My Highlights from Art Basel in Miami Beach, 2013
Mike Kelley's Double Figure (Hairy), a shaggy monster with another's head grafted between its legs, offers a mute commentary on the sexuality of childhood and the rites of adolescence. He began using soft toys in the mid-1980's. This piece was exhibited in early 1991 in Kelley’s seminal “Half a Man” exhibition at the Hirschhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C.
Hoibo is an artist who works with a wide range of materials: paintings made with synthetic leather, sculptures comprised of IKEA shelving units, instant noodles cast in bronze. These works, all made with “inferior goods”, seem to relish the balancing act between the passive and the performance. This is an example of one of her woven tapestries, a craft she studied and often employes. A beautiful and thoughtful nod to the renewed relevance of Arte Povera.
This is a new work by Yang from the “Trustworthy” series, which utilizes the patterned interiors of security envelopes—a design created to protect personal information—a type of corporate camouflage. The works are very much rooted in current conversations in the media about the right of individual privacy vs. the ever-expanding arm of government in terms of surveillance. Further, the collection of envelopes gathered and sent to the artists by friends speak to the increased accessibility of global communication and exchange.
After expanding the field of painting by treating it as a sign and stretching its possibilities for a decade or so, Blake Rayne returns to what might still happen within the strict confines of the frame in this new series of elegantly layered works.
Janssen's Candy sculptures, comprised of stacked glass blocks in solid candy-like colors, beautifully embody her interest in light, alternative materials, and transparency.Isa Genzken, More Light Research, 1992, at Galerie Buchholz
The Isa Genzken More Light Research painting at Galerie Buchholz is a fantastic example from this series she made in the ’90s. The painting is made of layers of lacquer on canvas built up using stencils that reference swinging gymnastic rings. And the title references Goethe's last dying words: “more light”. They depict a gymnast’s rings frozen in time, moments after their release in mid-air. The images invite the viewer to ponder the symbolic, allegorical act of letting go.
Lucy McKenzie's monumental painting Alhambra is from her recent exhibition at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam. This is a painting based on the intricate tile work of the Alhambra in Granada and relates to Lucy's ongoing interest in the history of interiors, design and architecture and their relationship to painting. She recently showed a related group of works painted directly on the wall at the Artist's Institute in New York.
This is a new series for Kon Trubkovich. They are similar in idea to the “wall” paintings that he recently showed at Frieze London. They continue to explore themes of remembering and forgetting, the static of the "snow" blurring the memories. As with the “mom” and “reagan” portraits, there's a sort of nostalgia for the past.
These new works by Mathieu Malouf expand upon his now signature use of dried mushrooms to explore the currency of high production, flirting with the shiny reflective surfaces that have so enchanted the art world, and more specifically, the kind of thing we see more and more at high profile galleries and fairs.
This is a brand new work by Marc Camille Chaimowicz. For me his work is also about memory and nostalgia. The panels themselves, which are leaning against the wall one on top of the other, create layers of visual ornamentation—imperfect patterning that recall the gorgeous idiosyncrasies of our own imperfect and yet totally poetic memory(ies).
Alex Israel, Self-Portrait, 2013, at Reena Spaulings Fine Art
Israel’s self-portrait breathes new life into the traditional art-historical subject. A riff on Hitchcock, a pun on the Facebook profile picture, and a decidedly California object—crafted like a surfboard (sunset-colored airbrushed acrylic on fiberglass)—the piece is at once a timely cipher for the self-promotional spirit of the Internet/Reality age, and a strikingly beautiful, surprisingly luminous icon.