Candida Höfer’s "Neues Museum Berlin"
              Kimberly Bradley
              What could you possibly say about Candida Höfer that’s not been said before? The German photographer has been around for a long time, doing mostly one thing—shooting apparently flawless, always unpeopled images of monumental public interiors—since her career began in the 1970s. As distant and calculated as they are breathtakingly detailed and often ornate, Höfer’s oversize photographs depict meticulously composed spaces, indeed, social spaces, such as museums and libraries emptied of their occupants. That’s how her pictures evoke almost ghostly atmospheres. But her methods are predictable—she tends to shoot smaller spaces on the diagonal; larger spaces straight on, and, in the latter case, with the horizon or focal point frequently just below the picture’s center. Her subjects range from the well-visited (the Louvre, Teatro la Scala, MoMA) to the obscure (the Viking Museum of Oslo). She’s big, bold, and Germanically cold, like her cohorts Thomas Ruff, Thomas Struth, and Andreas Gursky; the whole lot of whom studied, of course, at the Düsseldorf Art Academy under Bernd and Hilla Becher. But we know all of this already. What we didn’t know upon entering Johnen Galerie in Berlin is what her take might be on the Neues Museum, the subject of her newest exhibition …
              Martin Creed’s "Paintings" at Johnen Galerie, Berlin
              Kirsty Bell
              What should we make of paintings made by an artist whose self-declared maxim is “The Whole World + The Work = The Whole World”? Whether this stands for an expansive, optimistic “anything goes” or a reductively pessimistic hopelessness is largely a question of personal temperament, or indeed of momentary mood. The same goes for Martin Creed’s paintings. Just as the two-way perspective of expansion/reduction or optimism/pessimism informs the artist’s more well-known, equally binary works—the lights in a room going on and off, for instance, or a set of curtains automatically opening and closing—so these super simplistic, at times downright ugly paintings balance on a knife edge between the profound and the inane. Though no doubt cannily aware of their painterly predecessors, Creed’s paintings have as little to do with a history of painting as his works on paper have to do with a tradition of drawing, be it an A4 sheet crumpled into a ball—folded up and opened out again—or covered all over with colored marker. Instead they make sense within Creed’s conceptual, or rather existential (compulsive, even?) approach to art-making as a means through which to determine and articulate order within the chaos and contradictions of the material world. As …

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