosts Kasten, an artist conceptualizing designed spaces through meticulous arrangements of form and light, resulting in abstracted investigations unmistakably her own. An extensive archival dig, Stages unearths cyanotypes, paintings, and set designs for which Kasten has, until now, generally lacked attention. Most revealing is her Seated Form series (1972), handwoven chair constructions alongside diazotypes depicting bare female bodies, referencing the artist’s often forgotten history with fiber. ~ Lauren Fulton images by RCH | EKH, courtesy of the Graham Foundation

6: Nadia Kaabi-Linke Walk the Line Impunities [2012] laser engraved glass Dallas Contemporary, Dallas Kaabi-Linke’s work explores themes of gender and trauma. Easily overlooked are the small glass plate laser etchings, which subtly reveal scars from victims of domestic violence. At first glance, the plates appear blank. Only at certain angles, do the etched scars become visible, symbolizing how the issue continues to be hidden below society’s surface. Interspersed are plates with single lines from victims’ stories, such as “I look at her and see a rapist.” and “I didn’t realize it was wrong.” Most work about this issue focuses on polemical documentary-style photography, emphasizing awareness, rather than art-aesthetic. Kaabi-Linke’s quiet, powerful work does both. ~ Colette Copeland images courtesy of the author

8: Ian Kiaer TOOTH HOUSE AND NOW, Dallas For Tooth House, Kiaer conceives studio models and dwelling propositions for Frederick Kiesler’s* biomorphic architectural design, Endless House (1958-59). The exhibition, demarcated by four distinct palette shifts of yellow, white, brown and grey, suggests models for future scientific solutions whilst anachronistically embodying the decay of a primitive past. Like Kiesler’s own break from De Still to the surreal, the objects in Tooth House allude to a past life forgotten; crustaceous cement forms culled from holes in the earth, an idea of a monochrome or perhaps stand-in for a formalist painting, and an inflatable that hangs somewhere between aspiration and complete despair. ~ Gregory Ruppe images courtesy of Kevin Todora and AND NOW

10: Nick Barbee Ask Forgiveness [2015] galleryHOMELAND, Houston Part pastiche, part living history, Nick Barbee’s Ask Forgiveness alloys his most beloved museums, scaled as a dollhouse. Everyone is a curator now, but need this be endorsed? Some of Barbee’s miniaturized galleries focus on artworks recreated from memory (Jacques-Louis David’s Emperor Napoleon? Let the sleuthing begin), others on architecture: Menil’s hidden gardens, Hirshhorn’s dominating curves. Influence is always embedded in a work of art – Barbee just cites his sources. Models are proposals for real space: this is proposal as think piece, conditioned by idiosyncrasy, re-inscription, and the (not undue) demand that our art institutions do more, be more. ~ Kelly Montana images courtesy of the artist

12: Matthew King Paintings from the 1970’s Grin Gallery, Providence, Rhode Island "I think you mean the 1960’s" A night out with a lover listening to contemporary renditions of the songs of our past, clutching each other’s lustful intentions with a live sound track fulfilling our shallow needs. A good cover band, one that captures the original essence of music is something to experience even though the players are necessarily secondary to the music they copy. King, like many cover bands before him, offers us the flatness of the 1960’s shadowed in clippings of the 70’s with the simulated currency of the now: nostalgia. ~ Ian F. Thomas images courtesy of Grin Gallery With a blatant attribution to the past the artist co-opts a proven stylization tuned for ready reception: a theoretically safe well-trod territory, which can become either a platform for innovation or a feedback loop of comfortable retro-banality. Nostalgia repackaging co-opts externality as individuality, shifting away from originality into the role of re-contextualization: a risk presuming relevance over inconsequence by re-enacting the paradoxical past-perfect. Equally as interesting, the re-enlivened content that is readily consumed is necessarily (gratefully) lacking the original animating spirit. The zombified pastiche is welcomed with nostalgia’s selective forgiveness and empowered anew by faux-familiarity. ~ Ryder Richards

14: Lucia Simek OCCIPUT The Reading Room, Dallas OCCIPUT documents the awkward confrontation of one’s stochastic personality, steeped in processes of self-exile and reckoning, mirrored in natural worlds’ expansive and diachronic narratives in motion. Poetically eclectic, intoxicatingly non-sequitur, each fragment reveals its humble frailty. The two-channel video echoes the titular intention, alluding to the brain area responsible for vision, the stereoscopic ability to merge disparate information. Each of the cardinal works serves as self-reflexive monument in a topographical map depicting the failure of a human relationship. It honors the violent shifts in awareness, which take place when the tranquil, protective surface above is betrayed by unseen structural fissures. ~ Sally Glass images by Kevin Todora, courtesy of The Reading Room

16: Marco Maggi Unfolding Marco Maggi Josée Bienvenu Gallery, New York Entering the work of Marco Maggi is not too unlike the dichotomous trajectory of a Zeno’s paradox where the elusive sight of knowledge always lies half a step ahead. The intriguing force of the granulated opalescent field that draws the gaze to its orbit is as though the intricate construction of signs that inscribe the space they inhabit, are the molecular building blocks of some gigantic meta-language; the pencils like the needles of a seismograph machine are there to record the slightest slippages and we’re brought in to witness the immaculate silence of language before it erupts into a scream. ~ Ali Soltani Images courtesy of the artist and Josée Bienvenu Gallery

18: Calum Craik Leisure [2013] Space Blanket, bowling ball, image of Californian swimming pool, steel Sextant, curated by Marco Antonini Nurture Art, Brooklyn A cartography of sociologic desire, Craik’s ludicrous simulacra1 earth floats in orbit around a radiant golden mountain2: mythic wealth manifested as hollow skin3 4 5. The heavy hobbyist planet eclipses an idealized cliché of personal oceans, darkening the American dream6. The game sphere condescending to a postcard attenuates an episteme of juvenile vapidity, shallowness a parody of nihilism.7 Leisure indeed: the surreal map8, a nouveau fabled teleology9 10, amplifies labor for the consumer: discernment is a cultural effort11 12. The key/legend is a vague context pointing at content,13 inferring vast social aptitude only attainable through swaths of leisure labor14. ~Ryder Richards images courtesy of Nurture Art 1. “Today abstraction is no longer that of the map, the double, the mirror, or the concept It is a question of substituting the signs of the real for the real Never again will the real have the chance to produce itself – such is the vital function of the model in a system of death.” Jean Baudrillard, Simulacrum and Simulation 2. Gorillaz “Fire Coming from a Monkey’s Head“ 3. John Maynard Keynes confidence economics 4. “Kate Gompert’s always thought of this anhedonic state as a kind of radical abstracting of everything, a hollowing out of stuff that used to have affective content. Everything becomes an outline of the thing. Objects become schemata. The world becomes a map of the world. An anhedonic can navigate, but has no location.” David Foster Wallace, Infinite Jest, (p 692-3) 5. Jodorowsky’s The Holy Mountain 6. ‘It’s snowing on the goddamn map, not the territory’ David Foster Wallace, Infinite Jest, pg 333 in reference to “A map is not the territory it represents” by Alfred Korzybski 7. The Big Lebowski on Nihilism Walter Sobchak: “Nihilists! Fuck me. I mean, say what you want about the tenets of National Socialism, Dude, at least it’s an ethos.” 8. “The map does not reproduce an unconscious closed in upon itself; it constructs the unconscious.” ~ Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus 9. “In time, those unconscionable maps no longer satisfied, and the cartographers guilds struck a map of the empire whose size was that of the empire, and which coincided point for point with it. The following generations, who were not so fond of the study of cartography as their forebears had been, saw that that vast map was useless, and not without some pitilessness was it, that they delivered it up to the inclemencies of sun and winters.” Jorge Luis Borges, On Exactitude in Science. 10. “The map he had made that morning was fresh in his mind, but the city had changed.” Maurice Blanchot, The Idyll. pg. 29 11. “We have been adequately cautioned about mapping as a means of projecting power-knowledge, but what about mapping as a productive and liberating instrument? mapping unfolds potential.” ~ James Corner, Agency of Mapping 12. Are you working too much?: Post Fordism, Precarity and the Labor of Art, e-flux journal 13. “context providers” rather than “content providers,” Peter Dunn quoted by Grant Kester, Theory in Contemporary Art Since 1985, Chp 12. Conversation Pieces: The Role of Dialogue in Socially-Engaged Art (2003) 14. “You can do whatever you like in your non- work time, providing that it affirms your competence as a trustworthy worker and a credible citizen.” Chris Rojeck’s Labor of Leisure pg.2

20: 9/11 MEMORIAL Michael Arad (architect), Peter Walker and Partners (landscape architects) New York, New York The 9/11 Memorial is an unfortunate success. Vast dual cubic wounds swallow torrents of water, forming inverse fountains guarded by the names of the lost. The names, a gesture towards humanization, spark an abstracted empathy quickly obstructed by smiling tourists posing for selfies: social capital trumping intent and decorum. The site functions as grand destination park, nominally about remembrance and devoid of mourning, except within the distastefully toppling museum providing commoditized relief. The scale echoes the symbolic, versus statistic, value of the tragedy, flexing green-space to life against a voracious market, signaling vast power in the economics of loss. ~ Ryder Richards Ruins are self evident historical palimpsests fundamentally different than designed memorials. Here the opportunity to mark and preserve the sacred site of an epic calamity and the memory of those who lost their lives is given to a flattened corporate park surrounded by a haphazard display of new skyscrapers. The awe at the sight of the reflecting pools at the footprint of towers owed to their massive scale is a short lived spectacle; having seen one, the casual visitor might peek, but is unlikely to pause for a redundant scene which nullifies the whole idea of reflecting let alone memorialization. ~ Ali Soltani images by Ryder Richards

22: Andrés Jaque / Office for Political Innovation COSMO Young Architects Program Museum of Modern Art PS1, New York Galilean orbital irrigation structures are linked to diagrammatic catenary arcs: a cat’s cradle mapping water passage to suspended planetary-plants rising from mobile platforms. Part sci-fi rave aesthetic, part applied –if arcane— ecological science, the device purifies New York’s increasingly toxic water supply under the guise of a futuristic urban, social garden. Utilizing locally sourced components and plants (to be returned) COSMO exposes previously hidden industrial domains as potentially manageable, vibrant and locally viable systems. Enmeshed within an art-party glamour the glowing, lollipop seduction verifies that ecosystemic infrastructure, when properly manifested, can also serve as a social aggregator and communal purifier. ~ Ryder Richards images credit: Miguel de Guzmán. Imagen Subliminal

24: Grace Weaver Teenage Dream Thierry Goldberg Gallery, New York Flesh, cast in warm limelight, is tangerine-strawberry in Teenage Dream. Grace Weaver’s paintings offer extracurricular mise en scnes, where bodies behave like stage props when they support, form, and “move” in response to their individual environments. In Match Point, buoyant arms and legs swoop around the painting’s periphery as if they were curtains unveiling the adversary of a higgledy-piggledy tennis game. Although the artist credits pop-songs to her narratives, the gestures of its jelly-like citizens also suggest they are in cadence with a Gladys Nilsson landscape or Matisse’s Dance II; the figures bounce to a lyrical beat. ~ Amie Cunat images courtesy of Thierry Goldberg Gallery

26: Alan & Michael Fleming The Shining Cydonia, Dallas Presenting Kubrick’s complicated version of “The Shining” maze the Flemings offer a Cartesian abstraction: a game of self-knowledge from a god’s perspective, notoriously failed by minotaur Jack Torrence. Flanked by ionic columns –architectural follies and figurative proxies— the setting belies stability while implying simulated contrivance as docent to madness. Dialectic knowledge tends to dwell on itself, says Hegel, erecting more elaborate constructions of diversion as a means to avoid sublation. Through the twin artists’ lens of replication and difference self-knowledge must be arrived at through a Lacanian fun-house mirror, where the other is consistently uncanny and each revelation generates occlusion. ~ Ryder Richards images courtesy of Cydonia and the artists

28: Ryder Richards a thing of this world Public Address, Brooklyn The striking aspect given the relational nature of power is the implicit presence of a subject through its absence; we see the instruments that compel obedience, the police, the guns, the blunt matter of fact-ness of a neatly folded Kelvar® hoodie, the field of conflict, but we don’t see the other side of it anymore than we can see ourselves. This intricate collection of works, as in the system of vowels and consonants in language, are joined in the likeness of “a thing of this world,” drawing on a priori aesthetics of partitions established between the law and its subject. ~ Ali Soltani images courtesy of Public Address and the artist

30: Jessica Christy Through the Window [2014] Bakken Boom, Plains Art Museum Fargo, North Dakota Christy’s one-hundred-fifty pristine pinewood boxes contain ephemera found in her neighborhood addressing the North Dakota oil boom. Broken bottles, cigarettes, bottle caps, work gloves and hazard tape speak to the dominant masculine culture present in the oil camps. Interspersed amongst the flotsam are small tourist-like photographs boasting “new views” of the changing landscape. Christy inserts a gendered autobiographical perspective with the nail polish bottle filled with oil and broken mirror shards found outside Heartbreaker’s Gentlemen’s Club. Her clever, humorous wordplay offers the visual archive a sardonic anthropologist’s critical perspective on the destructive social, cultural and economic effects of the boom. ~ Colette Copeland images courtesy of Colette Copeland

32: Sean P Miller Cascade Pariah, Dallas Experiencing Sean Miller’s primordial, multi-media installation is something like being inside of a high-discharge eruption of molten earth in slow motion. Multiple forms of media are layered like virtual paint, creating new shapes and sounds that are scrumptiously loud, capacious in execution and lushly rendered. The resulting “sculpted architectonic structures” (as the artist defines his work) convey a sense of wonder and hope – the Earth will indeed transform and resurrect, surviving humanity’s folly. In places, Cascade might seem monotonous, but early in his career Miller’s intoxicating undulations of technology tease forth a future promise: the evolution of a young artist. ~ Janeil Engelstad images courtesy of Pariah

34: Seymour Fogel On the Wall and Beyond co-curated by Judy Tedford Deaton and Katie Robinson Edwards The Grace Museum, Abilene, Texas Fogel’s Texas paintings reflect a post WWII maturity, honed by Depression era murals done with Rivera, Shahn, and Gorky. A pioneer of industrial synthetic paint, Fogel joined the new art faculty at the University of Texas in 1946. His midcentury biomorphic shapes contain stone-like mimetic interiors, nature framed in abstraction. Later geometric murals employ intersecting directional lines that suggest arcs of rockets piercing outer space. Fogel’s last works are contemplative, reductive forms, rendered in parallel with Color Field issues of the time. ~ Tom Motley images courtesy of The Grace Museum

36: Leah Mackin Swipe series Chicago, Illinois Leah Mackin’s Swipe Series initially appears as a group of foreboding matrices: velvet pools of toner on evenly crushed, embossed paper or desolate steel sheet. Through folding, collaging, and mounting, the automated character of each is transformed into a delicate remnant. Their once superlative surfaces now marred by the necessity of human touch, expose their fragility and, in display, leave us with images of prior utility now barren. Like memorials these pieces acknowledge the touch that sustains them, yet leave us to question whether that touch, perhaps a metaphor for human intervention elsewhere, should be mourned or celebrated. ~ Eli Blasko

38: Chris Bradley Freezer Fever Roberto Paradise, San Juan, Puerto Rico Looking like something a child might create in their first revelation of sculpture, Chris Bradley’s Clyde calls to mind a Quixotic day dream. Cast bronze and oil paint create the illusion of a casual construction of hot glued pretzel sticks. This feigned naivety is Bradley’s signature. In a plebeian vocabulary of produce, junk food, and beer, these trompe l’oeil objects tempt an escapist notion; daydreaming of paradise while having a cold one. Banal moments of the everyday become animated, taunting with their own awkward existences, reflecting a glimpse of human desire in a greasy aluminum pizza box. ~ Trevor King

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  • Title: Eutopia: Vol. 4 _2015 (12x12)
  • Eutopia art reviews: Spring 2015
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  • Published: over 2 years ago