art-agenda


Art Agenda reviews: Gorgona, Daniel Buren, Robert Barry, Omer Fast, and more

Gorgona, Thoughts for January, 1960s. Black and white photograph, 10 x 14 cm. Image courtesy of ŻAK I BRANICKA, Berlin.

Art Agenda
January round up

The new year usually has everyone looking to the future. This may be particularly true of 2013, at least now that it’s clear there is still a future to be had. But Janus, January’s two-faced patron saint, is not only the god of beginnings and transitions, but also of what is past and has been completed. And so we are compelled to look both forward and backward at the same time. This to and fro is echoed in a number of the exhibitions recently reviewed on Art Agenda, some of which include pulled-from-the-archives historical pieces juxtaposed with recent and new works. The result? Not to be missed mini-surveys and partial retrospectives of both well-known and little-known artists that show how the recontextualization of historical practices, or the presentation of a span of works from an artist’s long career, can make us feel like we’re seeing it all for the first time.

Take for example Robert Barry’s show at Yvon Lambert in Paris, which brings together work spanning nearly 50 years of the artist’s experiments with the moving image and his “conceptual explorations of time;” it created, in the words of Mara Hoberman, a “meta-artwork of sorts.” In New York, Daniel Buren’s two-gallery exhibition at the Bortolami and Petzel galleries, which the artist dedicated to Michael Asher, contains pieces from the late 1960s up to this year. In her review, Karen Archey considers the unresolved dilemma posed by the inclusion of Buren’s historical “in situ” wallpaper-based works in the retrospective: “Made to problematize the context they exist in,” she writes, they “falter by not considering the economic and ideological factors at play in the commercial gallery space.” And at ŻAK|BRANICKA in Berlin, Mara Traumane takes in a painstakingly researched exhibition of the artworks, “anti-magazines,” and actions of the Gorgona group—a loose constellation of artists, art critics, architects, and writers—whose short-lived activities in the former Yugoslavia have inspired the work of subsequent generations of artists in Central and Eastern Europe.

Recently on Agenda:

Gorgona’s “Please Attend” at ŻAK|BRANICKA, Berlin
January 18–March 2, 2013
Delving into this historical mini-survey of the Zagreb-based Gorgona group, which was active between 1959–1966, Mara Traumane explores the output of a proto-conceptual “collective” that “categorically denied the notion of collective work.”

Birgit Jürgenssen’s “Stoffarbeiten” at Galerie Hubert Winter, Vienna
January 10–March 6, 2013
Kimberly Bradley considers the prolifically diverse output and posthumous rise of feminist artist Birgit Jürgenssen (1949–2003), powered by an annual January slot at Galerie Hubert Winter.

Fernando Ortega at Kurimanzutto, Mexico City
January 22–February 16, 2013
Marveling at the delicate—and at times patently threatening—tension imbued in the nine works on view, Chris Sharp gingerly walks us through this sculptural, “eminently elegant” show.

Daniel Buren’s “Electricity Paper Vinyl…” and “Electricity Fabric Paint Paper Vinyl…” Works In Situ and Situated Works from 1968 to 2013 (Dedicated to Michael Asher) at Petzel Gallery and Bortolami Gallery, New York
January 10–February 16, 2013
In this two-gallery retrospective of historical “in situ” works and newer pieces by Daniel Buren, Karen Archey asks “what happens when institutional critique is taken out of the institution and located in a commercial gallery?”

Pavel Pepperstein at Galleria Monica De Cardenas, Milan
November 27, 2012–February 16, 2013
Taking in Pavel Pepperstein’s exhibition of twenty recent watercolors, replete with fantastical creatures, gun-toting gangsters, and Suprematist shapes is, in the words of Filipa Ramos, like “walking through the pages of a storybook.”

Omer Fast at Arratia Beer, Berlin
January 11–February 9, 2013
Maia Gianakos examines the narrative mechanisms through which Omer Fast manages to “deftly sidestep the cinematic contract” in two recent films on contemporary war and its representation in the media.

John Skoog’s “Sent på Jorden and Förår” at Pilar Corrias, London
November 22, 2012–February 2, 2013
In his first show at Pilar Corrias, Laura McLean-Ferris takes in the lyrical, gloomy, dusk-hued films of John Skoog, “speechless vignettes” set in the young artist’s hometown of Kvidinge, Sweden (population 900).

“Light and Dark – The Projections of Robert Barry 1967–2012″ at Yvon Lambert, Paris
December 14, 2012–January 26, 2013
In a survey that brings together 16mm and slide projection works from the 1960s and more recent forays into digital video, Mara Hoberman examines Robert Barry’s remarkably consistent engagement with the cinematic image and its relation to language.

“Problem Play” at Leo Koenig, Inc., New York
November 20, 2012–January 12, 2013
Tyler Coburn explains how this group show, including works by Andrea Fraser, Ed Ruscha, Arnold Odermatt, and Lara Favaretto, “deftly girds art-historical links with linguistic and thematic ones.”

“Gespräche über persönliche Themen: Miroslaw Balka and Roni Horn” at Galleria Raffaella Cortese, Milan
November 28, 2012–February 9, 2013
In this show, a “duet” of sorts that pairs the sculptural and photographic work of Miroslav Balka and Roni Horn, Barbara Casavecchia traces the threads of the artists’ “conversations about private themes.”

Rearview: Clement Greenberg on Bertolt Brecht’s Poetry
On the day—Dec. 21, 2012—when everything was meant to go up in smoke, Antek Walczak recalls the links between time cycles and dialectics by bringing back an old polemic from critic Clement Greenberg’s early years, in which he waxed lyrical about Bertolt Brecht the poet.

“Believers,” KOW, Berlin
November 10, 2012–February 3, 2013
In this expansive group show on how “belief, or rather ‘non-belief,’ is harnessed to attack systems of power,” Kirsty Bell analyzes works by the collective Chto delat?, Franz Erhard Walther, Christoph Schlingensief, and Santiago Sierra, among others.

Mona Vătămanu & Florin Tudor’s “Geometric Analogies” at D+T Project Gallery, Brussels
November 30–December 22, 2012
Natasha Ginwala unravels the poetics of Vătămanu & Tudor’s films and site-specific works, in which they manage to “invent vulnerable architectures that draw upon the violently fragmented modernism of post-socialist Romania.”

Mickalene Thomas’s “How to Organize a Room Around a Striking Piece of Art” at Lehmann Maupin, New York
November 14, 2012–January 5, 2013
Alan Gilbert examines Mickalene Thomas’s flashy portraiture and art-history imbued landscapes in this major show occupying both of Lehmann Maupin’s New York locations.

Coming soon, reviews of Svenja Deininger at Marianne Boesky, New York; Gerard Byrne at Lisson Gallery, London; “39 Great Jones” at Galerie Eva Presenhuber, Zurich; Jack Pierson at Regen Projects, Los Angeles; a report from the ARCOmadrid fair; and many more.


Art Agenda’s exhibition announcement service distributes press information on select international exhibitions of contemporary art.

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