March 7, 2013 - art-agenda - Reviews: Trevor Paglen, Gerard Byrne, ARCOmadrid, Svenja Deininger, and more
March 7, 2013

February Round up

Trevor Paglen, Contrails (R-4808N Restricted Airspace, Nevada), 2012. C-print, 48 x 60 inches. Edition of 5. Courtesy of the artist, Metro Pictures, Altman Siegel Gallery, and Galerie Thomas Zander.

February Round up

Look up at the sky. You may finally see the sun peeking through, or catch a glimpse of a pretty cloud. If you scan the horizon a bit longer, though, upon closer inspection you may realize that what you see isn’t a cloud at all, but a contrail. An innocuous trace or something threatening, depending on your perspective.

Long before questions pertaining to the Obama administration’s use of drones in its military and covert operations, and debates about redrawing the legal limits on the domestic use of drones reached the headlines of U.S. media outlets, artists like Trevor Paglen or Omer Fast (reviewed here in January) have been engaging with the impact of the use of these technologies with a remarkable sophistication that is the antithesis of spin. Paglen’s abstractions of white traces on a blue sky (currently on view as part of his first show at Metro Pictures in New York) manage to propel us beyond simple questions of representation into a larger context where the relationship between art and politics is activated by the viewer. It’s about more than what you see, or think you see, because as Stephen Squibb reminds us in his review of Paglen’s exhibition, “what—and how—we see determines which trail we follow towards the future.”

Now, look back down. Or rather, look at NYC, where the strong offerings on view currently in local galleries are bolstered by the presence of upcoming art fairs with very different genealogies. On the one hand, we’ll be covering the four-year-old Independent fair for the first time. By contrast, this year marks the centennial edition of the Armory Show. On this occasion Media Farzin presents a special editorial on the development of art fairs over the last hundred years, beginning with the famed 1913 Armory Show. And later this month, art-agenda posts dispatches from further afield, with reviews of the much-anticipated 11th Sharjah Biennial, curated by Yuko Hasegawa, and the Art Dubai fair. Keep your eyes trained here.

Recently on art-agenda:

George Barber’s “The Freestone Drone” at Waterside Contemporary, London
February 2–March 23, 2013
In his first solo show at Waterside Contemporary, George Barber, a key figure of the 1980s Scratch Video movement, mines the increasingly ubiquitous presence of drones in an installation Omar Kholeif describes as a “domestic yard-cum-war zone.”

Trevor Paglen at Metro Pictures, New York
February 7–March 9, 2013
After seeing Trevor Paglen’s first show at Metro Pictures, Stephen Squibb is not afraid to stake out the bold claim that the artist’s work will stand the test of time—and not just because his “The Last Pictures” project sent images orbiting into space.

Karl Holmqvist’s “EQ UI LI BR IU M” at Galerie NEU and MD72, Berlin
February 10–March 16, 2013
Discovering the same works in two identical shows, Ana Teixeira Pinto wonders if repetition dilutes the undeniable poetics of Karl Holmqvist’s most recent exhibition in Berlin.

Camilla Løw’s “Spring Rain” at Elastic, Malmö
February 1–March 9, 2013
Encountering Camilla Løw’s geometric sculptures, Matthew Rana writes about how their formal vocabulary—full of “idiosyncratic reference systems”—seems as intelligent and considered as a poem.

“39greatjones” at Galerie Eva Presenhuber, Zurich
February 2–March 23, 2013
It takes a bit of digging to separate fact from fiction in the story behind this 16-artist group show, ostensibly related to a shop shop-window gallery in New York, an art project by Ugo Rondinone. Yet despite its inventive framing, Aoife Rosenmeyer deems the exhibition “business as usual.”

Gerard Byrne’s “Present Continuous Past” at Lisson Gallery, London
January 30–March 9, 2013
In this exhibition at Lisson—coinciding with a major retrospective at Whitechapel Gallery—Gil Leung writes that Gerard Byrne’s works “are a meditation on classification and value” that “gesture towards putting the contemporary present at level with modernism’s past.”

ARCOmadrid, Madrid
February 13–17, 2013
Rosa Lleó finds that despite Spain’s pervasive economic woes, the combination of curated presentations, a megawatt list of art world professionals flown in for a series of closed “professional meetings,” and some surprises among the gallery booths add up to a strong showing at ARCO this year.

Jack Pierson’s “The End of the World” at Regen Projects, Los Angeles
January 12–February 16, 2013
Jack Pierson’s latest show at Regen Projects—complete with a promo poster expertly designed in the style of a “post-apocalyptic action blockbuster”—has a decidedly Hollywood spin. Kevin McGarry asks if there’s something more hidden behind the spectacular presentation.

5th India Art Fair and Parallel Events, New Delhi
February 1–3, 2013
Natasha Ginwala reports from New Delhi on the whirlwind week of openings, launches, award ceremonies, lectures, and private viewings taking place around the fifth iteration of the India Art Fair.

Svenja Deininger’s “One Second Balance” at Marianne Boesky Gallery, New York
January 17–February 16, 2013
Svenja Deininger’s assured geometric abstractions reveal a depth that goes well beyond the surface, leading Media Farzin to call the artist’s first New York solo show a “demonstration of what it means to think through painting.”

Coming soon: reviews of Ragnar Kjartansson at Luhring Augustine, New York; a special editorial by Media Farzin looking back on 100 years of art fairs on the occasion of the Armory Fair‘s centenary edition; Sharjah Biennial 11, Sharjah; Art Dubai, Dubai; Aslı Çavuşoğlu at Galeri Non, Istanbul; Ed Atkins at Isabella Bortolozzi Galerie, Berlin; and many more.

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