Narcotic-riffing duo Jonah Freeman and Justin Lowe have been at it again, creating an immersive drug den abandoned to time and decay. After staging their faux meth labs in Marfa, Miami, and New York, they’ve moved onto a fictional narcotic, Marasa, and an invented cult figure, Dr. Arthur Cook. Like previous projects, this new installation, Bright White Underground, is a serious gesamtkunstwerk, man.
Half the time I spend dumbfounded and in love with it has me asking myself whether or not it’s real, but San Francisco is still the easiest city in the world to have a crush on.
Amanda Hughen and Roger Hiorns are two artists who look to the relationship between industrial and anxiety production as source material for their artistic practice. Hughen and Hiorns also serve as a study in contrasts, approaching the problem from different coasts, with different concepts, and in different traditions.
Aiko’s recent exhibition at Andrew James Fine Art in Shanghai was actually made entirely in that Chinese city while she participated in the gallery’s residency program. This locality lends the work a different significance, a home-grown quality that’s reflected in the mix-in of Shanghai street signs and graphic elements. What we see is not so much a heroic, tragic artist struggling to produce a masterpiece, but a practicing artist reflecting the time and the place she occupies.
There’s something incredibly dark and disconcerting about descending from the sky towards the Chicago landscape. Maybe it’s the logic of it, or the orderliness. The clean gleaming oval of Lake Michigan. A boat or two, bobbing far from shore, the rest of them moored or clinging to that fault line between solid land and fresh water responsible for so much of Chicago’s recreation, real estate, and remarkableness. Feet from the lake, the skyscrapers push their way to where they scrape, puncturing the interminable flatness as sharp as a shock-induced peak on an EKG.
Cambridge, MA — I set out from my couch of the moment for some coffee since I am one of those murmuring morning people, the kind who requires a habit and a burnt tongue to prove to myself that I am, in fact, awake. On the short walk down the cramped sidestreets of residential Cambridge, I come face to face with the broad glass windows of Meme Gallery — a storefront space with yellow strings like spokes suspending a purple totemic figure above a basin of water, placed in the middle of the gallery floor. Fabric contortions billowed and oozed along the walls, nightmares leaking through dawn and ceiling tiles, down the gallery walls. Am I awake? What the hell is this?
On September 9, the new midtown “de-junked” fast food restaurant 4food hosted the public opening of the second iteration of Julia Kaganskiy and Karen Bookatz’s migrating Blue Box Gallery. Dedicated to exhibiting new media art in alternative spaces, they also succeeded in using a space that would attract large numbers of people who would not typically be exposed to this type of art.
The similarities between contemporary art and taxidermy are more numerous and more humorous than I realized, and thanks to a slightly too smart, vaguely discomforting show called Whitetail Deer, A to Z by Rebecca Lieberman at Anthony Greaney Gallery in Boston this similarity has been brought to my attention in great depth and detail.
Cambridge, MA — The first thing I wanted to see, for reasons that will become clear in a few days, was a Walter Gropius building. Instead, the first thing I came across was the most talented Nebraskan you’ve never heard of.
I passed Pierre Menard Gallery in Cambridge on my way to look at an old Walter Gropius building, and the name, taken from a Borges story I’ve read and love, drew me in.
Curator and artist Will Pappenheimer’s Tunneling at the underground Bushwick space Famous Accountants is a densely layered exhibition heavy on technology and illusion. While the group exhibition aligns perfectly with the gallery’s affection for mind-altering art, Pappenheimer’s curation fits perfectly into the long narrow space and brings together work that invites you to unpack them visually.
By now, we all know that the 2008 Obama Presidential campaign was a great leap forward for the aesthetics of US election campaign, so it should come as no surprise that the director of the Obama campaign, Scott Thomas, decided to publish a book about the innovative Obama design brand and its impact on American pop and design cultures. The resulting book, titled Designing Obama: A Chronicle of Art & Design from the 2008 Presidential Campaign, is an attractive product that includes a short foreward by Pentagram partner Michael Bierut and an introduction by graphic design guru Steven Heller, who cleverly calls the brand “O Design.”
The films I have chosen are not only incredible films, but also they are films I have loved for a very long time or they are films that I have grown to love after multiple viewings. A couple of them are stylish and cool, while others are extremely slow, difficult, and even tedious at times. However, they are all films that make the viewer think, and they are either films that comment upon film as an art form or are at the very least are aware of themselves as films. Hopefully people find the same joy in my recommendations as I do.