Rob Goyanes
              The first lines of the song “I See a Darkness” (1999) by Will Oldham, aka Bonnie “Prince” Billy, go like this: “Well you’re my friend / That’s what you told me.” Dan Nadel, curator of “SAMARITANS” at Eva Presenhuber, suggests viewers read the lyrics while visiting the exhibition: they are printed in full in the press release. Instead, I listened to it about 25 times: “Many times we’ve shared our thoughts / But did you ever / Ever notice / The kind of thoughts I got?” An alt-country ballad, “I See a Darkness” is tender, bordering on saccharine. Its voice, piano, and guitars are aching, then hopeful, then not. It is about, among other things, friendship: “Well, you know I have a love / A love for everyone I know.” And though the artists in the exhibition, according to the press release, are “connected to at least one other [artist], and usually more, by friendship, inspiration, and influence,” the connections between the works feel tenuous. On a wall in the first room is Xeno (2017) by Takeshi Murata, a slick, totemic, geometric sculpture whose enamel paint glows like radioactive candy. On the wall adjacent is The Golden Age: The Jaguar and …
              Jean-Marie Appriou’s “November”
              Aoife Rosenmeyer
              The show is called “November”; I write as the month draws to a close. It’s cold and slightly damp, albeit not enough to offset the long, dry summer and autumn. But the apples sold at the market are still crisp, the Raebeliechtliumzug—an annual walk through the dark, originating in harvest festival celebrations, in which children sing songs and carry lanterns carved out of turnips—took place last week, and now we’re getting ready for Christmas. To everything there is a season. Jean-Marie Appriou illustrates this circle of life in two chapters. In the first gallery are sunflowers in full bloom and thick fields of corn; the second features a collection of waist-high caves, tall dark cypress trees, and bats flying around the viewers’ heads. All the sculptures were made this year, cast in aluminum from clay models formed by traditional tools and the artist’s gouging fingers, which have left deep, irregular, tactile indentations. The aluminum varies from silvery to blackened. The works are striking, like the two-and-a-half metres-tall corn thicket Crossing the parallel worlds; the faces and limbs that appear elsewhere are spindly, verging on grotesque. It is hard to gauge this aesthetic, which is unfamiliar in a contemporary art context—as is …
              Aoife Rosenmeyer
              Everything you see here has lived out a solitary life of its own in a shop window on a quiet street in the East Village. One by one, sixteen works by Martin Boyce, John Giorno, Wesley Martin Berg, Matteo Callegari, Wyatt Kahn, Alan Shields, Bruno Gironcoli, Ann Craven, Joyce Pensato, Josh Smith, Andrew Brischler, Giorgio Griffa, Tamuna Sirbiladze, Davis Rhodes, Ron Gorchov, Anne Chu, George Ortman, and Kes Zapkus were exhibited solo, between October 2010 and the present (with two more installations lined up). Curator, artist, and publisher Phong Bui, who has written the gallery text, compares that shop window on Great Jones Street to a device linking disparate elements, a “magic object” à la jewelled ring via Italo Calvino’s parsing of the story of Emperor Charlemagne who fell for whoever possessed the ring: “Around the magic object there forms a kind of force field that is in fact the territory of the story itself. We might say that the magic object is an outward and visible sign that reveals the connection between people or between events.” (from Italo Calvino’s collection of lectures, Six Memos for the Next Millennium, 1985–1986) Bui’s text also includes his poem “Life is a Killer,” …
              "Sculpture Now"
              Aoife Rosenmeyer
              Steering clear of chest-beating monumentalism, Peter Fischli and David Weiss’s “Sculpture Now” contains an embarrassment of riches. With 35 significant works by 27 artists crowding the generous spaces of Eva Presenhuber’s gallery, it is nonetheless a self-effacing show. The works have been “arranged”—that is, Fischi and Weiss have made no claims to “curating” this consistently modest show. And while sculpture surveys are a recurring exhibition trope of late, as if the cultural temperature could be measured more accurately in three dimensions, the method is an unpredictable one, as can be seen when comparing this show to the recent “Modern British Sculpture” at the Royal Academy in London, a broader show whose emphasis ultimately fell on sober, totemic pieces. The resulting selection in Zürich, meanwhile, shrugged off solemnities to create a result that would make the sternest of critics smile. Two smaller works, the 1969 edition Motorradfahrer from Dieter Roth, and cupped hands as a reservoir (2011) by Andrew Lord were the grace notes at the gallery entrance that signalled its opening chord, Oscar Tuazon’s arch of steel, concrete, and wood bemusedly titled Fun (2011). Despite its size and media, the structure sits lightly, and if you look back, it nearly disappears …

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