Kim Ye, We Did This Together, 2013
Courtesy of the artist

Los Angeles-based artist
Kim Ye

July 4 2014
3:00 PM

Last November, the Chinese-born, Los Angeles-based artist Kim Ye presented an arrangement of bizarre objects reminiscent of common household furnishings at OHWOW in West Hollywood. “Immediate Surroundings,” her first solo exhibition with the gallery, explored ideas of the uncanny, the surreal and fetishism. A large sculpture of foam blanketed in the skin of a brown leather couch sunk into the concrete floors (We Did This Together, 2013), while an exhausted set of white drawers fashioned out of latex and wood resembled a neglected Claes Oldenburg (Slippery Drawers, 2013). Falling prey to gravity and their clumsy composition, the works were visually in flux between collapse and resurrection. Kim Ye furthered this irony by carving intricate designs in colorful window blinds, where the device’s privacy function was eliminated for purely aesthetic purposes. Yet, while a puerile interpretation of the world may be her inspiration, her works behave like grotesque models in a tragic domestic set arranged by an alien. The artist will continue this methodology in a series of new works where she replicates designer shopping bags using rubber cement and latex sheets — the same materials used by fetish clothing manufacturers. Later this year she will exhibit with Veronique D’Entremont at Salomon Huerta’s space in Eagle Rock, and she is developing a one night performance to be premiered in Silver Lake this fall. (James Shaeffer)

Chris Martin, "Cool Drink on a Hot Day," installation view at KOW, Berlin
Courtesy of Chris Martin and KOW, Berlin. Photo by Alexander Koch

Chris Martin
at KOW, Berlin

May 30 2014
3:00 PM

To summarize Chris Martin’s body of work within one exhibition is a seemingly impossible task. When entering the show “Cool Drink on a Hot Day” at KOW in Berlin’s Mitte, one is immediately confronted with several paintings that display Martin’s eclectic practice. A checkerboard work covered in wavy blocks of yellow, green and red (Untitled, 2011) hangs next to a large red painting comprised of layered paper, green polka dots and an image of a chicken (The Red Chicken, 2010/2012). Facing them is a large smoky black canvas (Double Frog Midnight, 2010) partnered with another painting portraying an amorphous design reminiscent of a work by Paul Feeley (Cool Drink on a Hot Day, 2013). Inside the exhibition Martin continues to refuse any sort of aesthetic synchronicity, by using a range of materials including newspaper, glitter, burlap and wood. Upstairs is a portrait of the deceased musician Amy Winehouse, recognizable by her beehive hairdo despite the fact that her face is replaced with an image of trees (Portrait of Amy Winehouse, 2011/2012). Within the same room, Martin has covered a canvas in silver glitter and spray painted the number “420” across its surface, a figure synonymous with American marijuana culture (Four Twenty…, 2012/2013). “Once you realize if you can’t do the right thing, you can’t do the wrong thing, either,” Martin once said in a conversation with curator Elodie Ever. (James Shaeffer)

Chris Martin’s exhibition at KOW, Berlin, runs through July 27

"Art Post-Internet", installation View at UCCA, Beijing
Courtesy of UCCA, Beijing. Photo by Ericg Powell

“Art Post-Internet” at Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing

April 18 2014
3:00 PM

In a 2008 interview, artist Marisa Olson introduced the term “post-Internet” to describe her work, referencing artist Guthrie Lonergan’s idea of “Internet aware art,” and stressing the importance of addressing how the logic of the Internet can impact an artwork; the piece, however, can remain offline. This set the stage for a league of interlocutors who sought to define post-Internet’s amorphous meaning, such as writer Gene McHugh and artist Artie Vierkant, among others. Befittingly, 2014 gave us an institutional survey of the genre at the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art in Beijing. Curated by Robin Peckham, an independent curator and editor based in Hong Kong, and Karen Archey, an art critic and curator out of New York, the show features an array of international talents who have become important voices for this global dialogue. Like Dara Birnbaum’s technical diagrams of projection units (Computer-Assisted Drawings: Proposal for Sony Corporation, NYC, 1992/93) or Jon Rafman’s endless photographic database gathered in the “Nine Eyes of Google Street View” ongoing series, the works included in the show are all products of a decade dominated by the World Wide Web, incorporating issues such as internet policy, mass clandestine surveillance and data mining, the physicality of the network, the posthuman body, radicalized information dispersion, and the open source movement. (James Shaeffer)

“Art Post-Internet” at Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing, runs through May 11.

Ola Vasiljeva, Petit Maitre (Detail), 2011
Courtesy of the artist

“What Were You Expecting, Mr. Milquetoast, a Plot?”
at Badischer Kunstverein

January 27 2014
3:00 PM

During Frankfurt’s Experimental Theater Week in 1966, the Austrian writer Peter Handke debuted his play Publikumsbeschimpfung (Offending the Audience). While initially planning to write an essay critiquing the state of contemporary theater, Handke decided that it would be more effective to confront theater audiences with his protest. What inevitably occurred on stage was unique: the “actors” aggressively engaged with the “spectators” and continuously reminded them that what they saw was not a play, but a literal presentation. The traditional performer/viewer dichotomy was disrupted, and the mechanisms of theater were made self-aware and driven by chance. This play is what’s first referenced in the press release for the enigmatic group exhibition at Badischer Kunstverein featuring an international grouping of artists including Sanya Kantarovsky, Calla Henkel and Max Pitegoff, Vittorio Brodmann, Liz Magic Laser and Ola Vasiljeva. Just as Handke allowed the audiences to be as integral to the play as the actors, this exhibition curated by Roos Gortzak rejects the convention of organizing artworks according to “preconceived themes” and is constructed for “artist and viewers alike.” The exhibition will also introduce a new collaboration between Kantarovsky and Laser, who will debut a new performance during the opening night that will continue to play within a video installation through the remainder of the exhibition. (James Shaeffer)

“What Were You Expecting, Mr. Milquetoast, a Plot?” at Badischer Kunstverein will run through March 30.

MAP Office, Island Profile, 2013
Courtesy of the artists; and Duddell's, Hong Kong

Duddell’s, Hong Kong

January 22 2014
3:00 PM

The romanticized bar/café/restaurant where artists and creatives congregate is an art historical icon. In the 1970’s, Max’s Kansas City in Manhattan served titanic names like Barnett Newman, Andy Warhol, and Lou Reed, while Paris Bar in Berlin similarly hosted Martin Kippenberger and David Bowie. Every important art capital has its own historic brasserie where artists rendezvous, so befittingly Hong Kong has seen the opening of Duddell’s this year. Instigated by young entrepreneurs Alan Lo, Yenn Wong and Paulo Pong, Duddell’s is a multifunctional space home to a restaurant for Cantonese cuisine by Michelin-starred chef Siu Hin Chi, and a space for art events and exhibitions. Currently, the stunning interiors are hosting Ai Weiwei’s first curatorial effort, a group show of thirteen local artists curated on view until February 2014. Entitled “Framed,” the exhibition is meant to reflect the city’s colonial past, and act as both a “rejection and adaptation” of its history, which can be compared to the “relationship between an organ transplant and its new host” as the press release states. While the artwork elevates and embellishes the dining experience, Weiwei hopes that both Duddell’s and this exhibition may also serve as a powerful vessel by which to expose the city’s burgeoning art scene to a global audience. (James Shaeffer)

Martijn Hendriks, Fourth, 2012
Courtesy of the artist

Amsterdam-based artist
Martijn Hendriks

January 16 2014
3:32 PM

In Dutch artist Martijn Hendriks’ work there consistently seems to be more than meets the eye. In a piece entitled Sixth (2012), what appears to be a simple black and white abstract rendering is actually a pigment print featuring a digitally reconfigured sculpture enclosed in a maple frame. In a more recent artwork, Weekend (2013), diverse materials like money, newspapers and a USB key containing Google image search results are hidden in a plastic bag hunged on two minimal, pallid shapes leaning against the wall. His latest one-man show at WCW Gallery in Hamburg follows Hendriks’ habit of demanding that the audience investigate what’s beyond his aesthetically pleasing objects. The exhibition looks like a nearly empty storage room with scattered works composed by whiteboards, backpacks, cupholders, travel bags, hoodies, dried glass noodles and more. These conservative arrangements almost seem like an individual has placed them there as markers for later sculptures. The objects derive from texts about corporate processes for Initial Public Offerings, referenced from the web and repeatedly translated via Google Translate. The resulting gibberish is adapted into the myriad objects place within the gallery. The artist indeed explores how sculpture manages to circulate and reproduce through populations of images, forming new bonds and strategic alliances as its environment changes. On February 15, don’t miss Hendriks’ participation with Francesco Stocchi in “Impossible Show” at Temporary Gallery, Cologne. (James Shaeffer)

Installation view of "Pro-Choice" at Fri-Art, Fribourg, 2013
Photo by Primula Bosshard

Fri Art, Fribourg

December 3 2013
4:52 PM

As a cultural exhibition space in the city of Fribourg, Fri Art has ambitiously exhibited numerous shows for over thirty years. Known in French as the Centre d’art de Fribourg and in German as the Kunsthalle Freiburg, the art center’s mission to promote “mediation between the Swiss and the international scenes, as well as the public” has involved interlocutors like Liam Gillick and Nicolas Bourriaud. Beyond Switzerland they have exhibited in numerous locations in New York City. Since 1990, however, Fri-Art relocated to a 19th-century factory, a gift from the city itself. Their programming is diverse: while this year saw a series of solo exhibitions by Claudia Comte and Jérémie Gindre, Fri Art held a large competition entitled INVENT in 2011 that was devoted to subjects spanning from science, literature, applied arts and more. This year, the institution lost director Corinne Charpentier and hired Swiss artist Balthazar Lovay as their chief curator. Having previously made a huge series of 450 chaotic drawings and a collection of masks, hats and costumes for a fictive Carnaval parade, Lovay recently introduced curating within his practice. After a large group show in September featuring the exhibited artists’ “early” works, Lovay’s current and future programming at Fri Art includes a double-solo show by Hannah Weinberger and Ferdinand Kriweta and a solo exhibition by American artist Jason Loebs in 2014. (James Shaeffer)

Jay Heikes, County Line, 2013
Courtesy of Marianne Boesky Gallery, New York

Jay Heikes’ solo show
at Marianne Boesky Gallery,
New York

November 25 2013
3:00 PM

It’s been only six years since artist Jay Heikes had his first solo show in New York, and this Fall he returns for “Walkabout,” his third solo exhibition at Marianne Boesky Gallery. Initially appearing to be in stark contrast to “Like a Broken Record,” his first show in 2007, the majority of the new works are composed of soft, bleeding colors on pallid surfaces rather than the black, detrital motifs from years prior. According to the press release, the variety of the works on view “demonstrate Heikes’ eclectic and experimental studio practice” while concomitantly exploring themes of alchemy and pseudosciences. Jay Heikes draws clever parallels between these naïve disciplines and artistic practice by alluding to surrealist dictums on what defines an artwork and by allowing bizarre materials (horse hair, aluminum solphate, bismuth, burlap, taconite, among others) to transform into art through their inclusion into the exhibition. Ideas of mutation and self-reflexivity are consistent in Heikes’ work; in his two previous exhibitions at the gallery he has experimented with the chemical reactions that occur when two unique materials meet. It would appear that while Jay Heikes is the master and commander in the studio, his frequent collaborator is happenstance. Heikes showcases how science can still be wizardry, while illustrating how the artist can be an agent of both. (James Shaeffer)

Jay Heikes’ solo exhibition at Marianne Boesky Gallery, New York, runs until November 30.

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