BUFFALO — There are good art exhibitions and then there is writing about them. In the case of Eric Mack’s solo show at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, I recommend you walk in without reading any of the text, because it doesn’t really help all that much and might burden you with interpretations that I think aren’t always proven — for instance, I don’t think “Mack’s works always smuggle the body into the exhibition space.”
This one-room exhibition has some seriously smart work by an artist who easily experiments with mixing forms and materials. He’s able to create those moments that demonstrate he’s headed in new and unchartered directions, even if a little more focus would’ve helped this one-room show polish the power of its punch.
There’s a curious tension between the more exciting and precarious work, like “Wind painting” (2016), and the more conventional work that looks like it might be tailored for the less adventurous collector set, like “People say…” (2017) — though it’s not always easy to figure out where one work starts and another ends. While the former is more visually exciting and conceptually rich, placing textiles in free-flowing forms and referencing everything from protest camp sites to laundry lines, the latter feels more directly in dialogue with the conventional parameters of art history and abstract painting, which isn’t the artist’s sweet spot.
“Willow within the Form of Prose” (2016) is the strongest work in the show. An assembly of parts, the resulting sculpture distills the best of Mack’s abilities to make something look simultaneously digital and analog, while engaging with the poetry of the material and the limitations of representation. There’s a breakdown in narrative, even when the titles suggest a subtext, and it contributes to the freeing energy that conjures up these fantastical installations, making me feel like the artistic process itself released a genie from a bottle.
The title of the show, Vogue Fabrics, is an intentional play off the name of a prominent fabric company, fashion magazine, dance, and London club, which are all of the same name. This highlights the fact that Mack’s best work walks the line between many worlds. His fluency in these languages suggests a type of visual “code switching,” but there’s no discomfort or adaptation at play as the artist is fully at home in this intersection between worlds that pokes at your expectations. It’s in that liminal space that his best work soars.
Eric Mack: Vogue Fabrics continues at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery (1285 Elmwood Avenue, Buffalo, NY) until June 18.
Editor’s Note: Names of three works were changed in the original review to reflect the accurate titles.
A total of 24 board members stepped down from their posts after the art center’s parent company allegedly attempted to terminate 12 of their colleagues.
A group of artists and writers denounced the center for hosting Philippines President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., son of the country’s former dictator.
This new kunsthaus in Potsdam shows modern and contemporary works of art from East Germany in what was once a terrace restaurant.
Xenobia Bailey, Jeffrey Gan, Elizabeth G. Greenlee and N.E. Brown, Siera Hyte, Maru López, and Olivia Quintanilla will contribute to a Hyperallergic Special Issue on underrepresented craft histories in 2023.
An investigation by Forensic Architecture and Al-Haq into the killing of Shireen Abu Akleh looked at previously unseen footage and unpublished autopsy reports, among other evidence.
The Philadelphia organization offers artists on-site access to recovered materials, studio space, construction equipment, a $1,000 stipend, and more.
This week, a Keith Haring drawing from his bedroom, reflecting on Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, you’re not descended from Vikings, the death of cursive, and more
Eros Rising at New York’s Institute for Studies on Latin American Art demonstrates that eroticism might be closer to the cosmic than to the terrestrial in its infinite manifestations.
Drawn to Life at the Ackland in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, showcases 17th-century Dutch drawings of landscapes, portraits, preparatory studies, and biblical and historical scenes.
I was curious to see Casteel’s first exhibition since her New Museum show. I was not disappointed.
Stephanie Syjuco’s exhibition Double Vision points to the role that museums play in perpetuating narratives about the people, places, and events of the American West.
This is what happens when boozed-up patrons party next to priceless mosaics, statues, and vases.